6 ideas to decorate an aquarium

Fihgura as decoration for an aquarium

There is a lots of decorations that are great ideas for decorating an aquarium, from rocks or sticks to classic figures with chests and divers or more imaginative, like the pineapple where SpongeBob lives.

However, It is not only about choosing the decorations that we like the most for our aquarium, but also about knowing the ones that we cannot put, as well as knowing how to clean them and some tips on decorating. We will cover all of this in this article. In addition, we recommend that you read this other post about decorating the bottom of our aquarium in case you want more ideas.

Ideas to decorate your aquarium

Sandy bottoms are better for some fish

Undoubtedly, decorating an aquarium can be one of the most fun activities, since we can brighten the view of our aquarium and banish that it is a simple place with four gravels and a withered plastic plant. On the contrary, in the market we have a lot of options:

Gravel or sand

The basis of every aquarium, literally, is gravel or sand, which is placed on the bottom. While gravel comes in the form of stones (with a more natural or colored appearance, and of different sizes), sand is perfect for those fish that tend to bury themselves in it or spend most of their time on the bottom in their habitat. natural, like eels.

However, sometimes gravel is the best solutionespecially for our comfort. For example, one of the biggest drawbacks of sand is that cleaning it is very heavy, and that it tends to get everywhere, so you will have to replace it more frequently.

In addition, it is highly recommended that you opt for natural materials, since if they are synthetic or glass they will not allow the good bacterial flora (remember, vital for the aquarium) to emerge so easily.


If you want to give your aquarium a rustic touch, you can opt for logs. There are a lot of trunks of lies to the blindfold in pet stores or Amazon that imitate nature's very well, and, in addition, being synthetic they do not rot, which can provide indefinite shelter for your fish.

Although it is possible to use natural wood in an aquarium, you have to be extremely careful, as it is a very sensitive issue. Some types of wood, for example, release acids into the water that can kill your fish. Most also float, so you will have to treat them first or prop them to the bottom with a stone, for example. Thus, it is not recommended that you use wood that you have collected yourself, without finding out the variety and without taking into account if they have used pesticide.


The plants They are another of the most classic ideas to decorate our aquarium. They can be artificial or natural, as we will see below.

Artificial plants

Clearly they are the easiest to take care of (basically because they do not require care). In addition, they tend to have more colorful colors and provide shelter for your fish without fear of negatively affecting their health. Plus, they don't die or rot, which can release particles into the water that raise the nitrogen level, which can stress and make your fish sick.

Natural plants

A log with holes for the fish to hide

Although they are not highly recommended for beginners, natural plants also have their advantages. For example, well cared for release oxygen when using CO2, something that is always highly recommended for your fish (remember that they need oxygen to live). However, when buying natural plants make sure they come in a sterilized jar so that you do not find stowaways, such as snails, that can invade your aquarium.


Stones, like logs, are one of the classics to decorate any aquarium. You can find them in a lot of places and, in this case, the use of natural stones is not as dangerous as that of logs. Still, to make sure they're safe to use, soak them in water for a few days and then check that the pH hasn't altered.

Another test to check that the stone you have chosen for your aquarium does not contain acids that can kill your fish, much faster, is pour some vinegar on the stone. If you do nothing, the boulder is safe. On the other hand, if it bubbles, it contains acids, so you should not add it to the aquarium. This test can also be done with hydrochloric acid, but it is much more dangerous (I tell you from experience: my sister, who is a geologist, once left a full bottle of water and I almost died).

A fish tank with artificial plants

Artificial decorations

Artificial decorations are for sale in many places and, best of all, they are fully prepared to be submerged, so you will not have to suffer for your fish. And if that was not enough, they present an astonishing variety of figurines, mainly among the most classic (divers, treasure chests, sunken ships, diver helmets, ruins, oriental buildings, Buddhas ...) to more imaginative ones (Stonehenge, SpongeBob's pineapple, a Star Wars AT-AT, volcanoes , mushrooms, skulls ...).

Decorative paper

If you want to give your aquarium a bit of depth, wallpapers are a solution. They are not really painted, but they are a printed photo, usually on sticky paper, that you can stick on the back of the aquarium (obviously on the outside). The vast majority are shaped like a seabed, although you can also find more original ones with forests, waterfalls ... Even if you can't find any photos you like, you can choose to print one. It is highly recommended that in this case you laminate it, since, even if it is out of the water, it will eventually get wet.

What not to put in an aquarium

Stones are a classic of decoration

There is a series of materials that it is not advisable to put in water, as we will see below, and that you may be tempted to submerge. For instance:


The coral is beautiful, but it is used to being full of toxins and bacteria that can ruin your marine ecosystem. In addition, dead coral has a dull color and quite ugly, poor thing, so it will always be more advisable to opt for an artificial option but more cool and pleasing to the eye.

Untreated natural elements

Before we have given you a few ideas to treat the logs and natural stones that you want to add to the water. Nevertheless, if you are not sure and you are a newbie in this field, you'd better go for artificial stones and sticks.

Unprepared decorations

A plastic Indian can be very adorable in your aquarium, but you must be aware that it is not a decoration treated to be submerged in water, so can be toxic to your fish and plants. The same thing happens with other "decorations" that you have not treated or that are not intended as such, for example, coins, minerals, painted glass ...

How to clean the decorations

Fish swimming among the plants in your aquarium

Every so often, as is evident, you will have to clean the decorations you have in your aquarium. For it:

  • Firstly, clean algae and artificial plants that you have in the aquarium without removing the water and with a brush. Don't be too rough if you don't want to load them up.
  • Then, clean the gravel from the bottom with a gravel vacuum. With this method you will not only clean the stones, but you will also be able to use it to change or refill the water.
  • By the way, if you clean the decorations inside, don't use a very hard brush if you don't want to scratch the figurines.

Even if they are a few very simple steps, the truth is that it is one of the most laborious things when maintaining the aquarium, but very important to maintain good hygiene.

Decorative tips

Stones background

Finally what your aquarium is cool or as an amalgam with a thousand things in which the fish are not seen, it does not depend only on the money that we have spent or the number of figures that we put. For instance:

  • Consider the space what do you have and what do you want to put (artificial or natural plants, figures ...)
  • If it is an emarine cosystem, an oceanic theme will be better, while if it is freshwater, a river.
  • Think about what kind of gravel or sand suits your fish.
  • Don't put a lot of items together if you don't want to stress your fish or have an overly full aquarium. Natural plants also need more space.
  • Considers add some element with holes where the fish can hide.
  • One ratio that works very well is to choose to put a large piece in the center and a couple of smaller ones at the ends.
  • From time to time is It is recommended that you move the figurines and decorations at the bottom of the aquarium (obviously this does not apply to natural plants) to give variety for yourself and your fish.

We hope that these ideas to decorate an aquarium have served as a guide to make yours really cool. Tell us, have you ever decorated an aquarium or do you feel lost? Are you more of natural or artificial plants? Is there a decoration that you especially like?

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