Driftwood and Rock question!!
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Driftwood and Rock question!!

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Driftwood and Rock question!!
Old 03-21-2012, 02:11 PM   #1
 
Driftwood and Rock question!!

Can you use rocks or driftwood that you find outside in a freshwater tank? What do you have to do to it first? Is it safe? What kind of rocks are okay if any??
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:14 PM   #2
 
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Can you use rocks or driftwood that you find outside in a freshwater tank? What do you have to do to it first? Is it safe? What kind of rocks are okay if any??

great ? I don't know the answer but waiting for the experts. I have the same question for some rocks I found on a lake once.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:23 PM   #3
 
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You can with both, I have never used wood from outside though. From my understanding you either bake it for a while or boil it but I'm not entirely sure. Also remember that it may not last as long as the comercially avalbale driftwood unless it is a hard wood and you would want to use dead stuff (already fallen off tree and what not).

For rocks you wanna make sure they wont change the water parameters in your tank, good easy way to do that is to put them in vinegar. If it bubbles it will change your tanks params, if not then it should be inert. Then just pour boiling water over them (don't actually boil them because if there is any water trapped inside it can boil and the resulting pressure could cause them to explode). This si the method that has worked for me for rocks, not sure if other people have anything else to input. I'm sure they do.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:26 PM   #4
 
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Yes you can, but there is of course always risks.

For rocks, you need ones that are inert, which means they won't dissolve in water and mess with your GH/KH. Limestone is a perfect example of what you don't want.

A way to test for it is to use an acid on the rock and see if it fizzes. Vinegar can work. You of course want to clean them very good first, but do not boil them directly on the stove. You can pour boiling water on them, but don't heat them on the stove, rocks have been known to explode if they contain moisture internal which turns to a gas which has a larger volume than when it was a liquid.

For driftwood, you want a hardwood, they are less likely to rot on you. It has to be old and dead to ensure it has no sap left in it. It also needs to have no bark on it. Most wood you find outside will float in the aquarium, sometimes for months before becoming water logged and sinking. Often people have to bolt it down to a piece of slate (with stainless steel of course) or hold it down with rocks (careful, don't want a falling rock to break your glass).

Malaysian Driftwood you get at the pet/fish store is best, it will sink immediately and is a known good and natural wood for the fish. It is hard to find a nice branchy piece though, most of it is more chunks or flat pieces.
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:13 PM   #5
 
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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

I concur with what others have posted. Wood is probably safest if purchased from a reliable fish store as wood intended for an aquarium. The boiling will usually deal with parasites and pathogens, but not other issues like internal fungus and any chemicals/pesticides the wood may have absorbed.

Rock is a bit safer; I use rocks acquired from my local landscape/stone supply. It is still a risk though, admittedly.

Byron.
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:37 PM   #6
 
Thanks for the reply's! I guess when I said wood from outside I should have said drift wood from a beach, not sure if there's a difference in how to treat it or if it's treatable but I'm curious. There are lots of beaches where I live and I have a hard time paying a LOT of money for the wood from a store when it's at the beach?
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:47 PM   #7
 
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Thanks for the reply's! I guess when I said wood from outside I should have said drift wood from a beach, not sure if there's a difference in how to treat it or if it's treatable but I'm curious. There are lots of beaches where I live and I have a hard time paying a LOT of money for the wood from a store when it's at the beach?
I don't know if you mean ocean beaches or freshwater lake beaches. The first means salt in the wood, which is bad, in addition to the other issues next up. Freshwater wood may well contain all sorts of nasties such as parasites (to fish), pathogens, toxins, etc. Boiling may remove some of these, but not all. Wood from the forest (not in water) is probably safer in some respects, though it may still harbour stuff. And wood absorbs any fluid it comes in contact with, and this may only leech out months from now. I had this happen once, and killed a lot of fish before it was pinned down to something (unknown) that was leeching from one chunk of wood. [This came from a fish store, too, just to add insult to injury.]
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:58 PM   #8
 
Oh my, that would be awful.. I guess the stuff from the store is worth the money... except in your case??! :) Thanks for the advice!
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:55 PM   #9
 
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Oh my, that would be awful.. I guess the stuff from the store is worth the money... except in your case??! :) Thanks for the advice!
It is safer, usually. I use Malaysian Driftwood, which seems to be popular now in several stores. It is very dark brown, sometimes almost black. It is heavy so it sinks immediately (some woods have to be held down somehow, until waterlogged), looks natural, and so far I have had no issues with it. And I have a lot of it.

Another wood often avaiulable is Mopani Wood from Africa. It is two-tone, a tan side and a dark brown side. Looks nice, but takes a while to get waterlogged, has lots of tannins, and is known to sometimes carry toxic fungus. Grapewood is another light coloured wood that comes as branches, and it is notorious for toxic fungus.
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