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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Are there any species of wood to stay away from? I once heard certain species had toxins to fish in an aquarium setting if not properly aged. i thought cedar was one. Is this a misconception? I have seen some nice looking pieces on EBAY but wasn't sure if they'd be safe. thanks for any guidance. Ben
 

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I think cedar oils could give you problems.
I have never had luck with soft woods like pine and some bushes that have soft wood. They always turned fuzzy and crumbled then ended up floating anyway.
I have experimented with several locally avialable woods here in Florida over the past few decades. Oak, cypress, and beech have worked for me. Oak bark works good too for making caves and faux tree trunks. It holds together fairly well in large pieces similar to cork but more delicate. Fruit trees: pecan, mango, orange, and avacado all turned out bad.

This has been my experience. Hope it helps.

ED
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks ED. I hope to hear from others too. what you've said seems to be what I remember from long ago. Softwoods stink for aquariums. So cypress worked for you? I couldn't remember about it, seems reasonable since its a semiaquatic tree.
 

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I think cedar oils could give you problems.
I have never had luck with soft woods like pine and some bushes that have soft wood. They always turned fuzzy and crumbled then ended up floating anyway.
I have experimented with several locally avialable woods here in Florida over the past few decades. Oak, cypress, and beech have worked for me. Oak bark works good too for making caves and faux tree trunks. It holds together fairly well in large pieces similar to cork but more delicate. Fruit trees: pecan, mango, orange, and avacado all turned out bad.

This has been my experience. Hope it helps.

ED
If cedar causes issues, then why does the Tampa Bay public aquarium have it in all their FW tanks?

I do as well in several large client tanks and have for about 4 years without any issues, with Altums, Cardinals, Apistos, Rummy's plenty of sensitive wild caught fish..........

Basically, what real evidence do you have, practical that is, or support of any sort that what you claim is true? If they where bad, then why haven't I seen issues with my fish?

It's been years and I have a lot of wood in these tanks.
I have a Cypress knees in my Whimple Piranha tank.

Oak, Cypress, cedar was the best I found in FL, some use Austy swamp pine.
On the west coast, Redwood, Manzanita, Juniper, Madrone oak, White bark pine, Red fir, Alder, live, black, valley, scrub Oaks and Bay trees all work well.

Always use downed aged old dense wood, the denser the better. If there is any sign of rot, do not use it.

Soak well prior. Scrub with brush etc to get any rot etc off.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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I think we're talking about Western Cedar. I don't think I would put put Aromatic Eastern Cedar (which is really a giant juniper) in a tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Tom, if you happen to see this. I don't know where I saw that info and that's why I asked. Obviously, here in TN "eastern cedar" is what we have and that's what it looks like I've seen on EBay. Just don't want another fish die off. Stung me to deal w/that before.
 

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Out of curiosity I did a search on it. Best I can find is that Juniperus virginiana is toxic if ingested (don't eat it!) and may cause contact dermatitis and labored breathing (i.e. asthma.) Despite the fact that it's used for animal bedding I don't think I'd use it in a tank, although it probably depends on the individual piece and how fresh it is.
 

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I think we're talking about Western Cedar. I don't think I would put put Aromatic Eastern Cedar (which is really a giant juniper) in a tank.

:) That is a point I was going to make... We break our brains trying to ID aquatic plants down to the variety. But, when we speak of terrestrial trees, we are content to "narrow it down" to families, or worse, common names :hihi:. Go to a "tree" forum and you'll find them calling all of our cherished plants "seaweed".
 

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on ebaY at least 2 different sellers have an impressive assortment of Cypress driftwood not the smooth knees for sale that I'm tempted to try. I know Cypress needs to be weighted down with slate, and will release some tannins - but for how long? In other words, will the tannin release abate after a few weeks like with manzanita, or could it continue for Months on end.

I just wanted to confirm to anyone who's curious; both Malaysian and Swahala driftwood sink like a rock and release a minimal amount of tannins. unfortunately most of the larger pieces I see are burly knotted stumps, so finding something really branchy may take patience. manzanita is neutrally buoyant, but will release tannins for a good Month.
 

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I have cypress in my tank. It took no longer to leach all the tannins out than regular malaysian driftwood. Also after a while it will stay submerged on its own, but it can take some time. The kind I have has a cool honeycomb-like structure to the pieces which do become brittle once soaked in water. I think my longest piece was 16" or so, but from pulling it out and reinserting it into the substrate a lot, has reduced it to about 11". It was labeled swamp cypress at the lfs I bought it from.
 

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do become brittle once soaked in water. I think my longest piece was 16" or so, but from pulling it out and reinserting it into the substrate a lot, has reduced it to about 11".
assuming your wood was correctly identified;
are you saying Cypress will fall apart over time?
or particularly when it's repeatedly disturbed.
how many Months/Years did Cypress brittle?
 

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No it wont fall apart. Just from moving it around alot smaller pieces of it broke off. It has been in my tank for 15+ months now.
 

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I've often wondered about this since every once in a while I find something really awesome looking outside. Unfortunately, it's never intact (always find rot in it)
 
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