Decorating A 12 Gallon - Without Going Broke?

  • #1
Just wondering if anyone has tips for me on how I could decorate my 12 gallon tank without breaking the bank. Been looking at fake plants, and I never would have guessed how pricey they are for decent sized ones. And caves/decorations are just nuts where pricing is concerned. Any money saving advice you can give me would be MUCH appreciated. ;D
  • #2
If you want "free" caves, you can collect rocks/stones from the outside, and then glue them together with an aquarium-safe silicone to make caves out of them. But before you use the stones or rocks from the outside, you must make sure they're safe for a freshwater tank. The rocks in a freshwater tank cannot be calcareous, meaning they cannot have any calcium in them as it will make the pH very high. What you need are inert rocks and stones. To check if a rock/stone is inert, pour a few drops of vinegar on it, and if it "fizzles/bubbles" it means it's not good. If no reaction occurs, it's good. AND ... before you put any rocks and stones in your tank, BOIL them well to make sure any bacteria or chemicals from the outside are killed. When you boil stones/rocks, do NOT remove them from the pot immediately after boiling, because of you remove the hot rocks, they can explode! (Not kidding.) Wait until the water with the rocks cools off, then remove them.

I myself have collected rocks and stones from a river, and they're great - they even look much better than decorations from a fish store. I have read of people collecting driftwood from nature, but I wouldn't recommend for you to do this. It's best to buy aquarium-safe driftwood from a fish store. This driftwood also needs to be soaked for many days and boiled many times before it can be put in a tank, or else you'll have your water stained brown for a VERY long time.

As for the artificial plants, I don't know how much they charge for them at your local fish store, but they're fairly cheap at my LFS. For a 12 gallon tank, you don't really need so many artificial plants, so a few of them shouldn't be so expensive.

P.S. When you silicone anything, wait for the silicone to dry completely before putting the siliconed objects inside your tank. You should wait at least 24 hours. I'd personally wait 48 hours just to be sure.
  • #3
PVC pipe cut to the length you need, covered in aquarium safe silicone and rolled in sand or gravel make attractive caves also. Or tettacota pots
Just a few live plants would really liven up your tank also
  • #4
Isabella is right, for a 12 gallon you should only need a few nice plants, and you can do some amazingly creative things with rocks and driftwood to make caves and hiding places. And trust me, I just spend literally hundreds buiding a fully planted garden aquarium. So you might think that artificial plants are expensive, and I know some of the really nice silks ones can be, but believe me... it's much cheaper, and much less a headache than going with the real thing! lol
Also be careful about some of the "caves" from the petstores. I bought this sort of sunken pot thing when I first put my tank together that was really cool looking, until a month later when the paint started to flake off.
  • #5
Ahhh...... Decorating the tank: One of aquariums' great pleasures! But pleasures like these always come with a price: A really high price sometimes!

I think it's better to have a "natural" theme for your aquarium(but I'm not forcing!) because:

1. Nature is everywhere! (except for cities, of course)
2. Your fish will love it and they will feel relaxed because they feel home(except for the big ugly faces watching them)
3. You too will feel relaxed!

Yes, get some rocks outside but be sure to clean them first because they might have some dangerous chemicals or bad organisms in them! And plants: They make your tank livelier! Although they're a little expensive in stores, you can get mosses outside that you can put into your tank(attach them to rocks or ornaments) and they will grow beautifully! They're also one of the easiest to take care of and they don't need much light!

Well, there's my advice! Happy decorating!
  • #6
For a 12 gallon, you don't need that many fake plants. My 10 gallon only has 5 plants (for now.) For a cave, you can get a clay pot, or as already recommended a pvc pipe.

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