In conjunction with bogwood I like to use bamboo shoots, as I feel that they give a unique appearance, in my aquariums.

I first used bamboo shoots when housing a pair of Rainbow Crabs. When both became territorial I split the aquarium, using Perspex which had holes drilled into it for air circulation, into two sections. I experimented by using bogwood and bamboo for shelter and noticed that both were preferred by the crabs.

The bamboo shoots were glued at the bottom to create and maintain a permanent spot. The problem with these crabs is they have to moult from time to time, and when this happens they immediately look for safe sanctuary to prevent themselves from being cannibalised by other crabs or by predators (because at this moment of time they are soft and fleshy, thus easy prey). Therefore the bamboo shoots were used by the crabs for both shelter and safe sanctuary.

I also cut some smaller pieces of bamboo and placed them into another aquarium housing small, thin coolie loaches which managed to squeeze in and out of them, also using them as a resting and hiding place.

Bamboo shoots were used in both coldwater and tropical aquariums - where they were happily accepted by all the residents.

My intension was to make the bamboo long lasting so performed the following tasks:-

1. Coat shoots (you can use a varnish dip for shoots with holes so that the varnish gets inside the wood) with several coats of polyurethane varnish (but you must make sure that the varnish contains no additives - traditional Yacht varnish is polyurethane but has a mousier added which will harm or kill aquarium residents). Untreated bamboo can rot and foul the water. When this occurs it leads to a greater demand for oxygen and an increase in toxic waste products in the aquarium. The rotting plant matter will also create or attract saprophytic fungi.
2. After applying the first coat of varnish I left it to dry for a while and then performed the same task several times to make stronger-water proof bamboo shoots.
3. The shoots were then glued together using silicone sealer specifically made for aquariums. As an alternative string or nylon cord can be used to hold the bamboo sticks together. All kinds of shapes can be created that include triangles and rectangles.

Finally have a bamboo of an adventure with bamboos!

By Majid Ali