Part of the fun in keeping a home aquarium comes from being able to decorate it. Many aquarium hobbyists fill their tank with novelty items like sunken pirate ships, scuba divers and treasure chests, but there are a variety of creative ways in which you can decorate your tank. Some of these methods can even benefit your tank by helping to make it a healthier environment for your fish.
Repurpose Natural Objects
One of the easiest ways to decorate your fish tank is to repurpose some natural objects like rocks and driftwood. Scout out a nearby riverbed or lake for large rocks, smooth rocks and slate. In the aquarium you can pile these rocks on top of each other to create caves for your fish to explore or you can simply arrange them in a pleasing manner. To make your arrangements permanent, attach the rocks to each other with an aquarium-safe adhesive.
Driftwood can be found near virtually any body of water if you look closely. Beaches are a primary source for driftwood but you should be sure to wash well anything you find before you put it in your tank. Sink a large piece of driftwood in your aquarium and surround it with live plants or create a sort of jungle using smaller pieces of wood and a variety of live plants. You may even be able to graft some of your live plants directly to the driftwood to create a living tank decoration.
Other Creative Ideas
Terra cotta pots are a simple and inexpensive tank decoration. Purchase several pots in a variety of sizes and stack them on top of each other in the tank to provide your fish with cave-like places to hide. Blend the pots into your existing aquarium décor by filling the bottom with substrate and surround them with aquarium plants. Try different arrangements like pyramid shapes or simply scatter single pots around the tank.
Colorful glass bottles also make unique aquarium decorations. Look for empty liquor or wine bottles with interesting shapes or colors then clean them well. Fill the bottles with a colored sand or gravel then seal them with a cork stopper before sinking them in your tank. Use a single, large bottle as the centerpiece in your aquarium or place several smaller bottles throughout the tank, interspersing them among your live plants and other decorations.
Functional Tank Decorations
Tank decorations that also serve a purpose in the home aquarium are invaluable. For example, porous rocks that look good in your tank can also be a natural place for beneficial bacteria to grow. EcoBio-Stone products are a great example of this combination of beauty and function. These stones, available in a variety of sizes, are made from porous volcanic rock and are infused with beneficial bacteria and nutrients that will help to keep your aquarium healthy. EcoBio-Stones are unique in that they quickly establish a colony of nitrifying bacteria in your tank which work to speed up the nitrogen cycle, clarify the water in your aquarium and remove odors.
While decorating your home aquarium can be fun, be sure not to go overboard. Do not fill your entire tank with decorations because fish, especially larger fish, require a certain amount of open space in which to swim. Keep your decorations concentrated near the sides and back of your aquarium in order to allow your fish freedom of movement. As long as your decorations do not interfere with the wellbeing of your fish you can feel free to be as creative as you like in decorating your tank.