What Kind of Wood Can You Put in an Aquarium

What Kind of Wood Can You Put in an Aquarium?

Here are 28 types of wood that can be used in an aquarium. We have added a comparison chart that explains all of their features.

What Kind of Wood Can You Put in an Aquarium? There are various kinds of wood that suitable for the aquarium, you should check the size, firmness, price, and species of fish.

What Kind of Wood Can You Put in an Aquarium?

Driftwood provides several options for designing your fish tank. The addition of beautiful wood turns your aquarium into an outstanding aqua-space. There is no harm in adding driftwood to the fish tank unless the choice is accurate.

28 Types of wood best for an aquarium

Woods Size Hard or soft Suitable Tank size Expensive or cheap More or less common
Alder 1-2 feet soft Small Less expensive common
Applewood 3-5 feet soft large expensive uncommon
Malaysian driftwood 9-16 inches hard large expensive common
Mopani 10 *25cm hard large expensive common
American 12-15 inches hard large Less expensive uncommon
Coconut husk 8-18mm soft small cheap uncommon
Bogwood 30-40cm hard large expensive common
Sumatran 25cm-150cm hard Small or large expensive common
Marsh root 10 inch hard large expensive uncommon
Azalea root 8-16 inches soft small Less expensive common
Manzanita 20-24 inches hard Small or large expensive common
Maplewood  13 inches soft small cheap uncommon
Chollawood 5-6 inches hard large expensive common
Mesquite Different sizes hard large expensive uncommon
Ribbonwood 10 inch hard small expensive uncommon
Beefwood 1-2 feet hard large expensive uncommon
Madrone 30-40 inches hard large expensive common
Corksrew willow 10-20 inches soft small cheap common
Buttonwood Different sizes soft large Less expensive uncommon
Redmoor 10-20cm

Or 40-50cm

soft Small or large expensive common
Bonsai 12-24cm hard Large or small expensive common
Rosewood 10-20 inches hard large cheap uncommon
Sabawood 15 inch soft large expensive uncommon
Tigerwood 20-30 inch hard large Less expensive uncommon
Hemlock roots 25-38 inch soft Large expensive uncommon
Janglewood 30-40cm hard large cheap uncommon
Grapewood 6-36 inch soft Small or large cheap uncommon

Driftwood has a lot of benefits for the inhabitants. Establishing a natural environment in a fish tank improves the health of its inhabitants. Their only concern is that the wood should be safe, and the installation should be proper.

There is a wide variety of fish tank driftwood with different shapes and colors. Every type is not suitable as it may release toxic chemicals and cause harm to fishes. Recognize which type is most appropriate for your aquarium.

Alder wood

Alder is common near lakes, streams, and rivers. Alder is a beautiful piece of wood to add to your aquarium. Also, it is safe for fishes. It is present in North and Central America, Europe, and Asia.


Applewood is a combination of many apple trees present in the Temperate zone of the Northern hemisphere. There is no harm in adding applewood into your fish tank.

Malaysian driftwood

It is dark in color and has a linear shape that affects water chemistry. Color ranges from medium brown to black. It gives the fish tank a slightly dark color and lowers pH, and is suitable for fishes like tetras or cichlids that usually like to live in dark-colored and acidic water.

It has a rough appearance. It is common in South East Asia. Malaysian driftwood does not float in the water and sinks, so you can easily place it in the fish tank.

Mopani wood

It is also known as African wood and has the scientific name colophospermum mopane. It comes from a mopane tree and is very heavy, dense, and stiff in structure, hence acts as a supportive base for other smaller woods or plants. It is non-toxic and safe.

It has a gnarled shape and two-tones color pattern that makes it more interesting. It has nodules that extend from its length and a flowing stream along with dark knots.

Mopani wood leaches tannin and humic acid and lowers the pH of water, making it acidic. Mopani wood helps soften water. You can add sand or gravel to the aquarium.

It may also grow a fungal-like structure, so it is better to soak it before placing it in the fish tank. It is so expensive in comparison with others. It also sinks in the water, so you do not need to fix it.  

American wood

American wood has a very light color and different shapes. It usually floats in water, so you have to fix it on the surface with the support of stones or other objects. This is used to anchor aquarium plants in gravel.

Planted wood

The most beautiful aspect of this wood is that it has plants on it. Commonly these plants are mosses, ferns, or Anubis plants. It gives a stunning look to the aquarium. These plants are tough and can easily thrive in aquatic conditions.

Coconut husk

These wooden husks are appropriate for your fish tank. You can add or remove coconut fibers from it as per your choice. They do not affect water chemistry. Cut the coconut in half and place it in water as a cave for shy fishes.


Bogwood is a combination of oak, pine, and yew tree wood. Its color ranges from reddish-brown to jet black, including dark brown. It is the most common type of wood for aquariums.

The environment preserves it for hundreds or thousands of years, in anaerobic conditions in a bog. During this time, the tannins enter it and cause discoloration.

It has many shapes and sizes. You can also attach plants to it. It can leach tannins, so better soak it for one or four weeks to get rid of these tannins. A less amount of tannins is helpful as they act as an antibacterial agent.

There is also a slight fungal type growth on it when to put it in the aquarium. You do not need to be upset as it will stop after a few weeks. Some fishes that are herbivores can eat it without getting any harm.

If you have catfish in your fish tank must add bogwood. It serves as a feed to these fishes. Catfish do not digest the wood, but when it scarps off the wood surface get organic materials such as algae and other microscopic organisms. Catfish can easily digest these organic matters.

Sumatran driftwood

Sumatran driftwood is a nice feature to add to your aquarium. It comes in various sizes and shapes with thick roots and flowing grain structure. The color of Sumatran driftwood ranges from medium to dark brown. You can choose according to your fish tank size. It is a piece of mangrove root.

It does not leach out tannins but has fungal growth that will stop with time. It lasts long. Soak it before use so it will sink in water. It is also a food source for wood-eating fishes.

Marsh root

Marsh root originates in eastern Europe and is a hardwood. You have to soak it for a longer time to reduce the release of tannins. It also passes through the preservation process like bogwood.

Marsh root driftwood is less elegant than others because of its origin from roots and trunk pieces. It comes in dark brown to black color but does not discolor water due to the long soaking process. Also, it does not change the pH of the water and sinks rapidly in water.

Azalea root

Sometimes, known as spider wood. It is safe for the aquarium and comes in beautiful colors and shapes, having fine branches. It does not leach out tannins that ensure no change in color and pH of water. Sometimes it develops fungal growth. 

It has a unique angled shape and gorgeous golden brown color that glows under the aquarium’s lighting. It gives a visually aesthetic appearance to the aquarium because of its thin, intricate, beautiful branches.

Manzanita wood

Manzanita has a unique shape with a beautiful blend of orange, brown, and red color. It has many branches and is usually very expensive. The structure varies from large and twisting to very fine and intricate. 

It is native to Oregon, Texas, California, and New Mexico. It contains a less amount of tannins, thus does not change water pH. It has the resistance for decomposition hence are long-lasting and very strong. It can convert a simple fish tank to a beautiful and wonderful aqua-space.


Maplewood is pale in color and is a good option for your fish tank. It does not release tannins, thereby does not affect watercolor.


Cholla wood is wood with a unique pattern. It belongs to the genus cylindropuntia and originates from the cacti plant. It is difficult to obtain. It has a hole-like structure with spines and a hollow core.

Cholla wood is strong and long-lasting. It has an intricate tabular pattern on the surface that makes it unique and the best choice for an aquarium. It provides a place for smaller plants to fit in the pores. It also releases tannin and changes water pH.

Mesquite driftwood

Mesquite has beautiful branches and comes in large pieces. These large pieces are so unique and stunning. 


Dark color ribbon wood needs curing before placing it into a fish tank. Due to its dark color, a light substrate can better complement it. It has a beautiful textured and curvy structure. Ribbonwood is driftwood that is handcrafted and is non-toxic.


Beefwood is a thick tube-like structure that is preferable for taller fish tanks. It creates a root system to which you can add many plants. 


Madrone can be an excellent choice for your aquarium due to its beautiful lined texture. It has a superb flowing structure, which enhances the beauty of your aquarium. Also, it is long-lasting. It has dark red patches on the pinkish-brown base color. It leaches out a less amount of tannins, therefore, decreasing the pH of water.

Corkscrew willow

It has fine and thin branches that can make your fish tank look outstanding but does not last too long as compared to others.


Buttonwood has a blanched black and white texture. It gives an antique look to the fish tank. It is a suitable addition to the minimalist ones. Decorate it with dark substrates and beautiful green plants. 

Redmoor wood

Redmoor has branches and a root system with a twisted and tangling pattern. It has a high amount of tannins that strain the water and drops water pH. To reduce the number of tannins, boil and soak them before adding them to the fish tank.

Redmoor has a soft outer layer that may be a source of fungus or bacteria. These microorganisms consume the loose wood and then dies. It usually floats in water, but soaking will remove this issue. It gives a three-dimensional outlook.

Bonsai driftwood

Bonsai pieces are handcrafted, with smaller branches. The addition of plants makes it looks like a tree structure. It creates a natural look inside your fish tank. They are super unique due to their intricate design and shape. 

It is a combination of different woods that is safe for fishes and other species inside the aquarium. It improves water quality and softens water by lowering its pH. Also, it acts as a perfect home for inhabitants of a fish tank. 


Rosewood gives a stunning effect to the aquarium with its unusual thick branches and root system. Greatly varies in shapes and structures.

It creates tunnels for fishes to swim through them. It is the best choice for planted and freshwater tanks. It does not require any form of support as it is self-sinking. You can also add two filters in the fish tank.


Tigerwood is pale textured and is dark brown. It is a diverse piece with an exceptionally extending structure, but it is not thin. Instead, it has branches and is voluminous.

It is a light-weight wood that is available in different sizes and shapes. You can also add plants to it. It does not stain the water. You should also have to make wood safe for the aquarium.

Saba wood

It is a unique color wood that can add so much glamour to your aquarium. 

It has a smooth and buffalo horn style surface. It has beautiful brown color shading and streaking all over the piece.

Hemlock roots

Hemlock is a rare piece but an excellent choice for your aquarium. It comes in a large size. It is safe for the tank’s inhabitants and provides an aesthetically beautiful look to the aquarium.


Janglewood is driftwood with stumps. It has a protruding and elaborated structure that is preferable for large aquariums. Having a faded color and a dull shading appearance, it comes out as a stunning centerpiece.


An interesting fact about grape wood is that it has a unique smell and flavor. It also supports mold growth, which is harmless and drops the pH of water.

It contains a high amount of sugar as compared to other woods. Add plants to this beautiful piece to establish a natural environment.

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