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Any idea what kind of wood this is? Safe or too green?

1585 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  jbrady33
Hello all,

Attempting to find my own wood here. Searched the wood near my house, these limbs were on top of a pile off the ground in an area that people dump cut stuff and brush. No idea what kind, seems pretty dry (the thin stuff snaps off very dry, the thicker stuff is a very light color inside and doesn't feel sticky or damp).

The bark is smooth and thin, seems light grey. a very thin green layer under the thicker stuff, then uniformly light color inside. can see the ring structure on the cut parts. no real smell, maybe a little like grass.

Any ideas what kind of wood? Ok or disaster to wirebrush bark layers off and dump in tank?

Ignore the pine tree - that is just where I happened to drag the limbs back to my yard.


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looks good to me. no idea what kind of wood it is, but if it doesn't smell where its been freshly cut then that is a good sign.
Most likely a trimming from some ornamental bush so that leaves a wide range. Whether it is safe depends on you as much as what type wood. Having bark and the green layer says it is likely not totally dry yet. That does not mean it can't be used but just a flag that it may be some trouble with tannins.
East coast water is often somewhat soft and lacking in much buffering (low KH) due to the lack of limestone. How your water measures up will change the way the tannins and wood moisture might work in your tank. High buffering will work to keep the PH from changing.
Using suspect wood is somewhat like driving fast. It can be done but it is good to be alert and ready for anything bad that might happen. Try it? If so , watch the PH for the first month or so. Watch for any color which might get too much. In either case, it will not kill fish but you may need to change more water or even remove the wood.
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according to this quote from Diana i found through a search for crape myrtle its safe if crape myrtle.

Star Jasmine is questionable. It certainly has milky sap. So do figs before they are ripe.

Oak is safe, and there are many species in California. I have used Q. lobata leaves and twigs and Q. douglasii bark in my tanks.

Albizia julibrissin wood is also safe. I have a large chunk of root in a tank.

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica and L hybrid) wood is aquarium safe. <ost of my tanks have some (several years old, and starting to fall apart)

Manzanita (Arctostaphyllos, many species) wood is also safe. The leaves of some Manzanita are sturdy enough to try in an aquarium.

Some Magnolia grandiflora leaves have a sort of fuzzy stuff on the back. I wonder if this is OK?

I have read that Beech leaves and Alder cones are OK in aquariums.

Different groups of animals are sensitive to different plants, so if you start with a list of 'toxic to mammals' I am not sure how many of these are the same for fish. On the other hand, frogs are so sensitive to more things than many fish, so if it is safe for frogs, I would think it is safe for fish.
I think you are right on the Myrtle, lots of it in the neighborhood. I have a test piece stripped of bark an soaking in a plastic cup - after 24 hours I had weak mrytle tea :) enough tannins to be very noticable, sort of like green tea.

I think I will have to build my tank with an empty spot for my wood, and let this stuff age/soak for a good bit.

Want to have a branching/spreading display with nana petite anubis tied all over it (anubis tree? :) )

sound doable?
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