"real" driftwood.... that is an oxymoron.
any kind of wood that has floated in water for a length of time is technically driftwood.
You can cure your own...
Go to a local pristine (or semi pristine as I don't think there is such as thing as pristine anymore unless you go to northern canada, alaska, or maybe somewhere in australia), a place where there isn't too much pesticide use or fertilizer use... like the headwaters of a springfed river or spring. Get a piece of nice wood that's been soaking a while. Oak, pecan are nice! Bring it home, soak it in a tub and change the water out every couple of days. I put alum in the water as it will kill any nasties like insects, leeches, parasites and algae. then I rinse rinse rinse and into the tank it goes.
The key is making sure of the source of your wood and it's type. Softwoods like elms and willows will break down quickly, hardwoods won't. Cypress is nice, but it does leech a lot of tannins. I"ve found you have to actually boil it with lots of water changes and it's not worth the effort to me.
Only time I've used ocean driftwood was in a Malwi cichlid tank. I saw it on the beach and it was so gnarled and pretty. I boiled it in a huge pot outside first with alum.. just to make sure no nasties. I haven't found a really cheap source of alum yet... so I buy it in the spice section of the grocery store. It's used in baking some types of things. You can't find it as much as you could maybe 10 or more years ago.. I guess baking is out of fashion, but the bigger stores carry it.
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