What exactly is considered driftwood? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-01-2013, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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What exactly is considered driftwood?

I love the look of the hardwood driftwood if that makes sense to anyone, not the manzanita and rose wood/branch wood like you normally see. Problem is, no suppliers carry any. I was curious as to what it actually is and what could be used for an aquarium. I always see lots of fallen trees and limbs but most are rotten so I'm not exactly sure how you would come across, or create driftwood. I have read that some people take bark off of limbs then soak them in water? Is there anyway to actually find some fallen trees and turn them into something that could be used in an aquarium? Thanks
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-01-2013, 09:03 PM
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Right up my alley on "found " wood!
I like to go for a hike and see what turns up but it does help if you have a plan. What you find depends on where you live. Most places will have some type of wood but it can be scarce in some. Easy way if it fits your part of the world is to look along lakes. Man made lakes that rise and fall are good. That lets the wood that dies, drop and float around while it gets good and dry totally through. To me, driftwood doesn't have to be real driftwood but the water action does do a good job of clearing the small stuff and removing tannin and bark. If no lakes of this sort, how about spots where there are downpours which flood gulches, washes, or dry creeks? Whatever they are called in your place, they are good places to find wood. Don't bother with the stuff on the ground as it is likely to be bug eaten and rotten. Not what we want but the stuff that is washed down and hangs up in trees to dry can be a gold mine. Harder to get to than driving up in a boat but still available along hiking trails where they cross creek beds? Neither of these? How about construction areas where they have built subdivisions and left bull doze piles. Trees and roots hanging out of these and up off the ground?
If you take a small folding saw along and find a good one, cut an end off to check for dry. If all the bark is gone and the color is pretty much uniform from outside to inner wood, It is quite likely good to use.
The type of wood is not as important as the amount of sap or oils left in the wood. How much it may/may not affect your water depends on the buffering in your water and how much sap is left in the wood. I use cedar here with no trouble but others with less GH/KH may have trouble.
Enough to get you thinking?
I just do a simple bleach soak to reset things so I know there is nothing harmful riding along and go from there. Dry wood does often take some type of weight to hold it down for a few months while it soaks up again.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-01-2013, 09:17 PM
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Right up my alley on "found " wood!
I like to go for a hike and see what turns up but it does help if you have a plan. What you find depends on where you live. Most places will have some type of wood but it can be scarce in some. Easy way if it fits your part of the world is to look along lakes. Man made lakes that rise and fall are good. That lets the wood that dies, drop and float around while it gets good and dry totally through. To me, driftwood doesn't have to be real driftwood but the water action does do a good job of clearing the small stuff and removing tannin and bark. If no lakes of this sort, how about spots where there are downpours which flood gulches, washes, or dry creeks? Whatever they are called in your place, they are good places to find wood. Don't bother with the stuff on the ground as it is likely to be bug eaten and rotten. Not what we want but the stuff that is washed down and hangs up in trees to dry can be a gold mine. Harder to get to than driving up in a boat but still available along hiking trails where they cross creek beds? Neither of these? How about construction areas where they have built subdivisions and left bull doze piles. Trees and roots hanging out of these and up off the ground?
If you take a small folding saw along and find a good one, cut an end off to check for dry. If all the bark is gone and the color is pretty much uniform from outside to inner wood, It is quite likely good to use.
The type of wood is not as important as the amount of sap or oils left in the wood. How much it may/may not affect your water depends on the buffering in your water and how much sap is left in the wood. I use cedar here with no trouble but others with less GH/KH may have trouble.
Enough to get you thinking?
I just do a simple bleach soak to reset things so I know there is nothing harmful riding along and go from there. Dry wood does often take some type of weight to hold it down for a few months while it soaks up again.
We have TONS of lake driftwood here right now and it is all tank safe as I have used it for years. The lakes are really low so it is like a field day with pieces. I have thought about filling up my truck and clean and season it and selling it. There is some really nice pieces. Nice thing is they don't leech at all, at least nothing that changes the water color or effect the pH or KH/GH.

@PlantedRich, how hard is the water down there?


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-01-2013, 09:28 PM
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We have TONS of lake driftwood here right now and it is all tank safe as I have used it for years. The lakes are really low so it is like a field day with pieces. I have thought about filling up my truck and clean and season it and selling it. There is some really nice pieces. Nice thing is they don't leech at all, at least nothing that changes the water color or effect the pH or KH/GH.

@PlantedRich, how hard is the water down there?
Hmmm so could you get some that takes the shape of bonsai trees?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-01-2013, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome thanks guys.. They do a lot of clearings where I live along canals (streams,rivers) and there are always tons of dead hardwoods.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 02:29 AM
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We have TONS of lake driftwood here right now and it is all tank safe as I have used it for years. The lakes are really low so it is like a field day with pieces. I have thought about filling up my truck and clean and season it and selling it. There is some really nice pieces. Nice thing is they don't leech at all, at least nothing that changes the water color or effect the pH or KH/GH.

@PlantedRich, how hard is the water down there?
That is the "secret" to being able to use wood without worry about it changing the water too much. Central Tex has lots of limestone and that means very hard water to buffer any PH change. I've forgotten what the numbers on the test are as it is borderline, top of the chart. The consumer report says something like 18 grains hardness. But then I'm also on a different water source than Austin.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 02:40 AM
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Hmmm so could you get some that takes the shape of bonsai trees?
Yep, I have seen some like that but they were to big for my tank. There is plenty to choose from for sure. I will have to go out and take a picture. It is driftwood paradise.


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That is the "secret" to being able to use wood without worry about it changing the water too much. Central Tex has lots of limestone and that means very hard water to buffer any PH change. I've forgotten what the numbers on the test are as it is borderline, top of the chart. The consumer report says something like 18 grains hardness. But then I'm also on a different water source than Austin.
I was really surprised to be honest with this wood. I thought it would leech all kinds of junk and be full of insects but it wasn't. I powered washed them really really good then boiled them on a turkey fryer. They I did some water quality testing. I filled up a 44G trash can never used and took the water parameters. Put the wood in and checked it every 24 hours and surprising enough it hardly even moved or leeched anything. So after two weeks I just put it in my tank and used it for 6-7 years without any issues. I got really lucky I think. I forgot about the all the limestone down there. That would make the water hard for sure. It is really hard up here too. 180 ppm on GH when I tested it last week.


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 02:50 AM
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Texan78 - I wood ( ) be very interested in buying some. I'm looking for a couple pieces for a 10g and a 38 tall. I'd like something that resembles a tree for the 10g and maybe a nice stump or branchy piece for the 38 tall. Maybe we can work out a deal.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 03:14 PM
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Texan78 - I wood ( ) be very interested in buying some. I'm looking for a couple pieces for a 10g and a 38 tall. I'd like something that resembles a tree for the 10g and maybe a nice stump or branchy piece for the 38 tall. Maybe we can work out a deal.
I have a boat and the lakes here vary a lot so there are often piles available. That has prompted me to think about collecting to sell. I'm not too much into making money on my hobbies, though. It tends to take the fun out of it real quick.

The second big item that keeps me from collecting more wood is the shipping. Small twiggy stuff is nice and light but I can't imagine a way to ship it. Think of a big box with nothing but a long branchy type. How does one build a box that is large enough and still strong enough to avoid being crushed when it is on the bottom of a pile? For a standard size item, they can get styro fit to shape, but for branches, no good. Pour in a tub full of peanuts and it still gets squished out of shape. Four yards of bubble wrap?

Long story cut short? The wood I get for nearly free has to sell for for more than it is worth just to cover the packing and shipping! What I find is that people like the thought of wood but they are very slow to spend $25 up for shipping wood that costs $15. The total gets up there around $40-50 real quick and then there may still be problems.

It sounds so easy but then I don't want the grief that might ruin my hobby!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 04:52 PM
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I think PlantedRich addressed this pretty well.

It's no so important that it's actually driftwood (which is kinda funny, since very little of the commercially available 'driftwood' ever actually drifted - malaysian bogwood from stumps/roots, manzanita, mopane chunks, sandblasted grapevine, etc.), as much as almost anything that isn't lignin or cellulose has washed out/leached out/decomposed.

I'm a big fan of trying to collect it yourself, pretty much like PlantedRich stated. One thing I've found useful is to use Google maps to locate potential sites. This probably works much better with large open bodies of water (oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers) then with creeks and canals, but it would be worth trying.

And even if you don't find any suitable pieces of wood, there is usually plenty of other interesting stuff to see.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 04:59 PM
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I completely understand the hassle that might be involved.

FWIW - I know of a place in Pflugerville where you can get packing supplies. My company operates a Sears delivery warehouse there and they have all kinds of packing supplies they throw away. Furniture stores throw away bubble wrap by the yard. All can be acquired for free. Let me know if you're interested.


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 09:30 PM
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Well, that would help. I have several items that I never use and don't sell on Craigslist. Craigslist is a mixed bag many times. There are those who really want something and rush over and then there are those who never show up! Lots of my stuff would fit the group who reads this forum much better than the Craigs group.

Can you PM me the info on the local warehouse spot? I might still turn it down but I do have time to think it over. I like finding stuff but it would be more fun if I had something to do with it after I bring it home!
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 11:20 PM
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I agree with PlantedRich, I really couldn't sell it but, I was thinking if someone was willing to pay for just the shipping I would do the rest and sanitize and clean it and water log it so it sinks or you can do that yourself or for a small fee I could attach it to slate. You wouldn't pay until it is ready to ship and you select the exact piece you want from pictures. Shipping would get pricey but for natural driftwood that is seasoned and cured and tank ready if you just paid shipping it would be cheaper than anything you would find in the stores. This was just an idea I was kicking around. It was actually my daughter who came up with the idea as she wanted to raise money for her project. (AKA paying her dad back! LoL).


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