How to Set Up a Fish Tank: Choosing Aquarium Rocks for Decoration

When figuring out how to set up a fish tank you’ve got a lot to think about!

No one deserves to live in a totally barren and empty home, and that includes fish, from the lowly tetra to the mighty snapper. One of the best ways to gussy up your fish’s house is with aquarium safe rocks that are both decorative and functional. “Functional” meaning there are fish aquarium rocks that do more than just make the aquarium look nice and purty.

Rocks can help break up the tank and divide it into separate territories, which are critical for different types of fish. Sandstone, granite, slate, and aquarium lava rocks are all calcium-free and well suited for this purpose.

You don’t want to pick rocks like tufa or limestone, which will change the chemistry of the water – they’ll make it hard and alkaline. Also, some nice-looking rocks from the western United States contain metal ores which can be toxic to fish even at very low concentrations. So do your homework before you figure a rock is a rock. They aren’t. Not all rocks are aquarium safe rocks.

This decorative rock looks smart and also lets your fish play a quick round of soccer!

Something to consider, assuming you have located the best rocks for you and your fish’s lifestyles, is whether you want the rocks to just be eye candy or not. Rocks that are green and gray increase the tank’s overall color palette. Grainy aquarium safe rocks and weathered rocks will add more texture. Warmer colors will glow in the tank’s lights. Darker rocks like slate offer more contrast.

Also, don’t forget to wash your ricks. A seemingly clean rock can actually be a hotel or dirt, grim, and dust. Bust out the elbow grease and scrub, scrub, scrub to make those aquarium safe rocks truly aquarium safe. Use water, of course, and a designated scrubbing brush for this purpose – unless you really want to wash your back in the shower with something you used on aquarium lava rocks. Hey, we can’t stop you.

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