We’re all pretty familiar with the wonderful Alder Cone, which has been widely utilized by aquarium hobbyists for some time. You’ve probably not seen the incredibly useful cones from the Casuarina equisetifolia, or “Australian Pine Tree” before! We certainly hadn’t, until one of our Indian suppliers told us about them! The native range of this tree is vast, extending from Southeast Asia throughout Oceana, and of course, Australia. Non-native introductions of these trees are found in Madagascar and India.
After some research and correspondence with some of our aquarium friends in Asia, we discovered that these little cones have been used in the hobby for years, much as Alder cones have, and they’re pretty “high performance”, from a tannin-producing perspective. They’re larger, generally “fatter”, and they tend to break down quite a bit more slowly than Alder Cones, in our experience.
We recommend a starting quantity of about 6 cones for every 10 gallons of aquarium capacity. They can definitely lower the pH of soft water and tint it brown. Proceed slowly to gauge for yourself the effect that they impart to your aquarium water!
PREPARATION: We like to steep them in boiling water for about 20 minutes or so prior to use. This helps saturate them so they sink, and releases any surface dirt.