02-09-2010, 06:49 PM
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Adding wood collected outdoors is always a risk for several reasons. First, the type of wood; if it is hardwood it will be OK after preparation, but softwood tends to rot quickly and that can be very toxic. Some woods have highly toxic resins and saps that will leech out. Second, it has to be prepared to rid it of pests (parasites, bacteria), usually boiling works. Third, if it is not dried (meaning not fresh wood) and waterlogged it will again come apart/rot quicker, and it won't sink.
I know it's tempting; about 20 years ago I found a superb chunk of wood underwater in a lake, took it home, put it in a pail of water, all sorts of critters came out, so I boiled it, still saw things I had no idea what they were, ended up tossing it rather than risk the fish. Wood bought in the fish store may be expensive but it should be safe.