Has anyone used old tree branches with bark to make a biotope?

Chiasmodon

Ok so, I got particular pieces of wood that have been cut off and washed off into the creek.. I am currently using them in my tank to create a biotope black water for my tree spot, white skirt, and my Inverts. the woods still have their bark tho, and several people online said that it is not safe because it decomposes very quickly, thus may release some harmful compounds like ammonia and pollute the tank. I have seen some examples of biotope aquariums with woods that still have their bark now im confused. Did I do something wrong? I still have time to remove them and remove their barks.
 

BigManAquatics

I don't know much about blackwater tanks, but maybe the bark might help. I always remove the bark myself if it is still on there when i find it.
 
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Chiasmodon

I don't know much about blackwater tanks, but maybe the bark might help. I always remove the bark myself if it is still on there when i find it.
some articles state that bark indeed has concentrated tannins. I only needed tannin to make my tank water slightly acidic or balanced (7.0) because my tank water alkalinity (9.0) is too high I think. I really don't know why bark is "toxic" or "bad" for the inhabitants since mostly my pets are from the same creek (this includes the gouramies and different species of shrimps) the gouramies I caught during summer where the water is stagnant thus tannins are not washed off by the water current but the gouramies survive. the wood I have is called Mahogany, it's a hardwood that is very resistant to rot but its barks can be easily removed once they are softened by water. the woods I collected are also from the same creek and they are just being washed off by the strong current (because summer is over) and I think that their tannins are also washed off by the strong current too.

I don't know about my snails, and tetras since I bought them from my cousin and from the pet stores .. they might not like slightly acidic water.
 
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BigManAquatics

some articles state that bark indeed has concentrated tannins. I only needed tannin to make my tank water slightly acidic or balanced (7.0) because my tank water alkalinity (9.0) is too high I think. I really don't know why bark is "toxic" or "bad" for the inhabitants since mostly my pets are from the same creek (this includes the gouramies and different species of shrimps) the gouramies I caught during summer where the water is stagnant thus tannins are not washed off by the water current but the gouramies survive. the wood I have is called Mahogany, it's a hardwood that is very resistant to rot but its barks can be easily removed once they are softened by water. the woods I collected are also from the same creek and they are just being washed off by the strong current (because summer is over) and I think that their tannins are also washed off by the strong current too.

I don't know about my snails, and tetras since I bought them from my cousin and from the pet stores .. they might not like slightly acidic water.
I do know it doesn't look great for most aquariums to have rotting, decomposing bark everywhere! I could see it being an issue ammonia wise, especially for bigger pieces of wood. Beyond that, i haven't stumbled into much beyond that in my readings...but i also haven't gone down this particular rabbit hole just yet. Surely someone here has tried it though and has a more experience informed opinion.
 
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Chiasmodon

I do know it doesn't look great for most aquariums to have rotting, decomposing bark everywhere! I could see it being an issue ammonia wise, especially for bigger pieces of wood. Beyond that, i haven't stumbled into much beyond that in my readings...but i also haven't gone down this particular rabbit hole just yet. Surely someone here has tried it though and has a more experience informed opinion.
Ammonia would be the major problem here if the barks rot. I am also new to Biotopes.. and I think is more complex than a regular aquarium. I read many articles about barks and these articles don't mention barks as a "bad thing". some people even said that just let it die, and let it nourish the substrate. xD well Im not sure, I'll just wait for another response or suggestions.
 
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Lakefish

I tend to think people are too alarmist about using untreated natural materials. If you are changing a decent amount of water each week, any “toxins” are going to be diluted and removed in the same way nitrates are. Decomposing material will release things into the water, yes, but not all in one day! Tank biota can adapt. My personal experience, I did put a decent sized piece of dried dogwood in my tank with bark on. The wood itself is still super hard a couple of years later, but the bark in a few weeks turned into mouldy mush, so I pulled the log out and stripped it. The fungus wasn’t doing any harm, but it looked pretty gross. If you have a root rather than a trunk or branch segment, the bark will likely last longer, since roots need to be more rot resistant to tolerate the wet months of the year.
 
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Chiasmodon

I tend to think people are too alarmist about using untreated natural materials. If you are changing a decent amount of water each week, any “toxins” are going to be diluted and removed in the same way nitrates are. Decomposing material will release things into the water, yes, but not all in one day! Tank biota can adapt. My personal experience, I did put a decent sized piece of dried dogwood in my tank with bark on. The wood itself is still super hard a couple of years later, but the bark in a few weeks turned into mouldy mush, so I pulled the log out and stripped it. The fungus wasn’t doing any harm, but it looked pretty gross. If you have a root rather than a trunk or branch segment, the bark will likely last longer, since roots need to be more rot resistant to tolerate the wet months of the year.
I agree. I feel that my fish and my inhabitants along with my plants would adapt the new environment since thats where they are naturally from. thank fully I am also aware of hard wood and soft wood, otherwise I will have a big trouble cleaning fungi and mushy and smelly rotting parts of the soft wood piece. What i am gonna do now is to wait for a week if there is a sign of tannins and rotting of the bark. if there is, then ill just peel, the barks off from the branch. However, these branches I collected was washed out into the creek due to heavy rainfall, and I think during those times, the tannins leaching from them also washed off by the strong current.

Atm, Im not still sure 100%. So i guess ill wait for more responses.
 
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