Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Isabella, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Hello everyone. I have a question regarding wood in freshwater tanks. I would like to put a piece of wood in my 30 gallon freshwater tank - which would look very nice with my plants and would give my tank a more natural look - but I do not know what kind of wood I should use. Once I asked a seller in a pet store about it, and she said that if I put a piece of wood in my freshwater tank, it will bring my pH so low that all of my fish will die. But this comment seemed strange to me because I have seen woods in many tanks and the fish somehow live with it. Is it possible that they may die from keeping a piece of wood in a tank? Is wood safe? What kind of wood should I use in a freshwater tank? Where to get it? If anyone is experienced in this matter, please be kind enough to reply. Thank you very much :)

  2. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    OOPS ... it was supposed to be "Hello" ... not "hecko" ... please forgive my typo :)

  3. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    HMMM .... this website is strange, it doesn't recognize the word HELLO! ??? ???

  4. JustinTNew MemberMember

    Hey Isabella, good question. I've heard some of the same remarks from fish vendors. I've had several different tanks and I've put wood in all of them. I love the natural look they give and if you have algae eaters or plecos, it aids in their digestion...they like to chew on it! You can find driftwood at some sellers, but you'll most likely find it at local stores rather than Petco or Petsmart and it is always very expensive for some reason. I live near the beach and I've gotten all of mine from wood washed up on shore. Now, you might think that it's a crazy idea to put beach driftwood in a tank, especially freshwater, but I've found that if you boil the wood and soak and rinse it several times (much like you sometimes may have to do for some of the substrate you buy with small particles...besides the boiling) then your fish will do just fine. I keep discus in my 58 gallon tank and I created a great habitat with driftwood and live plants that makes it look like the roots of a tree growing out of the banks of a river. If discus can take it (and like it as well, I might add), then anything can. And don't be worried if the wood turns your water color a brownish red...with just a few water changes, it will be back to clear. You may even like the brackish color look it gives, although not all driftwood will do this. I prefer my water clear though. The wood will lower your pH however, but it should not even be close enough to kill your fact, you may not even notice a significant difference when you test the water. So go to the beach or the lake; you will find great pieces there, and for free! All you have to do is clean and disinfect it. But if you want to be safe, check out your local store and ask around. What sort of fish are in your 30 gallon? (just curious)
  5. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Hi JustinT and thanks a lot for your suggestions :) I have a 30 gallon freshwater tank with 2 angelfish (they're about 1 year old and about 4 inches long), 12 neons, and 2 golden algae eaters. They're all doing well in a pH level around 7.0 - sometimes it's slightly above 7.0, and sometimes it's slightly below it. How much do you think will the driftwood lower my pH? Angelfish are pretty delicate to maintain and I am worried that any changes in water chemistry might kill them. I've read that the lowest they can tolerate is a pH of 6.0 (and the highest is 7.5). Besides, if I get the driftwood, what do I use do disinfect it? How many times should I soak and rinse it? How long should I soak it? Sorry about all these questions :) - just want to make sure my fish get the best of care! And ... if you know this one last answer, since you have plants, I have a couple of amazon swords and I use a plant fertilizer (Nutrafin's "Plant Gro" - iron enriched) - but I am not sure how often to use it. I don't want my plants to die. Any idea? Thanks again! Take care :)
  6. onelovieValued MemberMember

    I read the second part of your question about the plant fertilizer. I have live plants in my tank, too. The solution I use is called Flourish and the pet store recommended that I add the required amount once every week. So, that's what I do and it seems to be working great!
  7. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Thank you onelovie :) So far I have been adding to my tank the required amount (1 capful per 10 gallons of water) of "Plant Gro" once every two weeks, and the plants seem fine. But I have been doing so by my own guess, since it doesn't say on the solution's label how often to add it to the tank. Neither did the store seller tell me how much I should be adding. And this is why I decided to ask how much in fact is needed. But I will certainly look for the solution you have recommended. Thank you :)
  8. JasonWell Known MemberMember

    Do the plant fertilizers actually make a big difference on the growth of the plants or do they just help sustain them???
  9. JustinTNew MemberMember

    I don't use plant food in my tanks simply because it encourages algae. Instead, I load it up with CO2 during the day and take it out at night. Plants do eat CO2 (carbon dioxide) during the day, but at night they eat oxygen (weird huh?). If you have a bio wheel then all you should concern with is providing your plants with CO2 during the day. They sell these CO2 dispensers at pet stores, but they're very will run you about $60 (two separate units) to set your tank up with it. What I did was searched the internet for a way to build my own. It's not very complicated, but it does take a little work. And you have to keep an extra eye out on your fish because they don't like carbon dioxide! But hey...we are creating our own ecosystems here, and we're not God, who created everything with exactly what they need to survive and thrive......but back to your other questions Isabella....with the wood, you could use bleach but you have to make extra careful that you rinse it THOROUGHLY! I didn't use bleach on my beach driftwood. I just boiled it three times and rinsed it with a waterhose after each boil. Nothing that might be in the wood could live in boiling water for more than a few minutes, I just do it three times to put myself at ease. I've just heard of people saying that bleaching the wood is necessary, but in my case, it wasn't.(and I didn't like the idea of bleaching something that was to go in my aquarium.) Oh, and back to the plants...if you do regular water changes, you should add your plant food with each change and you won't have an algae problem with regular changes. Once your plants get growing good, they actually fight off algae because they require similar nutrients. And lastly, the wood will not make enough of a difference in your pH to kill your fish. If they die because of it, then your pH was probably nearly killing them already. But you sound like you have your tank under control and I think driftwood will make a great addition that will make your angelfish even happier.
  10. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Thank you very much JustinT :) I think I will do exactly what you have recommended because neither I can imagine putting in my tank something that was bleached. Definitely too dangerous. As for the plants, I think I will stick with the fertilizer, unless my plants start dying. But thank you for CO2 suggestions as well. Might be useful in case anything happens. Tak care :)

    J-Man, that actually is a good question. Exactly, do fertilizers make plants grow better or just merely sustain them?
  11. GunnieWell Known MemberMember

    I don't use plant fertilizers in my tanks and all my tanks are low light tanks. My plants do just fine without the ferts, and I don't use CO2. CO2 is great for higher light tanks, but if you have just standard lighting I wouldn't recommend using it. With CO2 you run the risk of a CO2 dump which could occur at a time when you aren't necessarily there, and you will come home to a tank full of dead fish. In my opinion, It is not worth the risk to my fish to use it. If I had a tank with plants that require high light and CO2 to flourish, I would probably not have any fish in it. If you don't get the CO2 level right, your fish will die. There are many plants out there that you can use to create a beautiful tank without all the fancy equipment. This article is a good starting point with examples:

  12. JasonWell Known MemberMember

    Ok thank
    Good link by the way
  13. 0morrokhFishlore VIPMember

    About the wood, the tannins that color water brown and lower the pH are very good for Amazon fish like your Angels & Neons. I don't think it will effect the water fast enough to hurt your fish.
  14. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Thank you Omorrokh. Your comment relieved my worries :) I am very glad to hear that wood is actually good for my fish. Now I can't wait until I put some nice piece(s) inside. My tank should look so much better and more natural with wood in the background of plants. Thanks all :D
  15. 0morrokhFishlore VIPMember

    After boiling, soaking the wood several times in a bucket of water until it turns brown will help keep it from discoloring your water.
  16. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    To Okmorroh, or JustinT (or anyone): when I soak my driftwood, exactly for how long should I leave it in the water? I understand that I am supposed to soak the wood several times. But my question is about the duration of each soaking. As I see it, after soaking I should rinse it. But ... boiling ... do I boil it BEFORE or AFTER soaking? And for how long should I boil it each time? Any comments appreciated :)
  17. JustinTNew MemberMember

    What I would do is start with boiling it. Boil for about five or ten minutes just to kill any initial bacteria (or whatever) it may have in it. Then rinse it off and soak it for ummm...I'd say about half an hour. Then I would boil it again and repeat the process. I don't think it really matters how long you do these things as long as the first time you boil it, you boil it long enough to disinfect it. Really, that would only be a couple of minutes, but I'd do it five to ten just to be sure. Just clean it until you feel comfortable with putting it into your aquarium. If you have an extra tank and you're still uncomfortable with it, try putting it in there with a feeder fish or two before you put it in your tank with all your good fish. That will be proof that it's alright to put in your good aqaurium.
  18. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Okay Justin, thanks :D
  19. JustinTNew MemberMember

    No problem Isabella ;)
  20. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember


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