How To Make Bonsai Driftwood For Aquarium? (9 Easy Steps)

Have you been cultivating bonsai trees and aquarium fish separately for many years? 

If so, then making bonsai driftwood for the aquarium can be an excellent idea for you. But don’t know; how to make bonsai driftwood for aquarium?

Then you are visiting the right site. This article will demonstrate the simple 9 steps to make your own driftwood for aquariums. So don’t leave us here; instead, keep reading and exploring the process. 

Bonsai Driftwood For Aquarium

How To Make Bonsai Driftwood For Aquarium?

You can make your own bonsai driftwood aquarium tree by following some simple steps. Let’s have an overview of the steps.

  • Collect dry woods 
  • Cut The Woods And Soak Them
  • Peel The Barks
  • Sterilize The Woods
  • Sanding The Woods
  • Bond Every Pieces of Wood
  • Bond Driftwood On The Stone
  • Creating Leaves
  • Place The Driftwood In The Aquarium

We know it’s too hard to follow the steps without knowing them in detail. So it’s time to learn them elaborately. 

Step 1: Collect dry woods 

You have to collect various sizes of floating aquatic plants’ branches from lakes, rivers, or streams. If it’s tough to collect the floating dry woods, you have an alternative option. There are some trees, which woods you can use for this. But yes, you have to burn some extra energy to make them float. 

List of safe wood for freshwater aquariums 

  • Mango
  • Pear
  • Alder
  • Cherry
  • Guava
  • Oak
  • Hawthorns
  • Sycamore
  • Indian almond
  • Apple
  • Birch
  • Beech

List of unsafe wood for freshwater aquariums 

  • Pine
  • Walnut
  • Spruce
  • Cypress
  • Horse chestnut
  • Yew (as it is toxic)
  • Lilac (as it is poisonous) 
  • Ivy (as it is poisonous)
  • Grapevines (as it rots very quickly)

You have to choose the woods that are safe for aquarium water chemistry and won’t do any harm to the fishes. 
Read More: Can you grow a bonsai tree in terrarium?

Step 2: Cut The Woods And Soak Them

How To Make Bonsai Driftwood For Aquarium

After collecting the pieces of driftwood, you have to cut their thin branches with bonsai scissors or shears. Because they are not suitable for making driftwoods. Then soak the branches and ensure they are completely submerged in the water. You can add a heavyweight on the woods. 

Keep them soaking for 2-4 weeks, and in this time, the outer layer of the branches will be soft enough to remove the barks. The tannins will leach into the water for soaking and make the wood safe for the aquarium water. You have to change the old soaking water every week and replace the branches with new water. 

Step 3: Peel The Barks

After 2-4 weeks, you will find the barks coming themselves from the woods. Peel all the wood barks; you can take a knife to peel the sharp corners of the barks. Now, they will look fresh. 

Step 4: Sterilize The Woods

This time you have to make the wood safe for fish. You can do it by following two methods. One is applying liquid carbon, and another is boiling the wood. 

For the first method, apply liquid carbon dioxide with a paintbrush to all the wood parts to kill bacteria, fungus, spores, and algals as much as possible. 

For the second method, place a large saucepan with water on the stove and fire it. Now soak the wood in the saucepan and boil them for 1-2 hours for sterilizing. If the whole wood won’t soak, first, boil one part and then boil the next part. 

Step 5: Sanding The Woods

Sanding is an essential part of making any surface rough, and this roughness helps to hold the joint together efficiently. You can take a small piece of wood sandpaper and gently rub it on the wood where you have to bond them. You can sand one space for 2-5 minutes to make the space rough. 

Step 6: Bond Every Pieces of Wood

Before bonding the several parts of the woods, try to visualize your bonsai driftwood design. You can draw the design on paper to properly execute your plan. Here you can also follow two methods, one is using a drill and nails, and another is using wood or epoxy glue. However, you can also use both to make your driftwood bond long-lasting. 

Using a drill and nails, you have first to make a small hole where you want to join another wood piece with the drill machine. Now, anchor the other pieces of wood with nails. The nails will hold both of the pieces together.

Using wood glue is easier, faster, and cheaper than nailing. You have to apply 1-2 drops of wood glue on the first piece of wood and hold the second piece on the glue for a few seconds. During this time, the glue will dry and make a permanent bond between them. As wood glue is waterproof, there is no chance of losing the bond when you set it into the aquarium. 

Step 7: Bond Driftwood On The Stone

After attaching all the pieces of dry wood, your driftwood is ready. But as it doesn’t have any bonsai soil on its lower part. So you have to bond a small piece of stone with it to make it able to stand alone. You can use the stone which you already have in your aquarium. 

Bring one or two pieces of stones, depending on how much driftwood you make. Now apply super glue on the stone and hold the driftwood lower part on it. Within a few seconds, it will offer you a permanent bond. But you have to wait for 24 hours to be completely cured. 

Step 8 – Creating Leaves

Your bonsai driftwood looks awkward and artificial without leaves. So you have to attach leaves on the top of every branch of the driftwood. Using Moss is one of the best options for creating leaves that look natural as they are green. You will find different types of Moss in the market; you can choose Christmas Moss, Marimo Moss, and Java Moss. 

First, you have to unfurl them to create leaves with Moss. Then bond one ball of Moss on top of every branch of your driftwood with super glue. When you complete bonding all the leaves on every branch, your driftwood will look absolutely amazing and be ok to place in the aquarium. 

Step 9: Place The Driftwood In The Aquarium

At last, you have reached your cherished moment, and that is placing your driftwood in the aquarium. Open the aquarium lid, carefully place the driftwood, and close the lid. 

Now, when you turn the switch on of the aquarium’s light and the fish will swim around the driftwood, it looks like a bayonet. 


Finally, we have reached the endnote of our discussion on how to make bonsai driftwood for aquarium. Hopefully, you have enjoyed the writing and learned the steps. 

So, why late? Start collecting your bonsai driftwood materials, and make the driftwood to add beauty to your home. Oh, yes, don’t forget to share your experience with us by leaving a comment in our comment section. We’ll love to hear from you. 

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