What's up TPT, Tyveck here! I noticed there wasn't a guide on driftwood posted so I thought I would give it a shot. Here is a simple guide on what to look for when finding driftwood! This is my first guide on TPT So please tell me what you think! If you have any other advice please feel free to post in the comments below.
I don't use any chemicals when I clean my driftwood. All I use is hot water and let it sun dry . I do this several times until the water I wash it in is perfectly clear. The driftwood will lower the pH of your tank as well. It usually brings the pH down to about 6.5-6.8 depending on how much/what kind you have in your tank and how often you do a water change etc. The reason we use driftwood in aquariums is because it decays up to 12x slower than normal wood. That is the main reason we don't just cut off branches and stick them in our aquarium!
looking for driftwood.
When you go out searching for driftwood make sure you look for lighter colored wood. This is a sign that all of the decaying pieces inside of the wood have left. Your driftwood should feel pretty light compared to a "live" piece of wood. Some driftwood can be floating for several years before it ever washes up to shore. Even if you don't live near the beach you can still find some AMAZING pieces! you will need to look near streams, riverbanks, lakes and near the base of waterfalls. I find that the base of waterfalls yields some of the best pieces for aquariums. Like I said before, you need to look for light colored, wood. Some trees produce better pieces of wood than others. For example, cedar trees make some of the prettiest/interesting shapes when it comes to driftwood but if it isn't cleaned right it will dirty your water fast. Oak tree roots when turned into driftwood tend to be thin but with many offsetting limbs. When you do find a nice piece of wood that you will be using for your tank, it is very important to clean it well. Make sure you scrape out any brown bits. These will dissolve in your water making it brown and yucky. You also want to make sure you peel off any bark that you see. This will also turn your water brownish. This won't hurt your fish, it's just not pretty to look at. Some of the best pieces to use in an aquarium (If you are lucky enough to find it) would be driftroots. This is formed when a tree is broken beside a river (sometimes ocean) and is tumbled for a long time, it then breaks of from the tree and give you some crazy awesome shapes!
All you really have to do to clean your driftwood is get a 5 gallon bucket (Or a small tub depending on how big of a piece you have!), put your driftwood in and pour boiling water over it until your bucket fills up with water. Then take a wire brush and scrub the heck out of it! Make sure you don't scrub so hard that you damage the wood! You can use a knife to dig out / scrape the brown pieces off. Empty your bucket and let the driftwood layout in the sun until it is 100% dry. It could take up to a full day. Do this until the water you use on your driftwood is clear. At that point it is safe to put it into your aquarium! You may have to submerge your driftwood overnight to see what it does to the water in your bucket. Make sure to test the pH as well!!!
Use live branches. They will can leave some chemicals in your water that could be harmful to your fish in large doses. It is best to avoid it.
Never use lead or any other metal object to weigh down your driftwood to make it sink. Use rocks. You don't want to add metallic particles in the water such as lead.
Smaller pieces will take longer to sink. It could take up to a week before all the pores in the wood have filled with water.
Best piece of advice is to just be patient when cleaning and adding into your tank. Make sure you take your time cleaning too! It can be pretty hard to clean out brown water caused by uncleaned driftwood. It could take as long as a month! It's best to make sure it well cleaned before you add any driftwood to your tank. Two days of cleaning can save you weeks of cleaning!
Thanks for reading!
Please do not post here asking if I have driftwood for sale. If you are interested in buying driftwood please PM and I will do my best to help you. I want to keep this thread about tips and advice on driftwood.