Drift wood found in a big river that boats use also - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Drift wood found in a big river that boats use also

I found some pieces of drift wood on the beach. It is a big river The (Sacramento River) that flows strongly but is also used by boats, jet skis ect..

I searched and had a hard time finding out about are there chemicals in the drift wood and what to do about it if there is?

Is it safe to boil the wood to get rid of any chemicals that may be in it. Or are there even enought to worry about. Or should I just buy it from a store.

I am trying to save money here and since i live by a river it gives me an endless supply of wood that i can use for free but i dont want to kill my fish either trying to save money

HELP please?

D.M.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 09:12 PM
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I don't think you are going to have any problems. If it's a big piece, I'm not sure how you are going to boil it.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Ya i have a few big pieces that are big my only options are to cut it down to size for the pot or buy a bigger pot. I have a outdoor burner that can handle big pots.

That is if i do decide to use it.

Is there any chemical tests that you can get that will test the wood or the water that i put it in?

Kind of like a pool testing kit except one that tests for checmicals.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 09:33 PM
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Yep. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals has FW testing kits.
The one at www.petsmart.com is pretty cheap. $13.49. If you print out a copy of their website, they'll match it in-store.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again epic i will look into this, it is exactly what i need.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Hey epic do you know what kit i should be looking for to test for chemials such as gas and oil?
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 09:48 PM
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I'd just do a thorough boiling of it. Afterwards, keep it in a tub of water and check water parameters weekly using the test kit. If they're normal after a while, use the wood.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 10:14 PM
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agreed. Boil it first and put it in the tank, preferably with no fish for at least a couple weeks. If it's too large to fit in a pot, then just scrub it real good and rinse it outside. I would also examine it, in case there's anything noticeablly suspicious about it. Not sure how the Sacramento river is, but I know the American river (the "other" river in Sac) isn't bad at all. Does the wood sink?

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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Some do some dont, i have several pieces of it. The sacramento river can get busy at times with boat traffic.

Some pieces are over a 2 feet long some are a few inches.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 10:36 PM
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If you have a pool you could just toss it in there for a while. The bad stuff in the wood, if any, should leach out over time plus the clorine should kill any nasties. To get rid of the clorine then just put it into some regular water and add declore and let it sit for a few days.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 11:00 PM
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I'd worry about pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, and like you said gas and oil on it. Boil it if you can. Another thing you could try is those steam high pressure cleaners (or some type of high pressure cleaner). Soak it for a while too and maybe put a fish you don't care about with it afterwards to make sure it is OK.

If there was nothing to worry about in that water, you'd drink it straight from the river instead of going through treatment.

Another thing about test kits or water testing, they're only good for what they are testing for

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 11:08 PM
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Ditto what Tina says. An aquarium testing kit won't help you at all if you're trying to see if the wood is leaching toxic chemicals. The only situation I could see a testing kit being useful is if you're trying to use a rotting piece of wood, then you could test for nitrites and ammonia lol.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-19-2007, 11:11 PM
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Did some general searching and found this:

http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/circ1215/summary.htm#stream

There may be some other government reports too, but it'll take searching.

Definitely boil!

Tina
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-20-2007, 12:40 AM
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Boil with a campfire and large metal tub, then test with some feeders (guppy or goldfish). After a month nothing kills them then your good to go. I had to do this twice now and found the camping trip worth it for those 2 VERY special pieces.

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-20-2007, 12:47 PM
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Sometimes we sweat the small stuff:

If you are thinking about putting a piece of found driftwood in a small tank with a $1500 prize fish, DON'T.

If you buy a piece of wood at your LFS, where did it come from? Was it boiled or otherwise treated?? After all, the FDA and EPA don't care what you put in your aquarium.


Otherwise:

Boiling is a good idea - mainly because it kills living things (snail eggs, dragonfly larvae, etc). It MIGHT help remove some of the contaminants, but I wouldn't worry about it.

Gas and oil: The amount that gets into the water from boat traffic is minimal relative to the amount that would impact fish health. The main problem with these is the drinkability of the water. Boiling will remove gas, but not oil.

Pesticides: Again, drinkability is the main issue. Sometimes they can affect fish health, but usually this is an intermittent event (Joe tries to treat his own termites and uses 10x the label directions, then it rains that night). They might accumulate in the wood, but modern pesticides usually are degraded in the environment. Boiling in acidic solution can accelerate degradation.

Heavy metals (mercury, etc): Drinkability again. Long-term health of your captive fish might be a concern (mercury accumulates in fatty tissues and is a neurotoxin). Boiling will remove some, but many of these form slightly soluble compounds, so a series of boil/rinse/boil/rinse etc might be needed if the piece is really contaminated.

If you follow the EI method, the weekly water changes will keep any leachate levels low too.

Kevin

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