How To Decorate a Freshwater Aquarium

Having an aquarium in your home is a relaxing treat. Watching the different colored fishes gives you a tangible connection with the freshwater creatures that you wouldn’t get from an aquarium desktop screensaver.

To make the experience of owning a freshwater aquarium more fun and relaxing, decorate with a few accessories to liven it up.

  1. Have a theme. Yes, aquariums can be decorated with a theme. Remember the movie Finding Nemo?  The aquarium in the dental office is decorated in a tropical or Polynesian theme complete with a small hut, volcano and a tiki!  Another design idea can be a sunken treasure theme with a chest of gold coins and a deep sea diver. Also consider Wonders of the World or famous landmarks as possible themes for your fish tank.
  2. Install an aquarium background. You can find different images like ocean floor, river bed, rocks or lush aquarium scenes in fish stores and on the Internet. For small fish tanks, this is a good way of decorating it instead of adding more items to an otherwise crammed aquarium. Some aquarium enthusiasts even believe that the image stimulates the fishes.
  3. Add gravel, pebbles, rocks and stones. Multi-colored gravel, pebbles rocks and stones are available at pet shops and aquarium stores. They not only serve as decorations but also can keep the aquarium clean. You can use the colors that will match your theme. These come in different sizes and shapes. Fishes tend to play with these items, giving them something to while away the time.
  4. Introduce more freshwater plants. Place more aqua plants in the tank to add beauty to an otherwise ordinary aquarium. Fishes can nibble on live plants as well as swim in between them. Aqua plants are available at aquarium stores and online. Plastic plants will do as well.
  5. Decorate with themed accessories and ornaments. Fishes like to swim in, over, under, and around aquarium accessories. Based on your selected theme, place the tank accessories and ornaments in strategic areas of the aquarium. Examples of these are: bridges, castles, shipwrecks, caves, corals, miniature pagodas, mermaids, scuba divers, sea shells, treasure chests, pieces of wood or logs, jewels and more. Larger accessories should be placed near the back of the aquarium so the smaller ones can be seen.


  • Always consider the size of the aquarium before your buy the decorations. If the tank is too small, do not crowd it with too many ornaments and plants. You fishes need swimming space to stay healthy and happy.
  • When choosing hollow ornaments, make sure that the fishes who wander into these can easily get out. You wouldn’t want your fishes to get trapped in a rock formation or hollow wooden log.

Aquarium decorating is fun to do. There are so many options of what you can put into your fish tank that both you and your fishes can enjoy. Just remember to decorate with items that are safe for your fishes. The safety of your swimming pets and the plants around them should come first. With a little planning and creativity, you can turn a boring aquarium into a wonderful visual treat for everyone to enjoy.


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