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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am currently preparing to set up my first 29G planted tank and I wanted to make a part of it local to my area (Utah). So I have started collecting some rocks, wood, gravel, etc. to put into my tank. I have several decorative wood pieces (I dare not call them driftwood because I don't know of any around here) that I have collected from various lakes around the state, and I have began prepping and water-logging them in a tank in my garage. Now I know that wood will typically release tannins, but I am concerned about how these are releasing.

So far the wood has been soaking for 3 weeks. After just a few days it was obvious they were all releasing a good amount of tannins as the water began to turn brown. But after a week, the water almost looks black. It is very very dark. At the third week there was an obvious plastic film sitting on top the water (maybe because I should have changed out the water more often). On a side note, I cleaned out all the water, washed off each piece of wood with a hose and have filled it back up.

Should I be concerned with how dark the water was?
Do I just need to let them soak another month and see if the water doesn't get as dark?
Could it be that there is so much in this wood that they may not be safe for a community tank?
I'd like to know so I don't waste my time soaking them for nothing.


Thanks!
 

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I wouldnt be concerned about how dark it was...are you soaking them in a clear tub or bucket?

if you want to get the tannins out be prepared for it to take up to 3 months of soaking and water changes.

tannin wont hurt fish

any idea what type of wood you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I wouldnt be concerned about how dark it was...are you soaking them in a clear tub or bucket?

if you want to get the tannins out be prepared for it to take up to 3 months of soaking and water changes.

tannin wont hurt fish

any idea what type of wood you have?
Its a 20G tank I bought to prep my wood in. I haven't the slightest idea what kind of wood it is. i don't know what different woods look like. But here is a picture of the one I'll be using for my tank and all the others. It looks like I have several different types though.


 

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Are you changing the water every week or just leaving the same water in for a month and letting it collect tannins?
Boiling or keeping the water where the wood is in very warm, 85F+ will get it to leak faster.
Are all those bits of wood in the same tank? That will concentrate the tannins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Are you changing the water every week or just leaving the same water in for a month and letting it collect tannins?
Boiling or keeping the water where the wood is in very warm, 85F+ will get it to leak faster.
Are all those bits of wood in the same tank? That will concentrate the tannins.
I plan on starting to do it every week, but I have been doing it every 3 weeks. What would you recommend?

It is in my garage so I know the temperature is a bit higher during the day. Would it be better if I put heaters in there to raise the temp?

And all that wood is split between 2 tanks, most of it is in a 20G long though. Is it bad they are all in the same tank or is it ok?

Thanks for your responses by the way.
 

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For three smallish pieces of wood (3"x1' roughly) I boiled for several hours, changing the water frequently, then soaked them in a 10 gallon cooler filled with boiling water that I changed daily for another 10 days. This treatment left the cooler water slightly yellow after 24 hours, so I figured I would be good for a tank, where the leaching process would go slower (colder water) and water changes would help remove the tannins.

Yeah, right...

At the end of it the water still turns yellowish after 3 or 4 days and has continued to do so for months since then (I've done significant water changes to see if it is done leaching and it's not.) The shrimp don't mind it as much as I do, honestly.

If you have room, it would help to buy a big, black, plastic garbage can and put it outside in the sun. Use as much of the hottest water you can and change it when it starts to get really brown, the process will go faster. If all of that wood is being packed into the same 20g tank, it's going to take quite a while to be done. In a big garbage can you'll have three or four times as much water (all of that wood is displacing most of the water in the 20 gallon, I should think) so you ought to be able to leach our 3 or 4 times as much tannin before the wood and water come into equilibrium. If you're feeling patient then go on as before.

Some wood just has TONS of tannins as well.

Oh yeah, and the scum layer is fine, it's just bacteria feeding on the wood. It won't be a problem in a tank with a filter and fish/shrimp/plants.

ETA: Cross posting ftw. I'd change the water weekly or sooner, if it's getting dark fast. If it's in a hot garage, putting in a heater probably won't do you much good since aquarium heaters aren't really designed to heat things above aquarium temperatures (which your garage is above already, presumably.)

The more water you can expose the wood to, the better, and the warmer the water, the better (though you could might crack the aquarium with very hot water.) It also takes quite a bit of time, unfortunately.
 

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As soon as the water is dark, change it out. A light to mid tint isn't bad.
Do you want any tea color in your tank you plan this wood to be in?
I have a 3ft or so section of wood, 5in wide all the way down, but concave. It took almost a year to stop leaking, but it wasn't that much tinting either way.
I wouldn't bother raising the temps if they are in a warm place already. I bought 2 bits of monapi[sp?] and I used hot tap water[95F] to fill a 75g tank. It was also to try to heat the tar seals of the tank. That's when I noticed the first tannins and realized warmer water makes it leak faster. In cooler, 85F water it still leaks, but just a bit after a week.
Boiling won't get all of it out, it's natural and totally safe. It's just not what you personally may want.
I was just saying that it will color the water faster with more wood. So you may end up doing more water changes. Do you have a pic of the water color? I think you said it was black, but that's in a small amount of water with several bits and a long time.
The main tank is a 29g? Will all this wood go into it? If so, I'd keep up good w/c until the water is fairly light. Then put it all in the main tank. It will still tint, but it should be light enough that your regular weekly w/c will keep it at bay of darkening further and over time it will lessen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for your helpful responses. I can hook up a hose to the kitchen sink and fill the 29G full of hot water 1-2x a week. That wouldn't be too bad.
Should I even worry about spraying off the wood? I have been doing that and that obviously takes up a lot of time, but if I can cut that out, it'll make my days easier.

I would prefer this water to be as clear as I can get it. I know it may still release tannins occasionally but I'd really like it as prepped as possible beforehand. The first piece of wood is what will go in my tank, so could I put that in a tank by itself to prep it while the others are in a tank of their own? I assume I could since the others I'll probably be selling or trading.

Boiling is definitely ruled out right now. The color of the water was such a dark brown it appeared black. I can get a picture with a flash in a few days, I just changed the water today.

The tank that will be setup is a 29G. I also have a 20G long I'm soaking all this wood in. I will keep using the 29G until it is time to make it shine! I'll have a Fluval 205 running in the tank, so that and water changes will hopefully control water color a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
wow those are all nice looking pieces but that first one is amazing, maybe one of the coolest pieces I have seen on this site.
Thanks man. I about flipped when I saw it. I had found it last so when I was planning on what piece to use of the others, those plans immediately flew out the window! haha.

I'm so excited for it. There should be some pretty cool plants I could tie to it or something.
 

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You can remove the tannins with charcoal in the filter, but it's something that you have to replace occasionally.

I wouldn't bother spraying the wood off. At most there is a quart or so of water hiding in all the little holes and hollow spots of the wood, and that is getting diluted to almost nothing when you refill the tank.

As far as when to refill it goes, you can wait until it gets pretty dark before changing the water without hurting anything or slowing yourself down much. Eventually it will get to the point where it's just not going to get dark anymore and you're almost there. You'll still have to change out the water once you notice that it's not getting any more yellow. Doing that a few times will save you some seriously yellow tanks. :)

I love the first bit of wood as well. My 5 year old describes it as "very snergle-y."
 

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I have always used purigen in my filters to capture the tannins and have found it to be far superior to activated carbon which needs to be replaced quite often. The purigen can be easily recharged with bleach and then re-used after soaking in prime to remove any traces of the bleach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I love the first bit of wood as well. My 5 year old describes it as "very snergle-y."
Snergle-y? That's a new word I've never heard of before. I may have to incorporate it somehow...The Snergle Tank.



I have always used purigen in my filters to capture the tannins and have found it to be far superior to activated carbon which needs to be replaced quite often. The purigen can be easily recharged with bleach and then re-used after soaking in prime to remove any traces of the bleach.
Yeah I've heard of using purigen. After I soak this for a while and feel good about it I'll get it in my tank with the substrate and see how its working. I wouldn't be opposed to getting any though.
 
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