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Aquarium Decorations to Spice Up Your Cichlid Tank

Blake B

Posted on August 04 2019

Cichlids are among the most beautifully ornamented fish by nature, with their many colors, patterns, sizes, and shapes. It’s only fitting, then, that their tank should be equally beautiful. If you have some lovely cichlids sitting in a rather plain tank, you might have wondered what sorts of aquarium decorations to shop for. If so, then this post is for you. 

Of course, there are many options when it comes to aquarium decorations, ranging from the tacky to the elegant and beautiful. Here are a few ideas on how to tastefully decorate your cichlid aquarium in a way that both you and your cichlids will love. 

Stones and Driftwood

If you’re very familiar with cichlids, then this first one will be a no-brainer. Cichlids love stones, caves, and any other shelter-like places which provide them with natural barriers and boundaries. This is because of their heavily territorial nature, and the fact that their original habitats in the great African lakes are also generally rocky.

Of course, if you add rocks which you actually found yourself somewhere outdoors, they may contain any type of bacteria, fungus, or other harmful elements, so it’s very important to clean the rocks for aquarium use.  You just also be sure they contain no metal, and did not originally come from a water source. The same applies to driftwood, and it’s ideal if you simply purchases these at an aquarium store.

With proper precautions, you can put almost any type of stone in a cichlid tank, depending on your aesthetic tastes. The ideal stones are medium-large, so that you can put a few of them in the tank, perhaps in a pile-like formation, to provide caverns and hiding places for the cichlids. Just be sure that the way you stack them is very stable, as the last thing you’d want is for a rock to fall on your beloved cichlids!


We’ve recently covered the ideal plants for cichlids in this blog, but you may also want to consider how the plants look alongside the rocks any other elements of your tank, what type of lighting will you be using and how they will look in it, and similar aesthetic factors. You’ll also want to consider how many you realistically have room for, as you wouldn’t want your tank to become a forest that doesn’t even allow you to see the stars of the show, the beautiful cichlids.

Needless to say, you can find many live aquarium plants for sale all over the internet, or in your own local aquarium/pet shop. Just be sure they come from a reputable seller, follow the guidelines from our previous blog post to choose which types of plant, and then use your best judgement to choose the right ones for you and your cichlids.

Castles, Statues, and DIY Aquarium Decorations

Of course you can put more than rocks and plants in your tank, and there are a huge variety of less natural, but sometimes pleasant decorations you can purchase online. Beyond safety precautions, such as purchasing items made for aquariums, to avoid harmful chemicals, these are basically a matter of personal taste. They could be anything from the purely natural, to a model of the sunken Titanic. 

If you want to go beyond the typical aquarium castle and floating divers statues, but are drawing a blank as to how to express yourself in this unique medium, I highly recommend checking out the many amazing fish aquarium decor ideas out there on the internet. As with most things these days, someone has done almost anything you can think of, and probably a few things you can’t, so a bit of Pinterest or Instagram browsing can really get your creative waters flowing.

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