NANFA-- Re: Tannins in driftwood

Duncan Mahoney (
Thu, 18 Jan 2001 19:29:50 -0800

<Second question: I have some very yellow tanks from the tannins in the

drigtwood I have in my tanks (I have plecos). I am assuming these
tannins block the light since they make the tanks look a lot darker.
Does anyone have any ideas about getting rid of the tannins or being
able to have plants survive and get enough light in such a tank?


One way to get rid of some of the tannins in driftwood is to boil it. Yes
you will need a BIG non-reactive pot (no aluminium) but an enamel roasting
pan over two burners on the stove has worked for me. Change the water
frequently and turn the driftwood over if it doesn't fit completely under
water. Boiling for a couple of hours each day for a week or two usually
gets most of the tannins out of the surface of the driftwood. So If you
are going to cut your driftwood or drill big holes in it, do it before
boiling. Some pieces take longer than others, depending on the species of
wood involved, but I try to go until the water doesn't get tinted very much
when I boil the piece. There is another method using a bleach in water
soak followed by a salt water soak followed by a couple weeks in the sun
but this method has the disadvantage that the driftwood dries out and then
floats for a while when you put it back in the tank. But if you are really
interested in this method I'll try to find the book with the method in it.
Eventually most of the tannins will leach out of the wood into the tank
water anyway, so you can also attack the problem with frequent water
changes and carbon filtration, but some pieces will continue leach tannins
for years unless you boil or bleach them to speed the process along. HTH

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