How To Make Aquarium Decorations Safe

If you’re looking to add a little something extra special in your backyard, then an aquarium is just what the doctor ordered. You can create an oasis for fishy friends that will bring joy everywhere they go! But, at the same time, it is essential to make sure these pint-sized pets thrive and stay healthy during their time at home with us here on dry land.

Some people might feel a rush of excitement when they think about getting an aquarium, which can lead them to overcrowd and make decorations that are unsafe for water babies.

What most suppliers won’t tell you is what not to put in your aquarium. However, some materials should be avoided at all costs if you want your inhabitants’ desires met and healthy life fulfilled!

But, how to make aquarium decorations safe?

The best way to make your own aquarium stand out is by using a few simple tricks. You can bring life into even the most superficial setups with a few things kept in mind. So before you start, be sure that used decors are safe and don’t damage anything!

Which Materials Are Safe For Aquariums?

What are you looking for in an aquarium decoration? Safe, suitable ones. But not all decorations found at fish stores will work! As I’ve mentioned before, it’s common for sellers to avoid giving more information about their products due to the nuances of conversation with customers.


Plastic as fish tank decorations

Not all plastics are safe for aquariums, and the easiest way to tell if your decoration is organic-grade material that won’t harm a tank or cause any problems with its inhabitants. 

Simply look out for these three signs: 

  1. Grade markings on the item. 
  2. Any labels certifying it’s been designated as food grade. 
  3. If you can eat off this stuff without any worry, it should work well in an aquarium ornamental setting too!

Any other type of non-food grade plastics could release toxic chemicals, which would put fish tank inhabitants’ survival at risk!


ceramics as fish tank decorations

There’s always risk involved if you are unsure of what material you choose for décor! 

Ceramic can be used but make sure that any decoration made from ceramic will not end up harming anything inside. Like plastic, if you can eat off the material, it is safe for fish.

Lead-free items are the only way to go when it comes down to aquarium decorations. So, you should also make sure to find out whether the ceramic ornaments are lead-free. 

You can purchase a test kit so you are not uncertain about what materials may or may not pose an exposure risk, so don’t forget this vital step!


driftwood as fish tank decorations

Driftwood is an excellent choice for most fish species. It not only looks great, but Driftwood also has many benefits! Just be sure that you’re buying from a reputable store. 

But driftwoods require special treatment to make them aquarium-safe! If you use untreated wood for an aquarium, it will endanger aquarium inhabitants by releasing dangerous chemicals.

DIY Decorations For Aquarium

A fish tank can be a showpiece in your home that brings life to the room. So you want to make it fancy and fabulous! At the same time, aquarium decoration must be safe for your pet fish. I’ve provided some ideas below on how people can decorate their tanks with safety in mind.

Rocks And Pebbles

DIY Decorations For Aquarium - Pebbles

For the best results, be sure to search your backyard for small rocks. You may find small stones that can be put in the aquarium after thorough cleaning and scrubbing! Remember, do not overcrowd the tank with too many pieces of rock or give your fish an area where they are unable to swim freely.

Decorate With The Flair Of Different Festivals

DIY Decorations For Aquarium - Festive

The perfect way to keep your tank from feeling too chilly this time of year is by adding some Christmas spirit! In the new light, you can create beautiful snowflakes and reindeers that will provide warm company for any fish. You could even use small Christman lights as decoration on its stand- just be sure it doesn’t overdo it, so nothing becomes a hazard.


DIY Decorations For Aquarium - toys

It’s time to bring your tiny childhood toys back from the dead! Put them in an aquarium filled with water and watch as they come alive. Put Batman underwater and see how he keeps peace in his territory – remember, imagination goes as high as the sky. So go ahead – creativity is key when making these aquatic art installations!


DIY Decorations For Aquarium - plants

You can add fake or real plants. Although the benefits of one over the other are mixed, most people with an aquarium esteem a natural look, so they use artificial greenery to match their taste in décor while still having realistic-looking items inside that cannot change anything about water quality.

With live plants, you can create a natural look for your aquarium and improve water quality. But you need to take care of them because live plants have some requirements to survive and thrive.


DIY Decorations For Aquarium - Lego

Imagine the possibilities if you had more space in your fish tank! Use LEGOs to decorate your aquarium; there are endless ways to make it feel like an underwater adventure. You could build a small house or even buy some celebrity Lego characters and place them inside for decoration – maybe Morgan Freeman would be perfect as Zeno’s grandfather?

China Mugs Or Tea Pots/Cups

DIY Decorations For Aquarium - cup mug

If you have tea sets or mugs that are no longer being used, it’s a great idea to put them under the water. You can use these items for aquarium decorations, and they’ll look fantastic! But, more importantly, they are very safe.


DIY Decorations For Aquarium - poster

To make your fish tank look like an ocean, you can put up posters designed to be laminated. These will need to dry first before sticking onto the back of any aquariums. This one is an elementary and cost-effective idea to decorate your aquarium in a safe manner.

Doodle Your Heart Out

DIY Decorations For Aquarium - artwork

Creative thinkers are often the type of people who can turn their hobbies into something more. Grab some markers with bold tips, so there are no boundaries when drawing on the aquarium glass surface, whatever comes into mind.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. I just used markers and a paper towel for this simple project- easily done in an hour or so (with breaks!) and safe enough for your pet fish.

How To Make Sure That These Decorations Are Safe?

Once you are all set to flaunt your imagination, you may wish to be sure if these decors are safe for fish or not. You might not even be aware of the negative result of these things. So, right here are particular pointers for you, just to make sure.

  1. If you have a small tank, don’t try to put everything in all at once. You may find that different ideas work better for your fish and decorating style! Instead, try keeping things minimal – this will give it an appropriate space where they can swim freely without getting stuck on something like the sides of tanks with too much vegetation or decorations everywhere (which would make them feel trapped).
  2. Be mindful of the type and material used in your fish tank decoration. Some materials may be harmful to them, so it’s important to check this off immediately! You also need to wash everything once you go about cleaning their home, including decorations.
  3. Do you see any objects that are losing color or turning a different color? If so, don’t hesitate to quickly remove it from the tank! It could prove deadly for your fish. Anytime there is paint or other substances in contact with an aquarium’s water can harm aquatic life.
  4. You can glue the stones and pebbles at the bottom of an aquarium with only a sealant that is safe for fish.
  5. It is better not to use wooden materials at aquariums to avoid any adverse effects on the pH level. Driftwoods need special preparation before putting them in aquariums. You can find plastic logs in toy stores that will be just as effective and safe for the needs of your aquarium!

Choose The Perfect Substrate

It’s the first decor you should buy for your tank. Some people can collect rocks and pebbles from outside to use as the substrate! But if you have to pick them very carefully and clean them adequately. Otherwise, that kind can be hazardous to aquarium inhabitants as they are often polluted with dirt particles that may cause illness in some cases – not just aesthetically unpleasing.

There are various types and sizes for substrates, but it’s essential to consider your fish when choosing one. Sand seems like the best choice for many species as they like to burrow and prefer this material over other options such as gravel.  

A good idea for those who want the look and feel of nature in their aquarium is to get sand. It will make it seem more natural, with many fish species living at or near the bottom and even some that bury themselves deep into its substrate! 

If you’re planning to add freshwater creatures like catfish or tetras or even saltwater varieties such as pistol shrimps -consider giving them a sandy bottom so they can burrow around happily. 

The downside of the sand substrate is that it is tricky to clean.

Gravels are relatively easier to clean. Medium-sized gravel will be best for them as larger pieces can trap leftover food. Avoid gravels with sharp edges as they can hurt your fish.

Decorate Aquariums with Plants

Want to make your home aquarium as colorful and vibrant as possible? Artificial plants and decorations can make your aquarium look like a little watery world with no care required. These fake aquatic vegetation can be easily set up in any size or shape, leaving little work for you.

But fake plants add no benefit to improving the water quality. On the other hand, fish are more susceptible to injury when they rub against plants made of plastic. In addition, some plastic materials are not safe to use underwater.

You should always consider the plant’s material quality and behavior of fish in your underwater scene before deciding on fake plants for their home decor. 

Live plants could be an excellent addition to your aquarium. There are many reasons to add some live plants to your tank. For example, they will improve water quality and help keep it clean by removing toxins and adding oxygen for your fishies!

But live plants need special care requirements to thrive.

Can I Paint My Aquarium Decorations?

You can paint your aquarium decorations, but I do not generally recommend it. More than enough colorful and unique designs are available in all stores that have been sealed and treated correctly! However, if you prefer to DIY this project yourself, then be sure to give them a double coating of paint, dry out completely, and apply sealant before use for best results.

Tips To Clean The Decorations

To make aquarium decorations safe and sound for your fish, one of the most critical steps is – cleaning them regularly. You may buy some tools with soft bristles so that unwanted buildup gets cleaned easily!

For a detailed guide, read my article – How To Clean Aquarium Decorations In 6 Easy Steps.

Tips To Clean Your Fish Tank

Before cleaning the aquarium, you need to shift all your fish into a bowl that contains original tank water. Using gravel cleaner, which can easily be bought from local pet stores or even online, remove one-third of its water and then clean off any dirt settled down the bottom there too!

Read my article – How To Clean A Fish Tank, it will help you.

Final Words

You need to make sure your aquatic pets have their own safe environment in order to live comfortably and thrive with optimum care. 

The conditions of your tank determine how long fish will remain healthy and happy. To keep the water clean and clear, make sure not to place any decorations in there without knowing what they are made out of!

Sujit Modak

Leave a Comment