So you’ve picked out a brand new aquarium or want to update the look of your existing one? Once you’ve got all the essentials, such as a filter and lights, you can work on transforming your tank into the perfect paradise for your fish.
Picking a theme for your aquarium decorations will help you coordinate each component and create an aesthetically pleasing look. Even if you’re choosing a simple colour scheme, you’ll be surprised at how this can turn your tank into a beautiful focal point in your room. Popular themes with a fun twist include fearsome pirates, long lost Atlantis, fun fairy tales, and favourite seafaring characters. Others opt for more nature-inspired coral reefs and underwater forests for a more zen vibe.
Working from the bottom of your tank up, the substrate (base layer) is the first thing you’ll need to place down before adding other decorations, water, or fish. Choose between gravel, sand, or pebbles in a wide array of colours and sizes. If you’re after a natural look, white sand is a great choice, mimicking the bottom of the seafloor. Gravel comes in many colours, from a natural stone look to bright red and neon yellow. You can even create layers with them, but they may mix over time. It’s important to consider the type of creatures you’re placing in the tank and what their needs are - for example, sand is good for eels and other species that stay close to the bottom of the water. However, sand tends to be harder to clean than gravel and may require replacing more frequently.
Once you’ve spread a layer of the substrate around the tank bottom, balance out the elements with some plants, decide whether you’d like real or artificial plants in your tank. While real plants offer a wonderfully natural aesthetic and can help to improve the quality of your water, plastic plants are easier to maintain and come in a wide variety of beautifully realistic and artistic colours. Go for life-like greens for a calming tone or eccentric electric hues to liven up your look.
Lastly, the ornaments. These are your chance to add some character to your underwater creation whilst also providing a space for your fish to retreat to if they want to escape the gaze of fascinated humans. There’s no end to the options of ornamental decorations, from miniature replicas of historical landmarks and your favourite friendly characters to sunken ships and rustic pipes. Rocks and artificial coral formations are ideal for recreating a coastal habitat, while eroded ruins and mossy wreckages are perfect for a mermaid fantasy or treasure-hunting pirate theme.
Whatever ornaments you decide to place in your tank, check that they are made from non-toxic materials and are free from sharp edges that could harm your fish. If you’re putting wood in your tank, it’s best to purchase these elements from a store rather than picking them up at the beach. Unlike driftwood found on a beach, shop-bought pieces are less likely to contain harmful diseases or parasites and will usually have been properly treated for use in a tank.
Once you’ve positioned everything perfectly and taken a step back to admire your work, it’s time to introduce your fish and other aquatic animals to their new home. Watch as they swim around, exploring every surface and hidey-hole you’ve included.
Browse our collection of aquarium ornaments and accessories for more inspiration and ideas on how to decorate your tank.