Decorating Your Fish Tank

Decorating Your Fish Tank
Adding a home aquarium — even if it’s just a small one — provides a soothing, entertaining focal point. But don’t let the colorful fish be the tank’s only eye-catching item. These thrifty and creative ideas help you incorporate fun aquarium accessories that your wallet will also love.

Aquatic Rock Garden

Take the whole family on a rock scavenger hunt. Look for different sizes, shapes and colors — they’ll add visual interest to the tank. Good rocks can be found almost anywhere — along a creek bed, at a park or even in your own backyard. Keep in mind that certain types of rocks, such as limestone, can cause the water’s pH levels to rise dangerously high. Before adding a rock to your fish tank, test it by applying a few drops of white vinegar to its surface; if it foams, it will most likely impact the water’s pH and hardness levels. You can also submerge it in a bucket filled with water from the tank and test the pH level after a few days. When you’re sure the rocks are safe, add them to your tank.

Nautical Accents

If you live near a beach, hit the shore and collect some colorful shells to use as aquarium decorations. You can also buy an inexpensive bag of shells from the store. They’ll give your tank a coastal appeal, and the fish will enjoy swimming in and around them. Be sure to thoroughly wash and rinse shells before adding them to the aquarium, and use them sparingly to prevent a rise in pH levels.

Underwater Castle

This classic fixture adds mystery to glass aquariums, and it gives fish some extra hiding spaces. Different styles, sizes and colors allow you to get creative. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can select a simple structure or a multistory castle with towers and drawbridges.

Plants and Greenery

An aquarium staple, underwater plants provide your fish natural shelter. They also add important nutrients to the water.


A piece of natural driftwood makes a big visual impact — and it won’t cost you a penny if you find it at a local riverbed, beach or lake. Use it along with underwater plants; it’ll provide a great hiding place for the fish.

Bottles and Jars

Peel the label off an empty bottle or jar. Lay the container on its side at the fish tank’s bottom. It adds a shipwreck-inspired theme while providing yet another swim-through opportunity for the fish.

Sunken Ship

Want to add nautical flair to your fish’s habitat? A sunken ship is an excellent choice. You’ll find many styles and sizes available, from large submarines to smaller boats.


This aquarium essential has many benefits. Not only does it add aesthetic appeal, but it also provides a stabilizing base for plants. Aquarium gravel is often pricey, so consider using less expensive, driveway gravel.


A fish tank background adds a dramatic flair. Tape these easy-to-use, economical murals to the back of the tank. It’ll simulate a high-color aquatic scene. Swap out scenes periodically to freshen up your aquarium decor.

With these creative and cost-friendly ideas, you can breathe new life into your fish tank without sinking your budget.

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