drift wood - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-19-2009, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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drift wood

I found some drift wood at the local lake. It has been cleaned up. My problem is, I cant get it to stay on the bottom of the tank. Can someone give me some suggestions as to keeping it down ? Its not very big so if I use rocks, It will take away from the wood.

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post #2 of 8 Old 08-19-2009, 11:58 AM
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Unless you know the type of wood (tree species) this is not a safe practice. Some wood has sap or resin that can kill fish in a closed environment like an aquarium (in nature it may not because the water volume is large enough to disperse the toxins or fish avoid the area) and such toxins may leech out of the wood slowly for long periods. The fact that the wood still floats can indicate it has not been long in the water (it would become waterlogged, but again depending upon species) so it is probably able to relase considerable substances, many of which may not be healthy. Aside from toxins, there are bacteria, insects, parasites and pathogens.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-19-2009, 12:17 PM
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What Byron said is correct, However even drift wood from your LFS will float, as the water evaporates from the wood, causing it to float again, until it's again water logged. What I have done, is this. I use slate from roofing tiles from a local roofing company, Most slate is inert, and won't do anything to your water quality best to check it first. I then drill a small hole large enough for a screw, and then carefully screw the drift wood into the position I want it in, and then make it snug. I put the drift wood in first and the substrate over the slate. The drift wood looks as if it's in the substrate and you can't see the slate.

But be careful of the wood you find as Byron stated. Some bacteria may well be beneficial to your tank, but it can also cause it to crash.

If you want to see how it looks take a look at my aquariums.

Good luck.

Sometimes there's justice, sometimes there's just us!
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-19-2009, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Guys
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-19-2009, 03:08 PM
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is there any "safe" wood that can be used? there is a stream with a little waterfall by my house that i plan to go scavenging at for rocks and wood. there are lots of "drift wood" and slate and just all kinds of free goodies to use as decor.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-25-2009, 08:39 PM
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Another thing you can do is boil the wood very thoroughly (so the internal temperature gets up significantly), then let it cool completely in cold water overnight. That way the air inside the wood expands, some of it getting forced out, and as it cools the pressure drop refills those vacancies with water. Density increases, wood sinks (hopefully).

'Course, this doesn't speak to the issue of the wood possibly containing poisons.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-25-2009, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MoneyMitch View Post
is there any "safe" wood that can be used? there is a stream with a little waterfall by my house that i plan to go scavenging at for rocks and wood. there are lots of "drift wood" and slate and just all kinds of free goodies to use as decor.
If you're really set on using found pieces, I would first identify the species of the wood and then go from there.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-26-2009, 08:45 PM
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i use wood that i found next to a lake and have had it in the aquarium for a few weeks now. i didnt boil the pieces but steamed them because i didnt have a pot large enough to fit them in. steaming them doesnt just as good a job if not better to kill bacteria because steam is hotter than water and if my wood would have produced any tannin it got rid of that by steaming as well. i wouldnt be worried about poisoning your water as long as its from a tree that doesnt produce sap or do anything how you say untree like

its a half a inch of water and you think your gunna drown
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