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Is there anything particular that everyone does with this branchy driftwood? After I get it to sink properly, how do you arrange it? Do you stick it into the substrate or do you tie it together, silicone... Please help me out as I just got my wood today.
 

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Silicone doesn't really stick well to wet wood. I will just stick the wood where I want it if it will hold it's place. I've also propped the wood with stones to keep it in place as it is easy to move if I change my mind later.

For wood that I want to be more permanent I'll tie it with whatever I have that is tank safe. I've mostly used plastic ties made for outdoor plants and zip ties. For small or light wood, I think fishing line would probably work as well, it might cut into larger, heavier wood too much.

It can be really hard trying to hold the wood in place and tie at the same time, that's why the zip ties are so nice. Plus they don't easily come undone and are difficult to see.
 

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Black zip ties I find are the most useful of all the things I have tried. Also any other pokey holes that are between rocks etc are usually good as cs_gardener has indicated. Sometimes I will also use a larger piece of bogwood to tie the other branches onto, this sort of acts as a base and usually can be used as part of the hardscape, any obvious joins are easily covered with moss or something similar.
 

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I use one or more pieces of slate or slate tile to anchor the wood. I arrange the wood outside of the tank the way I want it, drill holes in the slate beneath each piece of wood, and use stainless steel screws to attach the wood to the slate. The slate is placed in the tank before the substrate and will hold down even large, buoyant pieces of manzanita.
 

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In my tanks the wood is soaked till it sinks then I sit it on top of the substraight. some is stuck in it or proped with rocks. I plan on using zip ties in my 20 gallon. Travis why dont you post up pics of the new display tank at the store!!

Curt
 

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If you're using Manzanita, you can get away with only plastic zip ties (black works very well). The trick however is to make an arrangement that when tied together is stable enough to remain upright. Of course you can push the whole arrangement into the substrate to stabilize it some, and if you have any rocks then they can also be extremely useful in stablizing your hardscape. You can check out the manzanita hardscape I was able to achieve in my 10gallon tank here:

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/aquascaping/53868-my-first-planted-tank-10-gallon.html

I used only black zip ties for the arrangement. As for some general tips on using zip ties, what I would suggest is that you first come up with a rough idea regarding what are your main pieces (the base/stumpy pieces) around which you wish to build your hardscape. I took my soaking wet driftwood pieces and laid them out on the floor. You probably have 15-30mins to get your arrangement together before the pieces start drying up. I started putting the manzanita branches together, trying to see what combinations looked nice and when I found something that seemed to look good I would tie a zip tie around that piece and the base piece. I'd make sure to tie it very loose (so the piece is still flopping around) so that I have the option of sticking in other manzanita branches into the same ziptie loop.

I continue in this manner till I have some loose arrangement that I like, I then put it into the tank (only quarter/half filled with water) and play around with the arrangement some more and then start to tighten certain zip tie loops that I am dead sure about. The quarter/half filled tank bit helps a lot in stabilizing your structure and in arranging the pieces the way you want. If it is totally empty, gravity tries really hard to mess your driftwood arrangment up =).

Thats pretty much it, it is tonnes of fun to hardscape with manzanita...so many possibilities! Also make sure to keep atleast an inch or two of clearance between your hardscape and the sides of your tank walls so that maintenance isn't too much trouble.

I hope this post makes sense and is helpful. Good luck with the scaping!
 
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