Here are the 9 best DIY methods to make a wood safe aquarium. These techniques are easy and you can do this at your home.
How Do You Make Wood Safe for an Aquarium? You can make wood safe for your aquarium by cleaning it properly, scrubbing, using chemicals, boiling, and then sun drying. It can take from 3 to 15 days to make wood suitable for the fish tank.
The wood inside a fish tank turns it into a gorgeous landscape. It gives an aesthetic appearance and benefits to the aquarium. It provides smaller species a place to hide and live.
- 1 How Do You Make Wood Safe for an Aquarium?
- 1.1 Decide the location of wood in the aquarium
- 1.2 Wood picked from any tree or surface
- 1.3 Wood from river
- 1.4 Remove debris from the wood
- 1.5 Use sandpaper to clean the aquarium wood
- 1.6 Wash the aquarium wood
- 1.7 Keep the wood underwater in an aquarium
- 1.8 Boil the wood
- 1.9 Sun drying
- 1.10 Use of chemicals to make wood safe
How Do You Make Wood Safe for an Aquarium?
If you want to introduce wood into your aquarium, look up to these simple methods.
It also provides a place for fishes to lay eggs. Also, it acts as a food source for algae and other microscopic species. It also helps to change water chemistry and adjust water parameters.
There is a variety of wood available in the market for aquariums. All kinds of it are not suitable for fish tanks. Some can be poisonous, toxic, and causes pollution.
Choose carefully to avoid causing harm to the species inside the tank. Consider it that some woods leach harmful substances into the water, such as tannin, or some may rot rapidly. Try to avoid these kinds of woods.
Decide the location of wood in the aquarium
Before placing woods into the tank, make sure you choose the correct position and location. Without disturbing species inside it, draw a rough sketch of your fish tank either in your mind or on paper.
Think where to place it to make it useful for the inhabitants and also as a decorative addition. The best time to add it is after cleaning the aquarium. Just place it and refill the tank.
Some woods are buoyant even after cleaning and curing, so attach or bury them to the surface to prevent floating.
Place it in such an area where it only touches one end of the tank. It can swell up in the water and can apply pressure on the glass of the aquarium. Place it in the correct position when it is dry.
If it is large enough to stick out of the tank, give it proper clearance to avoid any disturbance. Avoid placing it in the middle of the tank as it has weight, so provide it enough support.
Wood picked from any tree or surface
When you pick any random one from a tree or outdoor, do not place it directly into the tank. Remember, it can be sappy or may contain harmful chemicals or toxins. You should always select the best type of wood for the aquarium.
Wash and boil it properly with plenty of water to kill any organisms on it. Then scrub it and soak for many days. Dry it with a proper technique and then place it into the aquarium. Otherwise, they can rot in the water and makes the fish to stay at the bottom of the tank.
Wood from river
Find some suitable pieces of wood in the river or lake. Clean and cure them and place them into the tank. Nature processes this wood already in the lake. It will not leach any tannin or saps into the water and is inert. These woods are safe for the aquarium as they do not cause any harm to its inhabitants.
When you get your ideal piece, make it safe for the inhabitants. It includes eight simple steps requiring cleaning, sterilizing, and isolating a piece of wood.
Remove debris from the wood
When you find a piece of wood, firstly remove all the debris from it. It may contain pests, insects, bugs, dirt, or stones. Remove all the unwanted, edgy, or protruding things from it. Give it an overall appropriate shape.
Hold it with one end and shake it with force. It will remove all the dirt, pests, and insects from it. Now tap it forcefully onto a solid object. It will remove all the remaining impurities.
The next step is scrubbing. Take a hard, stiff, and large brush and scrub the wood’s surface well. Scrub the entire piece and also all the joints and nodes. Provide enough force to make sure that it removes are the debris and bark.
When there is still something on it, use a knife or a pointed thing to get rid of it. Scrap off or dig out debris. Be careful while using such sharp objects. Do not apply too much force that may result in damage to the wood or hurting yourself.
Use an air compressor to blast air onto the wood to remove the remaining debris. The pressure of air helps to remove things from the joints, nodes, or very narrow areas.
Use sandpaper to clean the aquarium wood
Take sandpaper and rub it on the entire surface of the wood. It helps remove all the sharp, pointed, or edgy scrapes from it. This can prevent neon tetra from turning white.
Use heavy grade sandpaper to remove large clumps of the rough wood piece. Coarse sandpaper removes the deteriorated or uneven parts but may result in scratches.
After sanding, leave the piece of wood in a plastic bag for many days. Seal the bag and place it at room temperature. Check after some time to make sure there are no dead bugs. If there are still bugs, leave it for some more days.
You can also use pesticide or insecticide to kill bugs and insects but make sure to remove all its residues before placing them in the tank. Insecticides and pesticides are extremely harmful to the fishes.
Wash the aquarium wood
Place it under the running water and wash appropriately. It will remove all the dirt that may not remove during scrubbing.
You can also wash it with hot water to kill all the harmful organisms, such as algal or fungal spores.
Keep the wood underwater in an aquarium
Some woods remain buoyant even in the water. Soak wood in the water and make sure the wood is underwater. Leave it for four weeks for complete saturation. Use a lid or cover to prevent pests from entering it.
If it has tannin, it will darken the water. So you have to remove it from the bucket and rinse it properly and then again soak it in clean water. When you see no discoloration in the water, your wood is ready for the next step.
Soaking provides many benefits. It removes all the remaining tannins that release colors to the water. Discoloration lowers the pH inside, but it does not cause harm to species living inside the tank.
Boil the wood
Boiling is a better option. Boiling helps tannin to leach out. It sterilizes the wood, so boil it for 1-2 hours. It ensures the killing of all microscopic organisms. It also kills parasites that may be on it and leach out tannin from the wood.
Boil it for 1-3 days depending upon the hardness of the wood. Change water every day to better ensure safety. When it starts getting soft, remove the bark. It will remove all dirt and loose parts. Also, it softens the wood and prevents sapping.
After boiling, let it cool and dry and place it in the tank. Dry it in a suitable place to prevent any impurities and dirt. Fish have emotional feelings and you should take care of them.
Sun rays are also helpful to kill all the impurities and microbes from the wood. It is a technique for sterilizing when you do not want to boil.
It also helps tannin to leach out. One disadvantage of sun drying is it provides an opportunity for insects and bugs to stay on wood.
Use of chemicals to make wood safe
When you are not sure that cleaning and curing with water can make wood safe for your aquarium, use chemical agents to remove all impurities. Make use of epoxy, bleach, or saltwater. It makes the process of cleaning faster.
One thing to consider while using any chemical agent is to get rid of it completely. Otherwise, they cause damage to the fishes inside.