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Home > Fish > 10 DIY Fish Tank Décor Plans You Can Make Today (With Pictures)

10 DIY Fish Tank Décor Plans You Can Make Today (With Pictures)

Aquarium decoration_RKPhoto_Pixabay

Are you tired of looking at the same plain fish tank in your room? You’re probably looking to liven up your aquarium with splashes of color. Decorating your fish tank benefits you and the fish themselves by creating a vivid atmosphere and enhancing your space.

We searched the web thoroughly to find the easiest-to-make DIY fish tank creations for you. These projects are cheap, easy to create, and require minimal maintenance once installed. Fish tanks don’t have to cost an arm and a leg! Let’s dive into some inventive ways to create your own DIY masterpieces for your fish tank.


The 10 DIY Fish Tank Décor Plans

1. Mini-Ocean Aquarium by Arctida

DIY Fish Tank Decor
Image Credit: Arctida
Materials: Small glass bowl/container of your choice, sand or aquarium gravel, mini moss balls, seashells, sea glass, driftwood, etc.
Tools: Glue
Difficulty Level: Beginner

This low-maintenance moss ball aquarium transports you to a miniature version of a tranquil beach and calming waters. It is perfect for small fish like bettas or goldfish, and you can use seashells or other beachy items you have left over from other crafts and projects. This cute idea shouldn’t take you more than ten minutes to put together!

2. Driftwood Sculptures by Aquarium Watch

DIY Fish Tank Decor
Image Credit: Aquarium Watch
Materials: Driftwood pieces, driftwood sticks, (optional: plants, mosses, rocks)
Tools: Glue
Difficulty Level: Beginner to Moderate

If you want to highlight the beauty of nature in your fish tank, driftwood sculptures are the perfect decorations for you. Adding custom driftwood sculptures to your fish tank is a creative way to make your tank look more natural. Showcase the “natural” aquarium look with plants, rocks, driftwood, and moss. Sometimes, less is more, and featuring nature as the star of the show is always a great place to start. You can think about abstract ways to place the driftwood pieces in your tank and create eye-catching designs and memorable shapes. You can always add plants like mosses to give it an even more natural look if the driftwood alone isn’t enough.

3. Make a Zen Garden by Gardenia Organic

DIY Fish Tank Decor
Image By: Gardenia Organic
Materials: Tall stones, small pebbles, aquarium-safe sand, plants, small aquarium-safe bridge
Tools: Craft knife, glue
Difficulty Level: Beginner to Moderate

You can make your own Zen Garden inside your fish tank by easily using aquarium-safe materials. Creating a Zen Garden inside of your fish tank requires careful placement of your stones, plants, and chosen sand or pebbles. You want to think about the patterns you plan to create and how they relate to the rest of your tank. The main focus of a Zen Garden tank is the décor, though your fish may appreciate the calming surroundings just as much as you do! You might even spot a betta doing yoga if you’re lucky.

4. Make Underwater Tunnels by Instructables

DIY Fish Tank Decor
Image By: Instructables
Materials: “Food-safe” plastic pipe or basket, aquarium gravel or rocks, pond spray foam, aquarium safe paint
Tools: Aquarium glue, hacksaw, safety goggles
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Advanced

An underwater tank can be another excellent addition to your tank. It might seem weird to want to include spaces where you can’t see your fish but your fish will appreciate having a new place to explore and hide. Customizing and making your own tunnel designs can add bright focal points to your tank and encourage natural behaviors in your fish. Use PVC pipe or other food-safe materials to create any structures you can dream of. You can also use non-toxic and aquarium-safe polymer clay once it has been properly cured.

5. Lego Village by Fire Star Toys

DIY Fish Tank Decor
Image By: Fire Star Toys
Materials: Lego set, aquarium sand or pebbles, plants
Tools: Glue
Difficulty Level: Beginner to Moderate

As we mentioned earlier, Legos are perfectly safe for your fish tank. After you follow the building instructions, make sure you secure any buildings and structures in your tank to prevent floating. Lego pieces are naturally light, so you have to make sure to sink them into the gravel. Turn your aquarium into Hogwarts, a tree house village, and more using any official Lego set and your imagination.

6. Stones, Driftwood, and Artificial Grass Décor

Materials: Rocks, driftwood, artificial grass mat, white sand
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy

For first-time fish owners, this aquarium setup is the perfect choice. It is simple yet stylish, allowing you to spruce up your fish tank with minimal effort and expense.

The only materials you will need to decorate your fish tank are rocks, driftwood, an artificial grass mat, and white sand. This DIY plan does not require crafting experience, and as long as you have scissors, you’re good to go. You will need to measure the grass mat to fit your tank, then cut it to size.

Because of its simplicity, many novice DIYers will find this project easy enough while still elevating their skills. Plus, it looks amazing when completed.

7. Sand Waterfall Design

Materials: Silica sand, driftwood, sandstones, sponges, tissue, air pump, plastic tubes, moss
Tools: Cyanoacrylate super glue
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

If you’re looking for more of a DIY challenge, this sand waterfall design may be the perfect project for you. With this plan, you can create a unique and stunning fish tank décor to make your pet’s home stand out from the crowd. It will require more advanced materials, such as an air pump and plastic tubes, but the end result is well worth it.

Although this project has a layer of difficulty to it, it is straightforward enough to be manageable. With driftwood, moss, and stones, you will construct the base to hide the air pump and tubes. The author chose cyanoacrylate super glue because it is safe for marine creatures.

8. Grassy Background Build

Materials: Artificial grass, aquarium sand, decorative stones, LED lights, decorative statue (optional)
Tools: Scissors, duct tape, double-sided tape
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Fish tank decorations add color to your aquarium, but the impact can be somewhat diminished when you see the plain wall on the other side of the glass. If you want to change things up, you can add artificial grass to the background of your fish tank to really make the decorations pop.

Arrange the stones and aquarium sand however you like inside the tank. This part of the project allows you to dig into your creative side and furnish the tank to your personal style. To add extra flair, you can attach LED lights to the front of the tank or add a decorative statue to your adornments.

While this plan is moderately difficult, the only tools you will need are scissors, duct tape, and double-sided tape, making it fairly straightforward.

9. Bamboo Decoration

Materials: Bamboo, moss, assortment of plants, white sand, topsoil, lava rock, black self-leveling mat, background tilt, LED lights, filter, water heater
Tools: Scissors, knife, mesh, scraper tool, super glue, cleaning brush
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

For a truly stunning fish tank, check out this bamboo decoration design. This plan will require many materials, but trust us, the result is spectacular. With bamboo, moss, and various plants, you can transform your plain fish tank into a vibrant, green world. To contrast the bright greens, add white sand, topsoil, and lava rock.

You will need several tools on hand to complete this project, including scissors, a knife, a scraper tool, mesh, super glue, and a cleaning brush. And don’t forget to include the filter and the water heater to keep your fish happy and healthy.

10. True Black Backdrop

Materials: Black vinyl backdrop, white sand, white light, air filter, soapy water, driftwood, assortment of plants
Tools: Plant tweezers, cleaning brush
Difficulty Level: Easy

Sometimes, all it takes to bring an aquarium from good to great is the small things. With this DIY plan, you can make the most of subtle changes to create a chic black backdrop design. All you need to do is secure the black vinyl backdrop to the backside of your tank with soapy water, then add your choice of driftwood and assorted plants. To transform it into something truly dazzling, consider a combination of white sand and LED lights.

This fish tank decoration plan is simple to complete and an excellent choice for DIY beginners and first-time fish owners.


Things to Consider

When choosing decorations or materials, you must carefully consider the safety of your fish. You can’t just add any old toy or plant to your aquarium and hope for the best. You have to consider what the item is made of and where it has been prior to placing it in your fish tank. Looking at product information from the manufacturer is always best, but you can also find relevant information online as well.

At the end of the day, the safety of your fish is more important than aesthetics.

Cross Contamination

Maintaining a healthy aquarium means maintaining perfect water conditions and a healthy balance. You need to be careful not to add any foreign substances to the tank that will upset the balance of the water’s PH levels and potentially endanger your fish. If you add in materials, like toys or paints, or even wood, without knowing where it comes from, you risk introducing chemicals into your water.

Some objects can release toxic chemicals into the water that can harm your fish. Make sure your check the labels of everything you use before adding it to your tank.

While fun and creative, DIY decorations are risky and come with some common contamination pitfalls. One of the biggest problems of creating your own DIY décor is toxic paint. Most store-bought paints are not safe for your aquarium. Paint that is not marked as aquarium safe or non-toxic can slowly leach into the water without you even noticing. You can buy aquarium-safe paints online or in your local pet stores.

You also want to avoid metals or collected wood. Metal can rust or corrode and leach into your water, while collected wood can leak chemicals like paint. If you scavenge wood from outside, the chances are that it has been contaminated with chemicals used for industrial purposes.

Always make sure to rinse your wood thoroughly and soak it in a separate water source for a few days prior to submerging it in your tank.


You know how we cut foam pool noodles to place on sharp corners so toddlers don’t run into them? You want to do the same for your fish. Aquarium-safe decorations are specifically designed not to have any sharp edges. When making your own decorations or sculptures, you want to make sure you do the same.

It is very easy for fish to cut themselves along sharp edges, especially if they enjoy being close to the structures inside their tank.

Make sure you run your hands over the any object to feel for any sharp edges.

Another thing to consider when decorating your aquarium is how stable your decorations are. When building your own structures or rock piles, the last thing you want is for them to collapse and injure a fish inside of your tank. If you are piling up rocks, make sure you are using aquarium-safe glue to hold it all together.


Final Thoughts

The creative possibilities for decorating your fish tank are endless. While heading to your local store or ordering supplies online may be easier, there are more than enough ways for you to decorate without breaking the bank. Some projects may more skill and knowledge than others, but if you’re a creative DIY-er, you shouldn’t have any problems creating an exceptional aquarium scene.

Featured Image Credit: RKPhoto, Pixabay

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