Driftwood in Freshwater Tanks? Opinions?

PurityNWhiteRoses

Hey! I’m really having mixed feelings about putting driftwood in my two tanks. I’ve had driftwood for a while but took it out a few months ago. It started breaking down in my hands when I would do a deep clean of the tank. It made me anxious because I’m pretty sure decomposition of wood releases some nasty toxins and is a great home for fungus and bacteria. Should I be hesitant about it or not worry so much? Is it a mater of buying more more frequently rather that having it for a few years? My catfish used to love eating the algae off it and my fish loved pecking at it. Is it safe to try again or are there different alternatives I can try? Thanks!

~Purity
 

BigManAquatics

I have 5 decent sized pieces of driftwood between 2 of my freshwater tanks, with more in the garage soaking in a bucket. Haven't had issues with them. I tend to go with good solid wood, so far, like mopani or that dark malaysian wood.
 

Cinabar

It depends on the type of driftwood you use. A good quality hardwood like mopani, manzanita, or Malaysian driftwood can last many years, even decades under water. Things like cholla wood on the other hand will crumble after a few months. Of you have plecos or other grazing fish you’ll want driftwood for sure. And don’t worry about bacteria/fungus, it’s harmless to fish. They might even like to munch on it.
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

I have 5 decent sized pieces of driftwood between 2 of my freshwater tanks, with more in the garage soaking in a bucket. Haven't had issues with them. I tend to go with good solid wood, so far, like mopani or that dark malaysian wood.
Thank you! I had pretty big pieces but they started chipping and almost melting. Maybe they weren’t a type of hard wood? My LFS just said it was just driftwood so… they are clearly very specific. xD
 

BigManAquatics

Thank you! I had pretty big pieces but they started chipping and almost melting. Maybe they weren’t a type of hard wood? My LFS just said it was just driftwood so… they are clearly very specific. xD
My LFSs usually have tags right on the wood of what kind it is, so that may be a plus for me.
 

Linda1234

I have multiple pieces of driftwood in my tanks. One of the pieces is starting to break down after 2 years but I'm not sure it is a big deal. Most of the wood i buy is fairly hard and won't easily break down but this was a random piece from a local store - pretty nice shaped but obviously not that hard. I'm unaware of 'bad' toxin from such wood and i've not noticed any issues.
 

Tankseeker

How can there be other alternatives to natural drift wood,it’s supposed to breakdown that how fish are able to consume it
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

How can there be other alternatives to natural drift wood,it’s supposed to breakdown that how fish are able to consume it
I thought there might be something like coconut shells.
 

Tankseeker

Those don’t do the same things
There really nothing like driftwood
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

Those don’t do the same things
There really nothing like driftwood
Okay. Thanks for letting me know.
 

Tankseeker

Coconut shells are for shelter for fish and a place for bb too grow that’s about it
Whilst driftwood has the benefit of tannins
 

Linda1234

My fishes are very found of their coconut shells. I have a L333 that has claimed one and everytime I want to move him all I have to do is pick up the shell and move him 'cause he won't leave it. So while he is on the inside (usually stuck to the top); the other plecos are on the outside likewise usually stuck to the top.
 

Tankseeker

Do you have driftwood because plecos must have driftwood
 

Linda1234

Do you have driftwood because plecos must have driftwood
Not all species of pleco require wood; in fact many do not require wood.... but yes some of the common species of pleco do require wood.
 

Tankseeker

In this case the species is not known so it’s best to just put in drift wood
 

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