Thank you for the post. It's very timely, for me, as I was looking at wood this past weekend. Do you have any pictures that you can post of sand blasted and natural maybe in your tanks? Which type do you prefer?
Can you use the grapewood in a aquarium from this website? It's really beautiful.
Yes, I've had it in two tanks so far, with tetras. It hasn't does anything to my water parameters as far as I can tell, but it did grow driftwood goo pretty prolifically for the first month; I just kept scraping it off, and it stopped after about 3.5 weeks or so. I've also found it doesn't last as long, obviously, becuse it's a lot more thin and delicate than normal, harder woods.
Even if I could find the wood laying around outside, it would take a lot of my time looking for it, finding it, obtaining permission from the land owner to take it (otherwise it's theft), and then hauling it back to my place. Then I'd have to sterilize it, wait for it to age, and then figure out a way to get it sandblasted. That's a ton of work, not to mention the expense of the gas involved and whatever I have to pay to sterilize and sandblast the wood.
Sometimes free isn't so free.
I agree, sometimes my time is worth more than the money to buy. I have had really good luck on craigslist with locals tearing apart their setups. You can usually scoop all their driftwood and rocks for pennies on a dollar.
When I started making my fish tanks pretty, I was astounded at the prices some sites charge for a simple piece of wood or rock. I started seeking out alternative sources for what I wanted. Specifcally, I looked for untreated woods used in crafts. I found what is below.
I've bought a lot of stuff from these sites, both for aquascaping and for my own wedding decor. I love, love them. I ordered several Manzanita branches for my wedding, and one of them came badly crushed. I contacted save-on-crafts.com, and they replaced it for only the cost of shipping. Their customer service is really great.