Can I use bleach to clean Rocks and driftwood? - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-08-2015, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Can I use bleach to clean Rocks and driftwood?

Hello.

I have a lot of Rocks and driftwood that I want to disinfect.

I have the driftwood in a bucket of water outside. I went to check on it and it has the most disgusting smell and the water looked gross.

I am wondering if I should add bleach to a bucket of driftwood and various rocks(lava rock, shale rock,etc...) to disinfect it.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-08-2015, 11:51 PM
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Sure you can add bleach. First I would soak the driftwood like you're doing but do a water change every day until it doesn't smell. Then bleach it all.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
Sure you can add bleach. First I would soak the driftwood like you're doing but do a water change every day until it doesn't smell. Then bleach it all.
Sounds good.

Yeah, I guess the problem is that I soaked it in water, put a lid on it and left it there for like 2 weeks.

I guess if it did it everyday it would have not been as bad.

I can't imaging that in my aquarium.

Thanks
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 12:41 AM
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Wouldn't bleach soak into the wood and when you put it into your fish tank later wont it leach that bleach into the water?

I'd personally boil it all.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 12:48 AM
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I boiled the rocks I found. It will kill everything
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WickedOdie View Post
Wouldn't bleach soak into the wood and when you put it into your fish tank later wont it leach that bleach into the water?

I'd personally boil it all.
What if it was left out in the sun for like a week afterwards? I think I read somewhere that bleach is unstable and will break down into common elements. I think that is why the containers are design to never allow light in.

There was some nasty stuff on that wood after soaking for 2 weeks.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by miogpsrocks View Post
What if it was left out in the sun for like a week afterwards? I think I read somewhere that bleach is unstable and will break down into common elements. I think that is why the containers are design to never allow light in.

There was some nasty stuff on that wood after soaking for 2 weeks.
I think i read somewhere that if it dries out it will be fine. But that would defeat the purpose of soaking it, lol. Is it too big to boil? Boiling will help release any excess tannins as well. I'm sure boiling it will kill whatevers on or in it.

I personally wouldn't take my chances with bleach, but that's just me. It's the same reason you can't use copper medicines in a tank with driftwood. It will soak up that copper and your tank will never be able to facilitate inverts.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WickedOdie View Post
I think i read somewhere that if it dries out it will be fine. But that would defeat the purpose of soaking it, lol. Is it too big to boil? Boiling will help release any excess tannins as well. I'm sure boiling it will kill whatevers on or in it.

I personally wouldn't take my chances with bleach, but that's just me. It's the same reason you can't use copper medicines in a tank with driftwood. It will soak up that copper and your tank will never be able to facilitate inverts.
If you boil it, does that mean you can skip the month soaking?

Thanks.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 07:16 AM
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I boiled mine, and then let it sit for a week in a bucket of dechlor water. But that was just because I wasn't ready to put it in. The soaking process really is only to water log it to allow it to sink easier. As long as it sinks, it should be fine.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 09:22 AM
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Cleaning rocks with 5% household bleach is fine. I do it before a rescape.

Not sure if I'd do the same with dw. Just scrub it. How dirty can it be?
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 10:51 AM
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I've bleached dw at times. The color can get a bit weird but other than that it is not a problem.

{On another note you asked about ammonia and you asked about bleach so I just wanted to remind folks that you shouldn't mix these things.}
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 06:44 PM
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Boiling the wood is more to kill parasites, etc that may be hiding in the pores/cells.

I've never boiled driftwood myself but I have left it sit in water way too long. And got the smell you did. Wasn't intentional though. Seems life got in the way after I started.

The chlorine will dissipate on its own after a spell. A day or two should do it. If you want to be double sure add some dechlor.

I've had driftwood soak for over a month and it still floated. Now I don't even try to get it to sink I get stainless steel screws and attach it to slate. It ain't going to float. Most of the time anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceF View Post
I've bleached dw at times. The color can get a bit weird but other than that it is not a problem.

{On another note you asked about ammonia and you asked about bleach so I just wanted to remind folks that you shouldn't mix these things.}
Makes nice mustard gas IIRC.

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Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 07:02 PM
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Seems that you use bleach to recharge purigen, so if you do use bleach, rinse off the DW, then put it in a bucket full of water with some prime, let it sit for a day or two, should get rid of the bleach.

That's what my research says anyways.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miogpsrocks View Post
If you boil it, does that mean you can skip the month soaking?

Thanks.
If it is like Mopani drifitwood with lots of tannin, boiling it first may shorten the required soak time, but wont eliminate it. You will need to soak it until it stops turning the water dark (unless you want a blackwater aquarium).

Watch it daily as it soaks. When the water turns dark, change it for fresh water. Repeat until it no longer gets dark.

If you put it in your aquarium too early and it still darkens the water, use Purigen to clear it.

If you don't want to use bleach, you can use hydrogen peroxide. It is a bit safer than using bleach.

If you do use bleach, read the directions for regenerating Purigen using bleach. They talk about how to purge the bleach after treatment.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 09:34 PM
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If you use bleach on rocks I wouldn't let them soak very long. A few minutes should be enough. I tried doing this with some beautiful reddish ricks but left them in for a couple hours and it bleached most of the color out of the surface. I imagine it would bleach the colors of driftwood even faster.
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