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Old 03-27-2008, 09:24 PM   #1
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Driftwood Okay?

Hey folks, I want to say thanks again for all the great advice I've been given to start my fish tank. Unfortunately I am back with another newbie question. (And I know I will be back with many more). I am going to start shopping for some decorations for the tank. Is driftwood - purchased at the lfs okay to put in a tank? Does it harm the water or change its color? And if anybody can recommend a company who makes quality artificial plants that will not color or damage my water or damage the fish I would appreciate it. - Thanks and Peace
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:03 PM   #2
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Most driftwood sold at lfs's are fine for tanks. They can release tannins so either soak them for a few days or pour boiling water over them.
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:21 PM   #3
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I agree with Zagz - driftwood purchased at an lfs will have already been cleaned and sterilized. Soaking it for a few days will help make it sink in your tank, and it will also help release the tannins, a natural substance in the wood, that can make the aquarium water the color of tea. There is no harm in having the tannins in your tank, and to certain fish, it would mimic their natural environment. But a lot of people would prefer to get the tannins out before the wood goes into the tank, and that's fine too. You may have to soak the driftwood for a week or two in a bucket (aquarium-only bucket that has never had soap in it) and change the water every day until all the tannins leach out. Boiling the wood will work too, and will remove the tannins faster.

The plastic and silk plants sold in the lfs are safe for fish. They won't color the water or hurt the fish. But if you have fish with long fins, such as a betta or guppy, some of the plastic plants should be avoided since they may tear the fins. Use silk plants with those types of fish. You can also rub a pair of pantyhose over a plastic plant to test for sharp spots. If the plastic plant makes the pantyhose run, it will probably tear long, delicate fins.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:39 PM   #4
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Malaysian

Once again I humbly thank you all. My son and I went to the pet store today and got us some very fine pieces of malaysian driftwood. As I write this we are boiling the **** out of them. We are so excited - its starting to come together at last --- little by little -- but coming together.
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Old 03-29-2008, 11:19 PM   #5
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warped one, I too bought some Malaysian drift wood and I like it. I too boiled the living crap out it. And, after the boiling, I let it soak in the pot for an additional 2 weeks as my tank cycled. After the daily soak I would change out the water. It took about two weeks to finally get clear acceptable water. It's now in my tank and after a week, the water turns a bit brown. It clears after I do my weekly 30% WC.
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Old 03-29-2008, 11:55 PM   #6
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Wow, does it really take that long to get all the tannins out?
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Old 03-30-2008, 12:09 AM   #7
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It all depends on the variety of driftwood you're dealing with. Some are much worse about leaching tanins than others.
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Old 03-30-2008, 02:00 AM   #8
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I got Malaysian driftwood a few years ago. I soaked it in a bucket, changing the water daily, for almost a month before it stopped leaching tannins. I also boiled it a few times.
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Old 03-30-2008, 08:06 AM   #9
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glue? nail? screw? ducktape? chewing gum?

Once again thanks all - and if you don't mind here is another question about Malaysian driftwood - We have some wonderful pieces which we want to join together for height and effect. What do we use to keep them together without poisoning the tank? It must be strong and fast setting because the arrangement we have in mind is not particularly stable when we stack them. Once I borrow a digital camera (I told you in the beginning I am way behind with modern gadgets) I hope to post some pictures. - Peace :p
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:22 AM   #10
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Unfortuantely the only aquarium safe way that I can think of to join the driftwood would be to use aquarium silacon. This would not be fast super fast drying and would need to be allowed to set while out of the water.
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:43 AM   #11
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well there are several options to use to secure the wood together. the strongest and fastest would probably be screws. I would use stainless steel screws since they won't corrode and leech anything into the water and they dont have any coating that may release chemicals into the water. Of course stainless steel is bright and shiny so best to use them in an inconspicuous place although if you dont mind seeing them for a little bit i'm sure some algae will coat them eventually. Use a drill bit slightly smaller in thickness to predrill a hole in the wood where you want the screw so you dont split the wood when you screw it together.

Another option would be epoxy but you have to find one that creates an inert cured product which i have no clue what kinds you can use but i'm sure someone else who has used them could inform you which to use. Maybe do a search in the DIY forum.

A lot of people just use aquarium safe silicone which i've read here that the GE Silicone 1 is safe to use in the aquarium which you can get at the local hardware store instead of paying 2 or 3 times the price for "aquarium silicone" at the LFS. Definitely do not use the GE silicone 2 since it has an anti bacterial agent in it to kill mildew and it will kill the beneficial bacteria in the tank.

If using either the epoxy or silicone of course you would have to prop the pieces of wood together or hold them until the adhesive sets and give it plenty of time to cure before using in the tank. 24 hours should be good for the epoxy but i would go at least 48 for the silicone just incase the very center of the glob doesnt cure due to no air exposure. I have used silicone on other things that i had to take apart the next day and noticed that the center wasnt fully cured.

Dont worry about going little by little, thats the best way to start an aquarium unless you are putting in live plants in which case i've read that you plant a lot all at once.
Ask as many questions as you can. Always better to be informed then to spend a lot of money then find out you didnt have too or shouldnt have. lol
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Old 03-30-2008, 08:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by @rtemis View Post
warped one, I too bought some Malaysian drift wood and I like it. I too boiled the living crap out it. And, after the boiling, I let it soak in the pot for an additional 2 weeks as my tank cycled. After the daily soak I would change out the water. It took about two weeks to finally get clear acceptable water. It's now in my tank and after a week, the water turns a bit brown. It clears after I do my weekly 30% WC.
What @rt said..... That has also been my experience. I boiled mine on two seperate occasions and let it sit for 2-3 weeks and it still makes my water turn a little tea-ish in colour.

Not that bad though.. the weekly water change does the trick.

And about joining the peices of driftwood, I don't suppose you couold tien them together? If so, try clear fishing line. That's what i use to tie on my plants to my driftwood peices.
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