How to seal bamboo for PERMANENT use?

Minoul

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I have searched everywhere for a straight answer on what product to use to seal bamboo for permanent aquarium use. Bamboo was grown naturally in neighbor’s yard and looks beautiful, so I want to use it in a tank.
I already coated in polyurethane only to find out this:
polyurethane: seems like after a while it breaks down when submerged in water
PlastI dip and krylon/krylon fusion: have gotten answers from completely different sides of the spectrum from they are toxic to they break down in aquariums
Coating it in silicone: heard that this is messy, doesn’t work long term
Epoxy: heard it will not last long term as it will release toxins into the water

those are what I have heard, would appreciate any help I can get!
 

aoiumi

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I'm... not sure I understand? Is this dried bamboo? Is it live? Why are you sealing it?
 
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Minoul

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aoiumi said:
I'm... not sure I understand? Is this dried bamboo? Is it live? Why are you sealing it?
Thank you for your response, the bamboo has been cut lying in my neighbors backyards for months now. Some pieces are still green? I heard that when underwater bamboo will rot, so I was hoping to seal it in order to prevent it from rotting? Is this actually untrue? All pieces have been boiled
 

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Welcome here. I use the bamboo stakes they sell in bundles to move stuff around my 55. I don't think you need to do anything to it as its a "pretty much waterproof wood" and not likely to change any parameters or cause any issue. If your taking it out of the wild and its still alive I would just give it time to season and drop it in your tank. Do you have pics of the pieces u wanna use?
 
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Minoul

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kallililly1973 said:
Welcome here. I use the bamboo stakes they sell in bundles to move stuff around my 55. I don't think you need to do anything to it as its a "pretty much waterproof wood" and not likely to change any parameters or cause any issue. If your taking it out of the wild and its still alive I would just give it time to season and drop it in your tank. Do you have pics of the pieces u wanna use?
Thank you for your response, below are the pieces. They look shiny bc I already coated in poly, but it can easily come off in water so I’ve heard. The bamboo has been lying cut for months now so I’m assuming it’s been dead a long time, but In my search online people say that after a while it will rot underwater or smell very bad, so I want to avoid this? Or is it unavoidable even with sealing?
37BE2B7D-DFB4-48AB-8D46-8737E4DA16DF.jpeg

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I think I know what you were reading about. The living bamboo that's sold in pet stores to grow in aquariums are only partly aquatic and the leaves will rot if left under the water, and the plant will eventually die. Dried bamboo used as driftwood will probably take a good while to break down.

Green woods aren't usually recommended for aquariums, though. It can take years for some woods to dry out enough to be aquarium safe. The only clear product I know of that you could seal it with that the manufacturer states is aquarium safe is polygem's zoopoxy, which zoos use to build enclosures. You could look into pond sealers, but the only kind I've used was black, so I'm not sure if it comes in clear? Neither are not cheap, so you might be better off just buying dried bamboo poles. There might be other products that you could use, but testing them for aquarium safety is expensive for manufacturers and can open them up to liability so most just opt not to bother.
 
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Minoul

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Briggs said:
I think I know what you were reading about. The living bamboo that's sold in pet stores to grow in aquariums are only partly aquatic and the leaves will rot if left under the water, and the plant will eventually die. Dried bamboo used as driftwood will probably take a good while to break down.

Green woods aren't usually recommended for aquariums, though. It can take years for some woods to dry out enough to be aquarium safe. The only clear product I know of that you could seal it with that the manufacturer states is aquarium safe is polygem's zoopoxy, which zoos use to build enclosures. You could look into pond sealers, but the only kind I've used was black, so I'm not sure if it comes in clear? Neither are not cheap, so you might be better off just buying dried bamboo poles. There might be other products that you could use, but testing them for aquarium safety is expensive for manufacturers and can open them up to liability so most just opt not to bother.
yes I heard about lucky bamboo, but multiple threads on bamboo as driftwood still said it is not viable long term unless sealed?
So a dried bamboo is not liable to rot? And so silicone would probably be safe to use then if it says aquarium safe? Mostly just worried about long-term
 

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Minoul said:
yes I heard about lucky bamboo, but multiple threads on bamboo as driftwood still said it is not viable long term unless sealed?
So a dried bamboo is not liable to rot? And so silicone would probably be safe to use then if it says aquarium safe? Mostly just worried about long-term
Dried wood of any kind doesn't rot if it has been properly and fully dried beforehand.
I mean, it is still organics so it will decompose eventually, but we're not talking about the average lifespan of a fishtank.
 
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PascalKrypt said:
Dried wood of any kind doesn't rot if it has been properly and fully dried beforehand.
I mean, it is still organics so it will decompose eventually, but we're not talking about the average lifespan of a fishtank.
This is good to hear, but I would still need to boil it yes?
 

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Minoul said:
This is good to hear, but I would still need to boil it yes?
Not while it's green, you'd cook it and make the structure softer similar to cooking vegetables.

Personally I'd just rinse well. What aquatic pathogens are going to be on a bamboo shoot that's been laying out in the open air in a garden for weeks?
 
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PascalKrypt said:
Not while it's green, you'd cook it and make the structure softer similar to cooking vegetables.

Personally I'd just rinse well. What aquatic pathogens are going to be on a bamboo shoot that's been laying out in the open air in a garden for weeks?
Okay great. I will just grab a new (As in part of the pile that has been sitting for months, just one I haven’t chopped up yet haha) stalk from my neighbor and for the green pieces I will scrub, and for the more dead pieces I will boil?
 

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Minoul said:
yes I heard about lucky bamboo, but multiple threads on bamboo as driftwood still said it is not viable long term unless sealed?
So a dried bamboo is not liable to rot? And so silicone would probably be safe to use then if it says aquarium safe? Mostly just worried about long-term
All driftwood will break down eventually, as many of my filters can attest to. Harder woods will take longer because they're so dense, but I expect properly dried bamboo will last longer than cholla wood, and it's still pretty popular.

I guess you could try silicon, but it'll be messy and the end result might not be pretty. It's to thick to brush on, and it won't self level for a smooth finish like paint or resin so it's likely to end up pretty lumpy. If you want to try it, get pure silicon from a hardware store (GE Silicon 1 is usually easy to find if you're in the US, make sure it's 1!) it's cheaper than the stuff you buy in the petstore.
 

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Minoul said:
Okay great. I will just grab a new (As in part of the pile that has been sitting for months, just one I haven’t chopped up yet haha) stalk from my neighbor and for the green pieces I will scrub, and for the more dead pieces I will boil?
I wouldn't boil until it's completely dried. That's when it is like those bamboo poles you buy, only coarse instead of smooth and shiny on the surface.
 
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PascalKrypt said:
I wouldn't boil until it's completely dried. That's when it is like those bamboo poles you buy, only coarse instead of smooth and shiny on the surface.
Okay, so I should leave it out in the sun for a few days? How long do you think to get completely dry? The only reason the pieces above look glossy is because of the poly coating I applied. I guess I am looking for a clearer definition.... I am anxious about harming my fish... In drying it will the green coloration go away....
 
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Minoul

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Briggs said:
All driftwood will break down eventually, as many of my filters can attest to. Harder woods will take longer because they're so dense, but I expect properly dried bamboo will last longer than cholla wood, and it's still pretty popular.

I guess you could try silicon, but it'll be messy and the end result might not be pretty. It's to thick to brush on, and it won't self level for a smooth finish like paint or resin so it's likely to end up pretty lumpy. If you want to try it, get pure silicon from a hardware store (GE Silicon 1 is usually easy to find if you're in the US, make sure it's 1!) it's cheaper than the stuff you buy in the petstore.
Thank you, I have 100% pure silicon readily available! I am however now looking for a clearer definition of fully dried wood... neighbor has pieces that are light brown/tan and pieces that are more green but all have been sitting for months... is there a way to dry out bamboo fast or tell if it is properly dried?
 

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Minoul said:
Thank you, I have 100% pure silicon readily available! I am however now looking for a clearer definition of fully dried wood... neighbor has pieces that are light brown/tan and pieces that are more green but all have been sitting for months... is there a way to dry out bamboo fast or tell if it is properly dried?
There might be a way to dry them out faster at a low temperature in the oven for a while, but I would suggest doing some research first to be sure before starting. I've used the oven to dry spices and clay before (and I helped a friend dry out roadkill once. ...art school was weird, okay, don't ask) so it should work in theory.

You could stick a few small pieces in a bucket and check on them every few days to test how well they hold up, too.
 
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Minoul

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Briggs said:
There might be a way to dry them out faster at a low temperature in the oven for a while, but I would suggest doing some research first to be sure before starting. I've used the oven to dry spices and clay before (and once helped a friend dry out roadkill that way once. ...art school was weird, okay, don't ask) so it should work in theory.

You could stick a few small pieces in a bucket and check on them every few days to test how well they hold up, too.
okay thank you!
 

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