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How to Keep Driftwood From Floating (6 Easy Tricks)

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By Lindsey Stanton


Driftwood is a really good thing to have in most aquariums, especially if you have certain types of fish. For one, some driftwood definitely looks nice and it adds a homely feel to the fish tank. Moreover, fish tend to love driftwood because it gives them a place to hide and something to swim around. After all, people add driftwood to the aquarium for the benefit of the fish, for the most part anyway.

One problem that driftwood often suffers from is that it tends to be very buoyant and float to the surface of the water, often meandering around the tank as if it were a slow-moving fish. This, of course, is not ideal, as chances are that you want the driftwood to be stationary, not drifting around. How to keep driftwood from floating is the problem we are here to help you with today.

aquarium plant divider

The 6 Tips to Keep Driftwood From Floating

There are various ways which you can go about this. In all reality, getting driftwood to stop floating around is really not that hard. You do need the right tools and know-how, but with both of those things in your arsenal, you should not have any problems whatsoever. Let’s talk about the easiest ways to stop aquarium driftwood from floating right now.

1. Tie It Down

One way to keep your driftwood from floating around is to tie it down with something. This can be a little tricky as chances are that you might not have an anchor point in the aquarium to tie the driftwood to. However, if you have some larger rocks or decorations in the tank, you might be able to position the driftwood so that you can anchor it down to those things.

It might be a little tricky, but don’t despair, there are other methods too. Some people actually use some nearly transparent aquarium netting to strap the driftwood down to the substrate below, but this is actually quite hard to do.

large planted aquarium with driftwood and colorful fish
Image Credit: you sheng, Shutterstock

2. Glue It Down

Some people choose to literally glue down driftwood so it does not float away. Once again, you will need an anchor point to do this. After all, you can’t just glue driftwood to sand or mostly any other substrate. It would just keep floating with sand glued to it.

If you do want to glue it down, you might have to glue it to the bottom of the tank (depending on the depth of the substrate), or you can glue it down to a large and flat rock too.

Keep in mind that gluing it will cause some problems of its own, especially when it comes to cleaning the wood and rocks. On a side note, make sure to use a fish-friendly and nontoxic aquarium glue, or else you might harm your fish.

3. Weigh It Down

Some people choose to weigh down their aquarium driftwood. Gluing or tying a large rock on top of or to the side of the driftwood should do the trick.

goldfish in planted tank with rocks, wood, and decorations
Image: S-F, Shutterstock

4. Soak It

Some driftwood you can buy for aquariums is not treated with any special kind of coating. This means that they are less buoyant and can absorb water. If you soak a piece of driftwood in water for a few days, it should become waterlogged and heavy, thus making it sink instead of float.

5. Get the Right Driftwood

Simply put, you can buy driftwood that does not float. Some are specially designed or treated specifically to deal with this problem of floating around and not staying in one place. The heavier it is, the less the chance that it will float around (we have covered a separate post with our favorite 10 driftwood picks (which you can find here).

aquarium fish tank
Image credit: LizWinfreyV, Wikimedia CC 4.0

6. Use the Right Plants

Not all plants are ideal for attaching to driftwood, so it’s important to make sure you are using the right ones. You can find a good buyer’s guide on that here.

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Driftwood does come with many benefits for an aquarium, especially when it comes to the stress levels and happiness of your fish. Make sure that your driftwood doesn’t float around with the above tips. Nobody wants wood just floating around in the tank at will, and the above solutions are the best ways to prevent this from occurring.

Featured Image Credit: BLUR LIFE 1975, Shutterstock

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