What kind of "wild" wood can I use? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 03-21-2010, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
New Member
frmrgrl87's Avatar
Lightbulb What kind of "wild" wood can I use?

Hi all. I live in upstate New York, and by that I mean near the Adirondak Mts not one hour north of NYC! I was looking into putting driftwood into the aquarium I have had set up and stable for five months. I have a lot of live plants in there and also a good deal of fish. I was wondering what kind of woods I could collect from the wild woods all around me and cure to place into the tank. I know an ideal wood would be dense and not decay, but i was wondering if anyone knew (other than mopani which is only found in pet stores or online.. lol) what types of wood could I use. Also how would I go about curing a piece of drift wood, waterlogged, green, or dry?
frmrgrl87 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 03-21-2010, 11:41 PM
Mean Harri's Avatar
1. Manzanita
2. Colophospermum mopane (AKA mopani, mopane drift wood)
3. Chola (cholla) wood
4. Rose wood roots
5. Malaysian drift wood
6. Ribbon wood
7. Cypress
8. Oak
9. Mesquite
10. Cedar - some are iffy on this one.
11. Grapevines - reported to rot quickly
12. Ironwood
13. Beefwood
14. Australian Pine
15. Azalea
16. Rhododendron
17. Madrona
18. Crepe Myrtle
19. Western Hemlock Roots
20. Contorted/Corkscrew Willow
21. Osage Orange / Bodark
22. Buttonwood
23. Baldcypress / Taxodium

“He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors”
Thomas Jefferson quote
Mean Harri is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 03-22-2010, 04:57 PM
Byron's Avatar
I don't have the botannical knowledge to comment on the many woods listed previously, but I certainly would not use coniferous (evergreen) wood like pine, cedar, hemlock, spruce (I know, this last isn't there, just another one that occurs to me). These have resins and saps that can kill fish. Cedar also is a soft wood that therefore decomposes/rots quickly under water; it is fine in a natural creek, but not in an enclosed aquarium.

Using wood from the wild is always a risk; you can't know what toxins it may have come into contact with, like pesticides, fertilizers, oils, chemicals... and these can leech out over time and kill everything in the tank.

Suitable wood (oak is one, it is a hardwood) is of itself safe (remember the above-mentioned unknowns with any wood) but needs to be completely dried, then soaked or some bake it. This kills pathogens, parasites, etc., or should. Then you need to waterlog it, because it will not sink dry.

Wood purchased from a reputable and reliable fish store is certainly less risky, if expensive.


Edit: Just spotted an earlier thread on this topic, related anyway, you might want to follow it: https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...pare-dw-39586/

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 03-22-2010 at 04:59 PM.
Byron is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 03-08-2015, 10:41 AM
New Member
Green Hemlock for aquarium cover

Hey folks...

I was setting up a new aquarium this winter, and the only handy branches for cover were green hemlock, which the goats had removed the needles from. I checked out an old post on this forum, and I wasn't convinced the concerns I read about using it were substantive... so I went for it, partially as a not-entirely-scientific experiment.

I set up the 40 gal aquarium with two branches diagonally installed, filled it and let it sit for most of a week, flushed it and refilled. I added 2 dozen golden shiners, a small filter system, and a sand bed above it that I pump some water through daily. After a few weeks, they had some sort of waxy spots on their backs, and seemed to be struggling to get enough oxygen. There seemed to be a slight oily residue on the surface.

In the last couple days I lost about half of them. I increased aeration, flushed water, and removed one of the two branches, and they seem to be improving. While nitrate/nitrite load, disease, or other factors could have caused the die-off, my tentative conclusion is that using green hemlock is not a good idea, at least not without much more leaching time and flushing. Probably it would be an even bigger issue with more sensitive varieties of fish.
nhcatsteve is offline  

drift wood , driftwood

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
"Meat" coral - how long to "open"? Mike Coral and Reef Creatures 4 04-02-2007 01:03 PM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome