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    Driftwood: How to Prepare, Cure, and Place Driftwater in Your Freshwater Aquarium

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    Metal Maniac
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    Driftwood: How to Prepare, Cure, and Place Driftwater in Your Freshwater Aquarium

    Post by Metal Maniac on Sat 14 Mar 2009, 18:57

    Driftwood: How to Prepare, Cure, and Place Driftwater in Your Freshwater Aquarium

    Adding natural structures such as driftwood to your aquarium requires some preparation and thought to bring out their best aesthetic qualities. Driftwood and other natural structures may make up a large portion of your aquarium. Any adjustments needed can cause significant stress, and in some cases, require taking apart the aquarium and starting all over. Do it right the first time. With a bit of planning, you can have a beautifully aquascaped aquarium with minimal effort and disturbance.

    In preparation

    Before placing the driftwood in your aquarium, draw a rough sketch of your aquarium and where you want to locate the driftwood. Consider how your aquarium will look with the driftwood positioned vertically as opposed to the conventional horizontal position. Explore different designs on paper to create a unique aquatic landscape. Drawing a rough sketch allows you to experiment and visualize your aquascape without disturbing your aquarium inhabitants in the process.

    Cleaning driftwood

    After determining where to place the driftwood, it needs to be cleaned before placement. Use a clean brush to scrub the driftwood thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Do not use soap or any chemical cleansers. Any residue will poison your aquarium. The cleaned driftwood will then need to be soaked to saturate and "cure."

    Curing driftwood
    Malaysian Driftwood




    African Driftwood


    Though most driftwood will remain submerged underwater, some driftwood remains slightly buoyant until it is fully saturated and "waterlogged." Soak the driftwood in a large bucket as long as possible making sure the entire piece is completely underwater. A minimum period of 1 to 2 weeks is recommended to allow total saturation.

    Soaking also allows excess tannins that can darken and discolor the water, to leach out. The discoloration caused by the tannins will not harm your aquarium inhabitants, but it will lower the pH slightly over time. Some hobbyists take advantage of this feature and utilize the tannins to achieve soft water conditions preferred by many tropical fish.

    Monitor the soaking driftwood regularly to see if the water needs to be changed. As the water darkens, empty all of the water and gently rinse the driftwood. Fill the bucket with clean dechlorinated or reverse osmosis (RO) water and continue soaking the driftwood. As you repeat this process, you will notice that the water will be less "tea-stained." When you no longer notice any significant discoloration for several days in a row, the driftwood is ready for placement.

    Boiling driftwood

    Boiling driftwood has several benefits. Just like steeping a tea bag in hot water, boiling driftwood in a large stockpot encourage more tannins to leach out faster, thereby shortening the curing process. More importantly, boiling sterilizes the driftwood, killing algal or fungal spores that can take hold once introduced into the aquarium with the driftwood. Boiling the driftwood for 1-2 hours will sterilize the driftwood.

    Placement

    Once the driftwood has been properly prepared, it is ready for placement. Refer to the sketches you made earlier to place the driftwood in the ideal location. The most convenient time to arrange your aquatic landscape is after you have removed some water during a water change. Simply place the driftwood into your aquarium and refill. With a bit of patience and some planning, you can create a beautiful aquatic landscape the first time with minimal stress to you and your aquarium inhabitants.

    Things to consider:

    When purchasing driftwood, make sure it is safe for aquarium use. Driftwood sold for reptiles may look ideal for aquariums but it may contain chemicals harmful to fish.

    Though tempting, avoid using wood or roots found outdoors. Oftentimes, these pieces have not dried or cured properly and can rot when placed in your aquarium.

    Large pieces of driftwood, even thoroughly soaked, can still retain buoyancy. Secure large pieces of driftwood to rocks with monofilament (fishing line) to anchor them.

    Plants such as Java Moss or Java Fern can be attached to driftwood to create an aged "natural look." Loosely secure the plants with monofilament line. The fishing line can be removed once the plants have naturally attached and grown into the driftwood.

    Even after the curing/soaking process, some driftwood may still release tannins and discolor the water. Use chemical filter media such as Purigen or activated carbon to clarify your water.

    The "tea-stained" effect caused by driftwood simulates Amazonian "Black Water" biotopes where many brightly colored Tetras like Neons, Cardinals, Rummynoses, and Bleeding Hearts live. If this is your preference, then only a short soak and scrub is necessary before adding driftwood to your aquarium.
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    cichlidlover27
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    Re: Driftwood: How to Prepare, Cure, and Place Driftwater in Your Freshwater Aquarium

    Post by cichlidlover27 on Sat 14 Mar 2009, 19:30

    Nice Metal cheers personally I have never let any of my driftwood ever soak for 1-2 weeks although it would probably be better to do it that way. I have collected all my pieces of wood from a local creek and never had a problem with it. I just brought it home, cleaned it, boiled, boiled and boiled for like about 8 hours and added salt and I have not ever experienced a problem. One thing I have had a problem with is getting the wood to stay submerged I have tried everything I could think of but the only way I got it to stay down was to purchase some slate and anchor it down with stainless steel screws and I never had one single problem with this method. again nice post though....Shaun
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    crabby-girl
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    re driftwood

    Post by crabby-girl on Sat 14 Mar 2009, 21:20

    Metal, thanks for the article on driftwood there. I'm just worried about the chemicals that might be in the wood. the Ohio River is known for it's very bad water quality. I've already boiled it for 20 hours or more. I would rather just buy it and save me the worry but hard to find good driftwood that I want. To my satisfaction.

    I think I'm gonna get some ginny pigs and put in the tank at first. LOL
    It's driving me :x
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    Cam
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    Re: Driftwood: How to Prepare, Cure, and Place Driftwater in Your Freshwater Aquarium

    Post by Cam on Sat 14 Mar 2009, 23:00

    Since boiling the driftwood you should be ok w/ toxins,..
    if you want to be sure,..submerse the piece in water and
    keep an eye on it,..let it soak for another day,..at least,..
    if the water stays clear,..it's ok to use.


    make sure the entire piece has been scrubbed well,..
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    saintanger666
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    Re: Driftwood: How to Prepare, Cure, and Place Driftwater in Your Freshwater Aquarium

    Post by saintanger666 on Sun 15 Mar 2009, 21:53

    nice posts guys

    this is basically the process i runthrough for my Cichlid tanks

    i haven't had failier yet

    yeeeaa tongue


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    cichlidlover27
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    Re: Driftwood: How to Prepare, Cure, and Place Driftwater in Your Freshwater Aquarium

    Post by cichlidlover27 on Mon 16 Mar 2009, 02:40

    Cam wrote:Since boiling the driftwood you should be ok w/ toxins,..
    if you want to be sure,..submerse the piece in water and
    keep an eye on it,..let it soak for another day,..at least,..
    if the water stays clear,..it's ok to use.


    make sure the entire piece has been scrubbed well,..



    ya Cam thats what I told her I figured she should have no problems especially for boiling for 20 + hours lol
    cheers
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    Metal Maniac
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    Re: Driftwood: How to Prepare, Cure, and Place Driftwater in Your Freshwater Aquarium

    Post by Metal Maniac on Mon 06 Apr 2009, 14:38

    Anyone have pics of Driftwood in there setups that they have collected and treated themselves??

    Would love to see the finished Tanked Product Decor??


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    TheBigEasy
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    Re: Driftwood: How to Prepare, Cure, and Place Driftwater in Your Freshwater Aquarium

    Post by TheBigEasy on Sun 12 Apr 2009, 15:17

    Thanks for the write-up. I am going to buy some driftwood this week for my new 55gal and get it soaking now so it will be ready. My friend didnt soak his long because he wanted the tea colored look. It doesnt look bad, but i dont really want it too dark.
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    Metal Maniac
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    Re: Driftwood: How to Prepare, Cure, and Place Driftwater in Your Freshwater Aquarium

    Post by Metal Maniac on Sun 31 May 2009, 15:20

    That's it..presoak and your good too go!


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    Re: Driftwood: How to Prepare, Cure, and Place Driftwater in Your Freshwater Aquarium

    Post by saintanger666 on Thu 04 Jun 2009, 01:22

    i soaked and rinced my last piece 3 times over 3 weeks and it turned out great


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