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Posted By: BB <firstname.lastname@example.org> In Response To: rootwork (Thad)
Date: Tuesday, 5 January 1999, at 12:17 p.m.
In Response To: rootwork (Thad)
This is a great question Thad. I'll tell you how I view rootwork. True rootwork in nature is the vegetation that grows along the banks of a river or other body of water that has become large enough to put roots directly into the body of water itself. The "nest" of intertwining roots that is formed due to erosion is shaded and dark because of the overhaning trees. Another example of rootwork would be the swampy regions where the vegetation has adapted to the flooded conditions. In this example sediment and other debris gathers in an area while a seedling happens upon this area and establishes roots that grow and hold the sediment/soil together. The saltwater region of the Florida keys and the mangroves there are another example. The bayou, the everglades, the banks of the Mississippi (in some locations) are all examples of natural occuring rootwork in my mind. He in Pennslyvania I need only walk 5 miles to the Neshaminy Creek to see examples of rootwork. The native fish will indeed shade themselves in the summer within the tangled roots.
While I have traveled this country extensively I have never been to Asia and I can only guess at what rootwork there is like. I imagine it as the first description given. In any case it is not easy to replicate in an aquarium.
The most frequently available woods for me have eithen been mopian (very hard and not very boyant from african, bogwood (semihard and semiboyant from various sources) or driftwood (super light and boyant from who knows where). The driftwood is usually attached to slate to help keep it submerged. I think driftwood arts is the largest distributor and if you flip a piece over in a lfs you can get the address of the company. I would guess that the wood is collected close to that area. I'm thinking NE coast for some reason. This wood is called driftwood because it has been drifting around for a time while water has flowed over it smoothing the surface of the wood over time. I have been to New Jersy and Island Beach State Park where I have collected driftwood right off the beaches. (I don't think it's illegal) This can be used after careful prepariation of the wood. I have soaked in a mild bleach and salt solution for weeks, followed by a soak in a dechlorination solution for several more weeks. This kills anything living that might exsist in the wood itself. Several pieces of this can be arranged close together to simulate a tree above reaching down into the water. Most often because of the boyancy of this wood the base is large and not condusive to placing several pieces close together. Every once in a great while I'll see a piece that catches my eye and coinsides with it being on sale so I'll splurge and purchase it. Not the best wood for rootwork tough. You can take the screws off the bottom of this stuff and drill, shave, or cut it to your liking, and then reattach it to the slate.
The mopian wood is great because it sinks right off the bat. From time to time I have seen wood sold as sandblasted wood. I believe this to be mopian wood that has been washed by a sandblaster. Sand and water are sprayed under very high pressure and because the mopian wood is hard it erodes slowly enough that the washer can create a scalloped design on one side of the wood. This creates a darker coloration rimed in the lighter "natural" color of the wood. Pretty but pointless. Mopian is usually sold by the pound and while most are chunks you can find intresting pieces that can be stacked or arranged vertically to please many fish. Good but still not the best choice for rootwork imho.
Bogwood is my favorite wood for simulating rootwork. It is also sold by the pound here and I can get enough twisted gnarly pieces to give the illusion of roots in the water. Short of putting a stump in your aquarium this works best imho. If you use some floating plants above this it even adds to the illusion for the fish. If you have a large enough aquaria you might want to consider a stump. One thing I will mention is wood is organic and it rots in the aquarium. Different types rot faster then others but eventually it all rots. Some wood will cause your ph to drop as they rot. Keep it in mind and hope in some way it helps you.
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