You can bleach aquarium driftwood. The bleach solution should have approximately two teaspoons per gallon of water, and the driftwood must be soaked in this solution for around 1 to 4 days, depending on its size and density. It then should be rinsed and dried before placing it in the aquarium.
Whether you are using the driftwood purchased from the store or found outdoors, it needs to be cleaned thoroughly before keeping it in the aquarium. So, let’s now understand the bleaching process in detail. But first…
Why Do You Have To Bleach Driftwood?
Driftwood found by a lake, river, beach, etc., contains naturally occurring bacteria and algae that cause problems for fish. Bleach is used to eliminate these organisms so that they don’t harm the fish in any way. It’s more of a disinfecting process to make the driftwood safe for aquarium use.
No one wants driftwood that’s infested by insects and bugs.
Soaking the driftwood in a bleach solution helps eliminate the harmful bacteria lingering on the wood.
In addition, it helps preserve the driftwood by sanitizing it and prevents it from smelling.
It’s also important to note that some types of driftwoods are more prone to harboring harmful microorganisms than others.
For example, wood from trees growing near freshwater bodies will likely contain fewer bacteria than wood from rivers or streams where heavy pollution may have occurred.
Alright! Now that you know bleaching helps cure the driftwood, let’s understand the bleaching process in detail.
How To Bleach Driftwood For Aquarium Use?
Driftwood is popular for its aesthetic look in aquariums.
It provides a natural look to the aquarium, similar to the fish’s natural habitat.
While using driftwood in an aquarium, you need to be cautious as you don’t want to compromise the safety of your fish.
Driftwood taken from a lake, river, or beach is risky to household aquariums unless it’s treated appropriately.
The lakes and rivers are a source of many harmful bacteria that are hazardous to your fish’s health.
Besides, the collected driftwood can also contain many insects, bugs, dirt, and debris that need to be cleaned off.
Hence, it’s prudent to soak the driftwood in a bleach solution after removing the unwanted materials from it.
Given below are the steps to bleach driftwood for aquarium use:
- First, you need a large tub or a container. The size of the tub will depend on the size of your driftwood. The tub needs to be large enough to submerge the driftwood fully.
- To start the bleaching process, you need to put approximately two teaspoons of bleach per gallon of water or 1/4 cup of bleach per 5 gallons of water. The quantity of bleach solution will depend upon the density and size of the driftwood.
- Then you need to soak the driftwood piece in the bleach solution for at least a day. Alternatively, if you have a big driftwood piece, you might have to soak it for up to 4 days. If the driftwood floats, you can tie it to an anchor with a piece of string to weigh it down so that it submerges under the bleach solution. Soaking the driftwood in bleach helps kill the germs and bacteria from the surface and inside.
- After soaking the driftwood in the bleach solution, you need to soak it in pure distilled water until every trace of bleach disappears. Also, the driftwood needs to be thoroughly rinsed to ensure that all residual bleach is neutralized and removed.
- After rinsing the driftwood, it needs to be dried out completely. You can leave the driftwood piece in the sun for 2 to 4 days depending upon the density and thickness of the wood. When the driftwood is completely dry, it’s safe for aquarium use.
Safety Precautions To Take While Bleaching Driftwood
You should be cautious while bleaching driftwood.
Given below are some safety precautions to follow while bleaching driftwood for aquarium use:
- Don’t ever use a highly concentrated bleach solution. It’s harmful to the fish and live plants in the aquarium.
- Don’t mix bleach with other chemicals like soap. You need to use only bleach and plain water.
- You can use rubber gloves while bleaching driftwood as bleach may irritate your skin.
- Always keep bleach away from children and pets. Bleach fumes harm them badly.
- Avoid using any tools or tongs while bleaching driftwood, as they can dent or damage the driftwood.
Does Bleach Lighten Driftwood Color?
The color of natural wood is primarily determined by its age and environment.
As a result, the color varies from tree to tree, ranging from pale yellow or golden brown to dark brown.
That’s why when you buy driftwood pieces online, they come in a variety of shades of brownish-gray.
Bleach doesn’t lighten the driftwood color significantly. However, when you expose the driftwood after bleaching to natural sunlight for a week or so, the driftwood color can lighten somewhat.