Driftwood Notes

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TedsTank

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I hope everyone finds this helpful. The information here is from my own experiences, and that of others here on the Forum.

Driftwood of course is totally organic. After being in your tank you may very well get a haze of bacterial growth around it or even what looks like white mold...IT IS OK, DON'T PANIC...leave it alone, it will have to cycle too.

The wood has to be "old" dead wood. If it's alive,like being freshly cut off a tree,then when it starts to die,it will decay rapidly in the aquarium,rotting and causing many many problems. The natural "seasoning" process by nature eliminates the rapid decay process drying it out,removing living matter, kind of like making beef jerky,preserving it.


CURING DRIFTWOOD
(curing is not absolutely necessary, but is a safe way to go)
There are many ways to cure your driftwood as has been listed in threads..all are good valid ways to do so: (1.) Boil it if possible. (2.) Bake it, not over 250 F (3.) Rinse it with copious amounts of boiling water... on very large pieces. (4.) Wet it well then rinse it with a 10% bleach solution and let it sit a bit...(all these steps are not necessary' pick the one or ones that suite you))
AFTER ANY OF THE SUGGESTIONS 1. thru 4. Always,always follow up with a thorough RINSING and/or SOAKING

If your Driftwood gets a really bad or foul odor...boil and rinse again..it may have had occupants other than wood (doesn't happen often)

Store bought Driftwood ...follow the instructions given with the wood! There are a few types of wood imported that have never seen water. It is ok, for our purposes it all boils down to (no pun intended) placing beautiful pieces of wood in our tanks. Much of the imported woods sink rather easily, they are very dense and heavey.

Driftwood of course is totally organic. After being in your tank you may very well get a haze of bacterial growth around it or even what looks like white mold...IT IS OK, DON'T PANIC...leave it alone, it will have to cycle too.

TANNIC ACID (TANNINS)
After Rinsing, Soaking and placing in your tank, most wood will leach out Tannins . Tannins are ACIDIC and can change your water parameters to some degree based on how much Driftwood you are using, and discolor your water to a tea color. Charcoal in your filter can help clear the color out...I usually just leave it be...normal water changes will also help clear it.

Here in the States of course Red Oak, Walnut, Cherry and other dark woods would cause the most discoloration.

I personally recommend that you stay away from softwoods ie: Pines and Cedars. They have pungent oils and if it hasn't cured for years, not sure how the leaching out would effect your plants and fish...Old dried, bleached driftwood is hard to identify...if in doubt you can scrape below the bleached areas and smell it.. the beautiful red cedars keep the odor(oils) a long time.

CEDAR or PINE Driftwood ...both are very aromatic....find a place on your driftwood...preferrably on the bottom and cut it or gouge it and smell. Pine is usually very light in weight and light color if aged...Cedar is reddish if you scratch below the aged part...but smell it too...red oak is of course red from the tannins.

Maybe as a general rule and you are not sure...if it is pleasingly aromatic..dont use it. If not pleaseingly aromatic (stinks) don't use it!!

Tannins will not hurt your tank or fish....will NOT crash your Ph, it leaches out slowly....and regular water changes will clear your tank as the tannins leach out.

On a personal note I really like the slightly tinted water. I think the fish colors show better and it seems more natural.

I HAVE BOILED IT, COOKED IT, SCRUBBED IT, SOAKED IT, BEAT IT, SAWED IT, CURSED IT, BUT IT WON'T SINK!!!

Ah yes, how do I get the darned thing to the bottom of the tank?
Boiling Driftwood does not always (in my case often) waterlog it. I usually end up with a weightless piece that is not very secure to where I want it.
There have been many great ideas posted here on the Forum..next are a few methods that will work.

1.) Weight it down by attaching a piece of slate to the bottom, wired or screwed on...aquarium glue will not hold to wet wood.

2.) I use rocks on top of the pieces for additional hiding places.

3.) If there are holes in the wood, wedge some rocks into them away from the viewing side.

4.) If you have a small piece of driftwood, the weights that are wrapped around plants can be tied onto it.

5.) There are some nice ornaments that look nice on driftwood...even an artificial piece. After aging in the tank and some moss or algae it will all blend into one piece.

Now you have it in your Tank... Congratulations but remember:

driftwood of course is totally organic. After being in your tank you may very well get a haze of bacterial growth around it or even what looks like white mold...IT IS OK, DON'T PANIC...leave it alone, it will have to cycle too.

Eventually your piece of wild driftwood will become waterlogged...but if you are like me, who can or wants to wait that long...ENJOY!
 
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MeGustaUnaPez926

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When you say cycle, do you mean that it will eventually go away? Because I just scraped it off mine until it stopped coming back.
 
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Aquarist

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Yes, it will go away on it's own eventually. I used to scrape mine off and it just kept coming back. I left it alone and it disappeared.
 
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TedsTank

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Yes, it will go away and clear off. Similar to when when setting up a tank and getting cloudy water. It is like a plankton Bloom and the bacteria things are feeding on the very soft wood particles...once complete or cycled it will clear off.
 
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MeGustaUnaPez926

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Cool, good to know.
 
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meg1220

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I got that "haze of bacterial growth" on the second piece of driftwood I added. I tried to leave it alone, but after a couple of weeks, it was about an inch thick and looked really foul. I scrubbed it off a couple of times, and now there's only a tiny bit in some places. It smells bad, too. My other piece has had a bit of fuzzy-looking mold on it since I first put it in (2 months ago?) but that doesn't bother me for some reason.
 
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TedsTank

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If it smalled bad or foul there could have been another dead thing in it...good to hear you got it cleaned and thanks I will add that circumstance to my driftwood notes.
 
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IIIHawKIII

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Suggestions for getting dried green algae off? I've heard that hydrogen peroxide will. And bleach. Any other suggestions or solutions?
 
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TedsTank

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Moisten it and try a diluted bleach solution....then brush or scrub the heck out of it....and rinse, rinse, rinse. At least the bleach solution will kill the spores etc.
 
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Mike

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Thanks for these helpful tips on driftwood. Helpful to have it in one place. Stickying this now.


Mike
 
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TedsTank

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aw shucks....glad I could give something back!!
 
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soldieroffortune1974

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These are great suggestions for curing driftwood (well,sanitising it anyway) I have used most methods and they work well.

Of course,I have to add my input.Concerning the fuzzy,moldy growth.If you want to eliminate that before putting it in the aquarium,do this.................

Bake the piece of wood at 250 for 3 or 4 hours. Take it out and moisten it,and place in a cool dark area. You will get the same growth in a day or 2,depending on how cool/warm the area is. Scrub the growth off and rebake. Take it out,moisten and place in dark area again. Repeat until the growth stops forming,now you can clean it again,and place in the aquarium without worrying about the growth. It generally takes 2 or 3 cycles to clear all the spores in the wood,maybe 4 or 5 depending on how large or thick the piece is.

As stated in the notes,it's not anything to worry about and some fish will eat it,ottos love it and so do some plecos.
 
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prairielilly

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This is great to have all in one place

I have three pieces of mopanI wood all around 6 months old. They all had stringy white stuff growing on them for a short time, it went away after a month or so on each. Recently they were really darkly stained with tannins, covered with diatom algae etc - they were dark coffee brown, and the water was always tea coloured. I had to tear down my main tank this week due to a disease outbreak, and to sanitize the driftwood I used the 10% bleach method. Most of the tannins seem to have 'bleached' away - the wood's nearly gray and looks awesome! I should have done this months ago!
 
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namehater

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very helpful thread! the only question I have that I don't think was covered is, does the wood have to be 'old' to use it in the aquarium? is there anything stopping me from going out and cutting a limb off of a living tree and sending it through the rigorous cleaning methods, would that be safe to use?
 
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soldieroffortune1974

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namehater said:
very helpful thread! the only question I have that I don't think was covered is, does the wood have to be 'old' to use it in the aquarium? is there anything stopping me from going out and cutting a limb off of a living tree and sending it through the rigorous cleaning methods, would that be safe to use?
The wood has to be "old" dead wood. If it's alive,like being freshly cut off a tree,then when it starts to die,it will decay rapidly in the aquarium,rotting and causing many many problems. The natural "seasoning" process by nature eliminates the rapid decay process drying it out,removing living matter, kind of like making beef jerky,preserving it.
 
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magosaurus

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I have acquired several pieces of drift wood. Probably pine or cedar but not sure. The scratch and sniff test reveals no smell so I assume it's "aged". A couple of pieces are about 5' long; I'm wondering if this is too much for a 120 gal tank with 9 cichlids, 2 clown loaches and 3 plecos.
 
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jasmcclurg

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10% bleach is STRONG. I'm using about a 1% bleach to rinse the driftwood and my eyes are watering! Aside from rinsing it like there's no tomorrow and soaking it in water for a week (or how long?) is there anything else I should know before putting it in my tank?
 
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aakaakaak

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Just a note about pine. I would suggest not using it. The "leach" off of pine is called tar. That tar is turned into turpentine. Both are bad in your aquarium.
 
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Deltrunner

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Concerning the white stuff growing on the driftwood, I just left my alone and let my snails eat it off. Snails did their magic, after a week, it was all gone ;-)
 
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Martin 75g

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yea so I can't get mine to sink... its a pretty big log been soaking for weeks..... tried tying peices of lava rock to it..... its a no go..... the fishing line just breaks.... any ideas ? I'm not really into putting glue or sealent in my water..... any other sugestions ?
 
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Lucy

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Aquarium safe sealant is fine once it cures. I wouldn't want to use it to attach the wood directly to the aquarium though. You never know when you want to decorate.

You can drill a hole in a peice of slate and use a stainless steel screw and screw it into the drift wood.
I'm not use if slate effects pH or not.

Fishing line breaks? Must be a heck of a peice of wood!
 
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justatank

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When I was working near a metal studio, I noticed they would occasionally sand blast driftwood from a aquarium shop, (get the grey off, and and clean it.

Also they drilled holes in the back, and hammered granite or marble scraps in to sink it
 
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psalm18.2

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I would like to add that many times I have read to boil the wood in salted water. This can be used instead of bleach. Another thing is make sure to REMOVE THE BARK if using hard wood from the forest. Do not put bark in the tank, it will rot.
Otherwise, good article.
I have driftwood tied w/ fishing line to a heavy rock to keep it down. Works great.
 
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roy

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I was given a piece from my mate who got feed up waiting on it to sink, I have had it in my tank for about a month with 2 large rocks on it to keep it down, I was cleaning the rocks today and the wood still wants to float, but it makes a great hiding place for the fish.
 
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Coryboy21

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Wow this is a long lived thread.
 
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