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...
  • All pieces uniformly cut. Extra hollow centers.

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. 

Dr. Moss Aquarium Small...
  • DRIFTWOOD FOR AQUARIUM MAKEOVER: Natural durable aquarium wood branches can always light up a fish tank in no time. Its brownish, rustic and wild nature and details will create massive visual...

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 Manzanita Branch...
  • AQUASCAPE LIKE A PRO - Create a beautiful, stunning aquascape effortlessly while adding depth, texture and a lifelike touch of nature to any aquarium. Our molded Manzanita is the perfect hardscape...

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...
  • All-natural driftwood providing a decorative accent to your aquarium

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...
  • 2 Pack Zoo Med Reptile Mopani Wood for Aquariums, Size: Medium.


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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Gabriel R

Gabriel R

Welcome to Aquarium Fish City(AFC). I’m Gabriel and I have been keeping fish for almost fifteen years. My father was a huge fan of tropical fish and our childhood home had a huge aquarium which he tended and kept hundreds of species of fish over the years. I was always fascinated by our fish tank and would spend hours staring at the fish. They seemed to all have different personalities and would interact differently with one another. Here, you can find out everything you need to know about keeping fish and aquarium maintenance.

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