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Re: [APD] Rhododendron branches

I will post part of the thread on the NJAGC Forum dealing with Rhododendron branches from Paula and myself:
Jerry wrote: A person on the Aquatic Plants Digest recently posted about wanting to try Rhododendron branches in her planted tank. She was going to report back with the results of her testing with plants and other creatures.Some on here are using manzanita in their tanks. I forget who posted this link, but it may have been Glenn: http://www.manzanita.com/
Paula wrote: 
I have rhododendron in my tanks, no negatives to report, its very hard wood. I have heard it said that you should avoid evergreens because of the resin content - isn't turpentine made from some sort of pine sap? Like other rules that are overly simplistic and don't really apply in real life (for example the 2WPG rule and the one inch of fish per gallon of water rule) if you can press your fingernail into the wood and leave a mark you shouldn't use it in your fish tank. Who knows how accurate that is.
Jerry wrote: 
How long have you had the Rhododendron in your tank Paula?
Paula wrote: 
My Rhododendron has been in the tank for at least a year and a half, although it might be 2.5 years. I remember it was summer and my father gave it to me. It could have been summer of 07 or 06. He thought it was an interesting piece and kept it for me. It is a root burl from the base of the plant. It didn't have any bark on it, and I have to imagine the plant it came from was dead, my father wouldn't dig up a live Rhododendron. How long it had been dead? Your guess is as good as mine. There were no signs of decay of the wood. There have been no ill effects and it is still hard as a rock. It was in the Albino Bushy Nose nursery tank with RCS so there have been plenty of animals rasping on it and picking at it without any ill effects.
Rich wrote: 
Since that plant/shrub needs an acidic soil to flourish, I wonder if it has any effect on pH.
Paula wrote: 
A lot of driftwood will lower pH, whether its an acidic soil loving plant or not. Tannins are naturally occurring organic acids found in most wood and in addition to staining the water will also lower pH. Rhododendron may or may not be more acidic than others. You do bring up a good point- I know Jerry was going to relay this info to another user on another forum, so I do want to say that I have no idea how low my pH is in this tank, all of my tanks are well below neutral and my fish like it that way so I never really tested to see exactly what effect this wood would have.
Jerry Smith
Bloomingdale, NJ
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