How to Make Safe Aquarium Terracotta Caves

Written by shay mabry
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How to Make Safe Aquarium Terracotta Caves
Aquarium with terracotta pots (Aquarium image by crossgolfing from

Terracotta pots are a great way to add caves to an aquarium. Adding different sizes and heights can give your fish places to play and hide. However, it is important to create these caves safely so that the fish do not get hurt swimming in and out of them.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Terracotta pots
  • Electric drill with concrete bit
  • Rotary drill with grinding stone bit
  • Non-toxic silicone
  • Lexan or plastic (optional)

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  1. 1

    Secure your terracotta pot so that it can not move. Using your drill and concrete bit, make small holes into the side of the pot. Eventually, the small holes will cave in to create a larger hole. This will create your opening in the terracotta pot. Wetting the pot before drilling will help keep the dust down.

    How to Make Safe Aquarium Terracotta Caves
    Electric drill (electric drill image by terex from
  2. 2

    Round out the rough edges with the rotary tool and grinding stone bit. This will prevent the fish from cutting itself when entering and leaving the terracotta pot.

    How to Make Safe Aquarium Terracotta Caves
    Rotary tool (rotary tool image by CraterValley Photo from
  3. 3

    Add a bottom to your terracotta pot if you would like. Place the pot on the sheet of plastic and trace around the edges with a pencil. Cut the shape out and secure it to the bottom of the pot using non-toxic silicone. Let the silicone cure.

  4. 4

    Wash the pot using hot water. The terracotta pot can now be used as a cave in your aquarium.

    How to Make Safe Aquarium Terracotta Caves
    Use your kitchen sink to wash your pot. (just a sink image by Pix by Marti from

Tips and warnings

  • Size is very important when choosing a terracotta pot. Find something that is large enough for your fish to swim in and out of easily but that does not consume too much space in the aquarium.
  • Be sure that you check all edges of the pot before placing it into the aquarium. A fish can be seriously harmed by sharp edges that are not smoothed by the drill.
  • Check the label of the silicone before using. If the silicone is not non-toxic, the fish could be poisoned.

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