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RE: [APD] Choosing driftwood for plant tanks

Excellent post Tom!



-----Original Message-----
From: aquatic-plants-bounces+forehaven=comcast_net at actwin.com
[mailto:aquatic-plants-bounces+forehaven=comcast_net at actwin.com]On
Behalf Of Thomas Barr
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 2:08 PM
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
Subject: [APD] Choosing driftwood for plant tanks

I have seen distict differences in people looking for driftwood that have
fish only tanks vs planted tanks.
Sometimes the fish only people become plant people and still have
preferences for the same type of wood.

Many fish only folks want hiding spots, not too much so they can still see
their fish. These pieces tend to be full of holes, often blocky pieces of
While this might be suitable without plants, when plants are added, often
these holes are covered up. 
The large footprint also takes away from valuable planting and lighting

This can be good if you want an open foreground and want the background
plants to lean over the wood, wood does not need light and does not mind
being shaded. 
Blocky pieces are suitable there. They are also sometimes suitable when
attaching plants to wood or using much like stones/rocks and creating
Plant folks often use branchy wood. These smaller 1cm-8cm dia pieces add
character without blocking the light. It add a verticle element to the
tank. They can be "mossed" or "liverworted" or "ferned" or "Anubiased"
easily and it tends to be much easier to tie to these smaller branchy
pieces than blocky holey wood.

The thing I have tried to explain to folks over the years about using wood,
is that taking several branches will allow you to make a nice root pinwheel
effect without having to search for a single perfect piedce for the tank
you have. That can take forever and nothing ever is quite right. Using
several pieces of the same type of wood can creat any number of
combinations with smaller branches, I trend to call this "modular wood". I
can add 5 or 7 or 15 branches eminating out from a single point buried in
the dense plant stands. I can switch them around, change their angles
individually, change their number, easy to remove and transfer to another
tank or to pull out for cleaning(try this with a huge single piece

This flexibility allows the aquairst infinitely more options for
aquascaping at a greatly reduced cost and search effort also.

Blocky pieces tend to look better with less plants eg hairgrass fields.
This allows the viewer to appreciate the wood's character and makes a nice
contrast with a simple field of grass or Gloss etc.

The other type of wood is somewhat similar the rock styles. Using Cypress
knees, you can make a forest or a mountain range effect that also leaves a
small foot print and does not detract form the lighting. 

Adding Xmas moss to these knees will allow you to create those Chinese
style paintings with the pine trees clinging to a cliff.

Flat broad thin pieces of wood are very useful for backdrops espeically if
they have holes. Other flat thin pieces are good for terracing.

These are much more desirable than blocky pieces, they take up less
planting space.

Different woods have far different grain and color. Try to consider that
when looking at a design. Cooler darker woods are great for bright blue
colored fish or accent bright plantings. Even ugkly parts of wood can be
covered with plants. Some options certainly exist with amount and placement
of plants on each piece of wood. Even a 2x4 looks good with lots of Riccia
on it. Moss will yield a cooler effect(and less work).
Even a tank with nothing but some nice rocks, sand and mossy branches
coming out from a centeral area like a stump can look very nice. 

Remember when chosing rocks, wood etc, your tank's space is at a premium!
Make sure you get the look you want without settle for less with your wood.
Think about other ways than just on the quest searching for that "perfect
piece", you can create the perfect piece with a little thought and broaden
your style and outlook with aquascaping. 

In the past before plants got me in a big way, I really enjoyed making
large arches of holely wood, hollowed logs from one end to the other stack
on top of eachother but the bottom of the substrate left open. 

Wood aquascaping has not been approached like the Rock aquascaping with the
same intent and artistic flair. I believe that driftwood deserves this
It was a plant after all:-)

Tom Barr


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