Wood and stones


PLEASE NOTE: you must wait at least a month before integrating the axolotls (see section of the aquarium prowling a little patience!
1 °) Check the aquarium (checking the joints, looking for any cracks, absence of any grain of sand between the base and the cabinet ...)
2 °) Place the aquarium on the cabinet, which must be sufficiently solid: the installation surface must be very flat and places near a window should be avoided, due to the risk of heat in spring or summer and to avoid not encourage the proliferation of unwanted algae;
3 °) Rinse the sand carefully. Gently pour it into the bowl and spread it out coarsely.
4 °) Pour the water: to avoid making big holes in the sand or splashing, you can place a plate on the sand and pour the water on it (note: at this stage, the tank should not no longer be moved without being emptied first, under penalty of disaster!
5 °) Install and connect the filter.
6 °) After having checked that everything is working well, we can then start planting the aquarium.
Without forgetting to refer to the plants section in order to properly arrange the foreground, middle and sides and background plants)

Wood in your aquarium, for or against?

Most wood species release products which acidify and color the water, to limit this release of tannins, the root can be boiled for a few hours.
You have to find a large enough saucepan, and changing the water frequently, cooking can sometimes take 10 hours for the water to be less yellow.
The goal is to shatter the fibers and force the wood to soak up water, which will make it sink and no longer float and helps to attenuate the release of tannins that color the water. This coloring is harmless but can be limited by filtering through activated charcoal (no charcoal while the kitties are in the aquarium) for a few days. Some species of wood stain the water for several months!   (Here is an interesting link for sampling in a natural environment http://base-channa.fr/quel-bois-en-aquarium ).

But many woods are completely incompatible with axolotls:

It is advisable not to use any kind of wood and especially to repeat the boiling phase every year in order to be sure that the root does not release more tannins and will not acidify the water (lower ph) . Wood allowed with axolotls (very few):
Beech, Birch, Spider roots, Willow, Elm , Manzanita wood, Horn Wood, Asia roots, Moorkien roots (Mangrove, if the latter has years of use before being incorporated and if it is re-used every year boiling bath).



Spider Root

Horn wood


Root Asia

Forbidden: Softwood, oak, peat wood, Mopani (release of copper).

For your other fish tanks: Even for your community tanks, you must in any case avoid picking up any piece of wood found during a walk, because once submerged it may rot or if it s'. This is a fruit tree which has been treated regularly with a spray of Bordeaux mixture and insecticides, it risks releasing the chemicals and copper used into the aquarium. We also avoid softwoods, pine and fir, which release various harmful substances. The vines are often used after a good cleaning and on condition that they have not undergone too many chemical treatments. Instead, choose peat bog roots that are already soaked in water or Mopani wood which is very hard and heavy. These are usually the roots of Combretum Mopane, a tree that grows in the savannah in Africa. Depending on its origin, it can release various mineral salts from the soil, copper, or even nickel. It doesn't float at all. But especially not with the axolotls I specify.

Mangrove roots are from brackish environments where the seasons, and depending on the tides, the water is salty and sweet regularly. These roots contain salt, although they have often been rinsed before being marketed. A long boiling makes it possible to clean them, and to partially desalt them: they generally do not float. Salt in small doses is not dangerous for fish, and is even sometimes used as a treatment, on the other hand it is prohibited for our kitties.

Boiling also kills many of the mosses, larvae, insects, molds or fungi that are in the wood or under the bark.


Moisture and microorganisms / wood

Wood extracted from peatlands is free from salt and generally has a very low pH, but often carries parasites, fungi, spores, or algae. They come from acidic backgrounds and tend to lower the pH by releasing various tannins, but they have the advantage of not floating. Bog wood colors the water.
Silicified wood , also called petrified wood, is also perfectly suitable but it is very heavy and often quite expensive if you want large pieces.
Chestnut, hawthorn and false accacia .
Alder is a very neutral wood which hardens when fully soaked in water

On wood that has not soaked long enough you often see a whitish or beige layer appearing, resembling sticky moss. These are harmless fungi, a kind of mold, which fish and snails readily eat. The fact of boiling the stumps also makes it possible to get rid of the various larvae, spores or bugs which are hidden in the bark or in the wood ...
Some woods color and acidify the water a lot; it is therefore necessary to regularly check that the pH does not drop too much. If you put a strain in order to lower the pH of an aquarium, obviously you should not put carbon in the filter, since the carbon removes the tannin and therefore the acidification of the water. [/ Spoil]

It is often at this moment that we notice that most of the roots have the unfortunate idea of ​​floating ... yes, they are made of wood!

The time before a piece of wood is willing to flow naturally is very variable depending on the nature of the wood and the size of the piece (larger ones often sink immediately) and can range from a few days to a few months. If we did not have the opportunity before filling the tank with water to soak the root sufficiently so that it wants to remain submerged, it will then have to be weighted in the meantime, either from above by placing stones on it (not necessarily very aesthetic), or from below by fixing it on a rock support (using plastic clamps or stainless steel screws for example).

In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

Natural hiding places

Coconuts also make it possible to create hiding places which are very successful, including for our axolotls. It is enough to saw them in 2 large pieces or to make an opening with a hole saw then to empty them by removing carefully all the flesh which remains attached, and to sand the edges well to avoid that an axo cuts there.

The stones
Without going so far as to design an entirely mineral decoration, as is often the case for tanks of African Cichlids, the use of rocks and stones can be interesting. Some loulous appreciate being able to hide in caves and caves.
We avoid using limestone if we already have hard water with a high pH. To quickly test a stone, just drop a few drops of vinegar or even better hydrochloric acid, which is easily bought in pharmacies. If there is foam production or the appearance of bubbles, the stone contains limestone and should not be placed in a freshwater aquarium. The most common rocks in our regions are granite, slate and sandstone, siliceous rocks, schist. These last two stones should be avoided because of their sharp edges.
Self-collected stones from nature should be rubbed, scraped and washed well to rid them of unwanted hosts or soil they may contain. A boiling bath will not hurt them again.
Also be careful to avoid picking up stones that have inclusions of various metals (copper for example) that could dissolve in the tank.

Avoid using sand collected at the seaside, like coral, or pieces of coral and shells because they are certainly limestone but contain iodized salt (prohibited for our axolotls) and significantly modify the parameters of the water. In addition, the corals are sharp and the fish are injured.

Stones should also be rubbed, scraped and washed well to rid them of unwanted hosts or soil they may contain. A pressure washer can be used.
For many years, roots have occupied a prominent place in our aquariums. But many of us have already been tempted to deal with the sometimes unaffordable price of commercially available roots, by taking them from the wild ourselves. This article aims to guide you in the choice of wood species compatible with our freshwater aquariums.

The sheets in our bins:
* Cattappa leaf (badamier): Very famous among aquarists, it has various properties:
-Antimycotic (fungicide: very active on fungi)
-Anti stress
* The oak leaf
* The ash leaf
* The almond leaf (prunus alba)
* The beech leaf
* Birch leaf
* Wicker
* Poplar
* Alder fruits: Have the particularity of lowering the PH very effectively, counting one fruit for 15L.
(Prefer autumn fruits, which are more active than those of spring).

All these leaves influence the ph by lowering it you can only use them if your water is too hard for your axoltols or with other species that require softer water.