Why Do Aquarium Decorations Float? (How To Keep Them From Floating?)

Image of a man keeping decorations in an aquarium

The most common problem aquarists face when placing decorations in an aquarium is that they tend to float. So, why do aquarium decorations float?

Aquarium decorations usually float when they don’t have enough weight to sink in the water. Another reason can be that they are hollow from the inside, or air is trapped in them, causing them to float. You can stop the decorations from floating by tying them down, using anchors, or applying glue.

Let’s delve deeper to understand why floating decorations are unsuitable for fish and how to stop them from floating.

How Do Floating Decorations Affect Fish?

Decorations are nowadays commonly used to give a natural look and feel to an aquarium.

However, fish like to swim freely, and floating decorations can annoy them if they get in their way.

Given below are the various ways in which floating decorations affect the fish:

  1. Too many floating decorations in an aquarium result in overcrowding. This will result in cramped space for the fish, which can lead to stress.
  2. Floating decorations at the top of the tank lessen the surface area. This impacts surface agitation, which leads to a decrease in the dissolved oxygen level in the tank water.
  3. Fish come to the water surface when there is less oxygen supply. Floating decorations can become a hindrance in such instances as the fish won’t be able to come up due to the decorations.
  4. The bottom-dwelling fish can face problems during feeding time. The food put in the tank may not reach the bottom of the tank as it might get stuck on the floating decorations. Lack of sufficient food intake can make the fish weak, and they may become susceptible to diseases.
  5. If the floating decorations have sharp edges, they may injure the fish as they swim around the decorations. On the contrary, floating plants are beneficial as they assist in oxygenating the water and also provide a hiding place for the fish to rest.

Alright! Now that you know floating decorations can affect the overall development of fish, let’s talk about the various ways to stop them from floating.

Recommended Further Reading:

How To Keep Aquarium Decorations From Floating?

Aquarium decorations such as driftwood, plants, and ornaments are great for giving a natural touch to a fish tank.

However, they can also be tough to manage if you don’t know how to anchor them properly in the substrate.

The good thing is that there are numerous ways to keep decorations from floating.

The most widely used ways are discussed below.

How To Keep Aquarium Driftwood From Floating?

Given below are the various ways to stop aquarium driftwood from floating:

  1. Select non-floating driftwood: The most convenient way is to purchase driftwood that doesn’t float. Driftwood needs to be explicitly treated so that it doesn’t float when you put it in the aquarium. The heavier the piece of driftwood, the fewer the chances of floating.
  2. Soaking the driftwood: Soaking is the most efficient way to keep driftwood from floating. Unfortunately, sometimes driftwood is not treated with any kind of coating. Such driftwood is less buoyant and can absorb water. However, when driftwood is soaked in the water for a few days, it becomes heavy and waterlogged. Once it becomes heavy, it will not float.
  3. Tie it down: Tying the driftwood is another way to keep it from floating. For tying the driftwood, you need to have at least one more decoration in the aquarium. If you have a big decoration or rocks, you can position the driftwood in such a way that it anchors on them.
  4. Glue it: Some aquarists prefer to glue the driftwood so that it doesn’t float. However, you can’t simply glue the driftwood to the substrate. You will need an anchor so that the driftwood remains submerged. For this, you can glue the driftwood to a large rock. While making use of glue, ensure that the glue is aquarium safe and fish-friendly. Otherwise, it may harm the fish.

Related Further Reading:

How To Keep Aquarium Plants From Floating?

Here are some effective ways to keep aquarium plants from floating:

  1. Use plant anchors: Plant anchors are an excellent way to anchor the plants in the aquarium. They are wrapped around the plant to hold them down. Since these strips are soft, they don’t damage the plant. Moreover, plant anchors help spread the plants’ roots and give plants a good shape while growing.
  2. Tie the plant’s roots to the rocks: Tying the plants to the rocks in the aquarium is another way to keep them from floating. You can gently tie the roots of the plants to a rock. This works best when you have aquarium plants that have many leaves and grows tall. Tying the plant helps to hold them down.
  3. Use a heavy weight around the plant’s base: Using a heavy weight around the plant’s base is another way to keep it from floating. You can weigh the plant down by adding some aquarium rocks or pebbles. If your aquarium plants are rooted in the sand, there are chances that they can uproot. Using a heavy weight ensures that the plants don’t move even if the sand moves.
  4. Use potted plants: Many aquarium plants come in pots. These pots help prevent the plants from moving out of place. If you want to keep your plants anchored, then using a pot is a great option. These potted plants also look attractive in the aquarium.
  5. Wrap the plant around driftwood: If you have driftwood in your aquarium, you can anchor the plants by wrapping their roots around the driftwood. This is a very effective method because it keeps the plants firmly attached to the driftwood. As the driftwood sinks in the water, the plants will be held in place and will not float.

How To Stop Aquarium Ornaments From Floating?

Ornaments will float in the aquarium water if they are hollow from the inside.

Even fake rocks will float if there is air trapped inside them.

Given below are a few things you can try to keep aquarium ornaments from floating:

  1. You can make a few discrete holes on the ornaments so that the trapped air can come out. The hollow parts of the ornaments will get filled with water, and they will stay submerged.
  2. Another way to stop the ornaments from floating is to ensure that air bubbles don’t get trapped under them. You can even get a hard stone or a ceramic plant weight to add some extra weight for keeping the ornaments from floating.
  3. If you have bigger ornaments like a ship or a castle, you can glue them on the substrate so that they don’t float. This even reduces the risk of the ornaments falling down and injuring the tank inhabitants.

Interesting Further Reading:

Are Floating Plants Suitable For An Aquarium?

Floating plants are popular as they give an attractive look to an aquarium.

Java Moss, Duckweed, Hornwort, Cabomba, Anacharis, Ludwigia Repens, Amazon Frogbit, Brazilian Pennywort, etc., are some popular floating plants used in aquariums worldwide.

Apart from giving a beautiful look, these plants bring a wide range of benefits to the water.

The most prominent benefits of having floating plants in an aquarium are:

  1. Oxygenation: Floating plants help oxygenate the tank water as they exhale oxygen into the water. Another advantage of floating plants is that they act as filter media and remove harmful substances from the aquarium water. This goes a long way in reducing waste and filtering the water.
  2. Hiding spots: Floating plants like Amazon frogbit provide good hiding spots for the fish. Hiding spots make the fish feel secure and comfortable. It makes them happy and relaxed as well. If you have a skittish or sick fish, a hiding spot can calm the fish as they feel safe when no one disturbs them. This helps reduce their stress levels. So floating plants are great for both healthy and stressed fish.
  3. Shade: Another advantage of floating plants is that they provide shade to the tank inhabitants. Since these plants float on the surface, they reduce the amount of light that enters the water. If you have fish species that prefer shade, floating plants are of great use. However, some fish species need well-lit water for healthy development. So it’s crucial to be aware of the need of your tank inhabitants and accordingly decide on how much surface area the floating plants should take up.
  4. Low maintenance: The most crucial benefit of floating plants is that they have low maintenance. Most floating plants are hardy and fast-growing. You need not invest too much time in their maintenance. Just occasional pruning of the overgrown plants is sufficient.
  5. Supplement the fish diet: Most omnivorous fish devour live vegetation in their natural environment. Therefore, floating plants can serve as a tasty snack for such fish. Floating plants can give the fish additional vitamins and nutrients, apart from the nutrients that they get from their daily diet. In particular, duckweed is a good food source for fish.
  6. Natural look: Besides all the health-related benefits, floating plants give a natural look to the aquarium. They also resemble the natural habitat of fish. Replicating the natural habitat helps reduce the stress levels of fish. It makes the fish comfortable, thereby boosting their overall health.

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