Decorations for Fish Tanks - Suppliers & Guide
This article lists types of aquarium decorations and explains the purpose of each of them. However if you'd like to purchase decorations online, simply click this link! There's a forum at the bottom in case you'd like to ask questions or share experiences!
- Plastic and Silk Plants;
- Plastic/fibreglass ornaments
- Ceramic ornaments
- Novelty ornaments
- Decorative substrates
- Natural decorative ornaments
- Real plants
Plastic or Silk Plants:
Most of us have bought these type of plants, usually when we first start into the hobby. This is mainly because they are quick, simple and maintenance free. They also give you a finished result immediately. Some fish can be destructive too, and real plants don’t last long in tanks with these fish. Goldfish are very well known for eating live plants and at best, uprooting them, so silk and plastic plants have their uses! As you become more knowledgeable, this type of décor tends to disappear in favour of natural plants.
A vast range of these are available covering everything from an ornamental bush and tree stump to castles, pillars, bridges and houses. They also come as anchors, ships, divers, treasure chests and many more varieties. The list is almost endless, and the prices are too! The sizes range from tiny to enormous so there is almost certainly one to fit your tank, somewhere on the shelf. They are very useful for themes in fish tanks, in conjunction with other decorations to create a pleasing effect. Many of them also have air attachments to increase the attraction, with moving water wheels, bubble streams or lifting shells to name just a few. If you are looking for something like this, be sure you have an air pump to power it!
These are a little more select, and not so readily available in the local fish stores, but they are available at a price. Saying that, almost any ceramics will work in fish tanks! I have set up a village theme in my 125 gallon using ornamental tea pots! It became a real conversation piece and many of our friends complimented us on the originality of the theme. Other commonplace ornaments found in fish tanks are figurines and statues. If it is ceramic it’s fish-safe, because the paint is sealed under the glaze and they are waterproof. I have used many ceramic ornaments in tanks over the years and never had any problems. Just let your imagination run away and see what you can find!
I suppose a lot of the last paragraph could come under this heading, but so can many of the plastic and fibreglass ornaments! This group of decorations includes the skeletons drinking beer, the old man sat with his fishing rod, swimming divers, oyster shells that rise and fall, water wheels that turn, illuminated bubble-streams, and many more. This group is more for the kids than mature aquarists, but is aimed at giving movement in an otherwise boring tank, something to catch the eye and maybe start a conversation or just to create some interest.
What sort of substrate would you use in your tank? It all depends on what else you have in there! Glass marbles look really attractive when used with a lovely ornamental castle, or on their own in a small tank with a few silk plants. Completely away from natural, but pleasant and different. Coloured gravel is also popular, with many different colours available to suit your tastes. I have come across people using fluorescent beads for substrate too, so their fish tank glows in the dark! (I sometimes wonder what the fish think of their home!) But everyone has their own ways of decorating their tank, and if that suits them, then why not?
Natural decorative ornaments:
This section relates to rocks, corals, driftwood, river stones and the like. These are normally easily obtainable either from your local store or your garden. Caution needs to be taken with these, as they need to be treated more carefully before putting them into the tank, mainly because they can carry disease or parasites with them. As with anything natural, make sure that they are thoroughly cleaned before introducing them to the water, and in the case of driftwood or logs, be sure that they have been boiled for a long time to remove the tannins, or you will end up with yellow water! A rule of thumb here is to boil everything before putting it in. (Corals are the exception if you have a marine tank. You actually want the inhabitants of the coral to survive!)
As you become more experienced in the hobby, the plastic and silk will surely be replaced by living plants. Once you start to realise that the aquarium is a closed ecosystem, you start to see the advantages of natural plants. They not only look 1000 times better than the silk counterparts, but they help to keep the waste products under control. These are the ultimate decoration when treated properly, but they can also be the biggest nightmare if they are not. As with any living thing, plants require basic minerals and nutrients to survive and they require light to flourish. When investing in real plants, care needs to be taken to ensure that you match the type of plants with your aquarium conditions, and that you are prepared to look after them, in the same way as you would your garden. Remove dead leaves and trim regularly and feed them occasionally and they will thank you.
Whether you’re a novice or an expert, with thought and flair your aquarium can be the centrepiece and a topic of conversation, and who knows, it could be a winner of competitions like the one available on this website too!
Feel free to visit Decorating Your Aquarium at firsttankguide.net too!