Friday, February 1, 2008
While researching the web, I realized some methods remained traditional, Ketapang Leaves, rainwater, high protein food, live food, empty tank, regular water changes, etc. Some things changed, no more holicks jars, no more fighting (yeah it's cruel, I agree with no more fighting), more home breeding, more interest in show bettas. But the thing that really caught my eye was the sales of ketapang leaves?!?! And such secret in maintaining it's location?!? Old timers have no problems obtaining these magically leaves. New hobbyists might have a lot of problem. Most likely they are worried of picking the wrong type and killing their precious.
Well sales of ketapang leaves is in my opinion, morally wrong. First, unless you own the trees, you shouldn't sell them. Second, how can one grade the leaves on whether they're grade A or B or C. Third, if you sell exclusively to overseas clients who don't not have access to ketapang fine, but if you take advantage of locals then it's not so fine anymore.
I was introduced to Ketapang leaves by my dad who used to work part-time in a fish farm. Whether or not it's effective and has all the magical wonders, I don't know. But what I do know is if commercial fish-farmers uses it; it's most likely safe to use, I've no bettas that suffer ill effects from it and always trust your parents.
Ketapang trees are abundant in Singapore. They are be found along most part of PIE, in Changi Beach and East Coast Park. If you do not know how the trees look like or how the leaves look like, search around the web for them. After soaking them, the extract has a pleasant, "sweet" smell with a dark brown colour tone. If you have a foul smelling extract, then you have got the wrong type of leaves.
Preparation of the leaves can be found on the web too, this is my version, used since childhood. Please do some self filtering when researching on the web, you can ignore the bullshit on the web stating nonsense Grade A, B, C, medicinal properties fading off. I usually pick leaves that are on top of the grass(a tell-tale sign that they have fallen not too long ago), not too fresh (as I don't want to dry them myself), but not too decayed either. Just dried leaves that are crisps to hold.
When I reach home, I will rinse them with a shower head and stuff them into a container (It's alright to crush them during the stuffing, ignore nonsense on the web). Then just add water (if you wanna stay traditional, use pure rainwater) and wait for the magic potion, a overnight soak will be good enough to use. You can soak the extract up to 5 days or more but you have to remove the leaves BEFORE they start decaying. If you are unsure on weather the extract has pass expiry, play safe, throw the whole batch away and soak a new one, these leaves are free anyway.
Please take note that this is method of preparation is for ketapang extract, and not to be used without diluting. Add some to your tank to the desired colour. Make a trip to a fish shop to see the color tone of their tanks to get an idea of the desired colour.
You could also add the leaves to your tank directly after rinsing, I usually don't do that. What I do recommend is adding a pre-soaked leave (usually 24 hours) for the female tank as they need some cover to hide and feel comfortable.
Well that's all for preparation of ketapang leaves, I don't think one has to go to extreme and get the "best" leaves for everything. It's just a waste of time, money and effort.