Driftwood gradual dissolving/disintegration

frothhelmet

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Driftwood tends to gradually dissolve/disintegrate over time in the aquarium. This is super annoying when you spend years to find the right piece only to have it gradually disappear. I wonder if there are some woods that are super resistant - mopani comes to mind - or if anyone knows what factors accelerate / slow down the disintegration.

Cheers
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
if anyone knows what factors accelerate / slow down the disintegration.
The more lignin they have in them (and particularly "guaiacyl-rich lignin"), the slower they are to decay. Tannins and humic compounds also slow microbial decay, which is why real black (Oak) Bog-wood lasts.

<"White rotting fungi (Basidiomycota)"> can degrade lignin, but they aren't aquatic.

Density is a good proxy, <"the denser a wood is the slower it will decay">, so really dense wood like Oak (Quercus spp.) heartwood or Mopani (Colophospermum mopane) is likely to last longest.

Some plants you wouldn't think of <"have really hard heavy wood">, but it only develops on older plants.

cheers Darrel
 

frothhelmet

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Makes sense. I see all these bonsai wood pieces that have been frankensteined together these days with a kind of wood-like epoxy. I have a piece of driftwood whose key branch is about to break, but I'd like to reinforce it with a similar epoxy - preferably one that can cure and bond to wood while wet. Does such a product exist?
 

noodlesuk

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Don't think this would work for aquariums because if you epoxy coat dry wood it will look unnaturally shiny and will almost certainly float!


I guess that's the battle, sealing the wood to ensure it doesn't break off or decay, vs aesthetics. It would be difficult to seal, without there being some effect to the surface of the wood. Nothing on the surface means it isn't sealed, unless there is sealant inside.


The only way would be to impregnate the wood, under vacuum with a sealant/epoxy, so its drawn inside, then maybe remove the surface coat (wire brush), to make it look as natural as possible. The absorbed epoxy would stop further decay. I suspect this would still make it look a bit un natural. This also requires the wood to be taken out of the water and dry!

Vacuum Sealing Driftwood

Link above might give some more info
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
In my case it's impossible to dry it and apply epoxy, as there are several plants rooted and growing on the wood, and I don't want to kill them.
The plants will be all right if they aren't attached for a while.

I got <"fed up with continually re-attaching mine"> as thin pieces of wood decayed (which is inevitable) and now they only become attached if they lodge long enough in one place to attach themselves.

Before I got to this <"stage of inaction">, I used to tie (or staple) small bits of old wood, plus epiphyte, onto the new wood. You can be proactive with Java Fern and <"staple old leaves with plantlets"> to new bits of wood.

<"Monolithic bits of Oak (Quercus) heartwood"> etc last a long time, (I've got bits that have been in the tank for ~15 years), but I'm not sure any thin, twisty wood will last all that long.

Your best bet might be Manzanita wood, but it is an expensive option. The best <"bleached thin, twisty wood"> I've seen was on the <"Junipers (Juniperus communis) on Porton Down">, so very definitely out of bounds.

Depending where you live in Ireland (<"or Scotland etc">) <"Juniper might be a possibility">.

cheers Darrel
 
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LondonDragon

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I see all these bonsai wood pieces that have been frankensteined together these days with a kind of wood-like epoxy.
I have one of these, I did wonder if it was just glue mixed with saw dust to create that effect?
 
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https://www.milliput.com/

This aquarium epoxy comes in brown and black and will bond when wet. However some reefers claim it poisoned their tank, but others say they have used without issue...

https://www.ultimatereef.net/threads/best-coral-glue-epoxy-milliput-stuff.277738/page-2
Used lots of milli to set coral frags in position,

It's fine as long as you don't use to much in one go, I think it uses oxygen in its curing and its that that's caused the issues for people doing big projects.
 

mort

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Used probably hundreds of sticks of milliput when I ran a frag farm and never had a single issue. It's only dangerous if you use to much or mash it underwater, where a cloud of particles cause the depleted oxygen scenario. If you mix it out of water for a few minutes and then just gentle push it into the gap under water you won't have any problems.
 

X3NiTH

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If I was going to use Gorilla Glue (urethane epoxy, very slightly foams on contact with water) then I would use in combination with something with structural strength, for instance as covering for something structural like stainless wire or like a plastic mesh and wrap around the object needing stabilised bit like a cast for a broken limb (doesn’t need to be full coverage but can snake around appendages). I would add a tint to the glue as it cures to a pale bright custard, you can use whatever opaque pigment as necessary, I used Carbon black to make it black, different shades of brown could made with iron oxide powders, most neutral colour cement dye powders could be used also.

Milliput is good (easier out of water, requires only a few hours to set) and if you mix brown and black together (and white for brightening if needed) and depending on how well and how you mix it you can have two tone effects that may look more natural to the wood you’re trying to match.

:)
 

mort

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The one problem I see with milliput is that if you need to strengthen a limb that's flopping I can't see it working unless you are happy to wrap the milliput all the way around the limb. Ime milliput doesn't stick well to slimy surfaces like you'd have on wood unless it could support itself as a collar, plus if its left visible it wI'll stick out like a sore thumb.
If you are happy to go this route then perhaps wrapping moss on a stainless steel will work and it will blend in better.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
in some kinda wooden dowel and glue the other half on and you would have an invisible repair
I've done this, you don't even need to glue it, <"the dowel will expand"> when its wet and lock the two pieces together.

Often you can still twist them to a new angle, but it only really works with fairly substantial bits of wood, that haven't softened. It works brilliantly with bits of Oak.

cheers Darrel
 

frothhelmet

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Good news. I used black Milliput epoxy to secure my wobbling but crucial branch on my driftwood. I took the driftwood out of the tank, put on the epoxy, left it out of the tank overnight, and mid-day then next day it was rock hard and I put it back in my tank. I have fish, snails, and shrimp in the tank, and they didn't miss a beat. Milliput is indeed totally inert and non-toxic. Moreover it blends in with the driftwood very well. Also good to point out that the driftwood piece was wet and the wood slightly soft, and yet the Milliput bonded to it very well. Full marks in my book!
 
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