03-07-2013, 12:47 PM
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I have used "collected" wood, though it is always a risk. But there are a couple important points.
First, it must be completely dry, meaning that all sap has dried out; if you collect wood like branches out of water, this is easy to ascertain, un;like wood collected in water. Second, all bark must be removed; never put wood with any bark in the aquarium. Third, make sure it has no substances on it. Soak it in a pail of warm water or a tank without fish for several days to weeks; you want no fungus or any substance leeching out, or critters. Boiling might deal with the latter, depending upon the thickness.
Having said that, the only outdoors wood I have collected and used has been branches. I personally would not use large chunks, since it is impossible to know what may be inside that could take weeks and even months to leech out.