Mistletoe wood safe?

Sauceboat

Hello, while foraging for wood for the tanks I came across some really interesting pieces that I was immediately drawn to— loads of them. But they were awfully strange looking compared to the oak heartwood I usually collect but then I realized that they were misstletoe skeletons that had died and dropped from an oak tree. They have been weathered and completely dried— there doesn’t seem to be any sap and they’ve been dead long enough to get some substantial lichen growth and for the bendy, green branches to be turned to a brittle wood so it seems like something that would be safe but I’m a little thrown off by the fact that American Mistletoe (not the highly toxic European kind) is mildly toxic if the leaves or berries are eaten... I know if you eat acorns or oak leaves they have the same toxic effects but I just wanted to get a second opinion on whether this wood is safe for aquarium use.
 

Mandy627

Mistletoe is poisonous, I wouldn't add it to a tank at home.
 
Upvote 0

MacZ

I have only experience with European Mistletoe, not in aquarist settings, but working in the woods for a nature reserve. The comparison with oak is not working as there are different biochemical mechanisms behind getting sick from acorns and oak leaves (Who eats the leaves? Most unusual) and from Mistletoe, but the body's reactions are similar. So if American Mistletoe is less toxic than European Mistletoe question is, what is the actual toxin?
 
Upvote 0

Sauceboat

I have only experience with European Mistletoe, not in aquarist settings, but working in the woods for a nature reserve. The comparison with oak is not working as there are different biochemical mechanisms behind getting sick from acorns and oak leaves (Who eats the leaves? Most unusual) and from Mistletoe, but the body's reactions are similar. So if American Mistletoe is less toxic than European Mistletoe question is, what is the actual toxin?
I did some research and the toxins are actually different. American mistletoe has something called a phoratoxin and of everyone has consumed it no one has died and the worst that has happened was a bad stomach ache. European mistletoe has viscotoxin which can kill a human. In fact the two mistletoes are a completely different genus. And in both cases the toxins are concentrated in the berries and leaves and not the wood... It seems like it could be safe based on all that but I’m hesitant to risk it... thoughts?
I think I’ve decided against it... If it were to go bad I’m not sure I would want to replace all the fish, they get expensive in those large schools haha
 
Upvote 0

MacZ

So, you ended the research there? But the necessary info besides in which parts of the plant the toxin is, would be the way it works. There are toxins that are harmless to one lifeform and deadly to another. I would go on researching.
 
Upvote 0

Redshark1

I would also question the nature of the "wood". For example is it lignified and what is its durability under water (how fast does it rot), how dense is it (affecting its ability to sink) etc. ?

All these may be important in addition to what toxins may leach out of it.
 
Upvote 0

Sauceboat

So, you ended the research there? But the necessary info besides in which parts of the plant the toxin is, would be the way it works. There are toxins that are harmless to one lifeform and deadly to another. I would go on researching.
I tried to go further, the issue was since it was deemed not really a threat to people they didn’t see a need to put more research into it. Theyre are tons of studies how the viscotoxin works and interacts with the body but nothing on the other toxin.
 
Upvote 0

Redshark1

Sauceboat You're at the cutting edge of science here!
 
Upvote 0

MacZ

Well, while researching I also found that it is found in the intracellular space. Meaning it can be present in the lignified parts and leach out during decomposition.
 
Upvote 0

Sauceboat

Well, while researching I also found that it is found in the intracellular space. Meaning it can be present in the lignified parts and leach out during decomposition.
Yes, I found that too... which is what drove me to ultimately make the decision against it. So the question is less of whether there will be toxins but more of if those toxins will harm the fish.
 
Upvote 0

MacZ

Yes, I found that too... which is what drove me to ultimately make the decision against it. So the question is less of whether there will be toxins but more of if those toxins will harm the fish.

Which is likely. If it's strong enough to lead to reactions in humans, then smaller organisms like fish will likely die from it. Also it seems the chemical structure of Phoratoxin is quite similar to Viscotoxin... So same group of chemical compounds. Another reason to not risk anything. Maybe use it as a decoration somewhere around the tank? On the wall or on the cover?
 
Upvote 0

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Question
Replies
10
Views
357
awilkinson871
Replies
4
Views
251
Nayla
  • Locked
Replies
2
Views
384
2211Nighthawk
  • Locked
Replies
5
Views
1K
flyin-lowe

Random Great Thread

New Driftwood Threads

Top Bottom