20 DIY Aquarium Decor Ideas

Thinking of ways you could decorate your aquarium? Think no more. In this post, I will share with you 20 best DIY aquarium décor ideas that you can use to make your aquarium come to life. 

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Remember, since these are DIY décor ideas, they will involve a bit of work. However, other than that, none of the ideas will require you to buy anything expensive or to hire someone to bring to life. 

Without any delay, here are 20 DIY aquarium décor ideas:

  1. Make your tank more attractive by adding only one or two items

You can make your tank more attractive by adding only a few items. I will share with you some of the items you can add in the other ideas on this list. Adding only a few items to your tank will make it more attractive because it will give it a clean and less cluttered look.

  1. Make your colorful fish stand out using dark gravel or substrate

You can make your bright, colorful and beautiful fish stand out even more by adding dark gravel or substrate to the bottom of your tank. This is because a dark gravel or substrate will be less distractive compared to a colorful one. It will, therefore, allow any onlooker to feast their eyes on the color patterns of your fish and be captivated by its beauty and movements. 

  1. Cultivate plants in your aquarium to make it appear more natural

400;”>Planting your aquarium will involve a bit of work. However, once you have done it, you will be very much happy. This is because plants have the potential to make aquariums look very attractive. There are different types of plants you can buy and plant on your own in your aquarium.

The best type of aquarium plants to buy and plant in your aquarium are carpet plants. Carpet plants are plants that grow more horizontally than they do vertically. Such plants can quickly turn a shabby looking tank into a wonderful and lush green “lawn.” Your fish will definitely like swimming in the sea jungle and you and your visitor will definitely love looking at the natural beauty. 

Most plants available online go for around 15 bucks. 

  1. Use a clay pot or clay pot pieces to make your tank look fascinating

If you know how to make a clay pot, you can use this skill to make a fascinating decoration for your tank. If you don’t, worry not. You can use the pieces of a broken clay pot in your home as decorations in your tank. You can also buy a clay pot and break it and add the pieces as decorations.

In case you can make a clay pot, you should create holes in it where your fish should be able to swim through. If you are breaking a clay pot to use its pieces as decorations, you should also make holes through the biggest pieces and make sure your fish can swim through.

A clay pot, especially one placed strategically on the side, will look very fascinating in a tank. Broken clay pots are also much more fascinating to look at inside fish tanks.

  1. Use a ceramic mug to decorate your tank

If you have a ceramic mug and it is food-grade, you can add it to your tank as a decoration. You must make sure it is food-grade because if it is not it means it can leak chemicals and this will not be good for your fish.

People have been putting ceramic mugs in office aquariums for quite a long time. You can also do it. To make your ceramic mug decoration even more fascinating to look at, get one labeled with something like, “the World’s greatest fish dad/ mom.” This will surely put a smile on any onlooker and make them want to know more.

  1. Collect beautiful rocks and use them to add character to your tank

You can collect and use rocks to decorate your fish tank. However, you cannot connect just any rocks. Some rocks can be too sharp and, therefore, too dangerous for use in a fish tank, while others are known to leak chemicals that are not really healthy for fish. 

The best and most beautiful rocks to collect are rainbow rocks, zebra rocks, river pebbles, ice rocks, and glass rocks. When you collect rocks from the outdoors, you should rub their sharp edges directly against each other to blunt them. You should also boil them for like 30 minutes to kill all the parasites and micro-organisms on them before putting them in your tank.

You can add beautiful rocks directly or glue them to form nice caves and structures. If you decide to glue rocks together, you should glue that is specifically meant to be used in aquariums. This is because it is the only type of glue that is safe.

  1. Collect driftwood and add them to make your tank look natural

If you live near a river, a lake, or a marshy place, you can collect driftwood, cut it, and shape it to add to your tank. Driftwood is an amazing decoration that you can get from nature to make your tank appear more natural and realistic. 

If you add a piece of driftwood to your tank, it will probably float. If you want it to sink, you can drill a few holes through it. Alternatively, you can tie it or glue it to a rock. Experienced DIY aquarists prefer drilling holes through driftwood. This is because they know such holes make nice hiding spots for small fish. They also make driftwood pieces look more fascinating.

You should boil driftwood pieces for like an hour before adding them to your tank. This will kill all the micro-organisms and parasites on them.

  1. Print a picture and stick it to the back of your tank facing inside so that you can see it at the opposite end

This is one of the most creative ways you can decorate your aquarium and make it prettier than it is right now. All you need to do is to print a wonderful image in the right size and resolution and stick it behind your aquarium. This little visual trick will make it seem as if your fish is swimming in the image portrayed by the picture you stick. 

Some of the pictures you can stick to make this decoration even more exciting include pictures of coral reefs, pictures of other fish of the same size as your fish, pictures of well-decorated aquariums, and so on. 

Moreover, this is not so DIY but there are images, 2D backgrounds, and 3D backgrounds you can add buy off Amazon to stick to your aquarium. If you buy them and stick them properly, they can make extremely realistic decorations that will fascinate you and anyone else who looks at your aquarium.

  1. Deploy plastic toys to make your tank absolutely brilliant

You can use plastic toys (because they are waterproof) to make your tank look brilliant and very creative. If you have a Finding Nemo, Moana, Madagascar, or Zig & Sharko plastic toy set, you can set it up in your tank to make it appear as if your toys are actually in the set. If you set plastic toys correctly, you will love it so much. If you have kids, they will also love it so much (only if you have not used their toys).

If you do not have toys, you can also buy them online and use them as explained above.

  1. Use toy blocks to create a brilliant underwater decoration

If you have a Lego set or any other similar toy block set, you can use it to make a brilliant underwater decoration for your tank. For example, you can use it to create an underwater city, a house, a boat, a ferry, a ship, a shark, or almost any other thing you can imagine. You just need to let your creative juices flow and you will love the results. And you do not need to create just one thing to add to your tank, you can use the set to create a scene e.g. an underwater scene with a shark about to do damage or something like that.

  1. Buy vinyl stickers to decorate your tank from the outside

Apart from fish keeping, there is probably something else you like maybe you like cars, NFL, NBA, or military stuff. You can buy vinyl stickers to stick near the bottom of the tank where there is just substrate or gravel behind them. This can really personalize your tank and make your interest and likes clear to any onlooker. It can also make your tank extremely pleasing to look at.

  1. Collect corals and shells to upgrade your saltwater aquarium

If you have a saltwater aquarium, you can easily make it more amazing by collecting corals and shells to add on top of the gravel. Doing this will instantly make your aquarium more attractive and pleasing to look at. It will also make your saltwater tank more homely for your saltwater fish and/ or critters.

  1. Grow or buy and add submersible potted plants

There are several plant species that you can grow in small pots and add into your water tank later on when they are a bit mature. The plants are submersible, which means that they can survive underwater. Having tiny potted plants is a great way to make your tank beautiful. 

If you cannot grow your own or it is too much work to find them and grow them, you can just buy them off Amazon, prepare them, and add them to your tank.

  1. Use an empty glass bottle to creatively decorate your tank

You can use an empty glass bottle to make your fish tank more exciting. You simply need to find a clear glass bottle in your home preferably with a big opening. The opening should be big enough for your fish to get in and out without any problems. If you do find such a bottle, place it on its side on push a bit of gravel around it to make it appear as if it has been in your tank forever. If you do this and your fish gets used to getting in and out of it, it will be a decoration you will really like.

However, before adding a glass bottle into your aquarium, you should wash it thoroughly and probably even boil it to kill all the micro-organisms on it.

  1. Buy DIY fish tank décor kits

Probably the easiest way to decorate your fish tank is to buy a fish tank décor kit from a marketplace like Amazon. Most such fish tank décor kits have instructions to help you know what to do with them. 

So if you want to quickly decorate your fish tank, you should get a tank décor kit. 

  1. Buy holiday décor kits to decorate your tank for the holidays

One of the most creative ways to decorate your tank is by using holiday décor kits. You can buy these from sites such as Amazon where there are plenty available for sale. 

Your kids will probably be the most excited by your holiday décor kits because, after all, they are kids. However, if you decorate your fish tank well, probably you too will be excited by how it looks.


It is not very easy to decorate your fish tank on your own if you have never done it before. This is because you won’t be really sure if what you are imagining or playing out in your head is even possible. However, I am sure the ideas I have shared with you above have helped you to decide what to do. If so, then go ahead and decorate your tank just the way you would like it to be.