how to make driftwood safe for aquarium

How to make driftwood safe for aquarium

Driftwood in the aquarium is beautiful, natural, and fashionable. Say goodbye to plastic locks and sunken ships, the aquarium world does not stand still and such things are already considered ugly and simply inappropriate.

Driftwood, rocks, bamboo, everything that can be found in nature in water bodies, that’s natural and natural beauty. At the same time, finding, processing and making natural driftwood for an aquarium is not difficult. But you asked the right question finding this article – How to make driftwood safe for aquarium is a very important part. Please read this article to learn about it.

But, you will be amazed how natural it looks, and for keeping some fish it will also be useful. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of using driftwood in an aquarium and answer the most popular questions.

Why do you need driftwood in an aquarium?

Not only does it look great, but it also stimulates and maintains a healthy ecosystem within the aquarium. Just like the soil and the contents of the filters, driftwood serves as a medium for the development of beneficial bacteria.

These bacteria are very important for the balance in the aquarium, they help to break down harmful substances into safe constituents.

Driftwood helps to strengthen the immunity of your fish. Submerged driftwood slowly releases tannins, which create a slightly acidic environment in which harmful bacteria and viruses grow much less well.

Fallen leaves, often added to the bottom of the aquarium, act in the same way, and which make water in natural reservoirs the color of strongly brewed tea.

If you have alkaline water, adding driftwood will lower the pH. Most fish in nature live in slightly acidic water, and driftwood with fallen leaves in an aquarium is a great help to recreate such an environment.

Driftwood recreates natural conditions for fish. In almost any body of water, like a lake or a river, you can always find a sunken snag. Fish use them as hiding places, for spawning, or even for food. For example, ancistrus, it is needed for normal digestion, scraping off layers from it, they stimulate the work of their stomach.

Where can I get driftwood for an aquarium?

Yes, anywhere, in fact, they just surround us. You can buy it at the market or at the pet store, you can find it in the nearest body of water, fishing, in the park, in the forest, in the neighboring yard. It all depends only on your imagination and desire.

What driftwood can I use? Which are suitable for the aquarium?
The first thing you need to know: coniferous driftwood (pine drift, ale, cedar) is highly undesirable to use in an aquarium. Yes, they can be processed, but it will take 3-4 times longer and there will be a risk that they are not fully processed.

Second, you need to choose deciduous trees, preferably hard: beech, oak, willow, vine and grape roots, apple, pear, maple, alder, plum.

The most popular and strong will be willow and oak driftwood. If you stop at softer types, they will decay quickly enough and in a few years, you will need a new one.

You can buy natural driftwood not from our countries: mangrove, and ironwood since there is a large selection of them in stores now. They are quite hard and keep well, but there are also disadvantages that mangrove driftwood can color the water very strongly, so no amount of soaking helps.

Can live branches of driftwood be used and be safe?

No, you cannot use live branches, you only need a dry tree. If you like a branch or root, it is easier to cut it down and leave it to dry in a well-ventilated place, or in the sun, if it’s summer.

This is a slow process, but it does not require any attention.

how to make driftwood safe for aquarium


How to make driftwood safe for aquarium?

If there is rot or bark on the driftwood of your choice, then it must be removed and everything is cleaned well. The bark in any case will fall off over time and will spoil your aquarium’s appearance, and rot can lead to more sad consequences, up to the death of fish.

If the bark is very strong and poorly removed, then the snag must be soaked or removed after boiling, it will be much easier.

How to decorate an aquarium with driftwood?

Everything is up to your taste. As a rule, large, textured snags are noticeable. World-class aqua designers most often use tree roots, since they have a rich texture and have a single point of growth from which the roots emerge.

Often, when you take driftwood in your hands for the first time, just twisting it, you are lost on which side it will look more beautiful. But you can still use stones, bamboo, plants. If you have no experience in this matter, then you can simply try to reproduce what you saw in nature, or repeat the work of some other fishkeeper.

How to boil driftwood for an aquarium? How to make it safe for aquairum?

An aquarium is a very sensitive environment, the slightest changes in which are reflected in all its inhabitants. That is why it is necessary to properly handle the driftwood before placing it in the aquarium.

In our case, in addition to cleaning from bark and dust, natural driftwood is also boiled. What for? Thus, you kill all bacteria, microbes, insects, spores that live on driftwood, and various substances are released during the cooking process making driftwood safe for aquarium.

The second reason is that dry driftwood does not sink in water, and they either need to be fixed or boiled in water with salt, then they begin to sink.

So, if the driftwood fits into the container, then we just take the salt, about 300 grams per liter, pour it into the water and boil the driftwood for 6-10 hours.

Do not forget to add water to replace the evaporated one. We check if it is drowning, and if not, then we continue the process. By the way, the driftwood that you found in the river are already drowning, and you do not need to cook them with salt, you just need to boil them for 6 hours.

And yes, if you bought it from a pet store, you still need to cook driftwood to make it safe for aquarium. By the way, do not take snags for reptiles, they are often treated with fungicides, and your fish will not like them.

Driftwood stains water, what to do?

Technically, after boiling, driftwood can be added to the aquarium, but as you already know, driftwood releases tannins into the water. It is very desirable, after you have boiled it, to lower it in water for a couple of days.

During this time, you will see if it stains the water. If it slightly stains the water, then this is normal and acceptable, but there are varieties that bring the color of the water literally to brown.

In this case, there is only one recipe – soak the driftwood, preferably in running water or in water that you often change. How long it takes depends on the type of wood and its size, but this should be done until the water is light enough. It is possible to speed up the process and boil it again.

If the driftwood doesn’t fit?

Then it is either cut into several parts, and then fastened back, or boiled by lowering different parts into boiling water alternately. If your driftwood is very large, then it can be doused with boiling water and placed in an aquarium, flooded with a load. But, remember that in this case you risk quite a lot, as bacterial outbreaks can be, so all the nasty things affecting your fish.

How to fix or sink a snag?

It is best, of course, to boil it to a negative buoyancy state. If it is impossible to do this, for example, the driftwood is very large and does not sink in the aquarium, then it is heated or fixed.

The main thing you need to know is that you cannot push the snag against the walls of the aquarium and thus fix it, that is, wedge it in the aquarium. The point is that the wood will swell and expand.

And what can this lead to? Besides, it will simply squeeze out the glass in the aquarium. Why doesn’t driftwood sink in the aquarium? Dry simply, even if you boil it. In the middle, it can be as dry as it was.

How to fix the driftwood in the aquarium is up to you. The simplest thing is to use a fishing line to tie it to the stone. For example, I just fixed a heavy stone by wedging it between the roots.

Someone attaches a bar from below, and then simply buries it in the ground. You can use suction cups, but this is an unreliable method, as they come off, and your driftwood will catapult upward, which can have dire consequences.

A white coating appeared on the driftwood and is it covered with mold or mucus. What to do?

If such a plaque appeared in the aquarium immediately after you loaded a new driftwood, then it’s okay. Usually it is white mucus or mold, which makes that driftwood safe for aquarium, and ancistrus catfish will eat it with pleasure. If you do not have such catfish, then just rinse it under running water.

But if a snag has been in your aquarium for a long time, and suddenly a plaque has appeared on it, then you should take a closer look. Perhaps the wood has rotted down to the lower layers, where rotting has gone faster and more dangerous.

Has the water become cloudy and stinks of hydrogen sulfide after adding driftwood?

This is the driftwood rotting in the aquarium. Most likely, you used an underdried snag. It must be removed and dried well if it is small, then you can do it in the oven.

A detailed video about creating a scape with driftwood in the aquarium:

One step closer - Step by step

How to attach moss to driftwood?

It is very common to attach moss to driftwood in an aquarium, such as Java moss or other plants on driftwood in an aquarium. It looks amazingly beautiful. But, many do not know how to attach the moss itself correctly.

There are several options here: with a cotton thread, after a while, it will rot, but the moss already has time to attach to the snag with the help of rhizoids. If you need a more reliable option, then you can use a fishing line, this is generally forever.

Some mosses are just … super glued. However, although this method is much more convenient, there is a risk of poisoning the water with toxins contained in the glue.

Has the driftwood in the aquarium darkened?

This is a natural process, even light-colored driftwood darkens over time. You can peel off the top layer from it, but this will only help for a while. It’s easier to leave things as they are.

Is the driftwood in the aquarium green?

Most likely the matter is in the algae that covered its surface. They also cover glass in the aquarium and stones, look like green dots on the glass. You can get rid of them simply by reducing the length of daylight hours and the power of lighting. Excessive light in the aquarium is the cause. Well, just clean the snag by removing the top layer from it.