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Can You Add Driftwood to a Saltwater Aquarium? The Answer

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This straight-to-the-point article will prevent you from getting sucked into the rabbit hole called driftwood in a saltwater tank. Here you’ll discover whether or not you should implement driftwood in your aquarium.

If you follow the specific safety & sanitizing procedures, you can safely add driftwood to your saltwater tank. Unless you want to pass the school of hard knocks and add any driftwood to your saltwater tank, inspect it to remove bark, moss, or lichens. Then prepare your driftwood and aquarium.

Supposing you don’t like questions to hinge on guesswork, you should read on to reveal all the details considering driftwood’s benefits, typical issues, and preparation before adding to the aquarium guide. Look below for better and more efficient ways you can use driftwood even today.

Should You Add Driftwood to a Saltwater Aquarium? 

Driftwood can help you to bye-bye sinking ships and fake mini castles. The world of aquarium fishkeeping is evolving. The “natural aquarium” is a new and deservedly popular trend in aquascaping. What better way to give your aquarium a natural feel than to add some driftwood? You’ll be astounded by how beautiful it is, and your fish will appreciate all of the extra benefits. In this post, I’ll discuss the advantages of utilizing driftwood in aquariums and how to prepare it safely.

What is Driftwood and Why Does It Matter? 

Driftwood is wood that has made it back to shore in the wake of gliding in the water. All in all, driftwood is coasting wood that has ended up on the shore. Many individuals partner this wood, especially with the sea; however, it can likewise be found close to lakes and waterways. Since the wood can drift for a lengthy time frame, the sun normally cooks it to some extent. 

Advantages of Adding Driftwood 

Let’s discover some key benefits associated with adding driftwood.


A few types of catfish have adjusted to benefiting from driftwood. The normal pleco has a mouth uncommonly adapted to scratching off limited quantities of driftwood. This gives supplements similar to lignin and cellulose, which can further develop assimilation for these fish. Commonly, they eat so little it doesn’t appear to harm the wood. Diverse plecos eat driftwood with differing levels of energy. Some nearly need it, while others would prefer to eat green growth, all things being equal. 

Water Chemistry 

Driftwood additionally can change water science. Contingent upon what types of fish you have in the tank, this can be something to be thankful for or something awful. Like those from the Amazon stream, some fish are utilized to delicate water with a low pH. As far as they might be concerned, Malaysian driftwood and African Mopani wood are acceptable embellishments since these woods contain synthetic substances that bring down the pH and make it more like their home waters. Notwithstanding, some fish, similar to Rift Valley cichlids, favor hard, basic water. For these fish, stay away from driftwoods that lower or keep away from driftwood altogether. 

In case you’re a fish manager that continually fights basic faucet water, the expansion of driftwood can help cushion and keep a lower pH in your aquarium. Many fish require somewhat acidic water conditions, and driftwood is the ideal method to establish this climate. 

Hiding Places 

Many fish need concealing spots in their aquarium to have a sense of safety. Such tanks cause fish to have a sense of security and are more averse to stow away in the openings of an aquarium. Driftwood, with contorted, turned shapes, can give heaps of normal-looking concealing spots for fish. 

Good-looking Style 

Driftwood has a few stylish advantages. At any rate, the renowned – inside aquarium circles – aquarium specialist Takashi Amano’s “Inclination Aquariums” often includes driftwood as a key plan highlight. Driftwood can help a tank all the more intently look like a riverbank and other indigenous habitats. Furthermore, the tannins from specific driftwoods can obscure the water and give it a rosy shade. Some aquarium specialists like this “blackwater” stylish; however, some vibe makes the water seem like tea as it would be in nature. 


In addition to the fact that driftwood looks incredible, it additionally animates and keeps up with the biological system inside an aquarium. Similar to the substrate and channel media in an aquarium, driftwood advances the development of advantageous microbes. These microbes are vital as they separate fish side-effects into less poisonous mixtures, keeping your fish solid. The additional surface space of driftwood guarantees that you’ll generally have a sound province of these microscopic organisms. 

Driftwood helps support the invulnerable frameworks of your fishes. At the point when driftwood is lowered, typical tannins will gradually drain into the aquarium water. These tannins establish a marginally acidic climate that assists with keeping infections and sickness-causing microbes under control. The tannins delivered can likewise increment accessible oxygen in the water segment, further invigorating your fishes’ resistant frameworks. 

Adding driftwood to an aquarium can assist with advancing the regular conduct of your fish. Driftwood exists in almost every stream or lake, so usually, your fish will be drawn to it. Your fish will utilize it for stowing away, reproducing, or even as food. 

Typical Problems Might Occur Adding Driftwood 

The biological system is delicate, so presenting undesirable organic entities, synthetic substances, and different contaminants. We should turn out a portion of the common issues when utilizing pieces you found if it isn’t arranged as expected. 

Microscopic Organisms 

Bacteria is your primary concern. If a piece of wood has been drifting around in a stream or sea for a while, the chances are it contains bacteria. 

Since you have no chance of knowing what sorts of microorganisms are on a piece of discovered driftwood (bar complex lab tests), you’re best off expecting exceedingly awful. 

On the off chance that you place a bit of driftwood in your aquarium without ensuring it’s appropriately cleaned and sanitized first, it’s probably going to unleash ruin on the stable environment of the tank. 


Some woods can be treated with synthetic chemicals, so avoid it if it seems like a piece of wood previously used for something else and then tossed away. If it resembles a regular piece of wood, it should be OK in any case. One thing to consider is where you’re gathering the driftwood. It is risky to use it if it originates from a stream that you know is contaminated.


Tannins are compounds discovered commonly in all wood. While there’s nothing intrinsically destructive about them, they filter out into the water and stain it, giving it a sort of tea-stained look. Since this imitates the presence of Amazonian blackwater territories, some fishkeepers partake in the impact, particularly in tanks containing splendidly hued tetras. 

If a piece of driftwood has been in the water for quite a while, a large portion of the tannins might have effectively drained out. When buying driftwood, ensure it is alright for aquarium use. Driftwood sold for reptiles might look ideal for aquariums; however, it might contain synthetic compounds hurtful to fish. 

Even after the relieving/dousing measure, some driftwood might deliver tannins and stain the water anyway. (lower ph tanks might suffer due to poor driftwood) Utilize synthetic channel media like Purigen or initiated carbon to maintain your water clean. 

The key point is always — a short drench, and clean is vital before adding driftwood to your aquarium. 

How to Prepare Driftwood for Safe Aquarium Use? 

The decision time is here. We’ve revealed to you that appropriately get ready aquarium driftwood, and presently we will disclose to you how to do it. 

It’s a genuinely basic cycle; however, it should be done exactly, or you hazard jeopardizing your tank’s occupants. 

Sanitizing and Cleaning Driftwood 

It is essential that you thoroughly clean your aquarium driftwood before placing it in your aquarium. You’ll get rid of the majority of the bacteria during this cycle; therefore, it’s not discretionary. 

To begin, you’ll need to find a pan large enough to submerge your wood thoroughly. This may be risky if you have a huge piece of wood, but you can get large stock pots that should be large enough to accommodate most pieces.

Bring it to a boil for around 2 hours. If you have a massive or thick piece, you should extend this by an hour or so. If the wood does not heat through to the core, you will most likely not clean it thoroughly. 

If you can’t find a large container for your driftwood piece, simply look for a smaller piece. Some propose washing it with a powerless blanch arrangement, but I believe this is excessively risky. If you don’t thoroughly drain the detergent out, it might kill your fish.

Curing & Boiling Driftwood 

While most driftwood will remain drowned, some driftwood will remain slightly light until immersed and “waterlogged.” Soak the driftwood in a large bucket to the maximum, ensuring that the entire piece is entirely soaked. To provide total immersion, I recommend a base time of one to fourteen days. 

Drenching also allows many tannins, which can obscure and darken the water, to drain out. The tannin staining will not harm your aquarium’s inhabitants, but it will lower the pH somewhat in the long term. A few experts make use of this element and employ tannins to achieve acute water conditions.

There are a few advantages to boiling driftwood. Just like soaking a tea bag in hot water, boiling driftwood in a large stockpot encourages more tannins to filter out faster, therefore reducing the restorative process. Furthermore, bubbling disinfects the driftwood, eliminating algal or parasite spores that might take root after the driftwood is introduced into the aquarium. The driftwood will be disinfected after being heated for 1-2 hours.

When the driftwood has been appropriately pre-arranged, spot the driftwood into your aquarium and top it off; with a bit of tolerance and some arranging, you can make a lovely sea-going scene with little pressure to you and your aquarium inhabitants. 

Adding Driftwood: Summary Table

– Plan out where you’re going to put your driftwood before you get started. Putting it in an awkward place or having to move it around could stress your fish.
– Remove any bark, moss, or lichens.
– Cure your driftwood until tannins stop discoloring the water (unless you want this to happen).
– Use a filter containing activated carbon or a chemical filter such as Purigen to help clarify your water if tannins are discoloring it.
– Select a piece of softwood to go in your aquarium.
– Collect driftwood from a body of water that’s polluted.
– Use any cleaning products, soap, or detergent when cleaning.
– Skip the sterilizing step
– Forget that driftwood can lower the pH in your tank, and you need to check levels accordingly.