Driftwood..DIY style - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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Driftwood..DIY style

When i go to the lfs i can never seem to find peices that look the way i want them to.

When i go outside i see trees and bushes everywhere in my own back yard...

has anyone ever just gone outside and hacked off a tree branch to use as driftwood? i was thinking hard on this one today. you could use just about anything huh?

let the wood dry out first you say? i say stick it in the oven to speed the process along.

i have a thousand pounds of grapevine that i burn in a deep pit bbq i could dig through, but the word is that grapewood will gets moldy and you dont really want to put it in your tank. But, they have cool twisty, gnarly features that resemble tree roots underwater.

anyone ever tried the grapewood, or used dried wood found outside?
what happened?
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 03:33 AM
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All wood is found outside...at least at some point in its life! And probably much of it was found in someone's proverbial backyard, but most people don't have access to such finds.

In my opinion, using wood of unknown origin/type could be more problematic than tracking down a nice piece (I know it's near impossible, so I feel you on that one). The potential for mold, rot, disease, etc. is simply too high for my comfort zone. However, with enough boiling, etc., just about anything can be made safe for at least length of time in the tank.

Lot's of members hunt for their own driftwood, so I'm sure they can give you more advice on what kinds and how to prepare. Good luck, and nice topic...I'll be checking back often.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:06 AM
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A friend of the store i work at brought in a large piece of grapevine covered in java moss today, it seemed to do fine in his tank long enough for it to literally be completely covered in java moss... it looks great too!


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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:08 AM
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You want to use dead hardwood, not soft or green wood. The last one is likely to leech poisons into the tank (depending on the wood) and soft wood will rot too quickly. No bark for the same reason (rotting). Definitely no pine or red cedar (poisons).

People have used grape vines- but only those who want the blackwater effect b/c they will leech tannins nonstop. They also would need to be thoroughly dried first.





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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:58 AM
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i always check out stores for great wood or stones and buy the nice ones. you'll never know if you want to build a new tank or rescape stuff.


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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post



People have used grape vines- but only those who want the blackwater effect b/c they will leech tannins nonstop. They also would need to be thoroughly dried first.




This is my mission for tomorrow: i will go diving in grape vines. i will pick out the most interesting pieces i can find..

Then im gonna get all the loose stuff off of em with a wire brush. if they dont look totally dead i can place them in the oven for 3 hours or so at 250 degrees.(if they fit in there) sound okay? im a bit reluctant to try and cook the wood... i dont know how much heat is okay to use.



tial and error? error potentially results in wood on fire + smoke alarm and a big mess.

would rather keep this stuff at a safe temp. how high can you really go before the wood will start to smoke?



anyone tried to dry out the wood this way?



how else could it be dried? (reminds me of making jerky.) i want to put it in the oven because this is probably the only fast way to dry it. otherwise i would have to leave it outside... let the sun do its thing.



the tannins: they leach out nonstop? the blackwater effect is cool, but not today, not for this tank. If i boil them long enough they have to stop leaching eventually huh?
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 02:00 PM
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I use to sell fire safes, I know that paper (cellulose/wood)has an ignition point of 410C. I like the sound of 250 for 3 hours, well in the safe zone. If i were going to try this I would put a somewhat thicker piece in with it kinda as a test piece, cook it all for 3 hours then cut the test piece th see if it is dry. My .02
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 02:42 PM
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I'm telling you I still think this is a bad idea. Doing a quick google search for "grapevine wood in aquariums" yielded me multiple results; all of them said to avoid it.

Here are just two links that document the problem.

I'm not saying it can't be done, because I too have heard of hobbyists using grapevine. I just wouldn't do it myself. Lots of potential problems, very little payoff. I'd suggest you hunt for other types of wood besides grapevine to use in your aquarium.

http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums...p/t-99665.html

http://www.fishforums.com/forum/gene...grapevine.html

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ge...driftwood.html
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 03:50 PM
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You will probably be alright with the grape, it's soft though so it will rot fairly quick as opposed to hardwoods. Are there not any rivers, forest in the area that you could find driftwood? I've used all kinds and never had a problem, grape, walnut, cedar, hedge apple (osage orange), I've heard people say to avoid these but I've got all of them in different tanks with no problem. The important thing is if it has been aged outside for a long time.

As for the tannins, Purgin (sp?) is a great product. I've got a big piece of walnut in a 75 gallon that's too big to boil, charcoal would only slightly touch the tannins it produced, we are talking Rio Negro blackwater here. Put a pack of Purgin in the filter on Friday, by Sunday it was crystal clear, plus you can recharge the Purgin and reuse it.

I don't use green wood though, everything I use has been dead for years usually. If you want to use the grape wood, you could try it, remove the bark, dry it, then soak it. I doubt it would hurt anything. One thing with newer wood, you'll probably get mold blooms, overnight it will start growing hair, it won't hurt your fish and you can either take it out and scrub it or put a bristlenose or two in the tank and they will eat it.

Drying in the oven: You can probably do it this way but you might want to use a lower temp. At 250 there will be some checking (cracks) that develop in the wood from being dried quickly. OR you can seal the ends with Elmers glue so the moisture leaves from the sides, not the ends (where checks start). Oh, and leave the door cracked to let the moisture escape. Good luck!
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 03:55 PM
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Sorry, forgot to add to run a smell check on it while you are soaking, I've had a few pieces of greener wood fail although maple seems to do OK. I'd soak it for at least a couple of months with smell checks when you remember. If it hasn't turned black and smelly by then, go for it.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 05:19 PM
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FYI- southern yellow cedar is OK, just not western red.





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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 10:00 PM
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i dont see any driftwoods that are sold at petsores here that dont rot, leach or get mushy over time. the lfs here has manazata(spelling?) wood , it looks great is very expensive (9.99 lb) and rots in the tank sometimes. the only wood i see not rotting in tanks is some blk african wood , i dont know its name.

i also have wanted to put wierd woods in my tank, only thing i have found to do is coat any wood with epoxy resin to seal it from leeching and rotting. i dont like the brown/black water look myself. this is 100% safe for the fish. go look at any diy backgrounds with concrete and epoxy resin and see there using marine grade epoxy to cover the concrete so theres no jump in ph and last forever. dont take my word go look for epoxy covered diy backgrounds in all these reef tanks
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
You want to use dead hardwood, not soft or green wood. The last one is likely to leech poisons into the tank (depending on the wood) and soft wood will rot too quickly. No bark for the same reason (rotting). Definitely no pine or red cedar (poisons).

People have used grape vines- but only those who want the blackwater effect b/c they will leech tannins nonstop. They also would need to be thoroughly dried first.
huh?? where did you come up with this infmation?
using live hardwood is fine, manzanita (a hardwood) works just fine taken directly off a living plant and stuck in the tank with the bark on. i can tell you first hand, cause ive done it. additionally, oaks work fine right off the plant as well, provided you dont use Quercus suber with the bark still on cause it will float!

and people have used grapewood for other reasons than setting up a blackwater tank, although ill never use it again for any type of setup.


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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 10:56 PM
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aquanut( using live hardwood is fine, manzanita (a hardwood) works just fine taken directly off a living plant and stuck in the tank with the bark on. i can tell you first hand, cause ive done it. additionally, oaks work fine right off the plant as well, provided you dont use Quercus suber with the bark still on cause it will float!

and people have used grapewood for other reasons than setting up a blackwater tank, although ill never use it again for any type of setup.) aquanut

i have seen oak in tanks to,looked ok! but im sure any hard wood would eventualy get soft or rot over time.

hey i have some petrified wood it wont rot,leech or get soft ever! guaranteed lol.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 10:56 PM
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FYI- southern yellow cedar is OK, just not western red.
and unless you are using a regional common name for a plant that is not a cedar; both of these are decidious species which produce copious amounts of sap and would not be suitable for the tank.


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