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Old 06-27-2017, 01:02 AM   #1
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Scavenged dead root stumps, potential decor?

So this will be my first official thread here other than my introduction post. Thank in advance for any pointers/advice.

Currently I am keeping a 20 gallon planted freshwater community tank, and of course have plenty of future planted tank projects stewing in my mind ... and since the naturalistic route is really my preference I am always on the lookout for good pieces of wood.

Next to the parking lot of the animal hospital I work at there has been some dead stumps sticking out of the rocks for years now, and until today they were nothing but a constant tripping hazard next to where I park. These were a type of sage bush called "Texas Ranger" that were cut down to stumps years ago and allowed to die. Today as I tripped on one and realized how loose it was, it dawned on me to pull this thing out of the ground. It came out by hand easy enough, and what I unearthed was a piece that would be exceptional as tank decor. So I went to the next stump, and pulled that out as well, pulling out another awesome piece.

My question for the more knowledgeable would of course be is this type of sage wood even safe to clean, sterilize, and use in a tank? I wanted to ask this before I get started on the task of soaking and boiling these pieces, and possibly wasting my time and effort.

Again thanks in advance as any input is appreciated!
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Old 06-27-2017, 05:47 AM   #2
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Should be fine as long as it's a "hardwood" soft woods tend to just rot and fall apart. You'll have to strip all the bark off aswell.

Nice pieces, I'd use them
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Old 06-27-2017, 11:10 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by P8ntedPhish View Post
So this will be my first official thread here other than my introduction post. Thank in advance for any pointers/advice.

Currently I am keeping a 20 gallon planted freshwater community tank, and of course have plenty of future planted tank projects stewing in my mind ... and since the naturalistic route is really my preference I am always on the lookout for good pieces of wood.

Next to the parking lot of the animal hospital I work at there has been some dead stumps sticking out of the rocks for years now, and until today they were nothing but a constant tripping hazard next to where I park. These were a type of sage bush called "Texas Ranger" that were cut down to stumps years ago and allowed to die. Today as I tripped on one and realized how loose it was, it dawned on me to pull this thing out of the ground. It came out by hand easy enough, and what I unearthed was a piece that would be exceptional as tank decor. So I went to the next stump, and pulled that out as well, pulling out another awesome piece.

My question for the more knowledgeable would of course be is this type of sage wood even safe to clean, sterilize, and use in a tank? I wanted to ask this before I get started on the task of soaking and boiling these pieces, and possibly wasting my time and effort.

Again thanks in advance as any input is appreciated!
Hello P8...

Using natural wood pieces is fine and will look good at first, but come with some problems. These pieces need to be dry and weighed down with rocks or something similar. Keep the wood pieces out in the sun for a few days to dry them and kill anything that might be living there.

Rocks need to be tested with vinegar. Put a few drops on the piece and if there's a reaction of any sort, don't use it.

Everything that's in the tank will dissolve in time. The wood pieces will too and rotting wood will make the tank water smell. Keep up with the large, frequent water changes and the tank will look good for some time and the fish will be fine.

Have fun!

B
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Old 06-27-2017, 03:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bert2oo1 View Post
Should be fine as long as it's a "hardwood" soft woods tend to just rot and fall apart. You'll have to strip all the bark off aswell.

Nice pieces, I'd use them
Thanks! Yeah I was stoked on how these pieces looked when I pulled them out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello P8...

Using natural wood pieces is fine and will look good at first, but come with some problems. These pieces need to be dry and weighed down with rocks or something similar. Keep the wood pieces out in the sun for a few days to dry them and kill anything that might be living there.

Rocks need to be tested with vinegar. Put a few drops on the piece and if there's a reaction of any sort, don't use it.

Everything that's in the tank will dissolve in time. The wood pieces will too and rotting wood will make the tank water smell. Keep up with the large, frequent water changes and the tank will look good for some time and the fish will be fine.

Have fun!

B
Thanks, that some great input that makes me feel good at starting to prepare these. I plan on an extensive prepping process with these. I will probably start with a day long soak, with some heavy scrubbing and stripping, followed by an extensive boil, followed by a very long soak, then maybe an oven baking followed by more boiling and soaking. I imagine the whole process will take me a couple of weeks.

I do know that sage is technically a bush and not a tree so I was a little worried about the denseness of the wood. But they are pretty thick and heavy, even in their state of being long dead and bone dry from being blasted by the Las Vegas sun for at least 3 years, maybe much more... so I'm thinking they may work well. They are bone dry, even the parts that were still well burried underground. They are literally the result of shotty landscaping work, where they cut the bush off at the stump, and stopped irrigation to allow it to die, instead of removing all signs of the plant.

I'm excited to see how they work, as they may eventually replace the store bought zoo med DW I'm using in my tank currently. If not they will go into the 75gal planted project I plan to do in near future.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:54 AM   #5
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I've started to soak these. Now just brainstorming on the best way to strip away the bark without leaving unatural, and unsightly looking tool marks. Any suggestions?
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Old 06-28-2017, 02:17 AM   #6
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I'm thinking after a good soak, I will allow them to dry out in the sun for a day or two, and then cook them in oven for a while and maybe that will help the bark flake off... hmmm
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Old 06-28-2017, 08:12 AM   #7
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Scavenged dead root stumps, potential decor?

After boiling the bark comes off pretty easy.
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