One of the best ways to make an aquarium come to life is to add real wood decorations. Wood not only looks great, it also makes good habitat for both fish and reptiles and can support beneficial bacteria. But you must choose your aquarium wood carefully. Some wood will decay and pollute the water and some are high in tannin, which can discolor the water and throw off the PH levels.
Wich wood is better for aquarium?
Manzanita wood is quickly becoming a wood of choice for aquariums. Manzanita looks great with its colors and unusual and sometimes twisted shapes. The natural wood can provide many hiding places and habitat for fish and other aquarium animals.
Manzanita is non toxic, non resinous and chemically neutral. It will leach some tannin in the beginning but much less than most wood. After soaking for a few weeks most of the tannin will be gone. This soaking will also saturate the wood, which will allow it to sink. Once it is saturated there is no need to weight the wood and it will stay on the bottom all on its own.
Manzanita wood is very dense and durable and resistant to decaying. It will last in an aquarium either submurged or unsubmerged for many years or decades or longer.
Before you put the wood in the water it should first be seasoned. If it is still green it will be more likely to decay. The bark should also be removed since it will decay too. In most cases commercially available aquarium wood will come with the bark stripped or sandblasted off. You should soak the wood before you introduce it to your aquarium for two weeks to a couple months depending on the size of the wood.
Replace the water that you soak it in daily or every other day. Notice the discoloration of the water from the tannin in the wood. Once the water is no llonger has color when you change it, it is safe to put in the aquarium. If it still floats, either keep it soaking or weigh it down in your aquarium until it becomes fully saturated. You may still get a little tannin leaching for a while but small amounts will be harmless and can be removed with a filter.
Care should be taken when selecting wood for an aquarium. Unlike most natural habitats, an aquarium is a closed system where chemicals in the wood are unable to flow away. Wood releases tannins into the water which can reduce pH and color the water. Some types of wood release more tannins than others and with some aquarium woods it can be enough to harm fish although in most cases a little tannin in the water is harmless. With black water or Amazon themed tanks, the colored water is actually desired.