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i am a newbie in planted tankss, not not even a newbie. i only have about 2 plants, and want to completely remodel the tank. i want to make it a planted tank. my first order of business was to get sand. i have thant, and it is ready to be washed and added into the tank. no, i want to add driftwood. how do i do this? i have looked online and i didn't find much. i am only 14 and do not have much access to an oven, so i don't think i will be burning the wood. i know where there is a river and i live by a forest preserve. can somebody help me? or if somebody had some driftwood they no longer needed they could give to me or ship to me i would be very delighted. thank you.
 

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you need to find wood that is very hard like oak or better yet manzanita. make sure it has been dead and dried for awhile, or pull it out of a stream, then if you can't bake it boil it to kill everything and throw it in your tank. There are a few folks selling it on swap and shop too if you want to buy some.
 

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Well I'm in the minority here, but in my opinion bleaching/boiling/baking stuff is too much work unless your piece is really really small. Just find some fallen hardwood (basically anything but evergreen trees), give it a scrub, and then soak it until it sinks. If you need to put in your scape before it sinks, just tie it to a rock. Don't overthink it.

Rough tests for hardwood-ness:
1. If dry you shouldn't really be able to scar the wood (not bark) with a fingernail.

2. Cut off a tiny (less than 1" square) bit off the thick part of the piece and submerge it in a coffee cup with water. Microwave the cup until it boils then put it aside to cool and soak for a few hours. Repeat. If it sinks, your big piece will too eventually. If it doesn't sink, what you have is either rotten or not hardwood.
 

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Well I'm in the minority here, but in my opinion bleaching/boiling/baking stuff is too much work unless your piece is really really small. Just find some fallen hardwood (basically anything but evergreen trees), give it a scrub, and then soak it until it sinks. If you need to put in your scape before it sinks, just tie it to a rock. Don't overthink it.
^This!
 

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I picked up downed wood at the park. It was dead and dry but the bark was still on. I soaked it in a large rubber maid type tub and scraped the bark off. After a week of soaking the bark was coming off very easily, oh well I was having fun whittling my sticks anyway so it wasn't really a complete waste of time. Then I broke the branches to suit me and screwed them together with stainless steel screws to make a 'frankenstump'.

Dry wood that has lost the bark is likely to be rotten even here in dry southern California so glad the pieces I picked up still had bark. Be sure the branches are dead dry as the sap has potential to be toxic in many varieties.

The boiling and soaking is partly to kill pests and partly to remove tannins that stain the water. Up to you. If the wood is dry then there won't be leeches or hydra to worry about. If you do large water changes the tannins should go away faster.

If you screw a flat piece of something to the bottom of your wood and place the substrate on top buoyant wood will stay down. Some confident aquarists even glue the wood down.
 
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