View Full Version : Driftwood Treatments

12-29-2002, 08:57 PM
Found the perfect piece of driftwood? Now what?

If the water you found it in is not poluted (if it is, leave it there), how can you make it harmless to the fish in your aquarium? It probably doesn't need anything done to it, unless you live in the tropics. Most cold water organisms don't transfer well to a heated discus tank. And parasites are almost always very species specific (a trout tapeworm would be harmless to a discus). But the reality is that we all feel much better cleaning up the driftwood before it goes in the tank, so here are a few suggestions.

If you can, boil it. Nothing living can survive boiling water. Boil it for 10 to 15 minutes. It also takes out much of the tannins, so if you don't like the tea colored water, this is perfect. It will also make the wood sink faster.

Every piece that I have found is too big for any pot that I have. The alternative to boiling is to put the wood in your bathtub (or outside) and pour boiling water on the wood. Be sure to get both sides of the wood and focus on any crevices.

A less time consuming method is to spray the driftwood with a bleach solution. A 10% bleach to water solution will kill anything on the wood. It is very important to rinse the wood thoroughly after the bleach though, until it doesn't smell like bleach anymore.

A somewhat less reliable method is to just leave the driftwood in the sun for a week or two. Just drying it out will kill most of the living organisms. I've heard that professional driftwood suppliers soak the wood in shallow tubs in the sun. This helps the rid the wood of bad stuff as well as speeding up the sinking process.

Stay away from any freshly cut wood, the sap seeps out into the water making a real mess (I know because I tried it once).

If you have something that works for you, feel free to post it here.

12-29-2002, 10:54 PM

One way to clean up a piece of wood that you find is to wash it with a power sprayer... What? You do not have a power sprayer? lowes or Home Depot sell serviceable spray washers for reasonable prices. They work on cars and driveways too; so you can justify the cost. Only need it once? Use a sprayer at a pull through car wash. Just set it to power spray with no soap, let it run for 30 seconds or so to get rid so soap, then go at the wood.

Power spraying removes any soft wood on the piece, as well as dirt. It removes the outer layer of cells, so it will likely remove algae spores and such as well. Spraying removes debris faster and more cleanly than scrubbing.

When you are done, if you can easily rub wood off the piece with your hand, then the wood is too soft and will likely dissentigrate in your tank over time... on the other hand, your plecos will LOVE it.