How do you decorate your tanks and why?

harpua2002

Member
Just curious.

For Freshwater tanks, I go totally natural. There is nothing fake in any of my Freshwater tanks. I have several planted tanks, but even for the plant eaters I stick to rocks and driftwood. I just prefer the natural look and I can't imagine putting ornaments in any of the tanks (although I started out with them).

For Saltwater tanks, I go reef! I've never seen an artificial coral that I liked, so I keep only real ones. I also use plenty of live rock, and I use sand for substrate.
 

haedra

Member
Well everything is fake in my tank..because I cannot grow any plants at all. All I have to do is look at them and they die on me.
 

Meenu

Member
I go with fake, because I actually prefer the look of it. It allows for a lot of color, and since I have little kids, they enjoy that.

Also, I briefly considered live plants, but I got scared off with all the talk of lighting, snail infestations, hitchhikers, aquatic v. nonaquatic plants, algae, etc. Too much for me to process.
 

Shawnie

Member
I have a combo of both depending on the fish in each tank...
 
  • Thread Starter

harpua2002

Member
Meenu said:
I go with fake, because I actually prefer the look of it. It allows for a lot of color, and since I have little kids, they enjoy that.

Also, I briefly considered live plants, but I got scared off with all the talk of lighting, snail infestations, hitchhikers, aquatic v. nonaquatic plants, algae, etc. Too much for me to process.
I understand the reservations, but you could really mix it up with live and fake and add a lot of color. Snails don't tend to overpopulate unless you're overfeeding. I have them in almost every tank and never have any problems, been going on that way for years. There are lots of low light easy plants that hardly require any care.
 

bolivianbaby

Member
I used to go with the "natural" look, but since I have NO imagination, they all started looking the same, so I started using different colored substrate to give them different looks. I try to have "species-friendly" ornaments, like fun for playful community type fish, hiding places for shy fish, larger ornaments for larger cichlids, etc. Both of us like the calming feel Buddha has on tanks, so we have him in a few as well.

I'll be setting up a few more tanks in the Spring, so at least one of them will probably have more of a "natural" look.

Eventually, I hope to have the courage to attempt a live planted tank with sand substrate.
 

Amanda

Member
I WOULD have live plants...if it weren'tso expensive. I want to plant my 72, my other tanks are all artificial.
 
  • Thread Starter

harpua2002

Member
72 BF is a sweet tank, Amanda. Nice score!

Hagen makes a pretty cheap HO T5 strip. It's not what I would choose for Saltwater or high light planted, but 2x 54W would put you into medium light territory IMO. I kept a 3 foot 45 gallon medium light tank with only 2x 24W HO T5 in a 2 foot strip. I dosed some ferts and Excel and had great results, and it was really easy. No CO2 or expensive equipment. Here it is if you're interested, too bad I had to sell it when I moved.
 

Amanda

Member
I have a hood that holds 2x40watt bulbs...that would probably be going over the 72. So 80 watts
 

redlessi

Member
I have both fake and live plants. I would love to have a planted tank but it just seem like so much extra work involved so I stick to my live plants around the house. I like the themed tank decor as well. I guess its just a preference for some people, natural vs. ornaments and such.
 
  • Thread Starter

harpua2002

Member
Amanda said:
I have a hood that holds 2x40watt bulbs...that would probably be going over the 72. So 80 watts
Gotcha. The tank is deep enough so that I'd do HO T5s if possible, but you may be able to grow a few low light plants with 80W normal output flourescent. The T5s are going to put out a lot more light though.
 

bubblefish

Member
I like a natural look and have just started to add live plants. If it goes well, all of the fake plants will be slowly replaced with live. I just keep telling myself that aquatic plants are different than live house plants and that gives me some hope, lol.
 

freak78

Member
All mine are fake. My 2 year old picked everything out so I didn't want to disappoint her. She did a good job, lots of color.
 

Katrina

Member
My aquarium is natural-looking with all fake plants and fake driftwood. I added some new plant bulbs from Walmart that should sprout soon. I'm scared to buy the real ones because of snails, and fool myself into thinking I'll get pretty plants, which I do, for a very short period of time. Then, my Silver Dollars (who ignore them at first) discover that they are not plastic and in 5 minutes time, I'll walk by and the flower stems will be gone and the leaves will have bites out of them. At that point, they become a pitiful-looking snack, and I eventually give up and pitch them. And after a while, I do it all again...
 

jgon_

Member
All natural. I just prefer the look and hope it makes my fish feel more at home in a natural environment. Granted, I started out with all these fake plastic temples and what not. But anytime now I see tanks with the day-glo colored ornaments, I just can't help but cringe.

Plants have been both a blessing and a curse. In most of my tanks (4/6) they have all been doing great on their own with very little help from me. One however, just refuses to grow despite having the same substrate and plants as other tank. The tank gets grimey with algae fast and in generally, requires a lot more maintenance then my other tanks. Yeah its a lighting issue, I just can't afford a fancy hood right now though. And then there's my brackish tank. So not only is it hard to find plants that can live in the tank, the tank is constantly overrun by diatoms - they simply do not go away in brackish tanks.
 

samantha.h

Member
Everything in my 20 gallon is fake. I have a fake decoration in my 5 gallon and some colorful gravel, but I have live plants. But hey, I like how my 20 looks even if everything is fake. I have a picture of my 20 in my signature.
 

Chris123

Member
I like to do them mostly with fake plants and a couple pots because its easy and I'm too lazy to clean tanks and remember where everything is
 

jclee

Member
I go natural, but easy. To reassure Meenu and others who fear planted tanks: Low light tanks are insanely easy, as long as you get low-light plants. I've had way too much luck with Anubias sp., Java ferns, and mosses. They're all pretty hard to kill. I usually just do a quick rinse and look closely, and I've had a lot of luck avoiding snails, for the most part. Don't have any CO2 hooked up, and haven't had to do much of anything in a while. Live plants can help keep oxygen up, to boot!

For low-light planting options, you can use the plantfinder at plantgeek:
 

ViridiosExotics

Member
I use mix, I have a Saltwater reef tank with LOTS of live rock mixed with some fake live rock and a mix of Live and fake corals.

The funny thing is the Live corals grow on the fake ones LOL!!!
 

navyscuba

Member
I had use both on the past both at the moment I'm slowly changing my tanks to planted tanks even my African Cichlids. Sure they eat some plants but at the moment I have few kinds of anubias and I did a test with wisteria and they don't touched. Don't try anacharis or hornworth it will be gone in a week or 2. If anyone wants to do this I got some pretty good info to do it.
 

Butterfly

Member
All of mine have rocks, wood and plants. I love rocks especially and if we're out driving and I sa rocks hubby says no and drives faster LOL
Carol
 

Ay1a

Member
As for the how, I'm still figuring that out myself. (Need more money)
For the why (when I do get more money), because I want to give my Betta the most comfortable environment that looks nice for me, and feels nice for him.
 

ViridiosExotics

Member
How Do You Decorate Your Aquarium and Why?

I have a 33 Gallon Reef Aquarium with Coral Sand as a Substrate, I have a Mix of Real and Fake Live rock (Mainly Real) and Loads of Live Corals.

The Fake Rock looks just the same when 'matured' and acts as a good base for real live rock and Corals and other inverts.

How do You Decorate your aquariums and why?
 
  • Moderator

ryanr

Moderator
Member
Viridios,
sidenote: probably no reason to post the same thread in two forums, members will see your posts

On your question, I'm a big fan of 'as natural as possible'. Whilst I only have FW, I have a latex type 3D background (cliff face type thing that is extremely 'life like'), but everything else in the tank is real. Real Rocks, real wood, live plants.

In my experience, I have found synthetic (fake) products to attract algae, require cleaning, and tend to discolour (I imagine this would be even worse in SW).

I believe in a 'natural ecosystem', such that each piece has it's purpose in the whole system.

Just my opinions, but I have also seen some spectacular setups with synthetic products.

My 2c.
 

Karl R

Member
I prefer the way a planted aquarium looks. It is just A little nicer looking IMO. I have never really liked the way fake plants and other gaudy deco looked. But everyone is diffrent. I planted mine with some ferns some beleharI and some spears. I think it looks ok. My fish seem to love the live plants. And so long as my fish are happy I'm happy.
 

Nutter

Member
Depends on which tank it is. All my serious display tanks are all natural & I would never have anything fake. The kids on the other hand like some of the ornaments & colourful fake plants so they have some of that stuff in their tanks.
 

patrickdives89

Member
My 75G is all natural with a big piece of Malaysian driftwood as the center piece with Anubias and Java Fern planted on it. It also has an assortment of other plants growing throughout. It is CO2 injected. With the growth in the tank, I routinely bring my dad clippings from it and he has a good start on plants in his 55G.

My 20G and 30G long tanks are artificially decorated but I will probably start adding plants to them also since I can add baby java fern and pennywort.
 

critch

Member
I always try for natural planting, does not always end that way though
 

ViridiosExotics

Member
Can real corals grow on fake rocks?
 
  • Moderator

ryanr

Moderator
Member
Apparently they can. One member here at fl has reported that the corals are growing on his/her fake live rock.

Sorry I can't remember whose thread it was, but was interesting.
 
  • Thread Starter

harpua2002

Member
ViridiosExotics said:
Can real corals grow on fake rocks?
I thought yours already were, from the thread I posted a while back with the same question.



Corals will grow on pretty much any surface if given the chance.
 

LyndaB

Member
How I decorate depends on the inhabitants of the tank, although I do try to go for as natural a look as possible. With artificial decor, that's not always possible, but I try hard.

My utmost concern is always what the fish need and will be most comfortable in, versus what I would like to see.

I'm about to redo my 30 gallon and am thinking of trying live plants in there to see if I can get a murkier swamp kind of thing going. Sounds gross, but it should be cool.

I don't have the patience for salt water tanks, but I do love looking at the fish and corals in them. Beautiful.
 

Gamer

Member
I'm a sucker for the natural look so I tend to use live plants, driftwood and rocks. I have had 3 tanks with ornaments and artificial plants in the past and I think some of them look amazing but I prefer doing natural set ups now.

I try to go for nature themes in every tank I plan now. I want to design everything to closely match their natural habitat although I never pull them off perfectly. For example I'll mix plants and fish that are not from the same region but I do my best to make sure the plants and fish I do mix are compatible with each other and require similar water conditions.
 

ColumbianShark3

Member
Natural and natural only in both my Freshwater and my brackish tank, if you can't find it in the wild you won't find it in my tanks
 

FLGirl

Member
I'm working on my first tank. So totally new here. I picked out and bought a colored gravel its pink or purple (id have to check the name) and mixed in 1 black I love the way it looks. My tank actually came with a white tans and browns but I didn't want it. I don't think my choice was gaudy but everyone has their own tastes . Don't get me wrong I think the totally natural ones are amazing too! ;D

Right now I have decorations I don't really want in the end. A coral like cave, a sunken ship and some little critters holding no fishing signs. They came with the tank and I added them because I heard it was good to have as many places as possible for the good bacteria to grow so I put in all I had, I hope to get my new ones soon so I can add them. I heard you shouldnt take decor out of a newly cycled tank so I prob have to wait to get the rest out. I wouldn't put my current decor down and say they are tacky or anything like that at all I just want to go in a diff direction. My fish actually seem to like them allot. On more than one occasion Iv seen them going in the sunken ship and the cave. I also bought 3 fake plants so my fish had something in there.

In my mind when I'm done it will be semI natural sorta like semI homemade lol. I want to get some dark cool simple more 'natural' decor that are like caves. Its hard to explain I seen something in the fish store like that and really like it. I'm also working on seeing how well I can get everything planted with real plants. I think the end result will be very pretty and make the fish happy....(I have to admit though I seen a ornament I likes, It doubled as a hiding place for a small fish. It was a realistic turtle and I thought it was very pretty) I think it comes down to 1)Your fish has what it needs to be happy 2) You really like it too.

Its just like with most things we all have our own unique styles and that rocks. As long as the fish are happy I don't think we should criticize others tastes and likes but that's just me.
 

Elodea

Member
I prefer the natural look on my tanks: plants, rocks...and an ungly plastic cave. Since driftwood is W-A-Y too expensive for me, my 10 gallon sports a resin cave that's looking very fake until I somehow find some Java moss to put on it. Since I'm not the world's best aquascaper, either, the tank is being overrun by anacharis. I tried to make a wall of it in the vback of the tank but it's just not working. RRRRGHH.
 
  • Moderator

Lucy

Moderator
Member

ViridiosExotics, I merged your thread with harpua2002's existing thread.
No reason to have two threads on the same topic.

Some of the comments may seem off kilter since the posts will go by date and time posted.
 

Red1313

Member
Hmmm... I don't "think" I posted earlier in either thread sooo...

I love natural look tanks and especially live pants. The only exception to this trend is my one betta tank which was invaded by sponge bob And my goldfish tank which I'm hoping to slowly develop into an Alice in Wonderland sort of thing lol
 

Tony G.

Member
I like the look of natural tanks, so I try to mimic that with rocks and fake (real looking) plants. The results are nice
 

adenine

Member
I prefer live plants. It gives my tank more natural look and it can give me some flowers
 

izzyfishfarmer

Member
to me having live plant is the only way to go its part of the experience you have to keep fish and plants doing well and they frovide food and shelter
 

TedsTank

Member
Here is mine..low - medium light all natural and very little maintenance
 

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