Bettas, ornamental dwarf shrimp, koi, clownfish… For centuries, humans have been captivated by the natural beauty of fish.
We’ve used selective breeding, feeding premium live foods like copepods and vinegar eels and, recently, genetic engineering to enhance the aesthetics we admire and show off these works of animal art in our aquariums and ponds. To compliment the living centerpieces, we come up with aquarium decor ideas.
What do you think of when you imagine fish tank decorations? Do you think of bubbling treasure chests, mermaids and neon gravel? How about Buddha aquarium decorations?
These are popular, and some aquarists are big fans. It’s alright if that’s what you’re into, but there are so many other cool ideas for aquarium decor out there, too.
Spark your imagination with this creative guide on how to decorate a fish tank.
1. Beautiful Natural Plants and Macroalgae
A lot of fish owners are hesitant to buy real plants for freshwater aquariums, or macroalgae for saltwater, but it’s not as challenging as you might think.
Some beautiful aquarium plants and macroalgae are extremely low-maintenance. Plus, they help the aquarium nitrogen cycle along and protect your fish from the related toxins.
With easy freshwater plants, including many species from genera Cryptocoryne and Anubias—among plenty of others—you likely won’t have algae problems and your fish will be happier and healthier.
2. Realistic Recreations
Not willing to try natural plants or coral yet, or want back-up? Aquarium decoration companies have heard you and now offer realistic artificial versions.
Make sure the edges of your plastic tank decor aren’t sharp, or, better yet, buy fabric decorations (for freshwater). This will protect your fish against fin tears.
3. Captivating Driftwood
As long as you take the time to prepare it and make sure it’s safe for your tank, driftwood is easy natural decor for freshwater aquariums.
This doesn’t have to be just plopping any old stick in your tank—spiderwood, for example, has tangles of branches for critters to dart in and out of.
4. A Natural Mountainscape
Putting mountains in your aquarium might sound silly. In reality, though, the (typically freshwater) iwagumi “aquascaping” technique is highly respected: There are international competitions!
5. An Entire World in a Tank
A creative and educational way to decorate your fish tank is to research your animals’ natural habitat and replicate it. This goes past plants, rocks, and wood, or coral in a reef tank.
Hobbyists often incorporate things like leaves, shells, and even populations of prey within the tank, like brine shrimp for reef tanks and copepods in freshwater or saltwater.
6. An Underwater River
You’re thinking: Is an underwater river even possible?!
They’re not only possible—They’re pretty easy, too! Using two colors of substrate and plastic dividers to keep them apart, you can create a winding river or another fun pattern on your aquarium’s floor.
The best part? It works in both fresh- and saltwater.
Aquarium Decor Ideas to Match Your Home
Are you ready to incorporate these interesting aquarium decor ideas into your home design? Whether you go natural or artificial, there’s a fish tank design for every home.
For home design ideas to compliment your aquarium, try the home decor section of our blog!