How to Choose Decorations for Your Aquarium

You have your ideal tank, complete will all the whistles of filtration. You have your water testing kit ready. You already know which fish to include in your collection. So, how will you decorate your aquarium? This is where most people run into issues. Once you decide to have a fish aquarium as part of your home, you need to know how to decorate it. Many people end up buying decorations and overcrowding them at the bottom of the tank. This isn’t nice. It makes doing tank maintenance harder and makes your tank look unattractive. With this in mind, how do you select decorations for your tank? This is the time to get creative, and here are tips to help you achieve this.

Consider the Size of Your Aquarium

When selecting decorations, you want to avoid cluttering your aquarium, especially if it’s a small aquarium. When it comes to the beauty of your aquarium, less is more. Consider a single feature instead of choosing different decorations. Based on a review at, try and select one unique item for the tank’s center. Surround it with a single theme to create a strong visual statement. Before deciding what item to choose, first have a theme in mind. This makes it easier to pick and select the best items for your tank.

Choosing a Substrate

This is the first thing you want to consider. There are many options. Does a sandy bottom sound like something you want? Or perhaps small or large gravel works for you? What about glass pebbles? The list is endless. When choosing a substrate, consider your fish too. For instance, fish like eels or knifefish thrive well in a sandy bottom. Eels spend most of their time at the bottom. This means if you have a rocky substrate, they’ll rub their bodies raw, which is not ideal for them.

Lighting and Background

The lighting and background of your aquarium will make or break its appeal. Most people buying aquariums as first-timers don’t realize how important these two are. Typically, a mirror background and lighting both reflect off the water. So, if both are installed correctly, you can create some fantastic tones of color in the water. Consider going for white or blue lights – they work well in many aquariums. You can also experiment with different shades and backgrounds to find a suitable mix.

Use Live Plants (if possible)

Many professionally-designed aquariums contain live plants. Live plants help oxygenate the water and add to its beauty. You can get live plants for both saltwater and freshwater tanks in a local pet store near you. Most of these plants are also easy to maintain. You only need to ensure you choose plants suited for the water temperature, substrate, and chemistry in your tank. Also, you need to consider your fish when selecting plants. Ensure you research your plants, so you don’t accidentally harm your fish.

Natural Materials

When choosing decorations for a fish tank, it’s advisable to buy the items from a pet store. Items sold in pet stores are natural and are designed to be submerged in water and with fish. If you purchase materials from general shops, they may contain harmful chemicals or degrade in the water. If this happens, it means this wasn’t their primary purpose. If you’re not sure whether the materials are ideal, read the labels. If you cannot decipher what’s written on the labels, ask for help from the shop assistant.

What about Synthetic Corals?

This is one area where most people get confused. The plants you use in a freshwater aquarium can’t be used in a saltwater environment. To be on the safe side, use synthetic corals and algae to imitate the underwater environment. Synthetic decorations are more durable than organic decorations. Even though they don’t produce fresh oxygen like live plants, they’re easy to clean. You have more of a say in size, color, and material with synthetic decorations, unlike natural plants.

Deciding on a Color Palette

Avoid adding too many colors to your tank. From colorful substrate to plants to decorations, you want to keep everything to a minimum. Adding too much gives your fish tank a chaotic look. Instead, use 2 or 3 tones to add to your design. This way, everything in your aquarium will be more delicate and restrained.

Decorating your aquarium can seem like a more daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With the tips above, you can decorate your aquarium even without professional help. For the DIYer, be careful when decorating your tank to avoid damaging the materials. If you need more inspiration, you can look up more professional aquarium layouts on the internet. Over to you!