I have been looking for ideas for a new planted tank, and wanted some driftwood to anchor some plants, and also as a hiding spot for my fish. Does anyone know where to get it, what kinds of wood, and how to take care of it.
You can buy from your Local store if you have any, also you can buy off of aquabid, ebay and other online stores. I love buying from plantedaquariumscentral.com and their driftwood and plants, she's got a wonderful selection at great prices. Also insert BETTAFISH for a small discount at check out!
There are a few different kinds of driftwood, some popular ones include; Manzanita (mostly branches), Cholla (holey type), Mopani (heavy african wood that sinks on its own), malaysian (less heavy but still generally sinks on its own, may need some soaking). Those are the most commonly used pieces, Mopani would probably be your best bet for what you want.
Driftwood is easy to take care of, they do release tannins which will make your water a tanned look, sometimes brown tea color if you let it get dark. Some like that, I do, but you can easily get rid of it by doing water changes. You can also soak your driftwood in a bucket/container for a few weeks while changing water every other day or so to get rid of the tannins if you don't want them in your tank. Tannins are naturally antibacterial so it's healthy for your fish, also Betta's love soft, acidic water which is what tannins also do. Careful though, if your pH level is naturally low like mine, it will still decrease it. My tap comes out at 6.2 and I had a tank with a piece of driftwood in it that made my pH go down to 5.5, not that I minded since my fish loved it. But just so you know.
Yup, most major pet chains carry Mopani wood designed specifically for aquariums. If you're in a major city with a flower market, you can often find Manzanita branches there that have already been sandblasted and can go right into a tank. Otherwise, there's eBay and fish stores in general, or sometimes Classifieds on fish forums.
Mopani is heavy, no need to anchor. Other types, it depends on the piece. Play it by ear, see if it even needs an anchor. Sometimes you could drill a hole in a piece of slate and screw it into the wood.
If the piece is small enough you can also use plant lead weights as well, good for manzanita branches and smaller Malaysian pieces. I do prefer Mopani over the two though for most looks (unless purposely using manzanita branches as I will be in the next tank), they have more nooks and crannies for ferns to attach themselves on.
If you're talking about anchoring plants, that's easy as well. For anubias or java fern just take the plant, take either fishing line OR regular thread and tie it to the wood. Don't tie too tightly, just enough that the plant isn't suffocated but won't fall off either once placed into the water. I can't exactly tell you how tight to tie it but just don't tie it like you're trying to gag the plant lol. After a few months the plant will have attached itself to the wood and you can carefully remove the string. You can also use rubber band but it's a little more tricky to taking it off unless you want to cut it, sometimes the plant will grow around the band making it even harder. It's usually pretty easy to pull a piece of plant off a wood or rock so that's why you've got to be careful is all unless you are purposely taking it off the ornament.