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10 DIY Fish Tank Decor Ideas You Can Do Make Today (With Pictures)

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

Colorful sea anemones in saltwater tank aquarium

When it comes to aquarium setups, finding a starting point can be the hardest part. If you don’t plan out your tank ahead of time, you might end up shoulder-deep in tank water every day rearranging everything until it’s just right. To make things easier, here’s some inspiration for you with 10 creative fish tank ideas. This is a good starting point for you to start planning out your dream tank.

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The 10 DIY Decor Ideas for Your Fish Tank

1. Zen Garden

DIY Zen Garden
Image Credit: tankscape

If you want your fish tank to be a calming addition to a room, making an underwater zen garden can be a great way to accomplish that. Adding live or dried bamboo stalks into the tank to create a bamboo forest can help accomplish this goal, as can adding light-colored gravel or sand as substrate. Delicate floating plants and the addition of aquarium ornament pagodas or similar items will bring it all together.

2. Matching Décor

DIY Matching Décor
Image Credit: jihanshanum

Have you ever seen those influencer posts where everything is the same color scheme, but it looks clean and put together and not boring and bland? If you’ve wanted this look for your own home, matching your tank to your décor can help you bring this vision to life. You can purchase frames for aquariums, but if you’ve got a saw and some technical abilities, you can build your own. Clean lines and a color scheme within the tank to match the frame and home décor will round out this look for you.

3. Natural Beauty

DIY Natural Beauty
Image Credit: flickr

Maybe you’re more of an aquarium purist and prefer things to look as natural as possible. A natural theme for your tank may be the way to go. Bring in plenty of plants for that lush, green look, and aquarium-safe rocks or faux rocks will give your aquarium that healthy, natural look. Just remember that a heavily planted tank will require routine pruning to keep things in check.

4. Fairy Home

DIY Fairy Home
Image Credit: etsy

If you’re more of a fairy garden type, then you can make your own aquarium fairy garden. Tiny décor, like houses and even tiny, aquarium-safe people can be added to bring this theme to life. Delicate carpet plants will give a garden-like look and next thing you know, your tank will look like a fairy’s home in no time. Remember to only add décor that will be safe for your aquatic pets, so if you have fish that are prone to sneaking into small spaces and getting stuck, this may not be a good option for you.

5. Caves and Tunnels

DIY Caves and Tunnels
Image Credit: aquariumlife

Adding caves and tunnels to your aquarium can make it more visually interesting and provide safety and comfort for nocturnal and shy residents, like Plecostomus and shrimp. Caves and tunnels can be done DIY style with just about any aquarium-safe items, like PVC pipe camouflaged with rocks or gravel. You can also build tunnels and caves with rocks, like dragon stone, or purchase pre-made varieties. When it comes to creating caves and tunnels in your aquarium, the sky’s the limit.

6. Walking Path

DIY Walking Path
Image Credit: aquascaper

Although not ideal for messy fish, adding a faux walking path to your aquarium can create a homey, soothing aesthetic. This can be accomplished by using light-colored sand as your substrate and creating a path between plants and rocks. You can combine this theme with the fairy garden theme if you want to add more interest to your fairy garden. This design takes a significant amount of planning and setup, and requires very routine trimming of plants to keep your path from being overrun.

7. Waterfall

DIY Waterfall
Image Credit: goldfishunion

If you’re up for a challenge, adding a waterfall inside of your tank is an extremely cool feature. This takes a lot of work and upkeep but if done right it can be very unique. This look is accomplished by using a water pump within the tank that creates the illusion of water gently flowing downward over the sand. This is another tank layout that isn’t a good pick for destructive fish.

8. Lush Jungle

DIY Lush Jungle
Image Credit: buzz16

If you want to take your planted tank a step further and make your room look like a lush jungle, you can create an open-top tank that allows plants to grow above the waterline. This will give your room that influencer look and make it a relaxing sanctuary to help you unwind from your day. Be sure to research how likely any animals you put in an open-top tank are to jump out. Many types of fish and invertebrates will easily escape from an open-top tank.

9. Computer Whiz

DIY Computer Whiz
Image Credit: oddee

If nano tanks are your thing and you feel confident in your tank-building abilities, then building a tank into the frame of an old computer screen can be an impressive and creative addition to any room. With the addition of strip lights, you can light up your tank so that it looks like an old school computer with a lovely aquatic scene inside. Read up on nano tank care if you have never taken care of one before, though, because they can require different care than larger tanks.

10. Driftwood Forest

DIY Driftwood Forest
Image Credit: oddee

If you’re interested in a natural-looking aquarium with the addition of driftwood, then you might enjoy a driftwood forest. Driftwood can be used to create the appearance of trees or roots and usually is receptive to plants being glued or tied to it, allowing you to create any scene you can dream up. Some people choose to attach plants to driftwood in such a way that it looks like a tree with full leaves, while other people choose to attach plants to driftwood so that it looks like their fish are living beneath the roots of a large tree. Just keep an eye on your water parameters with the addition of driftwood since most driftwood can alter your tank’s pH.aquarium plant divider


Did any of these fish tank ideas speak to you? If you already have an established aesthetic, it can be difficult to figure out how to incorporate an aquarium into it. If you have no idea what your aesthetic is or what you want it to be, then it can be even more difficult to figure out how to incorporate an aquarium into your room.

These 10 ideas are great starting points for designing your fish tank, but at the end of the day, it’s all completely up to you! If you can dream it up, there’s probably a way to make it happen. Just remember to always use aquarium-safe products to prevent dangerous chemicals from leaching into your tank.

Featured Image Credit: panparinda, Shutterstock

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