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Some boil their drift wood in order to kill any bacteria or bugs that may be hiding inside the wood. The down-side of boiling the wood is that it will decompose(?) faster, it won't last as long in your tank as the others would. I have no idea what the time frame would be though, and whether it makes that much of a difference.

You can also boil water and pour it over the mopani wood, and then just let it soak in it, that's what I did with my pieces.

The reason why you soak the wood is to get it water-logged, so it will stay at the bottom of your tank instead of floating right back up to the surface. If it is weighed down with slate, like some pieces you can find in the pet shops that have the slate screwed into it, then you don't have to worry about it, the wood will stay put.

Another reason why you soak the wood is to get the tannins out of the wood. In the beginning there can be quite a lot of tannins that would stain your tank-water very dark. In time it will become less and less.
If your piece of Mopani wood does not leave as much tannins in the water where you are soaking it, you can then put it in your tank. It is basically a matter of personal taste, and if the tannins bother you a lot in the tank you can remove them by doing more frequent water changes.

Personally I like the look of a tannin stained tank, everything takes on a more golden colour, and the fish really like it as well! So how long to soak it for depends on how fast the wood becomes water logged (you can weigh it down yourself with some craftily arranged rocks), and how soon it releases tannins to the amount that you can live with!

Hope that helped,
Netti :)
 
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