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Old 09-20-2013, 04:31 PM   #1
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Need help on wood ID

Hello everyone,

I went out in my fields today and found this piece of wood. Before soaking it and placing it into my tank, does anyone know what type of wood this is and if its safe for aquarium usage?

Thanks in adv.
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:23 PM   #2
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Short of finding an expert it might not be possible to ID it for sure at this point.

It appears to be a stump and the upper roots, but it's clearly well weathered, which is what you want. If I cut green wood, I age it at least one year outside before I even think of using it.. I'd guess this is a good bit older than a year. Chances of it still having any appreciable amount of sap or resins, which are the things that make some woods toxic to some degree, will be gone.

Given the shape, it does not look like any of the evergreens, with the possible exception, maybe, of cedar. But even cedar would be ok if it's well weathered enough.

I'd boil it if at all possible. If not, soak thoroughly, it may take some time to sink anyway, in either well salted water or some bleach and water. It will help leach out some of the tannins that darken water, and ensure no critters or such are alive in it.

Rinse it well and if you use bleach, make sure to allow the surface to dry or use a double dose of dechlorinator in the last rinse water. I've used bleach on many wood pieces and never had a problem so long as I used some extra dechlorinator before putting it a tank.
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Old 09-20-2013, 06:25 PM   #3
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Alright thanks. Whats the ratio of bleach that you use in curing the wood? I've been trying to water log a smaller piece of this exact kind of wood for 2 weeks now and its still buoyant, neither are small enough to place into any pots to boil. Will bleach help speed up the water logging process or is it just a method of disposing unwanted insects and tannins?
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:26 PM   #4
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Bleach mainly sanitizes and speeds removal of tannins. It doesn't speed up the time to waterlog wood, so far as I've ever noticed. I don't really measure the bleach. I fill a five gallon bucket & pour in some bleach, give it a quick stir and submerge the wood using whatever I've got handy if it won't sink below the surface. I pour bleach by eye because I can never find the measuring cup when I want it , and I do the same for the laundry too. It's about a half cup of bleach to the 5 gallon pail.

It will prevent soaking water from getting smelly too. Standing water left for awhile becomes stagnant and can start to smell, especially if it has any organics in it. Wood is an organic, and bleach kills the odour causing bacteria in stagnant water the same way it kills dangerous bacteria in drinking water.

Tannins are what turn water brown or yellow. They'll continue to leach for some time, but bleach will take a lot of them out fairly quickly. It can also lighten the surface colour of dark wood. Well weathered wood isn't going to show much, if any, colour change at all.

I sometimes lighten very dark wood pieces, either so that Nerite snail eggs won't show as much, or to make more contrast between one piece of wood and another. If I don't like the way it turns out, coarse steel wool or sandpaper will rub off the bleached outer layer and reveal the original colour underneath again.
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