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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just set up a new 20 gallon tank with driftwood collected from a pond on my grandmother's property. The driftwood had been submerged in the pond for at least a decade or more before being exposed by the current severe drought so I expected all the tannins to to already have been leached out. Boy was I ever wrong.

The morning after filling the aquarium the water is a very dark yellowish brown color, almost identical to the color that the pond water used to be.

I added a pouch of carbon to my main filter then added a second filter entirely filled with carbon to the tank. It has been running like this for 48 hours now, but the color in the tank has not changed. It is affecting light penetration to the point that I'm worried about some of the plants.

My first question is should carbon clear this up? Would purigen work better? I had carbon available, but would have to order purigen.

Given the color and slight cloudiness of the water I'm wondering if this is really tannins or if the driftwood had absorbed something else from the pond water and is now release that back into my water? I washed all of the wood before putting it in the aquarium, even scrubbed it with a soft-bristled brush until the water ran clear and I was certain that no mud remained on the pieces.

There are currently no fish in this tank.

What would you all recommend as my best course of action?
 

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At this point I think that carbon or Purigen will quickly be used up removing tannins.

I would make large, 50% or more water changes, until the problem stops. This can take awhile.
 

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Since I dislike having to clean canister filters and hoses and replacing carbon / recharging purigen, my method of attack is like sort of 'all of the above' :

Frequent large water changes, until you get to the point that the water will take a week before a slight hint of yellow is noticed (easier to notice with only ambient room lighting on, and tank lights off).

Then do another 50+% water change, and then use carbon and purigen. Along with glass cleaning (if needed), instant crystal clear tank.
 

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If I were you I'd pull the wood out of the tank ASAP and boil it, or if it's too big, pour boiling water over it for awhile. I do that with all of my driftwood and they never release any tannins at all, that and it's usually a good idea to boil stuff to make sure nothing nasty is being introduced into your tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, I'm probably going to go the water change route at this point. It's been running with carbon filtration for 4 days and there is no noticeable change in the water.

I figured 50+ years submerged in a pond plus nearly 6 months laying out in direct sunlight with 100+ degree temps most of the summer should have destroyed anything harmful. Guess I was wrong. There is now a fuzzy brown fungus growing on large areas of the wood.

Pulling the wood out now is not an option. The wood is mounted to ceramic tile that is buried under the substrate. Removing the pieces would require pulling up everything that is currently planted and starting over.
 

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Purigen for a few reasons

1. and probably the best thing about this product....it's rechargeable.

2. It gets the water crystal clear.

But to help before putting it in, 50% WC and boil the driftwood.
 

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Carbon, if you are broke like me...
If you do use it, buy a pound or 2 at one time, it is even cheaper that way.
Remember, the holes in carbon clogs up really fast. I like to put it in for a week, then swap the carbon out for fresh carbon.
Obviously this will come at some cost to your plants, but nearly negligible in my experience.
Soon the water will be clear enough that your weekly water changes will be enough to stay ahead of further leaching at which point, stop using carbon..
 

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I don't think you are dealing with tannins at this point but the color is more likely to be what has soaked in from the years in the pond. When you say it is the color of the pond, I'm guessing you are right. The tannins moisture content may have been replaced by the pond moisture. Thinking of how long it may have taken to soak in may give you some indication of how long it may take to clear.
While a total redo seems out of the question, there can be worse ways to go if it takes a few years to all bleed out again.
 
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