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How To Decorate A Fish Tank With Household Items

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Making your aquarium beautiful and safe enough for your pet doesn’t have to break the bank. With the items present in your house that ensures safety for your fish, you get to build your aquarium that suits your taste and style. A great way to spend your weekend or holiday and have fun while putting your decorating abilities to work. With simple tricks and your available items, know how to decorate a fish tank with household items without hassle.

Maybe you have already got it all figured out. From the filtering system that is already installed, the combinations of your favorite fish in the aquarium, to the feed to give them. The main concern now is how to decorate a fish tank with household items? You have seen a couple of aquariums in pet stores, well decorated with pebbles, plastic plants and a host of them. However, you just want something unique and that will make a great home for your fish. The good news is that this is quite an easy thing to do, considering that some of the items are readily available in your cabinets. However, there are some do’s and don'ts when it comes to your question, how to decorate a fish tank with household items?


How to decorate a fish tank with household items

Confused about how to decorate a fish tank with household items? No worries! There are cheap amazing ways you can add brightness and beauty to your aquarium using household items.

1. Clay pots

Yes! You heard me right. Clay or flower pot can make a pretty house for your fish. It can be used either as a separate decoration placed at the bottom of the aquarium or used to add some specs by scattering the smaller pots in the aquarium. Clay pots are safe for the fish as they are non-toxic. However, ensure they are wide enough for your fish to swim.

2. Mugs

Set your fish on party mood with ceramic mugs. With mugs in various colors and patterns, this unexpected yet artistic piece will bring your aquarium to life. Saucers and teacups will also serve the main purpose However, only put ceramics pieces that are safe for fish if you don’t want your aquarium to be contaminated with poisonous substances that can be dangerous to the fish well being.

3. Plastic ToysPlastic Toys

Imagine a fish tank filled with colorful and lively plastic toys of your kids. Adding toys as decorations will help beautify your aquarium and creativity is the key. There are good toys that can be introduced to your fish tank which are kid-friendly. As beautiful as this sounds, putting cheap plastic in the aquarium is quite dangerous. They can release harmful chemicals that are not safe for your pet. Another great option is Lego which is a more outstanding way of putting toys in the aquarium.

4. Pictures and posters

Give your fish some island or fish vibes with cool pictures in the background. You can simply get posters that are available in the pet stores. Moreover, display your creativity by making your poster, draw and add your color, this will serve as a fun way to add some background to your aquarium. Interestingly, you can choose a poster that is matching with the wall or your home decor. This will add more brightness to your pet house and your home. Ensure the poster is fitting the width and height of the aquarium and simply attach it using tape and glue.

5. Rocks

You can never go wrong with decoration when it comes to rock. There is a wide variety of rocks to choose from and that will be suitable for the theme or look you are going for. They range from Honey Onyx, Rainbow Rock, Ice Rock, Lava Rock, Slate and a lot more. Precautions to be taken when using rock as decoration include:

  •  Inspect the rock and see that they are not sharp or having rough edges. You don’t want your fish getting hurt or harm.
  • Check to see if the rocks are suitable for the aquarium. This can be done either by putting vinegar or by soaking in water for some days. Then test the water pH level.
  • A good rule of thumb is to introduce rocks that are hard, solid, and having no porosity.
  • Research on the type of rocks as some rocks contain a high concentration of minerals like calcium. Some might not be good for the fish's health.
  • Sandstone is not ideal for aquarium because of its softness, thereby, releasing more minerals into the aquarium.
  • Ensure the rocks are properly cleaned before introducing them into the aquarium.
  • You need not worry as the regular maintenance of the water will help in keeping the hardness level to the required amount.

6. Plants

Go green with the sparks of live plants in the aquarium. Placing them at the substrate of the tank will be great and add freshness to your aquarium. Moreover, they are good for your fish tank as they release oxygen that aids breathing in fish. However, be careful while introducing plants. They tend to carry worm or disease that can be harmful to the fish, also, they live plants can die easily, thereby, contaminating the water and the aquarium and causing water pollution,

Plastic plants are also good options that are readily available in pet stores. However, ensure they are non-toxic to avoid harmful substances being released into the fish tank.

7. Wood

Except pretreated, adding wood to the fish tank as decor can be quite harmful to the fish. Wood can alter the pH level of the tank and cause damage. You would not want to see floated fish welcoming you when you check the aquarium. Treated driftwood or fake wood sold in pet stores are more preferable.

Stay off the homemade wooden decor. The reason being that wood contains tannin and other substances that can change the water pH level. Be ready to spend a few bucks on pet store treated woods.

8. Glass

How to decorate a fish tank with household items, remember those grandma glasses? In case you don’t know, they are beautiful for your aquarium. Not only are they cute decor, but they are also solid and they won't leak any harmful substances into the water. Moreover, glass rocks will also create a fascinating feel to your aquarium substrate.

However, take caution with glasses as they can be broken, hence, having sharp edges. Anything that can harm or injure your fish in the aquarium should be avoided. 

9. Holiday decor

Want to know more about how to decorate a fish tank with household items? Add those extra holiday decor to the aquarium. While making your home decor during the holiday, don’t forget your pet home. For instance, holiday figurines, snowflakes, or holiday lights during Christmas can be hung on the outside of the aquarium.

Pro Tip

You have seen a couple of aquariums in pet stores, well decorated with pebbles, plastic plants and a host of them. However, you just want something unique and that will make a great home for your fish. 

Precautions to take while decorating your aquarium with household items

Now that you understand how to decorate a fish tank with household items there are precautions to be taken while decorating the aquarium with these items.

  • Painted plastics are not advisable to be placed in the fish tank as these items might be coated with a painting that contains harmful substances.
  • Use solid, hard rock for your decoration., soft and brittle rocks can leak minerals that can pose a threat to the fish well being.
  • No! You cannot use wood lying around the house as an aquarium decoration. Wood contains tannin that will alter the water pH level and cause a problem for the fish.
  • Toys and plastics are good as aquarium decor but can cause problems, especially if they are toxic.
  • Some ceramics are not safe and contain toxins. Ensure any ceramic mugs or saucers used are considered food safe. Anything safe for you to eat with is also safe for the fish.
  • Clean and wash thoroughly any items you want to introduce into the aquarium.
  • Live plants are beneficial for the fish but they can contain disease or bacteria that can infest the fish. Be careful when introducing live plants into the aquarium.
  • It might be cute or beautiful in the aquarium, but sharp objects are dangerous for your fish health. Never sacrifice beauty for their well being.
  • Aquarium glue is good for decoration but ensures they do not contain toxins that can be harmful to the fish.

Video Introduction


This article is a guide that will satisfy your curiosity on how to decorate a fish tank with household items. Decorating the aquarium with household items is not at all impossible but rather a fun way to pass the holiday while creating a safe environment for the fish.

Remember, the health and safety of the fish come first when it comes to decorating their homes. Ensure that the items are not toxic neither would they alter the pH level of the water in the aquarium. Overall, it is all about creativity and putting your household items to use. All that matters is your taste and preferences and that is what you aim to achieve.

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