Decorating Your Aquarium
Decorations are not a required component of a successful tank. However, they will add significantly to your tank’s aesthetic appeal and can provide a sense of security for your fish by creating hiding places. The choices are endless, including live or fake plants, real or fake rocks, and a huge variety of molded ornaments of structures like castles and treasure chests. Check with our staff to make sure any wood or rocks you use are safe for the type of tank you have and will not have negative effects on the tank.
Most fish do not require a substrate. It is more for aesthetic appeal than anything else, but many hobbyists choose to use it in their tanks. Gravel is the substrate most commonly used. It is available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Medium-sized gravel is generally best, although smaller gravel can look great in a planted tank. Large gravel can be disastrous, as it can leave spaces that will trap food, waste, and even small fish.
Decorative Aquarium Stones
Although many commercially-gathered stones are available for your aquarium, you can also collect them yourself. Among the stones safe for use in aquariums are natural lava rock, natural slate, natural quartz, natural river rock and petrified wood. Be sure to boil collected rocks for an hour before placing them in your tank.
Natural driftwood is another decoration that can add character to an aquarium. You can catch it on the bottom of the lake while fishing or find it along rivers and streams. Your local aquarium shop will have several types of exotic imported and artificial driftwood available.
Technology has made artifical plants more lifelike than many live plants ... and they are certainly easier to keep alive. When selecting artificial plants choose plants of varying heights, leaf shapes, and colors. Use tall plants to hide lift tubes and heaters. Place a couple of medium height plants in the middle of the tank, and and use the short ones for accenting rocks and driftwood. Image background plants clip to the top of your tank and cascade downward.
The suitability of ceramic objects as aquarium ornaments is sometimes debated amongst fish enthusiasts. The truth is that some ceramic ornaments are perfectly safe while others leach fish toxic heavy metals as the glaze dissolves.
Cleaning your Tank Decorations
Eventually you'll need to remove all of your decorations to clean them. Over time brown or green algae may grow on your aquarium decorations. Fine-leaved artificial plants seem to be a "catch all" for left over food particles and debris.