This wood originates from German peat bogs where it has been preserved in the ground for centuries. There is no concerns regarding particular species of tree, as the preservation of the wood has made them safe. Some are oak others are reported to be conifers, both can have different densities and effect the way the wood finally sinks. If it’s not possible to collect this wood yourself, many shops can stock it. This is some of the best looking wood available as pieces can boast nice root systems and be available in very large sizes. If you decide to collect wood from trees, then this must be done in winter time as we can be sure that the sap has gone back into the tree and reduces the chance of sap leaching into the water. Cutting wood straight from a tree will limit you to branches
most probably float, thus requiring you to weigh the wood or permanently fixing it with aquarium sealant. Depending on the source or the thickness of the wood, the sinking process can take several months. Thinner branches should sink in weeks. Q My wood has white things growing on it, should I be worried? No, this is perfectly normal and can also appear with certain types of wood purchased from your local fish store. These are harmless white fungal spores developing as a result of the wood submerged in water. This will be more commonly seen on wood that still has some bark attached to it, but don’t worry. Although unsightly, the growths will disappear over a few weeks either naturally or from your cichlids grazing on the stuff.
rather than thick wood pieces. If you’re lucky, you can collect wood from a dead fallen tree. This is a better source if you wish to collect larger thicker pieces, as the wood will be dead and quite weathered. Make sure the wood isn’t rotten or harbours any fungal growths. Q How do I prepare the wood for aquarium use? When you are happy with your wood, give it a close inspection making sure there aren’t any fungal spores and rotten areas. If the wood is large, then cleaning will probably need to be done in a bath or tub. Fill the bath with very hot water and let the wood soak for a while. You can add a salt solution if needed but this is completely optional. With a hard brush, scrub the wood clean removing any bark or debris. Once you’re happy, give the wood a blast with a pressure washer and leave to dry out in the elements for a couple of weeks. Prior to adding the wood to the aquarium you can leave the wood to soak in water for a few months; this process helps the wood to sink as well as removing tannins that inevitably will leach from the wood. Tannins isn’t a problem and contrary to some people’s belief, will have no effect on softening the water or lowering the pH values if your water is already hard and alkaline. When adding the wood for the first time, it will 30
North & Central American cichlid keeping