Sterilizing this drift wood

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AC Members
Oct 19, 2011
I've used this wood before in a previous freshwater setup, but it's been outside (not on the ground) being rained on and in damp conditions for a while now and I need to sterilize it before putting the pieces back in the tank again.

These pieces are too big to get into a pot to boil so I was wondering if I could sterilize them by heating in the oven. I don't use the oven much so it wouldn't be a problem leaving them in for an extended period of time if that's what it takes.

Thanks for the advice.


Eheim User
Feb 9, 2005
Medina, Ohio
Real Name
I don't think you need to sterilize the wood before adding it to the tank, usually just a good scrub with a bristle brush and water should be fine.

Are you concerned with illness and/or parasites from the previous tank or being outdoors?

Just to add some info, a quick search showed that baking in the oven at 200F to 250F for a couple hours, depending on the size of the wood, has been done by some people. They do stress that it will: 1) completely dry the wood out which requires having to submerge it fully in water again as it will float, 2) stink up your kitchen, and 3) if it gets too hot it may catch on fire.
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AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
SF Bay area, CA
In addition to what dudley said; I have bleached wood & then dechlorinated in fresh water changed for several days. I have baked dudley said, not great but it works. I have done vinegar but it smells too. I have boiled/soaked each end of a wood piece but it only works if you don't wait too long between switching ends around. Sunlight also helps kill pathogens but I'm not sure of the "dosage" for that.

I also use a brush or scrubby pad to remove soft/rotting wood.

Do you have a reason to think it might carry some disease? What kind? What happened to your previous fish? Sometimes it's easier/better/cheaper just start over clean...How much does wood cost these days? $8-12 at most? Don't over think this...

That will strongly influence my wood treatment options. A long while of drying out will "fix" many things, so will my & dudley's options. What scares you? If there was a disease that wiped out your earlier fish what signs did they have?
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