The 4 Steps To Treat Driftwood For Aquariums Safely!

Last Updated on 2023-05-24

If you’re thinking about adding driftwood to your aquarium, it’s vital that, first of all, you’re making sure you treat it. If you don’t treat your driftwood first, you may end up introducing harmful bacteria and fungi into the tank, which could kill your fish.

In this article, you’ll learn all the different ways to treat driftwood, ensuring you’re still getting the exact results you want from adding driftwood to the tank in the first place!

So keep reading to find out everything there is to know!

How To Make Driftwood Safe For Aquariums

If you plan on adding driftwood to your aquarium, there are a number of things you’ll need to do beforehand to make sure it’s safe for your fish.

Examine The Driftwood

The first thing you should do before you add driftwood into your tank is examine it to make sure there are no parasites, fungus, sharp edges, or chemicals. Once you’re sure that there are none of the following, you can begin moving on to the next steps.

And if you do notice any of the following, you should do what you can to remove them or get a new piece of driftwood!

Terrarium style small garden with rock and driftwood in glass container containing soil and decoration Bromeliad plants.

Scrub The Driftwood

Once you’ve found the driftwood you want, you should begin scrubbing it thoroughly with a dry brush. Doing this will help remove any dirt and gunk that may have stuck to the driftwood while also allowing you to notice areas where fungus may not have been seen before.

And when you are cleaning your driftwood, make sure you’re using a cleaning brush that hasn’t been used before. Otherwise, you risk contaminating your driftwood with chemicals or potential parasites.

Boiling Your Driftwood

Next up, it’s time to boil your driftwood. Boil your driftwood actually helps in a number of ways.

  • First of all, if you don’t soak your driftwood, then it will most likely float when you try to add it to your tank.
  • Secondly, when you soak and boil your driftwood, you’re going to help remove the tannins. This is great if you don’t want a blackwater tank. However, if you do, then make sure you’re not soaking it for more than a couple of hours.
  • Lastly, boiling your water is also going to ensure that any bacteria on it ends up getting boiled off as well!

Examine The Driftwood

Now you’re almost ready to add the driftwood to your tank. The final step is to check it once over to see if there are any sharp edges that could end up damaging and hurting your fish. If you notice them, then you should sand them down to keep your fish from injury.

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Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about treating driftwood!

How Long Should You Boil Driftwood For Your Aquarium?

If you want a blackwater tank, then you should only boil driftwood for 1-2 hours. However, if you don’t want a black water tank, then it could take 1-2 days to completely remove most of the tannins from the driftwood.

How Long Should You Soak Driftwood In Your Aquarium?

If you plan on soaking driftwood in your aquarium, then it’s going to take 1-2 weeks to completely rem it instead over the tannins. This is one of the reasons it’s a lot more efficient to boil it instead.

Can You Soak Salt Out Of Driftwood For A Freshwater Aquarium?

While it is possible to soak salt out of a freshwater aquarium, it’s going to take up to 2-3 weeks to make sure that it has all been fully removed.

Can You Bleach Driftwood?

While bleaching driftwood isn’t necessary, it is still possible to do so. If you do plan on bleaching driftwood, you should add it to a quarter cup of bleach mixed with 5 gallons of water for 24 hours. After this, you’ll need to soak it thoroughly in multiple gallons of water to make sure that all the bleach has been removed.

How Long Does Driftwood Last In An Aquarium?

Once you’ve added driftwood to your aquarium, it should last up to 5 years. However, the amount of time it will take to break down depends entirely on a number of factors, such as the type of driftwood, the type of water, and how it’s been treated before entering the tank!

Can You Clean Driftwood With Vinegar?

It’s entirely possible to clean driftwood with vinegar, and to do so shouldn’t take more than a day or two. If you do want to clean your driftwood with vinegar, then you’ll need to add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water before adding your driftwood.

Once this is done, you’ll then just need to soak the driftwood in normal water before adding it to your tank!

Can You Clean Driftwood With Baking Soda?

You may have heard that you can clean driftwood with baking soda; however, this isn’t a good idea when adding it to your fish tank. If you do want to clean your driftwood, then you should try boiling it for the best results.

Can You Heat Treat Driftwood?

It’s entirely possible to heat treat driftwood, and in fact, it’s an effective method! To do so, you should set your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and then place the driftwood in there for 2-4 hours.

If you do plan on heat treating your driftwood, just make sure that your keeping an eye on it, so it doesn’t burn, and also that you’re placing it on foil beforehand!


As you can see, treating driftwood for your aquarium is extremely simple! Just make sure you’re boiling it and examining it thoroughly before you add it to the tank!

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

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