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Driftwood Big Question

973 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Kubla
Sorry if this ain't the right place to post this moderator as I couldn't find a driftwood blog. I was wondering if you would go against drift wood found at the backyard or river? Mine is a very soft wood and is doing great in my tank. Ammonia and ph is looking real great. I didn't have to do a lot to bring my ph to the level that I want. Just this old drift wood that is kinda soggy. ;) Wouldn't trade it for a $50 drift wood.
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There are many who use wood they find here and there. It does not have to be anything special if one is ready to deal with what he may find. Wood from the yard or really any place can be cleaned up to remove oils or pesticides they might have on them. Nothing wrong with soft wood except we have to accept that it may not last as long as a hardwood might. Some of the softwoods will have more sap and maybe a bit more trouble to deal with over time but that doesn't mean we have to rule them out if we are ready to do the work that may follow.
Like everything else in the tank, we have to make a personal decision as to what is worth the trouble and what is not.
I have used several types of wood found here and there. I got some yesterday that I have no idea what they are.
They are dense (heavy) dark wood that has been dead for several years.
Pressure washed it and I am letting it sit in the sun to heat up, dry out so the bugs abandon it. Earwigs, ground beetles and silverfish (the not-aquatic 'fish') came running out as I was pressure washing it.

Known species that work in my tanks:
Lagerstroemia indica
Albizia julibrissin
Grape (well, it is OK so far, after 1 month under water)
Manzanita (probably Arctostaphyllos glauca, but one or more of the CA native Arctostaphyllos)
Hardwood is definitely better than soft wood. Weathered oak is as good qs manzanita and you have lot more fun finding it. Monitor youre aquarium and you will be good btw you know what type wood it is?
I have no clue but if it lasts 2 years i'll be happy :red_mouth By then I may want a new scape and look already. I don't know why people would buy "hard" and expensive wood when most don't keep em in the tank for long.
I'm with you on that thinking! My tanks are always evolving so if wood lasts a few years that is good enough for me. I do try to get sturdy (hard?) stuff so that my bristlenose don't make quite such a mess. They must carry tiny little chainsaws?
Mopani does have some merit as it sinks right away but then I use lots of rocks anyway so tying things down works for me. I use lots of cedar as my water is hard and has lots of buffering so I have no worry about the water changing from the wood. Also long dead, totally dry cedar is so easy to find locally.
I use cedar too (eastern juniper / juniperus virginiana). I especially like shape of the root sections at the stump.
I suspect that you are far more correct in your ID. I'm sure much of what I use is actually juniper. It is declared an invasive species and cut down in lots of places to try to stop the spread. But then the fight does leave lots of neat little short "cedar" stumps! When they have been around long enough for the roots to rot off so I can kick them out of the ground they are just about dry enough to use. I wonder how many people think I'm out there improving the highway right of way?
Drive on by, folks. I'm just picking up a few cedar stumps! Juniper sounds too expensive?
I'm another person who just uses found wood.

Some people make a big fuss about not using softwoods, but the only draw back I've noticed is that snails and such chew them down a bit faster.

I just try and pick pieces that are sufficiently weathered, and don't have any strong scent or noticeable sap. Soak them for a week or so with daily (or when I remember...) water changes, give them a couple scrubbings, and eventually mount them on a slate tile.

If you need to cut/drill the wood, or cover up already existing cut marks, burning with a torch and scrubbing the char off works really well. Gives it a more natural, weathered look. Covering the spot with moss also works pretty well, but takes a bit longer.
I've been using quite a bit of oak tree roots. Not sure what species of oak. Pretty cool looking stuff and it's heavy. Doesn't take a lot of soaking to make it sink. Where the roots cross each other they fuse together so you can end up with a chunk with x's and crisscossing patterns that are one single piece with all the intersections fused.
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