Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Texansis 02-01-2007 12:56 PM

Stupid driftwood question
Other than the obvious fact that driftwood is usually found on beaches or floating in water...
What exactly is the difference between driftwood and the sticks laying around in the backyard?

musho3210 02-01-2007 01:50 PM

i think (but im not sure) driftwood are mangrove trees roots that have fallen off when the tree died. But im not too sure

jones57742 02-01-2007 05:21 PM

IMHO Nothing.

Several species of wood are common in fish keeping due to their aesthetic qualities as well as due the holes and caves which they provide.

This wood has been aged and contains no liquid resins but does typically contain tannins.

The "sticks" which you quoted could be used as "driftwood" by aging (in order to remove/dry liquid resins) and subsequently boiling or aging in water (in order to remove tannins).


Tannins are astringent, bitter-tasting plant polyphenols that bind and precipitate proteins and are typically very acidic.

fish_4_all 02-01-2007 05:35 PM

I got two peices of driftwood from the beach, dried them out to kill bugs and such, boiled them a few times until they sank again and they work just fine.

If you want something for plecos to chew on, malaysian driftwood seems to the wood of choice because it will release the tanins and color the water. I guess it has some kind of buffering capacity also but I don't know the science behind it. I guess it also changes the pH but I can never get a straight answer as to if it increases or decreases the pH ultimately. Mine beach wood doesn't seem to effect the pH at all. Hopefully someone with actual experience with Malaysian driftwood will tell you more about the pH effects.

jones57742 02-01-2007 06:37 PM


Originally Posted by fish_4_all
... Hopefully someone with actual experience with Malaysian driftwood will tell you more about the pH effects.


This is a really weird one but true.

I soaked Malaysian driftwood for several months and removed what I thought were all the tannins before placing it in the tank.

Joy: no yellowish tint to the water.

Approximately 3 months ago Chris (the gal I run around with from New Mexico) decided that she would occasionally enjoying seeing air bubbles in the tank.
She placed two bar and one disk air diffusers in the tank.
She also inadvertently placed a piece of driftwood on a portion of and above the disk diffuser.

We were out of town for several days and left the air on for tank water oxygenation in the event of a pump failure.

When I returned home a yellow tint was evident in the water in the sump.

The aeration of the wood had caused the release of tannins which were not removed via the original soaking or the subsequent submergence in the tank water for six months.


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