Petrified Wood is a sedimentary rock composed of mostly silicate minerals like quartz along with calcite, opal, and pyrite on occasion. It is commonly referred to as Fossil Wood or Petrified Stone because it is technically a fossilized version of some type of plant material. The word in itself literally translates to “wood turned to stone” in Latin. Fossil Wood can virtually take any shape the original plant was and be found all over the world.
Besides the eccentric look, Petrified Wood brings, it is a safe rock considered to be inert and can be used in any type of enclosure. The possible leaching of metals like iron into an aquarium over slow periods of time can be very beneficial to plants. The minerals that make up the stone are high on the hardness scale and will prove to last a long time with very little weathering.
Like many stones that contain quartz, Fossil Wood can be rather heavy when used in large amounts. This can lead to damaging of the enclosure or harm to the inhabitants if not securely placed within the tank. Extremely colorful variations of the rock could potentially have harmful minerals within it as well that could lead to injury to more sensitive fish and invertebrates. If possible, try to aim for colors that are generally free of green, black, purple, or blue as they tend to contain carbon, cobalt, chrome, or copper.
Cleaning Petrified Wood
It is always good practice to clean Petrified Wood when buying it from a source. This will assure all loose sediments are removed as well as potential toxins. Begin by placing stones in a bucket of cold water. Scrub and redip each stone thoroughly in the bucket of water. Rinse and repeat this process until you are able to place stones in a clean bucket of water and observe no noticeable change in color. No additional chemicals should be used on Fossil Wood to avoid damage or staining.