Driftwood is not alien to the fish keeper community. It does more good than just a decorative material to an aquarium. You count on it to have a fascinating aquascape. Your fish count on it to have decent living conditions. If you wonder how Driftwood can do that, let us show you.


To certain fish, Driftwood is also food, more specifically, is where they can find food. Such species feed on fungus and algae which mostly grow on Driftwood. They have mouths that are adapted for scraping off small amounts of Driftwood (e.g., common plecos, catfish). 

Further, Driftwood bits provide great nutrients to the fish eating it. These include ignin and cellulose which help improve their digestive system. Generally speaking, fish that feed on driftwood will be able to digest other food better.


Driftwood can do the following: 

  • lower pH levels of the aquarium water 
  • make the water softer
  • home to colonies of good bacteria which help to balance and maintain a non-toxic environment

The chemical responsible for lowering pH levels and softening the water is tannin. When Driftwood is submerged, natural tannins will slowly leach into the aquarium water. This process benefits those fish that prefer living in a(n) soft and acidic environment. And, aquarists can take advantage of the effect to handle alkaline tap water when establishing aquariums for those fish. Given that, when considering Driftwood, you should learn about the fish you are going to keep because if your fish prefer alkaline water, it is not wise to place Driftwood in the aquarium.

The surface of Driftwood is also known as home of colonies of good bacteria which help to balance and maintain a non-toxic environment. It promotes the growth of bacteria that break down fish by-products into less toxic compounds. Not only that, it won’t be a surprise if one can find the nitrifying bacteria there, the well-known beneficial bacteria that encourage the nitrogen cycle to happen. Learn more about the beneficial bacteria at Why Cycle A Fish Tank Is Important


Driftwood is an ideal hiding place for fish. Considering its large size, Driftwood will make your fish feel secure and more active during the recess of an aquarium. Moreover, it can create a living environment which closely resembles the wide habitats of certain fish (those that originated from blackwater areas). That is a big plus since it makes these fish feel more familiar and encourage their natural behaviors. 


It is nearly the main purpose when one decides to place Driftwood in their aquarium. You have many choices when it comes to Driftwood’s shape. See more Jungle Bonsai Driftwood, Multi Trunk Bonsai Driftwood, Creeping Bonsai Driftwood, Wind Swept Bonsai Driftwood, Rainforest Bonsai Driftwood, Bonsai Driftwood on Rock, Redwood Bonsai Driftwood, Dragon’s Tail Bonsai Driftwood, Cliff-hanger Bonsai Driftwood, Swamp Bonsai Driftwood. One may find it is gnarled, twisted, or simply weathered-looking due to nature. Driftwood itself is a decorative material, but when you submerge it, the tannins leaching out creates a “blackwater" aesthetic. Such dark and reddish effects allure almost every aquarium hobbyist.

To learn how to create a wonderful aquascape with Driftwood, read our article Driftwood, How To Prepare, Cure, And Place Driftwood In Your Freshwater Aquarium.


This side may not be widely known. Driftwood can boost the immune systems of your fish. In the above, we’ve mentioned that Driftwood causes acidic aquarium water. Such acidic environment helps keep viruses and disease-causing bacteria at bay. Further, the tannin leaching also promotes increased levels of available oxygen in the water. This all sounds wonderful, isn’t it!