Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Clearwater, Florida
Manzanita is the only driftwood I have ever used, mainly because it was the first I bought, and I liked who I bought it from. I also like the fact that the Manzanita I buy comes from California(US product).
That being said, Manzanita does some funky stuff when you first place it into water. If you have a big piece it will float for a couple weeks and slowly sink, while leeching tannins. Smaller pieces usually leech and sink much faster.
Then comes the part where the wood begins to adapt to its new underwater environment. This usually is detailed by fuzzy spore looking mold stuff which i am still not sure what the heck it is, all I know is my shrimp devour this stuff. The black stuff you described is probably this white spore absorbing tannins or other particle debris. As the other user mentioned, you can brush it off (I use a toothbrush, one that has obviously never been used lol) or just let it ride. High chance that whatever aquatic life you have in the tank will keep it clean. My otos pretty much stay glued to my driftwood and my cherry shrimp keep it nice and clean.