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How to Make Bonsai Driftwood for Aquariums? | 8 Creative Steps!

Aqua scaping has become quite a popular concept. Aqua scaping refers to landscaping underwater like in aquariums.

Decorating an aquarium can be a very soothing experience and also helps creatively channel your artistic side. We have put together a helpful and fun guide just for you on how to make bonsai driftwood for aquariums.

“Bonsai driftwood for aquariums is not just bonsai; it is a skillfully crafted bonsai lookalike made from driftwood and aquatic plants.”

These aquatic plants are arranged on the driftwood to mimic the foliage of a bonsai.

You can easily purchase bonsai driftwood online, but we all love fun and creative DIY project, don’t we?

It also gives you a lot of room for creativity to customize and create a piece according to your preferences. Learn everything about making bonsai driftwood for aquariums in the following text.

Bonsai driftwood—how to make Bonsai driftwood for aquarium
How to make bonsai driftwood for aquariums? – Image via Reddit.

How to Make Bonsai Driftwood for Aquariums?

Aquariums don’t have to be dull.

You can completely transform your aquarium and make it a Zen paradise by being creative and adding plants and bonsai.

“Although bonsai driftwoods are not real bonsai trees, they are still a great addition to a fish tank and liven up the surroundings.”

Though buying bonsai driftwood may sound like a much easier idea, it may cost you a lot.

Making your DIY bonsai driftwood is economical and a fun project that gives you enough room for creativity to cater to your needs.

Keep following these simple and creative steps on how to make bonsai driftwood for aquariums.

Step 1: Gather All the Material

The foundation of the success of your bonsai driftwood lies in choosing the right type of material.

One of the reasons that make the readymade bonsai driftwood quite pricy is that “finding the right material is a chore.”

But we are here to make it easy for you.

You will learn everything about collecting the suitable materials for your bonsai driftwood in the following steps.

Find the Driftwood

Some of the good sources of driftwoods are:

  • Lakes, rivers, or any place where water is flowing.
  • Lawn wastes.
  • Recycling plants.
  • Stump dumps.
  • Woods/forests.
  • Online stores.
  • Landscaping companies.

Ensure that the driftwood you collect from a lake or stream is near flowing water. It will decrease the chance of harmful and toxic algae buildup on your driftwood.

While getting driftwood from outdoors, take extra care as the wrong wood can kill your aquatic life.

Size of the Wood

Another benefit of making your bonsai driftwood at home is that you can choose the size and adjust it according to the size of your aquarium.

When choosing driftwood, choose many pieces of various shapes and sizes. They can be further cut and patched to make different shapes.

Using the Right Plant and Tree

While collecting driftwood, you need to keep some points in consideration.

Certain parts of a tree are more suitable than the others:

  • The branches and twigs are much weaker than the roots.
  • The root structure or root stump makes an excellent choice for driftwood.
  • Roots will last longer underwater, sink at the bottom, and won’t snap under pressure, making them an ideal choice.

The root structures of Azaleas and Rhododendron are a good option but remember you need to let the roots dry for at least nine months before using them like driftwood.

Right Material for Leaves and Foliage

After choosing the right type of driftwood, now comes the part of selecting the right plants to act as leaves of your bonsai.

While choosing the leaves, remember that the plant should be able to survive and sustain underwater.

Many aquatic plants, algae, and mosses can be used for creating foliage. Our favorite choices are Java moss, Xmas moss, Monte Carlo, and Marimo moss.

Related Article: How to Hang Pothos in Aquarium

Create Your Design

Wanna know how to make bonsai driftwood for aquariums? Now comes the most fun part of it.

Get your creative juices flowing and start designing your tree.

You can start by drawing your desired design on a sheet of paper, or you can always mimic a driftwood design from Pinterest.

Don’t let the shape of your collected driftwoods hold you back! You can easily create any form by simply snipping and gluing various parts together.

Get Rid of Small Branches and Roots

Before joining driftwood pieces, you first need to clean and trim them.

  • Do so by clipping small and extra branches and roots.
  • Trim your driftwood according to the needs of your design.
  • Getting rid of secondary branches will leave you with thick roots and branches ideal for mimicking a bonsai tree.

Sand Down Your Wood

After cutting the pieces of wood, you need to sand them using sandpaper before gluing them together. It will help you get a flat, smooth surface that seamlessly connects with the other pieces.

Just take sandpaper with low grit and sand down the joining areas of your driftwood.

Joining the Driftwood

You have to bring together your joining pieces to create the bonsai driftwood.

There are two methods that you can opt for while joining:

  • Using a drill and nails.
  • Using epoxy or other water-resistant glue.

Using glue can be much easier and simple and will work just as well.

However, if you are creating huge bonsai driftwood and it has to carry a lot of weight, then the pieces must be able to sustain it.

Glue might not be able to hold high weight and pressure then.

You can use nails and drills instead. You can also use both techniques together to have more effective results.

Creating the Foliage

Now to create bonsai, you need to arrange the chosen foliage in such a way as to mimic the foliage of a natural bonsai.

We have already mentioned some excellent choices for leaves.

However, if you are an amateur, we recommend using the Marimo moss balls as they give the perfect illusion of bonsai.

They are easy to arrange, and they can grow in all conditions.

  • Unfurl your moss or other plants and place them between the branches.
  • The branches should be able to hold them pretty well.
  • If your foliage moves, you can use needles or glue to hold it in position.

Soak Your Driftwood

Soak your driftwood to ensure it sinks.

  • Once your driftwood is ready, soak it in a water bucket for several hours.
  • Despite the weight of the wood and the foliage, the driftwood can be pretty buoyant.
  • To ensure your driftwood sinks in the aquarium and settles better, let it soak for a while before adding it to the aquarium.

Place the Driftwood in Aquarium

The time has finally come to place your lovely bonsai driftwood in your aquarium.

The bonsai may still need an anchor to hold at the bottom for the first several weeks after soaking. Use rocks and pebbles as anchors to hold them.

That would be all for today. Hope it answers the question.

For visual assistance:

How to Make Bonsai Driftwood for Aquarium – Bonsai Aquascape – YouTube

With all that said, let’s jump toward the conclusion.

Final Remarks

Bonsai driftwoods are mesmerizing and certainly give your aquarium a Zen-like feel.

Creating your bonsai driftwood can be a challenge if you don’t know the correct type of materials to make it.

We have assimilated this practical guide on how to make bonsai driftwood for aquariums. And we really urge you to take a step and create fantastic bonsai driftwood.

And don’t forget to share the experience with us in the comments below!

Happy planting!