FYI – Using Woods in your aquariums

When purchasing wood we’d always recommend to soak bogwood and driftwood for a good week before introducing into your aquarium. This is usually to prime the wood, removing the majority of tannins and minerals present in the wood.

You can buy wood pre-soaked or wood that has never dried out such as Marsh Root that requires very little work before putting in the aquarium (just open the bag and put it in).

After introducing wood into the aquarium, you may find that – even if you’ve soaked it for weeks (or months!) on end- fungus may bloom on the wood’s surface


This can take many physical forms, but is mostly recognisable as small white dots or a cloaking white gloss or blanket over the wood. Quite often these fungal blooms are the cause of the introduction of heat (from your aquarium heater) or just mature Aquarium water reacting with your wood. Most of the time, however, the fungus is harmless to your fish.

It is sometimes recommended to take out the wood and run boiling water over it &/or scrub it to kill off and remove the fungus but sometimes it may find a way back onto the wood. Usually, the fungus will die back after a week or so, so do not despair. What you’re looking at is wood that is not used to being recently submerged and this is the process in which it is gradually breaking down to a level in which it can be fully aquatic. Sometimes, if the wood itself is not completely dead it will rot in the aquarium. In this instance it is advisable to remove it from the environment, placing it outside to become weathered and to die off.


What is the fuzzy stuff you ask?

The fuzz growing on the driftwood is some sort of bacterial fungus or mold which is harmless to the livestock in your fish tank. It can grow right away, few weeks, or a months after you introduce a piece of new/old driftwood. It is not aesthetically eye pleasing but don’t worry too much about it. It’s treatable

What causes it?
The fish tank and water is filled with all sorts of beneficial bacteria. Whenever you introduce items into your tank, especially organic matter such as a piece of driftwood, bacteria or fungus will find a place to colonise and grow. The driftwood will release excess carbohydrates and delicious nutrients that the bacterial fungus love feeding on. There may be some organic matter on the wood that the bacterial fungus maybe feeding on. It’s just part of the decomposition process of the organic matter (driftwood) introduced into an oxygen and bacteria rich environment. It’s just nature doing it’s job.

How can I do to get rid of it?
As unpleasing as the site of the white fuzzy film on the driftwood, it is harmless to the fish. Some fish, shrimps, and snails seem to have a liking to the fuzzy film and love munching on it. Before deciding what your course of action, our preference is always find a natural way to deal with any sort of outbreak or problem. In this case, since it’s a part of the decomposition cycle, we would just give it time for the fuzz to go away. The fuzzy film will disappear after a few days, or weeks.

-Fish such as otocinclus, bristlenose plecos (bnp), and snails will love to eat this film off for you; however, keep in mind that if you introduce snails into your tank….they may become pests to you in the future.
-Taking the piece of wood out and scrubbing off the white fuzz when it looks too unpleasing to your sight
– You can treat the fuzz with:

  • Seachem Excel
  • Metricide
  • Bleach
  • Hydrogen peroxide

We are not big fans of these, some people do use it, but we’d say it would be the very last resort

Can I source my own wood?



If you do decide to source any wood for yourself always check whether it is okay for your aquarium as some wood can leak toxic sap and elements into your water.








Here is a list of native plants that you can use in your aquarium/pond, providing that the piece you use has already fallen off the tree naturally.

Hawthorn, Apple, Cherry, Birch, Alder, Rowan, are some that are good to use.



As a general rule, if its a moderately hard wood, then you are fine to use it. Oak is the best as its one of the hardest we have here in the UK.





Heather wood looks particularly good in nano tanks, with it’s gnarled texture and twisting stems.



NOTE: Always make sure the wood is a long time dead, never green or freshly cut.
You should never take from protected sites.

Evergreens are not good for your aquarium.





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