Can I use ordinary wood as driftwood?

lyndatu

Member
Hello

I was wondering if I can use ordinary wood(the ones on land) as driftwood for my aquarium - leaching it first before putting it in the tank. Is it ok, or is it harmful?

Thanks in advance!
 

capekate

Member
Good question... Lyndato
I would like to know the answer to this one as well. I have also been wondering about using old dried wood from land.
Hope we find the answer.. it sure would be a lot cheaper than buying driftwood from the store.
 

mlinden84

Member
I have a lake near my house and have found all of my driftwood there. I've just made to to clean it really really well (and for a longer amount of time than I would for something from the lfs).
 

purple_phoenix

Member
I did think of using normal wood before, and left a piece, after washing it, in a tank of water (no fish!). Over the time it was in there, it coloured the water and started to rot. I'm sure it would be fine if it was covered in aquarium silicon or something...
By the time you've done that though, it probably wouldn't cost much less than bogwood.
 

Narcicius

Member
yeah, you probably could but I wouldn't prefer it.
 

Biscato33

Member
I've heard stories about driftwood that you find, or even wood, discolouring the water, and then the wood rots! I don't know if you could use wood, I have never tried it before! Hope you get the answer! (And hope I helped a teeny bit)

Ali!
 

Muffymouse

Member
yeah, i'm not sure that i'd trust the wood I found with my fish. Who knows what it has picked up and no matter how well I cleaned it, i'd be a bit wary.
 

Faye Rod

Member
The aquarium books I have - and some of the threads here - talk about boiling the driftwood. I did not do that with the driftwood I ordered for my tank and it is still releasing tannins (sp?) so the water is brownish - it gets clearer when I do the weekly partial water change. I soaked it for three days before putting it in the tank.
 

nickf5

Member
I soaked my wood for three days, changing the water when it got brown, and it hasnt discoloured my tank water at all.
 

Butterfly

Member
I have used wood I have found many times but you have to remember to boil, boil, boil. The boiling kills any nasties that might be hiding in the crevices. It can also be baked in the oven at 200 degrees for about 2 hrs.
Trees like pine, cedar, cypress etc cannot be used because the oils won't boil or bake out and they are harmful to your fish.
Carol
 

Muffymouse

Member
so I could use a hardwood if boiled and baked it?? cool
 

joy613

Member
If you boil the wood it will sink faster. If you feel you can't wait for the wood to sink on its own and you can't seem to hold it down zip tie a flat rock on it to hold it down.
 

angelfish220

Member
I have wood I found outside on land in my tank, but it took a while to get in the tank.

first I took off all the bark. I don't know if that was nessisary, but driftwood dosent have bark so I took mine off.

Then I boiled it. I put in in room temp water, brought that up to a boil, let it boil all day, then turned off the burner and let it sit till it was room temp again.

Now I scrubbed it with a toothbrush. I made sure I got everything off of it.

Next I soaked it, for months. I think it was about 2 months soaked before I got all the tannis out, then I let it sit for another month, to make sure it didnt rot.

Then it went in the tank, and I think it lookes pretty good. I don't have a fish that needs to eat wood, like a bn pleco, so I don't know if it will work in that aspect.
 

Butterfly

Member
If it won't sink you can also attach a rock using stainless steel screws.
My husband uses the drill to put holes through flat rocks then drills a SS screw through the hole in the rock into the wood. Works great, Ss screws are best as they don't rust.
Carol
 

frogster221

Member
odd (question because I have never used drift wood before) how would I boil driftwood and what do I do if the driftwood is very large or odd shaped
 

Jimold

Member
hehehe, I've run into this, it's a pain. What I did was look around flea markets and thrift stores for old huge canning boilers or lobster cookers. Once I found one huge enough I put it up to use just for driftwood. In some cases I've still had to boil one half then flip it and boil the other because the whole thing wouldn't fit.
 

zeebo

Member
I found wood on an empty block of land.

The wood is really long so I boil water in my kettle and pour over the drift wood.
I repeated this many times in a day over several days.

Then, I soaked it in the aquarium without fish for 2 weeks.
All the color came off.
No problems with it thus far.

I read somewhere that pleco enjoy chewing on the bark.
Don't know if its true. I haven't got a pleco yet.
 

Jimold

Member
zeebo said:
I found wood on an empty block of land.

The wood is really long so I boil water in my kettle and pour over the drift wood.
I repeated this many times in a day over several days.

Then, I soaked it in the aquarium without fish for 2 weeks.
All the color came off.
No problems with it thus far.

I read somewhere that pleco enjoy chewing on the bark.
Don't know if its true. I haven't got a pleco yet.
well, it might work. If the wood was really dried out first, and now has been in the tank for 2 weeks and you didn't get any nasty basteria blooms then you might be OK I think. Still, to be on the safe side, you might want to introduce only 1 or 2 fish at first to the tank. Maybe buy a couple feeder guppies or something expendabele first until you're sure it's safe for your good fish.
 

capekate

Member
Hey Jim,
I have a question.. if I find small pieces of driftwood from my beach, is it ok to use in a Freshwater tank, after I boil it and clean it up?
 

Jimold

Member
capekate said:
Hey Jim,
I have a question.. if I find small pieces of driftwood from my beach, is it ok to use in a Freshwater tank, after I boil it and clean it up?
wow, now that's an interesting question. On the one hand if it washed up it's most likely nice and dead and dry. But I don't know about the salt it may have absorbed. If you boil it some may come out, but still... hmmmmmmmm. That a really good question.

I think what I'd do, if there was a really cool piece I just had to have is to boil it, etc... Then soak it in a bucket a week or so, and then find a hydrometer (or whatever they're called) to measure the salt content in the water. If it's not to terribly high (most fish can handle a little salt) then I guess it'll be OK.
 

capekate

Member
Jim said:
wow, now that's an interesting question. On the one hand if it washed up it's most likely nice and dead and dry. But I don't know about the salt it may have absorbed. If you boil it some may come out, but still... hmmmmmmmm. That a really good question.

I think what I'd do, if there was a really cool piece I just had to have is to boil it, etc... Then soak it in a bucket a week or so, and then find a hydrometer (or whatever they're called) to measure the salt content in the water. If it's not to terribly high (most fish can handle a little salt) then I guess it'll be OK.
Thanks Jim,
Yeh, that's what I thought... it would be fine if I had a Saltwater tank. I have no idea what a hydrometer is, but I'm sure I can find out, hopefully some type of salt test can't be too expensive? I do come across some nice pieces of driftwood, as you can imagine living by the beach yourself. I have been afraid to try it in the Freshwater tank.. but would love to be able to use them.
thanks for your help... ;D
 

Jimold

Member
A hydrometer simply put, is a salt-tester, so to speak, for your water.
 

mcdonald.kk

Member
Just my two cents as a word of caution...I was at my local pet store and noticed some very nice, twiggy pieces of grapevine for use in terrariums. I read the tag and it hadn't been treated with chemicals. I bought it and soaked it and put it in my tank. When I came home from work it was covered in a bacterial bloom. Since then I've always bought wood that is labeled as safe for aquariums. I also soak it for about a month before trusting it in my aquarium. Some people have no problem with grapevine though so maybe I got a bad piece with spores on it. Just thought I'd warn everyone.
 

Butterfly

Member
One of the reasons to boil the wood is to heat it through and through and to kill any eggs that may have been laid in/on the wood. I would remove the bark as it can hide all kinds of things. Heating it in the oven will do the same thing.
Carol
 

nickf5

Member
is there any way of telling whether wood will rot or not?
 

Jimold

Member
mcdonald.kk said:
Just my two cents as a word of caution...I was at my local pet store and noticed some very nice, twiggy pieces of grapevine for use in terrariums. I read the tag and it hadn't been treated with chemicals. I bought it and soaked it and put it in my tank. When I came home from work it was covered in a bacterial bloom. Since then I've always bought wood that is labeled as safe for aquariums. I also soak it for about a month before trusting it in my aquarium. Some people have no problem with grapevine though so maybe I got a bad piece with spores on it. Just thought I'd warn everyone.
AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I HATE Grapevine. This is the same kind of wood that cost me Sparkle and Elvira, my best Angelfish pair. The same exact thing happened. I found a beautiful piece to use, did everything I was supposed to, and a week later it bloomed hard and wiped out the tank. I would use an old scraggly dirty piece of wood I picked up off the streets before I use grapevine ever again!!!
 

Jimold

Member
nickf5 said:
is there any way of telling whether wood will rot or not?
Unfortunalely I don't think so. Unless someone else has a better method, I use my eyes nose and hands. If it looks solid, doesn't crumble in my fingers, and doesn't smell rotten, etc... Use your common sense, if it looks bad, it probably is.
 

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