Support » We can help you with… » Plants & decor » Aquarium home decor

Choosing the perfect décor & gravel for your aquarium

A beautiful aquarium isn’t just a treat for your eyes, it’s also good for your fish.

Decorating your aquarium makes life more interesting for your fish, keeping them lively and inquisitive. There’s so much choice in aquarium décor that it can become a complicated process, but help is at hand.

Just follow our five easy steps for making your aquarium a more interesting place for your fish and you:

1. Choosing your base

The bottom of your tank should be covered with gravel or substrate.

There’s so much variety; have fun choosing between the different shapes, sizes and colours, making it look as natural or colourful as you want.

If you’re planning on keeping live plants in your aquarium then you’ll need a gravel suitable for growing plants; the plants need to be able to spread their roots and take up food.

If you won’t be including live plants, then any aquarium gravel will work; you’ll just need to add enough to ensure it is deep enough to hold your ornaments firmly in place.

2. Choose the right ornaments

Although it’s tempting to use objects you’ve found from elsewhere, it’s so important to use ornaments from the aquatics section of a reputable store.

Using anything else could pollute your tank and poison your fish. So that means no favourite toys or household ornaments in your aquarium. This is also the case for natural décor you may have found, such as wood, pebbles and rocks.

You can’t be certain that the décor you find doesn’t harbour bacteria or chemicals which could prove fatal to your fish. Be safe, and buy your ornaments from a trusted aquatics retailer. 

3. Wash your ornaments thoroughly

No matter how new your décor is, it needs a good wash before you add it to your tank.

Clean your gravel, ornaments, wood or rocks in plain, clean water to remove dust or dyes that could cloud the water in your aquarium.

Tap water is perfect for this job, you must never use detergents when cleaning aquatic décor.

If you are adding wood it is a good idea to soak it in plain tap water over night to prevent it floating when you add it to the fish tank.

4. Add your décor to your tank

Now for the exciting part!

First, add the gravel or substrate to the base of your aquarium in a good thick layer with a slight slope from back to front. Then add your remaining décor.

Remember to consider all of your fish when placing your plants and ornaments. Create hiding places for shy fish and open spaces for the braver fish. Your fish will love to explore their tank, so play with the layout to make it interesting for them.

And of course, make sure it’s good to look at as well. Consider the different angles from which you’ll be able to view the tank and try to add interest from all sides.  

5. Admire your beautiful aquarium

Once it’s complete, sit down and relax as you watch your fish discovering their new home.

You’ll find your fish set up routes and territories within their environment, which can be fascinating to watch. Because of this, major physical changes to their environment can be stressful to fish.

Try to avoid moving, adding or removing ornaments too often.

Scroll to Top