Driftwood and substrate how to?
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Old 09-20-2005, 12:48 AM   #1
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Driftwood and substrate how to?

Just a couple questions...

I'm getting ready to adopt a couple bristle nose plecos and I'd like to make it as homey as possible for them, so I thought I'd get a piece of driftwood. Locally, I have 3 options:

1 store sells 2 types of driftwood, wet and dry.

The wet variety consists of 5-6" chunks that have been presunk in their store tanks and sell for $3.99 each.

The dry variety comes from the reptile section, are about 8-10" and sell for $9-10.

The second store sells bulk driftwood for aquariums. Their pieces varry and I think they're priced by weight. Their smallest piece sells for $9 and it's about 8".

I understand that you boil/soak driftwood to sterilize it, so should it matter which kind I get? Would the pieces that have been in the store tanks have more parasites that I'd need to worry about?

My second question involves having a planted tank with just a gravel substrate.

I've been told that it's best just to lightly gravel-vac the surface so that some of the mulm accumulates in the lower strata to feed the plant roots. Will the mulm eventually create a layer like a layer of soil? And how does this mulm collect & break down into something inert without spoiling the water quality?

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Old 09-20-2005, 09:30 PM   #2
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Someone told me once that driftwood intended for reptiles are sometimes treated with a chemical that may be harmful if placed in an aquarium. Don't know if this is true or not, just what I heard...
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Old 09-20-2005, 11:24 PM   #3
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I have never heard that. But I'm sure it's possible with at least some companies. I have used lots of wood in herp tanks and all of them have molded with humidity. The only chemical I could think that they would add would be an anti-fungal coating. Odds are the driftwood is in the reptile section for vivariums so it's probably safe, just ask ahead of time. And make sure it isn't grapewood. I have heard of people using grapewood in tanks but not often because it is too soft and breaks down. As for the presoaked driftwood, yes it can bring in unwelcome guests like Ich if it is in a large tank system connected to tanks holding fish.
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