What Driftwood Does to Your Water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 06:03 AM Thread Starter
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What Driftwood Does to Your Water




the bottle on the left with the red cap is unused water from a RO/DI unit.

the bottle to the right of that is from my 29g tank, which i did a 34% change on yesterday. The wood in that tank i boiled for almost 2days, and has three peices of wood.


The 3rd bottle is from my 10g tank, that has 2 pieces of cholla wood, that i boiled for maybe 8hrs. and i did 25% change on it.


the one on the right is from my cray tank that has no wood. i just added it for the sake of comparison. i did a 17% water change on it.

Will
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 06:30 AM
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Well clarity sucks. What about chemically? Doesn't wood lower the ph? I heard that somewhere.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 07:10 AM
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It's just aesthetic at least - the fish and plants won't mind. Keep on water changing and you'll be good.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 01:21 PM
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have my driftwood candidates soaking in the the rainbarrel outside, I know I will still get some tannins even though I stripped the bark and soaked, just hoping to get most of it leached out ahead of time.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 01:48 PM
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I have voiced my opinion on tannins and the way to avoid them many times. But then it is still a frequent problem. I find there is no effective treatment to remove tannins. Tannins are found in almost all wood that is not TOTALLY dry. That does not mean you have to put up with tannins but it does mean you have to choose your wood very carefully. Many think that wood is dry after a couple years. Good wood is not even dry enough to burn well at that point! A six inch thick piece of wood may take ten years to dry totally. It may also take half that long to soak the tannins out!

The best way to cure the tannin problem is to avoid the tannins.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzyvega View Post
Well clarity sucks. What about chemically? Doesn't wood lower the ph? I heard that somewhere.
One can read most anything on the net so question it all before believing too much.

Wood and PH can be related and wood CAN change the PH. We all have different water. The majority of books and information comes from the East coast where the water is often soft or without much buffering. Writers from those areas often say driftwood WILL change the PH because it does in their water.

Wood in water does the same as many other organics only on a very large scale due to the size. If you put a five pound brick of food in a tank you would expect the PH to crash! Wood does the same only slower because it takes time for water to soak into wood.

Wood will drop the PH if there is not adequate buffering to prevent it. Dry wood in tanks with hard alkaline water with good buffering qualities will not crash the PH.
This large cedar stump did not change my PH.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 02:29 PM
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I don't like boiling driftwood. It prematurely ages it towards rot (ime). I'm a bigger fan of patience. If I don't want to deal with tinted water and don't want to deal with carbon/purgin, then I soak. I set up a rubbermade container outside and soak the wood for about 3 months outside. Seems to work well for manzanita.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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the only reason i boil wood is because i'm to impatient. but its a pain because there is so much gunk in our water here that it leaves a white residue on everything, and i have to go buy a few gallons of R/O water for the last boil to remove all that stuff.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 01:55 PM
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I have extremely soft water that I buffer using baking soda (turns out ... not enough). I introduced some Mopani driftwood into my 5 gal. This caused my pH to crash, which in turn caused the bb to go into a dormant state ... and killed some of my Endlers. I took the wood out and did a big water change ... everything returned to normal.

So driftwood can be more than just a tea-stained-look thing.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
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I have extremely soft water that I buffer using baking soda (turns out ... not enough). I introduced some Mopani driftwood into my 5 gal. This caused my pH to crash, which in turn caused the bb to go into a dormant state ... and killed some of my Endlers. I took the wood out and did a big water change ... everything returned to normal.

So driftwood can be more than just a tea-stained-look thing.

This is totally true. It CAN kill your tank! We seem to be a group who are very involved in searching out answers on things like ferts but when it comes to other things like wood, we don't want to think.
It takes some thought to get it right.
When you get a new fish for the tank, we often watch more closely to see what happens. When you get a new piece of wood it requires the same care.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 05:45 PM
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First, Mopani is not a safe wood for an aquarium as the sap can be toxic. Sadly some still sell it as aquarium safe, but it is not as there is always a chance... Mostly it is used for reptiles

Try Seachem Purigen, it works for me as well as several friends. Use it in my canister filter and my tank is crystal clear with the fish and plants healthy and happy. Just make sure you follow the directions, rinse it off thoroughly, and personally I would buy the 100 ml prebagged to save the hassle. These would fit in an HOB filter as well. Worth reading up on it...
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absntmind View Post
First, Mopani is not a safe wood for an aquarium as the sap can be toxic. Sadly some still sell it as aquarium safe, but it is not as there is always a chance... Mostly it is used for reptiles
According to who? I have a black water tank FULL of the stuff and its been running great for 1.5 years. In fact, that tank is probably the 'healthiest' tank I have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainSong View Post
I have extremely soft water that I buffer using baking soda (turns out ... not enough). I introduced some Mopani driftwood into my 5 gal. This caused my pH to crash, which in turn caused the bb to go into a dormant state ... and killed some of my Endlers. I took the wood out and did a big water change ... everything returned to normal.

So driftwood can be more than just a tea-stained-look thing.

It's likely drastic change in pH, or another factor, caused the Endler death. I have Endlers in Black water conditions and they thrive.




As for removing tannins from the water. I find carbon and purigen are the best and quickest method.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 07:16 PM
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According to who? I have a black water tank FULL of the stuff and its been running great for 1.5 years. In fact, that tank is probably the 'healthiest' tank I have.


Just issues I have read about some having, not any scientific studies, lol. Most people do not have any problems with it, yet if it is not properly cured is when problems arise. This is more common with people buying "animal safe" wood or “reptile” wood. One needs to be extra careful when adding things to a small tank (such as 5 gallons) as there is less room for error.

Quote:
As for removing tannins from the water. I find carbon and purigen are the best and quickest method.


Purigen is great, though carbon is not always beneficial to use in a planted tank. Many believe it strips nutrients from the water which plants can utilize, though it will clear the water of tannis. Been a popular topic with aquarist for a while now, and worth looking into first. There have been some of those same worries about purigen, yet if you go to seachems website they have addressed it (for what it's worth).
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 07:32 PM
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Activated Carbon has been addressed, too. It has great affinity for larger molecules, especially organic (strict definition) molecules.
It has less affinity for the simple molecules that are most of our fertilizers.

It can remove chelated minerals, but does not remove much, if any of things like KNO3, KH2PO4 or K2SO4.

It can remove most dyes (such as dye based medicines) and most other medicines.
It can remove tannins, but the wood or other source of tannins will keep on producing more tannins, so I find it better to do water changes (which the tank needs anyway) to keep the tannin level lower.

As suggested above: If you cannot tolerate any tannins, then do not place organic materials (wood, peat moss, dried leaves) in the tank.
If a little bit of tannins is OK, you can help the material get rid of a certain amount by boiling or pre-soaking, but you will not get rid of all the tannins that way, and some stuff does not stand up to pre-treatment very well. Better just to use a few leaves, for example, at a time.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 12:44 AM
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I've never done any big technical study on tannins so much of my theory is just a guess but I have a view on boiling the tannins out. First is that it may help. But what I read about tannins fits with what I find through using and working with wood. I think the tannins can be found in the cells or pores of the wood. All through the wood in many cases. Not just at the bark or near the surface. So if these cells have to break down to release the tannins, boiling can do this near the surface. But that will only go as far as the hot water gets into the wood to break open the cells. If the wood is an inch thick, boiling for an hour might do it. But if the wood is three inches thick, I suspect you will give up long before you get the center boiled.

I try to do things the easy way much of the time. For wood in tanks, I don't bring home the wood that is not dry. I don't want to spend half a day boiling it. So I spend my time in finding the wood which nature has dried for me. If I cut the end off and it is still not dry, I leave it.
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