How to Choose and Prepare Aquarium Driftwood Do Know It Aquarium Driftwood can be very useful in the aquarium, being not only physically pleasing to look at, but also forming an important part in the diet ... 72 72

How to Choose and Prepare Aquarium Driftwood

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Driftwood can be very useful in the aquarium, being not only physically pleasing to look at, but also forming an important part in the diet of some fish. It has a much softer look than rocks, both in shape and texture. In the article, we will show you how to choose and prepare aquarium driftwood.
Image of aquarium wood
Aquarium driftwood

Bogwood and mopani, shown here, should be available from your local aquatic outlet. Vine roots may also be available. Do not be tempted to collect driftwood from the wild, as you can never be sure what you are collecting; beetles like to use dead driftwood and the thought of beetles and their grubs appearing in your tank is not a pleasant one!

Driftwood is dusty and dirty, but it will have been washed before you buy it. However, you should check it over and remove any dead bits of moss or fine roots that may be sticking to it. Most of this can be done with a dry brush but you may need to wash and scrub it. You may need to soak larger pieces of driftwood in a bucket (or, if they are very large, the bathtub) to release some of the tannins that will stain the water. Change the water every day or so until the staining is at an acceptable level (carbon in the filter will help reduce some of this in the aquarium).

Using cork

Cork can be used in the aquarium. Some pieces look as though they have just been peeled off the tree and need a good soaking to waterlog them. Dry them out and attach them to a piece of slate using silicone sealer Bury the slate in the gravel to prevent the cork from floating away.
It is often thought that varnishing driftwood will prevent tannins from leaching into the water. However, driftwood is a natural substance with many crevices that are impossible to penetrate with varnish. Water does manage to get into these crevices and can lift the varnish, rendering it useless. The other problem arises with fish that eat wood as part of their diet or chew on it to create breeding hollows, such as bristlenose catfish (Ancistrus sp.). Varnish would kill them. Washing and/or soaking wood is by far the best option.

  • Bogwood is the standard wood for the aquarium. It -requires more cleaning and soaking than other woods.
  • Mopani costs more than bogwood because it has been sandblasted to clean it, which also gives it a lighter color.

A stiff-bristled nailbrush or scrubbing brush will dislodge dirt and debris from the crevices in the driftwood. Brush off as much as possible from the driftwood. You may have to wet the wood to remove stubborn marks.

Adding the driftwood

Natural driftwood

The size and shape of the driftwood you choose is up to you. Try it out against a tank of similar proportions to yours to gain an idea of how it will look in your aquarium. Make sure you buy a natural piece that does not have any sawed edges, as these look very unnatural when you see them in the tank and are very difficult to conceal with plants.
Put the driftwood in place and embed it into the substrate to ensure that it does not fall over. Position it so that it will not disrupt access to equipment that may need to be replaced or serviced. If you find that the wood will not quite fit your tank, try to break it carefully, rather than cutting it with a saw. Look at the driftwood and be guided by its shape and graining; if it looks like a tree root coming down into the tank, use it as such. If it is more like a fallen branch, it may be best to lay it down in the tank. At this stage, with no water in the tank, you can play around with it easily.

You can place driftwood in front of the heater, but make sure it does not rest against it. Take care not to knock and break the heater when putting it in place. The driftwood is not only part of the aquarium decor, it also serves a practical function by concealing the heater.

Do not place any driftwood in front of the filter or you will obstruct the water flow. It is worth checking that your piece of driftwood sinks before you put it in the tank; some have been known to float!

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Next article: Choosing and Cleaning Aquarium Rocks
5 Aquarium: How to Choose and Prepare Aquarium Driftwood Driftwood can be very useful in the aquarium, being not only physically pleasing to look at, but also forming an important part in the diet ...

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