Transform Your Fish Tank with These Creative Decor Ideas Using , , , Tags!

A plethora of aquarium sand and gravel colors is available, allowing you to choose your favorite based on your desired aquarium aesthetic and the creatures you plan to house there.[1]

Choose sand for eels, knifefish, and rays due to their tendency to stay at the bottom. Rays require sand since they bury themselves in it. Nonetheless, keep in mind that plenty of space is vital for movement if you have a ray.[2]

Create a visually appealing effect by layering colors of sand. If you have a saltwater tank, plain sand is recommended since colored sand can't withstand the salty environment.[3]

Rocks are a fantastic way to incorporate natural décor in your aquarium. Lava rock, quartz, petrified wood, and even slate are all viable options.[4]

For a vibrantly-colored aquarium, include rocks like red desert rock, honey onyx, zebra rock, ice rock, or rainbow rock. Large rocks containing layers and crevices add dimension to your tank and provide a hideaway for your fish. You may either purchase rocks from a pet store or choose natural ones, but avoid basic (as opposed to acidic) rocks. To ensure your rocks are safe, soak them in water for a few days and then test the pH of the water.

In a saltwater tank, coral is a recommended alternative to rocks. [5]

Before adding natural rocks to your tank, clean them by boiling them for 10 minutes.[6]

Incorporate big, small, and medium shells in your tank to evoke an oceanic feel. You can find shells in lakes, rivers, beaches, or pet stores.[8]

Avoid using shells in a freshwater tank since they can release calcium, which disrupts the natural balance of the aquarium. Before taking the shells home, ensure they are empty of animals. Furthermore, wash and boil them for 10 minutes beforehand. For a mermaid’s “home,” utilize large orange or reddish scallop shells by placing a novelty mermaid in the bottom shell. Bear in mind that seashells are typically white, yellow, brown, red, pink, or orange.[8]

Ensure that the aquatic plants you select thrive underwater. Plant your chosen plants by burying their roots in your substrate to promote their growth and feeding over time.[9]

Begin with good plants like Cryptocoryne wendtii red, marimo moss ball, java moss, Amazon sword, or java fern.

Enhance the aesthetic appeal of your tank by incorporating plants with a variety of leaf shapes. To create depth, arrange taller plants in the back and shorter plants in the front while ensuring easy visibility of your aquatic creatures.

Regularly monitor live plants for withering as they can affect the water quality of your system. Remove them promptly to maintain optimal tank conditions. Plants rely on nitrogen and generate oxygen, which proves beneficial for fish respiration.[10]

Rev up the fun factor of your tank by introducing novelty items such as treasure chests, plastic divers, and mermaids. You can take the theme up a notch by focusing on a few items or scattering them throughout your decoration pieces.

Create an intriguing underwater world with the addition of a pirate ship, sunken treasure, squid, octopus, or mermaid, and immerse your fish in an enthralling escapade. Opt for fish tank-safe plastic materials as some may leach harmful chemicals into the water over time.

You can add a splash of color to your tank by using clean jars or bottles that resemble beach glass colors like green or blue. Place them on their side to create a playful area for your fish to explore. Glass containers do not emit toxic substances into the water, and this eco-friendly option enables recycling.

Craig MortonCraig Morton

For a more straightforward and less demanding decoration plan, skip sand or gravel. Most fish species do not require them, which means simplified maintenance and fewer obstructions.

Some fish like rays may need sand to bury in, so you may need to incorporate the substrate to accommodate their unique requirements.

When choosing household items to accent your aquarium, prioritize those that will not harm your fish. For instance, shells and rocks that undergo thorough cleansing may serve as suitable additions. As an aquarium owner, it is vital to exercise caution in selecting any household items to ensure safety.


What is the recommended level of theming for a fish tank?

Answer by a wikiHow Staff Editor

This response has been meticulously composed by one of our expert researchers and validated for both accuracy and comprehensiveness.

wikiHow Staff EditorwikiHow Staff EditorwikiHow Staff EditorwikiHow Staff Editor

You have complete control over the degree of theming you wish to incorporate into your tank. If the idea of a fully themed tank seems overwhelming, simply choose decorations that appeal to your personal taste.


Is it possible to add decorations to a tank after the water has been filled?

Answer by a wikiHow Staff Editor

This response was carefully crafted by one of our trained researchers and validated for both accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Absolutely yes! It is advisable that you add the substrate before the water, but items such as rocks, plastic decor, and plants can be added to the tank even after it is filled.

See additional answers by clicking the following link.

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Co-authored by:

  • Aquarium Specialist, Aquarium Doctor Inc.

This article was co-authored by Craig Morton and written by our talented staff writer, Hannah Madden. Craig Morton serves as the founder and CEO of Aquarium Doctor Inc., a leading company in Huntington Beach, California that provides aquarium custom design services, tank installations, and maintenance across Orange County, Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire. Craig, with his more than three decades of experience in the field, is an expert in this industry. As of August 25, 2021, this article has been viewed 137,858 times with the valuable contributions of 22 co-authors.

Thank you to all of our authors for their valuable input in creating this article, which has been read a total of 137,858 times.

Craig Morton

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