Things To Consider
Size of Aquarium
It’s obviously not wise to purchase an absolute horde of ornaments for your aquarium if it’s going to take up so much room that there’s nowhere for your fishes to swim!
These pieces are meant to be decorative and while it’s cool to have lots of fun figurines, rocks and models within the tank, there needs to be a bit of balance as you don’t want them to end up distressing your scaly pals.
If you have a big tank, feel free to decorate to your heart’s content, but for smaller aquariums, we suggest picking just one or two large items for you fish to interact with when they feel like it.
Spacing, Levelling & Positioning Ornaments
Considering the size of your aquarium and what you can logistically fit inside is one thing, but once you’ve chosen your ornaments, you then need to further work out the positioning of your pieces and how this will affect swim space for your fish.
The easiest way to do this is to imagine your tank as three zones – top, middle and bottom. To make your aquarium hospitable each of these zones needs to have an area of space for fish to swim. It’s therefore unwise to fill up your entire bottom section with plants and rocks, as some of your pets may enjoy swimming in this space more than any other.
To space things evenly, we suggest having one tall item which rises to the top zone, then a medium-sized and shorter ornament to take up a little space in the other two zones.
The bigger your aquarium the more items you can add.
Colour of Ornaments
This might seem strange, but choosing the wrong colour ornament can seriously mess up the aesthetic of your aquarium, especially if your actual fish boast vibrant and stunning colours.
Getting right is fairly simple thankfully and all you need to do is pick colour tones than compliment your fish rather than clash.
So for light, pale fish dark and dull colours can help bring them to the fore and for bright, tropical fish, white and paler colours can help make them pop!
It’s always best to have at least one large item which becomes the centrepiece of the tank. This can help you establish a theme and build your world around it.
Not all ornaments are created equal and sometimes can even be dangerous for your fish. While you might have fallen in love with a certain piece due to its unusual decor, if it has sharp edges or areas where a fish can get caught, it’s not worth the hassle!
Imagine someone just dropping a huge barb wire structure in the middle of your living room! Even if it looks pretty or interesting, eventually someone is going to get hurt.
Tank owners often get the urge to fill their tank up with all sorts of bits and bobs for decoration, with items such as old driftwood they’ve found on the beach creating authenticity, while nautical toys and figurines from around the house add a bit of fun.
But non-store bought items are obviously not purpose-built for sitting in aquariums all day and so they are sometimes not 100% safe for your fish.
To check this, you’ll need to quarantine all non-commercial products before placing them in your tank to test their safety.
For plastic items, you want to make sure they’re not going to leak any toxins into the water. Place them in a separate bucket of water and then after a few days test the water to ensure there have been no harmful changes in quality.
If a piece of bark or driftwood, boil or bake it in the oven first to remove any bacteria which it may be harbouring. You could also douse it in hydrogen peroxide and water solution for 24 hours.
To ensure your fish is 100% safe though, it’s best to just never put anything in the tank that isn’t purpose-built for aquariums!
Different Styles Of Decor
Most people choose to mimic their fish’s natural habitats when decorating their fish tanks and so they’ll often opt for choices like driftwood, rocks, stones and pebbles which help replicate a sea bed.
Popular choices also include coral sculptures or sculptures created with natural materials, while man-made cave structure can help create authentic hidey-holes for fish to bask in.
If a natural look is a bit boring in your eyes, there’s plenty of fun nautical themes out there such as sunken anchors, mermaids and ships to spice up the inside of your tank.
These days it’s also a hot pick to create a kind of forgotten metropolis in the vain of Atlantis, with a sunken city of ruins and ancient statues.