Let's play "Name that wood!" - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Let's play "Name that wood!"

I've been on the hunt for wood for my 100 gallon that I will soon be planting. I have a couple pieces in there now but might want to add more.

I have found these pieces of wood that I like, but don't know if they are safe to add.

Batch #1, found a long time ago and just set them outside and forgot about them. If I remember right, when I found them I had actually pulled them off a living tree or bush...however they've been sitting outside for months and months and months now, so they're now all dead and dried out.

Batch #2 I found today when hunting for driftwood. I walked a good ways along the river and found nothing. This was found by a creek - not in the creek, but maybe a few hundred feet away as I was walking towards the creek. Dried out and I THINK it is Oak but I'm not sure. Only have a picture of one of them(but you can see both in the first picture in this thread)

I'm near Redding, CA if that helps in helping me ID this wood...
Mostly what I'm wondering is, with a good scrubbing with hose water and clean brush, plus soaking when I find something big enough to soak 'em in, are any of these safe to use in my aquarium? What kind of wood do you think they are?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 11:52 PM
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Time for thoughts, guesses, and just opinions?
Really after leaves and bark are gone and not seeing it under some particular tree, it can be nearly impossible to tell the species. But on the other hand, that may not matter at all. We CAN be sure of a couple things. They are not new Cedar, pine or one of the trees which are famous for holding sap so we can move on as very few types are dangerous when fully dry. They could be oak on the left two in the first pic. Maybe not on the right two?? It looks from here, that you have chosen very well.

They are not large thick pieces so the drying is much faster than a four inch thick might be. The cracks are a good sign as they form when the wood dries and shrinks. That one crack looks like it might extend all the way to the middle. That one is almost certain to be good!
If you cut an end off or shorten them, check for pretty uniform color outside to inner. The more uniform the more likely to be totally dry.
In the fourth pic of the broken end, I see what looks like a borer of some type. I don't like to put unknowns into the tank, whether they would do any harm or not. I like to KNOW it is clean and dead. That means I do an overnight soak in water with a 1/2 cup or so of bleach. Then I pull it out, rinse it and let it dry. Then I can use it without worry about what unknown might be in there hiding. Like my dinner plate, I feel better knowing it is safe rather than kind of/sort of hoping it is.

I would give you an "A" in wood hunting class!!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 12:52 AM
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I would have a better chance if these were East Coast species (which they could be, some species are found throughout) - I know my flora pretty well over here. One looked like it could be a Hop Hornbeam and the reddish inner back on the one reminds me of Cedar. But just educated guesses.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-13-2014, 01:05 AM
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Valley oak, bitterbrush, snowbrush, chokecherry, manzinita, are all possibilities plus many more. It's pretty much impossible to determine the species from the wood in a picture.

Location, bark type, smell, and texture all can give you clues.
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