Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   aquarium vs. reptile driftwood? (

iamgray 11-11-2010 10:17 AM

aquarium vs. reptile driftwood?
What is the difference between the driftwood sold for aquariums vs. that sold for reptiles? I've noticed at the store I go to, the wood sold for reptiles is much less expensive than the stuff sold for aquariums... like... at least half the price. I asked an employee if they could be used interchangeably, and she said she wouldn't recommend it because they may have been treated with different chemicals that may harm the fish. Made perfect sense to me, so I didn't buy any... but can anyone else share their experience/insight? If I were to try the wood that's marketed for use with reptiles, would boiling it for a really long time make it safe to use in an aquarium? I guess at the end of the day, I'd rather spend the extra money to know that my fish won't be harmed... but if it can be done safely, then I'd obviously want to spend less money.

ElectricBlueJackDempsey 11-11-2010 10:53 AM

I have had reptile driftwood in my 55 gallon for over a year now and all the fish are very healthy.

redchigh 11-11-2010 11:04 AM

Typically any kind of driftwood for animals isn't treated- the difference is that reptile wood will eventually rot. Might take a year or two to start rotting though.

Also, reptile wood will probably have more tannins...

Ashcan Bill 11-11-2010 12:01 PM

It petty much depends on exactly what type of wood you're talking about. Much of the wood sold for reptiles is Grapewood. Grapewood is a soft wood containing tannins which will seriously discolor your water if not boiled out. Grapewood also has a tendency to develop a nasty slime after being submerged for a while. Sometimes the slime will go away, sometimes it won't.

While Grapewood has some interesting shapes and is inexpensive, you're setting yourself up for a lot of aggravation if you try to use it in an aquarium. Believe me, I know. :roll:

SinCrisis 11-11-2010 12:08 PM

i think some reptile woods are treated with pesticides to avoid termite infestation during storage. They are also usually lower density woods so they will float until waterlogged unless you tie it down.. Like redchigh said, they will rot eventually but all woods rot, the denser woods just last longer because they are higher density. Reptile woods would not have more tannins compared to woods of the same type, it will just seem that way because they aren't presoaked so you will be getting the full dose of tannins.

boiling it will probably get rid of most of the chemicals if there are any, but you still have the risk of leftovers getting into your tank. boiling will also help remove tannins.

One solution you can try is to see what company makes the wood and shoot them an e-mail asking what they do to their woods.

iamgray 11-11-2010 12:28 PM

It is grapewood that I've seen. I'm currently going through some frustration with my tank and if grapewood is as aggravating as ashcan bill says, I think I'd rather not have to deal with it! I've searched some local ads and have found a couple people selling off driftwood so I think I'll look into those first, and if that's a bust, I think I'll stick with the aquarium stuff rather than getting reptile wood.

SinCrisis 11-11-2010 12:29 PM

aquabid sometimes has really nice driftwood, would be more expensive cuz of shipping but sometimes u can get pieces there not available in stores.

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