10 Safest Malaysian Driftwood for Aquariums

If you want to add a little natural life, color, and possible protective qualities to your aquarium, Malaysian driftwood can help to achieve all of this.

 However, Malaysian driftwood for aquariums cannot be found anywhere and its properties are not found in every kind of driftwood – Malaysian driftwood is truly one of a kind, from its shape and size to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.


The benefits of Malaysian driftwood in particular can far outweigh the negatives (such as driftwood taking up too much space in a tank) when it comes to the health and happiness of your aquarium and the life within it.

To understand why Malaysian driftwood is the best kind of driftwood, it is important to do proper and relevant research, which this guide will include for your convenience.

This small piece of Malaysian driftwood from Zilla, a reptile-specific brand, is relatively cheap but sturdy.

Each piece of Malaysian driftwood is unique and different from one another, but none are bigger than ten to twelve inches in length.

 Zilla prides their malaysian driftwood on having several functions aside from being a decoration, which include but are not limited to: deep brown driftwood that mimics the natural environment of your aquarium life, a horizontal piece that can be used as a bridge or basking dock, and lasts a long time even when submerged in water.

This brand is primarily gauged towards aquatic reptile owners but this Malaysian driftwood can also be used to benefit fish or shrimp.

Estes Company Inc Malaysian Driftwood - Medium

This piece of Malaysian driftwood comes from Estes Company Inc., each piece having a unique shape and size.

The actual size of the driftwood from Estes varies depending on the availability, with this piece being advertised as being somewhere between six and ten inches in length.

Estes advertises this as being approximately 12″ x 3.5″ x 3″ for a medium piece,

with their legal disclaimer stating that the actual driftwood may end up being much smaller than this (as small as six inches and as big as ten inches).

To clear up any discrepancies, Estes can be contacted for questions prior to making a commitment.

Estes' Malaysian Driftwood [Set of 2] Size: Large (3"H x 11"W x 14"D)

Estes offers a deal of two pieces of high-quality Malaysian driftwood that are classified as “large”. This deal bundles two pieces of driftwood in one order, each measuring about 3″H x 11″W x 14″D.

This is a good choice for an aquarist looking for reasonably priced driftwood for one large tank or two smaller tanks.

These two pieces of driftwood weigh a whopping eleven pounds together, making this one of the better deals for your money.

As usual, each piece of driftwood is unique and never the same; the two pieces you receive will no doubt be different from one another, so do not need to worry about repetition in your aquariums.

Este Malaysian Driftwood

This piece of Malaysian driftwood from Este is tall and sturdy, allowing for both bottom-dwellers (such as plecos) and fish who make their territory towards the top of the tanks to coexist peacefully.

Este also advertises this piece as good for having in terrariums without water, or to act as a bridge from land to water for semi-aquatic reptiles such as turtles.

 Este lets you know that they source their driftwood from California and that they are associated with a reptile brand called Fluker’s, which is reputable and trustworthy.

Este’s company is based within the United States of America, with specific locations within California.

Estes Gravel Malaysian Driftwood - Medium

For a medium piece of Malaysian driftwood, Estes offers a $14 deal for a pound and a half piece of Malaysian driftwood.

Este does not offer returns or exchanges, but they are transparent about the product type that their clients receive. The piece will be somewhere between six and twelve inches.

This Malaysian driftwood can take up a lot of the room in your aquarium, so be sure that the size of your tank can accommodate the piece of driftwood before making a purchase.

Estes also offers other Malaysian driftwood products that come in much smaller sizes, so there are different options out there, depending on your preferences.

Malaysian Drift Wood for Aquascaping Aquarium by SevenSeaSupply

SevenSeaSupply offers several sizes under this product: small (five to eight inches), medium (eleven inches) and medium-large (twelve to fifteen inches).

 SevenSeaSupply lets their clients know to rinse and clean their driftwood before use, as this will encourage it to sink right away when submerged into the water.

This brand offers a freebie with their driftwood purchase, which is another small, free piece of driftwood! The pictures on their website are to help their clients gauge the sizes and aesthetic of their product, but by no means will the product bought match exactly.

This is one of the wonders of Malaysian driftwood – every piece you own is a work of art all on its own, different from the rest.

Estes Gravel Malaysian Driftwood, Small

Estes makes it clear that while a piece of specific driftwood is shown, this is not what you should expect to be delivered – authentic Malaysian driftwood will never look exactly the same because it comes from and is shaped by the outside environment before it is cleaned and cured for aquarium use.

Estes claims that this piece of driftwood is excellent for discus and angelfish tanks, as well as the occasional reptile.

The piece you will receive will be about one and a half pounds heavy, making it one of the smaller pieces of driftwood on this list.

It is a brand that makes sure its products reach all areas of their audience by making their driftwood have several uses for several different creatures.

Aquatic Arts 1 Small Piece of Malaysian Natural Aquarium Driftwood, 6-8"

This size of driftwood from Aquatic Arts is perfect for the person who does not want an overwhelming piece of driftwood to take over their tank.

This is also the perfect size for someone looking to accentuate a five, ten, or twenty gallon aquarium with natural looking decorations.

This is a lightweight piece of Malaysian driftwood, with it being advertised as about being a pound. If you redecorate your aquariums a lot or move frequently, smaller and more portable decorations like this driftwood may be the right option for you.

If moveability is the most important thing in your purchasing factor, another good idea would be to make one mass decoration by gluing other decorations (such as fake plants) onto your driftwood.

This will add more dimensions to your tank and downsize the amount of decorations you need to clean during water changes.

Aquatic Arts 1 Medium Piece of Malaysian Natural Aquarium Driftwood, 8-12"

A medium piece of driftwood from Aquatic Arts, which is advertised as being eight to twelve inches long, can accomodate more aquarium life than the small piece.

This piece of Malaysian driftwood is appoximately three pounds heavy. This is rated as #59 in Aquarium Wood on Amazon, making it one of the more attractive choices for aquarists with medium-sized aquarium or terrarium enclosures.

 Malaysian driftwood this big could accomodate a medium lizard or turtle that is not very strong because the driftwood itself is extremely sturdy.

 Aquatic Arts also mentions the benefits that their Malaysian driftwood has on water parameters, as the tannins leached from Malaysian driftwood help to combat hard water and calcium deposits.

Aquatic Arts 1 Large Piece of Malaysian Natural Aquarium Driftwood, 12-14"

A large driftwood piece costs about $65 from Aquatic Arts, this being because the driftwood is hefty and large.

To accomodate a piece of driftwood this large, you must have a tank that is at least 15 inches long and wide.

This driftwood weighs about seven pounds and helps to lower the pH of aquarium water through the release of tannins, which can be beneficial for aquarium life that thrive under more acidic conditions.

Aquatic Arts does mention that their Malaysian driftwood can be buoyant and may need another boil in water in order to sink.

To get your Malaysian driftwood to stop floating, soak the driftwood in a bucket of water to “waterlog” it.

This will make your driftwood heavier and denser, allowing it to sink to the bottom of the tank easier with little problems.

Should I Take Malaysian Driftwood?

Sinks Well

One of the major benefits of using Malaysian driftwood as your driftwood of choice is that it is dense and sinks in water.

Even after the curing and soaking process, some driftwoods are tremendously buoyant and still float to the top of the water.

With Malaysian driftwood, you do not have to worry about securing your driftwood to large stones or re-soaking it in hopes that the extra water will weigh it down.

Some brands do not achieve the sinking effect, and their clients need to fix the problem themselves. This can be time-consuming and can take several tries to get it to sink, which not all aquarists have the time for.

When you receive or buy Malaysian driftwood, it is typically ready to go into your tank with no buoyancy issues and no need for anchoring. With other driftwoods, you run the risk of spending a lot of money on a piece that does not function in the way you desire.

 If you want a piece of driftwood that eliminates the chance of your driftwood floating, Malaysian driftwood is the perfect choice.

Adds Natural Hides for Aquarium Life

No matter the type of aquarium life you decide to work with, aquarium life benefits from seemingly natural decorations. Driftwood has many nooks and crannies that work as shelter from any potentially harmful outside elements, including predators.

 If you have a mixed batch of aquarium life with some type of aggressive fish (for example, a rainbow shark) driftwood could prevent any excessive bullying from taking place because it works as a hide for shelter.

Even if you do not have a predatory fish in your tank, driftwood can make an aquarium feel like their wild home a little bit more. Having more areas to escape into will help your aquarium life exhibit their natural behaviors and thrive.

Adds More Dimensions and Aesthetic

Not only can Malaysian driftwood add to the natural aesthetic of your tank because it is naturally occuring,

Malaysian driftwood can add several dimensions to your tank in several ways. Some driftwoods are lifted with several levels of surface area going up along it.

For aquarium life like shrimp, the more surface area there is the better because this is where debris, algae and other food-bits accumulate. Shrimp are avid cleaners and love to clean decorations like driftwood.

Easy to add color or plants

If you want to add a little more color to your driftwood, it is possible (using an aquarium-safe sealant) to glue down greenery such as java moss or sword plants.

This can be done with fake or real decorations, and real plants will hold fast to the driftwood and grow further off of it.

This can also be done to cover any sharp or rough edges on your driftwood, which can sometimes appear over time as the water wears down on the driftwood’s surfaces. Another way to smooth out your driftwood is to let it dry completely, and then sand the rough or sharp edges down with sandpaper.

The driftwood will most likely need to be soaked so that it can become waterlogged in order to sink again. 

Would Malaysian driftwood Leach Tannins into Aquarium Water?

Unfortunately tannins come with any piece of driftwood you will receive, Malaysian or not, and will often turn the water yellow or brown for at least a few weeks.

Depending on the type of aquarist you are and the type of aquarium you have, leaching tannins can be a good or bad thing.

For those who enjoy a more natural look for their aquarium, they may actually like and utilize tannins to their full ability because tannins consequently turn the water a yellow or brown color.

Are aquarium Tanning Good Or Bad?

On one hand, this can help your aquarium life thrive and feel like they are in a naturally occuring environment rather than captivity.

On the other hand, leaching tannins can be a source of pain for some aquarists despite their antifungal and antibacterial properties because the water does not look crystal clear.

If you want to keep your driftwood without the funky water, more frequent water changes will help keep water discoloration at a minimum and eventually the driftwood will stop leaking tannins completely.

Does Malaysian Driftwood Grow Algae?

Algae can occur on any flat surface of an aquarium and usually thrives under conditions of excess food and light, which feeds the algae and helps it to grow.

However, Malaysian driftwood is usually a darker hue than other types of driftwood, and algae does not show up easily. Usually, algae has to accumulate to extreme amounts for it to be noticeable.

Algae can be easily wiped away with little pressure, and a quick way to avoid algae build-up is to cut back on the amount of food and light available to your aquarium (without harming your other aquarium life).

This can be done in bits and pieces to see what works for your water parameters. If you have aquarium life that feeds on tank fish, like shrimp, algae may never end up being a problem.

If you cannot cut back on your light and food in the aquarium, it could be a good idea to look into algae-snacking fish such as algae eaters or shrimp, who are relatively easy to care for as long as you do not have any predatory creatures in your tank.

Where Can I Find Malaysian Driftwood For Aquariums?

Unfortunately, Malaysian driftwood is hard to come by unless you are in the immediate area or business where it resides. It must be verified as real Malaysian driftwood. Then, it must be checked for any loose debris, nails, screws, or staples that may be inside of the wood that need to come out – any type of screw or blemish may ruin the entire piece, especially if you intend to resell it for a profit or do not like the aesthetic of the piece.

In general, regular driftwood can be found and turned aquarium-safe; Malaysian driftwood is a different story and cannot be “made”. Additionally, professional brands and companies that specialize in making driftwood aquarium safe have a much higher chance of giving you a product that is long-lasting and worth the money spent.

Will Malaysian Driftwood Break My Aquarium?

If you are cautious when putting your driftwood into your aquarium, you should be able to avoid any damages that can come from scratching driftwood’s hard edges on glass or sealant.

Any hard and heavy object that is dropped into an aquarium, with or without water to slow its fall, will damage aquarium walls and possibly crack the aquarium or terrarium beyond repair.

If you are worried about the driftwood moving (especially if you have large aquarium life like turtles) you can always anchor the driftwood to heavy rocks at each end, ensuring as little movement as possible.

Some aquarists will even glue their driftwood to the sides of the bottom of the aquarium, but it is not easy to remove if you ever decide to do so.

Making permanent changes to your aquarium is good for people who have established cycles and do not wish to change their aquarium’s aquascape frequently.

Is Malaysian Driftwood Dangerous?

Any type of large decoration can potentially cause harm to you, your aquarium life, or aquarium itself if abused or used in the wrong way.

This is why it is important to understand all facets of Malaysian driftwood so that you can fix any issues that arise.

For example, floating driftwood could get caught in the filter’s current and move suddenly, causing excessive water movement and perhaps a collision between fish and driftwood.

Malaysian driftwood can also be dangerous if it is not cleaned and cured correctly, which is why your best bet is buying Malaysian driftwood from a reputable seller. Cleaning and curing your own driftwood always comes with the risk of not doing it correctly, and therefore harming your aquarium life with unknown toxins.

 It is especially important to make sure that your Malaysian driftwood, bought or found, has no sharp edges, nails, needles, or anything else potentially harmful in or on it. The metals from the screws and nails can leak toxic metals into the water, swiftly ruining your tank’s water parameters and potentially harming your fish’s health.

What to consider before Selecting Malaysian driftwood?

Getting real Malaysian driftwood is only possible when buying from reputable brands and sellers. Otherwise, it is very easy to pick up any piece of dark brown driftwood and advertise it as “authentic” Malaysian driftwood.

Knock-off driftwood can cause numerous problems because it may not have been cleaned and cured correctly, causing potential harm to your aquarium and what lives in it. Malaysian driftwood adds character to the aquarium environment and can make your aquarium life happier and healthier.


Additionally, the natural chemicals found in driftwoods, called tannins, are slowly leached out, which can actually have beneficial effects for your fish in regards to preventative disease measures.

Tannins prime aquarium water so that it has antifungal and antibacterial properties, meaning that it acts as a protective layer for your fish’s fins and scales.

 Malaysian driftwood is arguably the easiest type of driftwood to work with, because of the very little problems that aquarists encounter with it. Malaysian driftwood can be an aquarists’ best friend in a vast world full of driftwood.


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