What kind of wood should I be looking for? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of wood should I be looking for?

Okay I live on Long Island and I also have a house in New Paltz, NY. I want to get some wood to put in my tank but I have no clue what kinds to look for. I know they should be "hard woods" but I don't know what that means. There's also an abundance of rocks on my property in New Paltz, so how would I tell what is safe for my aquarium?
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 11:51 PM
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I think Oak has been mentioned as tank safe. As for rocks, people sometimes use the vinegar test. I don't think it works enough to trust the results. To find out if a rock will change water parameters, put a drop or two of muriatic acid (I think) on the rock. If it bubbles, don't use it.

I am from Poughkeepsie, but now live in PA. Nice to see someone from my neck of the woods!
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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I think Oak has been mentioned as tank safe. As for rocks, people sometimes use the vinegar test. I don't think it works enough to trust the results. To find out if a rock will change water parameters, put a drop or two of muriatic acid (I think) on the rock. If it bubbles, don't use it.

I am from Poughkeepsie, but now live in PA. Nice to see someone from my neck of the woods!
Thanks, I think I'm going to just wing it with the vinegar because I'm only 16 and I have no clue what muriatic acid is or where I could get it.
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 12:01 AM
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You can get muriatic acid from Lowe's or Home Depot. Instead of vinegar, just put some water in bucket, test the pH, record result, put rocks in, and test it over a few days. If it changes, don't use the rocks.

Vinegar can give you a false result.

Good luck.
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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You can get muriatic acid from Lowe's or Home Depot. Instead of vinegar, just put some water in bucket, test the pH, record result, put rocks in, and test it over a few days. If it changes, don't use the rocks.

Vinegar can give you a false result.

Good luck.
alright, i'll look into it. i'm going to home depot over the weekend anyways to get some Schultz Aquatic Soil. Would you happen to know if they would have sand capable of being in an aquarium?
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 01:14 AM
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alright, i'll look into it. i'm going to home depot over the weekend anyways to get some Schultz Aquatic Soil. Would you happen to know if they would have sand capable of being in an aquarium?
I don't believe so.. but maybe they do.


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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 01:55 AM
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alright, i'll look into it. i'm going to home depot over the weekend anyways to get some Schultz Aquatic Soil. Would you happen to know if they would have sand capable of being in an aquarium?
40 or 50lbs bag of play sand. Cost is about $3. You need to rinse it for like an hour, when you're done, rinse it for another hour. Get it?
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 10:53 AM
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Hardwood is trees like oak, maple, apple, ash. Softwoods are the conifers like various pines.

It's been a long time since I left LI but there used to be some sections of farmingdale that had huge old sugar maples. Check under them. Old apple trees also make for some nifty shaped branches.

Stay away from black walnut and it's close kin. It is aleopathic and very poisonous to normal farm livestock so I wouldn't chance it in a tank no matter how weathered the wood is.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kozlany View Post
Hardwood is trees like oak, maple, apple, ash. Softwoods are the conifers like various pines.

It's been a long time since I left LI but there used to be some sections of farmingdale that had huge old sugar maples. Check under them. Old apple trees also make for some nifty shaped branches.

Stay away from black walnut and it's close kin. It is aleopathic and very poisonous to normal farm livestock so I wouldn't chance it in a tank no matter how weathered the wood is.
thanks a lot. theres a bunch of apple orchards in new paltz so next time im up i'll ask to go.
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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i also have a quick question. my friend brought over some play sand that has been sitting in his sandbox for a good 10 years. its regular play sand so if i were to rinse it, sift it, boil it enough times, will it be suitable for aquarium use? i took some out of the bucket im using and put it in a water bottle and im going to test it in a couple of days. is this a good aproach or should i just forget that whole idea?
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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 07:51 PM
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If you make sure it's nice and clean I don't see where there would be a problem - but, personally, I wouldn't do it.

Play sand is cheaper than dirt...literally. $3 or so for 40lbs.

Give it a shot and see how you like it.
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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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If you make sure it's nice and clean I don't see where there would be a problem - but, personally, I wouldn't do it.

Play sand is cheaper than dirt...literally. $3 or so for 40lbs.

Give it a shot and see how you like it.

its the play sand itself. he made sure that he didnt scoop too far down. im going to boil it for about 20 minutes so it should hopefully be good. im only boiling it because it came from outside and the bacteria could cause a problem. thanks for the help.
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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kozlany View Post
Hardwood is trees like oak, maple, apple, ash. Softwoods are the conifers like various pines.

It's been a long time since I left LI but there used to be some sections of farmingdale that had huge old sugar maples. Check under them. Old apple trees also make for some nifty shaped branches.

Stay away from black walnut and it's close kin. It is aleopathic and very poisonous to normal farm livestock so I wouldn't chance it in a tank no matter how weathered the wood is.

what about dogwood?
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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 02:19 AM
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Nick, my limited experience:

1) Play sand: sure, why not? I use it in my shrimp tank, prepared it by running it through a paint strainer, to get rid of the finer stuff. Even the big grains will get blown around with strong circulation at the substrate, but my RCS love sifting through it.
Although sand can lead to a breakout of brown diatom algae (mine did), but it can be eliminated with relative ease.

2) Wood: I personally don't trust anything other than driftwood. If you have access to it in the wild, great. If not, the folks at http://manzanita.com/aqwood.htm are great, and all their aquarium stock has been cleaned and sandblasted. The pics on their site do not do it justice, so attached is one from when I was setting up my Mini-L. They sent a box of that stuff, all awesome, depending on your scaping plan.

I have also gotten driftwood from eBay, billed as "Malaysian driftwood." I don't know if this stuff was truly Malaysian or even what that means, but it was a disaster, leaked tannins for the six months I put up with it, was soft and degradable to the end. [shudder]

Hope this helps, good luck!
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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thats an awesome piece of wood. Ordering online isn't an option so I guess im going to actually have to try and find some. lol
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