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7 Best Driftwood For Natural and Dutch Style Aquascape Aquarium

In this article, we will review how to choose the best aquarium driftwood for an amazing aquascape and what are the benefits. We will take a detailed view of the common types and some tips to prevent the driftwood from floating.

Aquarium driftwood can be used for eye-catching design and stunning layouts. You can enhance the wood by attaching aqua plants to it, which will help you achieve natural-looking aquascape. Most of the natural aquariums are created using driftwood, and the best part is that you have a wide range to choose from.

Common Types of Driftwood

There are too many types of driftwood that can be used in the aquarium, so we cannot cover them all, so let’s take a good look at the best types of driftwood you can use in your aquarium.

African Driftwood – Mopani Wood

Both Mopani driftwood and Malaysian driftwood share common properties. They are commonly used for many applications such as to lower the PH of aquarium water. If this is an undesirable effect for your aquarium, you can eliminate it by simply boiling the wood before placing it inside your tank.

It has light and knobbly branches. Despite its light branches it will sink at the bottom of your tank instead of floating since it will naturally sink on its own you won’t need to weigh it down which will make for an easier aquascape especially for beginners.

Malaysian Driftwood

Malaysian driftwood is truly a stunning type of driftwood, on top of its rugged beauty it can help you create marvelous and natural designs, for this, it has the potential to be a centerpiece of any aquarium type. This wood is extremely versatile and can provide more structure to your aquarium architecture, increase the visual appeal of your design.

and give a safe place to hide for your fish. Creates the ideal daytime location for nocturnal catfish species. It’s also well suited for freshwater aquariums since it can be used to anchor and attach plants like Java moss or Anubias to create a very natural look.

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Mesquite​ Driftwood

Mesquite is well known in the aquascaping community as a very beautiful type of driftwood. While you can buy it in large and cured pieces for a very expensive price, it will make a real difference in your tank and look gorgeous in any setting.

This wood type is best used in big aquariums, especially if you only want to display a single piece of wood. It can also be a good choice for smaller tanks but since this wood is usually broken down to be sold in smaller pieces you will pay more and will get less wood for your money.

Planted Driftwood

Planted driftwood isn’t usually considered to be a type of driftwood, however, it’s still worth to consider using this wood type in your aquascape. As its name suggests, it’s simply a piece of wood that comes with plants already grown on it.

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Generally, the plants that will come with this type of wood will be the hardier and most tenacious species that can survive and thrive under varying conditions in a tank, including a low light setting. Except for mainly Java ferns, Anubias, and other underwater mosses.

Spider Wood

Since spider wood has such a different root structure, it is particularly pleasing to the eye, this makes them prime candidates to becoming a centerpiece in your tank. They can also provide a good source of shelter for your small fish.

As we now know what types of Driftwood there are, lets me provide you with a few tips that will help you choose the best driftwood for your nature aquascape.

Western Hemlock Roots

Western Hemlock Roots often comes in very large pieces like the one below. It’s a proven very solid choice for large aquariums. As large pieces of this wood are very rare, You should be ready to pay a high sum to get a large or medium piece.

It shouldn’t be used in small aquariums, as it’s personality and specific patterns can only be noticed from a distance, it needs more space to create a better effect.

Colophospermum Mopane

Colophospermum mopane is a type of driftwood best suited for large aquariums. It has excellent PH reduction and water softening abilities while also being very solid and thicker than most wood types.

You can identify it easily by its different structure, boasting dual color tones and the protrusions that come out of the tip of its lengths. As this wood is stronger than most, it makes for excellent support for other lighter plants and driftwoods. As it’s extremely popular in aquascaping it can be found in most tanks.

As we now know what types of Driftwood there are, lets me provide you with a few tips that will help you choose the best driftwood for your nature aquascape.

Tips to Create Natural-Looking Aquascape With Driftwood

  • Always make sure the driftwood is safe for your aquarium. Don’t be fooled by driftwood such as reptiles that look great but aren’t always safe to use.
  • Refrain from using driftwood that was found in the wilderness as it can be very dangerous for your tank as it hasn’t be treated and you should fully confident it is safe before using it.
  • Make use of various attachable plants like Java Moss and stick them on your driftwood. You can create a natural look by sticking moss to wood or stone using strings and removing it when it can stay there on its own.
  • You must know that to maintain the driftwood, you have to clean it once in a while.
  • Before you add any driftwood to your tank or start curing it, you will need to clean it first. You can do it simply by using a soft brush and scrubbing it slowly. This will get rid of most dust and loose particles as well as make the wood safe to be used in your tank.
  • Never use any chemical when cleaning the wood as it will stay inside it and can harm your plants and fish.

How to Clean Driftwood?

Cleaning is an important section when it comes to Driftwood. As it Removes all unwanted things like Algae, Fungus, Bacteria, etc.

Cleaning Driftwood will vary from size to size. The smaller the Driftwood the easier it is to clean. The larger the Driftwood is difficult to clean.

Cleaning Small Driftwoods

Cleaning small Driftwood takes less work and less time. Here is a process on how to clean smaller driftwood before adding it to your aquascape aquarium.

  • Take the Driftwood and rinse it well to remove any leftover dirt on it.
  • Place it inside a pot of boiling water and boil it for about an hour or two.
  • Make sure it is well boiled as it will kill all the parasites on the Driftwood.
  • Cool it off a bit before adding it to your aquascape aquarium. - For all your creative needs!

Cleaning Large Driftwoods

Cleaning Large Driftwood takes is a bit time-consuming, but it can be done. Here is a process on how to clean large driftwood before adding it to your aquascape aquarium.

  • Take the Driftwood and rinse it well to remove any leftover dirt on it.
  • Use a bucket of boiling water to pour it on the Driftwood.
  • Repeat this process 2-3 times. Make sure you don’t spill on yourself.
  • The boiled water will kill all the parasites on the Driftwood.
  • Cool it off by adding some cold water before adding it to your aquascape aquarium.

How to Remove Tannins in Driftwood?

When curing your aquarium driftwood you should never be using any chemical substance, the wood will soak the liquid and it will go directly in the water of your tank, killing most likely your fish and plants in the process.

  • Place the Driftwood inside the bucket full of water. Note that the driftwood is fully submerged.
  • Keep a close look on the color change in water. As the Driftwood is tanning away it is most likely to affect the water.
  • Maintain this process for 12-15 days. Change the water if it becomes too colored due to driftwood. Make sure you use RO or Dechlorinated water.
  • Once the color of the water becomes less dull due to the color of driftwood then it is the right time to be removed and it can be placed inside the aquascape aquarium.

Even after following this method the water of your tank changes color due to the Driftwood, you can use an absorbent like Purigen to make sure the tank clear.

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How to Place the Driftwood in Aquascape Aquarium

  • You should place your driftwood in an open space in your tank.
  • You will need good water flow to avoid waste accumulation around the wood.
  • You can, of course, stick plants on your driftwood before adding it to the tank.
  • You can easily attach plants to wood by using ropes or strings, make sure not to use metals as it can rust and damage your fish.
  • When the plants have fully grown on the wood you’re free to remove the strings.

What to Expect After Driftwood is Added?

Like most things in Aquascaping, good planning is the main deciding factor in the success of your aquarium design.

You should be sure of the final look of your aquarium as different driftwood placement can dramatically change its final look. You should be patient and try different layouts, you can even sketch them to have a better idea of what you would like best.

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The goal is to have everything planned before moving a single piece of driftwood. When the planning is done and you know where the driftwood will go, you can start preparing it to be placed in the tank.

You must be sure that any wood you choose has been treated and is safe to use in your tank. Always buy your wood from a reputable and trusted seller as they will all treat the wood before selling it, so you can put it directly in your aquarium.

Even more, protection cannot hurt you as one mistake could cost your fish’s lives.


Simply cleaning the driftwood before putting it in the aquarium will help to make sure it’s safe for your tank.

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You should never be cleaning wood with chemicals however as they will stay on it, simply scrub the wood lightly and use warm water to kill any bacteria present on it

Never clean your driftwood with chemicals, as these will soak into the wood. All you need to use is warm water, and give it a gentle scrub.