What Decorations Can I Add To My Goldfish Tank?

So, we have all been there, bought a new fish tank, and want to make it look all kinds of pretty. I thought I would write about what to look out for so you can avoid any unwanted injuries or problems in the future.  

First, we must consider a few things to ensure your fish’s health and quality of life are top priorities.

Aquarium with decorations.

How Much Space Fish Need

An overcrowded fish tank is never a great idea as it stresses the fish out, making your fish unhappy and ultimately unhealthy. The space will depend on the type of fish in your tank.

Territorial fish would require more space than others. The rough guide would be 2.64 gallons (10 liters) of water for each fish up to 1.18 inches (3cm).

How to Prevent Lower Oxygen Levels

Low water movement would be something that would impact the oxygen levels of your tank, so take into consideration the placement of items within your tank and the size of what you choose to incorporate.

The other issue you must watch out for should you add live plants and have the roots in the tank is that roots tend to steal oxygen from the water. Add additional air stones or discs to avoid depleted oxygen levels.

Decoration Safety in Your Tank

If you have a larger tank and would like to incorporate a piece of wood, perhaps there are a few things about the wood to consider. Firstly, your safest bet is to get a decorative piece of wood from the pet shop.

If you want to incorporate a piece of natural wood you found, you can go here for more information on what wood would be safe and not toxic to your fish.

I also want to bring sharp edges to your attention, especially with fish with longer flowing tails. It is best to file sharp edges down to ensure the safety of the fish is considered.

I once made the mistake of adding a shell to my tank. What a nightmare. The shell I added had an opening, and one night, one of my Black Moors decided to see what was inside and got itself stuck in there completely, so much so that I saw the fish was gone. It was quite the ordeal to get the poor fish out.

Luckily, I got him out and immediately removed the shell from the tank. So, when adding any shells or things with holes, please make sure the fish won’t get stuck inside by adding something to block the entrance.

Please remember that not all materials are safe for fish tanks, and research and care should be taken before putting anything into your fish tank if you haven’t gotten it from a reputable pet store.

The other thing I would like to mention is about the tank floor. I have gravel in my tank and it has only happened once, when I saw my Black Moor had a piece of gravel stuck in his mouth. It is not a great experience for you trying to remove it or the fish, especially if you aren’t supervising your tank all day. The best option here is to add sand to your tank to ensure you don’t have these kinds of issues or choose a larger gravel.

The sand option might be a better choice for you, especially if you are considering live plants. I have also seen many people opting for the cleaner look and they added nothing to the bottom and some waited to have an algae carpet, this unfortunately does take a few months to establish.

The problem some people experience with sand is unfortunately sometimes when there is unexpected spawning the fish will eat the eggs and with that, if the eggs are on the sand your fish will gobble up some sand too which is not the best for their tummies and they will be pooping sand for a few days after.

Should You Add Snails to Your Tank?

Most people would like to add snails, not only as a decorative feature but also to help clean the tank. Unfortunately, some snail species take over, and you end up with the issue of eggs everywhere, in your filters and substrate.

You also have to consider if your fish would eat the snails, and you end up with no snails cleaning the tank but mere empty shells. The rule of thumb here is, if it is small enough to fit in the mouth of the fish they will try to eat it. So a larger snail will be the safer bet.

So, if you are considering adding snails to your tank, ensure you get the right type of snail where you won’t have the overpopulation or empty shell problem.

Plants That Are Safe to Add to Your Tank

Java Moss and guppy grass are great starter plants that are hardy enough and won’t die easily. You can also add some houseplants that look aesthetically pleasing to your aquarium.

Great plant options to add to your tank are Jungle Vallisneria, bigger Amazon swords, Anubias, Coontail, and stem plants like Rotala, Ludwigia, and Hygrophila. Unfortunately, you will have to experiment with what works with your fish and tank as some fish like eating certain plants more than others.

I added Duckweed to my tank and the fish love to nibble on it. I have now started growing the Duckweed in a separate container and just adding it to my tank as needed; otherwise, the Duckweed can’t keep up.

Another very nice idea I saw some people doing that have bare bottom tanks or just have gravel is adding a glass container with sand and gravel in for their plants. It looks so different as it looks like underwater pot plants.


It is important to consider the space, oxygen levels, potential risks, future problems, and the types of plants you want to add to your goldfish tank.

By taking these factors into account, you can ensure the health and safety of your fish while creating an aesthetically pleasing environment.

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