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Old 03-12-2009, 10:51 AM   #1
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Yet another driftwood question

I found/explored a LFS within only a few miles of my house last night and came away with mixed feelings.

First impressions were that the store was filthy. I'm not sure the floor has ever been mopped or even swept. The buzzing of flies could be heard down every isle. Empty, stained, and shattered tanks were stacked up along certain walls and littering the side of the building so as to make me feel like I was in the aquatic projects. I was there for 35 minutes and didnt see a single employee except for a guy at the register who couldn't leave his spot.

Strangely enough, dirty as the tanks were all the fish in there seemed to be in great shape. I didnt notice any diseased fish (although there were one or two dead ones that appeared to have been picked clean over the past several days). There were a number of display only tanks that were very impressive which leads me to my question.

There was a planted community tank with driftwood. The creator somehow managed to get tall leafy stem plants to grow out of pockets of the driftwood that started about a foot off the substrate. I thought it looked great and would like to try something similar. They have a huge selection of driftwood but most of it is too big for me to fit in a boiling pot. As dirty as the store is, I'm afraid to introduce anything from there to the tank without boiling first. Any advice?
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Old 03-12-2009, 11:28 AM   #2
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I have read that soaking it in a lite bleach solution for 12-24 hours and scrubbing with a soft brush, then soaking it in a salty water mixture for a week or more will do the trick. I myself have some driftwood soaking in a salt mixture right now that I have soaked for almost a month now. I let it soak in bleach water for 24 hours then scrubbed it and put it in a water / salt mixture until now. The only reason im letting it soak this long is because it was found in a creek and isnt completely water logged yet. Plus I want all the tannins out before i put it in my tank.

ps. I have also heard people talk bad about soaking driftwood in a bleach solution. But I havent had any problems as long as you let it soak in regular water long enough.

hope this helps some
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:02 PM   #3
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Thanks! That sounds like a plan. Here's a followup. Many of the pieces at this shop were nailed to slate. The nails are tiny, but won't they rust and screw up the water?
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Old 03-12-2009, 01:12 PM   #4
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Yeah any metal in the tank that isnt stainless steel will probably rust and might hurt the fish. Maybe someone with more knowledge then me will chime in and be able to help more though.
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Old 03-12-2009, 02:20 PM   #5
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i have bought a small drift wood from a lfs with a nail attached to the slate just like the ones you described
mine had rust on the nail when i bought it and i thought it would be very bad for the fish
i removed the nail, washed it thoroughly let the wood soak in a separate container of water
now my pleco loves the wood and he is always an inch or two away from the wood if not on it
i am also using the slate to attach java moss and created a cave like structure so fish can go and hide when stressed
in long story short, my wood was filthy when i got it with rust. the store owner had to find the smallest driftwood they had and it was in the bottom corner of the store where dusts have been collected for years i assume
i didnt know any better to boil or bleach it, i just soaked it in chlorinated water and i think the chlorine in the water killed off any bacteria. i changed water everyday or 2-3 times a day because it was leaching out tannins and maybe that helped the chlorine level to stay up high...i did this for about 3 weeks before introducing it to my fish tank
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:46 AM   #6
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I see you are from Pittsburgh.

Is the shop you are talking about Aqua World on Rt. 65 in Emsworth/Ben Avon? It sounds exactly like it by the way you described the place. If so, I share your exact opinion. Dirty and cluttered but all of the fish look great.
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Old 03-18-2009, 04:11 PM   #7
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Ha! Yes it is. Wow good call I don't want to speak ill of them though. They have a really amazing selection and all the sorts of things that are typically available only on the internet. Definately the best driftwood selection I've ever seen. Just wish they had employee's to talk to. You could probably get a forklift and empty half of their tanks before someone noticed you were there.
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Old 03-18-2009, 04:24 PM   #8
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If you want to take the trip to Monroeville, the best fish store in Pittsburgh is out there. It's called Elmer's Aquarium. Its big, clean and the staff are very knowledgeable. It's a bit of a haul out there but you won't find more items or better fish from a local shop.

Unfortunatly, we North Hiller's have to settle for crappy mom and pop shops or big chain pet stores to get our stuff.
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:20 AM   #9
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Thanks Klypr, I seem to recall there used to be an Elmers in the Northhills when I was a small fry myself. Then again, I remember lots of stuff that never happened . I'll definately drive out to monroeville at some point (home of the original Dawn of the Dead movie afterall!). Would you say they have a decent driftwood section? I dont actually have a tank yet but know I should be soaking the wood ahead of time.
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:29 AM   #10
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Elmer's used to have a shop in the Siebert Shopping Center on McKnight road. That was closed probably 10 or so years ago. The Monroeville store was the original.

I couldn't tell you what kind of driftwood selection they have. I do know that they do have some though. Wouldn't hurt to give them a call and ask. Like I said, the staff there is very knowledgeable and friendly.
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:53 AM   #11
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I was at Elmers a few months ago and wasn't impressed with their driftwood selection. They do mount all their wood to a piece of slate so that it sinks. It was, typical of LFS's, overpriced for the amount of wood you got. I got mine on sale at Petsmart for $5, easily would've been $30+ at Elmers.

I do love Elmers though, their fish are good for the most part, their GBRs are worthless though.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:03 PM   #12
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Sorry, GBR's?

Yaaay, Pittsburgher's unite!
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Old 03-19-2009, 02:29 PM   #13
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German Blue Rams = GBR's.

Let's Go Pens!
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