Bamboo Wood (Stakes, Poles & Hides)

Bamboo Wood is an up and coming hardscape material being considered more and more in vivariums nowadays. The recent surge in popularity with Asian style gardening has had a major influence on the vivarium niche lately. It only makes sense that a wood native to that region would grow in popularity as well. If you are wondering if rather or not Bamboo stakes can coexist within your vivarium, you have come to the right place! This article will serve as a reference guide to the understanding and usage of Bamboo Wood.

Quick Stats:

Scientific Name: Bambusa Spp.

Botanical Name: Bamboo Wood

Other Common Names: Bamboo Stakes, Bamboo Poles,

Origin (Habitat): China (Tropical, Mountain Region)

Height: Up to 5ft

Color: Light Tan

PH Impact: Acidic

Plant Type (Sector): Grass (Stem)

What Is Bamboo Wood?

Bamboo Wood is a hardy material harvested from a variety of plants found under the group Bambusoideae. This wood comes from an evergreen perennial plant that is unique to the fact that it is not a tree but instead a type of grass. This makes for an interesting combination of benefits this wood possesses in comparison to traditional vivarium woods harvested from trees.

Bamboo Wood Hardscape Tips

Bamboo Wood Facts

There are over 1400 species of Bamboo documented worldwide. Wood collected from these plants varies in size as well as condition. Bamboo Wood is virtually rot resistant as well as pest resistant making it ideal for a number of uses. Besides being used as a hardscape source within the vivarium hobby, other uses for this wood include furniture, flooring, and gardening. This wood would be considered a softwood due to the fact that it is evergreen and doesn’t drop its leaves between seasons.

Description

Bamboo Stakes might be one of the most recognizable types of wood in the world. They can vary in thickness depending on the species and maturity. Some of the more narrow species can be as small as a quarter-inch in diameter to some of the bigger timber type species ranging more than a few inches in radius. Lengths of Bamboo Wood will also vary based on the height it is cut at.

The color of Bamboo Wood will vary as well between different shades of brown. Most wood sold will usually be a light tan color. Bamboo will start to lose its color when left in water for an extended period of time. A grayish color is typically the end result of a saturated Bamboo stick.

The density of Bamboo wood will range as well. Most Bamboo poles collected are hollow but some can still be found baring a full interior. The hollow pieces are obviously going to be lighter in weight but the overall wood will still be denser than water making it relatively easy to remain submerged when aided with a little weight.

Habitat

Bamboo plants are thought to have originated in China but can be found all over the world in warm tropical areas. This plant doesn’t do well in colder climates. Jungles, forest, and the lower region of mountainous areas are all typical habitats Bamboo Wood is found and harvested from.

Environmental Influence

Bamboo Wood can have a slight influence on the surrounding areas it’s placed within. In many cases, this is the major reason hobbyists choose to use wood. The light-colored softwood will leech very small amounts of tannins into the aquarium water. This more than likely won’t cause the water to take on any sort of discoloration but can cause PH levels to lower a bit. On the contrary, Bamboo Stakes placed above ground or indirect substrate will have little to no influence on the soil or plants around it. This is ideal for tanks that require a PH level to be under 7.

Vivarium Type

Bamboo Wood is great for both aquariums as well as terrariums. This perennial plant material will provide a natural structure for plants to anchor on to for support. Use this wood risk-free in any type of vivarium that doesn’t require water hardness to be above 7. Here is a recommended list of vivariums Bamboo is commonly used in:

  • Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain-based enclosure.
  • Ripariums – Mostly aquatic-based enclosure with some terrain features present.
  • Terrariums – Fully terrain-based enclosure with little to no aquatic features.
  • Aquariums – Fully aquatic-based enclosure with no terrain features.

Vivarium Usage

Bamboo hides can be used in a number of ways within a vivarium. This type of wood is commonly used as a hardscape material for decoration, plant stability, and a place for inhabitants to hang out around. They have the tendency to last for years and in many cases is reused multiple times before being replaced.

In aquariums or ripariums, this wood can be used for a number of years before fully decaying. As the wood begins to deteriorate, a biofilm is formed along the surface. Shrimp along with many other types of aquatic animals will feed off of the film digesting healthy nutrients.

In terrariums and the land portions of a paludarium, Bamboo can be used right away and will accentuate a very Asian garden type look. Birds, reptiles, and amphibians will use this wood to stand or climb to higher positions within the enclosure. Bamboo rods being placed above water will not have to be pre-soaked but should still be securely placed.

Advantages

Bamboo Wood is a unique type of material when compared to other vivarium driftwoods. For one, it is virtually rot resistant. This makes it great for long term use in terrariums as well as aquarium setups. Bamboo is pest-resistant so the likelihood of this wood contaminating an enclosure with unwanted pest is extremely low. This type of wood is also non-toxic making it safe to use around animals.

Disadvantages

One of the few drawbacks of using Bamboo in a tank is versatility. Bamboo sticks may range in size but it doesn’t come in a variety of styles. Using this type of wood will only really fit a certain biotype which is tropical. The heavy Asian influence this wood has on the overall look of the enclosure will limit creativity outside of the Chinese Garden theme.

Due to the low water parameter influence, this wood would not be ideal for hard water enclosures that require the PH to be above 7. The wood does float when it’s dry so that may require periods of pre-soaking or anchoring.

Buy Bamboo Wood

When seeking out Bamboo for sale, expect a few key indicators you are buying the best quality wood. These woods are pest-resistant so you should not have to worry about any arriving with unwanted guests. In addition, the source of wood should come from a contributor who Preferably specializes in the gardening industry. Avoid taking these from hardware stores or outdoors unless you can assure the wood hasn’t been treated with toxic chemicals or pesticides. Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info:

Bamboo Wood Preparation

When acquiring Bamboo wood of any type for the first time, it may need to be properly conditioned before going into a vivarium. All pieces should be inspected to make certain no pest or toxic material has takin residences within the wood. Once checked, it can be cleaned and placed securely within the desired enclosure.

Sterilizing Bamboo Wood

Above all, It is always a good idea to sterilize driftwood when you first receive it. A light brushing will knock excess dirt and sand off. If additional cleaning is required, pressure washing Bamboo poles would be the next step in cleaning it. In addition, if the pieces of wood are small enough to fit in a pot, boiling the wood is a definite way to kill bacteria as well as saturate the wood from any potential chemicals that could lead to unwanted water contamination.

Sinking Bamboo Wood

Bamboo Wood is hollow and for the most part, should sink right away. If for whatever reason you find that there is some difficulty keeping the wood submerged,  consider tying down or mounting the poles into place. Other than that, simply place it directly in the tank and form it to the desired position.

Driftwood Similar To Bamboo Wood

Adding diversity to an enclosure is key to an aesthetically pleasing enclosure. Try mixing up the look of your vivarium with different woods that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment. Furthermore, if for some reason you find this wood hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to it… Furthermore, here are some other kinds of driftwoods you might find may do well with or in the place of Bamboo Wood:

Gnarly Driftwood "Mopani Wood" - The Hardscape Guide
Grapewood Branches "Grapevine" - The Driftwood Guide
Malaysian Driftwood "Blackwood" - The Hardscape Guide

Conclusion

In conclusion, Bamboo Stakes is a good type of vi barium wood to experiment with. It’s safe for the most enclosures as well as its inhabitants and can be a very forgiving hardscape material to work with. This is an absolutely essential ingredient to have in any kind of Asian theme setup and it will more than likely last the life of the vivarium. If you liked this guide to Bamboo Wood, feel free to let us know your ideas towards using this softwood in future setups!