Free Driftwood collecting - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-12-2012, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Free Driftwood collecting

Hi, im just wondering what types of wood i can place in a tank without harming the general wellbeing of the fish. I know mopani and bogwood are good for the aquarium but they are a bit on the expensive side for only a few branches, so if anyone can tell me as many types of wood i can use that would be great!!!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-12-2012, 12:46 PM
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Dry hardwood is best. Stay away from sappy trees, coniferous trees, and soft wood trees.

Sorry I don't have alot of specific names, I guess this would vary depending on where in the world you live anyway.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-12-2012, 03:25 PM
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Me and my boyfriend went out to a lake and looked for actual driftwood. If it still had bark on it no good. We looked for the nice off white pieces that were either floating or had been floating at one point. s long as it wasn't mushy or bendable we kept it.

Last edited by babydragons; 06-12-2012 at 03:25 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-12-2012, 06:17 PM
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Step one is to know your water. Does it have a lot of buffering from high GH/KH? If yes, the question is much easier. The wood will tend to reduce the buffers as it leachs anything into the water. This can cause your PH to drop, once the buffer is used. Lots of buffer, less trouble.

The reason for shying away from soft woods like cedar are that they do tend to have more sap ( and tannins) which have more effect on the water. Any wood that is famous for not rotting is apt to be the same. Cedar,fir, pine are all "sappy". Your counrty is apt to have some but I don't know the names. But then that is not a critical point if the wood is chosen carefully.

Lakes around your area that rise and fall with the weather? Excellent places to hunt wood! A lake which filled and covered timber 25-30 years ago will often be a great place as the wood will have been dead long enough to have leached all the sap and tannins. My theory is that the water rising kills much of the fungus and bugs which make wood rot. Then the drying does the same for the things which make wood decay when under water. You wind up with dead, totally dry wood but which has still not rotted or been eaten by bugs.

Find a likely wood that is not down on the ground for long. When picking it up it should be lighter than normal wood of the same size because it is dry. If it has no bark, and feels right, try cutting into it with a saw or break it if small enough. There should be a pretty uniform color all the way through if it is totally dry. Some different color around knots is okay. The more uniform the color from side to middle, the better. Avoid tannins if you can. Much easier than trying to get rid of them!

My big cedar piece which worked for me.

Bottom where I cut it out for space

Don't worry about type of wood as much as CONDITION. Get dry but solid wood.
My big cedar "GOTH" tank.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-12-2012, 06:48 PM
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when i was at school, i set up a driftwood tank for my ADFs. what i did was i went around and picked up some branches that had fallen from the oak trees in my area (i go to school in a very rural area). i scraped off all the bark and boiled the wood many times. after that i put it into my tank and it worked fine. i guess as long as you have a hardwood that isnt just off the tree, things will work. fresh branches still have sap that can leech.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks PlantedRich but there are no lakes (most of the close ones are saltwater lakes) around where i live and the closest clean river source is at least a two to three hour drive from here, can i use wood from the local area or even the park?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 01:36 PM
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I would not reject either the salt water lake wood nor the less than clean water lakes. Really any wood can be considered usefull if treated right. Local wood can be found that works fine. Depending on the weather, it can be hard to find the good solid stuff that has dried fully. Wood in piles which are on the ground often get bugs and turn to mush before they dry. Sometimes one can find downed trees where the branchs are left in the air and bug free. Bugs are not the problem as a bleach soak will do them in but they tend to eat the fiber and leave a useless pulp. Storm areas or bulldozer piles??

Salt is not really a big problem as it is pretty diluted. Dirty water may leave good wood but I always do a bleach soak on any decor that goes in the tank. I like the idea of KNOWING the wood is safe rather than guessing.

A tub of water to fit the wood with a 1/2 cup or so of cheap household bleach without scent like lemon, will do the disinfection and cleaning to assure there is nothing on the wood. Otherwise oils or pesticides may be soaked in the wood. Boiling does not remove oil. When done soaking like overnight or longer, wash the bleach water off and let it dry. The chlorine is a gas by nature and will blow away during drying. Ever smell chlorine around a pool? That is the chorine blowing away. Drying may take longer than the soaking but a nice sunny spot on hot concrete will speed it up.

Look to the driest wood to be found to avoid fighting tannins.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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that was a really great help thanks!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2012, 02:08 PM
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Collecting wood can be quite simple---if we take our time! That means a bit of thinking about what we want and why. If we just grab the first item without regard for how dry it might be, we often wind up with tough questions to work through. Things like the often asked, "how do I get rid of tannins?" The best way to get rid of tannins is to choose carefully! It is not a quarantee of course but it is a far better shot than trying to remove it.

Most of us need a break now and then from sitting in front of the computer. I find it works really well for me to go get some old clothes on and go out walking. It is amazing to me how many people can't find wood and rocks right here in my area. If you are not the sort that gets out much, there is a way to improve your odds and cut wasted time. Take a look at some of the aerial mapping sites and study the lakes around your area. Get in close and look at the shoreline in the backs of coves for areas where wood may collect. If you can see it in a an aerial photo, think how much there will be if you are standing on the spot!!! Then it is your job to be careful in your chose of wood.

Get out there and get dirty--- it's good for you.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 06:41 AM
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As said, hardwood is best. Solid wood is a good idea. Old/dried out as better. That said, I have used softwood before. I have used freshly cut branches that obviously were not dried out.

I personally boil all wood I put into my tank. My main reason is so it doesn't float forever. It also will release tannins in the process so less will end up in your tank, sometimes to the point it's really a non issue. In that process, you get rid of a lot of things that would be harmful or annoying as well, from bugs to sap, etc. I am guessing it would reduce any chemicals but I can't say for sure. I doubt that anywhere I collect would have purposely released chemicals as their is no reason for it the areas around me but I can't say for certain, I have yet to have an issue though.
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collecting, diy, driftwood, free

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