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How to properly clean driftwood.

Discussion in 'Welcome: Introduce Yourself & Learn More About TFF' started by PheonixKingZ, Jul 12, 2019 at 3:10 PM.

  1. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fish Addict

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    Hello, and good day TFF people!!

    I found a nice piece of "Driftwood" (I say it like that because I didn't find it in the water, I found it near the water.

    I just want to know how to properly clean it, before adding it to my tank.

    I am soaking it now in water (Tap), in a 5 gal. bucket.

    it seems to be relatively clean, and has some cool early roots on it.

    It seems to be pretty old (not really any tannis leaking from it), and heavy.

    Thank you in advance! :)

    Tagged people: @Colin_T @Byron @seangee
     
  2. Back in the fold

    Back in the fold Fish Fanatic

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    Byron says that boiling driftwood hastens its demise. I tend to agree with that but Driftwood is porous and anything could be lurking in it. I have always boiled driftwood and have never had it fall apart. Some of the very hard driftwoods from Africa maybe need it more. And, what, do you expect it to last forever? Boil it thoroughly and ease your worries.
     
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  3. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Boiling will not "clean" wood of all that could be harmful. It might kill critters and pathogens, but even the latter is not a certainty. Wood is as was said a very porous substance and it absorbs any liquid it comes into contact with, and they can leech out months and even years later. I had this with a large chunk of wood purchased in a fish store.

    Boiling is something you should not do to wood, it will cause the fibers to break apart faster. And rotting wood on its own can be dangerous in a fish tank.
     
  4. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fish Addict

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    Ok!

    For how long, do you suggest I boil it for?

    Here is a picture of said piece. It is a really nice looking piece in my opinion! :)
    image.jpg

    It is soaking in tap water now, just to get it water logged.

    Is it safe to use duckweed from a pond? I heard form one of my friends it isn’t ok to use in fish tanks, as long as you put it in quarantine for over 1 week. :)
     
  5. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fish Addict

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    So how do you suggest I clean it @Byron? :)
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    No. It is anything but safe to use any plants collected locally in a tropical fish tank. For one thing, there are pathogens in watercourses that are specific to the region and that do not occur in different regions (thinking of the temperate versus tropical versus sub-tropical "regions") and the fish in those regions build up immunity. Fish in different regions do not, and it can be disastrous. Never release tropical fish/plants/organisms into the local region, and vice versa.

    I don't, that was my point. I would not use it. Wood I purchase from the store (which is generally safer at least in the sense of not coming from the local wild) gets a rinse under the tap. I have collected small branches, oak for example, that are dead and completely dry (having fallen off the tree thanks to a squirrel bite or whatever) and I leave these outside to be rinsed by rain, sometimes for several weeks. I bring them in and then put them somewhere to again dry out completely. The ones I used in my 29g Amazon Blackwater tank a couple weeks ago have been in the house for two years. Nothing could be safer! But I don't always wait that long, so long as the branches are completely dead dry. Having collected these from the back garden I know they have not come into contact with any toxic chemicals because I do not use them and there is no industry nearby.
     
  7. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fish Addict

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    Well the piece I got, was completely dead. No tanis, no dirt. Totally local. Is that safe? :)
     
  8. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    The main thing to worry about with wood found on land, is herbicide. If the local council or farmer has sprayed herbicide, it might have landed on the wood.
    Was there any dying or dead grass or plants near the wood?
    If not, it is probably free of herbicide.

    Hose the wood off and put it in a bucket of water. Change the water every day for a month and it will be clean.

    -------------------------
    If you find plants in the wild, put them in pots and keep them in a container of water outside. Change the water a couple of times a week and leave the plants there for at least 1 month before adding them to your tank.

    You can use copper to treat the plants for snails, planaria, hydra and other parasites that might be on them.
     
  9. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    Many aquarists do boil their driftwood not only to sterilize it but also to get it to sink faster.
     
  10. seangee

    seangee Member

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    That's what I do, although I only use wood I am certain is free of pesticides. Tap water (chlorinated) is just fine. On day 1 you could add a cup of household bleach - the cheap stuff that contains nothing but bleach.
     
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  11. Back in the fold

    Back in the fold Fish Fanatic

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    I have been thinking this over. I now believe I get where Byron is coming from and he just may be right. Boiling may not be the best thing but I still may pour boiled water over it to clean it and not actually immerse it into the still boiling water for an extended time. Wood that you find might not be so great either. Different woods have things in them that may be toxic. Juniper wood comes to mind. Buy your wood in a pet shop sold as specifically for aquarium use.
     
  12. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Something to add that I forgot previously, and just realized from post #11--having to do with the wood species. To be safe wood must be hardwood, such as oak, beech, maple. Never use softwoods such as all coniferous wood (cedar, pine, spruce, etc). Some if not all of these do have poisonous sap. And never use evergreens such as ornamental bushes like rhododendrons, which being evergreen have sap in the wood and leaves permanently.

    And before someone mentions it, yes, streams in the wild may have lots of these woods in them...but that is the open watercourse not a closed aquarium. The problem I had back in the late 1990's with fish dying from something leeching from a chunk of wood did not appear for several months after the wood was added to the tank.

    I am reminded of an anecdote told to me by a professional aquarium collector. He brought back some dwarf cichlids from South America, along with leaves from the substrate of their habitat on which they normally spawned. All was well for a few weeks, then literally overnight the fish began to show signs of trouble and within a few days all were dead. Tests determined it was a natural toxin that leeched out from the leaves. In their habitat, this was no problem because the water current carried it downstream away from the fish, but in an aquarium it increased (notwithstanding his 50% partial water change every week) until the fish succumbed. The moral of this story is one must be careful with anything added to the aquarium; even if it seems OK for a time, it may well not be.
     
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