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Dont forget the ability to produce microfauna. I've experimented with TONS of different leaves over the past several. Mostly tropical species but some northern strains as well. I've found that some species of leaf litter (like strangler figs, which occor in areas some species of frog commonly kept are native to) are great for microfauna growth. I noticed this when I was collecting leaves to try for different projects... that the leaf litter under strangler fig trees were PACKED with tons of different microfauna. Native isopods, several types of springtail, tiny ants, spiders etc were everywhere. Since that discovery I've been using them in vivs as an under layer in my substrate and have noticed greatly improved microfauna growth. I'm also using them in my spring and iso cultures with improved results. They aren't the pretties leaf litter available but bugs LOVE them... Because of their structure I thought they would break down very fast (and they do break down faster than the others) but they last a few months and leave a cool "skeleton" behind. At least I think its cool :)

As for the others I use them ALL. I use live oaks in all of my vert set ups. I use magnolia and sea grape in my larger vivs. I'm using some GIANT elastica leaves in place of coco huts in some larger vivs. Thats another long lasting ficus species that leaves a skeleton. And I use indian almond leaves for tad tea. ALL of my vivs will be getting a good layer of strangler fig now after seeing the microfauna results. And so far no ph issues.

I'm also trying a few other non native leaf types. We'll see how they turn out ;)
 
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