Information about Aquarium Driftwood with Answers
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If you came here searching for online suppliers of aquarium driftwood, simply click this link (it will open in a new window). The article below answers questions about aquarium driftwood and in case your questions aren't answered here yet, use a form at the bottom to ask! Sharing ideas, experiences and tips is also welcome. You might be interested in this article too: Landscape Your Aquarium with Aquarium Driftwood!
Since many aquarists aren’t sure regarding some aspects of having a driftwood in the aquarium, I decided to answer some commonly asked questions. If you want to get answer to something what hasn’t been answered on Aqua-Fish.Net yet, feel free to leave your question in the forum, or eventually use the contact us form.
Is driftwood safe for an aquarium?
Yes; usually. I recommend you to buy driftwood in aquatic shops, although it’s possible to make your own too. The driftwood is basically wood that has been dried for some time. This is also the reason why many driftwoods float when put into a fish tank. Driftwood is safe if it doesn’t decay, however decay of some level can be accepted! In my own aquariums I sometimes find putrescence. Although it doesn’t mean that fish are going to die. Actually, decay is a natural process that can be seen in the nature obviously. I mentioned that a driftwood isn’t safe if it does decay because this lowers the pH level too. Some fish simply die if pH level is too low.
Driftwood isn’t safe if only it contains lethal substances such as heavy metals.
Is driftwood lethal to fish?
No. Unless it contains poisonous metals or too much salt. However, bear in mind that shapes may be lethal! When fish chase each other, they hit objects in the aquarium from time to time. If shapes are too pointed, then fish can lose eyes or can even die (some of my fish already lost eyes during chases).
May I add a driftwood from the beach into my aquarium?
If only your aquarium is brackish. Any beach wood usually contains salt and depending on how long it has been absorbing the salt, such a driftwood may significantly affect the chemistry. If you still want to add driftwood from beach into your fish tank, then I recommend to put it into some secondary tank (no fish, no plants) for testing purposes and then (after 2-3 weeks) measure the salinity. If it’s within acceptable interval, then go ahead and put it into the primary aquarium. Bear in mind that you do this on your own risk.
How to add a driftwood into my aquarium?
I use to boil the driftwood for a few hours in a salty water. Salt and heat should remove potential diseases. For example, if there has been the white spot disease in your aquarium, adding salt will kill this disease for sure. Naturally, heat helps too. In addition, this initial process helps a driftwood to get some weight, so it won’t float in the tank later, plus this process helps to remove small parts that fall out from the driftwood. And lastly, the water in your aquarium will be much less coloured this way.
It is important to know if there is enough space in a fish tank for driftwood! This could sound crazy, but in fact many aquarists buy too big driftwoods! No matter if the aquarium is small or large, always measure the dimensions!
How does a driftwood affect pH in an aquarium?
Each driftwood helps to lower the pH level in the aquarium. Thanks to this knowledge, driftwoods are recommended for Discus tanks, Angelfish tanks, or eventually any fish tank with inhabitants who prefer slightly acidic water. Moreover, if tap water is of higher pH than necessary (say 7,5 when you need 6,5), driftwood helps you to achieve the acceptable pH value very easily without adding any additional chemicals.
How to remove algae from driftwood?
I never do this myself; Instead, I let my fish do it. Bristlenose catfish or even snails (Ramshorn snails or Apple snails) do this very nicely. You don’t need to worry about anything. But if your fish are too lazy, or if there is no algae eating fish in the tanks, then knife or some scraper tool can do this easily. Bear in mind that mechanical removal isn’t 100% precise. Algae is too small and even though you removed all visible algae, it will grow again.
What is the best place for aquarium driftwood?
Corner of the tank, somewhere in the background. One can easily maintain the aquarium without having problems with driftwood. Bear in mind that it is not recommended to move the driftwood because if fish are accustomed to it’s position, then changing the environment means new fights for the territories. I don’t like when my fish fight...
Which species are suitable for a tank with driftwood?
In my experience fish from South America, Central America, but also from North America, and from Asia like having driftwood in the tank. Bear in mind that some cichlids from North and Central America don’t prefer low pH values.
In my experience Bristlenose catfish and Panda cories love driftwood. Generally almost every catfish should love driftwood. In fact, driftwood is a source of algae (algae use to grow on wood very well) and catfish like algae.
What’s more, Angelfish do spawn on driftwood (driftwood along with plants or rocks) and many other fish do the same thing too. The fry of catfish spcies prefer hiding under driftwood., which is just another reason why to use it.
Does driftwood change water colour?
Yes, it does. From yellow to brown. But you should know that colouring doesn’t mean any danger for fish or plants! Colour is just colour, let it be and rather focus on fish’ health. In South America there are rivers which are coloured too much; The major colour is brown. And in these rivers one can find hundreds of fish species!
Brown colour actually gives an aquarium some kind of uniqueness; Seeing water that’s crystal clear like it was a tap water in an aquarium makes no sense to me unless you set-up a biotope that’s characterised by crystal water. However, it is necessary to say that water flow is too fast in such environments usually.
How can I have a planted driftwood?
I have seen Java Moss attached to driftwoods; The most important stage is beginning when you must somehow attach a plant to the wood. It’s similar when one wants to create a “carpet”; Get some fibres and attach the plant. Give it enough light to help it’s growth. Try it on a few places of the driftwood because often 50%-70% of these experiments end up as failures.
Later you will have to monitor the situation and remove dead plants.
How to clean a driftwood?
Cleaning is very easy... With knife or scraper tool. As it is mentioned above, if there has been a disease in the tank, always boil the driftwood for a few hours in salt water. You may be willing to remove eggs of Ramshorn Snails from a driftwood; For this purpose it’s the best to do it with knife. Also drying it and leaving outside of the water helps too (just be sure to add some temporary wood into the tank to keep fish happy).
What are advantages and disadvantages of an aquarium driftwood (pros and cons)?
- Helps to keep pH level under 7 (good for Discus tanks for example),
- Is a hiding place for small bottom-dwellers,
- Is a spawning place for many species,
- Divides a tank to natural territories.
- Lowers pH (bad for African cichlids for example),
- Fish can die or can lose eyes after hitting it in high speed,
- Usually catches fish excrements, thus it is necessary to clean the place under it on a regular basis (on the other hand, this can be considered as the advantage since one doesn’t need to clean the entire gravel, only the place under the driftwood).
Where can I buy aquarium driftwood?
While browsing various websites, I found these that sell some driftwoods online (in my opinion the products are cheap). Bear in mind that Aqua-Fish.Net is not related to the destination URLs. Originally we were linking to two sites that sell aquarium driftwood, but as they removed the items from stock we decided to link to ebay instead.