Unique and Creative Aquarium Decorations for your Fish Tank

Do you intend to fill your tank with additional items? Does your tank appear dull? Would you like to change something about your tank? Do you want to provide your fish with a fun environment? If so, the best thing you can do is add aquarium decorations. It won’t just give your aquarium life; the aesthetics will also be enhanced.

You may create almost any theme you can imagine using the various aquarium decorations available, including novelty themes, natural themes, and even fantasy themes. Aquarium decorations can influence not only how your tank appears but also how your fish interact with its components. They can give your fish places to hide as well as territory to claim as their own.

Aquarium Decorations

This page gives you an overview of aquarium decorations, including their various types and uses. We’ll review some of the most popular aquarium accents and talk about what goes into them (divided between freshwater aquarium decorations and saltwater decorations). the benefits and drawbacks of using artificial decorations versus sticking with organic ones, as well as illustrations of decoration styles you can get ideas from.

What do Aquarium Ornaments Do?

Aquarium decorations, broadly speaking, include artificial and organic ornaments used in both freshwater and saltwater environments. Substratum and tank backgrounds are both considered aquarium decorations. Typically, you’ll find that people who have freshwater or saltwater tanks that are FO (fish only) or FOWLR use more decorations (fish only with live rock). The corals in reef tanks typically act as the tank’s own form of decoration. If you believe that your tank does not require any decorations, take into account the following:

  • What we call decorations serve as shelter for a lot of fish.
  • While also being aesthetically pleasing, live rock is invaluable for the natural bio-organic filtering it offers. The term “live rock” refers to rock that is teeming with bacteria and other microorganisms, as well as microorganisms that aid in water purification.

Things to Take Into Account When Selecting Aquarium Accessories

Consider the following factors when choosing your decorations:

1. Your Aquarium’s Size

Having a tonne of enormous, expensive accessories is useless if they make your tank appear cluttered and unattractive.

Your fish will likely experience some distress if they are confined. Less is frequently more when you have a smaller tank. It’s preferable to have one or two striking decorations that stand out rather than many that give your fish little room to live.

Size of Aquarium

Choose a theme for your design to adhere to if you’re having trouble making a decision. By sticking to a specific theme, you can add decorations like sunken ships and mermaid kingdoms, which will make it simpler to choose accessories.

2. Proper Aquarium Elements Height

Make three zones in your tank: the top, middle, and bottom. These three areas are where fish tend to spend the majority of their time, so it’s important to leave some room in each.

Depending on the size of your aquarium, it’s wise to have one or two tall items that rise into the top zone and then two or three that are short – around the middle.

If your decorations have some sort of order to them, your fish will feel safer. By following those suggestions, you can include ornaments and other accessories without upsetting your fish.

3. The Color of Your Fish

If you’re worried about ruining the aesthetics of your aquarium, you can avoid this by taking your fish’s color into account. Your decorations’ color choices will either go well with your fish or look out of place. A dark substrate and plain decorations can help to complement the tones of a large number of light-colored fish.

Bright, vivid fish stand out against white gravel and light decorations, giving the illusion of color against the monochromatic background. Green vegetation can also be effective.

4. Theme of the Aquarium: Natural vs. Wild

The theme of your aquarium will be determined by the color of your accessories. Pea gravel and live, green plants are great color options for your tank if you want to create a natural-looking theme. Neon colors and vivid shades can give your aquarium a more wild, showy appearance and aid in highlighting specific areas.

Theme of the Aquarium

Once you’ve chosen a theme, carefully consider what colors your decorations and other accessories should be to best match the mood of your tank.

5. Be Wary of Sharp Edges

Sharp edges can occasionally be found on decorations like fake plants. Scratching at their scales, causing injuries, and exposing them to infections, can cause serious harm to your fish.

Avoiding accessories with sharp edges will help you decorate your aquarium with an appealing aesthetic without jeopardizing the safety of your fish.

6. Think about Focus Points

Choose one or two focal points before you begin adding decorations and accessories to your tank.

In no way should your decor match these focal points. People are drawn to fixtures that enhance the overall design of your aquaria, such as mermaid statues and bridges.

7. Enjoy yourself, but be cautious when adding new items to your Tank

Although it’s easy to overdo it when it comes to furnishing your tank with furniture and natural finds, you should always use caution when adding new items to your fish’s habitat.

8. Decor for Freshwater Aquariums

There is a wide range of options for freshwater aquarium decorations, including store-bought items as well as naturally occurring items and decorative household items that can be used in original ways. Whatever decorations you decide to use, it is imperative that you thoroughly clean them before placing them in your tank and check that there are no sharp edges that could harm your fish. The following is a list of some of the most common types of freshwater aquarium decorations:

  • manufactured ornaments
  • phony plants (plastic or silk)
  • phony rocks (plastic or ceramic)
  • fake wood (plastic or ceramic)
  • novelty products (plastic or ceramic castles, divers, etc.)
  • Organically dead:
  • Driftwood
  • True rocks
  • Substrates (gravel, beach sand, river sand, coral sand, and peat are popular choices)
  • Organic (living)
  • actual plants
  • Decor for saltwater aquariums

Decorations for freshwater tanks and saltwater aquariums frequently differ from one another. One example is that live plants you might use in a freshwater tank won’t survive in a saltwater one. However, there are still lots of inorganic and novelty items available. The list of ornaments for saltwater aquariums is provided below:

  • artificial decorations
  • Rubber-/artificial coral
  • novelty products (scuba divers, shells, pirates, mermaids, etc.)
  • Organic (dead)
  • rotten coral
  • true shells
  • organic (living)
  • actual corals
  • actual algae

9. Putting Non-Commercial Items in Quarantine

While decorations from stores that are specifically made for aquariums are typically very safe, items like driftwood and toys from around the house need to be quarantined before being added.

You must make sure that any plastic or toys you add don’t leak any unfavorable chemicals into your tank. Add the chosen decoration to a different body of water as a preventative measure. After a few days, test the water to make sure no unintended changes to the parameters have occurred. You can boil or bake anything you’re adding, like driftwood.

Another course of action is to:

  • Check the item visually to make sure there are no eggs on it.
  • For your aquarium, get a bucket that you won’t use.
  • Dose some hydrogen peroxide into the bucket’s water.
  • Spend 24 hours soaking your decoration in the H2O2 water.
  • Ultimately, you shouldn’t ever add anything without first quarantining it if it isn’t made specifically for aquatic decoration.

Related Post: Saltwater VS Freshwater Aquarium

10. Different Styles of Aquarium Decor to Inspire you

It’s important to take into account both the advantages and potential disadvantages of each ornament when deciding which ones to add to your aquarium.

1. Driftwood

Natural driftwood is a common addition to aquariums and can help them feel uncomplicated and natural. It serves as a fantastic hiding place for fish who are timider.

Driftwood is widely available and typically very secure. However, you can catch driftwood from rivers and streams and add it to your tank for free.


When doing this, use caution, and make sure to quarantine wood from the wild. If you don’t, you run the risk of introducing dangerous parasites and microbes, which could make your fish sick.

2. Rocks and Stones for Aquariums

Commercially available stones, pebbles, and rocks come in a variety of attractive shapes and colors, and they make wonderful additions to many aquariums. Furthermore, because they closely resemble the fish’s natural habitat, they are perfect for tanks with a natural theme.

Additionally, you can include rocks from the outdoors in your aquarium. To prevent introducing harmful substances or organisms, it is crucial to boil the rocks for an hour before adding them.

Rocks and Stones for Aquariums

Also keep in mind that certain rocks, such as lace rock, should be avoided because they can be sharp and harmful to your fish. Glass rock, ice rock, river pebbles, zebra rock, and rainbow rock are some visually appealing rock options.

3. Caves

Your aquarium can look interesting and natural with the addition of caves, which give the fish something to swim under and interact with. Many hobbyists advise adding items for prey fish to hide under when kept for security; for such species, caves make an alluring hiding place.

DIY Aquarium Cave

Although you can use wild rocks as caves, you should boil them for at least an hour before putting them in your aquarium to get rid of any parasites and harmful microbes. You can also use PVC piping, but make sure to quarantine any plastics first to ensure that they are secure and don’t leak any chemicals.

4. Ships

You can purchase sunken ships from the majority of commercial retailers. Sunken ships are a secure, fish-friendly option that goes well with most tank designs if you’re trying to create a natural, sea-like theme. Additionally, ships make excellent hiding places for fish, enabling prey species to hide for security and comfort.

5. Ruins

In aquariums with an Atlantis or mermaid theme, ancient ruins make a wonderful addition and make ideal hiding places for prey fish. Make sure any ruins you add have been safely quarantined or decontaminated before use, if they weren’t purpose-built, to begin with.

6. Monuments

In aquariums with a sea theme, statues of people and animals look great and serve as attractive decorative options that give the aquarium a creative and distinctive feel.

There are many aquatic retailers where you can buy statues. When purchasing larger figures, make sure they don’t overcrowd your tank and adhere to the aforementioned design and aesthetic standards.

7. Blowers of Bubbles

In addition to being visually appealing, air stones, underwater rivers, and bubble chests are frequently necessary addition to aquariums with a lot of inhabitants. Make sure they have an adequate supply of oxygen if you’re housing one or more fish that are very active in a single tank.

More oxygen will be needed by fish that are busier than slower species, so it’s critical to maintain high oxygen levels by including air-producing decorations.

Make sure the bubble makers you use in your aquarium aren’t too powerful for the fish to handle. Fish will struggle to swim and become distressed if the water flow rises too high, frequently resulting in disease. By including dense objects, such as driftwood, high water flow can be countered.

8. Aquarium Backgrounds

Aquarium backgrounds can be the ideal way to complete your tank. To give your aquarium a more realistic and artistic feel, you can use a variety of backgrounds, including poster backgrounds, flat, 2D pieces that stick to the back of tanks, and structured backgrounds that are 3D and textured.

Aquarium Backgrounds

9. A submersible light Decoration

Fish tanks can also be equipped with submersible lights, which offer a soft, attractive glow without being too bright or intrusive for the fish. These are fantastic ways to enliven your aquarium without upsetting your animals.

Additionally, submersible lights can be found in a variety of hues, giving you the option to alter your aesthetic and bring out certain color tones.

10. Decorative Ceramics

The use of ceramic ornaments in aquariums is controversial, with some hobbyists arguing that it is completely safe and others strongly opposing it.

The truth is that while some ceramic ornaments are truly completely safe, others can seriously harm fish because they release toxic metals when their glaze dissolves.

Any item with the designation “dinnerware safe” is acceptable for use. This indicates that the glaze was fired using techniques that stop chemical leaching in acidic environments. Non-dinnerware items fall short of these requirements and ought to be avoided.

Decorative Ceramics

If you are unsure of a ceramic ornament’s safety, dilute a common household acid, such as vinegar, to a pH that is comparable to the most acidic conditions your aquarium could experience. A pH of 5 should suffice.

Put the ornament, or a portion of it, in this solution, wait a month, and then look at it once more. Verify the glaze. If the object has lost any of its shine, this indicates chemical leaching and makes it unfit for use in water.

Ceramics that are plain or unglazed, such as terracotta, are appropriate because there is no danger of chemical leakage. Ceramics with sharp edges can be chipped away and protected from harm by being covered in a bead of marine silicone.

Related Post: DIY Aquarium Decorations

Benefits and Drawbacks of Manufactured Decorations

The freshwater aquarium industry relies heavily on manufactured decorations because they are affordable and accessible. Fake plants, fake rocks, and novelty items are a few of the manufactured decorations that are used most frequently. Man-made decorations have advantages and disadvantages, as is true of all ornaments. The advantages and disadvantages of these decorations are listed below so you can decide if they are the best option for you. The advantages of using artificial decorations include:

  • False ornaments are durable because they won’t rot like living plants.
  • Living decorations are more difficult to clean than fake decorations.
  • Artificial ornaments don’t harm sustainability because they don’t take resources from the environment.
  • If you choose fake decorations, you’ll have a wider range of color and size options.
  • Depending on your personal style, fake decorations can be enjoyable.
  • Tank chemistry shouldn’t be impacted by fake decorations.
  • The drawbacks of using artificial decorations are as follows:
  • If fake decorations are used or made improperly, they may look tacky.
  • Depending on what you get, some fake decorations (fake corals or rocks) may end up costing more than the genuine article.

Cons and Advantages of Organic Décor

Organic ornaments are made from natural materials or creatures, which may or may not still be alive. A live plant is an example of a living organic decoration, whereas a rock or piece of driftwood might be considered a non-living organic decoration. Using organic decorations that are both living and non-living has advantages and disadvantages. Here is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. The advantages of using natural decorations include:

  • The most realistic and perhaps intriguing results will come from living organic decorations.
  • The conditions in your tank will be improved by some decorations (like plants) (ex: increasing oxygen content)
  • The drawbacks of using organic decorations are as follows:
  • Real organic decorations can be pricey to keep because you have to replace them when they wear out naturally.
  • Natural organic decorations require more maintenance.
  • Certain organic (living) ornaments’ demise may have an impact on the environment in your tank (they may release toxins or affect water quality)
  • There are fewer sizes, shapes, and color options available to you than with manufactured decorations.
  • Water parameters can be impacted by some organic decorations; for example, some substrates may raise pH levels and driftwood may leach tannins into the water.

Dos and Don’ts of Fish Tank Decorating

When it comes to adorning fish tanks, the options are truly endless. If you want, you can even purchase a tiny replica of Bikini Bottom or Stonehenge. Fake rocks, corals, sunken ships, and other oddities are all over the pet store shelves. These items are intended for use in fish tanks only. This indicates that the components won’t degrade when immersed in water for an extended period of time.

There are a few things to think about when selecting decorations for your tank. You need to be certain of the bottom of your tank’s precise dimensions. Remember any additional possessions you might have as well. Are there any new plants? The quantity? The last thing you need to think about is how you specifically want your tank to look. Many people frequently go overboard when selecting decorations for their tanks. It can be very easy to choose items for your tank and let’s face it, it’s a lot of fun. Just be aware of the space you have available to you.

There may be a temptation to include real coral and driftwood. This might be hazardous. You do not want to introduce any parasites or diseases to your aquarium. Additionally, it’s often against the law to disturb coral reefs, and divers and aquarists strongly disapprove of it. I won’t go into more detail about this practice because I oppose it. However, I’ll say this: Wouldn’t you prefer artificial coral with a realistic color in your tank rather than a white mass of dead coral, which loses its color when it dies?

There are times when people feel tempted to add items that weren’t intended for fish tanks. What some people want to use as decoration will surprise you. You shouldn’t put anything with sharp edges, copper, concrete, painted plastic, or concrete in your fish tank. Why? These things will be problematic. Fish cannot tolerate copper, and concrete will release chemicals into your aquarium. Large saltwater aquariums, the kind you pay to visit while on vacation, actually benefit from the chemical leaching from concrete because it keeps the salt water on the basic side of the pH scale.

Sharp edges should never be used because they can hurt your fish. Fish can become ill from paint or flake off. If you ever place something in your tank and discover that the paint is flaking off or that it appears to be flaking, take it out right away. If in doubt, don’t put it in the tank. Being safe is preferable to being sorry. Do you really want to put your fish in danger just to keep costume jewelry in your tank, after all? Always keep in mind that before adding anything, you should thoroughly rinse it.

How to Decorate Your Tank Like a Pro?

You should have a plan in mind before you start decorating your aquarium. You don’t have to have all of the details in place, but you should have a general idea of the look you want to achieve.

Consider whether you want your tank to appear natural or whimsical, and then choose your decorations accordingly. Keep the size and shape of your tank in mind when selecting decorations; your decorations should be proportional to the size of your tank.

How to Decorate Your Tank Like a Pro

Getting a background for your tank is another thing you might want to think about. This can be a drawing or simply a color, like a shaded blue or plain black. It will help conceal any equipment you might have in the tank’s back while also keeping anything else in the background out of sight. The difference between a professional and amateur appearance at work is frequently made by the background.

Tips for Low-Maintenance Decor

You are more prone to experience algal issues if your tank has excessive illumination or an oversupply of nutrients (typically as a result of irregular water changes). The easiest strategy to stop excessive algae development is to keep your aquarium out of direct sunlight and maintain tank illumination for 10 to 12 hours each day.

Using low-maintenance décor alternatives will help you cut down on your tank cleaning needs in addition to adopting these safeguards. Artificial plants and driftwood can look wonderful in your tank without adding to your tank care chores because they don’t require any specific lighting or substrate and won’t alter the chemistry of your tank’s water. Additionally, it helps because fake tank décor selections are typically considerably more limited.

You must strike a balance between cleaning your aquarium regularly enough and overly cleaning in order to maintain the health and welfare of your aquarium fish. 

Making a maintenance schedule that connects your weekly water changes to the cleaning of your décor is the best line of action. Cleaning one important tank object each week when you change the water will keep your tank clean without compromising its capacity for recycling.

Simple Aquarium Maintenance Tips

Before adding aquarium fish, you should let your aquarium run for at least a week or two after setup. This allows the tank to “cycle,” which is essentially the process of establishing a colony of helpful bacteria that will aid in the metabolism of waste, keeping the conditions in your tank within the range that is good for your fish and other tank occupants.

Here are some Quick Suggestions to keep your Aquarium in Good Shape

  • Check the water in your tank on a weekly basis. The only way to know if the conditions in your aquarium are ideal or not is to do weekly water testing. Write the results down in a journal so that you may compare them week to week and search for alarming changes.
  • Change the water frequently. To assist remove dissolved wastes and providing trace nutrients, do a water change that is at least 10 to 15 percent of your tank’s capacity every two weeks.
  • Fresh tank water is always treated. Before adding new water to your aquarium, you must first use a water conditioner to get rid of the heavy metals and chlorine that are harmful to fish.
  • Service and clean your filter once a month. You should clean the filter and change the filter media once a month; however, you should not clean the biological filter to retain the healthy bacteria.
  • Get rid of algae as needed. Algae can grow in your tank over time, especially if you leave your lights on for too long or if there are too many nutrients available. When changing the water, remove algae with a gravel vacuum and, if required, manually.
  • Check that everything is working properly. In addition to examining the conditions within your tank, you must properly maintain your equipment. Check that everything is still working properly at least once a month.

Maintaining your aquarium will be simple if you have the correct tools and equipment. Your aquarium will remain alive and thriving for years to come if you stay on top of basic maintenance duties and pay attention to the small details.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of ornaments do Fish like?

Most people like to mimic their fish’s natural habitats when they decorate their fish tanks, so they frequently choose items like driftwood, rocks, stones, and pebbles that help mimic a sea bed.

Is it possible to go overboard with Fish Tank Decorations?

They’ll add some color, so a few of them strewn about the tank’s bottom wouldn’t hurt. Just remember to replace them when they begin to fail. Everything you put in your tank, including the substrate, needs to be thoroughly rinsed.

Where in a house should a Fish Tank be Located?

According to Vastu Shastra, the best location for a fish tank is in the north or east; it should never be placed in the south. Only the living room should be used for storage. Pay close attention to the fish’s well-being and tank cleanliness.

Ice cubes are permitted in Fish Tanks?

To gradually lower the water temperature, float a bag of ice or cold water in the fish tank. Ice cubes shouldn’t be placed directly in your aquarium unless they were created using dechlorinated or reverse osmosis water.

Can reptiles be used to Decorate a Fish Tank?

Rinse in warm water before placing in the aquarium. Ensure that the decorations fit your fish or reptile in the proper size. The color of ornaments can change in saltwater. Because they are so toxic to fish, avoid using soap or detergent on anything you put in your aquarium.

Where is it inappropriate to place a Fish Tank?

Make sure the vents for your new aquarium are pointed away from it if they are going to be nearby. Keep your aquarium away from a fireplace or other heat source that might raise the water temperature above the recommended range of 68° to 74° F for goldfish or 76° to 80° F for tropical fish.

The Bottom Line on Aquarium Decorations

The bottom line is that you can include any accessories or decorations you want as long as you take safety precautions to ensure that they are secure and non-toxic. Your fish don’t care if you use bright colors or other unusual decorations. Personal preference ultimately determines everything. By following the aforementioned advice, you can use your preferred ornaments to decorate your aquarium without having to worry about your fish getting hurt.

Similar Posts