How to Remove Algae From Driftwood -7 Ways with Prevention

Getting algae on the driftwood is a very common problem in any aquarium. But do you know what the hardest part of this issue is?

It’s getting rid of the algae. Because these are very persistent and can continue to grow in the most adverse conditions as well. So once they arrive they are not very easy to go down.

While some people love to let it grow to keep the aquarium looking natural but most people want it gone. And if you are one of them then let me tell you, you have made the very right decision. 

Because getting rid of algae off the driftwood properly from the aquarium is no doubt a very important activity as these algae can cause a lot more damage in your aquarium than you can even imagine.

And in this article, I have broken down the steps for you so that you can effectively eliminate these problematic things with the littlest effort possible. And along with the many chemical options to choose from, I have included all the information you need to know how to prevent the algae from invading your driftwood in the future.

So, without making any delay let’s get down to the business–

Physical Method of Getting Rid of The Algae From Driftwood

Driftwood Algae Removal Physical Method

Let’s first start with how we can clean the algae off physically from the driftwood:

  • Before going to any chemical treatment you have to scrub off the existing algae with a strong brush or a scouring pad to clean the layer and also to make sure most of these get totally eliminated in the process.
  • You can also use light grit sandpaper to rub the algae off the surface.
  • While scrubbing you can also use a mild bleaching solution in 1:19 ratio on the wood.
  • And sometimes, there are some small nooks in the wood that don’t get cleaned very easily. In this case, it is better to use a sharp object like a screwdriver or a  pointed knife and carefully dig around the nooks.
  • However, you have to make sure you work gently with it so that you don’t end up blistering the wood surface.
  • Another great way to remove algae physically is if you can get some silver flying fox fish in the tank. This is very effective because they are a great algae eater species.
  • Also, you can take out the wood from your aquarium and put it under direct sunlight for a few hours. The high heat of the sun should kill off all the algae.

Chemical Method of Getting Rid of The Algae From Driftwood

Driftwood Algae Removal Chemical Method

Now let’s talk about some chemical control to get rid of the algae from the driftwood:

Sadly most of the time only physical measures are not enough to kill them effectively so you have to consider taking the chemical approaches. 

1. Boiling Water

It is a great way to sanitize the driftwood by taking the piece of wood and boiling it in a large pot for at least 30 minutes.

2. Saltwater solution

You can mix a lot of salt in the water to make it a concentrated solution and pour it on the driftwood and let it soak for an hour or two. This solution will kill the algaes

3. Vinegar Solution

Cleaning driftwood with vinegar solution is one of the effective ways of control. Soak the wood in pure white vinegar and wait for some time. After that boil the driftwood for 30 minutes.

4. Bleach Solution

Use a big pot and use 1 teaspoon of bleach per half a gallon of distilled water. And let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes. The bleach will kill any algal spores present on the driftwood.

However, to make it safe for your fish, wash it very thoroughly with distilled water to get rid of any of the residual bleaches left on the wood.

5. Soda Solution

You can clean the wood using a cleansing soda solution. In a large pot mix the soda with hot boiling water. In this method, you have to keep adding the soda until it stops dissolving in the hot water. Then let the driftwood soak in this solution for at least 2 days.

If the wood starts to float on the water surface then put a rock over it or any other heavy object to keep it submerged. 

6. Hydrogen Peroxide Solution

This method is one of the strongest ways to kill the algae off the large driftwood. However, you have to handle this hydrogen peroxide very carefully. Pour it into a large container and let the wood soak for 5- 10 minutes.

 How To Prevent The Driftwood From Algaes In The Future

And lastly, let’s talk about what else we can do to make sure to always prevent the attack of algaes in the future:

  • First off you need to keep changing the water in your tank very frequently. Because if the water isn’t changed for a long time it can accelerate the growth of algae in the driftwood. It can even cause the extensive growth of black beard algae in the rocks of your aquarium.
  • These black beard algae are very hard to eliminate and it usually takes a lot of effort to get them cleaned off the surface
  • Another very important thing is to make sure you use a balanced amount of fertilizer in your tank. This is because too high levels of potassium, phosphates, and nitrates can cause deterioration of water quality in the tank. And this would only encourage the algae to grow even more.
  • You always have to keep the tank very clean because dirty water tends to attract the algaes and help its growth.
  • It’s better to use 1 ml of organic carbon in every 50 liters of water in the tank every once in a while. Because the organic carbon will help the plants to grow and the growing plants will take up all the nutrients that usually the algae needs. And as a result, the algaes will die naturally.
  • You need to clean off your filter sponges every month as they get blocked while filtering the dead algaes. 
  • Always try to maintain a CO2 level of at least 30 ppm. Because a reduced level of CO2 increases the growth rate of the algaes.
  • Since the algae seem to like too intense light you need to keep the light intensity of the aquarium low to medium.
  • If you have noticed any insects on the driftwood then for extra protection you can spray an insecticide over the surface that is safe for the aquarium fishes.
  • However, you have to leave the wood in a plastic bag for a few days just to make sure the wood gets rid of all the residual chemicals
  • If you have too many fishes in the aquarium then this could cause the production of more algae bodies in the water.
  • Another reason for algae growth in the tank is if you overfeed your fish. Because fish food contains phosphorus which helps the aquarium to grow more black beard algae. 
  • A big reason for this problem is if the plants in your aquarium are poorly treated. Algae cannot compete with healthy plants to get nutrients for their growth and development. So you have to take care of your aquatic plants.
  • And if you have very few plants in the tank then this can also help the algae to compete with the plants. This is why make sure you have a lot of aquatic plants in your aquarium.
  • Replace the old soil of your tank with a new batch of soil. This is because old soil supports the growth of black beard algaes to a great extent.


When the driftwoods in your aquarium have started growing algaes on them, you have to think smartly and treat the wood in the best way possible. 

And also, you have to inspect and take a close look at what might be the reasons causing the growth of these organisms in your tank in the first place. Because if you can find out and take control of the causes then you won’t have to face this problem in the future.

To achieve these goals I hope this article has been informative enough to be used as your quick hand guide in telling you how to clean these annoying algaes from the driftwood. If you have any more questions related to this topic, ask away in the comment section below.

Howard Parker

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