Do Plecos Need Driftwood? What Are The Benefits?

Taking care of fish, especially Plecos species is a tough job. There are many things that you need to keep in mind, from the aquarium’s hygiene to their food. 

Now you may have heard about driftwood when it comes to Plecos and how essential it is for them. But, what exactly is driftwood and how can it help plecos? Is it a must or not?

You may want to read further to get all the answers!

Your guide to finding out whether plecos need driftwood or not. 

What is Driftwood?

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To answer your question simply, driftwood is a type of wood that has been washed out over the years due to any river, ocean, or even lake. It can also be known as the remains of other bushes and trees. 

Over the years, due to continuously being washed out, driftwood loses its bark. Depending on its origin, driftwood can be categorized into various types, such as Sumatran driftwood and Bogwood. 

It is then used in aquariums as decorative pieces for the fishes and other members of an aquarium. 

However, in the case of Plecos, driftwood may also have other benefits rather than being just an ornamental item for the fish tank. 

What Are The Benefits of Driftwood For Plecos?

For other fishes, driftwood may only be a decorative piece in their fish tank. Yet, for Plecos, it is definitely much more than that. It is because of the following reasons. 


Are you surprised? Well, it is true that driftwood serves as nutrition for many catfish, including Plecos. 

Today, Plecos have adapted themselves to feed on driftwood, owing to their special type of mouth. So, they can easily scrape off tiny bits of driftwood. But, how does driftwood provide any nutrition to Pleco? 

Driftwood contains lignin and cellulose. So, whenever a Pleco fish feeds on it, these nutrients are passed on to its body. Thus, helping massively in improving their digestion system. 

Keep in mind that these fishes only scrape a bit of wood, rather than eating chunks of it. Hence, there’s no noticeable difference in the size of driftwood initially. 

You should also note that not all Plecos feed on driftwood. Some may love it while some may not even feed on it in minimal amounts. It all depends on your Pleco fish. 

Balances the pH of Water

The pH of the aquarium factor also affects the body of any fish, such as Pleco fish. Usually, Plecos require a pH between 6.5 to 7.5. If the pH is more or less, it can affect Plecos. 

So, driftwood is quite beneficial when the water has more alkalinity (that is it is more alkaline than 7.5 pH). Driftwood can significantly help in reducing the alkaline nature of the water and act as a buffer. 

Hence, if you make use of tap water, that is more alkaline than required, consider using driftwood. It’ll help in reducing its alkaline nature. 

Contrarily, if the water is already acidic and has a pH below 6.5, make sure you refrain from using driftwood. It can further increase the acidity of the water. 

Works as a Hiding Spot For Plecos

If you have a habit of noticing your Pleco in its tank, you’ll notice that it loves hiding somewhere or else. After all, every fish does. A plain aquarium, having no hiding spots, can make your fish feel stressed as well as bored. 

Driftwood can certainly act as a good hiding spot and help your Pleco to entertain itself in the aquarium! So, this is yet another great benefit of using driftwood for the Pleco fish. 

Maintains the Hygiene

To keep your Pleco fish healthy, it is important to keep the tank water clean and hygienic. Driftwood also has a benefit when it comes to keeping it clean. 

It is because driftwood helps in promoting the growth of healthy bacteria. These bacteria help in the breakdown of the toxic by-products of your fish that can cause severe harm. 

Additionally, as mentioned earlier, driftwood can help in making the water slightly more acidic. Thus, killing any type of harmful microorganism that can harm a Pleco fish. 

Lastly, driftwood contains tannins. These tannins increase the oxygen in appropriate amounts such that the Pleco’s immune system gets strengthened. 

Hence, as you can see, overall driftwood is extremely beneficial for Plecos. Now, the question arises, ‘do plecos need driftwood?’, or can they survive without it as well? 

Is Driftwood Necessary For Plecos?

Plecos are known to feed on driftwood in minimal amounts. Driftwood consists of nutrients that help in the digestion process of Plecos. 

However, where driftwood can certainly help in enhancing the health of a Pleco, it is not really a need or necessity. It usually depends on your Pleco. So, as mentioned earlier, some Plecos love feeding on driftwood. On the other hand, there are some that don’t feed on it even once. 

Now, keep in mind that many people do say that for the Bristlenose Pleco fish having driftwood is a need for digestion. So, if you have one of those, consider getting driftwood. 

Keep in mind that when you use driftwood and keep it in the tank, it can help in many other things. For instance, if your Pleco feeds on it, then it can significantly improve the digestive system of the fish. Moreover, it can also regulate the water pH and reduce the accumulation of toxins in the water. 

So, while having driftwood isn’t a need for Plecos, it is definitely a must-have!

Final Thoughts

To conclude, there are many conflicting opinions about using driftwood for Plecos. Some people consider it as a must to enhance the digestive system of Plecos, like the Bristlenose Pleco. 

Contrarily, some also believe that it’s optional and is not really mandatory. So, if you can’t find driftwood for Plecos, it’s okay too.

In the end, the choice is yours whether to not go for driftwood or to go for it and get the abundant benefits that come with this amazing wood!

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