Freshwater Aquarium

Home Aquarium for Beginners: Decorating the Aquarium

The best thing about decorating your fish tank is that there are no set ways to go about it

It is okay to decorate your house as you wish it to be. Probably, you may be interested to know how to set up a home aquarium for beginners as well to make it more elegant. If you are setting up a beginner fish tank in your room, you would already be doing a lot of hard work in the process. When you do so much, it only makes sense to walk that extra mile and make your freshwater fish tank look beautiful. The best thing about decorating your beginner fish tank is that there are no set ways to go about it. You can do what you want to do to make it look as appealing as you want. Decorating a home aquarium for beginners can be one of the most interesting experiences. The way you would dedicate yourself to decorating your first fish tank would make a great memory. With all of that being said, here’s everything about aquarium care tips for beginners that you can do to perk up your freshwater first fish tank.

Home Aquarium for Beginners

  • Start with the fish tank

home aquarium for beginners
Start with the fish tank

In the home aquarium for beginners, a very basic shape which is best for starting a fish tank for beginners is rectangular shapes. While beginner fish tank that is rectangular in shape is suitable for the home aquarium for beginners, you still can experiment. Based on where you plan to install your freshwater aquarium setup, you can get the customized shape of the fish tank. A fish tank of a different shape would attract a lot of attention and would also look unique. For this, you can talk to the freshwater fish tank storekeeper and get a starters aquarium of any shape that you would want. However, with fish tanks of different shapes, you might have to clean every time and do the more frequent cleaning rigorously. This is why talk to the storekeeper before you plan on buying a freshwater aquariums for beginners.

Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank Starter Kits with LED Lighting:

This aquarium is great and is priced at 45 dollars, and it has a 4-star rating along with excellent customer reviews. The whole kit is fantastic and is available on in two variants 10 gallons and 20 gallons.

This community fish tank is currently in stock and is shipped, as well as, sold by The bright LED lighting brings the aquarium to life; the fish tank also includes a 10-gallon glass aquarium, low profile full hood LED light, quiet flow LED pro power filter with the Medium cartridge, 50W preset heater, premium fish food, water conditioner, fishnet, and a thermometer.

The filter has a red LED light that flashes to indicate when it’s time to change the cartridge. The pre-set heater will keep your aquarium temperature at a consistent 78 degrees; this temperature is excellent for tropical fishes; it also comes with a setup guide.

  • Add nice substrate

home aquarium for beginners
Add nice substrate

Substrate makes up the base layer of the fish tank. So, whatever color you choose to layer the base, it would decide the theme of your fish tank. You also have a variety of choices in the substrate. For instance, you can either choose sand or gravel. If you are choosing sand, one thing to remember would be that if you add two colors, they would gradually get mixed. This is why; if it is going to be sand, sticking to one color is good for the home aquarium for beginners. Settling down for light and passive shades would be a good idea since the sand would get too bright for the fishes otherwise. You should also be prepared for the extra amount of hard work to clean sand since it is too fine to clean.

Another option for you can be gravel, which can be easier to take care of. With gravel, you can layer different colors and create a mix and match. Also, they are quite easy to clean compared to sand and don’t get mixed up. For an ocean like effect, you can choose colors, like green and blue. However, anything under the sun would work since it is your fish tank. Just make sure as you buy gravel, you buy medium ones. Large gravel can trap a lot of waste material and even your fishes sometimes.

Carib Sea Eco Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate:


This complete substrate is suitable for freshwater plants that are used in aquariums. It is available on for 22 dollars and is currently in stock as well; the color that is currently in stock is black. The size that is available is 20 pounds, and it contains major and minor trace elements to nourish aquarium plants. You should always purchase a good quality substrate like the Carib Sea Eco Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate because it encourages the growth and root health of freshwater plants.

  • Rocks and driftwood

home aquarium for beginners
Rocks and driftwood

Besides sand and gravel, and any natural ocean or beach would have different kind of rocks and giant driftwoods. Most people try to create a miniature of an ocean in their fish tanks. A miniature of an ocean always works well for a fish tank. For this, you don’t have to sweat a lot. Getting about 2 big rocks of natural shapes and placing them in the two corners of your fish tank would give a very natural beach/ocean-like feel. Rocks too come in different kinds. You can choose out of an array of beautiful looking rocks, like zebra rock, rainbow rock, quartz, desert rock, etc. Here, colors can make a big difference. Rocks in lighter color shades would make your aquarium look cute. However, the darker color would give your fish tank a more serious tone, which also works well for certain species of fishes. To make sure these rocks are safe for the aquarium, first, keep them in water for a few days and observe. In case they give off color or cause a difference in the water, you should not be adding them to the fish tank.

To add more to it, you can get driftwood of the size of your fish tank. Most water bodies are surrounded by aged driftwoods. This is why adding driftwood is one of the most natural ways of making your fish tank look beautiful. While you might find them in pet stores, you can also hunt for them at riversides if you can.

Dr. Moss Aquarium Small Malaysian Driftwood Luxurious Set for Fish Tank Decor, Real Wood Bogwood:

This multipurpose, natural, and beautiful bogwood piece is an excellent addition to the fish tank ecosystem that you wish to create. The piece is currently in great demand on and is being sold at a price of 13 dollars and is available in a variant of 2 to 12 pieces.

The natural wood branches are unique and pose no harm to the fishes in your tank. The branches release tannins that help soften hard water and lowers the pH.

The deep brown wood is from Malaysia and is great to enhance the aquatic environment. It can naturally sink to the bottom of the fish tank without scratching the glass at the bottom of the tank. The branches are great to be used as moss trees in the aquarium and can be used for bundling moss as well.

The package includes two pieces that are each of unique shapes and assorted sizes. For more information look up the product on

  • Add shells

home aquarium for beginners
Adding Shell

While rocks, gravels, and driftwood are basic elements to add to a fish tank, you can perk it up a little more by adding shells. Shells are naturally found at beaches, which makes it a natural aquatic element as well. When you hit the pet store, you would find an amazing variety of shells. You can buy any- ranging, from small to big. Also, shells come in different colors. In case you want to stick to the natural beach look, look for white and off-white colored shells. You can also create a theme and match them with the color of gravel to add more color to your fish tank.

If you live close to a beach, you can get real shells for your aquarium. However, make sure you pick just the shells and check if the shell has an animal or not. When you bring the collected shells back home, make sure you wash them in boiling water. Shells that you randomly pick from places might have bacteria in it, which might be dangerous to introduce in your fish tank.

  • Live plants

home aquarium for beginners
Live Plant Fish Tank

For anyone who loves plants and animals, fish tanks are the best of both worlds. While fishes are the primary organisms that live in a fish tank, you can also keep live plants in your fish tank. Live plants add more of a natural element to the fish tank. You can find various species of aquatic plants that are good to plant in a fish tank. Besides adding visual appeal to the fish tank, live plants also regulate the natural biological filtration processes. They also make use of carbon dioxide and produce oxygen for the fishes to breathe. Live plants also mean better mental health for fishes.

However, one thing to remember is that adding live plants to the fish tank means more frequent cleaning. Plants have a certain lifespan after which they die. This would result in an accumulation of dead material in your fish tank. For this, you can keep certain fishes in the fish tank that eat dead plants.

Luffy Marimo Moss Balls – Aesthetically Beautiful & Create Healthy Environment – Eco-Friendly, Low Maintenance & Curbs Algae Growth:

By purchasing this product, you will be bringing home a live plant that will benefit the ambiance and the health of your aquarium. The four Luffy Moss balls are live plants that absorb nitrates. Fish excreta, debris, nitrates, and ammonia tend to disrupt the health, hygiene, and the pH level of the tank. If this natural moss ball is present in your fish tank, it will absorb all the toxic elements.  At 12 dollars, you can bring home a natural and thriving atmosphere for aquatic species.

  • Artificial plants

home aquarium for beginners
Artificial Plant

If you are not a big fan of live plants, you can also add artificial plants that are made for fish tanks. Artificial plants are easier to take care of for home aquarium for beginners. These would cut down on the efforts required to clean the fish tank over and over when live plants die. If your filtration system disturbs the aestheticism of your fish tank, you can fix artificial plants around it and hide the filter. Nowadays, artificial plants are made such that they greatly resemble live plants. You can find artificial plants in any pet store. Make sure the kind of artificial plants that you use is made of a material that is safe for your fishes. Good quality artificial plants come with proper approval that they are safe to be used in fish tanks.

Uxcell Artificial Plants Aquarium Aquascaping Tank Decor 20cm High Red Green:

This vibrant artificial plant is sure to brighten up your fish tank and also provide an amusing surrounding to your fishes. Priced at six dollars and a rating of 4-stars, this product is currently in stock on The product is also available in green and has a ceramic base that will help it stay at the bottom of the tank and not flow to the surface.

The base also comes in a plastic variant, along with the ceramic variant; it weighs 95 grams.

Customer reviews include:

“This plant is worth every penny! My tank was pretty dull before I put this in and thought I wouldn’t like the bright colors in my tank. But, it really makes my betta pop even more!”

“It has bendy wires inside the “stalks” so you can position it as you like. There is a bit of extra plastic flashing along some of the edges. But, you can easily trim it off with nail scissors or clippers if it bothers you. Good value for the price. Perfect size for my 5 gal tank but would be great in a larger tank with some larger plants too”

All these reviews come from verified purchases!

  • Toys

home aquarium for beginners
Adding Toys in Fish Tank

While plants, rocks, gravel, shells, and sand substrate add a very natural look to your fish tank, you can still take the game to the next level. If you want to make your fish tank look fancy, there are plenty of fish tank toys that can help you do that. Toys can mean anything. While some would complement the existing natural beach look, some toys would change the look.

Natural toys, like a rustic looking miniature of a ship, a treasure box, coins, mermaid house, etc., would work well. If your fish tank is big enough, you can even add bigger toys made of shells and rocks. You would easily be able to find medium-sized mermaid toys that still give the fish tank a very natural, under the water look.

You can add various other toys, like legos, small artificial fishes, minions, SpongeBob toys, or any toys for that matter. These toys would give a comic and fun look to your fish tank. Whatever toys you plan to have in your fish tank, make sure these toys are made of safe materials and don’t prove harmful for your fishes.

Penn-Plax RRW6 Wizards Castle Small 5.5″H Aquarium Decorative Resin Ornament:

This aquarium décor piece provides visual interest to you and your fishes. The castle holes provide entryways for fish to swim through and this way they can reduce boredom as well. The castle is available on for 20 dollars and is currently in stock. The product has a 4.8-star rating and is very popular with fish tank owners too.

The ornament stands at 10.2 inches high and is 8 inches wide, the castle is double sided; this means that it can be placed at any portion of your fish tank. The castle is made of durable resin, and it isn’t toxic to the fishes. There are two sizes available on Amazon, and it ranges from 5.5’’ to 10’’.

  • Glass and Ceramic

You can add a few elements made of glass and ceramic to your fish tank too. Remember the glass bottle with a note in it in Pirate movies? You can include one of those in your fish tank.  Mostly, ceramic stuff would add a color element to your fish tank. You can add coffee mugs or even tiny teacups. While these would look nice in the fish tank, they would also give fishes a little bit of space as hideouts. You can even paint these elements by yourself to customize them according to your taste. Whatever things you buy for the fish tank or whatever paint you use, make sure they are safe for your fishes. Most cups and mugs would have the label “food safe” which means you can keep them in your fish tank.

The background of your fish tank doesn’t just have to be glass. While most people would keep it like that, you can customize the background to something amazing. Now here, you have two options. First up, it can be an overall background wallpaper sticker, or you can paint or get the background painted. If it is background wallpaper, you can even choose patterns, like sand, waves, or a beach-like sticker. However, if you decide to paint, you can select a color that goes well with the color of your fishes. The best thing about creating a background is that it gives you most of the liberty to customize and be artistic. You can find many DIY videos on YouTube and borrow ideas to plan the backdrop of your fish tank.


  • Stickers and Photographs

home aquarium for beginners
Stickers and photographs

If adding complete background feels like overdoing or too much of a task, you can even use stickers and photographs. Based on what the theme of your fish tank is, you can use stickers based on the theme. Stickers are also safe ways to decorate your fish tank since they don’t come in contact with the fishes. There are a number of online stores that sell stickers for fish tanks. Using stickers, like surfboards, sharks, and fishes, you can create nice themes. The best thing about stickers is that you can take them off when you feel bored of them.

Besides stickers, you can also stick photographs of your family on the fish tank. This would add more of a personalized look to your fish tank.

  • Outside the tank

home aquarium for beginners
Outside The Tank

While decorating your fish tank is one aspect in a home aquarium for beginners, you can even decorate the area outside the fish tank to make the surroundings look beautiful. If you are not a big fan of live aquatic plants, you can still use plants outside the aquarium. For this, have a table or something like it to make an extension to the fish tank and add all the decorative stuff to that table. You can keep succulents in small pots, ship, other toys and statues to make the whole area look beautiful. This can be your little corner to relax where you can sit and look at your fishes.

To extend the decorations, you can even paint the wall against the fish tank with coral shades of paint. You can also stick stickers of fishes and coral animals on the wall.

  • Adding more creatures

home aquarium for beginners
Adding more creatures

While fish tanks majorly have a home aquarium for beginners fish, it is no stranger fact that a number of other creatures can also exist with fishes in a fish tank. What’s more is that these creatures look beautiful. For instance, you can add cherry shrimps to the fish tank. Cherry Shrimps are tiny invertebrates that are cherry red in color and look amazing as they swim around. Another option is Mystery Apple Snail. The best thing about these invertebrates is that they eat algae and help in keeping the fish tank clean. They would also reach nooks and corners where most algae eater fishes would fail to reach. However, make sure that you carefully combine invertebrates with fishes. Many a times fishes eat invertebrates– which is something you wouldn’t want. If you are doubtful of pairing these invertebrates with fishes, it is better to leave it out for home aquarium for beginners.


These are the easy ways in which you can decorate your fish tank. In case you want to keep it plain and simple, there are no issues about it too. Starting a home aquarium for beginners can be a difficult task, but you need to be patient. As a person who owns the fish tank, it is entirely up to you whether or not you would decorate your fish tank. The only thing to remember is that as you decorate your fish tank, there’s a little more commitment that you have to show. Adding more elements to the fish tank means cleaning more elements when you clean the fish tank. Given you keep the fish tank and things inside it clean, you are good to have decorations in your fish tank.

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