Driftwood questions

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Coolysd

Fish Crazy
Joined
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Hey, y'all!
I have 2 pieces of driftwood that I purchased from Petco. They have been soaking for about a week or so in some old tank water in my 10gal that temporarily housed my Dojos. Yesterday, I took them out and rinsed them off. The tank water was brown, I'm assuming that's from the tannins from the wood. Right?? There were also a couple of patches of some fuzzy looking stuff.

My questions are, is there anything specific that I need/should do to it before I put them in my 75gal with my Dojos?
Should I be concerned about the "fuzzy stuff" or anything else?
I've never used driftwood before, so I'm pretty clueless, lol.
Thanks, y'all, for your support!! :thanks: :thanks::thanks:
 
The brown water is tannins leeching out, correct, and is harmless. In time, it will lessen to the point of not being visible at all, depending upon the wood type and sizes.

The fuzzy whitish stuff is fungus. Much of what appears from inside wood is harmless, but some is toxic. There is no way to know except an examination by a microbiologist. Of course the fish will show reactions to the toxic fungus, but I don't know how dojo loaches do this. My small tetras and cories became lethargic, their respiration went into very rapid mode, and the tank took on a slightly hazy appearance. The tannin brown colour might well cover this so you won't be able to tell which it is. Do you know the wood type? The toxic fungus does seem to be more prevalent on branchy wood like spiderwood, grapewood, etc. I never had this on the many, many, many chunks of Malaysian Driftwood over the years, but on the one branch I bought it developed the toxic fungus.
 
The brown water is tannins leeching out, correct, and is harmless. In time, it will lessen to the point of not being visible at all, depending upon the wood type and sizes.

The fuzzy whitish stuff is fungus. Much of what appears from inside wood is harmless, but some is toxic. There is no way to know except an examination by a microbiologist. Of course the fish will show reactions to the toxic fungus, but I don't know how dojo loaches do this. My small tetras and cories became lethargic, their respiration went into very rapid mode, and the tank took on a slightly hazy appearance. The tannin brown colour might well cover this so you won't be able to tell which it is. Do you know the wood type? The toxic fungus does seem to be more prevalent on branchy wood like spiderwood, grapewood, etc. I never had this on the many, many, many chunks of Malaysian Driftwood over the years, but on the one branch I bought it developed the toxic fungus.
Thanks for the info Byron! I don't know what type of driftwood it is. I purchased it from Petco. It's been in about a week or so. Haven't really seen any more tannins and the Dojos seem to be okay.

I do have another question about the driftwood. Does it affect the PH? When I tested it a week ago it was 7.4 and then a few days later it was 6.8 and now it's 6.4. Doesn't the PH also have something to do with the BB? It's been running since 5/29 and nothing is happening. I even put some decorations and media from an already established tank, and still nothing.
:thanks: :thanks: :thanks:
 
If you were really worried about the fungus, and wanted the tannins out faster, you can try boiling the pieces… I got some on line, that I repeatedly boiled for almost a week, as there was so much staining the water looked like dark tea… they say you can add some baking soda to the water you are boiling the pieces in, and then rinse good before placing in the tanks, to help speed up the process, which I did on these particular 2 pieces… one, was pretty big, and required the biggest kettle we had, and only half would fit in the water, so that piece was rotated each time the water was changed during the boiling process… some woods release more tannins, than others… even after a week long boiling regiment the 2 tanks that got that wood are darker than my other tanks that have wood that didn’t require boiling… but they are slowly getting lighter with water changes
 
I was advised some years ago never to boil wood, as it breaks the fibers apart and the wood will rot much faster. I've had some chunks of wood in tanks for 20+ years, which may not have been the case if I had boiled them. Soaking in tap water is fine, but that's it.

I do have another question about the driftwood. Does it affect the PH? When I tested it a week ago it was 7.4 and then a few days later it was 6.8 and now it's 6.4. Doesn't the PH also have something to do with the BB? It's been running since 5/29 and nothing is happening. I even put some decorations and media from an already established tank, and still nothing.

The pH is part of the trio of water parameters, the other two being GH and KH/Alkalinity. They are closely, very closely, connected. The pH is affected by the GH and KH. So the first thing to always know is the GH, KH and pH of the source/tap water. These values may be available on the website of your water authority if you are on/use city water. If it is a private well you must get the water tested, either at a fish store or similar, or yourself. A note about testing pH...with all tap water whatever the source, you need to ensure any dissolved CO2 is out-gassed, as this will affect the test. Letting a glass of fresh tap water sit for 24 hours will out-gas CO2. This is not needed for water from an aquarium, nor for GH and KH.

If you are on municipal water, and if the source happens to be soft and acidic, many municipalities add some chemical to increase the pH and prevent corrosion of the pipes. I have this here in Greater Vancouver. The pH is therefore higher when it leaves the water plant, but the chemical they add dissipates out slowly and the pH lowers. That is one thing.

Another is the initial GH/KH. If these are low, the pH is subject much more to fluctuation, which is not always bad. But it is important to know what is happening. All else being equal, the pH in an aquarium of soft water with little or no buffering (the KH) will more readily and easily lower. The CO2 produced by fish and plant respiration and the breakdown of organic matter will produce carbonic acid, and the pH lowers.

Any or all of the above may be involved in your water. Not a problem, provided you know it. And provided you only maintain fish suited to the water. A pH of 6.4 is ideal for most all soft water fish species. You need to find out the GH and KH as well to know the entire picture, but usually a low pH goes with low GH/KH, and the reverse. But other factors may play into this.
 
A few quick observations to add to Byron good info.

I know about dissolved CO2 in water and how it can distort PH readings. We have a private well with good quality water. But ,When set up my first tank I thought my pH was 6/4 from the tap until I learned to outgas it before testing. It turned out it was actually 7.4. If you do not want to wait 24 hours you can fill a small clean container with tap water and then drop in am airstone and let it bubble for about 10 minutes and then test,

As for wood that come from PetCo, they are not stupid and make a decent effort not to sell things to go into tanks which could cause harm. I also can second his comment re boiling. Initially I did that until I read it was not so good and stopped the practice. The boiled wood definitely breaks down faster. Give enough wood it might do something to lower pH a tad, but this is done more from other organics than a few pieces of wood can cause.

One of the most important reason why we do regular water changes in our established tanks is that the cycle itself is acidic. This is due to two factors. What contributes most to the level of pH being stable at a given level is due to what contributes yo KH in our tanks. That is carbonates and bicarbonates which are a form of inorganic carbon. These are used by the nitrifying organisms and even some live plants if we have them. When we do water changes, among other things, we are replenishing the KH. Failure to do regular water changes results in what is called Old Tank Syndrome where good maint. practices have been ignored for some time. The result is that the pH of the water drops drastically. Both nitrite and nitrate produce some acid in water which is normally countered by the components of KH. But when the KH drops mor than a bit, so will the pH.

One last observation re testing and tannins. I know this is true for most tests (but cannot say for strips as I use the reagent tests as inthe API kits. These tests work on colors for the results. When we have stained water it can distort the colors and give bad reading. I run one tank with well stained low pH (6.0) water. I have a digital monitor which gives me continuous readings for TDS, Temp. and pH. Without that I could not test that tank using my API supplies.

I hope all of the above info is helpful.
 
Hey guys!
Thank you soooooooooo much for this VERY helpful info!! Definitely gave me a much better understanding of how PH works. I have the testing bottles of both KH and GH. I really don't know much about these two and I don't test it regularly, but gonna start for sure.

My poor fish. With everything that's been going on for the last several months, I've lost them all except my 2 original Dojos that I started out with last August. They are not doing well at all. In fact I just purchased some clove oil and that's breaking my heart 🥺. Feels just like when I had to take my 17 year old cat to the vet for the very last time. 😢

I've been feeding them frozen blood worms (alot) since last night. Figured I would let them pig out while they can, before I have to do the deed. Not even sure how I'm going to be able to do it. My mind is saying one thing and my heart is shattering. At this point I'll be starting over. This time tho. I'll be doing a fishless cycle and am just gonna take my time with it. I've got sand in it now and I'm gonna explore and educate myself on more plant options. I thought about just taking it down and selling everything. But I'm not gonna let this set back discourage me. I guess it's all just part of the journey. Right? Glad y'all are here tho, for realz!! :thanks:
 
All of us here love the hobby or we would not be here and would not have tanks. One can keep all sorts of animals- dogs cats, pigs, birdsm snakes lizards etc. All of these animals share one thing in common- they do not live underwater. So how we can interact and observe these animals is not difficult. But with fish, it is totally different.

Unless we can see actual symptoms like Ich, bloating, discoloration etc., we have no idea of what may be wrong. We normally rely on such visual clues and/or behavioral changes to alert us to problems. But from there things usually get very iffy in terms of diagnosis. If a pet dog is limping or a pet bird is losing feathers etc, we can take them to see a vet, but not with fish.

Most of use feel we are responsible for our fish and their health and when one or more of them is ill, we try to help. But for most of us this is often a best guess proposition. If we are lucky we find help from other hobbyists, but more often we just take our best shot and hope.

I hate to kill anything from a spider to a human and anything in between. I know enough to euthanize a suffering fish that cannot be helped, but doing it bother the heck out of me. I also make whatever effort I think is needed to try to cure a sick fish. I will spent 10 or 20 times what a fish cost to buy any med I think I might need to help it. I will allow a fish which is clearly on the way out but not suffering to live out its days in a dedicated tank if I can. I do not cull my offspring if they are a bit deformed, they get the same luxury of being given the chance to live as long as they can. However, I do not allow a sick or injured fish to be picked on by tankmates.

This is how I do things. I understand others may do things differently. In some cases I may be wrong in trying to let the fish live as long as I have because there is just no way that the fish can tell me it is in pain and suffering.

edited for typos and spelling
 
Last edited:
All of us here love the hobby or we would not be here and would not have tanks. One can keep all sorts of animals- dogs cats, pigs, birdsm snakes lizards etc. All of these animals share one thing in common- they do not live underwater. So how we can interact and observe these animals is not difficult. But with fish, it is totally different.

Unless we can see actual symptoms like Ich, bloating, discoloration etc., we have no idea of what may be wrong. We normally rely on such visual clues and/or behavioral changes to alert us to problems. But from there things usually get very iffy in terms of diagnosis. If a pet dog is limping or a pet bird is losing feathers etc, we can take them to see a vet, but not with fish.

Most of use feel we are responsible for our fish and their health and when one or more of them is ill, we try to help. But for most of us this is often a best guess proposition. If we are lucky we find help from other hobbyists, but more often we just take our best shot and hope.

I hate to kill anything from a spider to a human and anything in between. I know enough to euthanize a suffering fish that cannot be helped, but doing it bother the heck out of me. I also make whatever effort I think is needed to try to cure a sick fish. I will spent 10 or 20 times what a fish cost to buy any med I think I might need to help it. I will allow a fish which is clearly on the way out but not suffering to live out its days in a dedicated tank if I can. I do not cull my offspring if they are a bit deformed, they get the same luxury of being given the chance to live as long as they can. However, I do not allow a sick or injured fish to be picked on by tankmates.

This is how I do things. I understand others may do things differently. In some cases I may be wrong in trying to let the fish live as long as I have because there is just no way that the fish can tell me it is in pain and suffering.

edited for typos and spelling
Thanks so much for your knowledge and sharing your experiences. I did end up having them euthanized 😢. I am starting over with a fishless cycle. Hopefully this time it will gi smoother.
 
Hey, y'all!
I have 2 pieces of driftwood that I purchased from Petco. They have been soaking for about a week or so in some old tank water in my 10gal that temporarily housed my Dojos. Yesterday, I took them out and rinsed them off. The tank water was brown, I'm assuming that's from the tannins from the wood. Right?? There were also a couple of patches of some fuzzy looking stuff.

My questions are, is there anything specific that I need/should do to it before I put them in my 75gal with my Dojos?
Should I be concerned about the "fuzzy stuff" or anything else?
I've never used driftwood before, so I'm pretty clueless, lol.
Thanks, y'all, for your support!! :thanks: :thanks::thanks:
Hello Cool. The fungus is normal. It shows up soon after wood is put under water. It's simply a part of the decomposing process. Water is known as "the great dissolver". Because everything that goes into the tank will eventually break down and dissolve. So, by just removing most of the tank water every week, you remove everything that has dissolved in it. Most species of snails love fungus. Introduce a few Rams Horn snails and the fungus will be gone in a day or so. No worries.

10 Tanks (Now 11)
 

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