The Best Aquarium Driftwood

Driftwood is a piece of wood that was broken off by tidal waves and strong winds and that often ends up washed onto the beach of a lake, river, or the sea. Its structure is made of seaweed, marine vegetation, and various types of ruins. Although it can cause inconvenience to coastal towns, driftwood can also provide food and shelter for some fish, birds, and other animals that live in or near water.

Driftwood makes a great addition to aquariums both visually and functionally. Apart from being a piece of decor, driftwood contributes to creating a natural setting for fish and serves as their hiding spot. However, it’s important to know what type of driftwood is suitable for your fish tank and how to prepare it properly to get the most of it. The recommended type of driftwood for aquariums is the self-sinking one that is firm and hard, so that it doesn’t pose a risk of disintegrating too fast. You should boil it before putting it into your tank to make sure that it’s sanitized and free of harmful substances that may contaminate the water.

We looked over dozens of aquarium driftwood aiming to find the highest-quality products you can use for your tank, relying on the type of driftwood, its firmness, shape, its sinking time, Amazon ratings, and what the customers had to say about it before making a final choice. We rounded up 5 best-rated aquarium driftwood you can use to add a touch of liveliness to your fish tank and create a safe environment for your fish.

Need help with choosing a fish tank? Take a look at our list of the best fish tanks.

Best Aquarium Driftwood Overall
GEOsystem Fluval Mopani Driftwood
Mopani driftwood by Fluval sinks instantly and it gives your tank an unusual and appealing look.

In terms of decoration and practicality, we identified GEOsystem Fluval Mopani Driftwood as a top choice. It sinks immediately, it serves as a hideaway spot for the fish, and it gives your tank a unique look.

The 5 Top-Rated Aquarium Driftwood

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Aquarium Driftwood OverallGEOsystem Fluval Mopani Driftwood3.9
Best Artificial Aquarium Driftwood Marina Mangrove Root Ornament4.2
Best Budget Aquarium DriftwoodSunGrow Cholla Woods4.2
Best Spider Aquarium DriftwoodPisces Medium Spiderwood3.4
Best Mopani Aquarium DriftwoodZoo Med Mopani Wood
3.8

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change.

Best Aquarium Driftwood Overall: GEOsystem Fluval Mopani Driftwood

GEOsystem Fluval Mopani Driftwood is natural hardwood that sinks instantly, which makes it ideal for fish tanks. Also, it’s a great decorative addition to aquariums as it usually comes in two tones, which creates an interesting look. Mopani driftwood needs to be boiled prior to being used to eliminate the harmful bacteria, but the boiling process doesn’t need to last too long, a couple of hours should suffice, according to the reviews.

Mopani driftwood by Fluval comes with sandblasted finish to prevent water contamination. However, some reviewers mention that it can make the water become sightly brown in color, but this effect isn’t harmful for the fish. This driftwood is firm and it offers a convenient hideaway for your fish. It can also serve as an anchor for live plants in your tank.

GEOsystem Fluval Mopani Driftwood Key Features:

  • Natural hardwood
  • Sinks instantly
  • Sandblasted finish
  • Sides often colored differently
  • Measures 4-10 inches

Best Artificial Aquarium Driftwood: Marina Mangrove Root Ornament

Best Artificial Aquarium Driftwood
Marina Mangrove Root Ornament
Mangrove ornament perfectly mimics the real mangrove root and it makes a stylish and safe addition to a fish tank.

If you’re looking for a way to make your fish tank more visually appealing, Marina Mangrove Root Ornament is a great choice. This ornament closely mimics the natural mangrove root and it creates a realistic setting for the fish as they can swim through or hide around it. It features intricate design with brown color and grey accent to imitate the natural setting effectively.

Mangrove ornament by Marina is made of non-toxic polyresin, so it doesn’t affect the chemical structure of the water. It’s safe to be used around fish and it doesn’t put their health at risk. It’s available in large size.

Marina Mangrove Root Ornament Key Features:

  • Closely mimics the natural mangrove root
  • Made of non-toxic polyresin
  • Brown color with grey accents
  • Measures 12.7 x 11.2 x 9

Best Budget Aquarium Driftwood: SunGrow Cholla Woods

Best Budget Aquarium Driftwood
SunGrow Cholla Woods
A 3-pack of cholla wood by SunGrow enhances your fish tank’s look and it’s a great playing and hiding spot for your pet fish.

SunGrow Cholla Woods is an excellent choice for fish tank decoration, according to reviews. Cholla wood comes from the dried husk of the Cholla cactus and it’s extremely durable. The pack contains 3 pieces, each 5 inches long, with a hollow center, which makes it ideal for playing and hiding.

Before placing cholla wood into fish tank, it’s recommended to boil it first and leave it soaked in fresh water with a bag of activated carbon. Once placed in the tank, it should sink to the bottom after 24 or 48 hours, according to the manufacturer. Cholla wood can also be used as a chewing toy and can serve as a source of food for shrimps.

SunGrow Cholla Woods Key Features:

  • Pack of 3
  • 5 inches long
  • Shallow center
  • Takes 24-48 hours to sink
  • Can be used as a chewing toy
  • Boil and soak in fresh water with a bag of activated carbon prior to use

Best Spider Aquarium Driftwood: Pisces Medium Spiderwood

Best Spider Aquarium Driftwood
Pisces Medium Spiderwood
A special type of wood with intricate branching will be just the thing you need to decorate the tank and your pet fish will enjoy swimming through it.

Pisces Medium Spiderwood features smooth surface and an elaborate net of branches that will add a touch of style to your fish tank. It’s made of natural wood found in Mongolia and it can be used in aquariums and terrariums as it is safe for all animals.

Spider driftwood has a tendency to color the water brown, so if you wish to avoid this effect, it’s recommended to leave it soaked in water for a few days. Apart from that, it’s also advisable to boil it before use to sterilize it and eliminate the excess tannins. According to the manufacturer, it will take 7-10 days for spiderwood to sink to the bottom of the aquarium.

Pisces Medium Spiderwood Key Features:

  • Smooth surface
  • Intricate branches
  • Tends to color water brown if not soaked in water
  • Takes 7-10 days to sink
  • Medium size, 18 inches

Best Mopani Aquarium Driftwood: Zoo Med Mopani Wood

Best Mopani Aquarium Driftwood
Zoo Med Mopani Wood
Mopani natural hardwood by Zoo Med features smooth surface and an interesting two-colored look to amaze your fish and your guests.

Zoo Med Mopani Wood is a two-toned natural wood that will look great in your aquarium or terrarium. This African hardwood has a smooth surface and plenty of textured details that, together with the color, add up to the natural look of the fish tank. Its unique appearance will also attract the fish and make it a delight to swim and play around, according to the reviews.

Mopani wood is extremely hard and dense, so it should sink immediately once placed in the tank. Also, it releases a large amount of tannins, so you will need to boil it for a longer period of time if you don’t wish the water in the tank to become brown. It’s also important to note that the tannins are particularly beneficial for betta fish, so bear this in mind if you are a betta owner.

Zoo Med Mopani Wood Key Features:

  • Two-toned natural hardwood
  • Smooth surface and textured details
  • Extremely hard and dense
  • Releases a large amount of tannin
  • Doesn’t rot
  • Small size, 6-8 inches long

Who Should Buy Aquarium Driftwood

Apart from being an interesting piece of decoration to enhance your tank’s look, driftwood also contributes to creating a safe environment for your fish. Adding driftwood to the tank mimics the fish’s natural setting, as it exists in rivers and oceans. Therefore, driftwood can stimulate the natural behavior of your fish by serving as a hiding spot or even the source of their food. Fish are naturally attracted to driftwood and enjoy swimming around or through it, so putting a piece in your aquarium will create the effect of their natural habitat.

Driftwood also plays an important role in sustaining lower pH levels in your tank, which benefits the majority of tropical fish as they require relatively acidic water conditions. When submersed, driftwood releases tannins, which help sustain acidic quality of the water and encourage the development of the good bacteria, while fighting off those that cause ailments. Tannins also increase the amount of oxygen in the tank and can further boost the immune system of your fish.

Apart from driftwood, you can get various other fish tanks accessories to enhance its good looks, so if you’re short on ideas, check out our lists of the best aquarium lights and the best aquarium pumps.

Best Aquarium Driftwood Overall
GEOsystem Fluval Mopani Driftwood
Mopani driftwood by Fluval sinks instantly and it gives your tank an unusual and appealing look.

Important Features to Consider

A quality aquarium driftwood should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting driftwood for your fish tank:

  • Natural vs. Artificial. You can opt for either genuine hardwood or artificial decoration that mimics the real wood. Natural wood may be pricier and it contains lower or higher amount of tannins. Artificial driftwood doesn’t release tannins, but you should make sure that you choose ornaments that are made of safe, non-toxic materials.
  • Sturdiness. The harder and firmer driftwood is, the better choice it is for aquariums. Sturdier driftwood takes less time to sink to the bottom of a fish tank, and unlike the soft one, doesn’t degrade fast, which means that it won’t endanger the tank environment and your fish’s health. Also, driftwood that is too brittle can easily break down and pose a threat to your fish.
  • Size. It goes without saying that you should purchase driftwood that fits the size of your fish tank. Bear in mind that larger pieces may need additional securing using rocks to be able to stand in the desired position, which also takes up space.
  • Structure and texture. Driftwood comes in all shapes and forms, and the type you need will depend on your personal preferences. Some types of driftwood have hollow center that works great as a hideaway, but it may not last as long the ones with tougher structure. For example, the stemmed shape of cholla wood and delicate branches of spider wood look sophisticated, but they may degrade faster over the course of time, so think about what’s important to you when deciding on the right aquarium driftwood.
  • Sinking time. It’s generally a good idea to choose driftwood that sinks faster as it can be put to use sooner rather than later. Also, driftwood that sinks faster is usually tougher and more durable, so it’s better suited for aquarium use.
  • The amount of tannins. Some types of driftwood, such as Malaysian wood, release large amounts of tannins that changes the water color into a shade of orange or brown. While this substance won’t harm the fish that prefer acidic conditions, it may cause trouble to the fish that prefer alkaline water conditions, so it’s important to think about it before making a purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is driftwood safe for aquariums?

Driftwood is safe for aquariums and beneficial for the fish provided that you choose the type of wood that is appropriate for fish tanks. It’s not recommended to choose soft and brittle wood such as cedar, willow, witch hazel or pine, as they disintegrate faster once in the tank. Your fish’s habitat is sensitive to any change, so you should be careful about the type of wood so as not to introduce toxic materials that may contaminate the water. Ultimately, you should always check whether the driftwood you intend to buy is labeled for fish tank use. If you opt for artificial driftwood, be sure to choose products that don’t contain chemicals that might pollute the water and endanger your fish’s health.

Do you need driftwood in an aquarium?

Apart from artistic purposes, the right type of driftwood can be extremely beneficial for the fish. It can help recreate their natural habitat, maintain lower pH water conditions that most tropical fish require, increase oxygen levels, and serve as a hiding spot.

Which wood is best for driftwood in an aquarium?

Firmer and harder wood is a great option for fish tanks as it sinks quickly after being submersed and it’s long-lasting, so it’s a worthy investment. Some common aquarium driftwood choices include Cholla wood, Mopani wood, Malaysian driftwood, Spider wood, and rose wood roots among others.

How long should you boil driftwood for an aquarium?

You should boil driftwood for at least a couple of hours to sterilize it and get rid of harmful bacteria and excess tannins. Driftwood that releases higher concentration of tannins, such as Malaysian driftwood may require leaving it soaked in distilled water for a few days. Manzanita is a type of driftwood that should never be used raw as it can pollute the water, so boiling is essential to fully sanitize it.

Other Aquarium Driftwood We Reviewed

Best Aquarium Driftwood Overall
GEOsystem Fluval Mopani Driftwood
Mopani driftwood by Fluval sinks instantly and it gives your tank an unusual and appealing look.

We looked at 20 other aquarium driftwood. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best aquarium driftwood list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your pet fish. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Cholla Aquarium Driftwood

NilocG Aquatics Cholla Wood 

NilocG Aquatics Cholla Wood

Natural cholla wood by NilocG Aquatics is sourced from a pesticide-free location, so it is safe for all pets. It will float until saturated, which usually takes between 24 and 48 hours.

Key Features:

  • Free of pesticides and fertilizers
  • Works great for various types of fish, shrimps, and crabs, as well as other small animals
  • Sinks after 24-48 hours
  • Pack of 5 pieces
  • Each piece is 5-6 inches long

Cost: $13

Substrate Source Cholla Driftwood

Substrate Source Cholla Driftwood

This stunning piece of freshwater aquarium decorations features cholla log covered with green Marimo algae, which grow naturally to form a pillow-like surface. Each piece is different and may vary in color and shape.

Key Features:

  • Covered with Marino algae
  • Enhances biological filtration
  • Suitable for freshwater use
  • Each piece varies in color and shape
  • 6-7 inches long

Cost: $24

Malaysian Aquarium Driftwood

Blue Ribbon Natural Driftwood 

Blue Ribbon Natural Driftwood

Malaysian driftwood by Blue Ribbon sinks easily and it doesn’t require additional weight to stay at the bottom. It’s a great piece of decor for aquariums and terrariums. According to the customers, it only releases a small amount of tannins.

Key Features:

  • Suitable for fish tanks and terrariums
  • Sinks easily
  • Smooth surfaces
  • Releases a small amount of tannins
  • Size varies from 8 to 12 inches

Cost: $11

Dr. Moss Malaysian Driftwood 

Dr. Moss Malaysian Driftwood

This deep brown Malaysian wood is an attractive addition to any fish tank. It’s durable and lightweight. It also releases high quantity of tannins, which colors the water orange.

Key Features:

  • Sturdy
  • Lightweight
  • Deep brown color
  • Sinks quickly
  • Tends to turn water orange
  • Size varies from 5 to 7 inches
  • Leave soaked in water 10-15 days before use

Cost: $22

Este Malaysian Driftwood 

Este Malaysian Driftwood

This aquarium driftwood comes in one large piece that will sink quickly to the bottom of the tank. According to manufacturer, it’s ideal for discus and angelfish tanks.

Key Features:

  • One large piece
  • Sinks quickly
  • Ideal for discus and angelfish tanks
  • Works great as an accent piece for reptile enclosures
  • Releases tannins

Cost: $23

Zilla Malaysian Driftwood 

Zilla Malaysian Driftwood

This aesthetically appealing brown driftwood is able to sink naturally, without scratching the tank bottom. It’s suitable for fish tanks and terrariums.

Key Features:

  • Deep brown driftwood
  • Sinks naturally
  • Suitable for fish tanks and terrariums
  • Releases tannins
  • Hand-selected
  • Size varies from 10 to 12 inches in length

Cost: $8

Artificial Aquarium Driftwood

AquaTop Mangrove Root

AquaTop Mangrove Root

Artificial mangrove root creates a realistic setting for your pet fish. It’s made of polyresin and it’s safe for freshwater and saltwater use.

Key Features:

  • Made of polyresin
  • Can be used in fish tanks and terrariums
  • Suitable for freshwater and saltwater use
  • Use warm water to clean plastic foliage
  • Medium size, measures 4 x 6 x 19.3 inches

Cost: $24

Hygger Aquarium Ornament 

Hygger Aquarium Ornament

This piece of aquarium decoration is made of resin and hand painted to add a realistic look to your fish tank. It’s a perfect shelter and easy to swim through due to its smooth openings that won’t hurt the fish.

Key Features:

  • Made of resin and hand painted
  • Smooth openings make it easy for fish to swim through or hide in it
  • Measures 6.3 x 2.5 x 2.3 inches
  • Recommended for fish tanks that hold up to 20 gallons

Cost: $13

Kathson Aquarium Cave

Kathson Aquarium Cave

This ornament is made of stable resin and has three openings that enable fish and shrimps to move through it freely. It’s suitable for tanks that hold up to 20 gallons.

Key Features:

  • Made of stable resin
  • Three openings
  • Soft edges
  • Suitable for freshwater and saltwater tanks
  • Recommended for fish tanks that hold up to 20 gallons

Cost: $12

Marina Hollow Log with Moss Cover

Marina Hollow Log with Moss Cover

This interesting piece of decor is made of polyresin and it features moss cover and mushrooms. Its hollow structure makes it work great as a hiding spot.

Key Features:

  • Made of polyresin
  • Moss cover and mushrooms
  • Hollow structure
  • Smooth edges
  • Measures 10.5 x 4.4 x 5 inches

Cost: $22

Niteangel Aquarium Driftwood

Niteangel Aquarium Driftwood

This aquarium ornament is hand painted to achieve the natural look of a tree stump. It’s made of resin and safe to use in freshwater and saltwater fish tanks.

Key Features:

  • Made of resin
  • Hand painted
  • Can be used in freshwater and saltwater tanks
  • Measures 10.2 x 5.5 x 7.2 inches

Cost: $21

Saim Aquarium Driftwood

Saim Aquarium Driftwood

Fish tank ornament by Saim is made of resin and it adds a realistic appearance to your aquarium. It features a small tunnel for the fish to hide in or swim through.

Key Features:

  • Made of resin
  • Easy to install
  • Features a tunnel for the fish to hide in
  • Measures 11 x 6.7 x 6

Cost: $17

Slocme Aquarium Driftwood

Slocme Aquarium Driftwood

This would trunk ornament is made of BPA-free resin and painted to mimic real wood and add natural look to your fish tank. It can be used in fresh and salt water and it’s safe for all pets.

Key Features:

  • Made of BPA-free resin
  • Painted to mimic real wood trunk
  • Suitable for freshwater and saltwater use
  • Measures 9.1 x 5.3 x 7.1 inches

Cost: $24

Tfwadmx Aquarium Driftwood

Tfwadmx Aquarium Driftwood

This piece of fish tank decor is made of resin and it’s suitable for fish, shrimps, and reptiles. It’s lightweight and it has sturdy branches.

Key Features:

  • Sinks easily
  • Made of resin
  • Sturdy branches
  • Safe for fish, shrimps, and reptiles
  • Measures 5.5 x 2 x 3.9 inches

Cost: $17

Underwater Treasures Petrified Wood

Underwater Treasures Petrified Wood

Aquarium ornament by Underwater Treasures brings natural look to your fish tank. It’s handcrafted and painted using high-quality materials.

Key Features:

    • Made of resin that mimics petrified wood
    • Handcrafted and painted
  • Safe for freshwater and saltwater use
  • Measures 7.65  x 3.75 x 9 inches

Cost: $20

Other Aquarium Driftwood

Bonsai Driftwood Aquarium Tree

Bonsai Driftwood Aquarium Tree

This piece of decor is made of genuine driftwood and crafted into small landscape pieces that work great for organic tank layouts. It contains tannins that reduce pH levels of the water.

Key Features:

  • Made of real driftwood and crafted into small pieces
  • Suitable for fish, shrimps, and turtles
  • Releases tannins
  • 4-5 inches long

Cost: $29

Emours Natural Driftwood Branches

Emours Natural Driftwood Branches

These natural wood branches are a perfect piece of decor for fish tanks and terrariums. The branches are sturdy, but lightweight, and each of them features a unique look.

Key Features:

  • Suitable for fish tanks and terrariums
  • Sturdy natural hardwood
  • Each branch has a unique look
  • Package includes 4 pieces
  • Each piece is 4 inches long

Cost: $14

Emours Sinkable Driftwood

Emours Sinkable Driftwood

Driftwood by Emours is Mopani wood that’s extremely firm and durable. No two pieces look the same and this type of driftwood will become the focal point of your fish tank.

Key Features:

  • Mopani wood
  • Firm and long-lasting
  • Visual variety
  • Hiding spot for fish and shrimps
  • Small, approx. 6 inches long

Cost: $9

Galapagos Sinkable Driftwood

Galapagos Sinkable Driftwood

Aquarium driftwood by Galapagos works great as a shelter and hiding spot for the fish, turtles, or reptiles. It can be used in saltwater and freshwater tanks.

Key Features:

  • Hiding spot for fish and other small animals
  • Suitable for freshwater and saltwater use
  • 6-10 inches long

Cost: $16

Pisces Manzanita Driftwood

Pisces Manzanita Driftwood

Manzanita wood by Pisces features a branchy appearance that will enhance the look of any fish tank. It’s long-lasting and safe for the fish and reptiles. However, it should never be used raw as it can contaminate the water, so be sure to boil it prior to use.

Key Features:

  • Branchy shape
  • Smooth texture
  • Long-lasting
  • Safe for the fish and reptiles
  • Measures 10 x 5 x 5 inches
  • Always boil before use

Cost: $24

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