Can you make your own Driftwood? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-27-2009, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Can you make your own Driftwood?

How do you get wood to sink in your aquarium?
Can you Make Drift Wood?
I was wanting to cut small branches and trim it to look like a small tree, then add it to my aquarium. Is there a way to do this that will look good in an aquarium? I can't seem to find ant drift wood...
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-27-2009, 05:36 PM
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DIY driftwood takes time, but it will save you tons of money. Some small pieces cost well over $20. Also, the soak method (minus salt) will work for store bought driftwood. Store bought driftwood is cleaned and has not been soaked. This may lead to tannin痴 being leaked into your tank

What you値l need:
Driftwood, which can be found anywhere. It doesn't necessarily have to come from the water. You could find it in the woods, as long as it is weathered down and looks unique. Also make sure the wood is not rotting.

BIG soaking container, I use a 15 gal rubber maid container.

Aquarium Salt, I use Doc Wellfish brand. This is used as a natural way of killing bacteria and parasites.

First step, clean off your wood! Make sure all debris and bark are removed from the wood (or it値l fall off in your tank!). Once complete, boil the water in the BIG pot and add aquarium salt. I use about a tablespoon per gallon. Boil the entire piece for about 2-4 hours depending on your size. If you can only fit half the wood in the pot then you will need to boil the other half.

Once the boil is complete you can transfer your wood into the rubber maid container. Add water until the whole piece of wood is under water (you can also add salt if you want). If the wood does not sink place something on top of it until it does. It値l sink after a week or two. You値l notice the water turn into tea-ish color. It is the result of the tannins that are released into the water. If you didn稚 soak the wood, the water in your tank would be this color. Tannins are natural and some fishes actually like it because it値l make them feel more at home. It値l also affect your PH, I知 not sure about GH or KH. You値l need to do water changes every other day to clean the water. This may take weeks or months.

When the color of the soak water suffices, you will need to soak your wood for another week without any salt. This will make sure that the wood does not hold any salt that may leak into your tank.

Once soaking is complete wash the wood well and transfers the wood into your tank. Do not keep the wood out of water for a long time or it will float.

For more information and pictures about this project, please visit and check the DIY section.

Article written by, member of CFT Community

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-28-2009, 09:41 PM
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Sure. I used a dead oak branch with the bark taken off and the branch boiled. It sunk right away. I have had it for a while and there have been no problems with it. Do not use pine or softwood, as the sap is harmful to fish. All of the aromatic woods contain toxic, volatile oils known as Phenols. The best woods for the aquariums are from fruit bearing trees (apple, pear, cherry, walnut, oak etc), anything 'sappy' (ie pine, cedar, beech, maple, sycamore) have high contents of Phenols and are toxic to most life forms in some respect (it has been proven that pine/cedar shavings cause cancer and liver damage in rodents). That is why pine is used in furniture and cedar is used in mothballs.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-28-2009, 09:58 PM
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Steam Power

Steaming any fruiting tree as mentioned prior it the best way to leach out a lot of the tannins found in wood. It also kind of cures it of any harmful bacteria of parasites. After a good steaming (in a steal container next to a bonfire) I sandblast the heck out of the wood. This method works best in my experience but it is a little labor intensive. Sometimes the wood still floats after so i use a piece of slate, drill a hole in the slate with a tile or concrete bit, then drill a hole in the wood and affix through the 2 holes with PLASTIC screws that you can find at any hardware store.

If you cannot keep daphnia alive...I wouldn't even trust you with my pet rock!

Check out my Daphnia Farm
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