05-16-2012, 10:55 PM
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Short answer is when all the Tannins have leeched out.
Long answer it could take several years for that to happen. There are though ways you can speed it up. One is adding Carbon to your filter. This will remove the tannins but will require the carbon to be changed regularly.
Another option is to boil it, check the water in a separate pale / bucket and see if it is still leeching tannins. If not boil again and check again.
If it is still leeching, add a large amount of bleach to some hot water with the wood in. PLEASE NOTE, this method needs about 2-3 months if it still leeches after the first try. Once you have soaked it in bleach, soak it again in new water with added vinegar. Once you have done this, soak it in distilled water and leave to dry out completely.
By the sounds of it though, the piece is quite small, so I would recommend trying the boiling method. Repeat as necessary and it will clear up, it would be beneficial to add carbon to your filter as well.
Tannins will turning the water a pale color are actually NOT dangerous to fish, the tannic acid is too weak to cause any major issues unless the piece of driftwood is massive!