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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 03:46 AM Thread Starter
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Drift wood

Got some drift wood I found on the edge of one of the ponds on our property was wondering what I need to do to it before I out it in a tank?

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 07:32 PM
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Scrub most of the dirt and grime off, check that it is totally dry inside so that you don't have to deal with tannins and then do a bleach soak as the cheap, easy way.
Any container that can be filled to cover the wood. Since there is no danger of damage to the wood, put a good quantity of cheap unscented bleach in. A half to full cup is plenty. Don't get the bleach on your cloths if you are not familiar with doing laundry!
Let the wood soak in the bleach water 8-10 hours to give it plenty of time to soak into all the little nooks and crannies. When done soaking carefully pull it out and do a rinse to speed things up. That dilutes any remaining bleach. Then let it dry totally. Chlorine has a wonderful point in it's favor. It smells really strong so when you don't smell it any more, it is gone!
Some points to know? Wood is very likely to change colors when in the bleach and come out an ugly white. This color will return to normal wet, weathered color when you put it in the tank for a week or so. Bleach is 94% water, with a tiny bit of salt and chlorine. There is nothing there to fear and bleach soaks are used for everything from cleaning underwear to dishes. It is even used in your drinking water in many areas that can't afford to switch to chloramine treatment. So if it doesn't soak into your skivvies and come out later to harm anything, don't worry about it coming out to harm your fish?
Most of us wore diapers that were soaked in chlorine bleach before we got so lazy we started throwing diapers away!
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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That's what I though I should do I do it with rocks and stuff I just didint know if it would be ok for drift wood cuz it might soak it up thank for the info

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 11:53 PM
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There is always a lot of talk about bleach might soak in and not come out but it doesn't fit logic very well.
Bleach goes in the bucket as a liquid and adding it to water doesn't make it a solid but just dilutes it more. So if it is a liquid that will soak in (and we hope it does) what would make it not dry out as the rest of the moisture does?
Then there is the question of what is in the bleach and we get water, salt and chlorine. Water and salt doesn't hurt fish unless the salt gets really high. So we are left with chlorine.
Chlorine is a gas by nature and we can tell it gasses off real easy. When we go around a pool, we smell chlorine because the chlorine used to treat the water is gassing off and we can smell it blowing around in the air. That's how pool guys make their living. They come round to clean the pool and replace the chlorine!

Of course we could get into the real low level thinking that we have chlorine in the tap water already in many cases and deal with it all the time? The only difference in tap water and bleach is how much it is diluted. Drinking water is between 3-10 PPM and bleach is 6%. Way stronger until we dilute it by rinsing.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info I'll bleach them then

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Haha alright

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 04:03 AM Thread Starter
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Anyone know if putting cedar drift wood ina tank is ok?

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 05:19 AM
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Cedar is not safe for aquariums at all, no. Anything with a lot of sap or a strong smell isn't safe, and especially not something that's known for repelling things.


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 03:43 PM
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Beg to differ?
I find it is not the type of wood which is important but whether and how much sap is left. Cedar is one which often gets a bad rap due to the way it does hold the sap for a long time. But even cedar doesn't hold sap forever so totally dry cedar is often used in my tanks. TOTALLY dry is the key issue. NOT just kinda/sorta dry. If it still has a strong smell , it is not dry!

I have many examples of cedar used in tanks.
This is old cedar in a 75 gallon.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 08:59 PM
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I'm using cedar as well. I haven't had any problems, but I did find it on a lake shore and let it dry completely.


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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 10:39 PM
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Most of the cedar I use may actually be juniper as it is very common and once totally dead and dried, I can't tell the difference. Most of the cedar type that I use has been dead for at least ten years. Once wood is dead dry and all the markers of what species it was are then gone, I often can't say what wood I use. Dead dry, weathered with no bark, no leaves and no smell, leaves it a real question of what wood it might be. When it gets down to not much more than cellulose left, it doesn't matter.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2015, 07:12 AM
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2015, 08:19 AM
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I have a big black rubber trash can in my back yard at all times soaking wood. I empty and refill once per week. When I take a piece out, I do a 20 minute salt boil and rinse, then in it goes.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2015, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I found this by the water also. The only reason I know it's cedar is because I was cutting some off and I got a hint of the smell but there's no bark or anything on it and it looks really old. I didint know it was cedar till I cut it I thought it was oak.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2015, 03:15 PM
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That's where we need to look at stress relief? When we try to decide what species a found wood might be, it can be really hard. When a tree is living we have to use all kinds of small hints to get down to the exact type of tree. We look at bark, leaves, acorns, and even where it is growing. Not hard to tell an oak from a cedar! But all that is gone when wood has been dead and out in the weather for a long time. So we can make life a lot easier if we forget the worry about what species. We often can't tell anyway.
What we should worry about is how dry the wood is rather than the species. But then that can be an easy point to miss if we don't know what to look for in the wood.
We can get by with using wet wood if we don't mind fighting with tannins but why bother?
If we use totally dry wood, it should have no bark left, be lighter weight for the size and have a pretty uniform color all the way through.

This is a big piece of cedar I use as an example of totally dry wood.


It is cedar or juniper but when I cut it open to make space for fish, I find a uniform color except around knots where the sap is often a bit slower.

Totally safe to use when the wood is dry. I used this for spawning sites for rainbow cichlids.
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