As I was doing my weekly water change in my fish tank, I noticed that my Paradise Betta, Toad, was acting a bit lethargic. I decided to do a larger water change and then brewed some catappa leaf tisane to add to the tank.

Catappa leaf is from the Terminalia catappa tree, also known as the Indian Almond tree. I’ve never heard of people drinking it, yet it’s commonly used in the aquarium world as a treatment for some species of fish; including Bettas, Killies, Discus, Arowana, Tetras, Appistogramma, Dwarf Cichlids, Rasbora, Corydoras and other Catfish, and Shrimp. It works in two ways: by darkening the water to more closely mimic the natural environment therefore decreasing stress, and by releasing tannins and other beneficial ingredients into the water.

Studies done on catappa leaf have shown that it has many healing benefits for fish, including anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. Many aquarium owners swear by it over any “medical” or “chemical” solution. I have personally used it with great success with previous bettas that I have owned.

There are two ways to use catappa leaf in a fish tank. The first is to simply drop a leaf-whole or shredded- into the fish tank and let it break down naturally. The second is to boil it in water and add the “tea” to the fish tank. I prefer the latter, as it decreases the amount of vegetative matter in my fish tank that I have to clean up later. Thus, I do the following:

  1. Tear a catappa leaf into large pieces and put in a pot with water the same pH as the fish tank.
  2. Bring the water to a full boil, and then simmer for one minute.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool to around the same temperature as the fish tank.
  4. Pour the tisane into the tank.

Does anyone else have experience using tisanes for pet use? I would love to hear in the comments!


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