Soaking Wood - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-30-2020, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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Soaking Wood

I just received a very nice looking piece of wood from an eBay seller. It arrived in good condition but is very buoyant and a bit soft.

Does any one know what kind of wood this is and how long it might take to make it stable/sink under water?

Will I need to attach it to slate?

Thanks!

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-30-2020, 02:25 PM
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I can not ID the wood species from a photo, but presumably it's an aquarium safe hardwood. With nothing for scale, it's very tough to determine size which will have a lot to do with how long it will take to become waterlogged. But it would be a guess at best anyway. I've had Mopani wood sink new and dry, and I've had other driftwood take a month before it would stay down without weight. Soft and spongy is less than ideal, wood like that tends to not last as long. But it should soak up water more quickly, on the bright side.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-10-2020, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
I can not ID the wood species from a photo, but presumably it's an aquarium safe hardwood. With nothing for scale, it's very tough to determine size which will have a lot to do with how long it will take to become waterlogged. But it would be a guess at best anyway. I've had Mopani wood sink new and dry, and I've had other driftwood take a month before it would stay down without weight. Soft and spongy is less than ideal, wood like that tends to not last as long. But it should soak up water more quickly, on the bright side.
Thanks! Two weeks in and counting. Still held under with a 4 gallon bucket filled with water!

I have started working on plan B and purchased another piece from a great place called Driftwood Warehouse, a small Maryland business.

I may bail on the first piece and fill in with more from DW. Really nice folks, interesting pieces and slate weighted...
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-19-2020, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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I acquired a heavy piece of ~1" slate that will hold this under water. The wood does turn very dark when submerged however. Still deciding if I want to use it or use the really nice Driftwood Warehouse pieces.

The thing about the first piece is that it is quite big relative to my tank but does have a lot of holes and crevices for securing plants ...

I guess that this is what you call a good problem... like cake vs pie :-)
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-19-2020, 03:55 AM
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Could always get some zip ties and some small rocks to hold it down.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-19-2020, 10:57 AM
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If you have a pot big enough, boil it. I recently had a large piece of new driftwood that I had in hot water for a couple of days. Only part was able to fit in the water but I put a big plastic bag over it to steam the upper part and keep the water from evaporating so much. It sank a lot quicker than just putting it in the aquarium. It can take months depending on the wood.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-19-2020, 12:49 PM
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Boil it to death and/or affix a piece of slate or rock to the bottom to hold it down. These things can take quite a while when fully dried.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-19-2020, 01:56 PM
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Understand the drying takes the moisture out of the wood and it may take years on some species, so when we want it to sink we have to remember that the water has to find it's ways back into lots of those tiny holes in the cellulose. Takes time, even years, so we need to speed it up.
Lots of different ways to do that. Some easy, if the right tools are on hand, some hard.
One way to speed up soaking is to boil but that is tough with big wood. Another way to open those cells up quicker is too move the water further into the wood by drilling or cutting. a big piece that you know which sides will be hidden can sink pretty quick if you drill a bunch of holes in the hidden side to let the water in as it also reduces the amount to float.
One large hole filled with gravel and sealed with silicone is a quick way.
I most often use a piece of slate or other soft tile and screw it on as it lets me choose what angle and which side up much easier. For getting the tile, I like the really expensive stuff that has large holes as it is easy to drill but I do a fair amount of it and give it out around the area, so I have found that dealers almost always have leftovers, broken or other tile stacked around in back and often are open to letting you sort the pile for free. Just talk nice and say thank you?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-19-2020, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Understand the drying takes the moisture out of the wood and it may take years on some species, so when we want it to sink we have to remember that the water has to find it's ways back into lots of those tiny holes in the cellulose. Takes time, even years, so we need to speed it up.
Lots of different ways to do that. Some easy, if the right tools are on hand, some hard.
One way to speed up soaking is to boil but that is tough with big wood. Another way to open those cells up quicker is too move the water further into the wood by drilling or cutting. a big piece that you know which sides will be hidden can sink pretty quick if you drill a bunch of holes in the hidden side to let the water in as it also reduces the amount to float.
One large hole filled with gravel and sealed with silicone is a quick way.
I most often use a piece of slate or other soft tile and screw it on as it lets me choose what angle and which side up much easier. For getting the tile, I like the really expensive stuff that has large holes as it is easy to drill but I do a fair amount of it and give it out around the area, so I have found that dealers almost always have leftovers, broken or other tile stacked around in back and often are open to letting you sort the pile for free. Just talk nice and say thank you?
I found a large piece of 1" slate paving stone and broke into several pieces. I lucked out and one will pull it under. Next I need to decide on the orientation and drill the slate. This wood is almost like balsa. I guess the other concern is decomposition but I can only worry about ten things at once!

Thanks for the ideas!
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