Aquascaping requires a lot of patience, and knowledge but also imagination. While setting up a new freshwater aquarium, one of the elements is the proper aquarium driftwood, unless we decide on a hardscape with rocks only. In this article, we want to present you 5 types of aquarium driftwood we can find on the market.

What to choose?

The fact is that we can’t add any wood found in the forest to our planted aquariums. This is because it releases tannins which in huge amounts are harmful to the live stock. Therefore such a wood should be well prepared before putting into the tank. Moreover, we need to remember that different wood species affect the water parameters in different ways. Thus buying the ready driftwood can be a good idea if you don’t feel comfortable with preparing the wood yourself for a long time. The aquarium wood available in fish stores or on-line usually need minimum preparation if any.

Popular aquarium driftwood available in aquascaping trade:

Are you looking for a nice piece of wood to your planted aquariums?! Here are 5 of many that you can find on the market!

Malaysian driftwood

This kind of driftwood is perfect for blackwater aquascapes. This one is native to Malaysia hence its name. It releases a moderate amount of tannins which is kind of beneficial for freshwater aquariums. Distinguished by the beautiful orange shade of the branches. It’s used mostly in larger aquariums due to its majestic shape so be sure that you have the right size of tank to fit it. Soaking in water is highly recommended before introducing it to the tank unless you want the water to become cloudy.

malaysian driftwood

Cholla wood

This kind of driftwood is characterized by its interesting structure and hole-like shape. It does not affect the water quality and can be safely used in every freshwater setup. Thanks to its construction, it can be a shelter for fauna, therefore it’s often used in shrimp tanks. Well.. Often is a big word here because this kind of wood has usually an astronomical price 😉

Manzanita driftwood

This is a very popular choice among fish keepers and we exactly know why! It decays super slowly, has the beautiful and flexible branch-like appearance and is extremely impressive. The branches break easily, thus it’s perfect to build up a custom wood composition. Perfect for biotope aquariums but due to its anti-bacterial features, it’s commonly used in fish tanks. It tends to lower the water pH, therefore it won’t work in setups that require pH above 7.

Below you can see the manzanita driftwood while building up a new hardscape.

manzanita driftwood by @rizzogrowz

Rosewood roots

This kind of driftwood is commonly used in aquascaping contests due to its majestic appearance. Usually used to create a forest-like arrangement. With this wood, you can create tunnels for your bettas or other labyrinth fish. The roots sink themselves which is very helpful in terms of preparation.

Bonsai tree wood

This topic wouldn’t be the same in aquarium hobby without the bonsai tree wood. This piece of art is hand-made and requires a lot of patience from the manufacturer (artist). However, if you decide on a real masterpiece, you won’t regret it. The bonsai tree will be surely the main point of the underwater aquascape! By attaching plants on it like mosses or small-leaved anubias and ferns around it, you will receive outstanding compositions catching any viewer’s eye. Plant selection is of course much wider. The only limit to getting a bonsai tree wood can be the price.

bonsai aquascape by Roy Smith


Of course there are many types of roots and aquarium driftwood that can be used in the underwater garden. However, before introducing them to the tank, have a read about particular specimens, how to prepare it, how it affects the water quality etc. Invest in slowly decaying driftwood that you can enjoy for years of aquascaping! Of course for a reasonable price!

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