Need some advice
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > General Planted Tank Forums > General Planted Tank Discussion


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-02-2003, 08:27 PM   #1
Zaphod_Beeblebrox
Algae Grower
 
Zaphod_Beeblebrox's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Southeast
Posts: 81
Default

I just got back from the beach collecting driftwood, I have not boiled it yet but this is what I was thinking.

Of course there will be small plants rooted onto the driftwood soon.

Also the anchoring piece was pulled from the ocean in an inlet, the outside of the piece is hard as a rock. I was a little disappointed to smell pine when I cut it. Anyone have any experience with having a not completely cured piece of driftwood in his or her tank?

I have read it will leach a little tannin into the water and slowly cure itself?
__________________
Yours in Freewill,

Dave
Zaphod_Beeblebrox is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 11-02-2003, 09:11 PM   #2
pufferfreak
Wannabe Guru
 
pufferfreak's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Cumming, Georgia
Posts: 1,028
Send a message via MSN to pufferfreak Send a message via Yahoo to pufferfreak
Default

hi, i went down to the local creek on my 4-wheeler and found a nice peice of driftwood that was already waterlogged so it sank and all i did to it was wash it off real good and scrubb it all over to get the mud and tiny insects and nothing has happened to my fish. Been in there for like 3 months. My friend had a peice of driftwood, pine it was, and it was laying out side and so when he tied it to some rocks and put it in the tank some white stuff came out of it, so he took it out to never be used again and the stuff didn't kill the fish, but there was only alittle in the tank and the tank is a 55 with decend filteration. So, it just depends on the wood, I would soak it before i put it in the tank but since your tank ain't even been filled yet leave it in there and fill the tank since it hasn't cycled yet
pufferfreak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2003, 12:27 AM   #3
hipchack
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Austin, tx
Posts: 87
Send a message via AIM to hipchack
Default

hey,
Were the pieces cured in the water or on the beach? One large concern that pops up in my mind is that the pieces of wood are cured with saltwater, which might pose a problem to the salinity in the tank? But then I really don't have experience collecting pieces from the beach . Wait.. is this a freshwater beach?
hipchack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2003, 12:39 AM   #4
Zaphod_Beeblebrox
Algae Grower
 
Zaphod_Beeblebrox's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Southeast
Posts: 81
Default

Thanks for the replies.

I went to the ocean after reading in several articles that driftwood cured in the ocean is actually better for freshwater tanks than driftwood cured in freshwater.

2 reasons

Wood cured in saltwater has no tannic acid to leach out in the tank.

Wood cured in saltwater becomes harder, denser, and sinks much easier in freshwater and takes much longer to rot.

From what I read boiling it will remove most of the salt and any left in it will not be harmful to the tank.

The centerpiece was much larger and seemed completely cured, that is why I was so disappointed that when I cut it to the size I wanted the core had the smell of pine. It is hard almost all the why through but I have been boiling water for 3 hours now and continually pouring it into a cooler containing the wood.

I am a little concerned about pinesap?
__________________
Yours in Freewill,

Dave
Zaphod_Beeblebrox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2003, 01:23 AM   #5
Momotaro
Doesn't like Kool-Aid
 
Momotaro's Avatar
 
PTrader: (52/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Hawthorne, New Jersey
Posts: 10,125
Default

Be very careful with the softwood. In fact, you might want to think twice about it.
As far as placement of the wood is concerned, it is too centered for my taste. The big piece of wood needs to be moved to either the right, or the left a bit.

Mike
__________________
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
Momotaro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2003, 04:49 PM   #6
Ugly Genius
Wannabe Guru
 
Ugly Genius's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 1,725
Default

I agree with Momotaro w/r/t the wood being too centered. Amano pulled off a couple of symetrical tanks (http://www.akva.sk/obrazky/amano/chocog-ada.jpg and http://www.akva.sk/obrazky/amano/angel-ada.jpg, as examples) and they are quite nice, but I cannot help but think that your tank will look a bit better were you to move the wood left or right.
Ugly Genius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2003, 08:50 PM   #7
DanConnor
Algae Grower
 
DanConnor's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 87
Default

Although I'm betting you are using that upright to support the sticks and plan on having it hidden in the greenery?

I found a neat piece of wood that was just a hard core of a long rotted stump- very neat shape. I decided to boil it to see if I could make it sink. It smelled like a varnish factory! I think if I lit a match over it- kaboom!!!robably won't use that one.
DanConnor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2003, 12:51 AM   #8
Buck
Planted Tank VIP
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Lebanon, CT
Posts: 4,939
Default

Personally I would keep searching for the "dream piece" of wood... you have to many "ifs" with that piece and it would be a shame to start out with problems in your tank.
__________________
Buck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2003, 06:11 PM   #9
Zaphod_Beeblebrox
Algae Grower
 
Zaphod_Beeblebrox's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Southeast
Posts: 81
Default

Very cool driftwood article

Quote:
Questions regarding using wood in aquariums are brought up from time to time via the news groups and the mail lists. For the past couple of years we have been reading the questions and the responses with great interest.
Wood offers a unique structure for decorative uses in aquascaping your aquarium. It offers a dimensional design element that is hard to duplicate. But it also offers an emotional response that is impossible to achieve with other materials. Next only to the use of plants or the fish themselves, the use of wood in your design will illicit the most positive comments.

Beyond the esthetics, the biological advantages of wood are well documented. Many fish like or need to chew on woods. The tannic acid released by the wood can lower pH. The released tannin "stains" the water a brown/yellow color and lends a "blackwater" feel to the tank, subduing the light levels and perhaps comforting the fishes. Some fish like to breed in the crevices of wood.

Unfortunately, many many "old wives tales" exist regarding the use of wood. How to treat it, where to find it, is it safe and other questions tend to be answered in seemingly contradicting manners on the Internet. It is important to use your own good judgement when sourcing and then curing wood for use in you aquarium.

We have collected a number of common and reoccurring questions from the Internet. We have taken the questions and various responses and attached comments for your consideration.

When you consider adding wood to your tank, consider adding oak leaves at the same time. Not only will you get excellent pH lowering qualities, some fish go crazy in the leaves. Some Apistogrammas and Betta species respond very positively with the addition of leaf litter. The fish love the littered bottom and talk about a cool visual effect!

But what inspires you to use wood. For use, a walk along a beach can be a big help...wading in the shallows of a lake or in a stream also can help. Taking photographs helps to create an archive of "cool" things you have seen. Wood and the structure it can present in an aquarium can be though of as "Aquatic Bonzai"...small things made to look like big things.

We hope that this material will help you in finding and curing safe wood decorations for you aquarium. If you have any questions, feel free to email us.

Good luck,
jim

Stuff to think aboutÖ

I would like to use driftwood as decoration in my tank. How can I treat the wood (I have bleached, and boiled the wood) to make it safe. Can it pollute the tank? If so how?

Why did you bleach it? Getting the bleach out of the grain of the wood may prove to be as difficult as killing any parasites that may have invaded your tank.

Bleach is unnecessaryÖboiling will take care of just about anything except pollution.

If the wood comes from a polluted source you may have a problem in your future. You might want to think twice about the source of the wood. If the source of wood is polluted by chemicals, find another source. Itís a big country.

Another alternative to cleaning it is to soak it in a copper solution.

Why? If the wood is so problematic that you have to use a bunch of chemicals find another source.

How about baking the driftwood in an oven after washing off as much dirt before hand. A temperature around 200F shouldn't harm the wood and wood probably kill off any nasty organisms present. Does this sound feasible?

Sounds feasible to me. Just be careful of the 200F. The point of ignition for most woods may be higher than that but the little bits and pieces that hang off of the ends and edges may get a little singed.

In order to kill everything in the wood you will have to heat it long enough to make sure that the interior gets hot enough to do the job.

Can I pick up a really nice piece of driftwood from a landscape supply yard?

The wood may be "preserved"...it might be injected with insecticide...they do this with manzanita burls and roots mostly...ask them. In all likelihood it will be fine because the preservation process is expensive.

Another challenge you have to look for is buying the decorative wood in some craft places. That source is more that likely to be preserved (fumigated) so that the wood will not harbor bugs on a coffee table.

If I repeatedly boil it and drain the water until the water is clear will the wood will be properly conditioned and safe for use in my aquarium. Will that kill all of the parasites and bugs?

Yes...boiling drives the air out of the wood to help make it sink. Most woods don't sink like a rock during the best of situations, but they will sink and stay where you put them...ironwood will sink like a rock...oak sorta...manzanita better than some. Boiling will help to kill unwanted critters that may have resided on or in the wood.

The water is turning brown.

Well...I have had wood "bleeding" into the water for over a year...two

nice chunks are going strong after 18 months with 20% water changes each week...but it's a nice "blackwater" effect and I sorta like it. But don't expect the discoloration to go away.

Should I look for hardwood or softwood like pine. I heard that the pitch from softwood can harm the fish.

Hardwoods have pitch too, just a different composition and less likely to ooze from the wood over time. But then if you chose wood that has had the opportunity to weather and "drift" for several years, the pitch from hardwoods will be insignificant.

The pitch from softwood may ooze for years.

Safe wood is sold by many pet stores, why not stick with something that is safe?

I have yet to see the types of wood that I can find be available in my LFS. I have some pieces of wood that I purchased in the LFS, but for the most part I can create a unique and pleasant look in the tanks with found wood. Besides, when I do take time from the hatchery and travel, I like to pick up rocks and wood along the way. Itís my type of souvenir.

Someone mentioned that driftwood will lower the pH. I believe this is untrue.

The pH of my tap water comes out at just under 8, with the addition of a couple of pieces of wood in the tank and the pH goes down to around 7.5 after a couple of days. I believe that it is the tannic acid from the wood that is acting much like oak leaves or peat moss does in both softening the water and lowering the pH.

You might find that wood that is well weathered my have less effect on the pH as the tannic acid may have been leached form the specimen by nature.

Your pH drop will be affected by the buffering in your water.

The driftwood in my tank has continually stained the water progressively darker and darker brown, despite the water changes I implement (50%/week). Any short cuts to stop this besides time and patience?

Not really. The wood may continue to leach the tannic acid long after you tire of the aquascape and change it. Sometime you can add an extra cartridge of carbon to take some of the effect away. You will have to change the carbon more frequently with wood that is extremely active.

I soaked mine in extremely hot water for a few days. Doesn't color the water any more.

Sometime you can get lucky and pick up a piece of wood that does not leach too much. Soaking the wood over time (over the winter perhaps) may lessen the leaching or perhaps even eliminating it. Soaking does not always take away the challenge.

How long do you have to boil wood before sticking it in your tank?

We generally boil the wood for a day. Thatís about 8 hours worth of boiling (simmering actually). The aroma (stink to some) is a little bothersome. We then let the wood sit in the water overnight in the hot water. The wood nearly always is sinking in the morning. We then wash the wood with clean water.

How long you think the wood was under or was it found out of the water?

Iím not sure what bearing this question would have on the quality of the wood or itís safety in the aquarium. We often collect wood that has obviously been out of the water for a couple of seasons and when itís boiled it sinks like all the rest and itís just as clean.

Where do you think half the pet shops get their driftwood from?

They generally donít lop it off the trees. They go where you go and buy it from importers and collectors. There are folks who collect wood for the craft and hobby industry as well as for the pet industry.

I've read in this new groups that having some wood in the tank makes the Pl*co a happy camper; most people refer to driftwood.

Why canít use plain old heat-treated (but not chemical-treated) pine 2x4, and boil it similarly,

You can almost guarantee yourself that the 2x4 (or most other softwood lumber) will leach resins into the water. You might be able to find a local supplier of exotic woods (American hardwoods) would be found in the same place) and pick up a piece of scrap to carve. But you will still have to boil it and so forth. It would be much easier to find a piece of wood by the lake or the river (or ocean in my case) rather than take the risk of the new wood.

The driftwood pieces were pretty light weight, so I would suspect that they have been out of the water for quite some time. Is this bad?

You might want to give the wood a quick look over looking for soft (rotten) spots. Those will decay in the tank more rapidly. The decay is not a horrible thing but if you donít have to keep an eye on a rotting piece of wood you will be happier.

I assume that not all trees are suitable for providing driftwood, since the wood from many North American trees don't look the same as driftwood found in LFS, and no one has recommend taking a branch from a backyard tree to use in an aquarium. Must the tree be of Amazonian or tropical origin? If so, why? Why can't the wood from any tree be use as driftwood?

The term 'driftwood' refers to dead wood which has been tossed and tumbled in water for some time. It is generally waterlogged and therefore relatively easy to sink and will leach a minimum of tannins into the tank water.

Itís more exotic sounding for the wood to be imported. I donít know if the fish really know the difference. No the wood does not have to be of Amazonian or tropic in origin.

Just imagine getting wood from a tree containing analgesics and finding all your fish in a demented stupor the day after putting it in !

This is a good point. Eucalyptus would be a tree I might not want to use. I may be wrong on this point, but I wonít take the chance.

Can I pick a branch from the tree in the backyard?

Maybe but probably not a good idea. You might be using a dead looking branch that is still getting sap from the trunk. You can pull completely dry pieces from the tree and treat them as a piece of driftwood, but be sure you are using hardwood and not wood from a conifer.

Any driftwood or any other object brought in from outside with intention to put in your aquarium, should be completely sterilized. The best way is to boil the object. If it is too large, soak it in very, very, very hot waterÖYou could put it in the bathtub and pour boiling water over it.

Maybe pouring hot water could work, but probably not. It is necessary to use heat over timeÖand a long time generallyÖto be effective as a disinfectant. Soaking in a tub outdoors for a season while providing frequent and complete water changes may be just as effective.

You might look into getting a kiddy wading pool. You'll probably have to weight the wood down, but a brink or two should be able to handle that.

I put a new boiled piece of driftwood in the tank. Now the tank is showing a kind of a yellow cloudiness. I have another driftwood that didn't cause this problem, but that one had been outdoors and been rained on and snowed on for 3 years.

Could the driftwood be the problem? I am going to remove it and sit it outdoors for a while. Maybe the tank will clear up.

Bingo. Itís back to that tannic acid thing again. You might not want to use the term cloudiness because that would normally be associated with a bacterial bloom. While the water is turning dark, itís not because of bacterial infestationÖthat is if you have boiled your wood.

Putting the wood back outside may or may not work in a single season. You might consider some of the solutions offered like more frequent water changes and carbon filtration.
__________________
Yours in Freewill,

Dave
Zaphod_Beeblebrox is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Advice for New Hobbyists aquabillpers General Planted Tank Discussion 9 09-24-2004 09:02 AM
Re-aquascaped, needing fertilizing advice... cich Fertilizers and Water Parameters 6 08-17-2004 01:16 PM
Need advice on weak and stringy looking cuttings GreenTank General Planted Tank Discussion 0 07-20-2004 11:39 PM
@#&*#@ Algea......Advice needed!!!!! wellbiz Algae 45 01-14-2004 10:01 PM
Advice for new 30G planted tank CarlaB General Planted Tank Discussion 7 08-06-2003 12:07 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:49 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012