7 Ways To Improve The Look Of Your Aquarium

So you have an aquarium and you’re wanting it to stand out from the rest. Impress your friends and have the best aquarium possible, right? Then read on, we have 7 Ways to improve the look of your aquarium that are quick and simple ideas that you can try in any home aquarium.

Quick peek at the 7 Methods…

  1. Backgrounds
  2. Gravel
  3. Plants
  4. Rocks
  5. Lights
  6. Ornaments
  7. Unusual fish

What’s The Best Way To Make Your Aquarium Look Great?

As you can see from the title of this article – 7 Ways to improve the look of your aquarium – there are a number of things you can do or add to your home aquarium to make it look better.

We have come up with 7 ways to improve your aquarium but there are many more. You can even go to the extreme and build waterfalls and aquascaping scenes. But these are for the more experienced aquarist.

In this article, we’ll show you 7 simple ways to improve your aquarium that anyone can do and they won’t break the bank.

Let’s look at each one in more detail…

7. Unusual Fish

Glofish look stunning under the correct lighting.

To make your aquarium stand out you could simply add fish that look very unusual or different from all the rest. We have used above the Glofish as an example.

These fish under the correct lights look amazing and will make any aquarium stand out from the rest.

GloFish® were originally engineered for scientific research by using DNA from Marine Organisms in the wild that already have these amazing colors like jellyfish.

The color that you see in the GloFish® is produced by an inherited fluorescent protein gene that is passed from generation to generation. The fluorescent protein genes are derived from naturally occurring genes found in marine organisms. It is not painted on nor injected and no harm is caused to the fish.

Add these fish and some fluorescent plants and watch your aquarium instantly transform.

6. Aquarium Ornaments

Image Credits @Pinterest

Okay, these are not for everyone, I get it but they do make your aquarium look fun and exciting.

Aquarium ornaments in our opinion have been victim to some abuse over the past few years from die-hard enthusiasts who like to keep aquariums looking as natural as possible.

We believe they have a place to play in encouraging young children into the hobby. They also play a role in adding more oxygen into the aquarium as most are powered via air pumps that add bubbles into the fish tank for effect and to make the ornaments move.

At some point most beginners will have purchased a moving skeleton or pirate ship with bubbles coming out of the mast, and why not.

Fishkeeping should be fun and experimenting with different things is all part of the fun of owning a fish tank.

Don’t let anyone put you off. If you want a bobbing skeleton then get one!

Here are a few we really like….

5. Lighting

Image credits @ edgodanimal

Long gone are the days of lighting your aquarium with a standard home lightbulb. These days lighting is very high-tech and the controls and colors they produce are amazing.

You cannot only control the timing of your lights but the actual light spectrum they produce. This can create some amazing effects within your aquarium.

Using a more advanced LED lighting system can bring out the colors of your fish and also help your plants grow better to create a stunning underwater garden.

Lighting systems have now become much cheaper from online stores like Amazon. Here’s a link to a few we really like.

Different species like different light levels. Some fish like dim natural light to simulate river conditions and some prefer brighter lights to replicate the ocean.

Choose the best lighting for your aquarium which suits not only the aesthetic look but also the needs of the inhabitants of the aquarium.

4. Rocks And Slate

Cichlids come from rocky rivers and love rocks in their aquarium

Since fish keeping started, rocks and slate have been used to decorate aquariums. Simply due to the fact that most fish come from areas in the wild where rocks form a natural part of the landscape.

Many fish love to hide out in between the rocks like Bumblebee catfish.

Replicating their natural environment is most people’s aim when starting a fish tank. Fish like African Cichlids are one of the most popular fish where rocks form the main display. Just like in the image above.

Rocks not only look good but also help to create a natural breeding area for many fish. Different species of fish lay eggs in different ways. Some (mouthbrooders) keep their young in their mouths. However, many fish lay their eggs on rocks and will need a smooth, flat surface to lay them on.

You can shape rocks by gluing together several of them to form caves and hiding places for your fish to retreat to when they feel threatened.

3. Plants

planted aquarium
Plants look amazing and instantly transform any aquarium

To quickly transform a boring looking aquarium into something really special, add a variety of plants. Although you do need to think about lighting if you’re wanting a flourishing fully planted aquarium.

Some fish will eat your plants, so careful consideration should be paid to the type of fish you have and the plants you grow.

Plants are an inexpensive way to transform your aquarium. They come in lots of different colors, shapes and sizes so you won’t be stuck for choice.

If you’re thinking of adding lots of plants to your aquarium then you’ll need to think about the substrate. Some substrates are more suitable for growing plants than others.

There are hundreds of plants to choose from but most people stick to the main varieties commonly found in aquarium stores.

  • Moss
  • Hair grass
  • Anubias and ferns
  • Stem plants
  • Potted Plants

2. Gravel

colored aquarium gravel

The way your aquarium looks can change instantly by adding different colored gravel and substrate. You can choose from plain natural gravel to fluorescent colored gravel.

Soil perfect for plants can also look good. When used in conjunction with bogwood and plants it has that Amazon River-Bed look.

The type of gravel or in particular the size of the gravel should be considered. Many fish move gravel around the aquarium and dig burrows and nests in the substrate. If the substrate to too big or too sharp it can harm your fish.

The correct sized gravel is very important for the well being of your fish and plants. Soil is often placed under the gravel substrate to help your plants grow. This, however, is not suitable for fish that move gravel around. These fish are often called ‘earthmovers’. This species is usually larger and more territorial and usually not suitable for a community aquarium.

1. Backgrounds

wooden backgrounds
Amazing wooden design background by Universalrocks.com

Aquarium backgrounds have been used since fish keeping started. They can instantly make your aquarium look different without spending a fortune.

Aquarium backgrounds not only look nice but they can hide all those unsightly wires, pipes and cables.

There are a variety of backgrounds that you could use. You can choose between poster backgrounds which are stuck to the back of the tank and structured backgrounds which are inserted into the tank.

We have listed some options below:

  • Paint the back of the aquarium
  • Poster image
  • Wooden panel
  • Stone background

When you’re thinking about buying a background, you need to consider how to install it. Poster and painted backgrounds are the easiest as they involve no messing in the water.

Wooden and stone backgrounds that you place within the aquarium and often need to be glued in place to secure them. They should ideally be installed at the beginning of the aquarium installation as to not to disturb the inhabitants.

Do you need an aquarium background?

A fish tank background can directly influence the behavior and color of your fish. If you use a background on two or three sides of your tank this can reduce the chance of your fish seeing their reflection and becoming stressed.

An aquarium background can also deflect direct sunlight and stop the unsightly growth of hair-algae.

Can you make your own aquarium background?

Absolutely, these are often the best types of backgrounds to have. Off-the-shelf aquarium backgrounds are fine but are often not exactly what you’re looking for.

Making your own aquarium background will ensure you get exactly what you want for your aquarium.

Here’s a great video tutorial on how to make an aquarium background.

Conclusion: 7 Ways To Improve The Look Of Your Aquarium

As you can see there are many ways to transform and instantly improve the look of your aquarium. Everything from plants to lights can change the way your aquarium looks without having to buy a new aquarium.

Flexible aquarium background
available on Amazon

What’s our personal favorite method?

Backgrounds, I would have to say. They totally transform any aquarium for very little money and with less fuss than some other methods.

They need no extra care of looking after and last for years. Then when you fancy a change it’s just a simple case of taking the old background off or out and adding a new one.