Review: Tropical Ketapang tea bags


Want the benefits of Catappa leaves but don't fancy having decomposing foliage in your tank? Nathan Hill checks out a clever alternative...

Anyone who fancies their hand at shrimp breeding is running about with Catappa leaves these days, as well as those with soft and acidic biotopes.

Catappa is excellent for lowering pH and releasing tannins, but then we all know this already. What you might not know is that Polish company Tropical has had the sense to take the leaves, chop them up and slip them into sealed mesh bags.

What’s the benefit of that? Well, you don’t have leaves rotting on the bottom of the tank, for one. Lots of tanks look lovely and natural with a leaf or two degrading away, but the keepers of pristine, carpeted aquascapes, or owners of traditional layout, formal aquaria are being left out because they have no place for such decomposing foliage.

Each bag comes with about as much leaf matter as if you were buying a standard, cut leaf though here it’s shredded up, increasing the surface area and speeding up the tannin release time.

Dosage is somewhat arbitrary, depending what you want out of it. The instructions imply using one sachet (which contains 5g of shredded leaf) for 150-200 l/33-44 gal, but as every tank is different you’ll need to explore your own dosage. The bags will slip inside a lot of internal canisters and any of the external filters.

Lifespan is just as unregimented as dosage because warmer, more alkaline tanks will exhaust the leaf faster than a cooler, soft, acidic one.

Verdict
Yeah, a smart enough idea. If you’ve got a pretty shrimp layout and don’t want the base smothered in leaf, or if you’ve got a breeding set-up and you don’t fancy endless siphoning of the bottom, then these tea bags will be for you.

Price: £9.99 per pack.

More info: Nottingham Aquatic Centre, tel. 01159 312986

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