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Type of real wood for Discus Tank


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To answer your second question, slate is slate just buy whatever is cheapest. Just make sure to clean it really well because that slate dust that comes from the cutting process is extremely fine and never becomes settled in an aquarium. 

 

If you live next to a body of water collecting your own driftwood can be very rewarding. Just make sure to follow local laws. 

Edited by Biotope Biologist
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Use whatever driftwood you like, you can even mix them because over time they all will look a deep dark brown, although the Malaysian driftwood can look almost black. in my current tank I'm using spiderwood, Pacific driftwood, and Mopani, and regardless of what some believe they have blended very harmoniously.

By the way you'll often hear "Biotope purists" sermonize about everything in their tank being "biotope correct" down to the botanics like seed pods, or leaves they use to release tannin in their tanks, when you inquire where the substrate, or their wood came from they get strangely quiet. I wouldn't worry too much about what type of wood you use as long as you like the looks your fish will love it.

PS: Also if a particular type of wood might be too small, many times a larger piece can be created by combining several smaller pieces, even sometimes different types of wood, it is a practice that is much more common, especially  in aquascaping, than many of its practitioners would like you to believe, or are sometimes willing to let on, and especially the aforementioned purists.

Edited by Jungle Fan
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On 8/9/2021 at 9:22 AM, Jungle Fan said:

By the way you'll often hear "Biotope purists" sermonize about everything in their tank being "biotope correct" down to the botanics like seed pods, or leaves they use to release tannin in their tanks, when you inquire where the substrate, or their wood came from they get strangely quiet. I wouldn't worry too much about what type of wood you use as long as you like the looks your fish will love it.

That is extremely correct! We try our best but sourcing everything from that locale is expensive, it's easier to take shortcuts. As long as the biotope hobbyists aren't being snobby about it. 😋

 

As for driftwood collected in the ocean there are methods of getting the saltwater out. Specifically I use sundry method then several soaks in freshwater, a few with dilute bleach.

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Where to best get/buy driftwood all depends on where you are located.

If you are located by the ocean, as one would assume from one of your posts, I would consider that a lucky plus, not a detriment.

As @Biotope Biologist mentioned you can soak the pieces repeatedly in freshwater to draw out the salt and then do an air dry in the sun.

I tend to not use bleach on any of my wood, regardless of how diluted it might be for sterilization but prefer to use hydrogen peroxide added to the water which over a period of 48 hours turns itself into harmless water, I then rinse the pieces of and let them air dry in the sun.

If you want to buy driftwood, rather than collect it yourself keep in mind that an attractive piece can most of the time be assembled by combining several smaller pieces, because big pieces tend to cost "big" money. I have been in the hobby since 1968 and whenever I travel I usually try to visit a LFS and pick up an attractive piece of wood, or two in the price range from $20 - $30 depending on what's available.

Also different types of wood release different amounts of tannin, If you don't want your tank so dark you might have a hard time seeing your discus, and even in general, a pre-soak is a good idea as it will show you how much tannin the wood releases, and because some woods like spiderwood can take a really long time to sink unless you want to use slate. Some of the Mopani pieces (which will sink right away) in my tank were releasing heavy amounts of tannin for about four months. My first pre-soak usually is the one with hydrogen peroxide, after that I change water every couple of days until the pieces sink, or the tannin level now released is acceptable to me, depending on if I intend a blackwater tank, or not.

I usually advocate against the very common practice of boiling driftwood to sterilize it because it damages the wood's surface structure and the pieces will rot much sooner that way. In my current tank I have a piece of driftwood that has been in many of my other tanks previously, and is going on three decades now.

PS: It also helps to visualize first how many pieces of driftwood you want for your tank, whether you want just one centerpiece stump, or two or three branches, or two stump "islands", or a big branch of Manzanita with many twigs, ... There are sites on the internet as well but they tend to be very pricey, and you have to calculate shipping into the deal on top.

Edited by Jungle Fan
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