Do Fish Tanks Really Need Decorations? What You Need to Know?

Date Posted:24 February 2023 


Part of what makes an aquarium look beautiful is the decor and your fish aquarium accessories. Everybody loves seeing a tank full of colourful fish swimming through plants and rocks as opposed to a barren tank. But is it really necessary to decorate your aquarium? Read on to learn all about how to decorate a fish tank and how it can help your fish!


Why You Need to Decorate Your Aquarium?


Adding fish decor and aquarium ornaments to your aquarium not only makes it look more beautiful, but it also has a myriad of benefits, not just for you, but for your fish as well.


Do Fish Like Decorations in Their Tank?


Aquarium accessories and ornaments can do wonders for your fish. For starters, it gives your fish a space to hide and rest. Since most aquarium fish are prey in the natural environment, having a hiding place can help alleviate any stress they may be feeling.


By adding accessories, you will be mimicking their natural habitat, allowing them to feel a lot more comfortable and act in a natural manner. In essence, the closer your tank looks to a coral reef or a riverbed, the more likely you are to see your fish swimming about and being active.


Another benefit is that certain types of rock and wood used for decoration can alter the water parameters in your tank naturally without the use of chemicals. They also provide a larger surface area for nitrifying bacteria to colonise on, thus allowing them to eradicate ammonia and nitrites from your aquarium. This way, your fish have a stronger immune system and will be less susceptible to disease. Furthermore, the healthier your fish are, the more vibrant their colours will be.


Why You’ll Love Having Aquarium Decorations?


An aquarium can be a beautiful visual, as well as a calming element in your space. So, you want your aquarium to look good, not just for your fish, but also for yourself. By thinking about some aquarium decor ideas and adding some decorations, you will be able to improve the appearance of your aquarium and add to the aesthetic of your spaces. The best part about fish tank decorations is that you have complete artistic freedom, meaning you can be as creative as you wish.


Another great benefit of decorating is that you will be creating more areas for your fish to explore. This way, they will venture out more often instead of hiding, allowing you to see more of them. It can even be a thrill to watch as your fish interact with new parts of their environment, displaying more natural behaviour.


So, What Can You Put in Your Fish Tank for Decoration?


If you are looking for some fish tank decor ideas, we have a few pointers for where you should start.


Choose the Right Substrate


The first thing you want to consider is what kind of substrate to use for your aquarium. There are several different options, including sand, gravel, stones, glass pebbles and more. When choosing a substrate for your tank, you must take into consideration what kind of fish you have. For instance, eels or stingrays are bottom dwellers who usually spend a lot of time on the floor. For these fish, sand is a better option than rocks since they are less likely to cut their bodies on the sandy surface.


Gravel and stones are popular choices for freshwater tanks since they create a natural look for the tank and are much easier to clean. They are a preferable alternative to coloured glass pebbles. Despite how pretty glass pebbles can look, they are not always the best choice for a large fish tank. This is partly because they do not provide much surface area for good bacteria to colonise and maintain the nitrogen levels in your tank. Furthermore, they will break down over time and tend to have sharper edges whereas the gravel will just become finer.


If you choose to use glass pebbles, it would be best to scatter a few of them throughout the bottom of the tank so that they add a splash of colour. Just make sure to change them out once they begin to show signs of wearing down.


Add Some Plants for Greenery


Underwater foliage not only adds colour to your tank but also helps recreate underwater environments and can give your aquarium a more natural feel. You can choose between plastic or silk plants and live plants for your tank, or mix and match. Plastic plants come in a variety of colours that are not found in nature and are easier to maintain since they cannot die. However, real plants can help improve the water quality of your tank. Since plants need to use nitrogen, they utilise the waste products of the fish and keep the nitrogen levels low in the aquarium. An added bonus is that real plants can reduce harmful carbon dioxide build-up and maintain stable oxygen and pH levels.


Include Ornaments Made Specifically for Aquariums


When you think of aquarium decor, fun little ornaments and trinkets are the first thing that come to mind. You can choose from a variety of decor such as sunken castles, pirate ships and treasure chests, as well as other more non-traditional and quirky objects for your aquarium. However, make sure that you only use decor that has been designed for use in aquariums, so that you can avoid exposing your fish to toxic elements. As a result, you can’t just put any decoration into your fish tank.


What Not to Put in Your Tank to Keep Your Fish Safe?


While you might have found just the thing for your aquarium, it’s important to remember that your aquarium is a delicate ecosystem. Introducing items that have not been designed for this environment can be incredibly harmful to your fish. On that note, these are four items you must never include in your tank.


1. Plastic


Never use plastic figurines, dolls or toy cars in your aquarium, as these objects could be painted with toxic colours that may not have adhered to the item properly. Furthermore, if the plastic is soaked in water for long periods of time, it is possible that it could release chemicals that are potentially harmful to fish. If you wish to add decorations, make sure you only buy certified aquarium-safe products so that you do not harm your tank’s inhabitants.


2. Ceramic


Many ceramic products contain small quantities of lead which can fatally contaminate your fish’s environment. There are also some ceramics which are glazed in copper and can be highly harmful to certain species, like shrimp. However, the ceramic ornaments and cichlid rocks we sell at Aquarium Kingdom are aquarium safe.


3. Untreated Wood


Never put branches and sticks that you have found in the forest or the park in your aquarium. This is because untreated wood is rich in bacteria that can alter the chemistry of the water. This in turn can cause serious health problems for your fish. So, while wood is a great way to make a natural environment for your fish, only use wood from trusted suppliers and ensure that it is okay to use in your fish tank.


4. Sand & Shells From the Beach


It may seem like a fun idea to add seashells or sand that you found on the beach to your aquarium. However, this is not a wise idea since sand from the seashore is generally ridden with pollutants, debris and chemical residues that can be harmful to your fish.


Getting the Most Out of Your Fish Tank Decor


In order to get the best out of your aquarium, it is advisable to stick to a specific theme and only include items that go with that theme. If you try to include too many themes, you can run the risk of overcrowding your fish tank with decorations. This can then lead to problems. For instance, if you have too many decorations in a fish tank, it can reduce the swimming space for the fish. A small, tight space can make the fish uncomfortable and aggressive, which can cause fights and lead to injuries. To avoid this overcrowding and confusion, it is essential to only have a few decorations scattered throughout the fish tank.


In order to ensure you do not overcrowd your tank, you also must take into consideration the size of your fish and the tank, the number of fish, and the species of fish. Small fish usually require less space, while large fish need more space. In line with this, small tanks usually do better with less decor, while larger tanks can house more decorations in the available space. So, always make sure to leave some room around the edges of the tank for movement. Plus, if you have a larger number of fish, take into account that they need more space to manoeuvre, meaning a lesser amount of decorations is better.


The fish species also affect your decorations as well. If you keep bottom-dwellers in your tank, it’s best to reduce the number of decorations so that they do not interfere with the movement of your bottom-dwelling. Top-dwellers, on the other hand, can exist peacefully with more decorations, provided that they are not obstacles in their path.


What Can I Use to Clean Fish Tank Decorations?


Regularly cleaning your fish decor can help keep your aquarium fresh and healthy for your fish.


White vinegar is a cheap and effective method in which to remove algae and other build-up from your decorations. For more tough stains and build-up, you might need to use a bit of bleach. However, this must be used only as a last resort, as bleach can be harmful to fish if used incorrectly.


Here are a few tips on how to effectively clean your decorations:


  • Always clean your aquarium decorations with warm/hot water.
  • Properly rinse the decoration item thoroughly before returning it to the tank.
  • Make sure you clean your decorations as often as required. Heavy-use decorations may need to be cleaned weekly, while light-use decorations can be cleaned monthly.
  • If you have multiple decorations, soak them in a vinegar or baking soda solution overnight to loosen any build-up.
  • If using bleach, work in a well-ventilated area and use rubber gloves. Make sure to rinse the decorations very well, and soak the ornaments with tap water with a little bit of water conditioner to remove any excess bleach, allowing them to dry in the sun before returning them to the tank.


Find Your Aquarium Decorations at Aquarium Kingdom!


If you are looking to decorate your tank and need some top-quality decor, Aquarium Kingdom is where you should go! We have a wide range of must-have aquarium accessories that are sure to make your tank look spectacular and keep your fish happy.