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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are types of driftwood you would not want to use in an aquarium? I've been told Spruce/Pine and read somewhere cedar. Are there any others?
 

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From my experience cypress is a bad idea. throughout a year of soaking the stump i had (Which was completely awesome) never lost its tanins.
 

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I just tried an experiment with grapewood, no good. Tannins plus white fungus it may be okay if treated for a long time but I have no idea.

Jeff
 

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Has anyone seriously considered drying out the wood. Then staining it with water based stain. Then a thin coat of epoxy over everything to encapsulate the wood? I have been building wood composite kayaks and I know that epoxy does a good job of water proofing wood. The only concern might be the gloss, but I'm sure somebody could figure that out. Years ago somebody mentioned putting the driftwood and epoxy in a clear plastic bag and just smearing it around, but I think it would come out a liitle messy and be a little wasteful of the glue.

Just a thought.

Steve Pituch
 

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Hi. I've been treating grape wood for about 3 months now. First step was boiling it with salt for 6 or 7 hours. I've placed it in a water + salt solution since then, changing the water regularly but it still has a stench to it. My guess is it will rot. It's a pity because it's an incredible beautiful piece.
 

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You could get a flat sealer that wouldnt add any gloss to the wood. That might work pretty well actually, although I dont know if it would have any effect on fish?
 

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Most of the pines are considered softwood and will rot fairly fast.
Walnut, a lovely dark wood that is considered a hardwood is very poisonous to plants and animals. Gives off a chemical called jugalone that kills competing plants around it. Horses that have been stabled in sawdust from walnuts will go dead lame. The poison was strong enough to be absorbed by the horses feet and cause major circulation problems, more often than not resulting in the death of the animal. I've seen walnut being sold on ebay for aquariums and I'd be very leary of it unless I knew it had been rolling around the river for years and years.

http://www.floridaplants.com/mpois.htm
That's a link to toxic plant info. Most are regular weeds and flowers but different trees are listed too. There are also links specific to the northern sections of North America. The Canadian link is very good.
 

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I dont have a problem with tannins at all, unless its really bad. It can lower your ph some, but thats not a problem for me and I think it looks sorta natural.
 

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Thats what I was thinking. Unless you owned hardwater fish, it would be no problem. If it turns your tank brown, then maybe it is a problem.

But a tint is certainly attractive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So you want to avoid softwoods because they rot quickly? What about cedar, I've been told not to use, but not why.

Tannins can or can not be a problem. It depends on how your water is and what your trying to do. I think the tannins in my tanks are helpful because our water is just about liquid rock. Anything to bring down the hardness and the pH naturally I'm for. Also if you have a piece that leeches like crazy it may not be the best for looks. JMHO
 

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A few comments here from your moderator:

The number of known tree species whose wood can safely be introduced into an aquarium are few. Those few are usually very dense woods with low sap contents. Most safe wood is wood which has been buried for years in bog conditions and which have, in some cases, been semi-"petrified".

All "green" wood is bad or at least dangerous in aquariums. Pine, +softwoods or any resinous woods a no-no. Cedar is loaded with a chemical folks throughout the ages have used to discourage insects -- the insects won't go near it. Don't even think of using it.

The epoxy thing won't work long term, but as long as the epoxy is well cured and off-gassed -- it won't do any harm. Don't worry about the gloss, it can't be noticed underwater.

One could always make or buy reproductions of such woods made entirely of epoxy or polyester. While the purist in me shutters at such a thought, if it looked very, very real -- I might just consider. the possibility -- especially if I lived where there are no good alternatives. At least it would be inert and easy to clean of algae, etc. Ditto fake rocks.

Tannins or their color can be removed with carbon.

The only "safe" wood I know of personally is Causserina equifolia, common name "Australian Pine". It is neither exclusively Australian nor a member of the Pine family, being a seaborne island hopper by way of floating seeds. It is common in many tropical and semi tropical seaside settings and it's wood is iron hard, dense and perfectly safe in aquariums.

It is found as driftwood here in Florida where seaside erosion and storms in the Caribbean and other places launch many a tree into the ocean each year. A few year of soaking in ocean brine, being tumbled by waves and bleached by the sun produces a perfect product.

Good luck!

Bobo
 

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what about malaysian drift wood? I have boiled this for about 3 hours. I have had it in my tank for about a while now and it still looks awsome. It has a real deep brown/mahogany look to it
 

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Yea, but those types woods (first post, didn't read all the others, so someone probably already said this) aren't "driftwood." If they were driftwood, then it would be safe to use.
 

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I am curious about the cedar statement. I know of people who have cedar in their tanks and they appear to be beautiful and healthy. I know it is used to ward off insects and such, but perhaps if found weathered, it isn't toxic anymore?
I'd like to hear more from anyone who might have used cedar roots in their tanks.
 
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