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View Full Version : Long Mesquite tree branch curing in tank



CWO4GUNNER
10-02-2010, 11:48 PM
I have 10 Mesquite trees on my property and it is one of the fastest growing trees I have ever had when watered every day. Unfortunate they grow mostly out and down instead of up. Anyway Mesquite being a hard wood I decided to use one of the dried out long branches I have had in a pile laying in the sun all summer I was planning to use as winter fire-pit wood.

Everyone knows you have to cure it first by either boiling or soaking for 2 months in a pond. But I have no means to do that with a piece that is 85 inches long so the only thing I can think of is to let it float in the tank and cure there. I suppose Ill have to remove it every week or so to clean off the goo as the fungus loosens the bark and runs its course growing out of the wood. maybe the feeder fish will keep it cleaned off.

As you can see in the photo its floating but once waterlogged I hope to have it suspended off the bottom and just above the rocks on the cut branches like legs. Anyone ever have to do a tank cure due to size? If so how did it go?
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/210Wood004.jpg?t=1286081177

J-P
10-02-2010, 11:59 PM
I had to bake mine in an oven at its lowest setting with the door slightly ajar. Had a drip pan to help cover the elements, but at 85" ... that is a little larger than capacity ;)

Just out of curiosity, why a single piece? why not several smaller sections?

CWO4GUNNER
10-03-2010, 12:09 AM
Well yes your probubly right, if this doesn't work out Ill probubly scrap the long log idea and dig up a small dead Mesquite tree that died this summer and just use the root bulb which always looks cool and small enough to fit in a lobster pot for a boiling cure. I probubly cut off more then I can cure with this piece but Im curious how Mesquite wood will react becasue it has anti bacterial oils in its cells and I never tried to cure one so we will see. If it turns into a stinking slime monster Ill take it out.

maverickbr77
10-03-2010, 12:22 AM
I've done it a couple of times. It all depends on the wood sometimes they get gooey other times they don't. If i notice they look bad I just pull them out scrub, rinse, and toss them back in the tank.

Edit: never used mesquite

DGC
10-03-2010, 1:20 AM
i found a great piece of mopani while driving around in the river bed, so i put it in my tank to see how it looked, (very good) then the water started changing colour as the tannins leached so i took it out, borrowed the stock pot from work and boiled the end that fitted in the pot for 3 days solid and its still leaching, so its out side now in a large water bucket still leaching. Its about 4 foot oh and still leaching

J-P
10-03-2010, 1:30 AM
it all has to with the wood density and diameter. Lighter woods will "cure" quicker as will smaller diameter units.

Tannis is unsightly maybe for some, but it isn't going to kill the fish. Fungus on the other hand is a different story

CWO4GUNNER
10-03-2010, 1:50 AM
Here is where Im hoping Mesquite is different, it has oily based tissue and why it is so drought resistant there is no water to evaporate. When cut while alive it bleeds sap, but it does dry out if stacked in the desert sun for a few months like this piece. I found only a few entries on the internet where people use it in their tanks with not allot of details other then it works becasue its a very hard dense wood. The tap roots on adult tries go down 600 feet in the desert to find wells. So if you see one its a good place to buy land cause there is water underground.

CWO4GUNNER
10-05-2010, 10:51 AM
As stated earlier my problem of not being able to process (boil or soak) an 85" long and hence having to do water-log the piece inside the tank itself. Well the entire piece of Mesquite has started growing fuzz as of yesterday but to my surprise my large veteran feeder fish that cycled the tank are consuming all the Fuzz about as fast as its growing. So this might be the answer as the 3 large Goldies are eating the stuff day and night some sections completely cleaned off as they graze from one section to another gorging themselves. They don't even come up to beg for food anymore when I approach the tank. So maybe is an answer to processing large pieces inside the tank. I mean Im sure this is an alternate food source for fish in wild ponds right? I may have to get them some help.
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/Goldieseatfuzz001.jpg?t=1286293651
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/Goldieseatfuzz002.jpg?t=1286293678
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/Goldieseatfuzz005.jpg?t=1286293700

aXio
10-05-2010, 2:23 PM
Interesting post Gunner. Definitely watching to see how it goes.

GEV83
10-06-2010, 9:46 AM
Well I got manzanita wood for the most part in my tanks all do well but I got one piece that keeps getting fuz no matter how much I clean it. Well I had put a pleco in that tank to see if he would help clear it up and good lord he ate it all in 1 night. Wouldnt leave the driftwood at all. I would also suspect this would be an alternate food source for fish in the wild.

Curious how it will work though. Wonderin if those acti-bacterial oils will have an undesired affect on the benficial bacteria in the aquarium?

coach_z
10-06-2010, 9:51 AM
you need a webcam so we can monitor your wood sinking process.

WWGWS?

CWO4GUNNER
10-06-2010, 12:40 PM
There is not that much to see but little patches of hair fungi being methodically plucked from the bark a mouthful at a time. I now have a total of 3 large and 8 medium feeder fish working on the project and they are actually keeping up with the fungi growth so far. I suppose its no different then us eating mushrooms, If anything changes Ill post a pick.

CWO4GUNNER
10-06-2010, 3:57 PM
I have been researching the internet for pond fish that eat decaying plant matter fungi, but so far nothing conclusive. They sure seem to like the fuzzy stuff. At the rate they are going I wont have to pull the log out to clean it off any time soon as they are keeping up with the fungi growth, although their droppings look a bit strange.

Another alternative I was thinking of for large pieces like this is winter time back yard wood fire. Star a nice gather-round "roaring red coals wood fire" and then lay the tank log on top burning off the bark one section at a time until the whole thing is scorched beyond the bark into the wood flesh, then water rise and scrub it off and into the tank it goes. Wonder if the burn marks would add accenting.

wespastor
10-06-2010, 4:00 PM
I'd rather see that Mesquite branch chipped up for the barbe. And have some great smoked pork or somethin':D

Just ribbin...

Hope it works out for ya.

Best wishes,
Wes

GEV83
10-06-2010, 4:02 PM
Yes burns would add accents to the wood. Makes it look nicer if its not over burned.

CWO4GUNNER
10-06-2010, 4:09 PM
I'd rather see that Mesquite branch chipped up for the barbe. And have some great smoked pork or somethin':D

Just ribbin...

Hope it works out for ya.

Best wishes,
Wes
Cant, I have been a meat eater all my life but the Dotor says no more. So Im a vegetarian now all except for small portions of fish with tons of veggies. My meals are dominated by grains and no oil wok veggies of all kinds. It been hard getting used to though I have been way more sleepy throughout the day.

CWO4GUNNER
10-06-2010, 4:11 PM
Yes burns would add accents to the wood. Makes it look nicer if its not over burned.
Well if this doesn't work (fungi fish food) I do the fire thing to get this stubborn bark to dislodge. So far so good, you know Goldies they never stop eating.

J-P
10-06-2010, 4:13 PM
haha yes lovely little poop machines aren't they ;)

texasguy
10-06-2010, 4:45 PM
I remember seeing a thread a while back about someone using a steel drum over a firepit to boil larger pieces of wood. But if the in tank thing works why not

CWO4GUNNER
10-06-2010, 6:43 PM
Well you know 85" long branch is pretty long. However I did boil a small tree rood bulb twice and it still grew hair for a month. So I think these fungi spores are impervious to boiling, either that or they are just everywhere.

I don't know how this wood is going to react being Mesquite, But with the 7 extra Goldies I added they sure are keeping it shaved down some sections completely free of fungi.

CWO4GUNNER
10-08-2010, 6:41 PM
Update, the mesquite log is still floating but the 8 feeder Goldies are doing a remarkable job keeping the fuzz off. In order to make sure they aren't getting poor nutrition I have been giving them some vitamin fortified flake every 5 days or when their is no fuzz on the log every 3 days which is when I normally feed all my fish. The photos you see below of the Feeders at work on the fuzz was taken yesterday but today the log is almost completely clean.
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/Goldieseatfuzz001.jpg?t=1286581044
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/Goldieseatfuzz002.jpg?t=1286581088
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/Goldieseatfuzz005.jpg?t=1286581121

67chevelle
10-08-2010, 6:59 PM
I'm curious to see how long it takes to sink. Interesting looking piece you have there. Have you done a water change?

CWO4GUNNER
10-08-2010, 7:14 PM
I'm curious to see how long it takes to sink. Interesting looking piece you have there. Have you done a water change? Whew! Your new avatar gave me a jolt for a moment, I thought maybe another weather catastrophe had hit the country. I use nitrates as a guide for water-changes and I suspect until the nitrate filter on this tank gets well established Ill be doing them more often then the rest of my tanks which averages about 50% every 6 weeks. I just did them all a week ago so I ll have to check this tank next week. As long as nitrates are under 30PPM I wont be doing any.

67chevelle
10-08-2010, 8:30 PM
Whew! Your new avatar gave me a jolt for a moment, I thought maybe another weather catastrophe had hit the country.


:rofl:

That's my Halloween avatar. Scary isn't it? :22_yikes:

The water looks clear,so it must not be leaching tannins. Out of curiosity,are you checking the PH?

carpenter547
10-08-2010, 8:51 PM
just a side note you can get a veggie basket for your grill and some samon they all go great with mesquite smoke :). yeah sad that i know that but i live in socal so yeah prolly the only guy on the block that knows what smokers were really made for but from what my neightbours say smoked fish and veggies are pretty good.

CWO4GUNNER
10-08-2010, 10:46 PM
I have read that most trees have tannins in their wood to protect against insects but Mesquite is quite different them most wood and has to use a thick sap like juices to keep from dehydrating in the 120F summer sun, sort of like how cactus juice is sort of thick and gooey. So Im even wondering of this thing is going to sink soon and may tie it down with aluminum wire to the big rocks below. I mean like you said since it is putting out 0 tannins and the Goldies are keeping up with the fungi, maybe its time to get on with other projects, and I have a few on back log I can tell you.

List of backlog projects waiting: Backyard 12X12 gazebo build kit waiting, backyard coyote proof cat enclosure kit waiting, CL 160 tank in backyard waiting for stand build, Backyard pond kit for gazebo waiting, and more im too embarrassed to list waiting for the last 2 years.:wall:

For me its one thing at a time so I wont be burning any fungi wood unless it absolutely necessary and for my health I have had to replace barbecue steak with wok veggies and tufu steaks.8^P

CWO4GUNNER
10-10-2010, 4:12 PM
Update: Well it looks like after 9 days the Mesquite log has finally started putting out tannins, just enough so that when you take a close look you see the water is a slight gold tea color but nothing like other woods I have used almost like some of the dark African woods after they have been boiled out several times. So that is a plus for Mesquite. Other then that the feeder goldfish seem to have gotten the upper hand on the fungi growth but honestly compared to some wood I have used that grow fungi long, thick and fast, Mesquite seems to grow it rather short and the fish seem to love the taste. Also no rotten smell yet so far as I recall I had one poppler stump that smelled so bad I had to take it outside to cure. Also the Mesquite is Still floating like a cork.

Juice
10-10-2010, 4:22 PM
I've cured manzanita in the tank, granted it's nothing like your wood but I did have to combat the fuzz for a good while there, taking it out and scrubbing became quite a chore! Good thing you have handy helpers!

CWO4GUNNER
10-16-2010, 12:01 PM
I've cured manzanita in the tank, granted it's nothing like your wood but I did have to combat the fuzz for a good while there, taking it out and scrubbing became quite a chore! Good thing you have handy helpers!
What is funny is even when I feed the feeders every 6 days all the koi pellets they want (in 5 minutes) and they do gobble them up, after 2 hours they are back to eating the fungi again. I think this mesquite wood must put off a nutritious and tasty form of fungi becasue they sure are fat from eating it and there is plenty of white poop I been having to vacuum on water-change day. The log is now one big ash colored piece off wood with a very short dense layer of fungi that the feeders keep trimmed down to the wood almost (no hair). Since their is no bad smell usually associated with "in tank curing" unless the bark starts to crack and peel off, I have not and will not be pulling it out for additional cleaning.

An aside, the boiling of my sand for this tank as previously mentioned, has yielded no even a hint of diatoms anywhere in this huge tank. Im convinced pre-boiling of the sand where I thing the diatoms are dormant and introduced have their reproductive ability compromised due to high temp boiling and cant even start.

Juice
10-16-2010, 12:45 PM
What is funny is even when I feed the feeders every 6 days all the koi pellets they want (in 5 minutes) and they do gobble them up, after 2 hours they are back to eating the fungi again. I think this mesquite wood must put off a nutritious and tasty form of fungi becasue they sure are fat from eating it and there is plenty of white poop I been having to vacuum on water-change day. The log is now one big ash colored piece off wood with a very short dense layer of fungi that the feeders keep trimmed down to the wood almost (no hair). Since their is no bad smell usually associated with "in tank curing" unless the bark starts to crack and peel off, I have not and will not be pulling it out for additional cleaning.

An aside, the boiling of my sand for this tank as previously mentioned, has yielded no even a hint of diatoms anywhere in this huge tank. Im convinced pre-boiling of the sand where I thing the diatoms are dormant and introduced have their reproductive ability compromised due to high temp boiling and cant even start.


You know what they say..Variety is the spice of life :grinyes:

Looking forward to see how you set it all up when it's ready, that's one serious chunk of wood!

CWO4GUNNER
10-16-2010, 1:42 PM
If things don't change soon (no bad smell, fungi under control) Im going to tie the log down to the big lava rocks using 1 or 2 strands of aluminum wire. I'm also thinking of drilling a couple holes in the log to accept artificial aquatic plant stems, you know the kind that have little male/female sockets that pop-off the main stem. If it turns out be be aesthetic instead instead of little-mermaid corny, ill place stems all over it. Then Ill move ahead with stocking provided the feeders are not disturbed or threatened, goodness knows they have paid their dues and I have promised them a homeland in the form a a backyard pond.

CWO4GUNNER
10-30-2010, 5:03 PM
My Craiglist ($120) 210 long tank although fully cycled is still having the 80" piece of Mesquite wood being precessed by my feeder fish and Koi who have joined into the fungus feast. They have really done an excellent job keeping the hair fungus short on the decaying log and the bark layer is starting to crack and shrink as evident at the trunk end, but I think still not soft and lose enough to be removed by 2000 PSI pressure washing easily. The log has been in the tank non-stop now for almost 2 months and since the Goldies don't mind keeping it clean from goo and fungus a few more weeks in the tank shouldn't hurt.

I did get tired of it floating though and since it is not nearly as buoyant as it was when it started out, I decided to tie it down with a piece of aluminum wire so that the inaccessible goo and fungus that was floating could be processed by the fish. Look at them gobble it up, reminds me of Thanksgiving! Once the log sinks the unsightly wire will be removed.
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/Sunklog150tank001.jpg?t=1288476063
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/Sunklog150tank003.jpg?t=1288476108
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/Sunklog150tank004.jpg?t=1288476189

fishycat
10-30-2010, 8:01 PM
Pretty workers/cleaners ya got there! I love that 2nd shot.

CWO4GUNNER
11-13-2010, 11:58 AM
UPDATE: In review some of you know the 80" Mesquite tree branch that had sat outside all summer and baked in the 100+ degree heat, I was trying to water-log cure inside my 85" tank using gold fish to eat control fungus growth and rot goo which that have done an excellent job. The tree branch has been in the water now for without being removed for 40 days and the fungus and goo have stopped and the bark is starting to crack and, split and get pulled off by by fish.

So Its time to remove the branch and take it outside and try and fire up my old Honda 2000 PSI pressure washer and strip off the bark lickity-split. Either that or Ill be scraping it off by hand Noooo! I'll post photos of the pressure-washed results if Im successful. In themean time here are pics of the cracking log starting to cause debris in my tank. Oh and encase your wondering I don't keep goldfish per-say, most of these fish are 12 cent feeders that have been with me for a long time either cycling tanks, testing out new water conditioner products and new procedures, and normally live 1 or 2 to a tank as they make excellent catfish inside other tropical and even cichlid tank communities as excellent sand sifters and turd dissolves for filter pickup. Eventually they get recycled but are my work horses.
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/LightingDriftwood008.jpg?t=1289670923
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/LightingDriftwood013.jpg?t=1289670974
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/LightingDriftwood011.jpg?t=1289671009
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/LightingDriftwood012.jpg?t=1289671036

CWO4GUNNER
11-13-2010, 3:33 PM
To continue I too the tree branch out of the tank which still wanted to flow and not quite waterlogged in the sinking sense and although the tank water doesn't smell, up close it diden't smell like a good dancing partner.

Below my trusty 1991 Honda 2500 PSI pressure washer still works like that day I bought it new. They really know how to build an engine.
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/DriftwoodStriped2001.jpg?t=1289683348
Below rather then spending hours stripping away old bark by hand the Mesquite branch bark just unzipped under the pressure washer which came off easier then stripping off old furniture finish which is another trick you can do with a pressure washer instead of harder. This is a prime example of finding ways to do things more efficient, nothing lazy about that.
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/DriftwoodStriped2006.jpg?t=1289683758
Below the branch back in the tank tied down until hopefully waterlogged. Next step for this 210 tank will be fish selection, still something I haven't committed to. While deciding Ill be working on my 160 tank project.
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/DIY%20AND%20REVIEWS/DriftwoodStriped003.jpg?t=1289683961

naliel
01-21-2011, 6:56 PM
Any update?

thebrandon
01-22-2011, 4:37 PM
I did the same thing with a mesquite stump that was too big to prep properly. Got the weird smell/fungus for a little while but at the time I had a crayfish who loved eating it lol.

Most of my wood I just chuck in the tank now after that experience. I regularly go and collect manzanita wood then sun dry, then put into a water troft to soak or directly in the tank. Usually the fish and other critters enjoy eating the fuzz that developes.

CWO4GUNNER
01-22-2011, 6:28 PM
Sorry about the slow replay as I have been taking care of business matters these last few days and then discovered last night that my giant Oscars laid a bunch of eggs, what to do.

That 210 tank with the large mesquite branch and stocked with Koi has continued to maintain a 0 ammonia and 5 PPM Nitrate reading since I 1st set the tank up without a water change. The large branch continues to chnage color from all white to dark brown with gray blotches. No longer putting out any fungus or smell but definetely still going through denitrification and in the process comsuming nitrates and converting it to nitrogen gas which leaves the tank. Eventually the wood denutrification will slow to a crawl and nitrates will againe start to clime but never at the rate of other tanks without this wood. Ill post a pic shortly as Im still bushed from working today.

WeedCali
01-23-2011, 12:46 AM
lol Honda FTW

67chevelle
01-25-2011, 9:26 PM
As much as I like having driftwood in my tanks, I'm not quite sure I like the light color of that piece. Is it darkening up any? How do you like it?

CWO4GUNNER
01-26-2011, 12:19 PM
OK, as you can see it has darkened up as denitrifying bacteria naturally contained in the log consume nitrates and convert it into nitrogen gas that leaves the tank to atmosphere. I know now that this would never happen if I had boiled the log and sterilized it. Using feeder fish the first month to establish the log past the 1st hair fungus stage that the feeder fish love to eat. After that place in your ornamental fish, in this case Koi for now.
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/Mysquitelogseasoned018.jpg?t=1296065932
http://i582.photobucket.com/albums/ss270/CWO4GUNNER_G/Mysquitelogseasoned013.jpg?t=1296065965

67chevelle
01-28-2011, 6:43 PM
Very cool. I like it.