Help needed with wood. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Question Help needed with wood.

Hello,

I found a very nice piece of wood in a trail and need some help!
Does anyone have any idea what kind of wood is that?
I'm located in east Tennessee. The wood feels a little dense but it is not sinking yet!
Also, since I found it on a trail, it have a lot of dirt. Actually is like a black grime!
It is soaking for a few days and i boiled two or three times to try to clean that grime off of it.
I kinda like the looking right now but want to take more of that off.
Any advises how to clean that off? Is bleaching a good idea? I really want to use it in a tank!

Thanks.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 11:47 PM
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that is a beautiful piece you have there. looks a good bit like cedar. you can cut or drill a small hole in it and see if it has a smell. cedar has a pretty strong and distinct smell.

oh and to clean it off what i do is spray with a waterhose and use a scrub brush or toothbrush to get most of the dirt off. then i put it in a 5 gallon bucket and fill the bucket up with boiling or close to boiling water. leave it until the water cools then put in around 20ml of hydrogen peroxide and stir the water. let sit for 30mins-1 hour. rinse it off and then you can start water logging it.
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Last edited by Starwarsfan; 04-28-2019 at 11:56 PM. Reason: added
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 12:14 AM
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As far as type wood and if itís safe have no idea. For a bath use use 50/50 mix water and hydrogen peroxide and use a rock to hold it under. Lather/rinse/repeat. No need to use dechlor with peroxide but bleach is stronger.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys!
Gonna try the bath with the hydrogen peroxide!
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 04:06 AM
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Be careful if it's conifer wood. It can leach compounds that are bad for fish. I'm about 90% sure cedear isn't good for fish, but you can ask others if they have any personal experiences with it as I've only used malaysian, mopani and spider wood myself.

Also, dark wood usually leaches a lot of tannins, so soak it for a long time in a bucket. My mopani sometimes needs a month to leach enough to use (still leaches, but less and WCs will control water discoloration).
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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MissCris thanks for the advice! Also do you know how long it takes for spider wood to sink? I have some nice pieces here that I want to use soon!
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-01-2019, 03:12 AM
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My spider wood mostly stayed down immediately, and a strategically placed river rock kept it from floating for the first couple days. Most thin wood, especially if its naturally dense, stays down within less than a week, and you want to soak it that long anyway in case it leaches or to let it bloom the bacteria before putting it in the tank (the bloom is harmless, some fish even like to eat it, but it looks like boogers all over your wood).
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-01-2019, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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Cool! I didn't know about the bacteria bloom on spider wood! Thanks again!
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-01-2019, 03:50 PM
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Check out this thread for some alternative thoughts on cedar: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/8...wood-tank.html

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 11:29 PM
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Most all wood blooms the first time it goes in water (not the first day, usually between the 4th and 7th in my experience). The leftover sugars in the sap feed the bacteria, but my plecos and ottos love to slurp it off. If the bloom happens after initial soaking/sinking, you can get it off with a toothbrush, but it goes away after a few days in its own in most cases without any intervention, so I just leave it.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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So I just want to show you guys an update with pictures and what i did!
First i tried the bath with the hydrogen peroxide and brushing off and it did not change at all that black grime I was trying to remove!
So I left it in a bucket with water for a couple days and since I have a power washer machine i decided to give it a try!
It worked really well! I could take almost all of that black grime off in 5 minutes and without causing any damage to the piece!
Now I just want to figure it out what kind of wood is that and if is safe to put in a tank!

I appreciate all the insights and comments!

PS: The piece is kinda dry now but we can see the difference.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 01:02 AM
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Wow. Cleaned up I almost want to try and buy it off you lol.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 02:41 AM
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Wood is one of those great natural things that we should really try, as it can take so many forms. Almost all my tanks have had wood that I have found. I'm an old country guy and the idea of BUYING driftwood is almost alien! The only difference in buying wood and finding it is who does the finding and who does the paying?
At the age of this piece of wood, it is often nearly impossible to say exact species but then it is also almost meaningless as all the bad points like color from tannin or toxins from sap will be long gone as this is totally dry wood, so I move on to the important stuff like how to get it to stay down! I'm not patient enough to wait for months for it to soak, so move to quick and easy. I find what I want to be the base (after turning it 7-8 times!) and screw a piece of one of the softer tiles to the bottom. If you look for one of the softer tile types, you can actually make a hole with a big nail or screw if you work at it but masonry drills are much nicer. Then, since I don't worry about metal in may tanks, I use any screw that works to hold the tile. My water sets in metal pipes, water tanks and all kinds of metal before it comes out of my metal faucets, so the small amount of time it sets in my tank with a screw or two is not something I worry about! Your tap water comes right past that big old metal fire hydrant out front, in lots of neighborhoods!
Small point? The wood may return to the darker color after it fully soaks again as that is just nature.
I do bleach soaks for my wood as it is just cheap and easier as we keep it on hand for laundry and I share a jug with my wife. We don't need to use dechlor after a bleach soak as bleach is a gas by nature and will blow away as the wood dries and chlorine cannot be held in organics like wood as the chemical reaction will continue until the chlorine or the wood is gone. Kind of like trying to keep fire in a cardboard box. Just won't happen.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwarsfan View Post
Wow. Cleaned up I almost want to try and buy it off you lol.
Lol! Thanks, the piece looks really nice in person!

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Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
I do bleach soaks for my wood as it is just cheap and easier as we keep it on hand for laundry and I share a jug with my wife. We don't need to use dechlor after a bleach soak as bleach is a gas by nature and will blow away as the wood dries and chlorine cannot be held in organics like wood as the chemical reaction will continue until the chlorine or the wood is gone. Kind of like trying to keep fire in a cardboard box. Just won't happen.
Appreciate all the info!
How do you do your bleaching? What kinda of product do you use and what is the percentage of water/bleach? For how long do you let it sit?

Thanks @PlantedRich.

Last edited by Marcelo; 05-05-2019 at 01:53 PM.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-05-2019, 02:26 PM
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Since it is the chlorine which is the active part we want and we don't want to add anything that might be a problem, the best choice is to get the really cheap, no color, no scent stuff which has normally 5-6 % hypochlorite listed as the ingredient. There may be some "extra duty" type stuff but it is pretty much a guess as to how much, so I just look for cheap.
How much and what strength is depending on what I'm using it on, so wood gets about half cup of bleach if I'm using a 55 gallon tank to do the soak. If it is a small piece that soaks in a five gallon bucket, a couple tablespoons is closer but much of the time, I don't actually measure it but just make sure to get enough. Bleach is around a dollar a gallon and getting too much on wood just means it may come out looking like raw chicken for a bit but getting too little can mean something I wanted killed might get by if it was a hard shelled snail, etc.
Overnight is plenty for most wood to let it soak into the little spaces where bugs and things may have bored in but leaving it too long is okay. I have an old plastic barrel that I use and there are times when I get it filled and "forget" the wood and come back to find all the chlorine is gone and mosquito larva are in the barrel! That's too long and it gets to be a stinking mess!
But two things we do need to watch is if it is something soft or delicate as some painted ecor, sponges or such can be ruined.
And the bigger thing to worry is to make sure we don't get the bleach on our clothes as it will do them in. Tie-dyed jeans and holey jeans are often done with bleach, so be careful with it when you pour it or take it out to rinse it off. Bleach is good stuff and it doesn't hurt to get it on hands but do keep it out of your eyes and off your clothes! Unless you like that style??
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