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For the longest time when I pulled a dead leaf out of one of my aquariums I would simply toss it in my gardens as green manure. Then I had the brilliant idea of adding some of them to one of my aquariums with an invertebrate population. I say "brilliant' only in hindsight! I simply thought I would try it to see what happened. Within just a few minutes the entire leaf will be covered with snails and shrimp who proceed to pick it clean. They are very good at devouring all algae attached to the dead plant. An excellent and free food source!
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I do this with dead java fern leaves. Snails and shrimp don't really eat it though. My shrimp graze on the micro-organisms that live on it. Plus, it kinda gives my tank an aesthetic look to it :)

My friends on the other hand, look at my tank and go, "Why do you have a dead leaf in here?"
 
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