Bogwood VS Driftwood

OOh, now there’s a question. Bogwood VS driftwood which one do people prefer. Is there really a difference or are they the same thing? Does bogwood originate from the same places as driftwood? Will driftwood look as good as bogwood? Well firstly let’s take a look at driftwood.

What Is Considered Driftwood?

Driftwood is parts of trees and big bushes that have been weathered, mainly by water. The bark would have rotted away and the wood underneath been left to the elements. Driftwood doesn’t necessarily have to come from the sea like most people are led to believe. In fact, it can also be wood that has come from rivers and lakes and washed up on shore. The water helps to give the wood its finish and its patina. Some types of driftwood actually come from certain desserts and are submerged in water until all the air pockets in the wood have been replaced by water. Once this happens the driftwood will then sink in your aquarium.

How Long Will Driftwood Last?

As we all know driftwood is an organic substance. If left out in dry conditions it will last a lifetime. But submerge it in water and that is a whole different matter. Once placed in a tank it will start showing signs of decaying after about two and a half years. After about five to six years the chances are you will probably have to replace it. The decaying process will be too far gone. Driftwood does not last forever!

Are Tannins From Driftwood Harmful To Fish?

Tannins are a term referring to ‘Tannic acid’ that is usually quite abundant in driftwood. Tannic acid sounds like a nasty old substance to be placed in your aquarium. But in fact, it is completely harmless to your plants and fish. When driftwood is first placed in your tank the tannins will more than likely turn your water brown. To overcome this problem presoak the driftwood in hot water for a few hours prior to placing it in your tank. This should pull most of the tannins out of the wood and reduce the colouration in the aquarium. Repeat the process until the water runs clear. Always keep an eye on your PH levels after adding driftwood, it does tend to change the levels slightly.

What Is Cholla Wood?

Cholla wood, as you have probably guessed is a type of driftwood. This is probably one of the cheapest driftwoods you will be able to buy. It originates from the mighty US and there is plenty of it. The wood itself is actually the inside of the Cholla cactus, which I find fascinating in itself. Cholla wood is always hollow throughout the middle and peppered with little holes in the side. This makes it a perfect hiding place for shrimp and small fish. If when you add your cholla wood to your water it floats, don’t panic. In 24-48 hours it will start to naturally sink to the bottom.

Which Driftwood For Aquariums?

There are several types of driftwood that are perfect for your aquarium, here are my top 4.

Cholla Wood

As mentioned above cholla wood is a good cheap type of driftwood for your aquarium. It is softwood and is readily available from most fish stockists.

Sumatran Driftwood

Sumatran driftwood comes from the roots of dead Mangrove trees. It is usually brown in colour and particularly popular for aquascaping. This is hardwood so you will get a fair few years out of it until it starts decaying.

Mopani Wood

Mopani wood originates from Africa. Mopani is very popular in the pet trade throughout the world, with aquascaping being top of the list. This twisty dark looking wood is scattered with dark knots and plenty of crevices for plants, shrimp, and small fish to thrive. It really can make a stunning feature in most types of aquariums. Overtime Mopani can make your tank a bit acidic, so this is worth keeping in mind.

Spider wood

Spider wood is one of my personal favourites to look at. It comes from the roots of Asian Azalaes. The main branch will have several small ones twisting off it. Spider wood is a softwood and probably won’t last as long as some of the other driftwood mentioned.

bogwood vs driftwood, which one is best?
Driftwood comes in all shapes and sizes

What Is Considered Bogwood?

Proper bogwood is wood that has been buried in peat bogs for a very long time. Due to the Peat, this wood can be preserved for literally thousands of years below ground level. True bogwood is quite hard to come by, for this reason, it is quite expensive to buy. Due to this a lot of the bogwood sold in shops and online isn’t true bogwood. Quite often it is just wood that has been dried out in the sun for some time. If you are paying top dollar for true bogwood be sure to find out its origin.

What Does Bogwood Do To The Water?

As with driftwood, bogwood WILL make your water turn colour. More than likely it will turn a brown colour then to a yellowish colour and eventually it will run clear. This is just the tannins being released. But fear not because if it is bought from a reputable aquarium stockist it will be just fine. Like with driftwood put it in boiling water and soak for a good few days before submerging in your tank. This will release most of the tannins. Bogwood may drop your PH levels just a small amount so it is well worth checking regularly for the first few days.

Where Can I Buy Bogwood?

I would recommend only buying bogwood from trustworthy aquatic stores. This to me gives you peace of mind to a certain degree. You really don’t just want to be chucking anything into your aquarium. In general, it should last considerably longer than driftwood, hence why the price is also generally higher.

To Conclude Bogwood VS Driftwood

Both bogwood and driftwood can look stunning in an aquarium if used right. Bogwood may be a bit pricier but it should generally outlast any type of driftwood. Before deciding on what you prefer why not go down to your local aquatic store and have a chat with the staff. You will usually find that they can point you in the right direction and be very helpful. Chances are they will have some stunning tanks on display that will be using both bogwood and driftwood.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is The White Fuzz On Driftwood?

    When you first add driftwood/bogwood you may end up with a white fuzz growing on it. Try not to worry it is just a harmless fungus. This usually clears on its own in 2-4 weeks.

  2. How To Sink Driftwood

    When you first purchase driftwood you may find it wants to float. All I do to combat this problem is give it a good soaking in a separate container. This will waterlog the wood and help in sinking it. This can take up to 2 weeks.

  3. Should I Always Boil Driftwood And Bogwood?

    The simple answer to this is yes. Boiling driftwood or bogwood will kill any bad bacteria, release the tannins and help in making it sink in your tank.

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