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Driftwood tannins?

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I know that, in order to get them out, you're supposed to soak for ages. But... Isn't that just a cosmetic/water color issue? I can't remember where I read it, but someone somewhere said that the tannins are actually beneficial (or at least benign) to fish. Anyone have a source on that?

I'm considering getting some driftwood in the 5g I'm planning for Pearlicus, and if tannins are healthy for fish, I don't want to essentially bleach them out of there, you know? The sepia-colored water might be really cool, and even if not, it'll eventually fade with as frequent water changes as I'll be doing anyway.

tl;dr: Tannins--good, bad? Info (minus the 'how to get them out' process) is being requested.
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Tannis can be good depending on the fish. Discus for example like the tannis. It makes the water more accidic and lowers the ph a bit. I prefer to tank my out of my wood due to I just prefer clear water. You don't have to soak that long. Boil it in water for s couple of hours at a time. Dump the water and repeat about 2-3 times depending on the wood nd how much tannis are actually in the wood. Then I would soak in cold water for a day or two.
 

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Tannic Acid in Freshwater Tanks

Hello Sill...

The tannins that leach from driftwood are basically harmless. A few, large, water changes will remove them.

Worst case scenario is they may negatively affect high end plants that require specific lighting conditions, because the water turns an amber color. Since the piece leaches tannic acid, this may lower the pH in your tank water a little bit in a small tank. But for most of us who don't keep fancy tanks and such, the tannins aren't a big deal.

B
 

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I have VERY soft water (gH and KH close to 0). When I introduced Mopani driftwood (I did not boil it or soak it) into my 5 gallon, it caused my pH to crash. I ended up losing my RCS and my Endlers were very stressed.

I have started using Baking Soda and GH Booster to raise my gH and kH. Also, I use Seachem Purigen to keep the tannins down. Ever since I started doing this, all is well and my RCS and Endler population is flourishing.
 

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While I love the different red, brown, and black coloring of Mopani, that stuff takes forever to soak out. I have a piece that is too big to boil in any pots I have, so have been soaking for about 3 months now. Changing out the water every couple of days and it is still leeching. If it hasn't finished in a month, I'll be throwing it in anyway!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all your input, everyone!

I don't think the bit of a PH-lowering will be too much of a problem, since my water tends to be right around 7.6, and as I understand, while bettas can adapt to harder water, they prefer it a bit softer than what I have naturally. I think I'll probably pick up the wood soon and soak it a little bit; but honestly I'm not concerned about the water color being "poor".

I've googled around a bit and some of the tanks I've seen with the amber water are beautiful. They look so much more natural, like something you'd see if you dipped your head in a creek or a pond.
 

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One of the basic things that is often ignored when these questions come up is the water itself. So many answer from what their experience with their water and wood showed. Basic experience shows that water is different all over and the answer of what tannins or wood will do has to be different as well. How long it takes for tannins to bleed out is almost like asking how long it will take to lose twenty pounds. There are just too many variables to say. Small thin sticks that are already almost dry may clear in a few days. Heavy wet wood may take years.
How much the wood will change PH depends on the point from which you start as well as the wood. If the water is high PH with little buffering, wood may drop the PH a bunch but if the PH is low already, you may never see a change. It's hard to make something that is at 6.0 go much lower by adding some wood.
For my purposes, I don't think tannins are a problem for the fish as much as for my viewing enjoyment. A stable situation is more what the fish want rather than any one specific setup. I have African cichlids at PH 6.4 due to CO2 and Central Americans at PH 7.6 without CO2 and they both seem fine. The only problem seems to be when a group is ready to spawn, they get rowdy.
 

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One of the basic things that is often ignored when these questions come up is the water itself. So many answer from what their experience with their water and wood showed. Basic experience shows that water is different all over and the answer of what tannins or wood will do has to be different as well. How long it takes for tannins to bleed out is almost like asking how long it will take to lose twenty pounds. There are just too many variables to say. Small thin sticks that are already almost dry may clear in a few days. Heavy wet wood may take years.
How much the wood will change PH depends on the point from which you start as well as the wood. If the water is high PH with little buffering, wood may drop the PH a bunch but if the PH is low already, you may never see a change. It's hard to make something that is at 6.0 go much lower by adding some wood.
For my purposes, I don't think tannins are a problem for the fish as much as for my viewing enjoyment. A stable situation is more what the fish want rather than any one specific setup. I have African cichlids at PH 6.4 due to CO2 and Central Americans at PH 7.6 without CO2 and they both seem fine. The only problem seems to be when a group is ready to spawn, they get rowdy.

I really hope your not insinuating that African Cichlids are ok to keep at that Acidic of a pH??

Tannins can only help fish and just are an aesthetic issue. The large pieces of driftwood i have have been in tanks for 4-8 months and still leech tannins. But if you go to the natural habitat of most commonly kept Tropical fish, the water is far from crystal clear.

In Addition, the "Green water disaster" that many suffer from is natural and fry prefer it as it's a food for them to eat.
 
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