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Manzanita Wood in Aquarium: All You Need to Know!

Manzanita Wood in Aquarium: All You Need to Know!

Many people have always asked me what wood is good for their aquarium. The answer is never farfetched, but there are many things to consider before putting anything in your aquarium.

After considering what is beautiful, good, decay-resistant, hard, and has many other advantages, definitely, advising hobbyists to go for Manzanita wood is what I do, and I will tell you everything about it in this post.

Can you put manzanita wood in Aquarium?

Yes, Manzanita wood has now become a favorite wood for aquariums because of its appearance and physical properties. It is also non-toxic and low in tannins, therefore, you can put it in your aquarium without the least fear.

Apart from the beauty that Manzanita wood adds to your aquarium, there are many other advantages that it offers. However, there are certain few steps to take in order to ensure that Manzanita wood is kept the right way. These and much other information would be treated intensively in this post. Check out this Manzanita Driftwood on Amazon.

The Nature of Manzanita Wood

The Manzanita aquarium wood is also called Mountain driftwood and Manzanita driftwood. You can get it as a sandblasted wood or you can have an aged one that has its bark already pilled off naturally. This is because woods with barks are not good for aquariums.

Not only for aquariums but even for terrariums and reptile tanks, Manzanita is fast becoming a favorite wood. It is a very beautiful wood, especially when it gets underwater, and it could stay under for a long time and not decay because it is naturally decay-resistant. It sinks in water easily immediately it is saturated and it is low in tannins as well as non-toxic.

The uniqueness of Manzanita wood makes it almost a must for all hobbyists. The wood has a set of beautiful colors to display if treated the right way. If it is sandblasted, it can bring out different colors, ranging from a creamy white to browns, and something reddish. When wet, these colors suddenly look brighter and more attractive.

When you put it into your aquarium, the wood may change into a more gray or dark brown or black color. Sometimes, if not cleaned consistently, it can get covered in algae.

For most aquarium owners, this is what happens. But as much as the color appeals, it wouldn’t be the best feature of the wood. It is an amazing shape that appeals more.

Wood in Aquarium

It is a very hard dense wood, and definitely one of the hardest you will find in the world today. While other woods decay at a high rate once they get underwater, this wood is highly decaying resistant. Interested in how long it can last underwater? Years! Manzanita wood can go on looking fresh and attractive for some decades in your aquarium.

So, there are two or more advantages to make out of that. If you get Manzanita wood now, you can be sure it will go on to remain for long, and not only that, you can be sure it won’t foul the water like some other woods do when they decay.

It is recommended for your aquarium because it is non-toxic. It is not oily, free of resins, and very low in tannins. It actually has some tannins, so it should be soaked in water for a while so that the tannins will leach out.

Although low tannins will not directly harm the fish, at least, not when it is not allowed to get too much that it makes the water too acidic, it can be very fast in changing the color of the water into a brown one.

When it discolors your tank, it can look less appealing, therefore, you are advised to soak it before putting it in your aquarium. You will get more info on how to care for Manzanita wood in this post.

Although the wood is very heavy, it will float when it is still dry. However, because of its weight, it does not need much saturation before it sinks, therefore, while you are soaking it to get rid of tannins, you can be sure it is getting saturated enough to sink at the same time. Within two weeks of soaking it, it should be ready to sink.

If not, there is nothing wrong in soaking it a little longer or weighing it down in your tank with a rock or any other heavy object that won’t affect the health of your tank. Soon, it will be heavy enough to stay at the base on its own.

What should you do before adding Manzanita to your aquarium?

As earlier said, you shouldn’t get so driven by the urge to have a beautiful wood in your aquarium so much that you ignore basic things. As amazing as the Manzanita wood is, if you will enjoy it and not regret anything, then, you must treat it the right way before adding it.

When you get Manzanita wood, if it has bark, you have to get the bark peeled. Not only Manzanita wood, but barks are generally not too advisable to be added to the aquarium as it can affect its health. With a wood stripped of its bark, it’s then time to soak it.

This is to achieve two purposes. The first, to make the tannins leach out, and the other, to make the wood saturated enough to sink. Of course, you don’t want it to stay above the water and distract the fish, as well as make the aquarium look unattractive.

I advised if you have enough time, you keep the Manzanita in water until these two goals are achieved. One can come before the other, most time depending on the size of the wood but it is okay to wait. If for some reasons, you are impatient, you can use the wood after one of the goals is achieved.

If the tannins leach out, then, you can hold the wood down to the base with a rock, tile, or slate, until it is soaked enough to stay on its own. If the wood has sunk, but yet to be void of tannins, if you can’t wait, you can put it in your aquarium.

Tannins don’t affect your fish, it can only change the color of the water, therefore, be prepared to change the water often, and soon, the wood would be void of all tannins.

In any case, the best thing to do is waiting for the tannins to be out, and the wood not sink, before adding it to the aquarium.

How long does Manzanita stay in water before sinking and getting void of tannins?

This strongly depends on various factors, but most importantly – the size of the wood. If you have got a small size, it can move to the base of the water as early as two days.

However, if it is a big one, it might take up to two weeks or even more to sink. We advise you to give it enough time, and if your neighbor’s sinks before yours, don’t throw yours off thinking its sick. Don’t forget the woods are in different worlds.

When you soak your Manzanita wood, you will find the water gradually changing in color. That is the proof the tannins are getting out. The tannins can be completely out within five days, and in some cases, it could take over two weeks too.

You can change the water as soon as the new color gets deep. One fast way to get rid of tannins is boiling the wood. The tannins would gush out as soon as possible.

For a very big wood, you may have to do the boiling periodically for about three days before it becomes completely tannins-free. Do I need to tell you to use a big and inexpensive pot?

The more the water soaks the wood, the faster the tannins leach out, and then, the colors if not immediately washed off, could leave some paintings on your pot.

Related Questions

Where do I get Manzanita wood from?

Leave the forest work for the forest guys, if you need Manzanita wood, you can go online to order from Amazon, eBay, and there are many other sites specialized in sales of woods, just go online. You can order a sandblasted one, or one that is not sandblasted.

Is Manzanita wood poisonous?

No! Manzanita wood is not poisonous, and it does not threaten the health of your aquarium in any way. The only thing about Manzanita wood you may not like is the tannins that change the watercolor, and the ways to avoid that have been discussed above.

Does manzanita wood sink?

Throw it in your aquarium and it will float, but soak it beforehand so it gets saturated, and it will sink. If it is taking too much time, you can hold it to the base with a slate or rock, and soon, it will be heavy enough to stay at the base on its own.

Marcia Pruzinsky

Friday 4th of September 2020

Hey, I just got 2 beautiful Tree branches of manzanita for my 55 gallon tank. Boil will be a little bit difficult do to the size and how spread the branches are, can I just leave it in the normal water For a couple of days? Thanks

Tammy Rossitto

Saturday 5th of September 2020

No, because it doesn't kill the bacteria and fungus that grow on the wood. But what you can do is carefully separate sections, boil, let dry the glue back together with aquarium safe silicone glue. Let dry Them place in your tank. BTW, are they peeled? If not, you might want to peel and sand them first before boiling, otherwise the bark will release tannins into the water and make your water murky.

Tammy Rossitto

Thursday 13th of August 2020

Did you boil it first? This kills all bacteria, fungus and any other organisms. It also helps sink the wood. Just take a lot big enough to hold the wood, add water to cover, bring to boil, and boil for 20-30 minutes. Let cool. BTW, you can do it in the microwave at full power, for about 15 - 20 minutes.

Christina Artisuk

Thursday 13th of August 2020

I bought the same Natural Red Manzanita Branch and my question is, is it supposed to grow white fuzz after to put it underwater? Do you know if this is okay for the fish? I don't want to take the branches out because it looks so pretty, but I don't want to kill my fish either. lol

Noah Johnson

Wednesday 29th of April 2020

Hey I was wondering... your process doesnt involve any sor of decontamination or disinfecting method. How are you sure the manzanita doesnt have any parasites, bacteria, fungi, etc?


Friday 10th of April 2020

We have a 15' x 20' pond. I want more area for the fish babies to be safe. Is it necessary to remove the bark or even leaves. Id rather it stay natural. Please email me.

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