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#1 Super Dude

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 10:53 PM

Does driftwood have an important role in a planted aquarium, or is it just aesthetic?

Edited by Super Dude, 01 March 2009 - 01:37 AM.


#2 dcarmor927

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:31 AM

mainly aesthetics...but if it has alot of nooks and cracks in it it can be alot easier for a plant such as java moss/fern to bind too...

#3 Super Dude

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:19 AM

kk so i'll just go get some rocks from the river instead of $20 worth of pretty logs.

#4 dcarmor927

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:20 AM

lol thats the smart way to go

#5 poconoboss

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:36 AM

Plecos love driftwood and will actually eat it. So if you have any plecos, it's good to have some driftwood in the tank.

#6 dcarmor927

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 05:26 AM

Plecos love driftwood and will actually eat it. So if you have any plecos, it's good to have some driftwood in the tank.


not all do tho...

#7 Spikey1007

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:39 PM

I always thought drift wood was a tad expensive for what it is. Normally its a bit of wood which has been sitting at the bottom of a freshwater lake,they pull it out, dry it then they sand blast it and expect 15 for it!

If you find a small lake you can probably get you own, then dry it in an airing coboard or a greenhouse, then give it a good rough to smooth sanding then you have your own drift wood for what 2 if you even need to buy sanding paper.

#8 Super Dude

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 12:46 AM

ok I want to make my own driftwood.

1. Can I go and grab any old log and use it for question 2?

2. Could I take the wood, soak it in water change leftover water, then do what Spikey said? How long should it soak? A month?

#9 dcarmor927

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 01:13 AM

wood can take months to leech out all its tannins maybe years...if you can boil it for a while i would, if its too big i would use a dish washer on high heat, which is what i did...

use dead wood, live wood will rot in the tank, im pretty sure you can use any wood...

Edited by dcarmor927, 24 February 2009 - 01:42 AM.


#10 bitteraspects

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 01:21 AM

Not only is driftwood used for shelter, food, and decoration, but it can also help lower the ph of your water for fish that require those parameters. It also releases tannins that some fish enjoy.

#11 Super Dude

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 03:06 AM

if i chop the wood by april-may, would it be dead enough by fall?

dishwasher rofl. now thats what i call innovation!!! :D

#12 TylerFerretLord

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 03:28 AM

I would wait longer than that, maybe a year or so.

Make sure it is from a hardwood tree and make sure the tree has no chemical defenses (like how cherry trees have hydrogen cyanide in their tissues).

#13 Super Dude

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 06:06 AM

ok. when the snow melts(i'm Canadian, eh), i'll go visit my grandparents on their farm in northern Alberta. lots of trees and forestry there. i'll pic up a few different kinds and report back here. :)

#14 Super Dude

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 04:46 AM

ok so i have some logs whose fate would've been the firepit. i'm not sure exactly what they are, but it's either:

1. Birch-80% sure
2. Spruce-Maybe?
3. Pine-Maybe?

Are all of these chemically safe? (no cyanide :P )

Edited by Super Dude, 25 February 2009 - 04:49 AM.


#15 saltynay

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 11:14 AM

No the harder the wood the better pine will kill you fish it has a huge amount of resin which is toxic to humans let alone fish. You want to go to a forest which you can legaly remove a section of a branch of a fallen tree that is dry rotted rather then rotted from damp. Then go home scrape off all the bark and give a light sanding, boil it for 6 hours, place in a bucket with some aquarium salt, weigh it down and for a month change the water every two days. Check it after a month dry it in the airing cupboard for a week, then thoroughly sand making sure to get rid of all loose material. Place in the oven at a 100C and bake for a couple of hours checking it incase it catches fire or appears to start burning, if it does stop immediately and wait for it to cool and try again at a slightly lower heat. It is then ready to be placed in your tank :)

Fast growing trees should be avoided and slow growing trees should be used. There are tons of guides to doing this on the intertube.

Edited by saltynay, 25 February 2009 - 11:15 AM.


#16 dcarmor927

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 05:28 PM

No the harder the wood the better pine will kill you fish it has a huge amount of resin which is toxic to humans let alone fish. You want to go to a forest which you can legaly remove a section of a branch of a fallen tree that is dry rotted rather then rotted from damp. Then go home scrape off all the bark and give a light sanding, boil it for 6 hours, place in a bucket with some aquarium salt, weigh it down and for a month change the water every two days. Check it after a month dry it in the airing cupboard for a week, then thoroughly sand making sure to get rid of all loose material. Place in the oven at a 100C and bake for a couple of hours checking it incase it catches fire or appears to start burning, if it does stop immediately and wait for it to cool and try again at a slightly lower heat. It is then ready to be placed in your tank :)

Fast growing trees should be avoided and slow growing trees should be used. There are tons of guides to doing this on the intertube.


This seems pretty nutty to me, but if you've had good experience with it, more power...

To Super Dude, if you are going to plant something on the top of the wood, dont get that super smooth, you want the plants to be able to grad hold to something, you could sand it up, then drill small holes into it maybe?

#17 Super Dude

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 10:27 PM

No the harder the wood the better pine will kill you fish it has a huge amount of resin which is toxic to humans let alone fish. You want to go to a forest which you can legaly remove a section of a branch of a fallen tree that is dry rotted rather then rotted from damp. Then go home scrape off all the bark and give a light sanding, boil it for 6 hours, place in a bucket with some aquarium salt, weigh it down and for a month change the water every two days. Check it after a month dry it in the airing cupboard for a week, then thoroughly sand making sure to get rid of all loose material. Place in the oven at a 100C and bake for a couple of hours checking it incase it catches fire or appears to start burning, if it does stop immediately and wait for it to cool and try again at a slightly lower heat. It is then ready to be placed in your tank :)

Fast growing trees should be avoided and slow growing trees should be used. There are tons of guides to doing this on the intertube.


This seems pretty nutty to me, but if you've had good experience with it, more power...

To Super Dude, if you are going to plant something on the top of the wood, dont get that super smooth, you want the plants to be able to grad hold to something, you could sand it up, then drill small holes into it maybe?

i was hoping i could keep the bark on, but i guess thats a no-no. i will find a way to make the surface ruff, maybe drilling or chiselling. i might also try sanding with really low grit paper(45-50)

birch wood is safe right?

#18 saltynay

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 10:37 PM

I found this quick and easy guide not quite as thorough as my own stringent methods but seems good enough

DIY Driftwood

For those of us who are the DIY types and who do not want to spend money on over priced driftwood from the pet shop, here is a simple guide to making your own.

Selecting the wood.

Finding driftwood can be a fun experience for the whole family. If you are lucky enough to live in a country setting, most driftwood can be found near your back door - in a river, lake, stream, or forest. If you live in suburbia or the big city, you may have to travel out of town a bit to find something suitable. Driftwood does not have to be 'drifting' in a stream or lake. It can be from one of the many fallen dead tree in the woods. Make sure it is OK to remove wood from the area. Some lands are protected and it is against the law to remove fallen trees/wood without first obtaining a permit.

Avoid softwoods such as Pine, Willow, or other fast growing tree. Avoid trees with lots of sticky sap like Pine or Maple. Avoid Cedar as it contains oils that repel insects and could be harmful to your fish. Hardwood (the harder the better) is best. It will last longer and you will be much happier with it. Cherry, Apple, and Oak all work well. Hardwood weighs more than softwood because it is more dense, and will also not break down as fast in your aquarium. Where you live determines what is available.

Take a good saw or hatchet along with you. You may have to cut it from a larger piece. Try to pick a sun beaten, old, gnarled and very dead specimen. Unique shapes with knots will add character to your aquarium. Look for signs of rot or infestation, which may make it un-desirable. Avoid polluted areas so you don’t pick a specimen that is contaminated. The more pristine the area, the better.

Preparing the wood.

Once again, make sure there is no rot. Use a wire brush to remove any rot. Strip the wood of any bark. Prepare a large plastic container by cleaning it and filling it with clean water. Tupperware or Sterilite work well. Dump in a couple handfuls salt and mix it well. This salt-water solution will help draw out any impurities and dehydrate many organisms on or in the wood. Weight down the wood with rocks, submerging it completely and cover the container with a lid. The wood will most likely leach tannins, turning the water brownish looking. Soak it for a couple weeks, changing the water daily. Try to soak it until it sinks on it's own and stops leaching tannins into the water. The length of time you need to soak it is largely dependant on how sun bleached it is to begin with. When you feel it has soaked long enough, rinse it well.

Sterilizing the wood.

There are two ways to sterilize the driftwood – Boiling and Baking. Boiling or baking will kill anything the salt water did not and keep your fish safe. There are pros and cons to either method.

Many times, boiling the wood is impractical unless you have a very large pot the wood will fit in. Boiling tends to stink up the house a bit. But, with boiling, there is less risk of the wood catching fire. Boiling also helps to ensure the wood will sink when added to the aquarium. If you choose to use this method, boil it well for at least an hour at a full rolling boil. Make sure the water covers the wood at all times.

Another method is to bake the wood in an oven on low heat (200 degrees F) for several hours. I prefer my old outdoor gas grill. Usually the wood fits nicely inside and I can close the lid and simmer it on low heat for as long as I like. When baking the wood, keep a careful eye on it. The dry heat of baking can allow the wood to catch fire, so check on it frequently.

Adding the wood.

The natural realistic driftwood addition makes any tank look spectacular and many fish and live plants love it. At first, your new driftwood may float again and you may need to attach it to a piece of slate or stone to weigh it down. There are different methods of achieving this. Your new wood may also leach more tannins into the water column for a period of time. This should not last forever and adding carbon to your filter will help to remove them. If it does leach tannins, they will not harm your fish. Keep an eye on things for a while and soon your driftwood will become an established part of your aquarium. Watch for mold growth or other abnormalities and you should be fine. You and your fish may now enjoy your new DIY driftwood.

This is not meant to be an all inclusive guide


Edited by saltynay, 25 February 2009 - 10:38 PM.


#19 Super Dude

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 06:20 PM

ok that guide seems fairly do-able and trustworthily. thanks. :)

#20 Super Dude

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 07:27 AM

One more question. will birch or spruce wood be sufficient?




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