Saguaro branches fish/invert/plant safe? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2011, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Saguaro branches fish/invert/plant safe?

I have a mix of driftwood, mopani, and grape wood in my planted tanks, but was wondering if saguaro branches are aquarium safe. I can't seem to find any info on it on the web. I have an abundant supply, and think I can make some neat things with it, plus they would be great hide outs.

What do you think about saguaro wood in the tank?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2011, 06:37 PM
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How dense is it? I'd be afraid that it would float.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2011, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Oooh....I guess I should try boiling it and see....huh. Didn't think of that.
Thanks!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2011, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaraAZ View Post
I have a mix of driftwood, mopani, and grape wood in my planted tanks, but was wondering if saguaro branches are aquarium safe. I can't seem to find any info on it on the web. I have an abundant supply, and think I can make some neat things with it, plus they would be great hide outs.

What do you think about saguaro wood in the tank?
I have always heard that grapevine wood is bad for aquariums. Is this correct?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2011, 07:33 PM
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Is it even legal?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2011, 07:54 PM
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2011, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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In retrospect, I should have thought more about this. Because the saguaro is ribbed, it might be difficult to keep the ribs together. And a single rib is nothing interesting. So I'm going to boil some cholla and see how that turns out. Thanks for the PDF too. Thanks guys!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-22-2011, 03:50 AM
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I read it all but found the first part interesting for sure.

Quote:
The saguaro, Carnegiea gigantea (Englemann), is a columnar cactus that grows to 15 m tall and
weighs up to several tons, of which 85 to 90% of the mass is water. Roughly 18% of the dry mass
consists of the biomineral weddellite (CaC2O42H2O). The C in the weddellite derives from atmospheric
CO2 via photosynthesis. A mature saguaro can contain on the order of 1 105 g of weddellite.
The weddellite crystals occur as aggregates up to 1 mm wide. After the death of the saguaro, a series
of minerals crystallize in the rotting flesh. These minerals form from elements released from the
decay of the cactus by microorganisms and thus is a type of biologically induced mineralization.
During the initial stages of decay, authigenic Mg- and Ca-bearing minerals crystallize from elements
released by the putrefying flesh and include lansfordite (MgCO35H2O), nesquehonite
(MgCO33H2O), several polymorphs of MgC2O42H2O including glushinskite, monohydrocalcite
(CaCO3H2O), calcite, vaterite, and several unidentified Mg-bearing phases.
Then the text following figure 2.
Quote:
FIGURE 2. Photograph of a decayed saguaro showing the woody ribs (A) and the tan-colored monohydrocalcite (B) spilling onto the desert
floor. The woody ribs are the support mechanism for the saguaro. Note the white pieces of caliche littering the desert floor. Scale bar = 0.5 m.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-22-2011, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the interesting reading, but I'm going to go ahead and end the thread because of what I learned.

For those who don't know, saguaro's have a ribbed infrastructure for environmentalists pleasure. So when the meat goes away, long (or short) ribs are left behind, but they are not really large. Pretty thin. I thought if I could find some of the old weathered ones and new ones I might see if I could make them in to a hiding place and put plants on them. But it turns out there is not really enough rib to do anything with.

Then...I thought cholla would would be perfect. All the holes. And that turned out terrible. I boiled two samples. A "fresh" piece of wood and and old weathered one. The old weathered one almost turned to mush when being boiled. The fresh one, which had dried cactus meat still stuck to the inside (but was all very much dry), was boiled for 8h and still floated and I had to scrape all the meat off. Also, a lot of the cholla parts were mushy. I put it in my testing tank, and it floated. I could boil it for 24h, but I'm going to call the experiment a failure.

Besides, boiling cholla wood smells like cat pee.

And yes, grapewood rots over time. But very very slowly. I've used it as a framework to grow roots and rhizomes in shapes, so it has its uses. Just limited uses.

So this experiment is over, I will only worry about it again if I find a saguaro rib that would actually look good. Only good looking wood I have on my property either is not useful for the aquarium or is petrified. Which looks great in there. If citrus wood was safe, I'd have some awesome branches I could make in to "stumps", but so much leaches out of that stuff. So thanks everyone.
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