If you wish to make your tank look as natural as possible, the biggest areas to focus on are substrate and decorations. There is a different blog that focuses on which substrate you should choose for your tank, so in reference to substrate, view that article. The other aspect of your tank that has a huge impact on the natural look is the decorations. Some people don’t mind having the plastic decorations that are fun, but others think that they appear to be corny. I am among the ladder of those two. I prefer to have a tank that has no fake decorations. So what I did was get a lot of driftwood and aquarium safe rocks and used them for my aquascape.
Choosing your decorations
So after deciding that you want to use real decorations, there is now the question of what exactly to use and where can you find it. Some people think that they can just go outside and use any rocks or trees that they find on the ground and put that in their tank. That is not true, in fact it is very dangerous and can destroy your tank. When you add any kind of wood to your tank, the water soaks in there and it causes the wood to release tannins into the tank. These tannins can either be harmful, or very toxic. It is recommended that to avoid getting toxic wood, you only get your driftwood from a reputable fish store. The same process happens with rocks in a tank. Some can release a lot of microscopic minerals that can end up being deadly to the fish.
Preparing your decorations
After getting your new decorations, it is important to not just plop it into your tank right away. If you get a rock, make sure that you spend time scrubbing it under warm water without any chemicals. This will remove a lot of the dust debris that would otherwise cause cloudiness to the tank. Driftwood is a little different. A lot of driftwood that is purchased is dry, and not already waterlogged. If you were to try and put the wood in your tank like that, then it wouldn’t sink. It would also release a lot of tannins, causing discoloration to the tank. So what can be done is try boiling it. If you boil the wood it serves a few purposes. The first is it waterlog the wood faster. The other main task it completes is disinfecting, and removing the excess tannins from the wood.
Mixing and matching these different types of decorations can lead to an amazing and natural looking aquarium that makes your fish feel safe.