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Old 07-07-2013, 04:36 PM   #1
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Driftwood Questions

I'm vacationing in the Clear Lake, Ca area and would like to pick up some driftwood for my 20 Gallon while I'm here since I'm a broke high school student but want a nice piece of driftwood in my tank. But I have a few questions.

1. According to Clear Lake's wikipedia page the area has high mercury levels, does this make the Driftwood unusable?

2. How can I tell what wood is usuable and what's not? How can I tell what's hardwood?

3. I understand to soak the wood and boil it but what dangers does finding driftwood present?

Thank you for any help!
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:14 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by McCoveyCove View Post
I'm vacationing in the Clear Lake, Ca area and would like to pick up some driftwood for my 20 Gallon while I'm here since I'm a broke high school student but want a nice piece of driftwood in my tank. But I have a few questions.

1. According to Clear Lake's wikipedia page the area has high mercury levels, does this make the Driftwood unusable?

2. How can I tell what wood is usuable and what's not? How can I tell what's hardwood?

3. I understand to soak the wood and boil it but what dangers does finding driftwood present?

Thank you for any help!
Take what you read on wiki with a grain of salt. Today's waterways have been polluted with all sorts of crud from humans. If it was me,I wouldn't worry about it. But others may tell you different.

Stay away from softwoods such as pine. It will breakdown faster. Not real sure how you can tell if something's hardwood or not. If you can see sap coming out of the wood, leave it alone. I've been told to dig your fingernail in, if it goes in, it's no good.

Dw from the 'wild' can be home to all sort of nasties. Boiling will,hopefully, kill off anything. Boiling will also help release tannins.
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:53 PM   #3
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Take what you read on wiki with a grain of salt. Today's waterways have been polluted with all sorts of crud from humans. If it was me,I wouldn't worry about it. But others may tell you different.

Stay away from softwoods such as pine. It will breakdown faster. Not real sure how you can tell if something's hardwood or not. If you can see sap coming out of the wood, leave it alone. I've been told to dig your fingernail in, if it goes in, it's no good.

Dw from the 'wild' can be home to all sort of nasties. Boiling will,hopefully, kill off anything. Boiling will also help release tannins.
Thank you very much, I'll be going out tonight to get some. I'll post my findings.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:04 PM   #4
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Hello Mc...

I've never heard of a piece of driftwood being toxic. If you find some and there aren't any laws prohibiting this kind of thing, take it home. Rinse it well with a pressure nozzle attached to a garden hose and leave the piece out in the sun to dry for a couple of days. It will be ready for the tank.

Depending on the wood, boiling will damage the fibers and it will likely come apart in the tank. I wouldn't boil it. While you're on vacation, pick up some nice rocks. They'll come in handy to weigh down the piece in the tank.

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Old 07-07-2013, 06:15 PM   #5
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I'm curing out driftwood as we speak. Don't worry about Mecry unless the body of water is toxic sludg. Softwoods will come apart when soaked or boiled and pieces will continue to flake off the ends. If you want to use a small chucnk for pleco food it works well for aquascaping not so much. The other person is correct, sap means you don't want it.

I have boiled drift wood and it will still require a long time soaking to become water logged and sink on its own. I am just soaking mine in a utility sink. Twice daily, I pull the plug and lest the brown water drain, rinse and refill. I have a 5gal bucked full of water sitting on top of the wood to hold it down.

To remove any hitch hikers, I use very hot water and have used a triple dose Formiline twice and a super salt mix twice. I'm sure anything that was alive is really dead now.

For the best results, stick with the root and base portion of the wood.
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