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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, I am trying to make a moss tree for my tank. I plan on using Christmas moss or something like it on the branches. I am going to try to make something that looks close to the photo i attached. I do realize that I am not a pro like the person who created this - and I also realize that I will probably have to inject CO2 as well. What I am concerned with is the actual structure of the tree.

I would like to find/build this on my own instead of spending a lot of money on one. that being said, I am concerned about the wood I should use. As my father has a woodworking shop I have plenty of wood and could hypothetically cut and carve something into a nice shape.

Is there any problem in doing this if I boil the wood thoroughly before putting it in the tank? I was thinking of creating a cement base to weigh it down that would get covered by my substrate. let me know if this is a bad idea!

I also thought of coating the wood that I use in a clear epoxy to make sure the water is safe since it is not bog, or driftwood.
 

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I would say rather than cement since it may somehow crack the glass on the bottom or anywhere else, use rocks or a really thin piece of cement... also keep us updated on how your tree comes along because I definitely want to see how this goes! its a great idea!
 

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Try to use a hardwood like oak. Don't use softwoods like pine. Most hardwoods are aquarium safe and will last a long time. Softwood will rot too quickly and foul up the water.

My 2 cents. :D

I'll let others help out with the rest.

Good Luck!



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Go to a local reef shop, ask for "purple stick" 2 part epoxy sticks. one of those should be plenty to weigh it down, and it comes with the guarantee of being safe for your tank.

Personally just attach it to a piece of slate though.
 

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If you use "cement" (and I'm assuming you are referring to concrete), freshly formed concrete will leach into the water and run your pH way up, not to mention add to the water's hardness. Concrete used in closed aquatic animals' environments (aquariums, concrete ponds/pools, etc.) has to be either completely sealed or "seasoned", as in repeated water changes over a long period or some other method used that speeds up the process, like adding acidic substances to the water to cause the concrete to react and "age" more quickly. Pieces of slate attached with either a high-grade stainless steel screw (good) or epoxy (even better, and probably easier, too) are often used to weigh aquarium decorations down or stabilize them. I have some old marble trophy bases that I'm thinking of using, but I haven't researched whether or not marble is stable enough in the aquarium. I know limestone isn't safe, but marble is more dense and harder than limestone. (Does anyone know, offhand?) The main thing is to check the chemical stability of whatever you plan on putting in your aquarium, rocks included.

As for what wood to use as the tree, keep in mind that some woods used in woodworking sometimes have either added substances or substances that naturally occur in different types of wood. Oaks will leach tannin, which will affect your water parameters (pH, hardness, color, etc.) which isn't necessarily a bad thing, depending on the fish you keep. (Some love it.)

One possibility is to use the root system of a dead shrub, and turn it upside-down. Roots are usually naturally gnarled like the limbs of an ancient tree, and with some moss "leaves" growing on them, no one would ever suspect that the "limbs" were actually roots. You may be able to find a shrub you can uproot or an uprooted shrub someone is getting rid of or has already taken to the dump; check sites and businesses that are having their landscaping remodeled. Sometimes garden centers or landscaping businesses have larger shrubs that have died, and would probably be willing to let you have them cheap, if not for free. Good luck with it, I'm sure it will look sharp when you do it.

Olskule
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update!

Awesome, thanks for the feedback guys. So here is my updated plan:

I will either use some type of wood from my dads woodworking shop (should I coat the wood in epoxy to keep it from rotting and from leaching tannins into my tank?) or I will find some really cool looking root structures to invert as my tree. (coat this in epoxy as well?)

I will also attach the tree to a small piece of slate instead of cement or concrete.

Let me know if I should seal/coat my tree with epoxy to keep it from rotting!
 

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Zip ties work wonders for tying branches and rocks together. And are non toxic. Just make sure they are thoroughly cleaned of any oily substances. Thats all I use.
 

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While coating the wood with epoxy or something similar to prevent rotting and/or leeching is an option, if you are aware and sure of the compounds in the wood or don't use an especially soft wood (like pine, poplar or willow), sealing the wood may not be necessary. I don't think most of the shrubs used in landscaping are particularly soft wood or prone to quickly rotting, but a certain amount of decay may be desirable (in certain circumstances) to achieve an aged look as the softer wood is eroded away, leaving harder parts to appear more ancient. (Also, some fish and invertebrates, such as certain species of plecostomus and crayfish, like to eat soft or rotted wood, which may or may not be something you want.) I personally have never sealed a piece of wood to use in my aquariums, but that is not to say that it may not be preferable for your circumstances. If the texture of the bark is as you prefer it, then by all means seal it to preserve it. Just keep in mind that any piece of wood you use in your aquarium should not be "green" (as in "fresh") and should be thoroughly dried prior to use. Whether or not the bark will remain on the wood at that point depends on the type of wood and other factors, but sealing a piece with bark that is separated from the wood will not be successful and may actually cause more problems, including decay, due to water being trapped beneath the bark and becoming anaerobic (and thus producing toxins). In my experience, wood that is properly selected for use in an aquarium doesn't usually rot extremely quickly, anyway, and to me, natural aging and erosion just adds character to its appearance.

Olskule
 
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