There’s certainly no shortage of decorative items for an aquarium. But the question is, are aquarium decorations safe?
Yes, aquarium decorations are safe unless they alter the water chemistry, release toxic chemicals, or injure the fish with their sharp edges. Aquarium decorations that are made of glass, ceramics, treated driftwood, plastic without any labels or adhesives, etc., are considered safe for aquarium use.
There are a lot of things to be considered before you put anything in the tank. Your fish can pay a heavy price if you select a decorative item that’s unsafe for aquarium use. So, let’s delve deeper to understand what decorations are safe for fish. But first…
What Are Aquarium Decorations Made Of?
There are numerous choices available in the market when it comes to decorative items for an aquarium.
Aquarium decorations are usually made of different materials such as:
- Acrylic, and
Of course, the choice is entirely yours, but you need to ensure that the decoration material doesn’t harm the fish.
How To Ensure Aquarium Decorations Are Safe?
Aquarium decorations are essential as they add beauty and elegance to a fish tank. At the same time, they also help keep the fish healthy.
However, you shouldn’t overlook the safety of your finned friends while decorating the tank. The safety of the fish is of utmost importance, and hence the decorations need to be absolutely safe.
Given below are numerous ways to ensure the aquarium decorations are safe to use:
- It’s always better to purchase decorations from reputed stores.
- When buying aquarium decorations, carefully check their quality. Make sure the materials used in the decorations are non-toxic and don’t pose any hazard to the tank occupants.
- The decorations need to be thoroughly cleaned before placing them in the aquarium.
- Don’t buy cheap aquarium decorations. They are usually made of poor-quality plastic and glass. These items are break easily and pose a danger to the fish.
- If you notice any discoloration of the decoration, it needs to be immediately removed from the aquarium before it turns fatal to the fish.
- Avoid direct use of driftwood in the aquarium. Driftwood needs to be adequately treated before you can place it in the aquarium.
- The aquarium decorations shouldn’t have any sharp edges that can harm the fish. Use sandpaper to round off sharp edges.
- Never place anything on top of the aquarium decorations. It will block the light and affect the growth of fish.
- If you have a cave decoration in the aquarium, make sure that it’s large enough so that the fish have ample space to move around freely. Also, the cave should be big enough to accommodate at least a couple of fish. This will ensure that the fish inside the cave doesn’t get trapped if another fish tries to enter it.
- If you use fake plants as a decorative item in the aquarium, they shouldn’t have any sharp leaves that can injure the fish. Many fish species swim around the plants and often rub their bodies on them. So, you should trim them to avoid injuries.
- Any decoration that can alter the pH level or release harmful gases into the water must never be introduced in the aquarium. Don’t use any material that contains lead or mercury. It’s dangerous for the fish.
- You should clean all the aquarium decorations regularly. Cleaning helps remove dirt particles and other impurities from the decorations.
Alright! Now that you know how to ensure the aquarium decorations are safe, let’s also understand which decorations are safe for fish tanks.
Recommended Further Reading:
- Is Aquarium Salt Safe For Plants? (Which Plants Can Tolerate Salt?)
- Do Aquarium Snails Escape? (Why And How To Stop Them)
- Here’s Why Aquarium Snails Float + How To Stop Their Floating
What Decorations Are Safe For Fish Tanks?
Not every aquarium decoration is safe for use. So, you need to be careful while selecting any decoration for your fish tank.
Given below are some decorations that are safe for aquariums.
1. Rocks and Pebbles
Rocks and pebbles are the most widely used aquarium decorations. They come in various shapes and sizes. So you can choose them as per your preference.
However, while choosing them, keep in mind that they shouldn’t be too small for the fish to swallow easily.
Also, if you collect them from your backyard, you should thoroughly clean and scrub them before placing them in the aquarium.
Additionally, avoid overcrowding the tank with rocks as it can result in space constraints for fish to swim freely.
2. Glass decorations
Glass is considered one of the safest materials for aquariums. It comes in two forms: plain and colored.
Plain glass decorative items are safe for aquarium use. Even colored glass items are safe as long as the glass itself is colored.
There shouldn’t be any glaze or paint over the glass. If it has, then it becomes dangerous as the color can come off while submerged underwater and may prove harmful to the inhabitants.
Moreover, there shouldn’t be any cracks or sharp edges on the glass that can injure the fish. At the same time, glass shouldn’t have any labels or adhesives on it.
3. Treated driftwood decorations
Driftwood is another popular choice when it comes to aquarium decorations. Driftwood purchased from a reputed pet store is generally aquarium safe as it’s specifically designed for aquarium use.
On the other hand, if you intend to use driftwood found outdoors, it needs to be appropriately treated before placing it in the aquarium.
Untreated driftwood can endanger the fish by releasing dangerous chemicals and tannins into the aquarium water.
Related Further Reading:
- Do Aquarium Snails Sleep? (How Long + Sleeping Vs Dead Snail)
- Why Are Aquarium Chillers So Expensive? [Energy Reduction Ways]
- Why Are Aquarium Decorations So Expensive? (4 Main Reasons)
- Are Aquarium Snails Dangerous To Humans, Plants, Fish, Etc.?
4. Plastic decorations
Plastic decorations that have been graded as food-safe are suitable for aquarium use. Also, most rigid plastic toys, figurines, and ornaments that are not painted and don’t have any sticker decals are safe for aquarium use.
Before adding any plastic decoration to the aquarium, it needs to be cleaned properly to ensure the adhesives are entirely removed from the plastic.
Moreover, you shouldn’t place one-time-use plastics such as water bottles and painted plastic toys in the aquarium as they can contain toxic chemicals.
5. Ceramic decorations
Many ceramics like mugs, bowls, and decorative pottery items are safe for aquarium use. If a bowl or mug is safe for food use, you can safely use them in the aquarium.
However, if you have washed these items with dish soap or in a dishwasher, you need to rinse them thoroughly before placing them in the aquarium. They shouldn’t contain any food particles or soap that can harm the fish.
Entirely unglazed terracotta pottery is also safe for aquarium use. However, you should strictly avoid the one with lead and copper glazing.
6. Live aquatic plants
Live aquatic plants are the safest bet when it comes to decorating your aquarium.
Aquatic plants provide oxygen to the fish and enhance the beauty of an otherwise dull-looking aquarium. However, live aquatic plants require regular care and maintenance.
There’s a wide variety of aquatic plants that you can choose from. Java Moss, Java fern, Amazon Sword, Water Wisteria, etc., are some of the widely preferred aquatic plants.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Do Aquarium Snails Lay Eggs? Can They Reproduce Asexually?
- What Do Aquarium Snails Eat? (The Complete Guide)
- How Long Do Aquarium Chillers Last? (How To Improve Longevity?)
- Do Aquarium Plants Need CO2? (Yes And No, Here’s Why…)
7. Artificial plants
Just like live plants, artificial plants are also considered safe for aquarium use. Artificial plants are more colorful compared to live plants. Moreover, they are also easy to maintain.
Another advantage of artificial plants is that they don’t drop leaves or perish as live plants. The only drawback of artificial plants is that they don’t improve the water quality.