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Old 08-02-2012, 09:51 PM   #1
mindy
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driftwood question


i was at a beach yesterday and picked up a nice piece of driftwood. can i use saltwater driftwood in my tank? what do i have to do to make it ok for my tank?

also, how can i tell if it is wood that i can't put in my tank if there is no bark on it? is there a way to tell what type of wood it is?

i can get a picture in a little while, i forgot it in my car. oops!
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:29 PM   #2
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I wouldn't even try, it may have soaked up a lot of sea water that it would be more work to clean it up. You could try boiling it or soaking it in freshwater but I'm not sure how effective it will be.
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:45 PM   #3
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The small amount of salt wood will pick up from the ocean is not a problem. People actually use salt in medicines or add it to the tank. It is assumed you will be treating it and part of that will be to rinse it.
There are other things which it may have riding along like oil from the water. Those can be bad even in small amounts. An easy way to clean things is a bleach water soak. Bleach has the advantage of soaking into all the little spots as you let it soak at least overnight. It kills almost all vermin like snails and their eggs, worms and fungus and reacts to neutralize almost all chemicals. The type of wood is not really too important as there will be little to no sap left if it is truly dry wood.

Once the wood soaks good, take it out and treat it just like you might your clothing. Rinsing will remove and dilute the bleach and drying will let the rest of the chlorine blow away.

Any time some major item is added to the tank, some extra care is called for to watch for any changes. Depending on your water, the PH may shift. The wood may color the water if not totally dry but not having bark makes it sound ready to be used. Wood with bark left is often not dry enough.

Simple,easy and done all the time. GO for it!
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
The small amount of salt wood will pick up from the ocean is not a problem. People actually use salt in medicines or add it to the tank. It is assumed you will be treating it and part of that will be to rinse it.
There are other things which it may have riding along like oil from the water. Those can be bad even in small amounts. An easy way to clean things is a bleach water soak. Bleach has the advantage of soaking into all the little spots as you let it soak at least overnight. It kills almost all vermin like snails and their eggs, worms and fungus and reacts to neutralize almost all chemicals. The type of wood is not really too important as there will be little to no sap left if it is truly dry wood.

Once the wood soaks good, take it out and treat it just like you might your clothing. Rinsing will remove and dilute the bleach and drying will let the rest of the chlorine blow away.

Any time some major item is added to the tank, some extra care is called for to watch for any changes. Depending on your water, the PH may shift. The wood may color the water if not totally dry but not having bark makes it sound ready to be used. Wood with bark left is often not dry enough.

Simple,easy and done all the time. GO for it!
thanks!

what ratio of bleach to water do you suggest?

if i soak it in bleach/water overnight and then rinse with fresh water, should i soak it again (in freshwater) or should i just let it dry? i was thinking of putting it on my back deck to dry in full sun to let the sun do its work too. is that a good idea?

i am not sure if the wood is completely dry all the way to the core, but it is light as a feather. do think i will have trouble getting it to sink? i thought that driftwood would just sink since it was once underwater. i don't know much (anything!) about driftwood.

thanks again for your help
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Old 08-03-2012, 12:57 AM   #5
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No big science to how much bleach. What you want is enough to clear any potential hazards with just a bit left over. Normally a 1/2 cup is plenty for most of the wood we might use. If it's something really big, I might go for the full cup! At about $1.50 a jug, I just use plenty. How long to rinse or let dry depends somewhat on when you plan to use it. More rinsing will dilute more but on the other end longer drying will do the same thing for getting rid of chlorine. Hot sun will speed things but it will still dry in the shade. Can I trade you some hot sun for some rain?

Wood acts much like a sponge when we think about dry. The light weight is good for saying it is dry. Good way to judge it. But there are few woods that are dry and still sink. Drying removes the moisture and the moisture is what makes it heavy. There are some woods which are heavy enough to sink but they are not found anywhere I've been except in shops. If it happened to be driftwood and absorbed enough water to sink, it is less likely to get blown up onto shore. It might happen but it often will just be sinking to the bottom where we can't find it.
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:07 AM   #6
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thanks again!

i can't really trade you any sun right now, since it is raining right now. haha! it has been SO humid lately that i just want some thunder!

i was thinking the sun will help kill anything that the bleach may have left behind.

the wood could have been tossed up on the beach during the winter. we had some pretty rough seas this past winter. or, it could have been there for years. it really isn't a "beach" there, just rocks that lead down to the water. we went there yesterday to pick some mussels for supper. i picked driftwood instead. haha! no one ever goes down there, and if they do they aren't going for driftwood. it really could have been there for years. i am going to just have to put it in water and see what happens, if it sinks or not.

if i put it in bleach tomorrow and take it out on saturday and rinse and rinse and rinse and then put it out in the sun, do you think it might be safe to put in my tank by monday-tuesday? or is that just really wishful thinking?
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:46 AM   #7
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Oh. please don't send sun!

How long it will take to dry is pretty loose. Small wood with not much mass will dry in 8 hours but a big piece may take several days. Wet days do slow things down as well. If it still smells like bleach i would go for a chemical like Prime to kill off any remaining chlorine if I had fish, etc. in the tank.

One way to speed the chlorine removal is to add some water conditioner of whatever type you normally use. If you get it out and rinsed and run short on time to dry it, the dechlor product will get any remaining chlorine. The chlorine in bleach is the same that many water supplies use until so many started switching to chloramine. When it was only chlorine in the water, I just let the water set and let the chlorine gas off. Chloramine takes much longer and that is part of the reason for companies switching over.
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:46 PM   #8
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thanks

i use prime regularly so i can definitely use some for the wood.

thanks so much for your help!
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Old 08-04-2012, 12:55 AM   #9
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I took my grandkids to my favorite lake today and while they got out and searched for all the things kids like, I did a search for wood and holey rock. They said I had to quit when we were eating lunch on a stump!
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:59 PM   #10
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haha! that is the best!

i actually got my rocks at the same place where i picked up the driftwood. the rocks i got are garnet schist.
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