Petrified Wood - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-27-2005, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Petrified Wood

Hey all, I am new here at TPT. I wanted to tell you about a recent experience with petrified wood. I ask that you let me know if you had similar experiences. This is about a tank that was newly set up and used petrified wood for decorative/retaining level purposes. Lots of plants, lots of light, onyx substrate, cool driftwood. Shortly after setup, everything was covered with a thick blanket of algae. We got all varieties of algae eaters. They did a great job, then the water turned green. Soupy green. The pH went up. We did water changes - lots of them. Got frustrated. Did bigger water changes. The pH fluctuated so much that the water changes started killing the fish. We thought there must be phosphate in the tap water. So, we added phosphate remover. That did not work. We turned the lights out and threw a blanket over for four days. That did not work. Finally we got the bright idea to get a phosphate test kit. From a scale of 1-10 with dark blue being 10. It tested more blue than the test could indicate. The tap water tested between one and 2. WHERE was it coming from?? The substrate? The driftwood? NO!! It was the petrified wood!! There was a white substance on it that I could scrape off with my fingernail. I said let's test this for phosphate. With our handy screwdriver, we scraped off a bunch into the nice test tube. Added the sulfuric acid (part 1) of the test. It immediatly began to bubble. We added part 2 of the test. It came up an 8 or so.

I have an old book with pictures and descriptions of minerals. There are different groupings of minerals. (i.e. quartz, amethyst fall under silicates). Well guess who's pretty picture falls under the grouping of phosphates? That's right. PETRIFIED WOOD. Well, long story short, the rock is gone and so is our phosphate/algae problem - for now.

Beware people. Depending on what part of the world this stuff comes from. This is an unsuspecting piece of rock that was sold to us from a fish store. We did not even think that it could be the culprit since it did come from a fish store. That was our biggest mistake.

Thanks for reading my rant. I look forward to hearing your horror stories too.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-27-2005, 12:27 PM
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Welcome to The Planted Tank.

Wow, never realised Petrified wood could be that bad!

I do know that "petrified wood" is the term given to any piece of wood that has converted into a mineral state over time, and as such, the end product can vary a lot on it's chemical composition.

Rather than use a sample of the substance direct, I would bucket test it preferably to show how the substance affects the actual water, which is what it would be doing in the tank situation. Even if the rock is chemically made of phosphate, it may never leech into the water.

I guess the moral of this story (which many already do with all rocks) is to pre-test the rock/wood in a bucket of water before it goes into your tank as it's a lot easier to avoid problems later!

Eheim Pimp #121

80 litre "Planted" tank
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-27-2005, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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I tried to abbreviate our story as much as possible since it was something that occurred over a period of 2 months. I did leave out the part where we soaked the rock and tested the water. We only put it in the water for a couple of hours, though. The water tested OK after that. How long would be a good time to soak rocks though? A week? A month? It was only after I noticed a white substance on the rock that I was able to just scratch off with my nail that the light bulb in my head lit up.

As you can imagine, we were quite upset that a local retailer who specializes only in fish would sell a rock like that. It cost my friend a couple hundred bucks and many lost fish to try and help the situation before we found the cause.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-27-2005, 08:30 PM
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I have heard of rock phosphate before. Are you sure what you have is petrified wood?
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-29-2005, 06:55 AM
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I have petrified wood in my tank.. but haven't experienced any of the problems you've had.. tanks been running 9 mths. My GH has gone up 2 degrees to 11.. but I don't know if that is because of that or if I even to be concerned with it... maybe someone can tell me different.

But thanks for the heads up.
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