Decorating Suggestions for an Aquarium

Decorations are an important element of any aquarium. Planning the design of your aquarium allows you to add a personal touch while providing the necessary care requirements for your fish. Many fish spend the majority of their time near places where they can quickly hide from predators in the wild. Decorations in the aquarium will help your fish feel less exposed and vulnerable, reducing stress and their susceptibility to disease.


Substrate is the foundational decoration for aquariums. There are a number of choices available ranging from naturalistic live bottoms to brightly colored gravel. The choice is up to you, but consider the type of fish that you plan to keep and if you want them to reproduce. Some species have specific substrate requirements to breed. Also consider the ease of cleaning. If you plant to keep a live tank with multiple plants and biological control of algae and other plant growth a sandy, live-bottom aquarium may suit your purposes. If keeping a clean tank that has sharp colors is your preference, then standard aquarium gravel that is easily siphoned clean is the best choice.


In addition to creating a natural appearance in your aquarium, live plants also help maintain water quality and provide a natural food source for many species. While fish are the primary focus of attention in most aquariums, a diverse landscape of aquatic plants can be as impressive as the most striking fish. There is a large number of aquatic plants commonly available for purchase from aquarium supply stores. Many species of fish that come from small moving rivers prefer tanks that are planted with the soft cover of live plants. Herbivorous fish appreciate having live plants to snack on between meals.

Artificial Plants

Artificial plants provide a natural appearance to aquariums without any of the demands of keeping live plants. There are a large number of artificial plants designed specifically for aquariums. Artificial plants are made from plastic or silk and range in appearance from copies of natural plants to bright pink versions. Artificial plants do not provide the environmental benefits of their live counterparts, but they require no additional attention or maintenance after installation.

Natural Decorations

Rocks, logs and found objects such as pipes or flower pots provide solid habitat for fish and create a focal point in aquariums. Many species of fish that come from fast-moving waters or deep open waters prefer sparsely planted tanks with plenty of natural objects to hide in. Ensure that whatever natural objects you place in your aquarium are secured in place so they cannot fall and injure your fish.

Artificial Decorations

There are numerous artificial decorations available to add personality to your aquarium. Some are creatively animated with air pumps while others simply provide an ambiance to the underwater environment. From shipwreck scenes to underwater ruins, there is no shortage of artificial accessories to create a living story in your aquarium.


Backgrounds along the back wall of an aquarium allow the natural colors of your fish to stand out from the environment. A dark-colored background reduces glare and also helps your fish feel more secure. Backgrounds are a good way to hide the unsightly cords from pumps, filters, heaters and lighting elements of aquariums and maintain a clean, crisp appearance.

Keywords: aquarium decorations, suggestions for aquarium, fish habitat

About this Author

Isaac Campbell has been a professional writer since April 2010. He is a regular contributor to eHow Home and Garden and writes about his travels in Sweden for various websites. Isaac holds a master's degree from Lund University in sustainability science and specializes in writing about landscape design and natural history.

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