DIY Drifitwood experiment - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-20-2009, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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DIY Drifitwood experiment

Has anyone ever tried to make their own driftwood? I was thinking about trying and experiment...got some pretty nice woods behind my house and was thinking about cutting some roots and branches from an oak tree or a birch tree...and then trying different methods to see if I can emulate natural driftwood

the method that I think would work the best would be taking the roots, shaving/scraping/peeling off the top layer, cleaning them and then drying them in an oven before soaking them in a solution (havent thought about which type of solution yet) for a week and the seeing the end results...

I mean...what makes the driftwood sold in stores so special?
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-20-2009, 08:43 PM
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the price tag.

A lot of people collect their own driftwood, all you do is remove the top layers of bark by either soaking and scrubbing, or power-washing it away. Then it can be baked to remove possible pests, or soaked till it sinks. And you basically have driftwood.

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-20-2009, 09:12 PM
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Driftwood is called driftwood because it has usually already been floating in water or submerged in water in a river or lake. If you were to do "make" your own, you would be better off checking out a creek, river, or lake to find submerged or at least floating pieces that have been in the water for a while. Then submerge them in water in a 5 gallon bucket or something to make sure they are waterlogged and release extra tannins so they don't leak into your tank. You could also boil them for extra safety to kill anything that would be living in them.

You may also want to google driftwood to find out the best wood for this.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-21-2009, 02:36 AM
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No, "driftwood" has just become the hobby term for any wood used in an aquascape. the most common type of "driftwood" used is probably manzanita, which is harvested dead and then cleaned and sometimes soaked. It's not usually pulled from the water at all. In fact, using previously waterlogged could be harmful as it could contain pests and possible toxins from the previous environment.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-21-2009, 03:19 AM
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In nature drift wood is wood that drifts ashore. In this hobby, driftwood is any kind of wood that we can use, which is correct, but Jarod said "usually", so really there's nothing to argue over.

I have used oak branches, with the bark peeled off, from trees in my back yard before, but it just doesn't look as good as manzy, or other types of wood.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-21-2009, 04:20 AM
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Ideally the wood you use is "cured", meaning it has no sap left in it, and the wood is hard and probably turned gray. Using green wood, with sap still in it, might cause problems if that particular sap is somewhat toxic to fish or plants (actually not very likely.)

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 06:26 PM
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Yeah and sometimes the easiest way to find wood already cured is finding it floating in a beaver damn or washed ashore or something. I really wish I could find a cured tree stump to add to my scape. I'd probably want to try to hollow it out a little so there would be a cave inside for shrimp. Anyone ever do their own stump? Probably a lot of work.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 07:29 PM
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I make my own- try to find pieces without any bark on them.

Clean all the excess dirt and debris off the wood with a hose, and then boil the wood for about an hour a side (for long pieces that wont fit in your pot) after the water starts boiling.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
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kinda strange...I started experimenting around with different trees...and eventually settled on some hickory tree branches

I took some branches...stripped the bark off with a knife...baked them in the oven on 235 (water boils at 212) for an hr and they came out bone dry...

I boiled the hell outta them for 30 mins

drained the tea colored water...and repeated the process 3 times...

the water was no longer brown from the tanins

I put them in my tank...and now they appear to be growing some strange white film over them

anyone have any idea what that might be?
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 02:11 AM
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I grabbed the stump that's in my tank from a reservoir down the road, scrubbed the heck out of it, and ran it through the dishwasher. It has been in there for a while now with no adverse effects that I can see, but it did grow some white crud on the bottom of one of the branches which I assume was some type of bacteria. The shrimp and otto loved eating it, but it cleared up on its own.


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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-08-2010, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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I have some snails that eat it...

but I wouldnt be surprised if its a bacterial thing...and as long as it goes away...then excellent!

next time I do this...therell be a nice chlorine bath somewhere in the process
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-09-2010, 05:23 AM
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Honestly, that's a cool idea. I have two spare 55g food grade storage drums in my garage that are empty. So maybe it's time to do a wood collecting trip. Just need to find a good place, that isn't protected, and go collecting. Might have to venture out to my relatives this weekend.

I actually just resoaked a small stump from a few years ago. Placed it in a drainable cooler and left it on the porch. It sort of........froze. But it sinks like a rock! If you guys have drainable coolers I'd use that. Just pull the plug, refill, repeat!

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-09-2010, 07:37 AM
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Theres a few willow trees down a paper road close to where I live, got some awesome branchy pieces that fit and looks great in my 5ft tank
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-09-2010, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killacross View Post
kinda strange...I started experimenting around with different trees...and eventually settled on some hickory tree branches

I took some branches...stripped the bark off with a knife...baked them in the oven on 235 (water boils at 212) for an hr and they came out bone dry...

I boiled the hell outta them for 30 mins

drained the tea colored water...and repeated the process 3 times...

the water was no longer brown from the tanins

I put them in my tank...and now they appear to be growing some strange white film over them

anyone have any idea what that might be?
Nothing to worry about!
Great to know I can do this!

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-09-2010, 02:50 PM
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I pulled this Grape vine root (far right) from my back property. I powerwashed it and baked it but I never boiled it. In hindsight I should have spent more time scrubbing off the bark because it still sheds a strip every now and them. I have a couple of Gold Nugget Plecos that are helping to remove the leftover bark.

Last edited by Guy; 02-12-2010 at 02:03 AM.
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