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The 12 Best Driftwoods For Aquariums

Many aquarists today use driftwood to add a subtle and natural touch to their aquariums.

The visual depth and aesthetic appeal of the aquarium is greatly enhanced by the inclusion of driftwood as the focal point of the aquarium.

Driftwood comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, and tannin concentrations as it breaks down in water.

Because driftwood comes in many varieties, you can tailor its look to your aquarium to suit your preferences.

That being said, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has discussed some of the best driftwood for aquariums and most unique driftwood pieces available online for your aquarium.

How to Choose the Finest Driftwoods for Fish Tanks

The aquarium doesn’t need any driftwood.

Aquariums benefit greatly from the addition of driftwood since it provides a touch of natural beauty. Driftwood is popular among aquarists because it emits natural tannins into the water, which are thought to improve fish health.

Slowly releasing tannins into the water, they generate an acidic environment that can inhibit the growth of some pathogens. When you add real plants and mosses around driftwood, you get a nice, natural effect.

As a food source, Plecostomus enjoy rasping on driftwood, making it a popular addition to aquariums housing these fish. However, shrimp keepers enjoy adding driftwood to aquariums because it promotes the growth of white biofilm on the wood’s surface, which is a source of food for shrimp and snails.

Where can I get information about the many driftwood species?

Aquariums may safely employ several forms of driftwood, including:

  • Bonsai-style driftwood
  • Floating Mopani wood
  • Spider-Infested Timber
  • Cholla wood is commonly used as a form of driftwood.
  • A piece of tiger driftwood
  • Driftwood from Saba
  • Floating pieces of manzanita

What causes the water to turn brown from floating wood?

Slowly releasing innocuous tannins, driftwood taints the water in an aquarium brown or yellow depending on the type of wood and the concentration of the volume of water in relation to the size of the driftwood.

To discourage the tannins from darkening the water in your aquarium, soak driftwood in warm water for a few days before adding it.

In addition to providing a more natural aesthetic, tannins provide a few benefits for aquarium water, including a modest pH lowering and functioning as a natural antimicrobial.

Until the wood has been saturated with water, most pieces of driftwood will float at the top of an aquarium. Soaking driftwood before adding it to an aquarium is a typical practice for this same reason.


As a result of reading this essay, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) reviewed the best driftwood for aquariums species available, and identified two that stand out as particularly noteworthy.

Zoo Med Mopani driftwood is our top pick because it’s chemical-free and sinks quickly without releasing any harmful substances into your aquarium.

SubstrateSource driftwood is our favorite because it is hollow and has natural tannins in a more concentrated form than other types of driftwood.


The Best Aquarium Decoration, Hands Down, is the Zoo Med Mopani Wood Set.

  • In the range of small to medium
  • Type of Wood: Mopani
  • Type of Aquarium: Freshwater or Saltwater
  • Six to eight inches in height

Zoo Med Mopani wood is the greatest driftwood on the market for aquariums since it is reasonably priced, is available in two different sizes, and does not require pre-boiling before use.

This hunk of driftwood is mottled in shades of dark and light brown, and has a smooth surface with rough detail. Because of how quickly it settles to the bottom of an aquarium, you won’t have to bother about pre-soaking the wood in boiling water for days before putting it in the tank.

It’s perfect for planted aquariums since it provides a more natural aesthetic and includes no artificial colors or synthetic resins that might leak into the aquarium over time.


  • Genuine Appearance
  • No synthetic dyes or resins were used.
  • Available in two sizes


  • Tannis, a black pigment, are released.


Cholla Driftwood from SubstrateSource Is an Excellent Option for an Aquarium

  • Size: Medium
  • Cholla, a kind of wood
  • Type of Aquarium: Freshwater or Saltwater
  • Length: 6 inches

Substratesource cholla driftwood is our top pick because it is crafted from the dried husk of the cholla cactus, an ingredient that is both high in quality and natural.

Its porous structure provides an ideal environment for beneficial bacteria to multiply, and it also promotes the development of biofilm, which is highly nutritious for invertebrates like shrimp and snails.

These two planks of wood are perfect for this purpose since they are perforated all over, allowing you to securely fasten and anchor down miniature aquarium plants.

In addition to being a nice decoration for saltwater and freshwater aquariums, the fibrous materials it is made of make it ideal for Plecostomus fish.


  • Favors the development of biofilms and helpful microorganisms.
  • Useful for staking down mosses and other greenery
  • Eco-friendly, organic components


  • To make it sink, it must be soaked in water.


Fish Tank Ornament by Majoywoo

  • Size: Large
  • Type of Wood: Mopani
  • Type of Aquarium: Freshwater or Saltwater
  • Inches: 8 Length: 3.8 Width: 6.8 Height

Mopani driftwood has a dark brown color and a twisted, wrinkled form that is all natural. It’s constructed from a long-lasting and robust wood, so it may be in the heart of a planted aquarium for years to come.

Since its dark hue complements the luscious green of many plant species, this piece of wood is particularly well-suited for display beside such living greenery.

If you want to avoid this piece of driftwood discoloring the water, it is best to give it a good clean and soak to get rid of any tannins it may contain.


  • Long-lasting
  • Appealing Form
  • Superb timber


  • Puts out a lot of tannins


Mopani Driftwood from Fluval

  • Size: Small
  • Type of Wood: Mopani
  • Different types of aquariums for freshwater and saltwater environments
  • The item is a full 10 inches on all sides and 10 inches tall.

Fluval has manufactured this beautiful piece of Mopani driftwood to serve as the centerpiece of an aquarium and to improve the realism of the aquatic environment.

This wood has been cleaned extensively to remove any manufacturing residues or dust that may have accumulated during the cutting and planing processes. Its hefty form works well on spacious displays. It comes from the earth and is sandblasted to a silky smoothness.

Because of its tiny size and varied brown coloring, this driftwood can fit comfortably in aquariums of 10-20 gallons. Because it floats so readily, it has to be pre-soaked in warm water before being added to an aquarium.


  • Sandblasted surface
  • Great for use in modest fish tanks.
  • Apparent spontaneity


  • Must be wet to be submerged.


A Piece of Driftwood for Your Fish Tank, Model TFWADMX

  • Size: Medium
  • The species of wood is known as spider wood.
  • Different types of aquariums for freshwater and saltwater environments
  • Length: 9 inches, width: 9.8 inches

This three-piece collection of Spider driftwood sinks, giving the impression of structure when submerged (particularly when coated with moss).

It’s compact, adaptable, and quick to sink once saturated with water. Ideal for aquascaping medium-sized fish tanks because it does not degrade underwater or affect water quality.

Depending on the batch of driftwood you buy, the pieces may be of varying sizes, but they can be easily arranged into any form you like.

Soaking it overnight is not required because it appears to release less tannins than other wood pieces, but it may still lead the water to take on a tea-colored hue.


  • Versatile
  • Easy to drown in
  • Available in a 3-pack.


  • Dark tannins are released

Author Image

Dr. Barry Buttler

Dr. Barry Buttler, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is an experienced veterinarian who specializes in the care of small animals, specifically dogs. Dr. Barry K. Buttler is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and holds multiple certifications in small animal emergency medicine and geriatric pet health.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Barry Buttler


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