Driftwoods are a fascinating addition to any aquarium. While they might not look like anything special laying around, they add a lot to any tank!
While getting driftwood is no hard task, getting driftwood to sink can be a mammoth task. Quite often, driftwood keeps floating for days in your pool with no sign of sinking.
So, users often ask, how long does it take for driftwood to sink?
The time required for driftwood to sink depends on a number of factors. These include the type of wood, amount of pores in the wood etc. Also, many steps can be taken to make them sink early. However, driftwood can take any time from two days to two weeks to sink on its own.
In this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about driftwoods! From their technicalities and how to make driftwood sink. Let’s begin!
How Long Does it Take for Aquarium Driftwood to Sink
Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. How long does it take for driftwood to actually sink? In all honesty, there’s no fixed answer to it. However, keeping in mind a few factors, we can make assumptions.
Driftwoods are of many types. But, a certain set of characteristics define whether driftwood will sink or float. So, we’ve categorized driftwood into categories to help you get an idea.
As mentioned before, driftwood has pores all over them. The pores are generally filled with air that keeps them afloat. But, with a bit of effort, you can remove the air from the pores and replace it with water.
So, you might ask, how do you waterlog driftwood?
Waterlogging can be done in a plethora of ways. These include boiling, baking, soaking. Scraping off and removing debris, etc. However, boiling is the most simple and consistent way to waterlog a piece of driftwood.
Generally, if your driftwood is dense enough and has been boiled properly, it will sink within two days to a week.
Natural, Non-Porous Driftwood
Non-porous driftwood is the best kind of driftwood for any tank. Since they have little to no pores, they waterlog easily and sink fast. Driftwood like the Malaysian Driftwood, African Mopani, Bogwood etc. are examples of such.
Since they don’t have a lot of pores, they sink pretty fast. However, it depends on factors such as the size of the tank and wood, porousness etc. However, generally, this kind of driftwood will sink within the first two weeks to a month.
Natural, Porous Driftwood
This is where all the trouble begins! Porous driftwood has pores filled with air and tannins. So, if you put them directly in your tank, they will float. However, if you’ve chosen the right driftwood, it would sink.
Generally, they can sink for up to a few months. But, if you’ve chosen the floating kind, it won’t sink regardless of the time. So keep that in mind. However, it will take at least a month in normal circumstances.
Check the table to know more about driftwoods and their sinking time-
Approximate Time To Sink [Size-Wise]
|Type of Driftwood||Time to Sink [Approximate timeline]||S||M||L|
|Waterlogged||48 hours to 2 weeks||48 hours||Less than 2 weeks||2 weeks|
|Natural, non-porous||2 weeks to a month||2 weeks||Less than 30 days||At least 30 days|
|Natural, porous||At least a month||15-30 days||3-4 weeks||30 days|
Follow this table to know the accurate time required for your driftwood to sink.
Why use Driftwood in an Aquarium?
People often think that driftwood is only useful for the design aesthetic. However, there are many subtle benefits of driftwood that we often overlook. Here are a few benefits of driftwood on your fish tank-
It might sound surprising to the non-enthusiast, but driftwood is a source of food. Certain species of carps like the Common Pleco love driftwood.
Since they’re small, them eating your Placos don’t add any visible changes to your driftwood. However, the amount of driftwood they devour depend on the type of Placo. Some Placos like driftwood more than others!
Balancing the pH of your tank is crucial. Yet, this is one of the key areas where most aquarium owners struggle. So, if pH is a matter of concern for you, driftwood might be the right option for you!
So, you might ask, why does driftwood lower pH?
There are certain varieties of driftwood that can lower the pH of your tank. They contain chemicals that lower pH to make the water more suitable for their needs. Common examples of these include Malaysian driftwood and African Mopani wood.
Also, using driftwood leaves no side effects, unlike different chemicals. So, they’re a natural solution to your pH issues as well.
Environment for Fishes
Having driftwood in your tank can make the environment very tolerable for certain fishes. There are fishes that prefer to stay hidden in the tank, and driftwood provides the right environment for them.
This also allows you to experiment with multiple sorts of fish. While the driftwood provides them with a place to hide, the rest of the tank allows other fishes to grow.
The Health of Your Aquarium
The biggest impact of driftwood on your aquarium is on its overall health. Driftwood helps promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your tank. This bacteria eventually breaks down toxic components and keeps your pond healthy.
Also, the large surface area of driftwood gives these bacteria enough space to grow. This facilitates the growth of other physiological functions such as the growth of algae on rocks.
Since driftwood is common in most water bodies, they give the fishes a natural feel. This makes the fishes feel more at home and get used to the tank easier. Finally, they also release tannins in the water, which help promote the natural Oxygen in the pond.
If you’re someone who wants their tank to stand out, driftwood is what you need! The presence of driftwood can make your tank look like a riverbank. They add a unique sense of serenity to your tank!
Also, driftwoods like mopani can be used to attach aquatic plants to your driftwood. These can help you if you’re struggling with the growth of certain plants. So, If you have java moss not growing, getting driftwood can facilitate the growth.
The tannins in your driftwood can make your water look darker. Known as the “blackwater” aesthetic, it can make your tank look really unique. If you’re looking for driftwood aquarium ideas, you’d be surprised how unique some of the designs are!
How to Get Driftwood to Sink in an Aquarium Quickly
Getting driftwood to sink isn’t that hard. Although it can be a bit time consuming, it’s better to put them in your pool prepared. Otherwise, it will keep floating for months troubling the other things in your pool.
If your driftwood floats all of a sudden, it can damage the flora and fauna of your tank. It can also be risky for the outside of the tank as well.
So, If you want your driftwood to sink quickly, here’s a list of things you can do-
Method 1: Cure your Driftwood
Curing is the easiest way to waterlog your driftwood. The pores of the driftwood contain tannins and air that need to be taken care of. Curing it opens up the pores and fills them up with water. Thus, waterlogging the driftwood.
In order to cure your driftwood, take a large bucket and fill it up with dechlorinated water. Cover the bucket and leave the bucket for a few days. Most driftwoods will be prepared for the tank in one or two weeks
Since your driftwoods will be releasing tannins into the water, the water might get dark. In that case, change the water whenever it changes colour. When you see there’s no change in colour after changing the water, place it in your tank
Method 2: Boiling Driftwood
The most common way to waterlog driftwood for your tank is by boiling it. Boiling helps the tannins to leach out faster and waterlog the driftwood soon. It also sterilizes the driftwood removing any harmful substances from it.
Take a large pot and fill it up with water. Then place your driftwoods and let them boil. If your driftwoods are of the standard size, it will take 1-2 hours to completely sterilize and prepare them for the water.
If your driftwood is large in size, it’ll need some additional support. In that case, use something heavy like rocks along with the driftwood to keep it in place. It’s a bit more time-consuming. But it’s the only way to deal with driftwoods that are hard to deal with.
Reasons Why Your Driftwood is Not Sinking
Generally, it takes some bit of time for your driftwood to sink. Thus, it’s important to be patient with your driftwood. However, knowing why your driftwood doesn’t sink could help you solve the problems faster.
Possible reasons behind driftwood not sinking are-
Type of Driftwood
The type of driftwood you have determines whether it will sink or not. While driftwoods like the Malaysian driftwood will sink quickly, many varieties might not sink at all. Especially, when you collect your driftwood, it might not sink because of its material.
For this reason, we recommend getting your driftwood from a trusted vendor. In that case, you’d know what kind of driftwood you’re using. And thus know how long it may take to sink.
Size of Driftwood
Although this is self-explanatory, this is a key factor. The bigger the driftwood, the more time it would take for it to sink. Also, if you have driftwood that’s almost as long as your aquarium, it might not sink at all.
So, when choosing driftwood, ensure that the size is suitable for your tank.
The core factor that determines whether your driftwood would sink or not is its density. The denser the driftwood, the easier it will sink. The density causes its upthrust to increase, dragging it down.
For this reason, choosing driftwood based on its density is important. Not only do the denser varieties of driftwood sink quickly, they’re also sturdier. Lighter variants can get brittle and break if they stay in water for too long.
The number of pores in the driftwood can impact its floating as well. There are pores in the driftwood that are generally filled with air. So when you place the driftwood on water, the air makes them float.
If you have driftwood that’s too porous, it’ll keep floating upwards unless you take steps. However, unlike other issues, you can deal with porousness by taking a few steps.
How to Keep Driftwood Weighed Down in an Aquarium
While waterlogging your driftwood is a good idea. In some cases, it won’t work. In that case, you need to take a few steps to keep your driftwood underwater. You need to weigh your driftwood down to keep it in place.
So, how do you weigh down driftwood?
Weighing down driftwood can be done in a number of ways. Generally by attaching heavier objects to the driftwood or by sticking it to the bottom. You have to choose the right step based on your aquarium.
Here are a few ways you can weigh down the driftwood in your aquarium
Put Weight on Top of Your Driftwood
The easiest way to keep your driftwood weighed down is by adding weight on top of it. You can place heavier objects like rocks and aquarium decor on top of your driftwood. This will prevent them from moving, thus keeping them in place.
Also, they’re often tied to the top of the tank. So, the weight of the tank can put them in place. While it’s not the safest, it can be done.
However, it’s pretty risky for your tank. If the weights move slightly, the driftwood will start floating again. This sudden movement can hurt the fish in your tank. So, unless you’re sure about the placement, we don’t recommend this.
Use a Piece of Slate
The easiest and safest way to keep your driftwood underwater is by placing a piece of slate on it. Drill a few holes on a piece of slate and screw it with your driftwood. Afterwards, place it in your tank.
In this case, choose your slate carefully. The weight of your slate should be higher than the buoyancy of the tank. Otherwise, both the slate and the piece of driftwood will keep floating on your tank.
However, make sure the screws you are using in your tank are of stainless steel. Other materials can leach iron in your tank. Which is detrimental to the health of the fish in your tank.
Also, if you have snails or similar animals in your tank, we don’t recommend screws. It can hamper their movement and injure them.
Glue Your Driftwood
If you think using a slate is too much work, you can opt for glue instead. You can apply an amount of glue to your driftwood and place it on the bottom of your tank. However, this is very technical.
To begin with, you need to make sure your substrate doesn’t inundate your driftwood. Otherwise, it’ll be of no use.
The most important factor to take into account, in this case, is the quality of your glue. Make sure it’s non-toxic and won’t harm your plants and animals. Also, don’t add too much glue as it might make the water murky.
With that, we’ve discussed all there is to know about driftwood. And we’ve discussed how to make them sink!
Can I use the driftwood I collected from nearby water sources?
If you have a good idea about driftwoods that you can. However, you have to sterilize it and make sure it’s waterlogged before putting it in your tank. Otherwise, you might damage it for the worst.
How to get stains off driftwood?
If you have minor stains on your driftwood, they’ll get off when you’re boiling them. If the stains still stay on, apply some vinegar to the water. Then use a steel brush to rub the stains off.
How to get the color from driftwood into my fish tank?
If you like the “blackwater” aesthetic, you need to let the tannins leach into your tank. In that case, get non-porous, natural driftwood and leave them in your tank. Curing or boiling them before won’t give you the colour.
We love driftwood! From the design aesthetic to the benefits to the tank, they’re a must-have for any tank! However, it’s very annoying if your driftwood keeps floating. Thus, knowing how long it takes for driftwood to change is a game-changer!
We’ve tried to discuss everything you need to know about driftwood here. We hope this solves your queries!