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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all :)

The other day my buddy came by with some great driftwood pieces, but I had a couple questions on treating them to use them in one of my tanks. Here's a couple shots of the pieces I want to use.




You can see in the pictures that the wood has split in a sweet pattern. The wood is a tad soft in spots, but doesn't seem rotten at all. My main concern is since I can't boil them, I need to scrub them in hot water apparently. If I do that the sweet patterns on the wood will most surely come off. If that is what I have to do then so be it I'll just hope for the best and see how it turns out. I just wanted to pop in and see if anyone here has any other ideas on what I could do. I have large rubbermaid tubs that I'm soaking them in already outside. A buddy of mine suggested adding a small amount of white vinegar to the rubbermaid tub of water that I'm soaking in, and then soak it again to get the vinegar out. I'm not sure about that however

Thank you in advance :fish:
 

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Hi Teggy,

Great pieces of wood; I especially like the first piece (assuming it is a different piece of wood from the second).

I unfortunately do not have advice on cleaning them; however, I would see if you could buy a large soup pot to boil them in. If not, I would pour boiling water over them in the rubber made tub to help extract the tannins. I would also change the water in the tub daily to help release the tannins.

The real reason I posted was to ask, where did your friend find these pieces (exact location and/or type of location)?

Thanks,
Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The exact place he found them was asilomar beach over in pacific grove. He apparently broke them off of a bigger piece by a river mouth coming to the beach. More like a creek he says.
 

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Since they are already in water soaking the best way to clean them is to pour in a cup of bleach. It may turn them white for a while but the normal color returns soon. Once it has set overnight to disinfect, rinse it and let it dry untill all the smell is gone and they are ready to go. I like the big wood and there just is no way to boil some of the large items long enough even if I wanted to spend that much time and effort.






I bleach all my decor items. I usually just do it in the tank when I'm setting up as that cleans and disinfects both at one time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Those are some good looking pieces in those tanks. How long did you bleach them and how long did you soak them before adding fish. I have them on the side just trying to get them ready to put in the tank.
 

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Those are different tanks so how long will vary. I go along with the government specs for water treatment and disinfecting. They recommend a 24 hours period to let the bleach work it's way through any hard shelled cysts (snails?) that might be there. I usually just add the bleach and wait at least overnight before I change it out. Some days I get busy and it can be three days before I get back to it. The bleach is a chemical oxidizer and as such combines very readily with organics whether they are dirt like in laundry or germs or bacteria in or on wood. As it oxides, the chlorine is changed and stops being chlorine. Any chlorine left after meeting and changing organics, then becomes gas and blows away. The strong smell you get when you open a bottle of bleach is the chlorine that is gassing off. That leaves it real simple to just make sure you soak long enough and then the rest is a matter of rinsing and drying. With large pieces I have never had trouble with turning them white but some under six inches I did whiten when I left them in the soak for about a week. Pretty much like doing laundry, you just kind of adjust for different items. If it's your delicates, be careful. A big hunk of wood, pour it on. :p

I just noticed the small black item in the middle picture is the one I turned white. It was only temporary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok so I should soak the pieces with bleach for at least 24 hours and then rinse and dry. I'm guessing you dry it so that the bleach can become gas and blow away. I'll start the bleach now but I have a couple questions about the rest of it, just to be sure.
-How long should I soak it in water after bleaching? (not including to remove tannins)
-When drying the piece after rinsing are we talking bone dry, or just regular dry? :lol:
 

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You can also through in some water conditioner after you are done soaking. It will take the chlorine out of the wood just like it does when you do a water change. I usually rinse it really well after the chlorine soak and then put it back in to soak in clean water that has conditioner in it. I usually give a double dose of the conditioner to get the chlorine out of the water and the wood. Being in Cali, you can also set it out in the sun for a couple of days as sunlight will break down the chlorine and evaporate it.

Great pieces of wood by the way. :thumb:
 

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No need to soak after the bleach soak. I just rinse it as I would laundry and then lett it air dry until it is totally free of bleach smell. Drying make take longer than the soak for a large piece. Depends on your weather at the time. If it happens to be this week in CA. , it may take muuuuch longer. Put it up on top of the car so it doesn't float away??? :p
Conditioner can be used as mentioned but when you look at the amount of water in a tank that holds that wood compared to the bit of bleach left in the wood, it will be very diluted any way. I bet you aren't talking putting that in a ten gallon, right?

I have a son in Huntington beach. Grumble, grumble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Haha thankfully it's not too bad here, it's been raining for sure but I can just put it in the garage with a heat dish space heater. That's cool that bleach is so easy to use to clean stuff, I have to say I didn't know it would oxidize and just,, dry away when it comes into contact with organic material. I just may get this wood into the tank after all.

Would you recommend scrubbing it anyway to make sure I don't get little pieces coming off over time and floating around?
 

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If it has pieces that seem like they might come off, yes. Depends on what you want for your tank on the clean look part. I had no trouble with wood bits coming off until I got a bristlenose pleco. That guy must carry a knife and spend the night whittling! I've got a pretty broad outlook on the natural (lazy) look but this guy is making mincemeat of my cedar log. I take the strainer off my vac occasionally and just chase wood bits for a while. If he wasn't so doggone handsome I might trade him! :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Haha, I'm having this great mental image of a bristlenose brandishing a blade now. I've been real busy since Christmas but I managed to bleach the wood and it's been drying for days now. Thank you for your advice, I'm hoping my buddy can sandblast them for me at his work to get rid of loose bits. Unfortunately all the ridges that make the larger piece so cool are also going to cause it to make a slight mess of the tank with loose wood bits. Once I get the wood in the tank eventually I'll throw in a pic here.
 

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If sand blasting is out, using a power washer will teat many of the loose things off. It's one of the things to watch for if you use a power washer on a deck or house. It can take off too much wood! Either should work. You may also find that it doesn't take off all that nice "character" as those are quite often harder ridges in the wood which will stay while the softer in between pulls off. Never quite know how wood will act.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My thoughts on it are even if the cool ridges come off it will still be an awesome piece of wood to have in my tank. I can always get a kick out of the fact that this was picked from my own local river. Thats a good idea about the pressure washer, I had thought about that but forgot. I'm pretty sure I can find a buddy with one of those lol. That would definitely get the loose stuff off without taking off just everything. I won't lie it would be a shame to lose all of that cool detail in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Lol :lol: hadn't thought of it like that, good point. In fact I should take the fact that stuff IS coming off of the piece as a bad sign, I still have the piece drying out completely and I'll have a much better look at it when It's all dry I'm sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I looked at the pieces today which were completely dry on the outside at least, and I didn't like what I saw. I won't be using this wood for anything other than a cool piece of driftwood in the front yard.

With just my index finger I rubbed off a lot of surface material and exposed some very soft wood on the larger piece. It seems to have rotted out a bit inside. It's a shame, I really liked the piece but I can always find something else. I have enough projects on my plate at the moment anyhow lol.
 
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