The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
542 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
542 Posts
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
 
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Top