driftwood / bogwood for the aquarium

How and why to add Driftwood / Bogwood to your aquarium

Wood, in this case, bogwood, or driftwood is a great addition to any aquarium.

Personally I think it’s because it looks natural. In my opinion, natural wood is better than any resin ornament. Just like real plants are a lot better than silk plants (mainly because of their benefit to water quality) but also because natural plants and wood won’t have many sharp, unnatural edges and if the fish snag themselves on any plants, a natural plant will break whereas silk won’t and may cause harm.

I don’t think anything beats the natural look in an aquarium, I think the fish prefer it too. Wood can also create natural caves and hiding places, for fish such as catfish and shrimp.

Red Cherry Shrimp standing on the top of some dirftwood / bogwood

A good way to use the wood is to tie plants to it. Like moss or the Anubias type plants (where the roots grow out of the soil), are great to attach with an elastic band, or aquarium safe glue. Personally I prefer a bit of fishing line as you really can’t see it.

Note that you can’t add just any wood, as some can be harmful and ruin your tank. There are a few types you can pull from outside, but to be safe I always get my wood from a pet / fish store. You can pick up some really nice hand picked pieces.

Boiling bog wood / driftwood for your aquarium

Before adding any wood to your Aquarium

Tea coloured water

Most woods will stain your water a tea colour. While this isn’t a problem to the fish and is completely harmless, it can be undesirable waking up to a tank filled with brown water, it’s also hard to get rid of. However some people actually do this on purpose as it can make a tank look more natural.

Floating wood

Another thing is that the wood (unless pulled from a previous tank) will float. Even large pieces will float if they’re not pre-soaked. You could tie it down, and over time it will eventually stay sunk on it’s own, but I prefer to soak it in water for a week or two first, however long it takes to stop floating and staining the water it’s sitting in.

The best way to do this is get a large bucket, or something that will allow the water to cover all the wood. Then pour boiling hot water over the wood every day, until the water it’s sitting in is clear, and the wood has stopped floating.

Vase planted shrimp tank

If the wood is large you could just pour some boiling water over and then fill the rest up with some hot tap water to save time and energy, rather than boiling the kettle 100 times. Pre-soaking in boiling water also kills any harmful bacteria living inside the wood. Some people even boil the wood in a pot on the hob, but i’ve never done it this way as I think it’s extreme, but it can be quick and effective.