Is this wood safe for aquarium? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Is this wood safe for aquarium?

Found a nice, large piece of wood in the desert a while ago. Don't know if it's safe or not. Has some burn marks. If it's safe, do I scrape off the burn marks or leave it like that?



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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 09:19 PM
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It looks like juniper to me, but I'm not an expert. Juniper is for sure not okay for an aquarium though.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 10:32 PM
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good guess I was going to say cedar? Does it have a pine smell?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 10:57 PM
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It should be fine if it's been dead for a while. Should be no sap.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Its been dead for over a year at least. Was already dead dry when I got it Fall of last year. Will do some soaking to see if any sap comes out.

Care to explain why juniper isn't safe? I'm clueless when it comes to what different woods contain.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2015, 12:05 AM
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The sap in woods like cedar, juniper and pine are a potential problem in the tank. Oils? One reason cedar is used for outdoor things like decks, fences is that it is famous for holding the sap for longer than lots of other wood.
But the saving grace of those woods is that it is very easy to tell when they are totally free of the sap that causes problems. I never try to ID the wood that I use as it is totally unimportant when it is totally dry.
So some thoughts on your wood? When does wood burn? When the heat is intense which dries the wood or when the wood is already dry! So you have a piece of wood that has been in a fire and it almost burned. That is a very important clue that it is dry. Second is when you look at the cut end, you see that the color is almost totally uniform from outer layers to inside. Since the moisture is what colors the wood and it dissipates from outside to inside, seeing it uniform says it has dried all the way through!

Downside to totally dry wood is that it will be very light and float easily. Since it has been burned, it will likely be very hard and take a long time to soak up, so expect to weight it down in some way. I screw pieces of floor tile slate to make it stand the way I want as well as hold it down.
It looks like a winner to me!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2015, 12:09 AM
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I have a big ol chunk of Cedar in one of my tanks and never had any issue whatsoever. When I cut the bottom of it to make it sit flat it definitely still stank like cedar.

I was very leary at first, but then came across this:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20033284
If I'm reading it correctly, it may have only killed off the algae slightly, BONUS! The trout are scaleless fish as well which are the ones we worry most about regarding our treatments and the like.

Seems juniper is OK too. Not saying for sure it won't cause you trouble so it's your call... But with cedar I've had no issue at all.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 07:39 PM
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Here in this area, we have an ID problem with cedar and juniper. What is often called cedar is really an invasive species of juniper. I don't bother to learn which is the native cedar and which is the invasive pest as they work very much the same for what I do with them in the tank.
I find once the moisture or sap is gone the rest is pretty much harmless cellulose. I just go for the dry and don't even try the rest.
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