Im setting up my first viv right now. A random question popped into my head, should the cork bark that I am going to use for the background and sides be sterilized? I was planning on simply soaking and rinsing in water (as i figured the wood would retain any bleach or other chemical to water mixture.
Should I soak the wood and pop it in the oven for a little bit? or is that overkill?
Neither using bleach or other chemical disinfectant will sterilize cork... the organics and the multitude of crevices and air pockets make this impossible unless you can put the cork under sufficient pressure to foce the liquids into all of those spots (which then brings up the issue that you then can't remove the chemicals from the cork.
Soaking the wood and baking it for a little bit doesn't do it nor does boiling it. You either need to bake it for a ridiculously long time (try like overnight) until the internal temperatures are sufficient to kill most organisms or autoclave it for a long enough time to accomplish the same thing..
Keep in mind that heat treatments can also degrade the surface of wood or cork reducing the time it lasts in the tank.
Cork before it is allowed to be imported into the country is fumigated under pressure with chemicals that do not leave residues. This means that unless the cork has been stored outside since import, it is safe to use in the tank.