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[APD] Driftwood wants to float
Most pieces of driftwood purchased in stores are affixed to a piece of slate. Driftwoods from Africa and Malaysia are also available however these woods do not float and so are not attached to slate. IME, the slate used is never heavy enough to actually sink the wood, I believe it is intended to hold the wood upright in whatever position the person who screwed it on thought would be most attractive/saleable. In order to keep the wood from floating, one must either remove the slate and replace with a larger piece (one heavy enough to drag your driftwood to the bottom) or soak the wood in some other container until it is waterlogged. I suggest soaking your wood anyway because this will allow most of the tannins to escape. Tannin is relatively harmless to fish as far as I know (standard disclaimers) but it will make the water in your tank turn a tea color (black tea that is, without milk) There are problems with using a larger piece of slate. Depending on the size of the piece of slate needed, much of your substrate will be covered. The slate can obviously be put in the tank under your gravel etc. as well but the depth of substrate available for root growth will be lessened. One must also be very careful with creating dead spots in the gravel under the slate. Not to mention the amount of caution nessasary when moving or removing the piece as the wood is liable to be slippery and if you drop a large piece of stone like that into a glass tank the results will be unfortunate. I have had the same 55 gallon barrel for many years. (Originally held olives from Greece. Be careful what you soak your wood in as things other than water will also soak into your wood and then be transferred to your tank.) I often tie some old sand filled plastic weights, do not use cast weights, to a piece of wood and leave it in the barrel until it is waterlogged. Change the water occasionally in whatever container you use and cover with something to keep sun and bugs out, mine has a screw on lid. I have also had success with Rubbermaid tubs although the tops bow out something fierce and it is often difficult to get the lid on. IME, putting a ratcheting or cambuckle strap around the top of the tub and snugging it up before you fill with water will alleviate most problems of this nature. If you decide to screw anything onto your wood, always use the heaviest gauge of stainless steel screw possible. This will insure that the slate will not fall off while moving the wood (see above) as a result of cheap screws that rusted away during their time in the water. Stainless steel will not put any heavy metals or other nasties in your tank that might come from those cheap screws. If you decide to use something other than slate to hold your wood down, make sure it will not dissolve over time and create problems with pH. ( limestone, etc. ) Driftwood is a very attractive home for fish and plants in the aquarium. I have been enjoying it since shortly after setting up my first tank. I hope this answer to your question will help you enjoy driftwood as well.
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