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Plants or Driftwood or Rocks

Driftwood or rocks with live plants growing on them have become an important item for most of the large aquatic plant nurseries.

Posted: February 16, 2011

By David Lass

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A part of the live-plants-in-an-aquarium trend (one which I heartedly endorse) is selling pieces of driftwood or rocks with live plants growing on them. The most common “planted driftwood” or rocks will usually have growing on them various Anubias species or any of the different Java ferns, as well as Java moss and Riccia. The latter is the only plant that requires more than average lighting conditions.

Driftwood or rocks with live plants growing on them have become an important item for most of the large aquatic plant nurseries, both in Florida and especially in the Far East. The cost may seem a little high, but when you consider that your customer is getting both a piece of driftwood and a live plant, the price seems to be more in line. The best thing about these ornaments is that they are very easy for the average hobbyist to keep growing -- with the exception of Riccia, the other plants have very low light requirements. All of the aforementioned plants also do not do well planted into the gravel of an aquarium. Especially with Anubias and Java ferns, these plants will die if their roots (they are actually rhizomes, rather than roots) are planted in the gravel. In fact, I usually just stick Anubias or Java ferns into crevices in rocks or into the holes of driftwood and simply let them root however they want to. In one tank, I simply left them suspended above driftwood, and within a couple of months they were rooted and growing.

For some reason, hobbyists seem more inclined to go for live plants on driftwood than they would for plants and driftwood separately. They are usually available in many different sizes with the selection of plants discussed above. I suggest that you bring some in -- they will sell well for you.

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Reader Comments

ROB    La Vernia, TX

8/8/2011 7:22:59 PM

I bought a pice of "drift wood with a plant from Petsmart the plant was one of those not true aquatic and soon died

Chocolate Delight    Moose Pass, AK

3/19/2011 10:12:51 PM

Hi Fred Padilla :) I have had driftwood that I found beach side of a lake and yes over a few years 2-3 it may begin to rot a bit but the trick is to make sure it is bone dry and then boil and dry it. Then weigh it down as it will float before becoming fully saturated. Then there is the wood you buy at fish stores such as Malaysian wood or moponi (sp?)wood. The Moponi wood is very hard and will sink right away. I don't think it will rot either. The Malaysian wood will give off tannins that for rainwater type fish (those that do better in soft water like south american fish) like. Takes a very long time to rot.

Fred Padilla    sodasprings, CA

3/15/2011 9:30:23 AM

Am I missing something here, doesn't driftwood rot with or without plants attached?

Fred P

please let me know

Alan F.    Ithaca, NY

3/2/2011 5:13:21 PM

I should have said Christmas tree MOSS. The internet turns up several scientific names for this plant. I don't know, because I am not a plant taxonomist.

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