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Is This Driftwood Bad?


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  • Regular Member

I have this piece of driftwood with Java Fern tied to it. It has some hollow spots and seems light for Mopani as it wants to float. It seemed to be Ok for a while.

Recently though it has developed black streaky patches on the surface that have a gray fuzzy layer at times. I think the Pleco cleans it up though. It also looks to be black in the core if you look at the end.

Here's what it looked like new:

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Here's a closeup of the black streaky patches on the surface now:

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Here's the end of the driftwood:

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My source water is neutral Ph with GH and KH 60 to 80, but within a day or so after a change the Ph drops to 6.4 to 6.6 and clouds up significantly.

Does anyone have experience with driftwood messing up the water?

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  • Regular Member

Personally I would take the driftwood out especially since it is bringing your ph down so low... We use driftwood at the store to try to keep the ph low for the angels and the discus, but with our really high ph to start, and high kh/gh it actually doesn't do much of anything for us... But I guess with your neutral ph and lower kh/gh its really doing the trick, except you don't WANT it to do that..

New pieces always make the tank look cloudy and yellow if you don't let them soak for a while first. But with old pieces I don't really seem to notice any change as far as cloudiness.

I've also seen a lot of the pieces that we've used for a while end up looking like yours.. And they seem to get sorta flaky..

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Guest pruje

I've had driftwood in two of my tanks without problems. There is cloudy water in the beginning, but eventually it all gets leeched into the water and filtered out. IMO, it is probably dust or dirt or whatever that was on the wood rather than the wood itself. I added a bag of activated carbon to my filter and it cleared up the water for me.

The only issue I had with driftwood was that fungus liked to grow on it. I don't think it was dangerous, but it looked nasty. It wasn't a problem for me, because I had snails and the snails seem to love it. Now I never see it anymore.

That looks pretty cool. I think I might try Java Ferns now. Its one of the few plants Pet$mart sells that is actually aquatic.

btw - What did you use to tie it down with? Is that normal fishing line?

Edited by pruje
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  • Regular Member

I'd be careful as well. The driftwood that I now have in my tetra tank started out in my goldie tank a few years ago, and it dropped the pH so fast it killed one of my little guys :( After a while all the tannins leached out and now I don't think it effects the pH at all, but it did for a few months at least.

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  • Regular Member
I've had driftwood in two of my tanks without problems. There is cloudy water in the beginning...

Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

I guess I wasn't clear on this.

There was no issue with cloudiness, color change from leaching, or Ph change when I first put the driftwood in. All was dandy for at least a month.

The change in Ph and water cloudiness came AFTER the black streaky patches started showing up on the driftwood, and the core darkened.

I don't suspect the driftwood, as much as I suspect there may be an anerobic bacteria in the hollow places in the driftwood.

So maybe the better question is - has anyone had water issues with driftwood with some hollow spots, and does what's happening in my tank sound familiar.

Thanks,

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  • Regular Member

It looks kind of like the piece I have in the one 55. I don't have a close up shot of it but it also looks a lot like yours on the bigger end. I've never had any problems when using it but I've had it for a couple of years. Can't remember what type it is tho'. And I have high ph (8-8.2) out of the tap so that might be why.

11-02-08006.jpg

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Guest super pom pom

I looked at yur driftwood..can you boil it? personally I would take it out and get a smaller root not driftwood. Boil the tannins out of it and strap your java to it! I have had white fuzzy "mold" grow on my underwater roots before but it usually is from fish living in the log and continuously crapping in one spot under the log, er root. I bet driftwood is even more porous than root. awesome fish*

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  • Regular Member

I have two peices of driftwood in my tank and though they are covered in a dark green fuzz (algae I think) they haven't affected the PH at all. I did soak them for a month and boil them for a few hours before putting them in, so that may have made a difference.

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  • Regular Member
Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

I guess I wasn't clear on this.

It makes SOO much more sense now.. Honestly when I was writing, in my head I was thinking "Beanie knows all this stuff! Why am I writing? He is sooo good about things liek this"

But then I thought.. well maaaybe he just doesn't.. Shoulda known! : )

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  • Regular Member

So here's the conclusion.

I was changing the water and pulled the driftwood out to take a look at it.

It smelled a little funky, and I recognize the smell of anaerobic bacteria from my days as a potter working with clay.

I probed the dark patches. They were a little crumbly and chalky. :unsure:

Some water came off the driftwood during my examination and landed on white tile. I looked at it and saw black specks. They were not crumbs.

They were little swimming things. So I took photos. :krazy:

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I pulled the Java Fern off the driftwood, rinsed it, and put it in a basin with good water.

I threw away the driftwood.

Back to simplicity. Charlie is more comfortable that way anyway. :rolleyes:

Lets see if that improves things.

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  • Regular Member
:( sorry about the icky stinky bugs hunny.

Don't be sorry Hunny. I just wish I'd bought that USB camera microscope I was looking at online.

I could have taken closeups, and made tiny bug movies. :)

Hahaha!

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  • Regular Member
Some water came off the driftwood during my examination and landed on white tile. I looked at it and saw black specks. They were not crumbs.

They were little swimming things.

Ewwwwwwwwww!

USB camera microscope?? That sounds like it could be the funnest gadget ever invented!

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  • Regular Member

On my list when I get back from San Francisco is carefully inspecting my driftwood because that is seriously gross!

I used to do ceramics for years, too! I'm hoping to get back into it this summer...did you do more wheel work or handbuilding?

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  • Admin

The thing with wood is no mater what it will change the water chem. So with water like ours in CA thats got a low KH but high GH it will mess with the PH every time.

The last time I had a piece of wood that big in my tank it smelled horrible with in about 3 weeks...it was like a sewer..I lost a fish from this....I told my self never again.

Big logs like that have so many hiding spots in there that the waste load from goldfish just makes it bad. I think tanks like Tropical are okay for one most of those fish like the softer water and they have less load on the tank :)

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  • Regular Member

That's why I boil the22 out of my drift wood before putting it in my tank.

Well that's just bizzare, the word H e l l, shows up as the number 22, lol

Edited by stalepriest
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Guest pruje
I threw away the driftwood. Back to simplicity.

Thats too bad...your driftwood/Java Ferns looked cool.

Did you find out what the bugs were? I thought they were snails when I first saw the pictures.

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  • Regular Member
I threw away the driftwood. Back to simplicity.

Thats too bad...your driftwood/Java Ferns looked cool.

Did you find out what the bugs were?

I didn't find out.

That's why we all need one of these: http://www.celestron.com/c3/product.php?ProdID=451

44300_handhelddigital_mid.gif

They appear to be little swimming insects, but maybe they were a tiny crustacean. Dunno :unsure:

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  • Regular Member

Ok, here's the second and last conclusion. I took the big piece of driftwood out 4 days ago and did a big water change with PH, GH, and KH balanced RO water.

The PH, GH, and KH are all still good. The Nitrates are under control. The water is still clear. The Pleco is cool with his little chunk of wood in the corner.

I think I'll go get some river stones today.

Problem solved.

20090405-130942_800.jpg

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