Mopani wood - good or bad?? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-17-2012, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Question Mopani wood - good or bad??

So I just bought a nice looking piece of Mopani wood and boiled it. The water looked like tea, never really dark - BUT now I am afraid to use it because I have seen people saying theirs got some kind of filmy junk on it and it hurt their fish and fowled the aquarium.

What is the verdict?? bad stuff, ok stuff, what?

I also saw that Malayian wood is much better but where can you get it??
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-17-2012, 03:18 PM
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I have Malaysian wood in a tank and didnt even bother boiling or soaking it and it was fine, also has a second hand piece of mopani I've never had a problem with. The real issue behind the mopani controversy is that there are different grades of it, some is lighter and lower quality meant for reptiles and birds while the higher quality is very dense and should be sold as aquarium grade mopani. All wood will grow a white fungus for anywhere from days to weeks then one day disappear when your tank balances itself out. The real risk is when people over react to the white fuzz and try to boil a once harmless fungus into a toxic residue on the wood. I had 4 types of fish eating the fungus off my driftwood and they are all doing fine, its normal, its safe, so don't boil it. To be safe since you already boiled it let it soak for a couple days and replace water frequently, people have bought mopani and boiled it because they saw the dried fuzz and again over reacted causing the fungus to be broken down resulting in dead fish when they put the wood in.

That would make sense. Haven't you heard? We make yogurt, not sense.

~My Boss

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post #3 of 11 Old 07-17-2012, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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So where can you find Malasyian wood??
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-17-2012, 04:13 PM
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In Malaysia :3 or most pet stores, I see it all the time browsing around its very common Natural Malaysian Driftwood use the site so you know what to look for its pretty recognizable

That would make sense. Haven't you heard? We make yogurt, not sense.

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post #5 of 11 Old 07-17-2012, 04:30 PM
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I've used both, boiled them all before putting them in the first time, but I did it to release the majority of the tannins (what causes the tea color).

The Mopani did grow a fungus, still does from time to time, I leave it alone. My Mystery Snail thinks it is the best treat in the world so I let him have at it, the fish leave it alone.

The Malaysian which I have several pieces of has never had fungus, on any of the pieces. I also think Malaysian looks better. You'll have to go to a local pet store, or buy online. Chain stores probably won't carry it.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-17-2012, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Hah hah! I would like to know the difference in species, Malaysian wood is like saying American wood....
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-20-2012, 05:36 PM
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Iv also got Mopani wood and it looks stunning, prefer it to the regular bogwood to be honest. My CRS and gbn pleco love the pieces iv got, the gbn is always grazing on it and has a biit of a cave in a huge piece that it spends most of its time in. Iv also got as piece of sumatran driftwood in another tank, crs also loving it as are my assasin snails. All 4 pieces i havent boiled but did soak for 2 months before using, the biggest piece of mopani still bleeds a little but nothing major. Not lost a fish from having any of them

Fish will brighten your day even when the world tries to darken it
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-20-2012, 05:55 PM
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The Malaysian Driftwood is dark brown, almost reddish-brown, sometimes near black, and heavy. It sinks immediately. Tannins are not too bad; I just soak new pieces for a couple days in a pail. This wood is more chunky, it is excellent as fallen logs, tree stumps (placed vertically, some pieces are perfect), and it has a lot of tunnels which is super for catfish and loaches who have a riot in this. You can see it (sort of) in the photos of my tanks under "Aquariums" below my name on the left. I have a lot of it.

The Mopani I have never liked, but it does come in branch-like pieces which is useful. I get it mixed up with grapewood and Manzanita wood. Not sure if these are all different or not, stores often mis-label stuff. Some of this wood will carry fungus.

Now, there are many, perhaps hundreds, of species of fungus. Some is highly toxic, some is safe. Without knowing the species (and this means an examination by a microbiologist) it is impossible to say. But I have killed fish with a fungus that appeared on a piece of this wood, and I know others too. I will never again take the risk.


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 #9 of 11 Old 07-20-2012, 05:58 PM
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My Petsmart carries Malaysian. Beautiful, and pretty cheap for driftwood, mine's never given me a bit of trouble mould wise as well. If they have it, it's probably hidden among all the plastic decorations.

taking a break from fish-keeping.
3 lovely male betta still keep me company.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-21-2012, 05:36 PM
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I found an LFS that sells Malaysian and manzinita, the manzinita tends to be more branchy, the Malaysian there I have found are usually more of stumps at the place. There was a huge piece once that was amazing, it was a huge stump that was over twenty pounds. Sucked not having a tank big enough and my having the $65 dollar price tag lol.

You can find some nice pieces on Aquabid, but sometimes I have found there to be plain pieces, so you just gotta keep looking.

15 Gallon NPT
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