Goldfish Aquarium Driftwood Care

Goldfish Aquarium Driftwood Care

Adding a few pieces of aquarium driftwood helps create a tank environment that is similar to the natural habitat of a goldfish and will make the goldfish inhabitants feel more at home. The nooks and crannies of aquarium driftwood make an ideal places for goldfish to seek out and safety when stressed. Not only will algae tasty to goldfish grow on these pieces of aquarium driftwood but many species of aquatic plants can be anchored to them. Java Mossescan be warped around a piece of aquarium driftwood to make a great spawning mop and protect goldfish fry from being eaten.

There are added risks from adding aquarium driftwood into a goldfish tank. The pH of the tank water may become more acidic by adding organic materials such as driftwood. Wood tannins can leach out and cloudy the water a tea color. Fungus, disease and parasites can be introduced into the goldfish tank. Driftwood from softwood trees can disintegrate in the tank water, cause the filters to clog and lower the water quality.

These risks can be minimized if care is put into selecting what aquarium driftwood is to be added into the goldfish tank. Care for your goldfish by buying pretreated aquarium driftwood which requires less preparation than driftwood that is found on stream banks or ocean beaches. Many times these pretreated pieces have been soaked, stripped of excess bark, branches removed, bleached and boiled to remove wood tannins and other pollutants. There are driftwood pieces that are anchored to bases, all natural without a base and there are even imitation fake pieces of driftwood. Aquarium driftwood that contains a base won’t require soaking to keep it from floating and gives it extra stability for when a goldfish nudges it. Fake pieces of aquarium driftwood contain no tannins to leach out and won’t add to the bioload by decomposing.

Aquarium Driftwood


Standard driftwood contains hardwood species like maple, oak, walnut, aspen, hickory, ash and more. These specimens have been worn down and smoothed by the constant movement of streams and oceans or sand blasted on the shores. They are easily collected along the beaches and streams in local waterways (Make sure it’s legal to remove driftwood before taking any). Savanna Root usually consists of a few long slender branches that contain a few shorter branches that shoot off them. Mopani driftwood is tangled with a twisted appearance. Malaysian driftwood is usually full bodied with a few branch-like pointed edges. Bog wood is a mix match of species found in South of the United States and usually has a solid look.

Adding it into an Aquarium

  1. Select a nice piece of hardwood driftwood with character
  2. Remove excess bark, branches and debris using a scrub brush and warm water
  3. Boil the aquarium driftwood in a large pot to remove tannins
  4. Replace the water and boil again
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 if tannins continue to change the water color
  6. Soak it a bucket of water for a few days
  7. (Optional) Soak in bleach water and rinse thoroughly
  8. (Optional) anchor aquatic plants using fishing line
  9. Place into goldfish tank (push into substrate if needed)

Photo: Jellaluna

Reviewed By: Tim Winter

Tim Winter has a strong affection for pets and wildlife. His years of experience caring for various types of pets has led him to share his knowledge with others on the best practices in pet care. Tim holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications.

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