What type of wood do you like in your tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-25-2020, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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What type of wood do you like in your tank?

I'm looking for a pretty large piece or two. The tank is 72"L x 24"D x 30D" Something like what you see here, I wish I knew what type of wood this log is, it would be similar to what I'm looking to find:


Driftwood 'would' be a cool centerpiece. I'm not looking for Manzanita.

Likely I'll end up hunting down a piece and soaking it for a while. What type of wood am I looking to find that won't harm my livestock? I appreciate any suggestions. For example, Oak, Sycamore, Ash.

Thanks!

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-26-2020, 09:48 PM
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That looks like Malaysian driftwood to me. You can do some searched on ebay and make sure that it is a WYSIWYG type of sale. A lot of sellers will show pictures and then it says random pieces in the description. I actually got some amazing pieces many years ago on Ebay. You can also go to your local fish stores and search around till you find what you like. Please note that a large piece will be extremely expensive and I have found that getting smaller pieces that fit together makes for an easier aquascaping day.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-26-2020, 11:16 PM
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Zoo Med makes a spider wood "show" piece that's about 30" across and they're pretty good at cherry picking nice ones. Alternately, you could use aged oak, holly, or other non-oily woods (avoid pine, cedar, rhododendron, etc.).
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Here we go, for my 180 South American tank - currently in the works-:

I found a piece of cedar, cleaned that one up, got a little overzealous? That's the piece that looks "un-natural with the hollow section. I have a tendency to go overboard with my Dremel. I admit it.


I also found a piece of Walnut and the large branches are Modesto Ash. I'm going to try and clean them up and see if I've something to work with and the bugs haven't destroyed the wood too much.

I really should start a journal. It's just been taking so long.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-10-2020, 01:48 AM
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I might guess the first picture to be really old and dried totally cedar/ juniper, etc but that is not really easy to say without doing some drilling or cutting. I say cedar because most other trees don't start to branch that close to the ground, or they shed them as they grow. If the root ball was fully in the ground, that first branch on top came out somewhere around 2 feet high? They have the color bumped up pretty high as it makes the fish glow, so I would not trust the reddish color very much for ID. Cedar works fine for me but it has to be totally dry to avoid the sap.
Your mention of walnut might bring back some bad memories as a super nice piece of walnut was one item that I was never able to get to a point that it did not color the water. Might suggest testing it before doing to much to commit to using it. A bit of soaking, maybe?

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-10-2020, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Rich, always a good to hear from you. I definitely plan to proceed with caution. That's good to hear about the cedar and sap. I didn't even think about the walnut and how dark the tannins might be.

Any thoughts on some Birch that has been drying for a few years in the hot sun?


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-10-2020, 10:15 PM
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Never used birch in a tank as it has not been where I lived. I did drag some home from Canada one time and it seems kind of soft, so it might not last too long if it was down on the ground, so bugs can get to it. In a tank, I don't think of it as having too much sap and holding it long. The wood I brought home was next to a fireplace and seemed to get light really quick and that would say it dried out fast. I'm kind of open on trying things as my tanks don't stay in any one fashion for very long. I like to avoid any bark if it is still on as that tends to come loose pretty quick and begin to flake off but the main part of birch would not scare me.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-23-2020, 06:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigityDog70 View Post
I'm looking for a pretty large piece or two. The tank is 72"L x 24"D x 30D" Something like what you see here, I wish I knew what type of wood this log is, it would be similar to what I'm looking to find: https://youtu.be/dzLT2FoElpc?t=34


Driftwood 'would' be a cool centerpiece. I'm not looking for Manzanita.

Likely I'll end up hunting down a piece and soaking it for a while. What type of wood am I looking to find that won't harm my livestock? I appreciate any suggestions. For example, Oak, Sycamore, Ash.

Thanks!

Fish Room Bum
have any luck with any good looking piece of tree root?


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-23-2020, 02:37 PM
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One of the old cedar snags, I used at one point. Sawed out the center and shaped to get access for fish to breed under the wood.
Note that using cedar does require some thought as it has to be TOTALLY dry, not just months but years and possibly decades of drying. One way to judge the moisture is to check the color inside for a nearly uniform color from inner to outer layers. Some color around knots, etc. is okay but it is always something to use care, especially if you have soft acidic water with little buffering.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2020, 03:16 AM
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And my posts about using cedar are often followed by folks asking if I actually used the wood or did it kill my fish. YUP! I really do use the stuff and it doesn't kill my fish. The plants? That was before my live plants and I think they were all dead from the start!
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-16-2020, 06:25 PM
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I'm pretty well staying home while the virus is out and increasing, but I did venture out to my favorite wood picking spot for a bit of hike and found a few nice large pieces but only considered one worth the carry back to the car!
This area has lots of juniper which is often called cedar and is an invasive species that grows like crazy and considered pretty worthless for most purposes. That makes it pretty easy to find places where a field has grown up in small trees and it has been cleared with a bushhog to go through and grind the tops off the small stuff, leaving the roots and stump to eventually come out of the ground and wind up good for tank use as it may be dead for ten or more years before the sap, tannins, and toxins are gone. But it does have the advantages of being bug and rot resistant due to long term sap content.
What I want is midway between the two situations. Not so fresh/ green it has too much moisture but still not to the point of rotting too far!
I picked this with DiggityDog70 in mind but then did some checking and he was looking for wood way back and then I did more checking on shipping from Texas to his area and it really comes down to not being very practical to ship wood.
Greyhound shipping station to station for a 28 inch max length is $49 !! Bummer....

So I tell myself it wasn't what he wanted anyway!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-16-2020, 09:45 PM
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One of the old cedar snags, I used at one point. Sawed out the center and shaped to get access for fish to breed under the wood.
Note that using cedar does require some thought as it has to be TOTALLY dry, not just months but years and possibly decades of drying. One way to judge the moisture is to check the color inside for a nearly uniform color from inner to outer layers. Some color around knots, etc. is okay but it is always something to use care, especially if you have soft acidic water with little buffering.
Wow, I am suprised that the cedar didn't leach toxins. I stay away from conifers and cedars. I use alder, maple, apple, oak, magnolia, and hazelnut(filbert) in my tanks. I have used mopani in the past and have seen some pretty cool spiderwood pieces.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-17-2020, 12:50 AM
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Wow, I am suprised that the cedar didn't leach toxins. I stay away from conifers and cedars. I use alder, maple, apple, oak, magnolia, and hazelnut(filbert) in my tanks. I have used mopani in the past and have seen some pretty cool spiderwood pieces.
That's almost always a concern and I do take care as cedar,pine and several others do have lots of sap and it can be a problem, especially for those with soft acidic water. But I assume that much of the concern about it being toxic comes from folks who may be excellent fish folks but know very little about wood.
It takes some study to know what is really, really dry wood and what is not. It should be noted that I did mention this wood may have been dead ten years or more before I picked it. That long term, repeated drying and weathering is need to get the sap out of dead cedar. That's why it is common for fences and decks, it takes a long time to get the sap out and bugs and rot don't bother it until the sap is gone. I might guess the average life of an unpainted cedar fence is about 20 years in this area before the termites and rot begin to get to it.
Once wood is totally dry, about all you have left is the cellulose and that doesn't bother anything.
Just another tool for using if and when we want something big, heavy, and all gnarly looking like Diggity pictured and asked about.
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