View Full Version : Decorating with driftwood

04-05-2006, 04:45 AM
Since I set up my 125 I have decorated it very modestly with some small pieces of driftwood from the local pet shop I really want to put some larger pieces into it but the price they charge at the pet store is just incredible so I had a thought . I live very close to two rivers and a couple of lakes I went hunting for drift wood the other day and found some absolutly incredible pieces my question is this how should I prep the wood before mounting it to slate and putting it into the aquarium ??? My initial thought is to soak them in a 50% bleach and water solution for an hour or so rinse them thouroly and then let them dry remove any very lose debris sand down the sharp edges and then mount them to red slate which will be buried in the subsrtate and put them into the aquarium my concern is that I will transfer unwanted bacteria or guests into my aquarium. I know the bleach will kill whats on the surface but will it treat deep enough not to pose a threat to my fish and even with thurough rinsing could the bleach remain in the wood and pose a threat . your advice is welcome Ed

04-05-2006, 12:38 PM
Here's a blurb from another website, who's information is quite trustworthy:


Give this a try!!


12-06-2006, 12:34 AM
I asked that same question to the local pet store I go to and the owner there said that if I were to get drift wood from the wild (outside of a petstore) It has to be soaked in bleach over night atleast to make sure that it kills every living thing in it.... then you have to soak it in clear water for another day, changing the water every couple hours until the water is clear. Then you can prepare it for your tank.

Good luck,

Lady Hobbs
12-06-2006, 01:22 AM
If you are going to soak it in bleach, let it continue to soak then in declorinated water to remove the bleach for several days.

If you got this wood from under the water (bog wood) you shouldn't have to attach it to slat as it will sink as is. If it was a floating piece (driftwood) then more than likely you'll have problems getting it to sink and the slate will be needed. Use aquarium glue as it's non toxic to fish.

I soaked mine in a big bucket with salt for several days. I used no bleach. Salt will kill parasites as well. You don't need aquarium salt for this. Just good old table salt will do.

12-12-2006, 12:07 PM
Good thing you mentioned not to use bleach as I was ready to jump the barricades and yell at you folks O.o Never ever use any household cleaning chemicals for anything you put in a fishtank!

On that note, if you're worried about it, you could always boil the wood for a good hour or so, if you have a large enough pan to fit it in. If not, soaking it in hot tap water for a day should suffice. This way you can also brush the debris off it when adding more hot water.

12-12-2006, 03:00 PM
no matter how long you soak it/boil it, you're still going to get tannins from the wood just to let you know. it won't hurt the fish any. it will stain the water "tea colored" however. for south american species- this is ideal!

12-13-2006, 08:07 PM
just wanted to say that black algae grows very fast if the drift wood is not bleached before being put in the water. Make sure you never miss that step or you'll be annoyed unless you love that "natural" look.

Lady Hobbs
12-13-2006, 08:13 PM
jman, I only had algae once on my wood and that was when I had algae on "everything" because I added too much Stress Zyme. I removed all the decorations and wood and just scrubbed it and replaced it. Woods been in my tank now a year.

12-13-2006, 08:45 PM
wow that's cool some people i know have to scrub the wood down every 3-4 months i am starting to believe it's because of the water changes they do.(slim to none)

12-14-2006, 03:09 AM
I have used bleach on just about everything in my household and feel it is one of the least dangerous chemicals that can be used for sanitation. If a pool can be kept sanitized by moderate amounts of chlorine (which is in bleach) then it should be safe for anything else. As Hobbs suggested, if you clean with bleach soak in a solution of water and dechlorinator to make sure you have neutralized any and all of the chlorine. Before I got my darling Fugly who is my aquarium dishwasher for algae build up any decor that ended up with algae got a bleach soak, dechlorinator soak, and then back into the tank. Haven't seen any fish croak from it. My kids spend most of their summer in chlorine pools and it hasn't done them any harm.....bleach is wonderful, even if you didn't soak in dechlorinator, leave it to dry thoroughly, bleach evaporates and leaves no harmful residue!

12-15-2006, 12:24 AM
i think i should let the others around me know because i never have the problem they seem to and i think that they might just seem to be lazy because they 'figure' it's not harming the fish.

Thanks guys!

11-24-2008, 06:27 PM
Apparently the dishwasher is the best place for it???


11-24-2008, 06:35 PM
I pulled a large piece of driftwood from a freshwater lake and have had it in my tank for a year with no problems.
I cleaned it off with hot water, let it dry for a few weeks in the sun, then soaked it in the bathtub with just the hottest water I could get for a day. It never stained my tank either. Just make sure it's a very hard piece because the softer it is, the faster it's going to rot away. BTW, plecos LOVE natural wood in their tanks.