Adding driftwood to your fish tank has several benefits, including enhancing the ecosystem, and beauty and providing outstanding functioning. Additionally, it improves the water’s quality while giving your fish a natural environment that is suited for them.
The next natural step for aquarium owners is to learn how to produce their own driftwood because commercial driftwood is expensive. Making your own driftwood is difficult, but if you use the instructions in this article, you can learn how to do it. Untreated wood and rocks can be disastrous if introduced carelessly into an aquarium environment.
Collecting Driftwood for Fish Tanks
The first step is to find the ideal driftwood for your fish tank. You can search for driftwood In rivers, seas, and other bodies of water with no obvious symptoms of pollution or oil contamination.
The driftwood’s size and shape should be taken into account when choosing it. It will be better to harvest in great amounts if you have the cutting ability. You must choose the wood that is free of mold or fungus development even if it has been treated because either one could harm your aquarium.
It can be quite tempting to place enormous chunks of wood in your aquarium, but smaller pieces will work better because they don’t usually rot and are less likely to contain hazardous fungi and debris.
How to Make Driftwood for Aquarium?
After you’ve collected your driftwood, it is time to set it up:
Clean your Driftwood
The driftwood must first be cleaned with a brush. An old toothbrush or a typical brush for hand-washing garments can be used as the brush. Put the driftwood on top of a container filled with water. Gently scrape the driftwood all over to remove any remaining dirt, dust, or debris.
Please keep in mind not to use any cleaning solutions to clean the driftwood. The wood may be able to absorb chemicals from it and release them into the aquarium. If so, the fish will suffer as a result.
Submerge the Driftwood Underwater
When you place a piece of wood that you collected from the outside world into your fish tank, it introduces foreign particles into the tank and alters the water’s chemistry, which could be fatal to fish.
Because of this, make sure you cure your driftwood before putting it in the water. Pre-soaking it is one way to do this.
Simply immerse your piece of discovered wood in a pail of dechlorinated water for a few weeks. This will enable the release of tannins along with any associated dirt and parasites.
Make sure the wood is completely submerged in the water. If the wood doesn’t sink on its own, you can keep it underwater using big stones.
Last but not least, remember that the water will turn brown for days since it is absorbing toxins from the driftwood. Change the water as soon as it goes clear or every two weeks to prevent this.
Boiling Driftwood: Making Driftwood Safe for Aquarium
The best technique to disinfect, waterlog, and remove tannins from driftwood is probably to boil it. Depending on the size of your driftwood, use this procedure.
It is advised to boil the wood for an hour or two on a rolling boil for smaller pieces. While some hobbyists prefer to keep their wood on a low boil for a few days, others prefer to repeat this process every day for a week. It’s best to go gently because doing this can actually cause your wood to overboil.
It may be necessary to continue soaking the driftwood in lukewarm water for up to a month after this to complete the process, but it should help waterlog the driftwood and remove some of the tannins as well.
After boiling, if your wood is wet, let it cool completely before adding it immediately to the tank. There are a couple of ways to achieve a similar effect if your driftwood is too large to fit in a pot on the stove.
One of the simplest ways to treat large driftwood is to pour boiling or hot water over it. You’ll probably need to soak the wood in a bucket of water for a while to totally waterlog it. This should eliminate any germs or pathogens that are close to the wood’s top layer.
Another method is to place the driftwood in a pail of water and place it near a heater or in the summer sun. If the weather isn’t cooperating, it might be difficult to keep up with evaporation rates, and the water may become contaminated as a result of the elements. elements.
Sinking the Driftwood in your Fish Tank
After the driftwood has been well cleaned and prepared, it should be put in your aquarium. It will occasionally float to the top of the water when you put it in your fish tank.
This happens frequently, but it will eventually settle organically, even if it takes some time. If so, you can place the driftwood momentarily under water and let it sit there for a week or longer.
You may also figure out a technique to stop the driftwood from floating while it is submerged. You can secure it with a tie or place something weighty on top. It can take a month before the buoyancy kicks in and causes the driftwood to float to the surface.
Once the driftwood is completely immersed, you can check the water level to make sure your aquarium still fits it. If necessary, you can change the water content. You can examine the water’s clarity after a few days and make any required corrections if you see any problems.
Benefits of Using Driftwood in your Fish Tank
Natural driftwood offers a rustic beauty that is uncommon in aquarium decorations. Even if they are intricate or brightly colored, man-made aquarium decorations cannot compare to driftwood’s mystical and natural atmosphere.
Aquarists frequently select to pair driftwood with tetras, guppies, and cichlids because driftwood tends to accent vividly colored fish.
No synthetic material can compare to the uniqueness and complexity of genuine driftwood, whose organic origins contribute to a peaceful atmosphere and build a successful and aesthetically pleasing aquarium. This is true despite developments in current manufacturing technology.
Changes Water Quality
Additionally, driftwood can alter the chemistry of water. Depending on the type of fish you have in the tank, this might or might not be a good thing.
Some fish, like those from the Amazon River, are acclimated to soft water with a low pH. They discover that driftwood from Malaysia and African Mopani wood make excellent decorations because these woods contain compounds that lower the pH and make it more resemble their home waters. For instance, Rift Valley cichlids prefer hard, alkaline water. For these fish, stay away from driftwood completely or stay away from driftwood with a low pH.
If you’re a fish keeper who frequently has problems with alkaline tap water, driftwood can help buffer and maintain a lower pH in your aquarium.
Composition of Water
If driftwood is placed in an aquarium without being first prepared, the naturally occurring tannins it contains will gradually cause the pH of the water to fall.
Aquarists may exploit this characteristic as a natural way to lower pH since many tropical fish species enjoy slightly acidic water. Driftwood’s tannins can also change the water’s hue, giving it a “tea-stained” appearance that is perfect for aquariums that replicate the Amazon’s so-called “blackwater” zones.
Before utilizing driftwood in an aquarium, aquarists may decide to soak or boil it to prevent chemical changes and discoloration.
In order to feel safe, many fish require hiding spots in their aquariums. Ironically, in an aquarium with lots of hiding spots, more fish will choose to remain in the open. Fish in these tanks feel protected and are less prone to hide in an aquarium’s crevices. Fish may conceal themselves in a variety of natural-looking areas because of the jagged, twisted shapes of driftwood.
Improves Fish Immune Systems
Driftwood aids in increasing fish immunity. Natural tannins will progressively bleed into the aquarium water when driftwood is immersed. These tannins produce a mildly acidic environment that aids in warding off germs and viruses that cause illness. The oxygen that is made more readily available in the water column by the tannins released might further boost the immune systems of your fish.
Bacteria and Food
Driftwood provides a fantastic environment for the growth of vital bacteria. Before introducing fish to your aquarium, attempt to gain a better grasp of what bacteria do in the aquarium by learning about the nitrogen cycle.
In other words, microorganisms keep your fish safe by detoxifying fish waste and converting it into forms that are more useful to plants. A healthy bacterial population will stabilize tanks and result in a better-developed system.
The nitrogen cycle in your aquarium will therefore be aided by every piece of wood you add, creating water conditions that are more optimal.
It should be noted that some fish species, such as plecos, do consume wood as an additional source of fiber. This significantly aids in their digestion, maintaining the health of your fish.
How Long Does Driftwood Last?
It’s impossible to predict how long your aquarium’s driftwood will endure; some enthusiasts have been using the same pieces for 20 years! Most forms of driftwood should generally last five to ten years before needing to be replenished.
The sort of driftwood you choose will mostly determine how long it lasts, but as wood is organic, it will eventually start to break down no matter what kind of quality you use.
Harder timbers, such as Mopani wood or driftwood from Malaysia, will likely last the test of time or longer. On the other hand, softwood may, after a few years, begin to chip away and crumble.
Any potential livestock that consumes your driftwood as food or whether it has ever been cleaned of something like algae might also have an impact on how long it lasts.
How Can Driftwood be Prevented from Rotting?
Unfortunately, it is impossible to stop driftwood from rotting. Driftwood is organic, as was previously stated, and anything organic has a shelf life.
However, you might notice a particular kind of decay in the first few weeks after placing your driftwood in your aquarium. You might notice the emergence of a slimy, brown, or white covering on your driftwood pieces. This is quite natural; it doesn’t matter what kind of driftwood you have or how you preserved it. This is a temporary and harmless fungus that develops on raw wood.
Even if it may be unattractive, there is little you can do to change it. It will probably grow back in a few days if you try to scrape it away. You run the risk of reintroducing harmful toxins into your aquarium if you try to remove it with chemicals.
Let this fungus have its course; it’s far simpler and safer to do so. Fish and invertebrates usually enjoy eating it too, so let them do all the work! It should be completely gone after a month of putting the new driftwood.
Can you Use Natural Wood Instead of Driftwood?
It’s quite easy to be enticed to add a piece of wood you picked up outside to your aquarium because driftwood may be rather pricey.
Generally speaking, this is very doable as long as you look for decent wood that is free of rot and comes from a region that isn’t polluted. Simply strip off the bark and handle it like any other piece of driftwood.
This has the drawback that you can’t tell if your wood is tainted or internally rotting. While the cost of using store-bought items is frequently worth the security, some hobbyists are ready to accept this risk.
Avoid using softwoods, such as cedar, in aquariums since they readily deteriorate and may even release sap into the water. To avoid rot and resin leakage, both of which have the potential to be extremely hazardous, all driftwood should be made of the strong wood.
AquaScaping with Driftwood
You’re essentially done at this point, and the driftwood is prepared to be placed in the aquarium. Now, look for the blueprint you used earlier that indicated the location you intended it to go and try to follow it!
Wood submerged in water should be safe. To ensure that it won’t go over in the event of unexpected movement, try waving water around it. Some hobbyists decide to use super glue to secure their objects to the tank’s bottom, however surrounding it with adequate substrate or pebbles should also work.
You might discover that your aquarium is still getting tannins from the driftwood at this time. Although tannins might give aquarium water an unwelcome dark color, they are really very good for betta fish’s health and are an essential component of their natural environment in the wild.
Betta fish are native to naturally colored blackwater ecosystems. Numerous aquarium accessories designed especially for betta fish release tannins into the water, giving the water this colored appearance.
Water can be made clear again by filtering it via activated carbon if you’d prefer to avoid having tainted water. A series of water changes will also work, albeit this may require more human labor and take longer.
The Bottom Line On How to Make Driftwood for Aquarium?
Driftwood may add complexity and intrigue to the display aquascape while providing a safe and natural environment for your fish. However, fish shops frequently charge a lot of money for particular driftwood items and varieties, which can add up over time for bigger aquariums.
Fortunately, there are a few simple techniques to gather and preserve your own inexpensive driftwood. It’s crucial to gather the wood from a clean region and to provide enough time for the wood to become saturated and for any impurities to be boiled away.