how to clean shells and driftwood? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-03-2011, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Talking how to clean shells and driftwood?

how to clean shells and driftwood?

I am in Vancover visiting family and found a beautiful peice of driftwood down at the beach in addition to a bunch of beautiful shells that I would love to put in my aquarium. They are from saltwater and my aquarium is freshwater. What can i do to make these shells compatible? fish are angels and gbr. It has been suggested to me that I boil the shells and bake the driftwood in my oven, will that work?

Thank you
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-03-2011, 01:35 PM
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The main issue with the shells is that they are calcareous (composed of calcium). This dissolves in water and will raise the hardness (and pH). Depending upon the hardness and pH in the aquarium itself, this may or may not have much effect. And with hard water fish (livebearers, rift lake cichlids) it would not be an issue, but with soft water fish I would not risk it. The salt is another problem (see below).

As for the wood, the main issue is salt. I do not know if boiling will remove the salt sufficiently. Salt can be very damaging to soft water fish (angels and rams). Here again, I would not risk my fish. Other problems with wood from nature are pathogens, parasites, and unknown toxic substances the wood may have absorbed whenever. I had a terrible experience with an unknown toxin that leeched out of a piece of wood and killed several fish before we identified the problem. And this was wood purchased in an aquarium store; but it shows that toxic substances can be in the wood undetected until it is too late.

Byron.

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 5 Old 01-03-2011, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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What about baking the wood or shells in my oven at a high temp to kill all the parasites?
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-06-2011, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all so much for your help!

I will treat the the driftwood and use that but I'm still unsure of the shells, its a shame since they'd be such a beautiful addition. I wonder if frequent cleaning and balancing would help but I'm a newb so one thing at a time.

I'm thinking I'll do the driftwood in boiling water in the bathtub or sink, let sit over night and then bake it in the oven at 500f to kill the bacteria, then do another couple rounds of boiling water to
Make sure all of the salt is gone.

I wonder if boiling the shells in water and a ph balancing solution would do some good?

What do you think?

Thank you! :)
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-10-2011, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all so much for your help!

I will treat the the driftwood and use that but I'm still unsure of the shells, its a shame since they'd be such a beautiful addition. I wonder if frequent cleaning and balancing would help but I'm a newb so one thing at a time.

I'm thinking I'll do the driftwood in boiling water in the bathtub or sink, let sit over night and then bake it in the oven at 500f to kill the bacteria, then do another couple rounds of boiling water to
Make sure all of the salt is gone.

I wonder if boiling the shells in water and a ph balancing solution would do some good?

What do you think?

Thank you! :)
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