Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Elahrairah 03-17-2008 05:58 PM

Freeze Driftwood?
Can one put a piece of driftwood found along a riverside in a freezer to sterilize it?

I have a piece that is too big for any pots I have, and other than a soak in a larger bucket with bleach, I came across this answer online. It sure sounds easier and no bleach to deal with

But I hesitate because I don't know if freezing really kills the bugs, or not.

So, anyone do this? No fish problems later?


marinebiologist21 03-17-2008 06:28 PM

To tell you the truth- I really do not know.
But that does sound A LOT easier and you have definitely taught me something new if you are able to freeze to sterilize.

Flashygrrl 03-17-2008 07:21 PM

I wouldn't think freezing would do any good. Boiling it helps get all the junk deeper in the wood out (chemicals and the such). Can you break the piece in half and then glue it back together with a fish safe glue?

herefishy 03-17-2008 08:03 PM

I've tried that. It doesn't work. Some evil water critters form cysts for protection and freezing will not kill them. Boiling softens the wood allowing it to take on water as well as killing unwanted organisms. Boiling also loosens unwanted material and frees it from the peice of wood.

Fishcricker 03-17-2008 10:26 PM

I don't know what river you live near or how clean it is, but I have lived near the Ohio River all of my 53 years and although it has become cleaner over the years, it is still pretty dirty. How about the contamination from Industry? Boats? Jet skis? Barges? Oil, gasoline, diesel? I also live near a very large creek, hence the name Fishcricker, and I would not use anything from it for my aquarium. Agricultural runoff, sewage? I don't think freezing will get out all of the polutants. Just might be better off to buy your driftwood at a LFS or try something from the woods.

herefishy 03-18-2008 01:30 AM

I am fortunate that I live 30 minutes from three flood control reservoirs in northern Indiana. I boil every piece of driftwood I collect........vigorously.

Many rivers are somewhat polluted here with agricultural runoff. Federal mandates have cleaned some waterways, but the threat of pollution, especially industrial pollution, is still a reality. The most serious of the agricultural pollution is pesticides. It can't be helped. Farmers apply the bug killer and rain washes it to the river.

The first step that I do when cleaning a piece is introduce it to my pressure washer. Sometimes more than once. I have a cauldron, literally a cauldron like the witches use. It is huge! I fill the thing with my driftwood, add water, and boil it for most of the day. Believe me, if anything lives through that process, it has my deepest respect.

Elahrairah 03-18-2008 04:49 PM

Thanks for the input.

I was only thinking of critters, not pollutants, so no, this will not work. Nice note on cyst forming critters herefishy.

I live in SoCal and our water is ranked in the top 10% most polluted water. It is all runoff from up north or diverted from Colorado River full of nitrates, very hard, etc..I almost don't want to drink the RO water from it!!

I think I will actually just toss it. It's not that cool looking the more I look at it. Easier to buy something from LFS I trust.

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