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Subject: Sulfide gas around driftwood

> Well when I pulled it out I noticed a few bubbles come out but thought
> nothing of it at first.  Then I was dipping in there with the vacuum and
> saw that part of an A. bateri had a small section of the rhizome rotted and
> lost a few leaves.  This one was located in the gravel right up against the
> driftwood.  So I really started poking in that area and there were a lot of
> bubbles and then I noticed the egg smell, lots of bubbles, and the rhizome
> was bad.  The Anubias had no roots and the leaves had separated from it.  A
> Anubias branch that had headed away from the drift wood was fine and rooted
> well, but as I dug deep in that area with the vacuum the gravel was all
> black and there were more bubbles.  
>    So I figure the driftwood is rotting, and thus the smell and gas
> production

I suppose it is possible that the driftwood is actively rotting, but I think
it is more likely that the lower light and lower water circulation near the 
driftwood makes that environment relatively poor for plant growth, and
the rhizome could not process enough water to provide aeration and
that part of the substrate went anaerobic.  The rhizome and any other
organic matter in that area is probably rotting, but I would guess the
driftwood is not the culprit.

I'd pull plants out of that area and vacuum well.  That will aerate.
Then, you should be able to keep that area clear and have no
problem, or fill it with a fast growing stem-type plant that doesn't 
have a large root mass, or a low-light plant like java fern or java
moss (also with low root mass).  Or, you could probably grow
your anubias if you vacuum the area regularly to keep it aerated.
In a worst case, you should be able to bury an airstone in the
gravel (provided you hook it up to an air pump.  ;-)

You should be fine leaving the driftwood in there.  It's primarily
cellulose (unlike anubia rhizomes), and is not likely to decay
in an anaerobic environment.  We are still diving for huge logs
submerged in the Mississippi river from the turn of the century,
and the Japanese are storing lumber in large anaerobic water
vaults for the "impending wood crisis".  Houses built on wood
pilings are usually fine as long as the water table is high, but
if the water table drops and the base of the pilings are exposed
to air, then they begin to rot.

Leave the driftwood in there.  Don't you think it would look 
*great* covered with java moss?  ;-)

charleyb at cytomation_com