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 Mulberry leaves!

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Deb
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PostSubject: Mulberry leaves!    Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:16 pm

Just opened a package from Gerald containing some Mulberry leaves from trees around his neighborhood.  Yay!  I'm posting this picture to show you all the beautiful greens:
 

 
I'll add one or two to my ten gallon tank tonight.  Let's use this thread to post how we like the leaves in our shrimp tanks.  
@Gerald wrote:
One of our most prolific shrimp breeders in Raleigh ("steakman" on carolinafishtalk) uses mulberry leaves as food (fresh off the tree or dried; either is good).

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PostSubject: Re: Mulberry leaves!    Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:55 pm

Are you letting the leaves float and sink on their own or do you plan on somehow securing them to the substrate?

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PostSubject: Re: Mulberry leaves!    Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Even though they are not fully dried, the leaves seem a little fragile.  So I tucked one behind the HOB return, which is where I would put an Indian almond leaf, and waited for it to sink.  Several hours later, it had worked its way around the tank.  At this point it was waterlogged, so I moved it back to where I wanted it.  The old IAL is still in the tank, too.  I'm waiting to see if the shrimps really like the mulberry leaf and if they do I'll add a couple more but, regardless, I won't add too many.  Maybe two or three, total.  

Have you tried them yet, in any tank?

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PostSubject: Re: Mulberry leaves!    Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:02 pm

I put one in with the ghost shrimp last night. It's still floating. I'm going to have it put under the edge of a piece of bogwood on the bottom.

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PostSubject: Re: Mulberry leaves!    Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:39 pm

You might want to pre-soak them in a jar for a couple days, then put in shrimp tank. I think the fungi and bacteria on the decaying leaves are an important part of the nutritional value to scavengers like shrimp, scuds and snails.
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PostSubject: Re: Mulberry leaves!    Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:30 am

Can I store them in a zip-loc bag to preserve some of the freshness?  Does the decay you refer to occur underwater?  Or is it something that only happens when the leaf is exposed to air?  

In my case I don't mind if they don't sink right away.  My IALs don't either; they have to sit behind the filter intake for a day or so to get waterlogged.

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PostSubject: Re: Mulberry leaves!    Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:05 pm

Can I store them in a zip-loc bag to preserve some of the freshness?  
>> Yes, and I would guess refrigerated or frozen would keep them fresh longer.

Does the decay you refer to occur underwater?  
>> Yes, it's the aquatic fungi and bacteria on decaying leaves that most grazers like to eat.  Take a look at "leaf-packs" that get caught on sticks or rocks in shallow streams during fall.  If you peel apart the leaves, there's very few bugs on the freshest fallen leaves.  After they've been in the water several days and gotten slimy with bacteria and fungi, that's when the bugs and crustaceans (bloodworms and other midges, scuds, mayflies, stoneflies, etc) really get interested in them.  Although "steakman" in Raleigh says his shrimp get to work immediately on fresh mulberry leaves.

Or is it something that only happens when the leaf is exposed to air?  
>> Un-dried leaves placed in a plastic bag will get moldy and rot.  Either dry them or freeze them.
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PostSubject: Re: Mulberry leaves!    Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:55 am

@Gerald wrote:
Un-dried leaves placed in a plastic bag will get moldy and rot.  Either dry them or freeze them.

Then I'll dry them.  Very Happy  

So here is an interesting update.  On Saturday, I added one mulberry leaf, as explained above.  
After about half a day it became waterlogged, but there was no action by the shrimps until the NEXT day, when they were all over it:   


Besides the large ones that you can see, there were an incredible number of tiny shrimps that I didn't even know I had.  They must have been in hiding!  

As you see, the leaf is practically disintegrated, and it's only Monday.  By this morning it was gone.  I don't even see the leaf veins, but I'm sure they are there, collapsed under the IAL (which is the brown leaf crushed up against the pre-filter sponge.)

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PostSubject: Re: Mulberry leaves!    Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:04 pm

Mulberry leaf update - the leaves are fragile and crispy, so they need to be handled with care.  I rinse them in tap water and dip them in tank water before adding to the aquarium.  

There is no doubt the shrimps love them!  They are all over the leaf the minute it hits the water, and stay on it until it is nothing but a small pile of white veins.  Even now, the shrimp are perched on the veins, sorting and rummaging them over for food.  

At this rate, I'm adding one or two (they're small) new leaves every two days.  We searched the "Virginia Tallest Tree" registry for a local mulberry that I can collect leaves from, to keep up my supply.  

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PostSubject: Re: Mulberry leaves!    Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:50 pm

I'm sure everyone else already knows but I recently learned a little about sexing RCS. I believe the one pictured is a female. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. I'm also starting to think that Mulberry trees are not that common in Central VA or am I wrong? I know that Mulberry leaves are not essential to maintaining a colony of RCS but watching them feed on some might be fun. I'm not very concerned about the lack of availability but I'm still interested in adding a nutritious treat. Mulberry trees, are they common?
@Deb wrote:


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PostSubject: Re: Mulberry leaves!    Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:46 pm

Not sure how common they are but I have 2 of them behind my house if anyone wants some leaves.

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PostSubject: Re: Mulberry leaves!    Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:44 pm

Around Raleigh-Durham mulberries are most common in young woods that have grown up in abandoned farm fields, and along fences in rural areas -- the same kinds of places you'd go looking to pick blackberries.  Also look for them in older residential neighborhoods (pre-1970) where they were used as landscape trees until the horticulture trade decided to designate them a "nuisance weed" (so they could sell more new varieties of nuisance weeds, like Bradford Pear).

There are three kinds in VA and NC: White mulberry (what i sent to Deb and Donald) and paper mulberry are Asian species, usually found near residential areas or farmland, and red mulberry which is native and usually found in moist woods on floodplains or slopes near streams.  http://www.carolinanature.com/trees/moal.html
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PostSubject: Re: Mulberry leaves!    Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:34 pm

So far the snails are eating the mulberry leaves. I'm not sure about the ghost shrimp. Need to get some RCSs.

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