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Boiling/Curing driftwood

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I'm new to the forums, so I apologize if this question was asked previously someplace else. That being said:

I'm currently acquiring the materials to make a 10g low tech setup. I went to my local aquarium store and picked up a couple pieces of driftwood. I believe they are African (maybe Malaysian) driftwood as they are a reddish brown, and when saturated with water turn dark brown, almost black. The pieces are small, no more than 12" or 2lb.

I have been boiling this wood for what seems like FOREVER and they are still leeching tannins like crazy. Every day when I get home from work, I start the water and boil them until I go to bed, changing the water every 25-45 minutes. The water always turns a deep red, like tea, and the color doesn't seem to be thinning with each bout of boiling.

My thought is that boiling them is the fastest way to leech the tannins, and if I boil them until they no longer alter the color of the water they would be ready for the aquarium. Is this thinking wrong? Should I stop boiling them and begin soaking them long term in cool water? Any input or advice would be much appreciated. My Aquasoil will be arriving in the next few days, and I don't want to find myself waiting desperately to aquascape but being handcuffed by dirty driftwood.

Thanks
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Be patient, just keep boiling and each time (eventually) you will see less and less "tea color" Its a frustrating process but hopefully by the time your substrate arrives it should be ready to scape with. If its not then then add some carbon to your filter and that will take the tea color out of your tank.
 

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Keep on boiling until the water is no longer so dark. Plenty of water changes like you are doing is exactly right.

Aquasoil produces ammonia for about a month, and you will be doing more water changes on the tank while the soil cycles, and while the nitrifying bacteria grow, so there is plenty of time to keep on boiling it.

When it is finally ready to use you can add it to the tank.
 

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Well, any soaking (especially in a large volume of water) would be better than not soaking, but lots of water changes are the key. Bringing it to a boil a few times with water changes is probably going to get the tannins out fastest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the input. I decided to do both, so I have not pieces soaking in an old trash can overnight and while I'm at work. Will continue the boiling regimen in my free time. It's been 2-5 hours a day for over a week. Hoping to reach the end soon. The tannin stains on the stove and pots are putting me in the dog house and keeping me there...
 

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I used mopani wood in mine, and that stuff is insane for tannins, I found the best way to boild it out is repetition rather than long periods of time. Boiling it until the water gets reasonably dark, then refreshing the water (usually takes an hour or so if going from cold again)
By doing it this way I've managed to prep 8 forearm sized pieces in one day. For the first six weeks I would get a very mild tea tint to the water but a quick water change sorted it. Now I barely get any if at all. Remember though as unsightly as the tannins may be, they are actually good for your fish.
 

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Ok So why does everyone hate tannins!! I personally just throw the driftwood into the tank now, I used to boil/ soak. But now the only reason I soak is to get the wood to sink as I mostly use mannzanita. But as was stated boiling will be the best way to get rid of them. And it never really gets it all out. If you use carbon in your filter that will help to.

I guess I am the only one who likes tannins with a planted tank, lol. I even go so far as to use black water extract and peat on my tanks to help lower my PH and give a slightly acidic enviroment that I find my plants grow beter in anyway. Besides you dont see mother nature boiling all her driftwood.... Just my 2 cents...

Curt
 

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Thanks for all the input. I decided to do both, so I have not pieces soaking in an old trash can overnight and while I'm at work. Will continue the boiling regimen in my free time. It's been 2-5 hours a day for over a week. Hoping to reach the end soon. The tannin stains on the stove and pots are putting me in the dog house and keeping me there...
try cleaning it with baking soda and vinegar
 
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