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Driftwood
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esoteric
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Joined: 05 Feb 2005
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: 2005.05.18(Wed)18:05    Post subject: Driftwood Reply with quote

I can't seem to find exactly what I need on this subject. I am wondering how to make a piece of driftwood or any dead wood safe for a fish tank? I know where there are a bunch of huge branches and trunks but I don't want to bring them home unless I can use them. More specifically, can I stain or laquer (sp?) them? How long would I soak them? Please let me know!
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benedictj
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Joined: 05 Dec 2004
Location: new york, ny

PostPosted: 2005.05.18(Wed)20:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

The absolute first thing you'll want to do with any piece of wood you collect, be it dry wood that you want to turn into drift or driftwood you have collected would be to give it a good wipe down, remove any spots that might be 'punky' and then boil it for at least a half an hour to kill of any pathogens or critters that might be trying to stow away on/in it.

Then, typically you'll want to soak it to expel the tannins it will leach (the stuff which discolours your water a tea like brown). At this point, if the wood in question floats, it would probably be best to weight it down so it gets a more even exposure to the water. Change out the water every once in a while with fresh dechlorinated water. I've never tried this with a piece of garden variety, floating wood, so I can't fathom (*slays self with cheesy wit*) how long it will take.

As far as staining or lacquering them goes, I can't say with authority that it can't be done, but I'm sure that most commercial stains and lacquers wouldn't be a wise addition to your tank chemically. Additionally, sealing the wood wouldn't do much for you in terms of the sinking aspect. Also, I'd guess that sealing it would actually cause it to rot internally, much like wood encased in concrete does (since virtually nothing is impermiable and flucuations in temp/pH might cause transference).

I find this pretty interesting. Honestly, I've even thought about what the process would be to literally manufacture driftwood and am planning to experiment with it in the near future (heck, it's only a couple of Rubbermaids tucked in the corner of the basement). I've googled around on it and found absolutely zilch. Especially given what we know about resource depletion these days, I think a 'manufactured' driftwood made from the unused portions remaining after logging might actually have some marketability as a responsible form of harvesting. Of course, the logistics of figuring out which woods to use and what needs to be done to them to achieve the desirable look and functionality can't be simple. (Can cherry/apple crotches be processed in an eco-friendly way to look as good as mopani?)
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esoteric
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Joined: 05 Feb 2005
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: 2005.05.19(Thu)21:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well thank you very much! I guess I could use my hospital tank to experiment? I will let you know how it goes.

Thanks!
John
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Raggamuffin
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Joined: 02 Apr 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2005.05.25(Wed)5:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

The author of this article on the skeptical aquarist raises an interesting point under the "Waterlogging" heading.
http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/docs/aquascaping/wood.shtml

To what extent does sunken wood reduce the amount of nitrate in an aquarium? what do you think of this, benedictj? I like the concept! something else to add to your bogwood studies?

esoteric, I had to soak one piece of wood recently for only a few days before it sank. another I waited three weeks of no sinking before I decided to try to chip off all the old bark afterwhich it sank overnight. morale of the story: bark retains air and makes wood float.

btw: driftwood floats and drifts! but bogwood sinks! its funny that the same piece of wood is (or should be) named differently depending on it's bouyancy!
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benedictj
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Joined: 05 Dec 2004
Location: new york, ny

PostPosted: 2005.05.25(Wed)6:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great link...I'm kind of pressed on time, but skimmed through and liked what I saw.
Intersting point about the de-nitrification, though it's hard to say how practical it would be in smaller aquariums...more stuff to look into.

Thanks, Raggamuffin.
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ksls
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Joined: 12 Jan 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 2005.09.07(Wed)15:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just in case someone is interested. My husband and I wanted driftwood for our 125G so while snorkling we picked up several pieces we really liked from our lake that were already laying on the bottom. Silly me left them out in the sun and they dried out really fast. So A few days later I decided to boil them for 30 minutes each. I scrubbed them and then placed them in a large rubbermaid container. WELL they float!! They didn't before, so I placed a large cement stepping stone on them to keep them water logged. It has now been 3 weeks later, they still float and are still leaking tannins. I will keep all updated on how long it takes to waterlog them. I hope its not to long, my tank looks really bare. lol
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Raggamuffin
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Joined: 02 Apr 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2005.09.07(Wed)23:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

is there bark on the wood? in my experience bark holds lots of trapped o2. I bet if you remove it, it will sink like a charm!
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ksls
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Joined: 12 Jan 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 2005.09.08(Thu)15:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope, no bark at all. Its nice warn out, smooth driftwood that has been in the lake for quite some time. I hope it will only be a couple of more weeks before I can place it in my tank.
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Charlie Foxtrot
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Joined: 18 Mar 2004
Location: Houston, TX

PostPosted: 2005.09.15(Thu)17:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anybody thought about deliberately floating a piece of driftwood? It occurs to me if the piece didn't take up all the surface area of the water and didn't interfere with aeration too much, some floating driftwood with some java moss or java fern crammed into the nooks so that they hang down would look sharp.

Never tried it myself. How do you prevent wood from sinking as opposed to preventing it from floating?
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ElleFish
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Joined: 06 Jul 2005
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: 2005.09.17(Sat)20:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have tried the whole floating drift wood in my tank to give my fry something to hide in so that my guppies can live a more normal life. I have had great luck with this method so far. It keeps all my fish happy. I have some sunken pieces of wood, but the smaller pieces just wouldn't stay on the bottom so I made it useful for my tank. It also looks amazing. It adds a depth to the tank that I really enjoy because the floating piece of wood with the moss on it moves constantly which seems to keep my guppies happy.
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