Driftwood in dirted tank - Bury or not?
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:08 PM   #1
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Driftwood in dirted tank - Bury or not?

I have a 12-gallon tall tank (Marineland) which I'm planning on converting from gravel substate to dirted Walstad-style. I currently have a large chunk of driftwood which is low and flat, with great "caves" for shrimp, covering over 50% of the tank bottom. My question is, with a piece this large, should I put this on the bare-bottom of the tank, then fill the soil and cap around it, probably burying the edges, or should I set this on top of my substrate? My concern with the latter is large portions of the substrate that plant roots will never get to, and possible anerobic activity. Opinions? Anecdotes?
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:24 PM   #2
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I like to bolt my driftwood to pieces of slate (with nylon machine screws). It helps with the buoyancy of the driftwood, and keeps it from moving around. Plus you can get pieces to stand straight up, or lean at an angle and remain stable.

Though, a lot depends on the shape of the driftwood and what you are planning on doing with it. I was considering laying a piece on the substrate surface, and probably would have used nylon mono filament or zipties to anchor it to the slate. If the driftwood already sinks, this is probably unnecessary.

Can you post a pic of the wood you are using? might be able to help with ideas, etc.

I don't think you have to worry much about plant roots not reaching substrate in a 12 gallon tank, even if there aren't plants under the driftwood, their roots will probably grow there given some time. Another possibility would be to use cheap gravel/rocks/bricks as a space filler under the wood, so you don't end up needing as much of the expensive stuff.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:55 PM   #3
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Hmmm... I like the idea of maybe using the cheap gravel under the wood.

Here's the tank... it's currently active with just plain gravel substrate. Don't be fooled by the tall plants in the back and the foreground anubius... they're just floating there until I re-do the tank. (Grabbed them ahead of time while they were on sale). All the Jave Fern, though, is attached and descended from one plant I got a couple years back...

The wood goes completely from one side of the tank to the other, with barely a 1/2 inch gap on each side. From the front to back of the tank, it covers the middle 50% at the wood's widest point. The dark hardscape in front right is just a rock piece. The dark area on the left is the cave the wood forms which I think shrimp will find inviting.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:48 AM   #4
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My guess is that you will need to pull the driftwood out of the tank at some point for some sort of maintenance.

In that case I would want the driftwood to be 'buried' only in the capping layer of soil (the gravel) rather than really buried into the MTS.

I wouldn't worry much about the anorexic spots directly under where the driftwood touches the substrate. If you get the MTS set-up correctly the gas won't be a serious issue.

Even using the Walstad method you can avoid gassing issues initially if you get lucky or do it right and that involves using top soil with organic content (and thus more gas sources).
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