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Driftwood In The Aquarium

By Clint Norwood
Driftwood can be a very beautiful addition to your freshwater Aquarium.

An example of driftwood in the aquarium, tastefully done. © Gino Mancini
When choosing Driftwood for you Aquarium try to find a piece that has a natural look, something you might find in a creek, not a piece that is obviously sawed off or artificial. Caves, holes, nooks and crannies will add interest.
The best display is achieved when the "centerpiece" driftwood is not centered but put slightly to one side. And of course, live plants with Driftwood is a natural.
To treat uncured Driftwood for use in an Aquarium you should sterilize it by soaking it in a mixture of a quarter cup of chlorox per gallon of water. After such a treatment it will need to be held in a container of fresh untreated water for a period of at least a week, with the water being changed completely daily.
If your Driftwood floats, use a rock or brick to hold it down in a temporary container; it should soon waterlog and then sink on it's own. This can take up to a month or longer.
Driftwood has a tendency to leach out a little tannin, causing the water to be tinted a light brown color. Just like in the Amazon River. This will usually clear up in time after a few water changes. It's no big deal. And some driftwood will cause a slight lowering of the pH. This is certainly no problem in a plant tank or in any tank inhabited by acid loving fish such as Angelfish, Tetras, Barbs etc.

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