Making your own aquarium decorations

Updated February 21, 2017

Aquariums provide hours of entertainment and add excitement to any room in your home. While decorations add natural appeal, your fish will also enjoy swimming in and around obstacles and hiding in their territory. The bill for outfitting your aquarium with exciting decorations adds up to a staggering amount when store-bought. Hundreds of pounds add up quickly when buying aquarium plants, arches, driftwood, caves, and anything else you desire for your fish home. Making your own aquarium decorations saves you money and provides your fish tank with custom-made decorations to suit your fish's needs.

Browse aquarium stores and magazines for inspiration. Purchase aquarium silicone sealant, PVC pipe and plastic plants designed for underwater decor. Pick drift wood and rocks of varying sizes from nature. Clean the rocks and drift wood with a scrub brush and then boil for 10 minutes to kill all bacteria.

Build a rock cave for your aquarium by cutting a 8-cm (5-inch) length of PVC pipe. Measure the pipe, marking off the bottom third horizontally with a pencil or chalk line. Saw across the horizontal line, and discard the bottom third. Retain the top arched section of pipe that now forms a cave shape. Sand all sides of the pipe, especially the cut edges. Paint the exterior a mottled grey with aquarium-safe latex paint, and cover the interior with a darker charcoal-coloured paint. Apply silicone sealant to all surfaces after the paint is dry. Attach gravel-size rocks of varying shapes to the sealant to completely cover the PVC pipe and provide camouflage. Allow this to set for 48 hours and then place in your aquarium.

Create a rock arch by choosing flat rocks and gluing three together for a small arch and five or more together for a larger arch. Connect the rocks with silicone sealer and let dry for 48 hours before immersing in your tank. Prop the large arch against the side or back of the tank for support. Add authenticity to the arch by attaching plastic plants to the outside with silicone sealer.

Select a flat rock and attach a plastic plant with silicone sealer. Hide the plastic stem of the plant by attaching a piece of driftwood to the rock as well. Avoid making your decorations symmetrical; this will not look natural. Allow the sealer to dry for 48 hours before placing it in your aquarium.

Things You'll Need

  • rocks
  • driftwood
  • plastic plants
  • pencil or chalk
  • scrub brush
  • silicone sealant
  • PVC pipe
  • aquarium-safe latex paint
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About the Author

Liza R. McDaniel is a private-school teacher who has been writing and editing since 2000, when she was first published in "A Celebration of Poets." She specializes writing in interior design-related articles for eHow. McDaniel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Carlow University.