Anyone ever seal wood in their aquarium?

CloudClimber23

I "rescued" an Oscar a few months ago, finally got him a 125G tank. In the past, I've struggled to keep submerged wood "clean" looking without a pleco. Can real wood be sealed safely with something like plastidip?

If the wood is fully dry then sealed, it will float forever in theory. So I would think it would need to be sealed when just the outer layer is dry to the touch but I'm not sure if that would be effective or safe.
 

jpm995

In for answers, this is an interesting subject. Have you read the ingredients in plastidip? Any toxins in there? I would think any varnish, stain or sealer would be poisonous to fish. Would a pleco still try to eat the wood?
 

BigManAquatics

Not really understanding why a person would want to seal driftwood myself, but that's just me. Is the oscar even cool with having driftwood in it's tank? I know they can be funny like that.
 

MacZ

Makes no sense to me. Even if sealed with whatever you might use, aufwuchs will still grow on it.
 

KingOscar

Specifically what type of wood are you considering doing this to? I too don't understand why, and doubt I would ever do it.

I do believe some products like plastic coat would not be toxic once fully cured though.
 

CloudClimber23

I'm just brainstorming different ideas, Google doesn't like my overly specific questions. The reason I stated is because of the "unclean" look, the white fungus that ends up growing on it when I don't have a pleco or other "clean up" fish.

The oscar has had wood before and is pretty chill regarding decorations, he just hates feeling exposed.

The wood I currently have is mopani and grapevine but that's not necessarily the permanent route. I have other tanks and a bearded dragon, so plans can change.
In for answers, this is an interesting subject. Have you read the ingredients in plastidip? Any toxins in there? I would think any varnish, stain or sealer would be poisonous to fish. Would a pleco still try to eat the wood?
From what I've read plastidip is safe once cured and allegedly pleco proof. I wouldn't use sealed wood with a pleco though. Seems redundant and not sure I trust the seal to hold for years on end with an animal going at it.

I just think sealing wood has a lot of pitfalls, but curious if anyone has tried. In theory, sealed wood becomes an inert decoration. Less variables to deal with.
 

MacZ

the white fungus that ends up growing on it
That's not fungus, it's biofilm and it is the proto-stage to aufwuchs. You will get that with any type of wood.
 

CloudClimber23

That's not fungus, it's biofilm and it is the proto-stage to aufwuchs. You will get that with any type of wood.
It was pure white versus jelly-like but regardless the thought process is sealed wood should only accumulate biofilm at the same rate as any other inert decoration.
 

MacZ

Biofilm can have very different appearance. I got the notion that sealed this shouldn't appear. I ignored that deliberately, just stating that some type of biofilm will appear on any type of wood if not sealed.
I still don't get why one would want to seal it. I would rather take a fake decoration from the get-go than ruining a good piece of wood.
 

kansas

You could bolt it to a piece of slate.
 

KingOscar

If you do go with a coating of some sort I'd be interested in reading how it worked out.
 

ruud

Perhaps you refer to mold that feeds off decomposing cellulose in pieces of newly added wood. This will go away by itself, albeit it can take a while. Perhaps you attributed the disappearance of mold solely to the Pleco.
 

BradleyH2O

Wood is biodegradable...let it degrade naturally or buy an artificial decoration. Sealing wood for the aquarium will only create problems in the future
 

CloudClimber23

Biofilm can have very different appearance. I got the notion that sealed this shouldn't appear. I ignored that deliberately, just stating that some type of biofilm will appear on any type of wood if not sealed.
I still don't get why one would want to seal it. I would rather take a fake decoration from the get-go than ruining a good piece of wood.
I
Biofilm can have very different appearance. I got the notion that sealed this shouldn't appear. I ignored that deliberately, just stating that some type of biofilm will appear on any type of wood if not sealed.
I still don't get why one would want to seal it. I would rather take a fake decoration from the get-go than ruining a good piece of wood.
I just have large pieces already and don't want to spend money on fake decorations. I definitely don't like ruining natural things either.
Perhaps you refer to mold that feeds off decomposing cellulose in pieces of newly added wood. This will go away by itself, albeit it can take a while. Perhaps you attributed the disappearance of mold solely to the Pleco.
I definitely may have. From what I read it was natural process but just gave it to the pleco since I wasn't sure how to best make it go away.
 

MacZ

I just have large pieces already and don't want to spend money on fake decorations. I definitely don't like ruining natural things either.
Sounds to me like the conclusion is clear.
 

CloudClimber23

Wood is biodegradable...let it degrade naturally or buy an artificial decoration. Sealing wood for the aquarium will only create problems in the future
The whole point of my post is to spitball those problems. Obviously those 2 options are the easiest ones. However, if there's a way to potentially preserve and seal wood that could create more flexibility in pieces used, too.

**also, just to be clear, since there isn't a well known method I'm obviously not going to make my oscar the guinea pig but I definitely think it's worth knowing if a method exists.
 

Rylan

I don’t know of any safe way to seal the wood, but if I were going to go through the trouble I think I would just look for the faux driftwood plastic decor they make these days. Some pieces can be quite convincing.

As for the clean look- I get where you’re coming from. The wood almost goes through its just own sort of cycle. The white stuff it gets will go away on its own eventually. As I recall it took my last tank 2-3 months or so for the bloom on the driftwood to die down and some hand removal of some diatoms and then the driftwood was more easily made tidy again.
 

CloudClimber23

I don’t know of any safe way to seal the wood, but if we’re going to go through the trouble I think I would just look for the faux driftwood plastic decor they make these days. Some pieces can be quite convincing.

As for the clean look- I get where you’re coming from. The wood almost goes through its just own sort of cycle. The white stuff it gets will go away on its own eventually. As I recall it took my last tank 2-3 months or so for the bloom on the driftwood to die down and some hand removal of some diatoms and then the driftwood was more easily made tidy again.
That's good to know because for now I am just going to deal with it, so I can move him over sooner. I've been dabbling with DIY backgrounds and things, so I know there are alternatives. Just hard to decorate on a budget for a large, chicken fish.
 

LightBrownPillow

Just spitballing, maybe encasing it in epoxy/acrylic would accomplish the preservation without being toxic (depending on what mix you use). Hardest part would be getting a smooth case that matches the wood shape, rather than a box or bucket shaped encasement.

Definitely easiest to just deal with the natural stuff like you said.
 

FishDin

Two part marine epoxy should work. I've used it in tanks with no problem, however I didn't use it to seal natural wood (but that's what it is designed for). I used it to seal and protect faux roots that I made as part of a bacground.
It's not cheap.

If the wood needs to be dry
If the wood is fully dry then sealed, it will float forever in theory. So I would think it would need to be sealed when just the outer layer is dry to the touch but I'm not sure if that would be effective or safe.

before sealing, you will have to find a way to keep it submerged once it's sealed, as it will never sink on it's own again. I believe it would have to be dry all the way through, not just the surface, but I'm not sure. I checked my bottles of epoxy and it doesn't say one way or the other.

IMO clean looking wood is not desirable.
 

LightBrownPillow

Two part marine epoxy should work. I've used it in tanks with no problem, however I didn't use it to seal natural wood (but that's what it is designed for). I used it to seal and protect faux roots that I made as part of a bacground.
It's not cheap.

If the wood needs to be dry


before sealing, you will have to find a way to keep it submerged once it's sealed, as it will never sink on it's own again. I believe it would have to be dry all the way through, not just the surface, but I'm not sure. I checked my bottles of epoxy and it doesn't say one way or the other.

IMO clean looking wood is not desirable.
Can I ask what marine epoxy brand you use?
 

FishDin

I use System Three
 

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