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Wood selection for hardscaping
January 3, 2015
3:12 am
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WaterRaven
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Forum Posts: 40
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May 22, 2009
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Hello everyone!

I haven't been on seriously fish in quite some time, but everything looks lovely! Great to see this website and forum still going so strongly. I'm a long time fish lover and I've had quite a few aquariums through the years, but am putting together my first real attempt at aquascaping. I have a 40 gallon cold water aquarium (fancy goldies) that is planted and five years old now, but I miss having a tropical community tank, so I decided to put together a 20 gallon aquascape. I've drawn out my plan and have my tank materials together, but am trying to sculpt my hardscape and had some questions about wood.

Instead of buying expensive pieces from petstores or hobby stores, I'd like to collect my own. As I understand it some people use driftwood pieces, but I'm wondering about wood pieces from forests/the yard etc. Some websites say you can just scrub them (no soaps etc) and then soak them for about two weeks and then go ahead and use them, while other websites say this type of wood will rot in the tank. 

Thoughts, experiences, advice? 

Also, I know there is aquarium-safe glue to fix wood to rocks etc, but I was in the local fish store and noticed that the wood was fixed to rocks with screws. Are there types of metal screws safe to use for fixing wood to rocks? 

Thank you very much! Looking forward to reading threads on this forum again ^_^ 

January 8, 2015
3:37 pm
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Barb Man
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March 21, 2012
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You can use some wood but they should be leached for a bit like you mentioned and I beleive that there are some types of woods that are really good like birch. I will look on some profiles and see because they mention making your own driftwood. The following is directly from the profile on this website for the species hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi

"If you really want to see it at its best, you could set up a biotope tank. Use a substrate of river sand and add a few driftwood branches (if you can’t find driftwood of the desired shape, common beech is safe to use if thoroughly dried and stripped of bark) and twisted roots. A few handfuls of dried leaves (again beech can be used, or oak leaves are also suitable) would complete the natural feel. Allow the wood and leaves to stain the water the colour of weak tea, removing old leaves and replacing them every few weeks so they don’t rot and foul the water. A small net bag filled with aquarium-safe peat can be added to the filter to aid in the simulation of black water conditions. Use fairly dim lighting. Under these conditions it will develop its most intense colouration."

The profile also says stripping the bark and refers to beech not birch. The wood will leach tannins into the water and that is why you need to soak it before adding it unless you want a very dark tank but also because the harmful chemicals that might be found will leach away and be replaced by water

Oh no not this guy again
January 9, 2015
1:00 pm
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BigTom
Edinburgh
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July 17, 2011
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 The general advice for wood is to make sure that it is well dead and not rotting. Other than that I just give stuff a good wash, scrub off any remaining bark or soft tissue and bung it in. I've personally used oak, beech, blackthorn and heather as well as spruce and ivy (which many people will tell you not to use) without issue. Manzanita is very popular in the US. Ideally try and ID the type of wood if possible in order to double check online that it's suitable, but IMO most things should be safe enough if they're very dead and dry.

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