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I agree with Seattle. The bark will rot (at least the part in the water), and the 'green' wood is a BAD idea. It needs to be weathered, aged wood that has leached out all its contaminants. Varnish could kill the whole system. You could have it coated in a plastic resin, but you have to make sure it's completely dry before putting it in the tank, and then it just won't look natural.

Are there many tree/forested areas where you live? That's agreat place to start looking for old driftwood.

By the way, welcome to the forum! :D
 

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Or you can just go to a nice LFS and try to get one that is already treated… you can find a variety of colors and forms. Btw, I bought one like 6 moths ago, and I spent about 2 months soaking and boiling it until it stopped leaching the tannic acid into the tank water (red color). So, even when you get it from the store, you still will have to do some soaking and boiling until you don't see this red liquid leaching into the water anymore. But whatever you do, DO NOT put anything that you find in your backyard before properly treating it and making sure it wont change/affect you water and livestock.
I've had better luck with stuff I've found outdoors in the wilderness. I've collected 4 pieces that way and found that there was little/no leaching (they had already leached out over time, naturally), so I just boiled them for a couple hours. The larger pieces I soaked in a tub with a 19:1 water:bleach solution for a couple hours and then rinsed/washed in water w/dechlorinator.

To me it's fun to collect driftwood. IT gives me a chance to get away from the computer, :ranger: and it gives my tanks a more personal touch. :D

-Dave
 

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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!
How cool is that!? The root actually sent up shoots?! (As a horticulturalist I find that fascinating.) What species was it? :p

-Dave
 
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