Though the beauty of an aquarium lies mostly in the fish it contains, there are other decorations and ornaments that the owner can add to make it even more glorious. These decorations range from artificial plants and coral to driftwood and decor sets to artificial sea creatures such as seahorses, floating jellyfish and freshwater aquarium shrimp to pint-sized lighthouses and shipwrecks. Here are seven ornaments and decorations for the aquarium.
1. Artificial Plants
Nowadays, artificial plants are surprisingly lifelike, a boon to the aquarium owner who will not need to see to the health of aquatic plants as well as their fish. They include life-like replicas of:
- Water lilies
- Flowering lace
Some of these plants are grouped with other artificial plants or are arranged with stones, driftwood, artificial coral and seashells. The plants do not have to come in natural colors, but can come in neon shades of blue, purple and red. Others glow in the dark.
2. Bubble Makers
Bubble makers often come in the form of volcanoes that are only a few inches tall. Instead of lava, these volcanoes emit sprays of tiny bubbles. They often come with LED lights that are able to change color as the bubbles rise through the water.
Figurines range from resin statues of Neptune, the god of the sea, to Disney characters such as Nemo. Others are boats, cottages, ruins, unicorns, castles, skulls, vases, tree stumps, divers, pirates, fairies and, of course, mermaids. They can be realistic or delightfully cartoonish.
4. Aquatic Life
The owner can place replicas of aquatic life in their aquariums such as silicone giant clams, starfish and stingrays.
Driftwood can be natural or artificial. Long years in the sea have sculpted natural driftwood into interesting shapes. The twists and turns of driftwood are not only interesting in themselves but make excellent hiding or resting places for aquarium fish. Some pieces are made to resemble mangrove roots, while others have tiny plants tucked into their crevices.
One caveat about placing pieces of wood in the aquarium is that some of them can acidify and darken the water. This may be harmful to fish who prefer water that’s neutral or slightly alkaline. On the other hand, it may be beneficial to fish who prefer water that’s a bit acidic. Water that’s on the acidic side also discourages pathogens.
Rocks add texture and heft to the decorations in the aquarium. Some people want to furnish their aquarium with rocks that they’ve found in their backyard or in the woods. However, these rocks can contaminate the water in the aquarium, or removing them can disrupt the environments from which they were taken. The best thing to do is to buy rocks from garden centers or landscape companies.
Some companies that specialize in aquarium decor sell geodes. Aquarium owners should avoid real geodes because they can leach too much calcium into the water. The ones sold by aquarium companies are artificial and often glow in the dark.
7. Glass Marbles
More and more aquarium owners are using glass marbles as a substrate. Marbles can come in a variety of colors. They work best with hanging filters, and their one drawback is that they tend to leave gaps in the substrate. This requires that they be cleaned frequently. On the other hand, glass pebbles are excellent hiding places for fish fry.
Setting up and decorating an aquarium is fun and should bring years of pleasure. Whether they’re realistic or whimsical, aquarium ornaments and decorations combined with colorful, healthy fish add to the viewer’s enjoyment.
Paul Campbell is a Marketing Manager of The Aquarium Guide