How Many Times Should I Boil Drift Wood

sinned4g63

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Depends how much of the tannins you want to remove.

In theory you should only need to rinse it in hot water to get any debris or contaminates off. Boiling certainly works for cleaning it too but the main reason that's done is to remove the tannins that turn the water tea colored. Personally I just scrub it in hot water and let it leech in the tank but my fish like it and I don't mind the look so to each their own.
 

FishGirl38

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Hello and welcome to fishlore. It all depends on the type of drift-wood you choose and how much of the tannins you want to remove from it. Bigger pieces will take longer to totally purge while smaller pieces will take less time.

Where I work, we recommend customers soak or boil their driftwood to help remove some of the tannins that're stored in the wood. Tannins can do 3 things to your aquarium, lower the PH (very slightly), discolor the water to a brown/orange, or tea color, and give some slight antibiotic properties to your aquarium water.

If you want all of those three things, in large amounts, you don't really HAVE to boil or soak it at all. If you don't want brown water or soft water (slightly, it takes a lot of driftwood to really affect your PH), than you want to boil or soak the wood for as long as it takes for the boiled/soaking water to run clear after a period of time.

The large piece of mopanI drift-wood I added to my 75G aquarium, I soaked for 2 weeks in a 5Gal bucket of scalding water (at first), for a day at a time, and it STILL affected the COLOR (only) of my aquarium water.

It's all depends on what you want (how clear you want your tank water to stay), and what type and what size piece of driftwood you choose. Darker pieces will leach more tannins, lighter pieces tend to leach less. (I mean mopanI wood compared to spider wood for instance, not comparing 2 slightly diff color pieces of mopani, as an example).

And with the 'to remove contaminants', I agree with above. Just one wash with hot water and that should do the trick. As a note: Over time, the carbon in your filter will naturally remove the brown discoloration.
 

FishGirl38

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DoubleDutch said:
Those tannins are meand to preserve the wood. By boiling one damages the woodcells releasing these tanins.
It will make the wood rot earlier than without.
Is soaking the wood any different? Is it the heat that does the damage? or the release of tannins itself that does the damage? I've had some pieces in my tank for 2 years now and I'll admit pieces have broken off here and there but nothing has rotted, at least not on my mopanI wood. I did add some vine wood to my aquarium once and that rotted within a few months. I didn't soak or boil it first though (Pretty sure now, grape vine is more reptile wood opposed to aquarium wood).
 

oldsalt777

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fishmister said:
I am thinking about adding driftwood but I don't know how many times to boil it
Hello fish...

Boiling will weaken the fibers that hold the wood together. So, when it does go into the tank, it will come apart and dissolve much faster. I don't boil my pieces. I rinse them well with a pressure nozzle on my backyard garden hose and leave it out in the sun for a few hours. The sun will kill anything that might create a tank problem, which is very doubtful in the first place. Anyway, pick up some rocks to weigh the piece down in the water and you're good. You may want to put a few drops of vinegar on the rocks. If there's a reaction of any sort, don't use it.

Old
 

DoubleDutch

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FishGirl38 said:
Is soaking the wood any different? Is it the heat that does the damage? or the release of tannins itself that does the damage? I've had some pieces in my tank for 2 years now and I'll admit pieces have broken off here and there but nothing has rotted, at least not on my mopanI wood. I did add some vine wood to my aquarium once and that rotted within a few months. I didn't soak or boil it first though (Pretty sure now, grape vine is more reptile wood opposed to aquarium wood).
Any moisture / water in wood will expend when boiled and that way damage the woodcells. MopanI is quite hard and I think mainly the outer parts will do this when boiled. I'd simply soak it for some time and think about joining the LTLT-club (Learn to love tanins)

Most fish already joined !
 

goldface

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I've had lots of driftwood. Some I buy, some I collect outside, and I've never boiled them. Ever.
 

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