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I walked up the creek yesterday above my parents cabin out in the woods and dug some really nice looking pieces of driftwood out of the stream. I'm going to pressure wash them then soak them in a tub of bleach water for a while then rinse rinse and rinse again. I'm just not sure if there are any types wood I should avoid. I don't know exactly what kind of wood I've even got but one of the pieces kinda smells like Red Cedar. More than likely they are going to be Douglas Fir, Alder, Cedar or Myrtle because thats whats the most common around that area. I've also got access to tons of Manzanita which I'll also be using and I know it's safe. The pieces I found yesterday are very nice though and I'd really like to use them.
 

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I don't know if I'd soak them in bleach water.
Once the bleach soaks in, it might take a real long time to get it out. I'd be afraid of it leaching bleach into the tank over a long time. That would probably be worse than anything that your'e trying to get out of the wood.
 

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Bleach is totally safe to use if it is laid out to dry. The chlorine in bleach is a gas in the natural state and will disipate in air. The reason bleach smells is the chlorine gassing off. To most thinking, if a liquid soaks into wood, it also will dry out. For what types of wood to avoid the problem is as much what the wood may do to the water color than how it bothers the fish. The more sap, the more color from tannins you will get. Depending on your water buffering qualities, this may make your PH change. The drier the wood the better for both these. If it still smells, it is suspect, to me. No reason not to try it if it appeals to you but , you may decide later it is not worth waiting for it to stop coloring the water. While you are waiting around for a tank to cycle is a good time to do the bleach soak and then leave the wood in water to see how it goes on color.
This cedar was fine from the start


but this cedar took months to clear


The stains on the glass? They never cleared. I sold them with the tank!
 

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-Depends on your approximated natural streams. Soft woods by streams attract beavers; soft woods in aquariums...big problem. They like to dam up pumps. :p :wink:

Your collection will be fine and PfunMo gave great advice. :thumb:
 

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There seems to be a bit of confusion on soft /hard woods. When speaking of lumber many woods like oak,hickory and walnut are called hardwoods. That leaves a lot of others like cedar called soft. When we get into talking driftwood, I want to avoid soft wood but that doesn't mean I need to find one of the "hardwood" lumber types. I want good hard wood in the normal sense, not a builders definition of what is a hardwood. That may not make sense until you find an old cedar snag and try to cut it. What would be called soft by lumber standards is now definitely hard! Many think cedar being a soft wood puts it out of use for aquariums but if you try a truly hard old cedar, it works quite well in water with good buffering. The big cedar stump I had was used as yard decor until I bought the house. It had laid out in the Texas sun for almost 15 years and was totally bone dry and could not be cut with a handsaw. It will last nearly forever in a tank. Or at least longer than I wanted it!
 
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