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I live in Fl and due to the hurricanes earlier this year, we have an abundance of downed trees. Most have been sectioned up for removal and I recently noticed several pieces near by where the bark is seperating from the wood. The pieces are coming off in very clean sections, some of them nearly tubes. They are very similar in form to the cork bark sections sold in pet shops but seem much stiffer. I'm wanting to set up a 60g oceanic cube tank I have (24"x24"x24") as a vivarium and was wondering if this bark would hold up. I thought I might fill the insid with Great stuff to preserve the tree shape and use it as a background. Any thoughts on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

George
 

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I tried putting a few slabs in a froglet tank last year. At first they molded over, but after a week or two it went away. They are still doing fine in the tank now, although I guess you could say they feel a little soggy. Before using the oak bark in your new terrarium, you might want to run a test and soak it in water and then stick it in a humid container for a few weeks. It won't give you enough time to see any long term effects, but you'll at least find out if it will just immediately fall apart or not. It would be a shame to glue it in place on your back wall only to have it rot away a month later. Obviously, the safest route to go would be to use cork bark which is very water resistant and has been used for decades in terrariums. Good luck,
 

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George,

While you are out collecting, you should look for some polypodium species resurrection fern:

http://www.floridata.com/ref/p/poly_pol.cfm

It is a really pretty epiphytic ferm that grows on oak trees. I found some on some bark yesterday and brought it home. When you find it, it will probably look beyond hope, but give it a spray of water and it will probably come back from the dead (hence its name). I sprayed it down with some RO water and 12 hours later it is green and beautiful again. I've read that it is sort of hard to propagate, but I am going to see if I can get it to grow onto some cork bark that I have around the house. I don't know who has tried it in a vivarium, but it does really well here in Houston which most of the year is like living in a vivarium. Do a Google image search for "polypodium resurrection" and you will see what I am talking about. Sorry that this isn't quite what you are asking, but you have a great opportunity to get a cool plant.

Marcos
 

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I was out in Orlando a week ago and termites were everywhere, if you go out looking for more oak I suggest looking for some termites, your frogs will love them.
 

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I have and do use oak in my vivariums, it just rots faster. But faster is a relative term, I have maple that has been fully submersed for the last 3 years in my Notopthalmus viridescens (eastern newt) enclosure and it is still solid. So while certain woods might not last as long as cork they might last as long as the enclosure is set up before you decide to change it.
I had a massive walnut tree removed 2 years ago and used the bark in my tricolor enclosure as part of the background. I have had it set up for over a year and have no issues. I mist this tank every day and it is fine. I would never submerse it because it does have some toxins.
Ed
 
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I fill bird feeders for our county conservation comission that are setup by a blind for viewing the birds up close. One windy day as i was walking the trail to it I just about got biffed by a white oak branch.After I looked at it some I thought it was the perfect branch for one of my vivs.
It has been in my bicolors viv for just about 2 years and has moss and ficus pumila growing on it and hasn't degraded any yet.
Mark
 

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Most barks have some amount of cork in them. They are the primary defense a tree has against fungus and bacteria. Most barks do fairly well at repelling water and don't rot very quickly. When you put a branch in, what usually happens is that the wood shrinks and or begins to rot just under the bark, that is when the bark will fall off, BUT, the bark stays in good shape for a long time.
Oak is a very hard wood and does not rot as quickly as some other woods. Also if you submerse any wood underwater you prevent oxygen from getting to it, a necessity for decaying fungus. There are some specialty logging comanies that recover 100+ year old logs that are at the bottoms of rivers and other water bodies. The wood usually is of very valueable species and has extremely little(surface) to no rot because it has been underwater for so long.
So after this relatively long winded post, I know that the bark you have will hold up in your viv at least for as long a year or 2, most likely more.
On another note about the resurrection fern. It is great in vivs, in fact black jungle and I believe T&C terrariums sell the stuff.

-Ben
 
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Devin Edmonds said:
I tried putting a few slabs in a froglet tank last year. At first they molded over, but after a week or two it went away. They are still doing fine in the tank now, although I guess you could say they feel a little soggy. Before using the oak bark in your new terrarium, you might want to run a test and soak it in water and then stick it in a humid container for a few weeks. It won't give you enough time to see any long term effects, but you'll at least find out if it will just immediately fall apart or not. It would be a shame to glue it in place on your back wall only to have it rot away a month later. Obviously, the safest route to go would be to use cork bark which is very water resistant and has been used for decades in terrariums. Good luck,
George I strongly agreed with Devin here. Also you probably know this but try to clean it well because you don't know what you could be bringing in your enclosures.

Cheers and good luck with it.

Xavier
 
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