Blueberry Branch As Driftwood? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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Question Blueberry Branch As Driftwood?

I have blueberry shrubs that line a lot of the bodies of water where I live, and I noticed a dead branch this year that was all gnarly and twisted so I went back and cut it.

If I break the tips off and use the main stem(s) is this wood safe to submerge?





This is a branch that has been naturally debarked, the wood is hard and looks like driftwood!



Can I brush down the bark and sink it or will it need to be boiled?

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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 03:30 AM
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Blueberry is actually a relation of manzanita! Most plant families have some poisonous relation somewhere but doubt blueberry is one of them. It hasn't been in water so zero chance of leeches or hydra or any other aquatic nasties but it could leach tannin. You could boil to reduce tannins in your tank at setup or just do water changes after you set up the tank. Scrubbing is always a good idea, no point in adding loose bits of bark and dirt to the tank.


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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 05:29 AM
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That would look awesome I wouldn't even cut the ends off I would leave it like it is but that's me

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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 02:36 PM
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It looks fantastic. I've been reading up on making driftwood. It looks like a long process unless you constantly boil it for 1-3 days (which is a long process). If you do it please keep us informed. Dead blueberry bushes are much easier to come by in my neck of the woods. I just have to leave the bush in my wife's charge for a while and tada! Dead shrub.
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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 04:16 PM
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You just have to scrub dry wood clean and weigh it down at a minimum, so long as the wood is dry it is fine. Green wood is a pain. I have my eye on a terrific mat of roots on a street tree and dream that when the tree is removed the mat comes free and I will alternately soak and dry it for a year to get the bark off and wood dried out. Now that is work! Of course that will never happen, that mat likely has a nice web of roots below and it will have to be destroyed when tree is removed but it sure would look great in my tank........


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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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I will keep everyone posted, unfortunately I do not have room in my 15 Gallon tank for the ends, they may also snap when trying to debark the tips.

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Originally Posted by BlueMoonFox View Post
I just have to leave the bush in my wife's charge for a while and tada! Dead shrub.
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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 04:58 PM
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That looks like it is already weathered and ready for use.
Yes, clean off the dust, soak it until it sinks.

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Breaking off the little twigs can work just fine, but you might end up getting out the pruning shears for slightly larger pieces. If you figure out what orientation works best, then cut off the ends, make the cut at a bit of an angle, and in a way that is not visible from the front.
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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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My plan was to use the Bonsai method for the cuts, which I will need to make far down where its thick. You use a mini torch and char the cut, then use a wire brush to remove the black char and it leaves a natural looking spot where you made the cut.
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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 07:08 PM
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I would boil it, if possible. Then soak it and see what it does to the water. If it turns the water dark, change the water and soak some more. Keep doing that until the water stays clear or produces a color you like for your aquarium. Test the water at the final stage to see if it altered the water from fresh.
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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-12-2015, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
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I may skip boiling depending what it looks like after being wire brushed, I cut it down for my 15.8 gallon bow-front as I said, and it doesn't look that bad! I had to remove another few inches off the left after I took this picture, now I need to Dremel down the cuts and char them with a torch, then wire brush that off...

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post #11 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-16-2015, 07:32 AM
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That blueberry bush makes a great piece of driftwood. Almost looks like manzanita wood just blueish. I'm excited to see this in the tank. Any pictures on the charring process or results? I need to do this to my manzanita branch to make it look natural, so any tips would be appreciated! What happened to all the little end pieces?

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post #12 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-17-2015, 05:37 AM Thread Starter
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I removed the end pieces to fit it in my tank. I am experimenting with this process with a different piece of wood, after the ends are cut I use hand tools to snap the cut ends. This is what they look like after I char them, I will update this thread after I brush it all down



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post #13 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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I worked on one limb today, can you tell which one? The top limb is the one I did and it exposes a redder color, I used a stainless dish scrubby. This is the experimental piece not the first one I showed as you can see I cheated with a zip tie on this one.




The stainless scrubby knocked the charred end down a bit it is starting to look more like just some sort of black underwater mold, I will use something more aggressive on the ends.

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post #14 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 07:25 AM
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You need a sandblaster.
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post #15 of 54 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 03:19 PM
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Have you found how much color will bleed out?
I might want to know that before spending more time. We all have different ideas for our tanks but since it is not dry wood, I would expect it to be more than I would want in mine.
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