Adding aquarium driftwood to your fish tank can enhance the natural beauty of the aquatic environment. I've always been partial to having real plants, and structures in my fish tank when possible. Using driftwood as decoration, gives your fish a more comfortable environment, and looks great too! Plecostomus love to hide in the nooks and crannies of aquarium driftwood, while loaches often find the shelter of driftwood a welcome hiding spot.
I've seen pieces of aquarium driftwood in the local fish store, but I'd recommend checking out eBay for some really great finds and deals. I bought two pieces of driftwood that somebody had taken from the Ohio River. So what do you look for when you're purchasing driftwood for your fish tank? Number one, make sure that it's safe to use in an aquatic environment. Some driftwood sold for reptiles may be dangerous, and contain harmful chemicals that would kill your fish.
The next step, is to plan how many pieces of driftwood you'll need for your aquarium. I like to take out a pen and paper when I'm planning my fish tank layout, and draw some ideas. I'll also emphasize that sometimes less is better. I usually will use only two to three pieces of wood. It depends on the size of the tank. If your fish tank is large enough, think about getting a piece of driftwood that's large enough to act as a centerpiece for your aquarium. Then add a few smaller pieces around it. I bought a piece of driftwood that actually doesn't sink, and I wedged it into my tank higher up. The fish really enjoy swimming around it. Check it out in this video.
Usually the driftwood you buy commercially is clean. If it isn't, you want to use a brush to scrub any dirt or loose material off of it. Of course, never use any soap, detergents, or cleaning materials on a piece of fish decoration that will be placed in your aquarium. You want happy fish; not dead fish.It's best to waterlog your driftwood before placing it in your tank. Soaking the driftwood, for a period of one to two weeks, will allow any tannins that may be in the wood to release. Change your water if it becomes murky and be sure to use dechlorinated water for the procedure.
For small pieces of aquarium driftwood I recommend boiling them. Boiling in hot water for around 2 hours will not only sterilize your driftwood, but releases those tannins, that may be present.
Be sure your water level is low enough to fit the new decorations in your tank. Refer to your plan for placement, and arrange accordingly. Your fish should start exploring their new environment soon after!