Driftwood for Pleco (Benefits, Types & More)

Best Driftwood for Pleco

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A majority of people believe that driftwood is simply a decoration. 

We can tell you that’s not true as driftwood has multiple integral functions to enhance the condition of your aquarium. Among many other handy features, it provides near-perfect water parameters and is an excellent source of food for plecos.

We think it is crucial to know the ancillary qualities of driftwood and its relationship with plecos before deciding if you need it. So, you may find our guide on “driftwood for pleco” helpful.

Do All Plecos Need Driftwood?

No, not all Plecos need to eat driftwood; in fact, some prefer algae over it. Different species eat it with different degrees of interest. Those who eat it have a special mouth adaptation that allows them to scrape off the wood easily. 

Why Do Pleco Need Driftwood

Driftwood is a multi-purpose element in an aquarium, and plecos need it for a lot of reasons. Some of these are:

Food Source

Panaque fish like red-eyed plecos use driftwood as a source of food and graze on it. It is a rich source of nutrients like cellulose and lignin, which is known to improve the digestive system in fish. 

Water Chemistry

This wood changes the chemistry of water, leading to both positive and negative effects depending on the species present in your tank. The Mopani wood from Africa is a good choice if you have aquatic creatures that are habitual of living in soft water bodies like the Amazon river. 

Hiding Spot

No matter how aggressive or friendly the fish are, they need a few hiding places at the end of the day. Ironically, the more hiding spots you keep in your aquarium, the more reluctant the fish will be to use them. That’s why natural-looking places for shelter are very important, and driftwood fits in perfectly in that parameter because of its twisted and gnarled shape.

Maintains The Hygiene

Driftwood acts just like substrate and filters do in an aquarium. It’s safe to say that it is a natural and more sustainable alternative to water filters. Although it cannot entirely replace such filters, it is still a viable option to aid the cleaning process. 

Furthermore, this multi-purpose wood maintains the whole ecosystem inside a water tank. It helps beneficial bacteria flourish. 


Not only is driftwood packed with multiple benefits, but it is also aesthetically pleasing to look at. It adds a real reservoir or river-like look to the tank. 

Additionally, the wood contains tannins that seep into the water and add a reddish touch to it. Many hobbyists find this blackwater aesthetic beautiful and intriguing.

Best Type Of Driftwood For Plecos Reviewed

Best Cholla Aquarium Driftwood: My Pet Patrol Cholla Teddy Bear 

We’re starting our list with the cholla aquarium driftwood from Pet Patrol that are available singly and in combo packs ranging from two to five pieces. Each piece is uniformly cut into equal sizes with extra hollow centers. 

You can either use it straight out of the box or boil it for a few minutes to get rid of extra tannins. Moreover, it is an excellent product for increasing the overall stability of your aquarium. 

3, 6, 9, 12 Inch All Natural Teddy Bear Cholla...
  • All pieces uniformly cut. Extra hollow centers.
  • All natural, organic free form cholla wood. ALL ANIMAL SAFE.
  • Seller collected--no middle man.
  • Ready for tank use out of box or can be boiled/soaked to remove excess tannins. End use determines if...
  • Lowers and buffers pH naturally. Creates a biofilm that is beneficial to animals and overall tank...

Best Malaysian Driftwood: Dr. Moss Aquarium Luxurious Set

Malaysian driftwood is ideal for maintaining a rustic and wildlife-like vibe in your water tank. Brownish in color, this natural wood branch system is durable and lights up the environment effortlessly. 

The best part is that the product is obtained from the wild to be especially used in terrarium tanks or aquariums. Also, the pieces are sinkable, selected by paying special attention to meet the standards of fish tanks. 

Best Manzanita Driftwood: CURRENT CURRENT USA Manzanita Branch 22-inch Tall

Moving ahead, we have the molded Manzanita driftwood that adds depth and texture to an aquarium by forming a network of real-looking branches. It looks real because it is created using actual chunks of Manzanita wood.

The majority of aquatic creatures, including shrimps, snails, fish, and both freshwater and marine water plants, are safe with this one. Additionally, it doesn’t alter the pH of the water, so rest easy knowing nothing in your tank will leach or rot.

CURRENT USA Dark River Brown Manzanita Branch...
  • READY TO AQUASCAPE – Included weighted base sinks branch immediately, requires no pre-soaking and will...
  • AQUASCAPE LIKE A PRO - Create a beautiful, stunning aquascape effortlessly while adding depth, texture...
  • AQUASCAPE LIKE A PRO - Create a beautiful, stunning aquascape effortlessly while adding depth, texture...
  • READY TO AQUASCAPE Included weighted base sinks branch immediately, requires no pre-soaking and will not...

Best Mopani Driftwood: Fluval Mopani Natural Driftwood

Our next type of driftwood is so unique that no two pieces resemble each other in shape, and the reason is its extraction from exclusive natural sources. And as a result, there are no fixed dimensions for this product.

Along with giving a safe abode to fish, the Fluval Mopani driftwood adds a sense of natural beauty to the terrariums.

Fluval Mopani Natural Driftwood, Aquarium...
  • All-natural driftwood providing a decorative accent to your aquarium
  • Mopani driftwood ornamental root provides a safe haven for fish and adds natural beauty to aquariums and...
  • Each piece of driftwood is unique and no two pieces will be the same shape because this is a natural...
  • Sandblasted finish eliminates all extraneous material
  • Approximate dimensions: 12 inches by 18 inches (due to this being a natural product, sizes are not exact)

Best for Value: Zoo Med Mopani Wood for Aquariums

Last but not least, this Mopani driftwood from Zoo med is medium-sized and comes in a pack of two. Just like other options, it is also obtained from real-life wood and is cleaned after sandblasting. In addition, it has an exotic mottled color and a smooth surface with tiny texture details.

(2 Pack) Zoo Med Reptile Mopani Wood for...
  • 2 Pack Zoo Med Reptile Mopani Wood for Aquariums, Size: Medium.
  • Decoration made out of real wood that has been sandblasted clean.
  • Smooth surface, textured detail and unique mottled color.
  • Gives any terrarium a natural look and feel.
  • Wood does not float and will sink in aquariums.


Can Bristlenose Plecos Live Without Driftwood?

No, Bristlenose plecos need driftwood to survive. Even though they do not feed on it, they need this wood to rasp on. It doesn’t contribute to their diet, but it does help with digestion.

Plecos depend on driftwood for the digestion of the food they eat. Additionally, it cleans the water and keeps it free of toxins.

Best Place To Buy Driftwood For Pleco?

You can buy driftwood pretty easily from any local aquarium or pet store as it is a commonly available product. However, you can always order it online from sites like Amazon if you don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your home.

Final Thoughts 

Driftwood is an ideal wood to promote the authentic and natural temperament of your plecos. Since it is prevalent in all rivers, lakes, and other natural water bodies, all fish naturally feel intrigued by it.

Furthermore, it is a good source to enhance the water quality, oxygenation, and aesthetic appeal of a fish tank. We strongly suggest going ahead and trying it!

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Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over 25 years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

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