How to Anchor Live Plants to Driftwood for a Natural Décor Scheme

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Driftwood adds a distinct look to an aquarium. To make sure you pull off this style right, follow our tips for properly using driftwood as a live plant anchor.

When it comes to creating a natural décor scheme in your planted tanks, there are many little things you can do. Choosing a natural substrate like sand or gravel is a great place to start but your options do not end there. One of the best things you can do to cultivate a natural appearance for your planted tank is to anchor some of your live plants to pieces of driftwood. The effects are amazing and the process is surprisingly simple.

Preparing your Driftwood

Before you even think about adding a piece of driftwood to your aquarium you need to make sure it is properly prepared. Untreated driftwood may contain dirt, debris, and even harmful substances that could have a negative impact on your aquarium – this is why you need to prepare, or “cure”, the driftwood before you use it. The first step is to thoroughly scrub the driftwood with a bristle brush to remove any dirt or debris from the surface. After cleaning the wood you then need to soak it for a period of one to two weeks so all of the harmful chemicals leech out of it.

Choose a bucket or container large enough to submerge the entire piece of driftwood at once then fill it with tap water treated with a dechlorination agent. Place the driftwood in the container and use rocks or other heavy objects to weigh it down. Then, all you have to do is wait for one to two weeks until the driftwood has completely cured. During this period of time you may need to change the water in the container. As the driftwood cures, the natural tannins in the wood will leech out of the wood and into the water, causing it to darken. When this happens, simply drain the container and refill it with fresh water. When the water remains mostly clear for several days in a row you will know that the driftwood has cured completely.

Anchoring the Live Plants

Once you have properly cured your driftwood you can then anchor the live plants to it and add it to your tank. Place the driftwood on a stable surface and play around with the arrangements of your chosen live plants. Some of the best plants to use with driftwood are those that have sturdy roots – examples include java fern, anubias, hemianthus, and glossostigma species. After you’ve decided on the arrangement of your plants you can get to work attaching them.

Trim your plants as needed to fit the piece of driftwood – keep in mind that the plants will grow so you’ll want to make them fairly small to start. Place the plants in the desired arrangement and then tie the roots to the driftwood using dark-colored thread. Make sure to wrap the thread around the roots several times so they are held securely in place. Over time, the roots will grow into the driftwood, giving you a natural-looking piece of aquarium décor.

In following the steps outlined above you can quickly and easily enhance the natural beauty of your tank by adding live plants anchored to driftwood. For the best results, be sure to prepare your driftwood properly before adding it to your tank.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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