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Old 07-16-2014, 08:58 PM   #1
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Help! Driftwood from the sea.

So I live in Florida ( Gulf Coast actually) and see beautiful driftwood on the beach all the time. Do you guys think I can safely clean salt off the wood to use in a fresh water tank? Or do you think the salt is soaked in too much? Anyone ever done this? Thanks.

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Old 07-16-2014, 11:46 PM   #2
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Texas Gulf Coast, I've done it with no ill effects but I've soaked the wood in freshwater for a long time. I'm sure there will be people who will say different and they could be right, I'm just telling you that it's worked for me.

Not much compares to the quantity and beauty of beach driftwood
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:06 AM   #3
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I've successfully used beach driftwood, and select pieces look stunning. But there's always a risk associated.

If the driftwood is well aged then the salt water is waterlogged through to just about the middle of the wood. Even if its dense hardwood.

This then takes a lot of boiling, bone drying and leaving to soak in fresh water to get the worst of the salt water, tannins and sealife and microbes out. Weeks to months are not uncommon.
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Old 07-17-2014, 06:21 AM   #4
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So how did you know when it was safe?

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Old 07-17-2014, 08:27 AM   #5
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So how did you know when it was safe?

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When I kept it in boiling water and kept changing the water every 30mins until it remained clear and didn't discolour at all after hours of boiling. This process can take many hours, even days on large pieces.

Then I left it in the sun for a week till it was bone dry. Then put it in a tub of water dosed with prime until it sank and stayed down. Changed the tub water daily.

If it gets past all that, I consider it inert enough to consider using.

Some driftwood I'd never use even if you did all this. If it's a softwood, pine, etc its not suitable from the outset. That's the risk. Unless you can identify the driftwood you've collected, you don't know what you're introducing
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:31 AM   #6
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Did you test for salt in the water it soaked in?

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Old 07-17-2014, 08:35 AM   #7
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Did you test for salt in the water it soaked in?

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Yes, plus pH shift. I took a water sample to my local pool store and they can measure salt concentration.
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:47 AM   #8
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Cool. Next weekend I am going to go drift wood hunting.

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Old 07-17-2014, 10:54 AM   #9
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Using Driftwood

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Originally Posted by joejeff View Post
So I live in Florida ( Gulf Coast actually) and see beautiful driftwood on the beach all the time. Do you guys think I can safely clean salt off the wood to use in a fresh water tank? Or do you think the salt is soaked in too much? Anyone ever done this? Thanks.

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Hello joe...

Rinse the piece well and leave it out in the sun for a day or two and it should be tank ready. The bit of salt left in the piece will dilute in the tank water and won't hurt anything.

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Old 07-17-2014, 03:05 PM   #10
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So how did you know when it was safe?
I threw it in an old cow trough, threw in a hose with a sprinkler head and let her rip for 2-3 days (water well), I emptied it and did it again then I tasted the water and there was no salt taste at all. Put in the aquarium and never looked back

I know, I know, all the guppy guhrus will make fun of my methods but I've owned large successful aquariums for 40+ years.

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Old 07-17-2014, 03:11 PM   #11
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Guppy guhrus? Lol. So i think I can see it is safe to do this. Now just BC I lobe seeing tanks anyone got pics of their driftwood from the beach?

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Old 07-17-2014, 07:49 PM   #12
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I collect on the beach here as well. I get pieces that have dried. Remove loose debris, rinse well and in the tank it goes. Never had a problem, except it takes along time to sink.. almost a year for a couple pieces I had. The were really dried out and hard as rock.
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:02 AM   #13
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Seems a few people don't boil the wood first. Its pretty much just luck that nothing nasty was introduced into your freshwater tanks just by a a bit of a brush, a small soak in cold water and a quick rinse.

While it has worked for some of the authors on this thread, is it really the best way to treat sea drift wood as global long term advice for someone starting out and thinking about doing it?

Probably not.

I've boiled wood, rocks and stones from the sea. The tiny little creatures that come scurrying out are suprising. If you don't boil and sterilise, these die inside the wood but not right away. They die while the wood is inside your tank, then rot, and can create disease. The microbes you cannot see don't even get washed away from a quick brush and a small soak and rinse if they are inside the grain of the wood.

Best advice: Sterilise sea driftwood, everytime.
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Old 07-18-2014, 01:01 AM   #14
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I would not use it for sensitive fish like neons ,discus
would be great for mollies the love salt , some use them in sea water tanks , guppies are ok
try it with some cheaper fish
African cichlids would be fine
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Old 07-18-2014, 02:41 AM   #15
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I threw it in an old cow trough, threw in a hose with a sprinkler head and let her rip for 2-3 days (water well), I emptied it and did it again then I tasted the water and there was no salt taste at all. Put in the aquarium and never looked back

I know, I know, all the guppy guhrus will make fun of my methods but I've owned large successful aquariums for 40+ years.

Hank Williams Jr. - A Country Boy Will Survive
I'm glad to know I am not the only one here that uses cow troughs for fish uses, and has a well too

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Old 07-18-2014, 06:07 AM   #16
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What if its too big to boil. Would the dish washer w no soap be effective?

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Old 07-18-2014, 08:33 AM   #17
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I don't see why a dishwasher without soap wouldn't work. Might be some residual soap but multiple rinsings and dryings should take care of that.

Big stuff is hard to boil but everything that goes in my tank gets a bleach bath followed by a rinse, sun dry, rinse sun dry.

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I've boiled wood, rocks and stones from the sea. The tiny little creatures that come scurrying out are suprising. If you don't boil and sterilise, these die inside the wood but not right away. They die while the wood is inside your tank, then rot, and can create disease. The microbes you cannot see don't even get washed away from a quick brush and a small soak and rinse if they are inside the grain of the wood.
In the wild that's called food

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I'm glad to know I am not the only one here that uses cow troughs for fish uses, and has a well too


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Old 07-18-2014, 09:36 AM   #18
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And as for boiling rocks. Isn't that VERY dangerous? Rocks can explode when boiled I heard.

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Old 07-25-2014, 11:26 AM   #19
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I refuse to use bleach. It turns the wood an unnatural color and begins to break down the wood. Hydrogen peroxide is a better choice. It doesn't discolor the wood as much and the wood retains its in strength.

As for thoroughness, I think that depends on your fish. One can afford to lose guppies, but CARES fish are a different story.

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Old 07-25-2014, 11:33 AM   #20
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There is an extremely low risk of rocks exploding while they are being boiled. Ten minutes in boiling water should be enough. There is a high risk if you heat wet rocks in the oven or in a fire, or if there is a sudden change in temperature.

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