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I used freshly cut tree roots for my old paludarium, but these roots were sticking out of a river bank and submerged. I just rinsed them off well and made sure that at least 6" of the top of the roots were out of the water. No fouling or mess, The roots started putting out leaves above the waterline and grew quick!

I would not try this with roots pulled from soil though, they are not adapted to life under water and if the roots die they will create huge problems quickly.

If you want to collect driftwood, find a quick flowing river or creek with no pollution (higher ground away from civilization). Make sure the wood is hard and has no bark at all when found, and test it in a bucket. Does it get mushy or stinky? Throw it out! Does the water get cloudy? Throw it out! Old driftwood from flowing water has given me the least amount of problems and tannins. The African driftwood or mopani sold at petstores works good too and is completely safe, but it takes a while to leach out all of the tannins... Have fun!:cool:
 

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I wish I knew what species of tree it was, all I remember was it had leaves and half of the roots were growing in the riverbed! Cypress roots would be perfect for this, when I set up my big tank I want to try those.

When I used the roots I didn't know much about planted aquariums or how bad decomposing stuff in the water can be! I just wanted a natural root look and had no idea the roots would live! If they died things would have got ugly quick.

Just as everyone else has said, try prospective roots or driftwood in something other than your aquarium. A 5 gallon bucket will work perfectly for testing roots, just use a swing-arm desktop lamp, put roots in the bucket with the tops out and tape the "trunk" above the waterline to the sides of the bucket. Throw in a betta to provide fertilizer and call it a day. If you have large pieces of wood a plastic trashcan or plastic kiddie pool would work well, just net out mosquito larva before they get the best of you!:laser:
 

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Your doing it good! I never did the bleach treatment myself, just make sure to soak it well in clean water for awhile afterwards. If the water becomes heavily stained with tannins (tea color) than change out the water, this will speed up the process a little bit.

Be patient, some of the wood will sink in a week and some took me a month to sink, for difficult pieces just weigh them down with a rock.

Hopefully your favorite pieces will work out! The only real way to tell if they will is by doing what your doing, I always get twice the amount of driftwood I think I might need because some of it won't work out. To tell the truth I always grab any cool driftwood I find! I take it all. I am a driftwood junkie! There....its out.. sorry for being longwinded!

PS: When you start finding the good stuff by the river and compare it to the prices the petstores sell, you will be shocked!
 
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