How To Prepare Driftwood For Aquariums (& 5 Reasons You Should)

Last Updated on 2023-07-18

If you’re thinking about adding driftwood to your aquarium, then you’ve found the right article! In this article, not only will you find out whether driftwood is good or bad for your aquarium, but you’ll also learn more in-depth about the pros and cons as well as how to add it to your tank and other frequently asked questions.

Is Driftwood Good For an Aquarium?

Whether driftwood is good for your aquarium or not depends entirely on the type of driftwood you use. As long as you’re buying it from a reputable store that sells it specifically for aquariums, then it’s going to be okay!

You should, however, avoid using driftwood you find outdoors because this can often be tarnished with chemicals, fungus, and bacteria.

Why Is Driftwood Good For Aquariums

There are a number of different reasons that driftwood is good for your aquarium, so if you’re not sure about whether it’s right for you or not, here are the main reasons you should consider adding it!

It Provides Food

One reason you should consider adding driftwood to your tank is that it may provide food for some of the inhabitants! Suckermouth fish have adapted to eating moss from things such as driftwood and rocks, so when algae start to grow on them, you’ll be providing a delicious treat!

It Provides Hiding Places

Another great reason you should add driftwood to your tank is because it’s going to provide plenty of hiding spaces for more timid fish. And while you may think that providing hiding places for your fish will stop you from seeing them, generally the reverse happens. 

Because they feel safe and protected, they’re more likely to venture out more and more!

It Makes The Tank Look Better

Driftwood also makes the tank more pleasing, especially if you’re trying to recreate a more natural-looking tank. And it’s not just the look of the driftwood itself which makes the tank more natural.

As well as the driftwood looking great, it will also release tannins into the water, which will give it a fantastic blackwater look. (But if you don’t like the idea of tannins in the tank, you can always just soak the driftwood for a few days before adding it.)   

Good For Your Fish’s Health

Adding driftwood to your tank is also good for the health of your fish as well. The tannins in driftwood are antimicrobial and antifungal, so as long as you’re keeping the tank clean as well, it will help further reduce the chances of infections!

On top of this, because driftwood provides plenty of hiding spaces, it will also reduce the stress of your fish, improving their immune system as well!

It Lowers The pH In The Tank

And lastly, adding driftwood to your tank is also going to lower the pH. So if you notice that you have particularly alkaline water, adding some driftwood will help bring the pH to 7 or even below!

close up image of landscape nature style aquarium tank with a variety of red stem aquatic plants inside.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Adding Driftwood To Your Tank?

While there are plenty of advantages that come from adding driftwood to your tank, there are also a couple of disadvantages as well.

Some disadvantages you should be aware of are:

The pH May Drop Too Much

First of all, adding driftwood to your aquarium could end up lowering the pH too much. This could then cause the water to become too acidic, damaging your fish.

However, this is a slow process, and as long as you’re checking the pH and performing frequent water changes, you can avoid this problem altogether!

It Can Make The Water Too Cloudy

As well as causing the pH in the aquarium to drop, adding driftwood into your tank can also cause the water to become cloudy as well. The more tannins that leak into the water, the darker the water will end up becoming.

Fortunately, though, there are also a couple of things you can do to combat this as well! 

First of all, you can soak your driftwood in water for a couple of weeks. Or if you don’t have time to soak the driftwood, you can also boil it for 5-12 hours as well.

On top of this, you can also just perform water changes more often to remove tannins and add fresh water, diluting the color of the water dramatically! 

How Do You Treat Driftwood For Aquariums?

If you want to add driftwood to your aquarium, then you need to make sure that you’re treating it correctly. So make sure you’re doing the following:

  1. First of all, you should examine your driftwood for any fungus or harmful substances that might enter your tank.
  2. After this, you should then scrub your driftwood to remove any dirt or gunk on the driftwood. 
  3. Then you should boil the driftwood for a few hours to make sure you’re killing any bacteria, as well as getting rid of tannins from the driftwood as well.
  4. Once you’ve done this, you should give the driftwood one final inspection to make sure it’s ready for the tank before finally adding it!

(Here’s a more in-depth article to learn more about how to treat driftwood for aquariums properly.)

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Which Aquarium Plants Are Good With Driftwood

If you’re thinking about attaching plants to your driftwood, or you want plants that look nice in comparison with driftwood, then here are some of the best choices:

Java Moss

One of the most beginner-friendly plants, adding java moss to your driftwood is going to change its aesthetics completely, and also provide plenty of resting places for your fish!

Anubias Nana

Another great choice, especially in smaller tanks, is adding anubias nana, it can be tied to your driftwood until the roots have grown enough, and then the large leaves will provide shelter.

Java Fern

Similar to anubias, java fern is another great choice if you want plants in your tank. And if you don’t have as much of a green thumb, it’s also incredibly easy to care for as well!

Christmas Moss

Christmas moss is already one of the most popular aquarium plants, and it’s no wonder! It looks fantastic, and if you add it to your driftwood, it’s going to change the look of your tank completely!


Here are some more frequently asked questions people have about adding driftwood to their tanks!

Is Adding Driftwood To Your Aquarium Beneficial For Dwarf Gouramis?

Dwarf gouramis love habitats that are densely planted with plenty of hiding spaces. So adding driftwood to your aquarium is going to be great for them.

What’s The Best Way To Remove Driftwood Tannins From Water?

If you don’t like the look of driftwood tannins in your water, the best thing you can do is perform a 10-20% water change. Do this once or twice a month, and over time, the tannins will be removed completely. 

Is Driftwood Safe For A Turtle And Guppy Aquarium?

If you were planning on adding driftwood to a turtle and guppy aquarium, then the good news is, it’s almost completely safe for both! Just make sure that you’re making sure that there are no sharp edges and that you’re soaking them first!

Driftwood Vs. Rocks For Aquarium?

When you’re not sure whether you should add driftwood or aquarium rocks to your tank, you should lean towards driftwood. While both make great additions to a tank, rocks tend to harm fish more as they swim past them.


As you can see, adding driftwood to your fish tank can be a great way to keep your fish healthy while also making the tank look a lot nicer!

If you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website! Otherwise, have a great day!

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