How do you secure Manzanita Driftwood so it sticks upward? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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How do you secure Manzanita Driftwood so it sticks upward?

I have a beautiful package of Manzanita driftwood which has been soaking for a long time. I want to use it in my 75g tank, but I can't figure out how to secure the branches in the position I want.

I want the branches positioned with the tips upward (90 degree angle from tank) and outward (45 degree angle from tank). I know I can't just stick them in the substrate and expect them to stay put. What I don't know is how to put them together and secure them so they will stay put.

I've thought that maybe I should drill holes at the bottom to connect things or glue them or... I don't know!

How do you secure the branches?

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 12:31 AM
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I actually just stuck mine into the gravel and placed pegs into the gravel where the piece of wood is leaning towards. I do have very thick layer of gravel though.

If I were you I would get a sheet of plexiglass, and either zip tie, screw or silicone the piece of wood where you want them. Make sure to cut the wood at the right angles! Then just place the gravel on top.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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I like the plexiglass idea! Unfortunately, the tank is already in use (substrate, some plants, fish).

It's not too late to do this, if needed. I do like the idea of having the wood secured very well so it won't fall out of place if bumped (and I will bump it!). I'd love to screw the wood down to the plexiglass. Which type of screws (material-wise) can I use that can handle the water?

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 01:05 AM
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I use plexi and screw the wood on with stainless steel screws. Just go to the hardware store and ask for stainless steel. They'll know what you need. Don't bother with silicone, it won't hold over the long haul. Just cut the wood at an angle, pre-drill the hole for the screw and tighten it down. Good luck!
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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I think I'll go for that idea.

A simple question... how do you keep the screws from scratching the bottom glass?

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 05:03 AM
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Or, you could prop the branches with rocks, and tie them together with zipties.





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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 12:20 PM
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That's a valid point as a screw point pressing down on the glass is asking for a cracked tank. Sorry, should have mentioned that I recess the screw with a slightly larger hole drilled in the plexi first then add a good dab of silicone over the screw head to cushion it. I always get the flat headed screws rather than the rounded ones so there is little sticking out of the plexiglass.

For larger pieces of wood I've used zip ties and ceramic tiles but learned quckly that drilling holes in plexi and using rocks as anchors beat a day spent drilling holes in tile anytime.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 12:24 PM
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Yeah, put a dab of silicone (G.E. Type I, NOT Type II "for bathrooms" kind which has a mildewcide) on the screwhead if you're worried about scratching.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, that sounds like a good combination. I can recess the screws and use silicone to cover them. I might use hot glue on the screws instead of the silicone.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 03:28 PM
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You can use zip ties to create branch "bundles." Hide the zip ties in the substrate or w/ plants. Wedging them between/under rocks also works well and can look quite natural planting in between and around the rocks.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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I wish I could see an example of how people are doing it with zip ties. I lack in imagination with this.

I'm also concerned that if I don't bolt it down, it will never stay where I want it during water changes. I have a little 2.5g planted tank with small piece of the Manzanita driftwood which always falls down as the water level drops during a water change. Then it's a royal pain to try to anchor it back down once I've added water. It kicks up all the gunk in the substrate, making my water change such a mess that I usually do a second water change just to try to clean things up.

I've had one piece of the Manzanita driftwood in my 75g. It's arched so I have the lowest place of the arch placed deeply into the substrate with one end sticking up and the other end horizontal to the substrate for about 1 foot. Even that falls over when I do a 50% water change.

I don't know how you guys do it without bolting it down, but I appear to not have the knack. So I think I'll have to go with the plexiglass method.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 11:22 PM
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I used ceramic tiles from the local home improvement center when I did some for a friend. You can get a drill bit for tile/glass there too for a few dollars. It looks like a spade and if you drill the tile under some water it only takes a few minutes. Then I screwed the wood to the tiles from underneath with stainless steel screws.

If you don't have enough weight to hold the wood down without being covered with substrate then it can make a mess if it pops up when disturbed. Been there, done that.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for everyone's suggestions! I bought some plexiglass and SS screws today. I had the plexiglass cut to sheets of 18" x 12" which should give plenty of space for the substrate to hold it down. They wouldn't cut the 1/4" plexiglass for me so I went with the 1/8", but I'll double it. I decided to an extra sheet so I can sandwich the screws in the middle and glue the extra sheet to make a bottom. That way, it will have a smooth bottom throughout.

The main fun I'll have now is trying to cut the bottom of the wood BY HAND. Ugh! I sure hope it's not very dense wood.

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 01:25 PM
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It shouldn't be too dense to cut (it floats if not water logged).

I cut my plexiglass myself, if you need a custom fit just cut about an inch into both sides (where you want the cut to run and then score it in a straight line between the cuts. Now give it a karate chop and POW custom cut. Usually I lay it on the edge of something, a brick, the curb, whatever and step on it along the score line and it snaps. For larger pieces that want to float to the surface I put a few smooth river stones in place around the base to keep it from suddenly acting like a submarine. I attach Fissidens to the stones to give it a natural look. I'll try to post a picture soon. I use a miter saw for most of my cutting, if I need a really custom cut I'll break out the electric saw.

I've never had the skill to use zip ties to anchor it without tiles or plexi. I lay out my wood the way I want it and put it in before the substrate that way you can plant around it.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonamesleft47 View Post
That's a valid point as a screw point pressing down on the glass is asking for a cracked tank.
Countersink the hole.

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