Interested in finding natural decor. Advice?
I'm all about thrifty so why should I spend a bajillion dollars on aquarium decorations when there is so much wood and interesting rocks to be found just outside?
But I know these things can effect the chemical balance of the tank, so I'd love to hear some advice and input from people who have done this in the past.
not an expert on this but here is what i've heard on the AC
- not recommended if has been exposed to saltwater, unless you want to do A LOT of soaking
- only hardwoods
- check for any rotted, crumbly spots
- quarantine and thoroughly clean, may come with various unwelcome critters
- always bring a measuring tape when hunting for good chunks. pieces look SOO much smaller in the great outdoors
that bad surprises may occur when you place it besides the tank and realize its way too big.
- no limestone/calcitic rocks
- check by dripping vinegar on it. if it fizzes, it will leach.
I'll just add a couple things.
Rocks are safer than wood, generally. I use rock I buy from a local landscape supply, it is very inexpensive; a large pail of river rock (pebbles of differing sizes) cost me 75 cents. I have river rock in one tank, in various sizes, to create a tumbled boulder stream effect. This rock is usually safe, but the acid test using vinegar is one test to determine calcareousness (if that is a word). Vinegar is a fairly weak acid, but if it fizzes after a few drops of vinegar is placed on the dry rock, it is calcareous. This doesn't usually matter in hard water fish tanks like rift lake cichlids or livebearers, but in tanks with soft water fish this can cause a lot of trouble for the fish.
Wood collected from water (lake, stream) may have many "critters" so be very careful; also algae, and pathogens that may not harm local fish but can be toxic to tropicals that have no natural immunity to these.
Wood absorbs liquids, any it may come into contact with, and these can remain deep in the wood for a long time before leeching out. I have killed off half a tank of fish from this, and it was wood bought in the fish store. Never collect wood near roads, trails, farms, houses, industrial sites, etc as these are more likely to have come into contact with oil, gas, pesticides, fertilizers, chemicals, etc.
I know it is expensive, but I personally would only use wood from a fish store, and then only specific types. I have had no issues with Malaysian driftwood, sometimes called ironwood, or mangrove root. Others have not been so good, either for the unknown toxin mentioned above, or fungus that can kill fish.
I know this is sometimes difficult to fathom, because we see so much wood in natural water courses. But in nature, anything in the wood dissipates into a very large body of water and gets carried away; plus the fish can swim away from it. This is very different in the aquarium where any toxin immediately enters the water and the fish are in a closed system.
Last edited by Byron; 11-07-2013 at 12:28 AM.
Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
Want to be thrifty? What kind of lighting do you have? If you have enough/right lighting a low/medium light planted tank with rock work from outside is very cheap if you are willing to let it grow in. I think i did my 10g shrimp tank for 10$ and let it grow in.
KING OF THE GOLD BARBS RAWR!!!!
I wonder if i plant one of my tiger barbs would the demon seed grow to a full tree?
gotta love them bunnies!
I.R.S.: We've got what it takes to take what you've got!