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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got a 110 gallon and need to decorate it.
I was thinking of making something myself from the logs leftover from cutting down an oak in my backyard.
Anyone have any experience with oak in the tank

Does it eventually get waterlogged and sink?
Does it leech tannins?
Any other stuff I might need to worry about?
 

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You would need to sanitize it. Its hard to say what kind of critters are in it.
 

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You need to worry about the sap. Its nasty stuff and now good for the aquarium. I'm not real sure how you go about ridding the wood of it, other than letting it soak outside in a big tub of water till it sink, which I think guarantees its good to go, but then you'd probably want to boil it someone, or at least douse it pretty well with boiled water.
 

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lol, boiling is an understatement at best, driftwood i boil takes days and dsays of boiling. I wouldn't think that wood from your backyard wuld be very good, it cant have any chemicals on it on in it, ever. If you wanna use it, boil it until the color of the water stays clear (8-10+times) then just to make sure it's ok for your fish, throw it in a bucket or something with a airstone\sponge filter and (PETA eat your heart out) some feeder goldfish.
 

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You need to worry about the sap.
I'm not aware of any native oaks(U.S.) that are known to produce much if any sap. The big issue is the tannins which from my own experience is a chore to get to a point that's acceptable.The real up side to oak is that it's easy to come by and holds up well enough in the aquarium, but needs A LOT of boiling and rinsing to get it to a point that it won't stain your water(note* even with the best of efforts the wood can still release some tannin but the amount is small). If you've got 6 months to spare you can cut your own and dry it in the garage(helps insure that the creepy crawllies are kept to a minimum) and then boil it untill the water is clear. This method takes a while but you get wood that is somewhat safer than a random piece of pick up wood(you know the source) and you get wood that is more or less cutom for your tank. Just don't go hacking away at your neighbors trees. Also stripping the bark makes the proccess a bit quicker.
 

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The agents released from oak wood are actually quite good - the tannins aren't too bad if it's a look you're after, otherwise a fine mech filter floss and some carbon will also help reduce yellowing for the first month or so that you have the piece in the tank.... I would follow Joels advice above in regards to preparing it - time is your friend, especially with larger pieces.

It's not just tannins - the agents released are shown to display useful anti-bacterial properties and I have seen this myself in fish with split fins etc, the rate at which they heal is quite significantly increased whilst the probability of secondary infection is considerably reduced....

You can see an aquascape I had recently here- http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/view ... highlight=
I used freshly collected Oak leaves from my local woods, boiled to help them sink but also to ensure that any undesirables don't enter the tank. I've never had any problems, I've also collected my own driftwood and again, never had problems, as long as you have the patience to prepare the piece properly then it's win win.

In case you don't read through it:

1. Only collect hardwood (and of the hardwood's I would avoid Poplar and other soft hardwood's like it.)

A good list can be found here: http://www.ncsec.org/cadre2/team18_2/st ... rdSoft.htm

2. If it's rotting it's no use.
3. If it releases milky sap do not collect it.
4. I look for dry pieces that can be cleaned with a good scrub.
5. I avoid pieces that have splits in them (all sorts of #%$& gets in there).
6. Sand blasting is really effective... Hint hint. It helps bring out the softer wood on the surface leaving the harder wood in ridges etc - much more interesting contours.
7. Softer woods can be treated (much like mopani is) by burying them in the ground and letting them bake (under hot sun in their case) for a good couple of weeks, this makes them a lot more resistant to rot and also makes them that bit more durable.
8. Soak it, for a long time, you want to get as much of the tannins out as possible and as much water in (so it sinks).
9. If the soaking is taking you too long then you can boil it up a few times each day or every few days to really speed up the rate at which the tannins are released as well as the saturation of the wood - it is still going to take a fair while, especially with dry or larger pieces.

I generally say avoid softer woods because it is with softer woods you'll have the biggest mold/break-down issues in the tank, it doesn't take very long either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info, it was really helpful.

What do you think about cypress wood?

Also, with oak, do you know of any treatment that will help it hold up better in the tank.
 

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Oak should outlast you if kept in a tank. It is very durable in water, hence it's popularity in boat building.
 
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