Driftwood and Rotting

  1. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    Hi all :) I often read about certain woods being prone to rotting in fish tanks after a while. More specifically, I think it is the wood that is not thoroughly dead and dried inside. But I am not sure if this also applies to dried, soaked, boiled, and generally well disinfected driftwoods. Does driftwood start to rot after a while too? Is it necessary to replace driftwood every once in a while? If it does rot, when should one expect it to?

    Also one question. I noticed that when I had no driftwood in my tank, with regular vacuuming, there was virtually no sediment on the bottom of the tank, under the gravel. Now, even though I do regularly change the water and clean the bottom, there always is dark brown sediment, which I am 99% sure comes from the driftwood. Is it normal for driftwood to cause brown sediment under the gravel? How can I completely get rid of the sediment without taking out the driftwood, the plants, and all other natural decor? (Because I think this would be the only way to thoroughly clean the bottom, and I really wouldn't want to un-root my plants, which I'd have to do in order to completely clean the entire bottom).

    The brown sediment is heaviest directly under the plants and other decor which I cannot move around (like the driftwood itself). How can I remove the sediment from under the plants and driftwood? Is the sediment dangerous when left un-removed? So far my water parameters have been fine, but I really don't like this "dirt" under my gravel. What can I do about all this?
     
  2. Jason Well Known Member Member

    Dont worry about the sediment around the plants they should use up the nutrients in it and I wouldn't bother about it there. As to under the driftwood. Got no idea but I usually clean under my cave rocks and fake driftwood hollow log thingy about once every 3 gravel vacs.
     

  3. Gunnie Well Known Member Member

    The sediment has a tendency to collect in places that are not accessible to your vacuum.  It's amazing how all that stuff can collect like that.  I think it will be okay if you can't vacuum under your driftwood, but just to be safe, take a knitting needle or something similar, and poke around and under the driftwood to keep from getting any bad air pockets that could become deadly.  Your other plants should eventually grow roots that will feed on the sediment if they are pretty close.  Some folks never vacuum their gravel because their tanks are so heavily planted.  I had a tank disaster which I think was caused by poisonous air pockets in my gravel, so I do have a tendency to vacuum and poke around under things so that won't happen again.  
     

  4. Jason Well Known Member Member

    I think you worry too much Isabella! :D
     

  5. Butterfly Moderator Moderator Member

    Even if your driftwood does get a little soft your Pleco will keep it rasped down. I don't think you have a problem. Water current will also wash stuff into cracks, crevices and unvcuumed areas. Gunnies suggestion about the knitting needle is a good one. I use a long straw once in a while.
     
  6. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    Thank you all for the replies :)

    J-Man, yes I realize that the sediment is good for the plants as it provides something to feed on (and also eliminates the need for adding iron fertilizers). My plants' roots are actually all entwined with the dirt and among the gravel. I suppose the plants are putting the sediment to good use. But as Gunnie said, it's still dangerous to just leave these spots un-stirred for long periods of time because they can produce dangerous pockets of poisonous gases. I will do as Gunnie and Carol said - will poke the dirt under the plants and under the driftwood with some kind of thin stick.

    One more question: won't the un-removed sediment eventually produce ammonia or nitrite? And: the driftwood won't ever rot, right? If it does rot, how? From the inside, or from the outside? How to recognize if a driftwood is starting to rot?