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Old 13th June 2009   #21
Steve Morse
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

I'm interested in cypress also because I have several young bald cypress and dawn redwoods that I was hoping to use in a large setup for Siren lacertina. While I have been happy with how they are growing under florescent light and they would look great in my "swamp", I can't use them if they are toxic.

-Steve Morse



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Old 13th June 2009   #22
Johnny O. Farnen
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Steve brings up another good point here.

I will have to research these woods in their live forms.

I know for instance that Ficus is toxic when used dead, but live ficus itself is not dangerous, although the milky white sap is an irritant. All locust, yew, and cedars are dangerous live or dead. eucalyptus is can cause problems when live. There are quite a few woods, like oak, that are harmless when used live.

I'll see what I can dig up on live cypress. I suspect the outer bark could be an issue.

Edit: I just did some poking around and the turpenines ( that's a fancy word for turpentine type stuff) in cypress are very dangerous to amphibians. As suspected, even the outer bark of these plants can be risky. It does appear that the risk associated with live trees and contact is very low, however any risk of ingestion or inhalation of the various phenols and turpenines released by the bark could be harmful. However, as of yet I have been unable to come across anything definitive on live cypress. dead cypress is definitely out.




Last edited by SludgeMunkey; 13th June 2009 at 18:12. Reason: update
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Old 15th June 2009   #23
Johnny O. Farnen
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Another interesting update...

Colophospermum mopane also known as "mopani wood" (because the have to dumb it down for us Americans)

http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantcd/colomopane.htm


Turns out, it is probably in our best interests to boil the heck out of this stuff, even if it is purchased from a pet store. Live mopane has high turpenine levels. It is often called the Turpentine Tree by Afrikaners.



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Old 20th June 2009   #24
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Mr. Sludgemunkey,

Though I may have a reputation for being sarcastic, I say this in all sincerity: That's an impressive bit of research and listing on your part. You have provided a clear example of what makes this forums like this great; the sharing of helpful and indeed fascinating information.

As someone who can remember the 'bad old days' of the 60s and 70s when there was virtually NO info available and what few books there were provided a lot of inaccurate and just plain bad info (I still have the books, it's a subject I will cover in a post someday) I greatly appreciate your efforts on this subject.

Respectfully,
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Old 20th June 2009   #25
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Although Madrona wood wouldn't do well submerged it does well in a dry or humid environment. It is found in the Pacific Northwest,USA. It is safe for song birds. I have been using it for four years for my land hermit crabs with no ill effects. They eat the bark and wood from it. Land hermit crabs are sensitive creatures because they actually consume the wood. Almost all the taboo wood you have listed also applies to the land crabs(as well as goats).
I bake the wood for hours at a very low temp. in the oven to kill any unwanted bugs.
That is an impressive list you have compiled. Very much appreciated.



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Old 20th June 2009   #26
Johnny O. Farnen
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Madrona wood is not one that I have heard of before...I'll have to research that one.

Thank you for the information! I suspect there are more folks out there that can add to this list...

EDIT: Did a bit of looking around on this one, and if by madrona you are referring to Arbutus menziesii , it is in fact one of the safest woods I have seen yet. Live, dead, wood, bark, leaves and berries have a toxicity listing of ZERO. Looks like this one could topple mopani wood! That is good news for you west coast USA type people....bad news for the rest of us...




Last edited by SludgeMunkey; 20th June 2009 at 17:38. Reason: additional data
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Old 21st June 2009   #27
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Yes, that's the one. It has gorgeous red peeling bark that is stunning to look at. It is a messy tree for the yard. It sheds bark,berries,and leaves continually. I am blessed because there is a little one growing in my yard.



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Old 25th June 2009   #28
Johnny O. Farnen
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Exclamation Re: Wood that is safe in water

UPDATE:


Cypress and Fir Commercial Products:

After a bit more research and more information from various members and other professionals, here is where we stand:


Cypress: Commercial mulch and substrate products made from Bald "Cypress", Taxodium distichum are perfectly safe to useafter the standard soaking and drying procedure used for most wood products. Other types of cypress, especially European species should be avoided as they are very different plants.

Fir: The actual wood of these trees should be avoided, however, the commercially available bark products are perfectly safe to use. They have been soaked and heat treated prior to packaging, but the standard soaking and drying procedures should still be applied by the end user.






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Old 25th June 2009   #29
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Thanks for the update, Johnny.

Johnny has compiled this thread into an article that will be posted on Caudata Culture soon



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Old 25th June 2009   #30
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Don't forget to add mesquite to the list and manzanita.



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Old 25th June 2009   #31
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Quote:
Originally Posted by ferret_corner View Post
Don't forget to add mesquite to the list and manzanita.
Agreed.

Mesquite should be avoided unless you are smoking pork chops.

Manzanita is perfectly safe to use in all set ups. NOTE: Manzanita is also known as madrone, madrona, madrono. It is any plant of the Arctostaphylos genus that is safe to use. It is a different plant from the madrona discussesed earlier.



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Old 25th June 2009   #32
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Brilliant. Well done Johnny, thanx for the valuable information...looking forward for the article.

PS: I´m not sure if any more changes have been made but the last time i had to study the "madroņo" it was part of the genus Arbutus, not Arctostaphyllos.



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Old 25th June 2009   #33
Johnny O. Farnen
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Quote:
Originally Posted by azhael View Post
Brilliant. Well done Johnny, thanx for the valuable information...looking forward for the article.

PS: I´m not sure if any more changes have been made but the last time i had to study the "madroņo" it was part of the genus Arbutus, not Arctostaphyllos.

There is a bit of confusion here stateside on that topic. For some reason "madrona" is most commonly used for Arbutus here. "Madrono, manzanita, and madrone" are used for Arctostaphyllos, depending on locale, However, any of the three are also used for both genus, again depending on locale.
I suspect this is yet another case of the lazy americanization of words. However, it may have to do with the visual simularities between certain Arbutus and Arctostaphyllos which have overlapping ranges here.

I thought madroņo was Arbutus untill I started reading up on it. Then I realized this is a prime example of why common names are stupid to use.



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Old 26th June 2009   #34
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Article now posted:
http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/wood.shtml
If anyone can think of anything in this article that should be added, changed, etc, please send opinions to Johnny, or to me, and we'll make changes as needed.



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Old 26th June 2009   #35
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Well I'm glad that I asked this question haha. This has been a very valuable and educational discussion for everyone.



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Old 26th June 2009   #36
Johnny O. Farnen
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennewt View Post
Article now posted:
http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/wood.shtml
If anyone can think of anything in this article that should be added, changed, etc, please send opinions to Johnny, or to me, and we'll make changes as needed.
Agreed. I am always open to new information, opinions, and even criticsm. When the information is useful to the collective, it is only right that the collective provides constructive feedback and input!


And special thanks to Socrates for getting the ball rolling on this topic. I really enjoy researching subjects like this.

Thanks to everyone!



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Old 26th June 2009   #37
Steve Morse
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Very nice article.

-Steve Morse



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Old 27th June 2009   #38
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

I must not forget to say great job Johnny on the article!



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Old 27th June 2009   #39
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

another wood that is usefully is ironwood, it's safe, it has a cool slightly knarled look, and it is so dense that it sinks in water, though it's bark is a tad high in tannins so you may want to remove some of them, also it's plentiful in the eastern US and Frank Indiviglio mentions it briefly (very briefly) in his book Newts and Salamanders



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Old 27th June 2009   #40
Johnny O. Farnen
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Default Re: Wood that is safe in water

Good call!

I remember ironwood trees from where I grew up in Pennsylvania (and from all the time I spent in Williamsburg and Norfolk, Virginia).

I'll research it!

EDIT: UPDATE!

What we Eastern US people call Ironwood, Carpinus caroliniana also known as American Hornbeam, is in fact not toxic or listed as having any potential toxins harmful to amphibians. It is also called Blue Beech, Musclewood, Water Beech and Bois de fer. It is in common use in many zoos as both live trees and dead logs throughout the North America.

The real problem is about 45 other species of tree are also called Ironwood. Erythrophleum
chlorostachyum in particular is violently toxic with the compound erythrophleine. This Aussie plant was introduced to the Western US along with many different eucalyptus.

In depth research reveals that ALL species called ironwood, with the exception of Caprinus caroliniana are toxic to varying degrees.

Here is a link to help you positively identify the safe one to use:

http://www.plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CACA18




Last edited by SludgeMunkey; 27th June 2009 at 13:19. Reason: more information
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