Updated - May 02, 2010 -
I was just reading my most recent edition of TFH (Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine), the February 2009 edition (why do magazines come out one to two months early anyhow?) and in the Q & A section, someone asked about the difference between store bought driftwood and the kind we might find in the wild. While reading the answer, mainly being that the store bought has already been cleaned and cured, the answer went on further to explain how one might cure/clean their own wild found driftwood... and now to the "Why didn't I think of this?" question.
Of course, the answer mentions scrubbing each piece with a scrub brush to remove dirt/debris from the surface. Do not use soaps or detergents. Then boiling each piece for about an hour. I've used a large crawfish boiling pot for this but I know most folks do not have crawfish boilers.. so here's the BIG answer... "...Larger pieces may need to be placed in your dishwasher on the hot cycle (using no detergent). Boiling will not only kill microbes, algae spores and other undesirable organisms, but it will also help to leach out the tannins and open the pores of the wood, allowing it to become saturated faster so that it will sink more readily in your aquarium..." and Lenny's additional tip... remove any water spot remover stuff and run it on the full cycle... not that pansy energy saving cycle. LOL
WOW... I never thought about putting the big pieces in the dishwasher for the boiling/sterilization process. While boiling for an hour would be better, since the wood would be soaking in the water which would help it to sink easier, running it through your dishwasher is a more readily available "tool" in most households. Just make sure you remove it before the missus gets home as she might not appreciate a big hunk of wood being in the dishwasher when she starts putting all your dirty dishes in the dishwasher... you know.. the ones that you left sitting in the sink while you sterilized the driftwood.
Heck.. the dishwasher can also be used for sterilizing our nets and other aquarium tools as well as any used stuff you might buy. Beats the heck out of watching that pot boiling on the stove.
Please contact the law firm of Dewey, Skruem and Howe for any pending divorce advice as a result of following any advice in this post. LOL
Here's a few more articles on preparing driftwood for your tank but none of them mention the above "Dishwasher" method.
And some other good links...
And a couple of low-cost places to buy driftwood...
Fish Blog - http://goldlenny.blogspot.com/
(Links to any articles referenced in above reply are listed on the right side, alphabetically under Labels and also under Archives by Year, Month)
Here's another long reply of mine to a recent post on AquaticLife Yahoo Group with some more information and tips...
From: Lenny V. aka GoldLenny
Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2010 10:45 PM
Subject: RE: [AquaticLife] Drift Wood
I wrote an article on my blog a while back about "Driftwood Cleaning And Curing" but I also have several other links and references.
Your best place to find it is along the shorelines, banks and shallows of waterways in your area... preferably the least polluted waterways. It's probably illegal to collect it from the wild but you know what they say about breaking the law... it's only illegal if you get caught. :-O If you're not doing any mass collecting, I doubt that anyone would care. If you don't want to break the law... but I'm like that little devil on your left shoulder saying "Do it... get the driftwood!"... you can listen to the little angel on your right shoulder and buy it and I included a couple of links below to lower cost places of buying driftwood online. The eBayer collects it from their own land so it's legal. If you have your own land with a waterway running through it, you should be able to find some yourself.
Oh... that little devil just thought of something else. If you do decide to go scavenging for your own, bring a couple of bags and act like you're picking up litter along the waterway and just throw your wood in the bag like you thought it would be considered litter. Then head home and get rid of the actual trash and then follow the cleaning process mentioned in my article above.
Here's some more links from my Favorites folder, that I probably should just add to my article. Some of these may be duplicates of what I already have in the article.
Some inexpensive places to buy it...
A type of driftwood that is becoming popular is Mopani Driftwood, which is often talked about as being so dense and heavy that it sinks immediately and doesn't leach tannins but much of this may be misinformation... unless you are buying it from a source that has already cured the driftwood by boiling/soaking it many times to fully clean out all of the tannins. Otherwise, it is a good type of driftwood once it is properly cleaned and cured. Here's TheKrib's and AquariaCentral's take on Mopani and other driftwoods.
Fish Blog - http://goldlenny.blogspot.com/ (Links to any articles referenced in above reply are listed on the right side, alphabetically under Labels and also under Archives by Year, Month)
On Behalf Of melindas
Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2010 9:52 PM
Subject: [AquaticLife] Drift Wood
I want to find some drift wood for my Aquarium and Fire-belly toad tank, and I don't want to go out and buy it. So my question is, Where would be the best place to find some, does it matter the type of wood, and how would I treat it if I went to a lake or a river and brought some home?