I finally got around to putting my new driftwood piece into the tank last night. I was going to plant it with all the baby java ferns I have, and I will, but I wanted to make sure that it worked in it's primary function first.
I have been having an issue with catfish not doing well, OK, any number over eight seem to die. I put a pepper cory in from the office and that made number nine. Shortly afterwards I saw one of the established catfish not doing so well, lethargic, not reacting to me near the tank (they are usually quite jittery) and looking rather pekid (I like that spelling rather than peaked... seems more phonetically correct).
The only thing that came to mind was bottom hiding space. There seemed to only be space for them to all hang out with eight and the 9th and 10th were somewhere else. Low leafy plants seemed to bring them out a bit so I put the driftwood piece in to provide a hidden raceway or tunnel across the rear of the tank between their favourite corner spot behind a vertical driftwood and the larger driftwood pieces.
Here's a pic of them using the tunnel this morning. The vertical piece is on the left and the new piece is resting on a small white rock and resting against the glass. I will see later today if they all congregate together in that space now. If they do, I'll get the driftwood properly planted and I'll pick up 2 more pepper corys to bring that group op to three... i saw that they had some at the LFS while there on the weekend.
Funny thing, I barely had it in there and one adventurous shrimp was out exploring the new piece.