Driftwood for aquariums: how to choose and care

Driftwood for aquariums may be beautiful and offer a range of design options. They’re capable of creating some stunning underwater aquascape, particularly ones with a lot of plants. When choosing driftwood, though, we must use caution. Say goodbye to sunk ships and fictitious castles.

The world of aquarium fishkeeping is changing all the time. The “natural aquarium” is a relatively recent and rightly popular aquascaping concept. Driftwood is a great method to give your aquarium a natural feel.

In this article, I’ll go over the benefits of using driftwood in aquariums, as well as how to prepare it properly.

Benefits of Driftwood for aquariums

Driftwood for aquariums

If you’re a fish keeper who has to deal with alkaline tap water on a regular basis, the addition of driftwood can assist buffer and maintain a lower pH in your aquarium. Driftwood is an excellent technique to generate somewhat acidic water conditions, which many fish require.

Maintains the ecology

Driftwood not only looks fantastic, but it also helps to keep the ecosystem in an aquarium healthy. Driftwood encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the same way that the substrate and filter media in an aquarium do.

These bacteria are essential for keeping your fish healthy since they break down fish by-products into less hazardous substances. Driftwood’s increased surface area guarantees that a robust population of these bacteria is constantly present.

Promotes fishes natural behavior

Driftwood may be found in virtually every river or lake, so your fish will naturally be drawn to it. It will be used by your fish for hiding, breeding, or even as food.

Driftwood boosts your fishes’ immune systems by boosting their immune systems

Natural tannins will slowly seep into the water when aquarium wood is immersed. These tannins assist to keep viruses and disease-causing germs at bay by creating a slightly acidic environment. The tannins produced can also enhance the amount of oxygen in the water column, energizing your body even more.

Snags also have minor problems

1. Aquarium driftwood, like other natural additions, has the potential to alter the chemistry of a tank. Certain forms of driftwood can cause an aquarium’s pH to drop and the tank’s acidity to rise over time. The majority of the time, this may be avoided by doing routine tank maintenance.

2. Driftwood, on the other hand, may be an undesirable addition to a tank in sensitive conditions and with fish. Some of these consequences can be mitigated by properly preparing driftwood. Washing the wood or even boiling it are examples of these procedures.

What Kinds of Aquarium Driftwood are Safe to Use?

You’ll need to know which kind of wood are best if you’re planning to collect your own. Hardwoods are OK, while softwoods should be avoided. Softwoods have a lot of sap or resin. This can contaminate the water in your tank and cause problems.

Softwoods, such as pine and other evergreens, should be avoided, as should wood from trees that do not shed their leaves or bear cones. The problem is that it might be impossible to tell what tree the washed-up driftwood came from when you find it.

However, here’s a hint: If you can dig your fingernail into it, it’s clearly softwood. If you can’t do it, it’s hardwood.

Certain driftwood kinds are more beneficial than others when it comes to aquarium utilization. Manzanita has less tannins than other plants, which can cause water to brown. Driftwood from Africa or Malaysia, as well as African or Savanna root, are popular since they sink and don’t need to be weighted.

If you’re using components you’ve found yourself, unless you live in Africa or Malaysia, you won’t be able to find these variants.

The following woods are not recommended for aquarium use:

  • Cypress
  • Cedar
  • Grape Vine
  • Horse chestnut
  • Lilac
  • Ivy
  • Pine
  • Spruce

Some of these are toxic, some of them rot too quickly and others excrete sap or other unwanted substances.

5 Types of Aquarium Driftwood for aquariums

Manzanita Driftwood

Manzanita Driftwood is quickly becoming a popular aquarium driftwood alternative among aquascapers in the southwest united states and other states. It’s created of shrubs found in Oregon, Texas, California, and New Mexico. Compared to other varieties of driftwood, it offers a lot of benefits. It has a lovely appearance and a low tannin content.

Manzanita driftwood it has a branchy structure that allows it to create a variety of scapes. It is the most quickly waterlogged of all the driftwood accessible.

Only a few pH-neutral driftwoods are accessible. For those who desire driftwood yet have fish that can’t withstand lower pHs, the lack of a pH shift is a huge plus. It has a high decomposition resistance. As a result, manzanita driftwood is extremely durable and sturdy.

Bonsai Driftwood

Bonsai tree, as well as manzanita driftwood is any natural driftwood created by experienced woodworkers in a range of forms and designs to offer a natural spectacular aspect to your fish tank.

Plants and driftwood join together to produce a tree-like framework in Bonsai Driftwood, which is perfect for natural and Iwagumi design Aqua species.

Bonsai trees comes in a number of styles, and aquascapers all around the world choose it for live plant large exhibition appeal. To provide the best wood with a broad range of colors and views, most aquarists pre-attach the bonsai wood to the rocks before setting up the aquarium.

Tiger Driftwood

The form of the wood gives it the moniker “tiger wood.” It has a lighter look and a broader branching aspect than other branch-sort wood, and it resembles a tiger’s stripes and claws. They’re a form of wood that’s great for securing ferns and mosses, and they’re normally found alone.

It has a little quantity of tannins and might get mushy quickly. It’s a more refined type of driftwood that’s popular in freshwater aquarium. Its growth pattern resembles that of a tree, giving it a unique look. Soak it first before putting it in the tank, since it will take three weeks to sink in water.

Spider Driftwood

Spider Driftwood is made from Spider Wood, a softwood that is evergreen throughout its life, resulting in a fast-growing plant that produces material that is lighter than many other aquarium driftwoods and is always available at a lower price.

Even after it has disintegrated, the spider driftwood maintains a deep core network that continues to live. After Bonsai driftwood, it has the second most eye-catching visual impact.

Under high aquarium lighting, most wood, as well as plants, substrates, and backdrop, seems ravishingly wonderful. It has a lovely branching structure, and the branches appear lovely in a tree’s canopy.

Before sinking entirely, spider driftwood must soak in the water for a period of time.

Mopani Driftwood

Mopani is a two-tone color mixing tree belonging to the legume family (Fabaceae) that grows well in hot, dry, low-lying areas. It lowers hydrogen ion levels while boosting phenol levels. It is becoming a popular wood for marine museums as big aquarium businesses begin to sell it in their stores.

It is a Sub-Saharan tree in structure, making it extensively available in the wood market. Driftwood may be utilized for a variety of purposes, including aquarium, home decor, and musical instruments.

The Mopani wood has a thick structure with black knots. It’s a fine-grained wood with plenty of nooks and crannies for fish to hide in and live plants to cling to. It also has an uncommon color palette and a two-toned pattern.

Over time, it altered the chemistry of water, pushing the pH closer to acidity. Mopani driftwood is perfect for Raincoast and Biome aquarium because of this.

How To Prep Driftwood for Aquarium Usage


Before buying a aquarium driftwood, investigate it thoroughly for any signs of parasites or fungus. Also, check sure the wood hasn’t been chemically treated and is aquarium-safe. Amazing aquarium wood include spider wood, manzanita, cholla, bonsai, and mangrove roots.


Using a clean brush, dry brush the aquarium wood. This will aid in the removal of dirt clumps and a more thorough examination of the wood. Scrub the wood with a brush and clean water to remove any chemical agents, filth, fungus spores, or parasites that may have become embedded in it.

It’s vital that you use a brand-new brush that hasn’t been used for anything else. A toothbrush is a good choice for this purpose, but it should be one that has never been used before. If you’re using a cleaning scrub brush, be sure it hasn’t already been used with soap or chemicals.

Also, be careful to collect the water in a clean bucket. The bucket you use to refill your aquarium with water will suffice. You only need to avoid using a bucket that has been polluted with cleaning chemicals.


When you buy driftwood, it’s likely to be buoyant, meaning it’ll float in your tank when you try to put it in. To avoid this, soak the wood for a few minutes in a clean basin of water. To thoroughly saturate the wood and cause it to sink, it may take many days of soaking. To minimize stagnation and the attraction of pests like mosquitos, replace the water every day or two.


Go over the wood again once it has been moistened. Make sure any sharp edges or dirt that might hurt your fish are smoothed or removed.


Place the driftwood in your aquarium where you want it to be. Return to step 3 and try again if the wood still floats.


Is Driftwood Suitably Used in Freshwater Aquarium?

Driftwood is suitable for use in freshwater aquarium. Aquarium wood lowers the pH and softens the water, making it ideal for tropical fish and plants. It will appear to your fish as a natural habitant, and it will make them feel safe. Plants and moss may also be attached to the wood to create a beautiful planted structure!

Is it possible to use ordinary wood in an aquarium?

To be utilized in the tank, any gathered aquarium wood must be ‘dry.’ If the branches are still bendy, hazardous sap is still present. Similarly, if they have any green colouring in the center of a branch, they are too young to be used in an aquarium.

Is it okay if I use river driftwood in my aquarium?

Many fish keepers ask if it’s safe to gather their own driftwood because there’s so much of it on beaches and riverbanks. The good news is that you can utilize wood you’ve collected yourself.

Is it necessary for me to boil driftwood for my aquarium?

More significantly, boiling the driftwood sterilizes it, destroying any algal or fungal spores that may have been brought into the aquarium with it. The wood may be sterilized by boiling it for 1-2 hours.

In an aquarium, how long does driftwood last?

Because wood is biological, it will decompose over time. The rate at which it deteriorates can vary depending on a variety of conditions, but most wood will begin to show indications of degradation as soon as two years after being immersed and may need to be replaced after around five years.

And in conclusion

I think that these live plants should definitely be in your larger aquariums.

But before diving into the water logged, the side of caution and thoroughly clean, disinfect, and cure your aquarium driftwood to avoid contaminating your tank and endangering your fish. And then you will have an amazing underwater aquascape!

Good luck with your aquarium!

Read also:

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11 Popular Freshwater Sharks Species for Home Aquariums

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