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Old 04-27-2005, 08:51 PM   #1
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Driftwood

I have all live plants in my aquarium and i really love the realistic look. Im fixing to move and i figured since i have to take everything out anyway, im gonna leave out the fake decorations and fake colored pink and blue gravel, im putting in the real looking gravel stones and want to buy real driftwood. my LFS sales driftwood thats glued to these flat rock slate pieces. I am moving next week and was just wondering, what are some of the effects of real driftwood on the water parameters? will it hurt any of the fish I have? and do i need to do anything besides rinse it off first? Thanks
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Old 04-27-2005, 11:28 PM   #2
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If you check out the articles section here you will find an article about driftwood and preparing it for the aquarium, which might be helpful.

All "driftwood" is not created equal, as some is terrestrial and will float forever, thus the need to be screwed to a slate base for sinking, and some is bogwood that will sink right away.

Most wood sold for the aquarium will contain tannins that will stain your water a tea color, and that is why it is usually soaked for some weeks to remove as much of the tannins as possible, or boiled to speed up this process, if the piece is small enough to fit in a pot. In general, driftwood is an organic object in your tank that will ostensibly add acidic properties to the water and lower pH, but IME this is not a dramatic process and should not be relied upon to lower pH if that is your goal. Over the course of years you might see that a tank with driftwood has a lower pH than one without, depending upon whether or not the water used for water changes is acidic or alkaline.

HTH
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Old 04-27-2005, 11:52 PM   #3
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so if i buy a piece, and boil it in a large stock pot, the water is going to look like tea, do i continue boiling it (like bring it to a boil each day?) until it stops tanning?
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Old 04-28-2005, 12:21 AM   #4
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Usually you can boil it for a few hours and that will do it, but it depends on what kind of wood it is. Some requires more boiling than others. I have done it outside on a large grill and kept it going all day, and did not heat up the house, and that was all it took.
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Old 04-28-2005, 02:20 AM   #5
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You can boil it for a hour, then change the water and boil agin. Repeat till you stop getting tea. Or boil it a couple of times, the just soak it in a bucket, changing the water every other day. Some of the wood sold at pet stores is intended for reptiles or birds, so be careful. I like the malaysian drift wood from Foster and Smith. Neat looking and sinks like a rock. Good luck.
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Old 04-28-2005, 01:14 PM   #6
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Before i buy at the LFS, can anyone suggest some good websites to order driftwood from? I love shopping online, and if i can get a better deal, its always worth it... lol.
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Old 04-28-2005, 03:00 PM   #7
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Here is the Malaysian driftwood from DrFosterSmith: Malaysian driftwood

I soaked this driftwood in a white bucket so I could see the extent of the tannins. I soaked in hot tap water with dechlor added, and I changed the water once a day, or twice a day if I remembered! It took about 10 days to 2 weeks to get the majority of the tannins out. I then boiled it for a few hours and when I soaked it again, the water stayed clear.

The driftwood attached to slate can be rinsed off. I don't think it needs to be boiled. The hatchery I go to has this kind of wood. It's bleached and kiln-dried, so it really needs no boiling. If your lfs has this kind of wood, just give it a good rinse and scrub a bit with a new, clean veggie brush. I got a new veggie brush at the kitchen store just to scrub my driftwood.
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Old 04-28-2005, 03:22 PM   #8
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Also, don't forget that your pleco will be gnawing on this wood. Pleco's just love a tasty piece of wood...it supplements their diet.
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Old 04-28-2005, 04:30 PM   #9
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I recently bought some wood at my LFS that was labeled african Root wood. It is very dark and gnarly, muck like the malaysian wood in the link above. I boiled the stuff for the better part of 2 days. (actually poured boiling water every few hours cuz it was too big to fit on the stove) The water went from dark tea at the beginning to a light tea at the end. Even though i was still getting some color in the boiled water, I as of yet have not seen any leaching in my tank.
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Old 04-28-2005, 06:35 PM   #10
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I guess I should consider myself lucky (I think)... I found one LFS that sinks it's driftwood in the same tanks they sell their fish in... thus, the tannins are all out and the wood is pre-soaked. Before I found this LFS, I never considered driftwood cause I didn't want to go through all the trouble prepping it for my tank.

Anyway, I bought 2 "plain" driftwood and just got a Sawala (did I spell that right?) piece this past week. I typically rinse these in a bucket of my aquarium water just to make sure I don't get snail eggs or anything else.

For those curious... I mentioned this LFS in the NJ/NY forum: Pet Place II in Nanuet, NY... same place quarantines their new fish for about 2 weeks before selling 'em!
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Old 04-29-2005, 02:09 AM   #11
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Quake2player, that's great that your lfs presoaks the wood! It makes it a lot easier for you. I think the wood you're talking about is Swahala, from Africa.

Zezmo, that's a good idea to pour boiling water over the wood if it's too big for the stove!
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Old 05-03-2005, 05:18 PM   #12
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I bought my piece from a lfs, not my normal one as they only had pieces connected to slate. It was at PetCo and it was about 12" high and 12" wide and about 6" in depth. It was malyasian and cost 9 bucks! It sunk right away.
I prepped it unusally because it didnt fit in any pot I had. I simply rinsed my sink off really well, dropped the wood in there and filled it up with pot after pot of prepped (dechlor and a little salt) boiling water. It didnt quite bring the water in the sink to a boil however it was cointinually being filled with boiling water as I did it. I would then leave it soak overnight. I did this for three days (used boiling technique three times). Now it is in there and did not stain water at all.
I wish i would have done it less as I wanted a lower ph and enjoy the tea stained look. The stain will go away though with a couple pwcs.
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Old 05-05-2005, 01:47 AM   #13
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I bought my peice of driftwood and i rinsed it off and it sunk imediately when i dropped it in my tank. is that good? lol
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