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I like to cover the substrate with live oak leaves and then some magnolia on top of that. Magnolia makes good hidey spots for the frogs.Which, in general, are the best to use as leaf litter? I'm no where near the point of worrying about making tannins in the water. One of my aquariums has a nice big piece of driftwood that makes more than enough tannins to go around.
Being in NC, you shouldn't have much problem finding live oak and magnolia. I grab mine out of the yard, boil it a few minutes to get the creepy crawlies off of it, let it cool and dry, and ta da!
It's almost time for the leaves to start falling again. Fill up a couple garbage bags to get you through the year.