What to use as Aquarium Ornaments
Interesting under water scenes are created by using the right combination of aquarium ornaments. By choosing the right décor an aquarist can create the perfect environment to raise happy and healthy fish. Sure, aquarium ornaments are wonderful to look at, but they also serve a bigger purpose. There are many pieces that also function as important survival tools for aquatic pets. When choosing ornaments for an aquarium you’ll have to assess the needs of your fish, pick features that accommodate those needs and use them to create and eye-pleasing scene.
There are so many different aspects of decoration to think about when building an underwater scene. Keep in mind you are creating a whole world for your fish to live in. It is a three-dimensional space where your pets will eat, breath, sleep and hide, so where do you start? The best place to begin is at the bottom.
The first thing to decide is what to put at the bottom of the aquarium. There are so many substances to choose from. Gravel is most commonly used to decorate the bottom of tropical tanks. It’s easy to clean and it has a little bit of weight if you need to anchor down a few plants. Gravel comes in many different colors and textures to match any ornaments you may choose for your scenery. Adding larger river stones or marbles can increase the aesthetics and add dimension to plain gravel.
Once a substrate is chosen it is time to start looking for that perfect background. There are flat ones that are positioned in the back of the aquarium and there are three-dimensional ones that are placed on the inside of the posterior aquarium glass. Both serve the purpose of hiding the unsightly water filters that hang on the back of the tank. Choosing one is a matter of preference. But keep in mind that the scenery that hangs inside the water will be added to your list of aquarium cleaning duties.
The next step in aquarium decorating is the fun part and that is choosing the one or two dramatic pieces that will become the focus of your whole underwater scene. The fish will love it no matter what it looks like but be sure that it provides plenty of hiding space. These aquarium ornaments can be almost anything, sunken ships, hollowed out logs, rocky caves, castles or houses, and the list goes on and on. Be sure to pay close attention to the size of these centerpieces in comparison to your fish and tank. You’ll want to have enough space for hiding beneath it and also enough free swimming space above for your pets to move about. Once you have the big pieces picked you can go on to find smaller accessory pieces.
Accessory ornaments can be useful features added to your tank with specific purposes in mind. If you have active fish that require a little more oxygen you can look for underwater rivers and bridges or bubbling treasure chests. These decorations tend to need air pumps to power them and can take the place of a plain old air stone. Some fish appear to have fun when swimming through turbulent waters and this is a good way to provide such currents. Another type of functional ornament is the submersible light ornament. This type of decoration provides a soft glow in the aquarium, just enough to see in without the powerful, bright light of the aquarium hood. These lighted features often come in different colors to enhance the tones of the tank.
The final step in aquarium décor is choosing the right plants. This will be the final touch of personality and color in your aquarium. Decide whether you want a lot of plants or just a few. If you plan to raise larger fish it would be best to use just a few as they tend to rearrange the things they can move. If you raise smaller fish you could probably use more plants so the tank appears fuller. Then you need to decide whether you want to use real or plastic plants. Again, with the larger fish you should choose the more durable plant which is plastic. If you have smaller fish it doesn’t matter which you choose because they can’t hurt real or fake plants.
Once you’ve chosen all of your aquarium ornaments you may need to rearrange the layout a few times before it’s absolutely perfect. Just keep trying until you get it right and your fish will love you for it.
This is my daughter’s aquarium with colorful rocks and plants, glass marbles and a bubble blowing diver.
A cave made of river rocks vs. a plastic rock cave
Larger stones give plain gravel added dimension.
Feel free to visit Decorating Your Aquarium at firsttankguide.net too!