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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got these two wicked pieces of lilac bush wood that look like awesome pieces of driftwood. They've been lying on the ground for years, they're not rotten. Is it possible to clear coat these pieces so they don't leech anything harmful into the water?
 

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no i wouldnt


as it takes in water through eventual cracks it will become a stinky mess

if you could truly seal it then yes, but epoxy w break down w cracks and incursions then it will go all anoxic and wierd inside is my opinion. not soon, but in time. I think its not a good long term plan variable. something you could lift out of the tank if it begins to funk then maybe...
 

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I also would not suggest it. Wood does go through a lot of small changes as it dries or in this case soaks up the water. Clearcoat might be too thin to really resist cracking or peeling as the wood shifts.
But then , that does not mean you cannot try the wood. What will happen depends on lots of things. How dry the wood is will depend on how thick the branches might be as well as weather and whether they were in sun or shade. You might get a bit of idea by cutting the end off at a thicker section. Wood will often turn whiter as the moisture leaves so you can get a visual of how dry it might be. Feeling for dampness might also help.

But then, if it is wet, you still have options. The wood will not do big time harm overnight or anything like that. If it takes years to dry out, it may takes months for sap to come out in the tank, right? So, worst case, the wood is too wet and colors the water or changes parameters too much, what does it do for you?
Can you handle having to take the wood out? Or do you want to do more water changes to keep the tank the way you want it? Either will work but it may/ may not be the price to pay if we guess totally wrong. No big thing but some are willing to risk it to get what they want. Others are not that bold.
Using wood is like eating your first oyster? It might be good but some will never try it!
 

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I've got these two wicked pieces of lilac bush wood that look like awesome pieces of driftwood. They've been lying on the ground for years, they're not rotten. Is it possible to clear coat these pieces so they don't leech anything harmful into the water?

But them in a bucket in the back yard for a year or so. Will season eventually. Know that's not what you want to hear but it will work eventually. Any kind of clear coat is,bad for tanks.

-Chris
 

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Wood that has been lying on the ground for years is about as seasoned as it can get. I'm assuming it is dead wood, no roots feeding it. I don't recall reading anything about lilac wood being toxic and I doubt that it is, since almost all natural wood isn't toxic. So, I would just clean the wood well, soak it is very hot or boiling water for awhile to kill anything living in the wood, then use it.
 

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I agree with most of the advice up above, to just try it in the tank as is, maybe give it a soaking or boiling and a scrub first.

If you are going to coat it, I'd use an epoxy, preferably a fairly thin type with the longest cure time you can find. Maybe even heat up the epoxy resins (pre-mixing) in a microwave to help lessen it's viscosity. The thinner it is, the more likely it will soak into the pores of the wood. depending on what the piece of wood looks like, you may be able to drill out and fill it with epoxy from the inside. Might not work though...

Then do another coating (or more) before it's fully cured.

It might work, but I think at best it's going to look artificial, and it will need to be anchored to something to keep it from floating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I like hoppy's advice best! I used a wire brush on the one piece to remove what little bark was clinging to it. I know it's been laying on the ground for at least a few years, as I remember walking by it before I was even into fishtanks. It's very dry, with no rot or major soft spots. I'll snap a pic of it. You think I should let it soak in my koi pond for a few days? Or just soak it in a rubbermaid tub?
 

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I would put that piece in a rubbermaid pan, if you have one big enough, then heat up a big pot of water to boiling or nearly to boiling and pour it over the wood. After it cools down I would put it in the tank, and never have a second thought about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks! The one in the front has been wire brushed, the one in the background hasn't. Most of the old bark is just sort of clinging on to it, so it's pretty easy to remove. Pretty psyched on these since I'm used to spending 50 bucks for similar pieces.
 
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