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We Submerged a Manzanita Driftwood Root for a Year, and then Cut it in Half!

We Submerged a Manzanita Driftwood Root for a Year, and then Cut it in Half!

We scaped this 5 gallon nano tank with a rugged manzanita driftwood root back in 2022. While the tank was perfectly fine as is, we eventually opted for a more slender piece that didn’t take up as much space since we transitioned the tank into being a temporary home for guppies while setting up a larger 20 gallon. 


manzanita driftwood

Curious, we cut the piece of driftwood in half to see how it held up fully submerged in the past 12 months.  

manzanita driftwood

manzanita driftwood

Cutting in half near its base, we can see the internals are completely intact with no signs of decay. The reddish brown colors are still vibrant and there are no signs of any water incursion!

We often collect manzanitas such as this one that feature extensively weathered surfaces. The wood degrades over time, leaving deep fissures and naturally broken ends that are perfect for aquascaping. Interestingly, the exterior surface of the wood often remains strong and free of any rot or signs of internal decay. It’s almost as if instead of rotting the wood splits and recedes into itself with age and exposure to the elements. 

Since manzanitas grow in regions prone to wildfire, these ancient bits of wood are the most susceptible to burning. They are completely dry, often broken into smaller bits and pieces, and typically found scattered on the ground. As such, wood with these characteristics are often found in regions that experience fewer wildfires - e.g private property or wetter micro climates. 

So, the real question, how long will Manzanita driftwood last when submerged in water?

Without running a longer experiment we can’t say definitively, but in short, a very very long time. 

For reference, common 2”x4” Pine used in home construction will rot within 3-5 years if exposed to too much moisture. On the other end of the spectrum, old growth Cypress logs harvested in the 1800’s are being salvaged today from rivers in Louisana after being submerged for over 200 years (look up sinker Cypress for a fun internet detour!). 

We’d wager that manzanita driftwoods are on the latter end of the spectrum given their density and known resistance to rot and hardiness in the elements.


manzanita driftwood


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