Is driftwood really worth it? - The Planted Tank Forum
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  • 3 Post By mboley
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Is driftwood really worth it?

I am debating on getting driftwood for the 75 gallon I will be setting up at the end of the summer. I have read too many horror stories about white slime and fish dying and torn fins and all that. Is driftwood actually safe? I know the fish have driftwood in nature, but in nature they are not on small glass boxes. I need good reasons to have driftwood. What are the pros and cons? What are the pros and cons of ceramic and artificial materials?

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 01:57 PM
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Whether you have driftwood depends on the design of your aquascape. If it looks better with driftwood then use it otherwise don't bother. Plants by themselves are nice so are rocks etc. It depends on what you like that is the most important thing.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 02:34 PM
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Driftwood can add some tannins to the water and slightly lower the PH. This can be a pro or con depending on your setup. You can certainly find plenty of driftwood that wouldn't contribute to ripped fins.
I've heard stories about white slime but I've never heard "horror stories" about it. You get some white slime on the driftwood and after a while it goes away. Not a big deal.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 02:39 PM
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Yes driftwood is worth it; it's the most natural decoration you can put in a planted aquarium. I'm not sure where you read all these horror stories, none of those issues you mentioned should keep you from using it.

Heaven forbid using artificial decorations.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 05:38 PM
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I rarely set up a freshwater tank without using some sort of wood. If it fits your design ideas, I don't know of a real downside. White slime is temporary. I can scarcely see how good driftwood could result in fish deaths -as long as you don't go collecting the wrong kind. I suppose wood *could* cause torn fins in some situations but so could rocks and artificial decorations if a fish is that long finned and fragile.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 07:07 PM
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I don’t think there are any drawbacks to using real wood, unless the slight pH drop from the tannin release is going to be an issue. The white slime that grows on the wood normally lasts around a week, and is completely harmless. Unless you have some crazy jagged, needle-tipped wood, it’s not any more likely to rip fins than rocks or artificial decor. If you like the look of natural wood, do it.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 07:30 PM
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I definitely pay attention to how sharp corners are of anything put in with my discus and geophagus because they have a tendency to dash quickly when startled. My discus especially, they are prone to even knocking their noggins at the top of the glass cover with little provocation: shadows across top of tank are all that are needed...
Those lidless discus aquariums amuse me--- especially when the fish-keeper insists their discus do not jump. But, that's beyond the scope of this thread...

As far as the safety of wood: just like anything else we put in our aquarium, certain safeguards must be met.

1. The wood should be cured or aged. No green wood.
2. The bacterial bloom that occurs shortly after placing in tank is harmless and temporary.
3. If dont want/like tannins in tank pre-treat by soaking prior to placing in aquarium. My 180 gallon has a lot of manzanita driftwood, I soaked wood in bathtub for two weeks prior to placing in aquarium- changing water every few days as it leeched. When placed into aquarium the leaching of tannins into water column was negligible. What little there was left was taken care of by addition of carbon in filter for a couple weeks.
4. There is a wood for every application. If your fish have long fins or dash about when startled, dont get wood with sharp edges. Stumps and rounded corners on branches eliminate the issue.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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