In this part of the articles library you will find information about different types of aquarium decorations and what to think about when you select, purchase and arrange them. Aquarium decoration is not only beautiful for the aquarist to admire; the fish will also appreciate an aquarium that is decorated instead of barren. If you arrange your aquarium decorations properly they will form hiding places and natural borders and make the aquarium more like the natural environment for fish. Natural borders can help to reduce the amount of aggression in an aquarium. If you want to introduce a new fishes, you can rearrange the aquarium decorations and break up all the old territories in order to make the old inhabitants less territorial and give the new fishes a chance to claim their own territories.
Cave dwelling fish species will love aquarium decorations that form caves, holes and crevices. Fish that live in densely grown waters will appreciate plants and other types of tiny hiding places. An intelligent and curious fish that is bored in your aquarium can perk up significantly when you give him a plastic diver that is blowing bubbles. Aquarium decorations can even be used as spawning sites for many fish species. Plants are one form of aquarium decoration that can play a much larger part in the aquarium than simply being beautiful. Plants will bind carbon dioxide and oxygenate the water. They will also use organic waste products as nutrition and thereby remove potentially harmful compounds from the water. Some aquarists use cheap but sensitive aquatic plants as canaries in the aquarium. If the water suddenly goes bad, the plant will die before the fish and the aquarist will notice the problem and be able to handle it before the fish begin to die.
Some people find aquarium decorations tacky and want their aquarium to be as clean and sterile as possible when it comes to decorations, but the fish do not care about fashion – they care about sheltering places, a varied environment and things to investigate. Today, there are fortunately a lot of beautiful and stylish aquarium decorations to choose among and even the pickiest minimalist can find something to his or her liking.
It is common for aquarium decorations to consist of natural materials; such as rock, wood or coral. These are commonly used in set ups that have been arranged in order to look as natural as possible. An aquarium can be like a tiny piece of the true habitat for the fish species. Some aquarists will for instance set up an aquarium with Tanganyika cichlids, and turn the aquarium into a small replica of the part of Lake Tanganyika where the selected species live; including Lake Tanganyika plants and a substrate that is similar to the sandy bottom in Lake Tanganyika. There are also plenty of artificial aquarium decorations that can look very realistic. Plastic plants can for instance be a good idea in an aquarium with plant eating fish species. Coral replicas and artificial anemones are popular in saltwater aquariums. If you are a beginner saltwater aquarists, it is recommend to start out with a fish only aquarium and use artificial coral and anemones as aquarium decoration, since corals and anemones are hard to keep and have very particular requirements.
In addition to the natural or natural looking aquarium decorations, there are also a wide range of aquarium decorations that would not normally be found in a lake, river or ocean. It can for instance be fantasy sea monsters from fairytales or copies of the Egyptian pyramids. Sculls, bones, shipwrecks, and half buried treasure boxes are also popular. Some fish keepers like the idea of a sunken Atlantis and decorate their aquarium with statues and temple ruins.
It is very important that you only use aquarium decorations that are safe to use in aquariums. If you have a saltwater aquarium, you should make sure that they are saltwater-safe as well. If you place normal decorations that are not intended for aquarium use in the water they might leak toxic compounds. It is for instance common for many types of ornaments to contain minerals that will be dissolved by the water and slowly poison your fish. If you pick stones, wood etcetera from the wild you can introduce harmful organisms to your aquarium, e.g. parasites, fungus, virus and bacteria..
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