How To Deal With White Fuzz On Driftwood!

After publishing our article going over how to get driftwood to sink in your aquarium, we noticed more and more people reaching out with various questions about problems that they are having with the driftwood that they use in their tank. One question that we kept on seeing people asking about over and over again is how to deal with white fuzz on driftwood so we wanted to try and help our readers who are having this problem by publishing this article on the topic.

The three most common causes of white fuzz on driftwood is algae, fungus, and biofilm with all three being relatively easy to treat. You can usually put your driftwood in a quarantine tank prior to putting it into your main aquarium so that the white fuzz takes hold in a temporary tank allowing you to remove it and treat your driftwood prior to putting it into your main aquarium where the white fuzz may cause long term problems.

Most people will be able to use an anti-fungal treatment in the quarantine water that they let their driftwood initially sit in prior to putting it into their main aquarium to prevent them from having any problems with the white fuzz spreading once in their main tank. Some people will choose to try and add something that will eat the white fuzz on their driftwood too with their being another viable option but it is usually only done in the main aquarium tank rather than in a quarantine tank.

Why Is There White Fuzz On My Driftwood?

Fungal and algae spores are very common on driftwood that you find yourself at the local beach or riverbank meaning that the driftwood will usually develop a white fuzz on it once it is submerged in water. In other situations, driftwood can present the perfect surface for fungus, algae, or biofilm that is already in your tank to grow on letting the white fuzz grow on store bought driftwood that has been treat for spores on it prior to sale.

We already have a dedicated video going over why you have white spots on your driftwood that may be helpful as we go into more detail in that article but the main take away is that white fuzz on driftwood is very common. Although going out and finding your own driftwood at the beach or local river for your tank used to be very common, the aquarium keeping community has started to realize that there is a high risk for algae and fungus making its way into your tank with wild driftwood.

People then switched over to commercial driftwood due to it having been treat for any algae or fungal spores to reduce this risk. This does work well and it really can help to reduce the risk of you accidentally adding white fuzz to your main aquarium but as we touched on above, driftwood is the perfect surface for white fuzz to grow on. If you have already got algae or fungus spores in your aquarium that are looking for somewhere to live then even commercial driftwood can end up with white fuzz on it once the spores land on it.

Is It Normal To Have White Fuzz On Driftwood?

It is both normal and natural to have white fuzz on submerged driftwood. In actual fact, it is actually not normal to have submerged driftwood in the condition that it is usually found in when used in most peoples aquarium where the wood is totally free from the various types of white fuzz such as algae, biofilm, and fungus due to various steps usually being intentionally taken to prevent their growth.

With the spike in the popularity of fish keeping over the last couple of years, there are a huge number of beginners to the hobby right now with plenty of people who get worried when they notice white fuzz growing on their driftwood. Is it so common for people new to the hobby to think that the driftwood that they see in photographs and videos on social media is in its natural state so they think that something is wrong with their tank setup when white fuzz grows on their own driftwood.

Thankfully, it is very easy to treat and remove the white fuzz on driftwood in most cases and the majority of people should be able to get it under control within a matter of weeks depending on the exact cause. Just keep in mind that algae, fungi, and biofilm all require slightly different treatments to each other and there is no on stop solution so you will have to try and workout exactly what the white fuzz actually is to treat it as quickly as possible.

How Long Does Driftwood Fungus Last?

In some tank setups, driftwood fungus and other causes of white fuzz on the driftwood can last indefinitely if you don’t take steps to treat it. This is due to the white fuzz on your driftwood being a living organism and it just continuing to grow provided it has suitable conditions with most aquarium setups offering ideal water parameters and lighting conditions.

As we covered in our article on using grapevine wood in your aquarium, the earlier you start trying to treat the white fuzz that is growing on your driftwood the easier it usually is to get rid of. We have seen many people on social media say that the fungus will eventually start to go away if you just leave it and although this is technically correct for some tank setups, it is not common for fungus to do this due to most aquariums offering almost perfect conditions for it to keep growing.

This is why we always try to stress that keeping any new driftwood for your aquarium quarantines in a separate body of water for a couple of weeks prior to adding it to your main aquarium is always the best option. We always preach that prevention is better than cure and that most types of white fuzz on driftwood are much easier to treat in a quarantine tank rather than your main tank as you are able to use stronger treatments without having to worry about how they will effect the fish and plants in your tank during the treatment.

How To Get Rid Of White Fungus On Driftwood?

If the white fuzz on your driftwood is just fungus then a decent aquarium anti-fungal treatment should be able to make short work of it and quickly get rid of it for you. If the white fuzz is biofilm or algae then adding some algae eaters to your aquarium can be an excellent way to get rid of the white fuzz quickly with minimal effort required on your part.

We go into this in more detail in our article on how to treat white slime on aquarium wood but for the most part, adding mystery snails or cherry shrimp to your tank to feed on the algae and biofilm will be a great, budget friendly option that will work well for most tank setups. If you have a larger tank and it is able to support a bottom dweller such as a bristlenose pleco then these will also eat large amounts of algae and biofilm from your driftwood.

There are a range of chemical treatments on the market that you can take advantage of to get rid of various types of white fuzz on your driftwood but we usually discourage this option if you have already added the driftwood to your main aquarium. Although most of these treatments are perfectly safe to use, they can cause problems for some sensitive fish, shrimp, and plants in your tank so it is usually better to use the chemical options in quarantine tanks if possible so there is no risk to the inhabitants of your main tank.

What Eats Fungus On Driftwood?

There are a number of things that you can add to your aquarium to eat the fungus growing on your driftwood but the algae eaters that will also eat fungus are picky and they will not eat all types of fungus. A bristlenose pleco is probably going to be your best option as they will eat a wide range of fungus types but there are some types of white fungus that they wont touch at all.

The various species of shrimp and snails that are commonly used to eat algae and biofilm in an aquarium tend not to eat much fungus either making them close to useless if you are certain that the white fuzz on your driftwood is fungus rather than algae or biofilm. This is why some people will try to scrape their driftwood to get as much of the fungus off as possible but this is usually ineffective and can often make the situation worse.

Not only will the fungus often grow back quickly on your driftwood due to your aquarium offering optimal conditions for it but the small fragments of scraped fungus left on the driftwood can float around your aquarium once your put the wood back into your tank and take hold in new locations. This is why quarantining driftwood is so important as it really can save you a ton of time and effort if you do end up having problems with white fuzz growing on it.

Conclusion

That brings our article going over how to treat white fuzz on driftwood to an end. If you are a beginner to the fish keeping hobby then white fuzz on your driftwood or just in your tank in general can be more of a problem than most people initially realise. We would highly recommend that you do your best to treat it as soon as possible as the longer the white fuzz is left to develop the more difficult it can become to treat quickly.