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Driftwood can provide interesting architect that no rock can replicate, and is nearly ubiquitous in competitive aquascaping. But I choose not to use wood because it is not permanent as it will slowly rot away. It's a huge investment to groom a master piece of wood with epiphytes only to undo it a few years later. I was considering using fake drift wood, but I am afraid that epiphyte will not root on resin surfaces. Has anyone tried?
 

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Wow. I ignore this section of the forum for a couple days and miss a forest fire!

The funny thing is I actually sorta agree that it makes sense to go less expensive if you plan to totally cover wood up (in my case, I'd probably go up to the lake and collect some manzanita, then attach pieces into a custom shape if I wanted to cover the majority of it in epiphytes or moss), but still...

It's their tank, and if they like it, then that's their prerogative.

I have noticed though that a lot of the videos I've seen posted by competition aquascapers show them attaching multiple pieces of more simply shaped wood together using some combination of screws, zip-ties and/or glue to make the structure they want, so it is very likely they aren't often spending $500 on a truly special piece of wood. They are making the wood special. Covering it entirely in a combination of moss and plants hides the joints and softens the shape, which makes it look natural. That's the artistry of making something unnatural look like nature.

To the point of attaching plants more easily to rock: I think it would actually be incredibly cool for someone to use a lightweight stone and an appropriate adhesive to build fantastic, otherworldly shapes that could be totally smothered in plants and mosses. Make twisting and intertwining bridges and pathways like a living 3-D Escher drawing complete with epiphytes growing upside down. Add an army of skittles cherry shrimp who would walk all over ignoring the notion of gravity. Not sure it would win a contest, but I'd totally keep something neat like that in my livingroom (mentioned this notion to my 16yo and thought it would be pretty cool too).
Oh yeah, losing the effect of your driftwood in too many plants is a legitimate design concern! There are many ways to address it though and the best scapers do strike a balance between wood and plants, and they aren't scared of maintenance to get the picture they are after. The OP's concern about competition tanks not being made to last is also basically true, but I think it's silly to expect the competition tanks to function that way. There are very beautiful long term tanks of course, but the competitions are kind of their own thing.

I have heard that aquascaping is way more expensive in the US than other parts of the world too, so concerns about wasting money might not be relevant. That said, I imagine this hobby is much different if you're a wealthy person! I make a lot of choices based partially on budget and I assume that's true for most of us.
 

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Driftwood can provide interesting architect that no rock can replicate, and is nearly ubiquitous in competitive aquascaping. But I choose not to use wood because it is not permanent as it will slowly rot away. It's a huge investment to groom a master piece of wood with epiphytes only to undo it a few years later. I was considering using fake drift wood, but I am afraid that epiphyte will not root on resin surfaces. Has anyone tried?
I've been using the same piece of driftwood for twelve years. Should I toss it? That's sad. It's hollow and provided a good refuge for our departed Zebra Loach. That loach took out all the snails in the tank. It was an incredibly effective snail hunter. I think I'll get a cinder block and cover that with epiphytes. No wait. I want to exhibit the natural beauty of my cinder block.
 

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I've been eyeing a piece of pressure treated wood that broke off my backyard fence. Every time I pass it I keep thinking it could fit right into my nature scape. And the kicker is pressure treated wood can last 15 years! Does anyone know if pressure treated wood is safe to use in home aquaria? :unsure:
Maybe if you polyurethane it first. I'm not sure why you would use pressure treated wood though, it seems like a waste of money when you're going to cover it with plants. Have you thought about using a couple of bricks or copper pipe remnants?
 

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I've been using the same piece of driftwood for twelve years. Should I toss it? That's sad. It's hollow and provided a good refuge for our departed Zebra Loach. That loach took out all the snails in the tank. It was an incredibly effective snail hunter. I think I'll get a cinder block and cover that with epiphytes. No wait. I want to exhibit the natural beauty of my cinder block.
You must have some durable wood and I’m curious what it is made of.

Most durable wood for making furniture are cedar, which contain aromatic hydrocarbons that are insect and fungus repellant and can be toxic to fish.
 

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Maybe if you polyurethane it first. I'm not sure why you would use pressure treated wood though, it seems like a waste of money when you're going to cover it with plants. Have you thought about using a couple of bricks or copper pipe remnants?
LOL, the possibilities are endless.
 

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You must have some durable wood and I’m curious what it is made of.
It is red colored and hollow with a stem and a knot with a hole in it. The Zebra Loach used to peek out of the hole. I have other smaller solid pieces of the same wood, with (gulp), epiphytes attached to them. Now I'm thinking the center piece is probably completely decayed. It would probably break or even crumble if I squeezed it hard enough. It's really sad. A lot of animals have lived in this scape. Oh well, time for a rescape and maybe a whole new setup. Such a daunting prospect.
Look at Amano's Lisbon tank...other than a bit- and very small bit- that Ironwood he used is invisible...He could have used 2x4's and a year later it would look the same..wink.
I promise, you can't take 2x4's and make it look like a successful driftwood scape.
I think 2x4's lend a certain urban aesthetic to an aquarium.
 
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