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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A buddy of mine recently got several pieces of 'driftwood' from a local big-box pet store. He added two large pieces to a tank I helped him set up, and the next day when I went to his house his tank water looked like tea. Before anyone points out the obvious, I know he should have soaked it to make sure the tanins did not leach into the water, and I hope he does now as well. He pulled the driftwood in question out of the tank and now has it soaking, but I am not sure exactly how to get the water in his tank to be clear again. If anyone can suggest a tip or trick that would make me look smart by fixing his problem, I would certainly appreciate it.

PS- After looking at the tags from the driftwood, it looks like he got a piece that was intended to be for a reptile habitat and not for aquatic use. Should he just not use it, or will it be OK in his tank and safe for future inhabitants?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK, the water in his tank is now clear. He did not have a pot big enough to boil the driftwood, so he brought it to my house. So far we have boiled and rinsed it twice for about 45 minutes each time. How many more times should it take? Should I boil it longer than 45 minutes? Thanks!
 

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I hope you don't mind me asking a question in your thread, but it's related and I figure it's better than starting a new thread. I saw some driftwood at a LFS that looked really good and was covered in algae. That added to the look in my opinion. My question is if I put it in my tank and I risking anything? Can parasites/fish diseases be on the wood or is that unlikely? I don't want to clean the wood because I like the algae on it.
 

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Boiling it will speed up the tanin leaching process.
If its very big and you're lazy throw it in the dishwasher, obviously without detergent.

A bag of Seachem Purigen in the filter (*after* the big water change) will keep it from happening again.
I love this stuff...and I love having a canister to use it.
 

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I hope you don't mind me asking a question in your thread, but it's related and I figure it's better than starting a new thread. I saw some driftwood at a LFS that looked really good and was covered in algae. That added to the look in my opinion. My question is if I put it in my tank and I risking anything? Can parasites/fish diseases be on the wood or is that unlikely? I don't want to clean the wood because I like the algae on it.
Yes you risk snails and other parasites on the wood and in the algae. Live bearing snails don't need a lot of moisture for their young to spread, so I'd definitely be giving it a strong salt bath first.
 

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I boil mine 4-6 hours a night for a week, but I really hate yellow water.

The water will always be brown after boiling no matter how many times you repeat, but you should get no noticeable discoloration in your tank.
 

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well...after my opinin that tea look of water in not only great but benefical
i never boil my driftwood bc i have only south american fish from blackwater biotopes.
to sum it up
tannis will discourage algae, will promote health of characins, apisto rams..etc etc, spawning chances are bigger, fungus will be inhibited
just take a look at a real S American biotope and see how the water looks like
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, I have boiled these two pieces of driftwood for a total of about five hours, but whenever I put it into the bathtub to check the 'color fastness' of the wood, in about two minutes the water looks just like tea. Very strong tea. If it were not so dark, it would not be a problem, but when he had the driftwood in his tank (20g long) you literally could not see the 12 inches to the back glass. I have it boiling again as I write this, but I am a bit concerned that it may not work. Does anyone have suggestions that have not yet been posted here for how to fix this??? Thanks!
 

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When I first set up my 29 gallon tank I put in some malaysian dw and it turned the water. It only lasted about a month or 2 though as I did weekly water changes, plus I ran carbon in the filter. I'd say go for it and the worst that can happen is after a couple of months it still leaches tannins, then you can take it out and do a water change.
 

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I have also heard that adding activated carbon to the filter for a day or two will clear the discoloration. I have not used carbon for this purpose, but I did use it once when the water was discolored after treating a tank for ich (meds made water green). The carbon did indeed clear that right up.

One thing that I have done is putting the wood in a bucket of water and leaving it for about a week. I changed the water once; it's not important...any water will leach the tannins. I found that the tannin bled heavily only for the first few days...after that it decreased significantly....

I know it's a PITA to have to bucket it, but at least then you can ignore it...boiling and washing machine is more frustrating...involves more labor and attention.

Bucket it and forget it. In a week, it'll be leeched dry.
 
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