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Really stinking wood... is it safe?
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Cinder
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Joined: 16 Jan 2006
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: 2011.02.04(Fri)23:24    Post subject: Really stinking wood... is it safe? Reply with quote

I'm not sure if this is really the right place to ask since it's not actually about a plant but here goes:

I have been wanting to add some driftwood to my tanks. I've picked up several pieces over the last six months, from different places (dead trees by the road or hiking trail - does that constitute as driftwood?) and put them in buckets of water to sit for a few weeks to water log them so they would sink.

Each time, they end up just stinking... really stinking. I've poured boiling water over them (most were too big to totally submerge in anything I've got here) but they just keep smelling really bad.

They don't smell before I soak them but they sure do when I'm changing the water.

These not evergreens but I'm not actually sure what type of trees they are from.

Are they safe to put into my tank?
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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2011.02.05(Sat)1:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably means they are rotting, are there any soft bits? I suspect if you tested the water they're sitting in you might also get a high ammonia, nitrite or nitrate reading.

Perhaps try scraping off any soft bits and putting them back in, repeat a couple of times.
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UncleWillie
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: 2011.02.05(Sat)8:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like unnisuh said, they are rotting. And finding dead limbs in the woods does not constitute driftwood. You are actually trying to make driftwood from wood that is dead and already starting to decompose. The driftwood you find in lakes and streams have been in the water for a long time and have gone through the very long process of rotting soft parts, and leaving with a nice hard piece of wood.

I've collected all my driftwood - some better than others, but have had the stinking issue only once. It was because I have part of the wood buried in the substrate - and it began rotting. Do as unissuh said - if there are any soft parts, scrape them all away until you get the the hard part. You may have to do this occasionally. Otherwise, this could / is fowling your water. You never want foul smells coming from your tank.
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Cinder
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Joined: 16 Jan 2006
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: 2011.02.05(Sat)10:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks much. So, is it OK to let it continue to soak/rot? in my tank and take it out each day to scrape it or should I try to continue with them in a pail instead? When they are in the pail, I can only get 1/2 in at a time because of their size.
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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2011.02.05(Sat)19:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Problem is if you put them into a tank with fish, the rotting bits will likely release a hell of a lot of ammonia. Not really safe for inhabitants. I don't think anyone can accurately predict how long it will continue to rot too, the whole piece may just decompose away.

Best to keep soaking it in a large pot or bucket etc until the smell goes away (and give the last soak a test to see whether theres any ammonia or nitrite still being released).
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