How to boil driftwood?

RandomFishBoi

Member
How do I boil driftwood (How long? How hot? What if a driftwood piece is too large? etc.) To be more specific it is Mesquite wood, dead and dry for months.
 

fish47

Member
I boil it for two hours to get rid of tannins and kill bacteria. I clean it with a brush and a hose before though.
 

AcornTheBetta

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
How do I boil driftwood (How long? How hot? What if a driftwood piece is too large? etc.) To be more specific it is Mesquite wood, dead and dry for months.
I boil my wood at an unknown temperature (once it gets to boiling, I just put it on a setting that keeps it at a boil) for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. If a piece is too large, I do half of it for 45 mins and then flip it around to the other side that hasn't been boiled and do that side for 45 mins. You can always boil more, but you can't boil less.
 

SouthAmericanCichlids

Member
To boil small pieces, do it for about an hour and most of the tannins will be gone. Larger pieces you can't boil for tannins, for pests, just pour hot water over it. For larger pieces you should soak the wood in water for a few months.
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
fish47 said:
I boil it for two hours to get rid of tannins and kill bacteria. I clean it with a brush and a hose before though.
Do I have to boil it for 2 hours? The wood has already been soaked in room-temperature water for a few days.
 

AcornTheBetta

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
Do I have to boil it for 2 hours? The wood has already been soaked in room-temperature water for a few days.
No. I think the 2 hours that SouthAmericanCichlids does it to remove tannins so you should be good with a shorter amount of time.
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
How do I boil large pieces (2-3 feet)?
 

AcornTheBetta

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
How do I boil large pieces (2-3 feet)?
Just pour hot water over them and then soak them for a few weeks. You could scrub them too. It's your choice.
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
Considering I have already soaked the wood in water for some time and it is hardly leaching any tannins anymore, is the wood ready to put in my tank?
 

Pfrozen

Member
Mesquite in particular is known as an oily wood, some say not to use it in an aquarium and some say that it is fine because its a hardwood. I would boil it for longer than usual and change the water several times while you do it if you do decide to use it
 

SouthAmericanCichlids

Member
Yes, just pour some boiling water over it to get rid of anything that might be on it and then you can put it straight in.
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
If I put the wood in my tank while it is still oily will my tank be permanently affected or is it an easy clean-up?
 

fish47

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
Do I have to boil it for 2 hours? The wood has already been soaked in room-temperature water for a few days.
that how I always do it and that's what has worked for me. I'm sure everyone else knows what they're doing too
 

Pfrozen

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
If I put the wood in my tank while it is still oily will my tank be permanently affected or is it an easy clean-up?
If you look up Mesquite wood that seems to be a grey area for some reason. i couldnt figure it out when i looked it up awhile ago but im sure theres good information out there somewhere if you look hard enough. maybe someone else here knows?
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
Pfrozen said:
If you look up Mesquite wood that seems to be a grey area for some reason. i couldnt figure it out when i looked it up awhile ago but im sure theres good information out there somewhere if you look hard enough. maybe someone else here knows?
Can't really find a clear answer anywhere else and I'v already posted 2 threads on here asking about mesquite and still no clear answer so I'm just assuming it will be fine with extensive curing of the wood.
 

Pfrozen

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
Can't really find a clear answer anywhere else and I'v already posted 2 threads on here asking about mesquite and still no clear answer so I'm just assuming it will be fine with extensive curing of the wood.
I would probably assume the same but I'm not always right lol
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
The tannins that the mesquite wood produces are green. Is that a bad thing?
 

Pfrozen

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
The tannins that the mesquite wood produces are green. Is that a bad thing?
lol yes, I don't think that's very good, tannins aren't green... its probably the color of whatever oil is seeping out. I'd boil it or soak it until they stop at the very least. the safety is a lot more questionable now though i have to say lol
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
It was only mostly green when I first started soaking the wood. Last time I soaked it it only gave the water a slight greenish tint. Right now I am boiling it and it is hard to tell with the bubbling but it looks like it has a slight brown tint now. Also it smells quite bad when you get close to it after it has been in water. Is that also a bad thing?
 

Fishfriendof315

Member
Boil it multiple times. First time will heat the existing sap. I did a two hour boil flipping it every half hour for a week straight.
 

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RandomFishBoi

Member
Fishfriendof315 said:
Boil it multiple times. First time will heat the existing sap. I did a two hour boil flipping it every half hour for a week straight.
Is that mesquite wood?

Also, nice tank.
 

Pfrozen

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
It was only mostly green when I first started soaking the wood. Last time I soaked it it only gave the water a slight greenish tint. Right now I am boiling it and it is hard to tell with the bubbling but it looks like it has a slight brown tint now. Also it smells quite bad when you get close to it after it has been in water. Is that also a bad thing?
those things don't sound good imo, the green is super weird on its own so smelling bad just adds to it. Sometimes driftwood does smell a bit too earthy and sharp but that sounds worse
 

Fishfriendof315

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
It was only mostly green when I first started soaking the wood. Last time I soaked it it only gave the water a slight greenish tint. Right now I am boiling it and it is hard to tell with the bubbling but it looks like it has a slight brown tint now. Also it smells quite bad when you get close to it after it has been in water. Is that also a bad thing?
The smell might be stagnant water if you didnt place an airstone in your cure tub. The green, depending on all sorts of factors ie; found in out of water, location of such, bought, so forth, could be lichens on land or algae/sludge in water.
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
Pfrozen said:
Sometimes driftwood does smell a bit too earthy and sharp but that sounds worse
Definitely doesn't smell earthy. Smells more like a strange fart sometimes.
 

Pfrozen

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
Definitely doesn't smell earthy. Smells more like a strange fart sometimes.
lol I really don't think you should use that wood
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
Fishfriendof315 said:
The smell might be stagnant water if you didnt place an airstone in your cure tub. The green, depending on all sorts of factors ie; found in out of water, location of such, bought, so forth, could be lichens on land or algae/sludge in water.
No I have smelt stagnant water before and I do no think that is what it is. And there was never any sign of algae.
 

Fishfriendof315

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
Is that mesquite wood?

Also, nice tank.
No mopani from petsmart, terrible to get good, and that's not the whole aquarium:D
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
I think I will use feeder fish or something just to test but my main concern is that it might permanently affect my tank with the oils.
 

Pfrozen

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
I think I will use feeder fish or something just to test but my main concern is that it might permanently affect my tank with the oils.
Thats a valid concern imo
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
but my main concern is that it might permanently affect my tank with the oils.
Does anyone know if it actually will tho?
 

Pfrozen

Member
I dont know for sure but I can say with almost overwhelming certainty that it probably will cause you problems
 

AquaBaby

Member
SouthAmericanCichlids said:
To boil small pieces, do it for about an hour and most of the tannins will be gone. Larger pieces you can't boil for tannins, for pests, just pour hot water over it. For larger pieces you should soak the wood in water for a few months.
I wanted the majority of the tannins out of my piece of manzanita that was too large for me to boil. Well, too large unless I invested about $100 bucks for a pot it would fit in (the boil half, flip, boil half method). I had more patience and time than spare money at that moment, so I chose to buy a large tote that I could use for plant QT in the future.

My wood was COMPLETELY dry all the way through; sun cured very well; and bark removed. I used boiling water as first to help kill off nasties, and put it in the tote with an airstone. I did 100% water changes every 2 weeks. I wanted the water to have minimal color change between water changes before it went in my tank. When I noticed the water looked good at a water change, I left It in for 6 more weeks to make sure. It went in that tote in Feb 2019. It just recently went in my tank. I'd have to pull my notes, but we'll call it a month ago. 20 months, give or take. So if you want to remove the tannins on a large piece of wood, it takes time in my experience.

During that time, it definitely had the classic growths on it since there was nothing in the tote to graze on it. Since you say you haven't seen anything growing on it, I actually find that odd. Why hasn't anything grown on it? ......

I've only put manzanita and mopani in my tanks (not mesquite). But, all have been c o m p l e t e l y dry all the way through and had all the bark removed. The mopani was all small enough to boil, the manzanita not. The manzanita was kept in water for a long period of time before going in my tank; the mopani wasn't. ALL grew stuff on them. None smelled bad (different, kind of an earthy smell, but not bad). ALL had typical tannin colors - light golden to very dark tea.

I'd be concerned about the smell, the color of the tannins, and nothing growing on it. I'm not familiar with mesquite in a tank, and I know there's a lot of mixed information out there, but I'm not sure this is right.

I do know that even with woods frequently used in aquariums, some pieces just don't do well. They rot, or whatever. Maybe you just got an off piece?

Or, if it wasn't completely dry, you can leave it out to finish drying and then try again submerged?
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
AquaBaby said:
Or, if it wasn't completely dry, you can leave it out to finish drying and then try again submerged?
Before I started soaking it it had been dead and sitting in the sun for months.
 

AquaBaby

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
Before I started soaking it it had been dead and sitting in the sun for months.
I'm sure you checked, but just to be thorough... You did visually confirm it was dry all the way through?

Different climates, different weather patterns, different woods, different thicknesses - a lot of variables come into play. A thick piece of wood with the bark on sitting out in the sun here for a couple of months probably wouldn't be completely dry. Back where I lived out in West Texas, completely different. It's a whole lot hotter and a whole lot drier there during the summer.
 
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RandomFishBoi

Member
AquaBaby said:
I'm sure you checked, but just to be thorough... You did visually confirm it was dry all the way through?

Different climates, different weather patterns, different woods, different thicknesses - a lot of variables come into play. A thick piece of wood with the bark on sitting out in the sun here for a couple of months probably wouldn't be completely dry. Back where I lived out in West Texas, completely different. It's a whole lot hotter and a whole lot drier there during the summer.
I live in Vegas and the months that the wood was drying in was summer. I also had to break off pieces of the wood and there was no moisture or greenery inside.

The thickest piece was probably about 2-3 inches in diameter.
 

AquaBaby

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
I live in Vegas and the months that the wood was drying in was summer. I also had to break off pieces of the wood and there was no moisture or greenery inside.

The thickest piece was probably about 2-3 inches in diameter.
Well, heck. That was the my best guess... that it wasn't quite "done."

I've heard of people having success with mesquite. So, if it were me, and I wanted that particular piece of wood, I'd leave it submerged with an air stone running for a while longer and see if that smell goes away. And if you can get anything to grow on it.

I've read that mesquite tannins are more along the light golden color, so it might be hard to see with weekly water changes? If you could leave it with no water change for a month, you should be able to see if it's still leaching tannins.

I don't think I'd be ready to give up on it by any means. But, I don't think I'd be ready to drop it in a tank, yet. My guess is a bit more patience will tell you if it will be a good candidate for the aquarium.

One other thought... You could add a fish, a filter and heater (depending on what you add) to the container you've got it submerged in for about a week and see how the fish does. I'd obviously wait until I thought I was about a week out from it going in the tank. Like how you add a fish from the main tank to the QT tank before adding the fish in QT to the main.
 
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