Stuck on Aquarium Decorations? Learn Everything You Need to Know From Substrates to Ornaments

Date Posted:20 May 2022 


When it comes to setting up a new aquarium, there are a few steps to undertake before introducing your fish to their new home. Once you have your filtration ready, and have tested the water quality, it is time for the fun, yet tricky, bit: choosing your aquarium decorations. There are a few factors you should consider when picking out aquarium accessories, like aesthetics, and even the type of fish you plan on having in the tank. This short guide should help you out.


Why Decorate Your Aquarium?


Decorating your aquarium, also known as aquascaping, may seem like a small thing but it’s actually hugely important. There are two main reasons why you should invest time and effort in choosing the right aquarium decor. Firstly, the aquarium you are setting up is a home for your fish, so they should feel comfortable in their environment. Comfortable surroundings will alleviate any stress your aquatic pets may feel, thus keeping them healthy.


Secondly, fish tank decorations add to the aesthetic appeal of the tank itself and also the room it is placed in. You want your aquarium to look good, not just for your fish, but also for yourself. But before you start scouring the internet for aquarium decoration theme ideas, it’s time to learn about some fundamentals you should always follow.


Choose the Right Decorations


There are so many fun and creative ways to decorate your fish tank or aquarium! Whether you want to go with a traditional look or try something more unique, there's definitely an option for you.


1. What Substrate Should You Choose?


The first thing to consider is the substrate. Handily, the type of fish you are putting in the tank should ideally dictate the answer. For instance, fish like African cichlids and shell dwellers love sand or a finer substrate; it makes them feel at ease and triggers their natural spawning behaviour. There are all sorts of different gravels on the market, from natural gravel to quartz gravel to painted gravel in every colour under the sun. We highly recommend choosing a finer gravel for your aquarium as it is much easier to keep clean and less waste accumulates between the gaps.


Aquarium plants depend on a substrate or soil to anchor their roots and receive necessary nutrients. If you intend to keep live plants, using a plant substrate or aquarium soil is the best way to ensure your plants will thrive.


2. What Plants Are Best for Your Aquarium?


Plants are a popular addition to your aquarium decoration arsenal. This is because they create a more natural environment, add some colour, and offer your fish a place to hide and play. When choosing plants for your fish tank, you can opt for the natural variety or even plastic ones. Plastic or silk plants tend to last longer and require little to no maintenance, come in colours you may not find in nature and won’t get nibbled by your fish. Real plants, though, help maintain the water quality in your aquarium which is a big advantage. So, you may need to brush up on your aquatic gardening skills. Of course, you can also go for a mix of both artificial and natural plants to create your dream aquarium.


3. Rocks & Driftwood


There are so many different types of rocks to choose from when it comes to your aquarium. Some popular ones are Seiryu rock, dragon stone, black or red lava rock, and river pebbles. Keep in mind that certain types of rocks can change the water chemistry. For instance, crushed coral or Texas Holey rock, can raise the pH of your aquarium water. Creating a natural environment for your fish is easy with so many types of aquarium driftwood available, like Mopani, Malaysian driftwood, gold vine, mangrove root, ghostwood and so much more.


It’s important to note that driftwood can release tannins into the water and turn it yellow. We highly recommend soaking your driftwood separately and changing the water frequently to remove as much tannins as possible before adding it into your aquarium. If you're looking for a way to remove and absorb tannins from your aquarium, try using API Bio-Chem Zorb or Seachem Purigen! You can also find all sorts of specially made fish tank decorations that are designed to look like natural rocks and driftwood. These have been made to be safe alternatives to the real thing.


4. Finishing Touches: Ornaments & More


Often when people think of aquarium decor, ornaments are the first thing that come to mind. From traditional sunken castles, pirate ships and treasure chests, to more obscure and quirky objects, ornaments can be the cherry on top when it comes to decorating your aquarium. However, you should only use aquarium decorations and decor that have been designed for use in aquariums, and made of non-toxic resins or ceramics.


How to Clean Aquarium Decorations?


Anything you use as aquarium decorations, apart from live plants, needs to be cleaned, and this can be done with basic tools like algae pads or a brush. When it comes to cleaning decorations, you want to remove any algae or gunk build-up, as well as fish waste. It is good practice to clean your decorations when you are cleaning out the water, so you can do two jobs at once. However, you don’t want to give your fish a shock and make their world all but disappear. So, it’s best to clean a few ornaments at a time to avoid your fish becoming distressed.


For really dirty ornaments, chemicals like bleach can be used to kill off any algae. After rinsing excess bleach off, allow the ornaments to soak for an additional 15 minutes in a mix of water and chlorine remover to remove any bleach residue. Rinse a second time with clean water and allow everything to air dry completely. Once the bleach has been completely removed, your aquarium decorations are safe to go back into your tank.


Buy Aquarium Decorations From Aquarium Kingdom


Like the ocean, there’s endless depths of aquarium accessories out there. So, your best bet to avoid getting lost at sea is to buy aquarium ornaments from Aquarium Kingdom. We have a huge variety, all at affordable prices, and the expert aquarium knowledge to make sure you create the perfect environment for your fish. Explore our store today!