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Birch has the same issues as elm and therefore not a very good choice for aquaria. I use Bald Cypress and Bodark extensively and have had no losses do to the wood. These two are 100% safe and they are what I recommend as they both are common nearly everywhere.
 

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Thought this was on here already, but now that I double-check I don't see it:

Sycamores (genus Plantanus) are trees found in mostly wet areas - swamps, riverbanks and floodplains, etc. all over North America. Given their environment, their roots are rot-resistant, have a very unique, twisted sort of character to them (they're also often found with rocks wrapped in between and embedded within them), and can be used in tanks with the bark still on them (it's very thick and durable in its own right, so stripping the bark is a challenge to begin with).

Anyway, I use them in a number of setups, with everything from discus to wild-caught mollies, and they're perfectly aquarium-safe. Not to mention they look really cool - and kind of creepy, even.
 

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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.
 

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Well said! On another forum I read a warning that crape myrtle was deadly. Tell that to the dozens of Endler's livebearers in my 20 gallon.
 

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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".
 

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If you read my post I said AGED pine, the older the better, not anything fresh enough to make turpentine out of. And no I have never personally used pine in a tank but I have seen several local biotope aquariums in my area and talked with their owners. They have never had a single problem related to their wood choice. That is what I would call proven fact. I could see where you might run into issues if you take a piece of wood that is not properly aged or don't do enough routine water changes on said tank. That problem is also compounded if you are testing the wood in a tank with sensative livestock. Yes it is sad that I am passionate about this hobby and feel obligated to say something when I see the same incorrect information being passed around forums like VD without a single source other than the other guy who dropped a dismissive oneliner about it on some other forum. And believe me it was furthest from my intentions to insult your arrogance, unless you feel you are prone to talking out of your *** which I do not believe you to be. Maybe next time you will read my entire post in its meaning instead of picking through it for things to feel insulted about and realize you are obviously not one of the people I was posting about.
 

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WoW! You actually think I was so careless not to fully read your post? Don't kid yourself. Aged or not I still would not use pine in a submerged or otherwise environment and just cause some locals are doing it does not mean it is now perfectly safe. I know some people in my region who use railroad ties as garden dividers and square foot gardening supports. I'm not even going to go into detail about the risk and transferring of toxins into everything. Just cause they are doing it does not mean it is perfectly safe or sane for that matter. So someone puts a type of wood or rock or soil/substrate that under normal conditions is not safe in a tank and claim that there are no "problems" means what? Fish can easily be suffering to the point that there life is shortened and the keeper thinks everything is fine. Unless everyone is a science or carbon chemistry buff the testing needed for water is out of reach for 90% of everyone who have aquariums. Even the top of the line aquarium parameter testing equipment you can buy will not show you what you are actually putting into the environment that is and will severely harm over time. Not everyone wants to spend 20-30 bucks to have his/her water tested by a state lab.

The fact that there are roughly 115 species of pine makes using the term pine kinda lame. In the south yellow is the most widespread and it is nasty fresh and dried and even dried for 2 years the gummy resin and oils are still present and placing in water reveals that. Why people think that toxic elements fully vanish if wood dries is such a spoof! White pine is much nicer and I could see people wanting to experiment with this and not knowing where your at only leaves guessing. Also Biotopes are usually defined as plants and animals living together in a uniform or so environment.

Oh, and if I wanted to be arrogant I would of gave you my biography and expertise on everything plant and dirt related. You could not think of anything better to say than to try and accuse me of arrogance after I give you a 1/10% of a little about what I do. Seriously pathetic and if you do not yet have HBP you soon will with the personality your expressing. You know these forums could actually kill a person with HBP cause they usually do not know how to not react in a normal way!

This is fun.

Have a nice day ****!
 

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Hi all--

Just a some woods to add to the list that have proven safe and durable for me:

Red Oak
Tatarian honeysuckle (cut and left outdoors over the winter to dry and cure, bark removed before adding to the tank)
Willow (roots and branches, cured over the winter before adding to the tank)

I also collect random driftwood that comes down the local creek with the spring floods, no idea what species, but so far so good.

Has anyone tried American Ironwood?? It's a tough, dense wood with an interesting gnarled growth pattern. How about Avellanus contorta (aka Harry Lauder's Walking Stick)? Apple and crabapple?

I have been unhappy when I have used Malaysian driftwood as it seems to take an inordinate amount of time to leach the tannins out of the wood for use in a tank.

Catherine
 

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Is there some way to clean or treat driftwood found in a freshwater lake? I found several nice pieces on recent trip to Arkansas don't want to just put in tank without making sure its safe for fish.
 

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Is there some way to clean or treat driftwood found in a freshwater lake? I found several nice pieces on recent trip to Arkansas don't want to just put in tank without making sure its safe for fish.
Soak it in a large trash can and do water changes for a few weeks. That should help leach out anything unwanted. If they are small enough you can boil them.
 

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can you sanitize local driftwood that you might have found at a lake? i saw one youtube video that showed a guy boiling his wood for 2 hours. his didnt fit so he boiled both sides for 2 hours. is there another way?
 
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