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 Cedar driftwood

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Liz
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PostSubject: Cedar driftwood   Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:46 pm

So, my truly awesome gnarly piece of driftwood for my 125 (used to be a 120 but I found another 5 gallons - go figure!) turns out to be relatively fresh cedar. I was cutting off a corner that was preventing the stump from sitting properly in the tank and whoa - smell the cedar aroma!

I knew I'd hashed this over before and when I googled the topic I found my own advice on the matter from back in 2004, lol! In it I claimed that one should NOT use cedar because of the oils that could be toxic to fish. I know it repels insects in pet beds, and my understanding is that one ought not to use it unless it is very old and the oils have leached out, or soak it for 2 weeks in denatured alcohol (100% alcohol, no water) and then for 2 weeks in plain water to leach out the oils.

*Sigh* I was really looking forward to this piece in my tank but I don't have the ability or inclination to treat it in such a way, and I'd always worry about it.

I'm going to have to either keep looking or come up with an innovative way to decorate this tank in the meantime.

Onward and upward....

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Deb
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PostSubject: Re: Cedar driftwood   Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:01 am

Sorry to hear the driftwood won't work.

Had the previous owner used it in the aquarium? What was the story?

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PostSubject: Re: Cedar driftwood   Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:39 am

The previous owner apparently kept a locally caught bass in a bare-bottom tank with this piece of wood, but I don't have any details as to how long it was set up, etc. This piece does not show any indication that it has a mind to sink, either!


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PostSubject: Re: Cedar driftwood   Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:52 am

My father in law's fishing club owned a pond in Providence Forge. Every fall and spring they would throw cut pine branches - I mean big, fat ones including that season's recently cut Christmas trees - in the middle of the lake to act as spawning sites for the fish. I believe the pond held large mouth bass, and this was their preferred fish, but there was also pike, bream, and perch. Also something called "grinnel" if that is the correct term. Pretty much the standard Virginia freshwater fish, I'm told.

My point, in case you were wondering Wink is that in the "wild" many fish have the opportunity to be in the water with fresh cut piney woods. I suppose in the smaller water volume of our aquariums the threat of oils and resins is that much more. Do not know, but it would be interesting to find out if we need to be concerned or not. I've used skinny pine branches in some of my set-ups and had no problems.

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PostSubject: Re: Cedar driftwood   Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:58 am

Off topic here but I would be willing to bet I know exactly where you are talking about Deb. I have seen some monster bass pulled out of the areas where they have piled christmas trees. Also the grinnel are known as bowfin and they are one nasty fish.
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PostSubject: Re: Cedar driftwood   Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:16 am

I agree about fish in the wild, and, in fact, my own advice given in 2004 included this observation that cedar trees fall into streams and lakes, so how bad could it be, right?

If I was talking about a small piece, or even a moderately sized piece I might risk it - I risk things often in the hobby, I'm sorry to admit - but this thing is so huge that I worry about it. It would take up perhaps a fifth of the tank space, maybe a bit less, but the ratio of wood to water is such that I'd imagine it could adversely affect water chemistry. I don't have the ability to boil a piece this large, or otherwise effectively treat it. We're closing the pool this weekend, which means dosing it with anti-algae chemicals, etc., so I won't have that wonderful vessel for soaking large pieces, at least until next summer.

I'll hold onto it, since it is quite attractive even sitting on my deck, lol, and may someday revisit the idea, or cross-section it to allow the oils in the wood to leach out. The aroma coming off the small piece I cut was quite strong - you could smell it from 5' away - and that's what gave me pause.

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