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Old 11-30-2003, 11:03 AM   #1
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Malaysian Driftwood

I'd like to add another piece of driftwood to my aquariums. I see an online retailer has this on sale. Is it a good piece of driftwood that will sink? Or does it float?
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Old 11-30-2003, 01:27 PM   #2
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Don't quote me on this as I am not professing to be an expert, but from my experience all the malaysian driftwood you buy should sink right away, or at least that's what I have experienced. It's a good idea though to let the wood soak for a week or so in a bucket that way you'll get most of the tannins out of the wood before you put it in your tank, I made this mistake the first time I bought a piece.
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Old 11-30-2003, 03:36 PM   #3
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I think that is one of the purported benefits of Malaysian Driftwood (of course, the central benefits are its safety, beauty and relative inertness). I have one piece that is MD and it sank immediately.

I have another piece which is African Driftwood (there's a specific name for this kind of driftwood-black on one side, tan on the other... can't remember) which took ages to sink. In my gallery there's a pic of it under "Tank as it was." It was so buoyant that I ended up securing it to the divider between the halves of the tank. Hehe. It looked quite cool!

***Careful*** about online retailers. Some of them overprice driftwood hugely. A 20-inch-long piece can cost you upwards of $50. At Petco, you can get smaller pieces (8-16 inches or so) for under $10.

Check out Ebay auctions if you haven't. One guy (can't find his auctions on there at the moment) sells a driftwood he/she finds in the Sonoran Desert for good prices. He used to sell Mesquite wood, but he's found an even better shrub for these purposes. These pieces are quite beautiful (not malaysian driftwood, obviously) and sinuous. His pieces *always* sink according to him.

On ebay and other sites, be aware that most auctions/links that don't say "Will sink" won't sink. Just FYI.

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Old 11-30-2003, 09:18 PM   #4
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Malaysian driftwood is most likely iron wood and sinks VERY easily. Boiling it is recommended though as with any wood.
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Old 12-02-2003, 12:37 PM   #5
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I have some of the African "swahala" wood, dark on one side, light on the other, and this stuff is extremely dense and heavy, and sinks immediately, at least for me. I soaked it for about a week until the tannins no longer stained the water (not bad, some wood takes a month or more) but even bone dry it sunk right away. Many folks attach the wood to a piece of slate to keep it down, as some types are reluctant to sink.

I am not sure that I like boiling wood anymore. I have boiled wood and not boiled wood, and the boiled wood has a shorter life, in that it begins to somewhat decompose more quickly than non-boiled. We are still talking years, so maybe not such a big deal, but noticeable. Also, the boiled wood tends to develop a white fungus on it, as the bacteria present in the wood that keep fungus under control are no longer present. This fungus is apparently not harmful, and I don't worry much about it. When I soak new driftwood I use HOT water, as hot as I can get it, and change it out every day, sometimes twice. There is an article in the "articles" section here that discusses the various ways of prepping driftwood.
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Old 12-02-2003, 12:59 PM   #6
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If too many tannins leach into yuor tank just run some fresh carbon and that should help clean things up.
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Old 12-02-2003, 01:22 PM   #7
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That's the word I was looking for: "Swahala." Thanks Tankgirl. Mine didn't sink immediately, though!! I had to wait 2 months... And it still colors the water with tannins..... It is a big piece, though!
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Old 12-02-2003, 08:18 PM   #8
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What about "natural" driftwood that you find along the shorelines?
I have a friend thats going to give me a big piece for the tank. I know I should soak it for about a week/two...anything else?
Besides...it's free
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Old 12-02-2003, 10:18 PM   #9
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I like the natural driftwood the best - especially the kind from saltwater. The tannins have almost always been leached out already from "drifting." Some people think that anything living in the wood will die in contact with fresh water, being saltwater creatures, but I soak that stuff for at least 2 weeks. You can get the most beautiful wood forms this way!
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