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FAQs on Rock and Wood Treatment

Related Articles: Rock and Wood in Aquascaping

Related FAQs: Aquascaping the Aquarium Garden


Suitability of bamboo in freshwater tank         4/5/16
Hello. Re:
How about if grown emerged? I.e., roots/lower stalk in the tank, leaves in the air.
<I have use dried bamboo as ornament in freshwater systems; and seen other people do the same and even keep (shorter term... maybe weeks) live bamboo.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Suitability of bamboo in freshwater tank         4/5/16

Meaning that the live bamboo doesn’t last more than a few weeks, even if the leaves are above the waterline?
<Don't think it makes much difference... but maybe a few months max before wilting altogether>
My thought had been that bamboo is often grown in rock-filled pots, the roots covered in water:
<Have seen this as well>
I’d wondered if this technique could be extended to a aquarium.
— Scott
<These plants... need air, like all terrestrial embryophytes... I suspect this is their principal undoing when submersed. BobF>
Re: Suitability of bamboo in freshwater tank     /Neale         4/6/16

I’ve been pursuing this question with some plant/gardening specialists. They asserted:
"Lucy Bamboo actually should be grown in water. If potted in soil they can become infected easily with a fungus or bacteria such as Root Rot. Growing in water you can keep a close eye on the health of your plant and it's roots.” So there may be a sweet spot where growing it mostly emersed would work.
<Let's put this particular dog down. There's an easy way to tell if a plant is adapted to living entirely below water. It will lack woody tissue and have soft, floppy leaves. Lucky Bamboo, Dracaena braunii, fails on both those counts. It has woody stems and stiff leaves. Therefore it's clearly adapted to holding itself up against gravity, something true aquatics don't have to do. Dracaena are adapted to dry environments, which is why damp soil can cause them to become infected with fungal and bacterial infections. No different to things like cacti and yuccas. But they can be grown hydroponically, i.e., with bare roots in water, at least for a while. Nonetheless, "in the wild" Dracaena braunii lives in well drained soil, and isn't, so far as I know, a plant that grows with its roots and stems in the water but its leaves poking out.
There’s another issue I’ve been trying to resolve: whether or not bamboo can be a problem for inverts like shrimp. Some say yes, but offer no reason why.
— Scott
<See above; but short term, dead bamboo works, so can't see any reason why live bamboo would cause any problems. Cheers, Neale.>

Attaching live freshwater plants to artificial (resin) decor    6/27/13
8 Years ago you all guided me to what has become my greatest hobby (and only children) and now, 175g bowfront (25high by 18 wide at sides and 24 at mid wide, 6 feet long) running FX5, two T5 HO 6700 Kelvin 39W lamps, and two T5 24W Marine Glo night ones, with 5 Angels, African leaf, black and  6 African knives, 10 black skirted tetras, boseman rainbow, pictus, 3 Denison barbs, Mr. Bala, Corydoras, 3 Featherfin catfish, 5 glass cats, 3 upside down cats, I decided this happy healthy community was ready for a planted tank. I put in 4 (12lb) bags of Fluorite in the tank and waited to add the other 2 bags until I know more about aquascaping.
I know rocks and woods are porous and recommended (I read your articles) but I have a herniated disc and am not supposed to lift heavy items - therefore I was thinking, could I just take my large (but light and manageable for me) resin driftwoods and large resin rocks (that have pockets) and fishing-line-wrap some plants all over them?
<Yes; even "good" sewing thread will be fine here>
 I know Java moss and fern seem to attach easily to the real items, but would they to artificial ones?
<Not as well, but will adhere, yes>
 What real plants and techniques could you recommend for artificial decor?
<Aye ya! So many good ideas... take your time... Look to the in-print works of Takashi Amano (excellent ongoing series in TFH magazine as well); and websites like Dennerle (.com)... aquascaping... English an option in the upper left corner>
Could I somehow make packets of substrate (e.g. in pantyhose?) and attach them?
<Mmm, yes; better to place in flat, chemically inert containers IMO/E, covered in sand... or ahead of time during a complete re-do of a system...  by blending in, depositing under fine/r substrate in the bottom layer>
Any ideas would be great, if this even possible! Also, I realize my wattage is only 126 if I swapped out the Marine Glos - that's still too little for 175g, correct? One to One ratio seems to be the minimum?
<Is fine... there are low light plants that can/will grow fine here>
Thanks for all you do, I couldn't find these answers via Google or YouTube!
<You will soon be able (and likely prompted by me) to write re such matters. Bob Fenner>

Re: It's a jungle in there! Hi Ronni, so glad you like my tank! The driftwood came from a place called aquariumdriftwood.com and these guys were great. I had checked out a lot of places but this was the only one that answered all my questions via email and phone. I described my setup and they sold me 'bits and pieces' and a small centerpiece rather than sell me a regular centerpiece etc. And it wasn't a lot of money either- something like $35 all together.  It sank right away and took only 2 days for water to look pristine again- I had some friends who told me horror stories about tannins and wood that stained water for well over 2 weeks- so I highly recommend this place. <I'll definitely go take a look.> LFS gets plants in today and more fish on Friday so will go sat to get the otos and ask if they'll hold them since I don't have QT- hope they will. Also, I've been reading more on QT from site but wanted to ask about plants- you had said to soak them in lime- where do I get it and how- I want to get the crinum onion if they have one in and or some spiralis- so would like to know how to do this soaking. <Not lime but a product called Lime-It. There are numerous online retailers who carry it. I got mine when I ordered plants from Aquabotanic but I think Drs. Foster & Smith and Pets Warehouse also carry it. You dilute it with water and soak your plants in it for about 15 minutes then rinse them well. It kills snails and eggs. It's also rumored to kill diseases but I don't know if I'd trust it completely on that. QT after soaking is still the best option.> BTW, I got 2 amano shrimp yesterday and they seemed great- they took to the big piece of driftwood right away, swam everywhere which scared the rasboras and clouds and stayed outside. Then last night they hid and I thought maybe they died- but they stay hidden in middle of driftwood- are alive, can see their antennae moving about, but even this morning, still stay hidden- any experience with these guys? think its normal acclimation? I hope the otos don't freak them out! <I'm sure it's acclimation and they are probably more of a nocturnal creature anyway so you may not see them a whole lot.> THANKS FOR ALL your advice, really. Will let you know if other plants work and send another photo when they've grown and I've got more fishes... best, Rosa <Take care! Ronni>

Bogwood We are going to clean our fish tank and the bogwood looks full of algae, any ideas on cleaning this? <There are cleaning solutions one can buy, make up from bleaches, acids... I would just rinse and scrub (with a new scrubby pad) the wood under running water, let air dry before re-submerging. Bob Fenner>

Re: African roots or Malaysian woods what's uuuuppp wwm crew  any one there know where I can buy Malaysian woods or African roots wholesale & is this freshwater safe . <There are natural woods that originate in both that are safe for aquarium use... how big a player are you? My sources can/will ship you cargo container loads (thousands to tens of thousands of pieces)... otherwise, I'd deal with a sub-lot... which part of the world do you reside in?> should  these woods be boiled first for tannin leaching purposes or can they just be soaked for period of time with many water changes. <Depends... on what sorts of organisms to be used with... at least soaked in freshwater to make dense enough (if you want them to sink)>   saw some of the Malaysian wood in a local aquarium store but of coarse they will not tell where they purchased it. would like to use in few service accounts .Anthony & bob killer books changed my whole  way of taking care of tanks. rocky <Keep studying, exploring, sharing my friend. Bob Fenner>

Cleaning Algae from Driftwood Hello, I was wondering what you recommend for removing algae especially the black hair like kind that is near impossible to remove from driftwood in a tank? <Rub the wood with a coarse cleaning pad like one uses to clean the algae off the tank glass. It should work...if not, email back.> I cannot scrape it off, and was wondering what you suggest. Thanks, Noel Cote' <You're welcome! I hope this helps. David>

Cleaning Algae from Driftwood David, I have tried the rubbing off before. I end up taking as much wood off as algae. I was wondering about a salt bath <May leave an ugly residue that won't come off. But I'm just guessing.> and then soak off, or maybe leave it outside for a couple of days. <I like the idea of letting the wood dry out. That may work. I like to soak things in bleach. Remember...bleach is nothing but chlorine and it will evaporate. Soak the driftwood in a bucket of bleach/water for a day or so, let the wood COMPLETELY dry out, then rinse and place into the aquarium. Or if you're worried about the bleach...soak the wood, let it dry, then soak it for a day or two in a bucket of water that has been heavily treated with a dechlorinator. Once, again...let it dry COMPLETELY before placing into the aquarium. If you try this, let me know how it works. David Dowless>

Malaysian Driftwood, pH Reduction Hello. <Scott F at your service> Where I live the pH is high; therefore, the pH in my 10 gal tank is also high. <Just how "high is "high"? It may be acceptable, depending upon the kinds of fish that you keep> Someone suggested that I purchase some driftwood since it would help lower the pH in my tank, but I should let it soak since the wood would tint my water until the water becomes clear. Is there any way to speed up the process of getting rid of the brownish water?  <Activated carbon in your filter should do the trick. Using driftwood, peat moss, etc. to lower pH may be hard to control-much depends on the rate of dissolution of the tannic acids, etc. present in the wood. If you are dead set on lowering the pH, you may want to use one of the prepared products designed just for this purpose > Are there any other "natural" ways to lower the pH in a high pH area?  <Do read this faq: "pH, Alkalinity, and You" in the freshwater articles section of wetwebmedia.com> Thanks, Rachel <And thank you for stopping by!>

wallaby wood Hi Mr. Fenner, I recently purchased a fairly large piece of "wallaby " wood. I have been alternating boiling and soaking for 8 days and the water still comes out like tea. One of your replies to someone with a similar problem made brief mention of leaching materials and borax. Could you explain and expand upon that comment because I think something of that magnitude may be needed if this wood is going to work in my 55g tank. thank you for your time, Stephen <Mmm, am hesitant w/o having used the type of wood you mention (can you tell me where it was collected, maybe even the scientific name of the plant itself?)... If it were me (in fact I am soaking/sinking some ornamental wood in my freshwater tanks upstairs as I key), I would leave the material underwater and keep changing the water (weekly), and possibly add a few ounces (per tankful) of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) for a few weeks more... and ultimately "test" (bioassay) the usefulness of this wood with a fish or two, as the color/leaching seems to subside. More caustic chemicals might cause this wood to severely discolor or dissolve. Bob Fenner>

Re: finding a good import broker What were the chances that there are two Steve Lundblad's in the fish trade? The Steve I know is going to find my question quite odd... I e-mailed him after hearing from you. Do you think that I can get in ouch with Dolphin's Steve through their web site? <Better to phone: http://www.dolphin-int.com/contact.html> I am not familiar with Dennerle, but I will look them up.  <You should know them: They do on a massive scale what I think you are doing, want to do. Please see the Aquatic Plant Links on WetWebMedia.com> I have a price on various Anubias sp. in lots through a wholesaler that will make the venture get off the ground. I really want to market the product wholesale, however, and to do that as profitably as we need I will need to find jobber sources. The wood is the most expensive component. I am prepared to purchase wood in 100 piece+ lots, but I need to be able to get it consistently.  <This is a tiny amount... cargo or half cargo containers are about the best route if you can use, afford this amount (many thousands of pieces)> As in any propagation venture, time is an issue. So is speculation.  <Yes, well-stated> I want to set up the product batches so that I will have lots of at least 100 pieces available to ship on at least a monthly basis. If I can get this off the ground, I would be interested in seeing how I can compete with a company like this Dennerle... My product will at least be domestic. <This will (aquarium plants, make that real freshwater aquariums) be a reality someday soon. Stick with your plans, dreams. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Ted Judy Dry Heat Enterprises

finding a good import broker Hello Mr. Fenner, I operate a small aquatic product business out of my home. It keeps me busy, but is not overly productive yet. I am ready to take a step up, however. I am having a difficult time locating a dependable import broker who can assist me in obtaining the livestock I need (specifically plants) to get my business to grow. <What sorts of plant species, volume of organisms are you interested in?> To this point I have been using wholesalers, and now I want to join their ranks. Can you suggest a place to look for an experienced import broker?  <Yes> I have spent literally days on the web searching with no real success. I am also looking to find the companies who are importing Swahala driftwood...  <Contact Steve Lundblad of Dolphin International re this material, and its import... The container sizes imported are VERY large... You will likely want to buy this from/through a more mid-size jobber> The wholesalers are getting it from someone, but I cannot figure out who it is. I appreciate your web site. Thank you for your intellectual and experiential generosity. Sincerely, Ted Judy Dry Heat Enterprises Gilbert, AZ <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Re: finding a good import broker > <What sorts of plant species, volume of organisms are you interested in?> > I propagate Anubias and other plants onto driftwood. <Ahhh! Neat! Of all coincidences, my wife is considering importing Dennerle Products into the U.S... have you seen their Anubias, planted and mounted? Nice.> > <Contact Steve Lundblad of Dolphin International re this material, and its import... The container sizes imported are VERY large... You will likely want to buy this from/through a more mid-size jobber> Steve works for Dolphin now!?  <Mmm, we may be speaking of different folks here. Steve Lundblad owns Dolphin... in Los Angeles and Miami... the single largest importer/distributor of mainly freshwater livestock on the planet> I have known Steve for years, but obviously not well enough to know what he is doing besides Cichlid Exchange. Thank you for your help. Ted R Judy Dry Heat Enterprises <Let's keep chatting till I can help direct you. Bob Fenner>

Bamboo for Aquaria Hello this is Jake. ( I just wrote about a dragon wrasse) I would like to ask a question but first I would like to say that I work in an oyster restoration lab at University of Maryland and will have my marine bio degree in 8 months (hopefully) Point is that if you guys are ever in College park stop by Ken Paynters lab and if you ever have a question on oysters or other things in the Chesapeake Bay I would be happy to help you (Not that you need it but you do the same for me and my tanks) <Appreciate this> THE QUESTION My girlfriend has an Asian swamp tank. Wants to put Bamboo in it and a certain book suggested using varnish. We bought Spar Marine varnish but will not use it until we know more. SHOULD WE TREAT BAMBOO BEFORE ADDING SO IT DOESNT ROT? <I have used bamboo of various species in freshwater and marine displays... but never with varnish/es... I know that Spar is rated for use around water, but would leave it out... Just use the bamboo by itself. Bob Fenner> Thank you for all that you do, Jake

Re: rocks Hi the fish we have is an oscar the rocks we want to use are street rocks we did a vingar to test them they did not foam we have soaked them in salt water for about a day and fresh water to rinse for another day then we set up the tank. The sucker fish we had ended up dying and we think it might be the rocks if you could please emal me back information on the right rocks for fresh water tanks thank you for your time. <Do this small experiment for testing the rocks. Place one, two of them in a cooking pot and cook them underwater till the water boils... let cool down for an hour or more, and test the pH of the water the rocks have been in. Has it changed much compared with the tapwater pH? If not, the rocks are likely safe to use with your Oscar, and probably didn't have much/anything to do with the loss of your sucker fish. Bob Fenner>

Lacerock I have heard that lacerock can increase the pH of water in a tank. Is this true, and if so, by how much does it increase the pH? Are we talking about increasing a tank from 7.0 to 8.0, or more like 7.0 to 7.2? <Possibly to about 8.0... variable product, and values do vacillate with make-up of existing water. Bob Fenner> Love your web site <Thank you> Thanks for your help Doug Fitzpatrick  <Doug... just to set my mind at ease... we're talking about "Tufa" rock here aren't we? Not the man-made with cement variety hawked by GARF et al...? Bob Fenner>  Wow! I didn't expect that.  To answer your question, I think the lace rock is natural, not cement. So, I guess it is the "Tufa" rock you asked about. <Thanks for this... you can imagine what goes through ones mind... short distance in my case... sending out responses, then thinking... "what if"?... > Just a follow-up question, then. If the rock can increase the tank to 8.0 from 7.0, does it take a long time to do this, or is it an "overnight" sort of thing? <Takes a while... the KOH... wait, let's not do this thing quantitatively... the solubility being what it typically is, surface area... a whole bunch of the rock in a small volume of water, a matter of weeks... not days> My friend has a 60gal tank with what he thinks is about 60 pounds of lace rock in it (large mountain of rock is the only real decoration in the tank). If he does a weekly water change with 7.2 pH water and replaces 5 gallons at each change, can he keep the pH down, or will the lace rock bring the pH up right away? <It will take time... in freshwater (now you see what I'm getting at re the worry here...) and probably never noticed in marine,,, where other buffers/buffering influences will keep the pH higher.> Additional information: He has been cycling the tank for about 2.5 months with goldfish, and he is trying to bring the pH down to get the tank ready for Discus.   <Ahhh, now we're getting somewhere... I would NOT use this rock with Symphysodon at all... it will cause the water to be harder, more alkaline than s/he wants... and is too sharp to have around these fish/es> The water started with a pH of 7.8 and is very hard (he lives in Southern California, and I saw one article discribe our water as liquid rock).  <Yes, some came out of the tap this morning here in San Diego, and cracked the kitchen sink...> He has an RO/DI filter, so he should be able to produce 7.0 water when he wants. He is also aware of adding trace elements back into distilled water. He is also aware that the addition of driftwood would help the situation, but he really likes the rock look. So, he really wants to make the rock work. Is what he is trying to do possible, or is he facing a no win situation? <No win in my opinion... look for chemically inert decor> Any information will be greatly appreciated.  Doug <Please see the rock/driftwood piece, FAQs under the "Planted Tank" Index on the www.WetWebMedia.com site. Bob Fenner>

Rock/Decor for FW We have a 3 month old freshwater 40 gal. aquarium.We have stocked it with the usual community fish,  tetras, swordtails, gouramis, angels, etc.  In one corner we would like to build a tall rock formation. Is this possible and what kind of rock is safe? Please answer. Thanks! <Please read over the rock and driftwood section posted on the Freshwater and Planted Tank Indexes of the site: http://www.WetWebMedia.com    Such an assemblage is possible, but as you say with only chemically inert or conducive materials. Bob Fenner>

New Rock Hi Bob, Haven't sent you an e-mail in a really long time, I like the changes to WWM, it's looking better every time I look!  <Ah, great to read.> I have had a 26 gallon reef for almost a year now, you helped me quite a bit in the early days! I have since found many discussion boards and the wealth of information that goes along with . . .  <Great.... the more input an intelligent caring mind can cogitate furiously over, the better> Couple of quickies for you . . . we have a little eclipse 3 gallon freshwater tank at work with some neon tetras, albino catfish and a clown pleco. I want to remove a ceramic bridge in the tank and replace it with some small pieces of lace rock for a more natural look. (The tank has been setup for about 4-5 months) If a rinse the rock really well, maybe place it in a bucket of freshwater with a powerhead for a few days would that be sufficient to not harm our current inhabitants. (I don't want to shock the water, bacteria levels, etc.) <I understand... and encourage you to look into other materials than the lace rock... it's a bit sharp and can/does usually increase pH and alkalinity. Maybe petrified "wood", or some of the prepared driftwoods for aquariums... real or ceramic logs...> I am in the planning stages of a 140 gallon reef. (60 X 18 X 30) Metal Halide will be the lighting of choice, possibly with VHO actinic supplementation. I plan to keep a mix of softies, LPS and SPS. Do you think I could be successful with 2 250 WT MH (Iwasaki 6500K) along with 2 130 WT VHO Actinic's, or I should I opt for 2 400 WT Ushio 10000K's with the 2 130 WT VHO actinic supplementation?  <For thirty inches deep... this is a tough one... I'd personally opt for the 250s, but you could have the 400s...> My understanding is that a standard MH bulb will produce a useful arc of about 2 feet, so if I place the bulbs properly I would only have 6 inches of non-optimal light at the ends of the tank. (Good spot for shrooms I suppose!) <Something like that/this...> Thanks as per usual for your invaluable advice. Brian <Glad to be here my friend. Bob Fenner>

Bogwood Blues Dear Mr. Fenner, I have never in 40 years of aquarium ownership seen anything like this! I recently set up a 26 gal. tank with natural gravel, asian plants, and two large pieces of bogwood sold under the name "Walaby Wood" at the local store. (Yes, I washed and soaked the wood a few days before placing in the tank. No special directions in their labeling indicated lengthy preparation needed.) Anyway, the tank began within 48 hrs. to take on the appearance of weak coffee, and no amount of water changes (10-20% at a time) or activated carbon filtration (outside power filter) has yet reduced the color appreciably. Constant testing of pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate indicate that the water is cycling normally and remaining fairly stable. Do you have any ideas on what I might do to reduce the staining more rapidly? I'd appreciate whatever hints you might offer ... Karen Wilkerson <Wish I did... the procedures you list: water changes, using activated carbon... even the live plants, will eventually reduce the amount of apparent coloring... but as you are obviously aware, this "dilution" game will take a few months... Small dispensation to find that the chemicals (flavins, tannins) are not toxic. Bob Fenner, who has indeed, "been here">

Re: Bogwood Blues Thanks for the reassurance, Bob .. good news is that the "tide" is finally beginning to turn a bit, so I suppose I'm gaining on it .. whew!  <Thank "stained" goodness> Guess I need to invest in a gigantic washtub (enameled, of course) to use in future bogwood endeavors.  <Good idea... some folks utilize a bit of borax... other materials to leach their new woods... or just keep overfilling the ding dang basin outside while doing other gardening duties... Appropriate technology.> You know, it's a gorgeous set up, what we can see of it. And the fish still seem very happy, so I will soon be adding more Asian relatives. By the way, do you know of any good online ordering sources for Orange Chromides?  <Go to your web search engines and put in the terms "Cichlid Trader" and look for Etroplus from there> I want to get a small pair, if possible, to complete the collection of Asian fishes, and we rarely see them in this area. I'm in Tyler, Texas, which is 100 miles E. of Dallas.  Thanks again for the help, Karen Wilkerson <Bob Fenner, who has a dear friend, colleague in the interest named Joyce Wilkerson... and runs with the Texas Interhash every opportunity... last time at "Cut n' Shoot">

driftwood/fish questions Dear Robert, You asked recently what other fishes did i have. I have platties, mollies, guppies, swordtails, sucking catfishes (2), a black phantom, a neon tetra and that's it.   1) Are any of my fish (above) affected by the tannin? <Hmm, the livebearers might be if they were close to wild types... but no... once all have been exposed, they would not suffer appreciably... The catfishes and tetras would actually benefit.> I think my driftwood should not have any harmful chemicals, etc but i would like to double check that. I bought it from a very professional pet centre (with lots of variety) and i am pretty sure it is mangrove root. It has also been waterlogged, it did so on the second day!  2) So what else should i be careful about in the driftwood? <Nothing really... unlikely it contains chemical, physical or biological problems.>  3) They said that carbon in the filter removes tanin so should i just put it in? (i am a very impateint person!) <A very worthwhile effort. Will remove a great deal of the color and more> WATER CONDITIONS My water conditions are about 1 tablespoon of salt (not table salt) per 20litres of aquar. water. and the pH is either 6.9 or 7.4(my pH test kit is stuffed!) but my livebearers (see 1st paragrph) are breeding. Does this mean they feel "at home" in my tank? Most of my neons died, only 1 black phantom remains.  <Yes on the measure of "suitability", and the Neons dying isn't unusual... sometimes, often don't adapt to new surroundings, being moved.>  1) Would a kuhli loache survive, i mean 'feel at home', in my tank? the red and black one. <S/b fine... these loaches live in softer, acidic water... with considerable wood acid content.> 2) I also wanted a pair of Ancistrus temminckii (bristlenose) catfishes. Is that the small one with the whole underside as a sucker?  Is this the one that is peaceful and would be a good community fish? <Not the whole underside, though their mouths are subterminal... and yes, good community fishes... though can/do get large with time.> 3) What conditions are required for this catfish? <Aged systems, neutral in pH to lower... some dedicated feeding (like with sinking pellets) and driftwood to chew on (yes).  Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

DIY Rock backgrounds Dear Bob, I am in the process of setting up a large freshwater tank and would like to include extensive rock backdrop as well. Could you tell me how I can achieve this? How do I stack them (or glue them?) together to get the desired effect? What glue is to be used? Here in India, I can obtain good quality marble, sandstone or slate. Which of these is safe to use?  I do look forward to your advice and help. Thanking you, Arvind <A few ways to go here... you might want to simply stack the pieces at this juncture, though a permanent sort of arrangement can be executed (very heavy... and permanent) by a few mechanisms... putty, resin.... Depending on the type of livestock, you might want to use marble (will make the water more hard and alkaline) if your livestock like the shift in water quality... or slate (more chemically inert)... by and large sedimentary rock (like sandstones) are not a good idea in captive systems... fall apart, grind down pumping mechanisms... make a mess... Bob Fenner>

Floating Driftwood I recently purchased a 75 gallon tank and am planning to put tropical fish in it. To decorate the tank, I also purchased a piece of driftwood attached to a slate base. The driftwood is pretty large, but fits nicely in the tank. It has been soaking for about 6 days now, but it is showing no signs of wanting to sink. I even tried soaking it in hot water for a few hours.  Does it usually take a long time for driftwood to sink? Is there anything I can do to speed up the process (the wood is too big to boil)? Are there weights or some other method I can use to help weigh it down? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks, Craig >> Good questions... and you're not alone... I've had the phenomenally beautiful pieces of wood that just would not sink as well... Boiling does help... soaking as well (if you don't perish from old age, or forget the project in the interim)... there are even chemicals you can add to the soak (don't do this, too dangerous) that may be used to speed up the process.... And yes, if your water is sufficiently hard, alkaline, you might well add a couple of lead weights (as in scuba diving) to the base to hold that log down... Or better/safer still, some other sort of chemically inert "rock" like petrified wood... more slate... rocks from around your area that won't/don't mal-affect your water quality.... Maybe take a read through the following site: Home Page for more input on decor of this sort. Bob Fenner

RE: Floating Driftwood I hate to bother you again, but I do have one more question. I just began my first fish tank (75 gallons, freshwater), and I set it up last week and purchased the fish on Saturday. I am a little concerned that they do not seem to be eating. I have 3 fish for now (red tailed shark, tri-colored shark, and a blue gour). The Blue Gour seems to eat enough, the red tailed shark has eaten a little, but the tri-colored shark hasn't eaten at all. It just hides out all day and doesn't seem to even know that there is food in the tank. Should I be concerned? Is there anything I should do to change this? Thanks in advance for your help.   >> Never a bother to answer/ask something in earnest. And no, not to worry. The Tri-colored shark (prob. Balantiocheilius tricolor, family Cyprinidae) is a notorious poor feeder when moved. It will soon regain its appetite... BTW, do be aware that these "sharks" are great jumpers! Make sure and keep your system covered... any, all holes that are big enough are suspect...  Bob Fenner

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