Originally Posted by dstrong
I appologize in advance if I come off as being abrasive but all the misinformation spread around by people who have no real information and are making suggestions based on "hunches" about certain wood is really staring to get under my skin. Cedar,pine, birch and my other woods that people don't "think" you should use have been PROVEN to be usable and unharmful in aquaria. But they make turpentine from pine... yea they distill the wood pulp of fresh trees. You'd be suprised the products that trees are involved in the production of. Does that mean they are unsafe to use? NO. Virtualy any piece of aged wood you find you can take home for your aquarium. If your worried about it, boil and soak it before you use it, just make sure to clean it. It amazes me how scared people are of wood when they are so quick to OD their tanks with a chemical closly realted to formaldehyde... In short if you don't know what your talking about please do the hobby a favor and keep your lips sealed and fingers off the keyboard until you have enough experience and credable information to say something beyond hearsay and speculation.
Not sure if your saying you use pine in your tanks but turpentine used to be made by boiling the pine wood which is certainly not something you want in your tank. Cedar works great though I can think of 100's of other uses besides aquarium decor but others love it and use it and I agree it looks great. Even though conifers and evergreens have high concentrations of phenols and turpenines like plicatic acid, abietic acid and taxol and can cause many detrimental health effects over time, including death.The exception being Taxodium distichum which I said earlier is perfectly safe. Birch can be used safely providing it is cured wood and not taken from the local tree and dropped in. Birch in particular has 30–60 subgenus Betulenta and is full of resinous oils which is what could potentially cause damage over time to your closed system. You have to take into account that woods that fall into rivers and streams are not going to do the same damage as a closed in tank which will become much more toxic than a free flowing waterway.
Sad that you get all worked up over different opinions based on fact or experiences. I do not need to go into detail about my expertise on Natural bio themed freshwater aquaria but I have over 27 years of tank keeping and knowledge. Not to mention my product lines that cover soil, plants, trees, herbal medicines and poisons and many many more items under my business lines. You may be surprised by what you would learn if you ever sat down with me! Sadly unless you were available in the next month it will likely never happen as I depart for Africa for most of 2012. I have lots of first hand encounters with different folks dropping anything in tanks that they find in the local creek or countryside and I am the one who has to remedy the problem when suddenly the plants and fish are croaking. I stick with recommendations of items I have tried and tested and deemed safe, lasting, not likely to puke of the system when the wood responds to being submerged. I have a list of 12 or so woods that I have and currently use or have access to that have positive applications and another 10 or so that work but have complications some months later. And there are lots more around the world that other tankies use and stand by. I routinely pack my Altum tanks with dried leaves and in my main angelfish tank I have a 4 foot limb (I cut and hauled from a creek)of Osage Orange, several muscadine vines and roots and willow roots.
Yes there are many species of trees that are fine to use but many do not have access to them. There are also a whole lot of other species that I would not recommend to my enemies. That said it is also safe to say that nearly all hard wood if well cured is safe to use in tanks though not all react the same way while submerged or last as long as others. Some soft woods are used and can be used but generally have many more toxins that can and will destroy tanks. Part of the fun in planted tanks is the nearly endless supply of natural elements at hand. Trial and error is a tank individuals best and worst experiment but without it they never learn of other possibilities.
Seriously though you should try and chill out as this is nothing more than a bunch of personal experiences from one to another and not as you say "hunches".