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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-08-2017, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Question DIY driftwood

Hello everyone! Driftwood from the store is so dang expensive, so I wanted to make my own. I have been reading a lot about what types of wood are/aren't safe to be made intro driftwood, and how to prepare it, but I can't seem to find any answers to a few questions.

Firstly, I found a Juniper root (red cedar) and I know that everyone advises against cedars because of sap/poison/softwood, etc. However, I found it on top of the bluffs where I live in a very open field. It had uniform color throughout, was fairly small (around 6 - 7" long), and was extremely light. I could kind of tell it has been out there for quite some time, probably years. I boiled it for 2 hours, changing the water about 3 times, and then let it soak for another 7-8 hours. It sank after the first 2 water changes, and no tannins leaked out after the 8 hour soak, so I placed it in my tank (2 days ago, no water color changes have occurred).

I assume everything is fine then, right? I know that it might degrade faster, but it's so beautiful (it matches the color of my rosy reds perfectly). ---- should i remove this from my tank? and more importantly, is relatively any highly weathered (water, sun, etc.) wood from the United states CHEMICALLY safe for my fish and plants?

Finally, I found some beautiful Buckthorn roots that seem to have been dead for a while as well, but not nearly as long. I know buckthorns contain anthraquinone which is toxic to fish, but that only seems to be present in the leaves and berries (if I did my research correctly). Would this be safe to make into driftwood? I couldn't find out if anthra is also present in the wood itself.

Thank you
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 03:36 PM
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If it is seasoned and has not sap left any wood would be aquarium safe.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-26-2017, 08:16 PM
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If properly cured, cedar should be fine, and it also shouldn't break down very quickly, even when submerged - there's a reason why cedar lumber is used for outdoor purposes like decks and stairs, and indoor wet stuff like saunas!

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-28-2017, 02:30 PM
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I find the key to use is the sap or moisture content in most cases. Once totally dry, I use lots of cedar/juniper. But I would also warn that there is a vast difference in dry for a couple years and really dry, especially in wood like cedar that is famous for holding the sap. I favor more like ten years over dead one year!
If it is truly wood, not some type of weed, etc. I find the wood will last much longer than I need it if it is hard when I find it. Physically hard, not as in hardwood versus softwood.
This can require some looking as lots of wood is left where bugs and rot get to it. One reason we so often call it driftwood is because the water does keep the normal things out of the wood. Finding wood can be lots easier once we train our minds to look in the correct places.
Places where wood winds up off the ground will not rot as quickly while it takes the time to fully dry. Places that flood often are good hunting as that can leave the wood hanging up in trees, etc. where it can dry without the normal bugs and rot that we find on the ground.
Big dry cedar which is ready for use? Note how uniform the color on the cut end. It has dried all the way through.
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cedar, diy, driftwood, help me please

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