Fishkeeping can be a relaxing pastime. However, it’s all for nothing if you are poisoning your beautiful fish or plants with toxic aquarium accessories. It is important to find out what effects the decorations have on the water chemistry of your tank before you buy anything.
Unharmful Fish Tank Accessories
This is because some things can change the pH value of your water which means saltwater tanks often end up becoming brackish tanks and vice versa that freshwater tanks turn more into a saltwater habitat.
The following will give some guidelines on how to choose suitable tank accessories without having to pay too much attention to what effect they might have on your water chemistry values. A lot of these points apply to both freshwater as well as saltwater habitats, but there are also some points that are more particular for either one of them.
Some types of plastic plants can be very dangerous to your fish and should not be bought or used in the aquarium. The most common thing that will happen if you let these into your tank is that the fish will start ripping the leaves of which leads to sharp pieces of plastic getting stuck on their fins which can lead to serious injuries and infections.
If this already does not make you want to stop using these, then another thing you need to know is that because they are made out of cheap material, they break down very fast and end up releasing chemicals like softeners (phthalates), especially PVC plastics (polyvinyl chloride) which are known to be carcinogenic. Despite all this, the easiest aquarium plants to come by are plastic plants, and there are some top-quality ones that are made out of silk, plastic, or resin to choose from that won’t be harmful. So when you’re buying them lookout for those, like Anubias, Java Fern, or Moneywort.
Often placed at the back of aquaria, netting is often used to decorate tanks and create some sort of landscape with plants growing out of it. However, if the fish you keep aren’t natural climbers or swimmers, even if they do manage to get through the netting you can easily injure your fish with it since it’s so thin and sharp on the edges. The only way this would be safe is if you cover one side with a thick sheet of sturdy plastic that you can see through.
It’s also worth noting that netting will often cause problems when trying to create a water flow in the aquarium since it stops the water from flowing freely back and forth, thus creating dead spots where no beneficial bacteria can grow and where waste products won’t get broken down properly.
Even though they look nice in the tank, they contain dangerous chemicals that might poison your fish and invertebrates which is why it is better not to buy them or use them at all. If you do want an aesthetically appealing decoration for your aquarium then there are better alternatives.
Rocks And Wood
These make great decorations for any type of fish tank because while still looking beautiful, they release very little if any toxins into the water so there will be no effect on the water chemistry. In fact, some even add calcium to the water which is great for sponges and crustaceans like shrimps because it helps them create their exoskeletons. On top of this, rocks also help to keep the pH value stable in a certain range which means you won’t have to worry about it either. So in general, rocks and wood can be seen as a very safe and beneficial choice for most fish tanks, but do keep in mind that not all wooden decorations are the same so always check what type of wood it is before buying or adding it to your tank.
Often used as decoration, glass stones will not release any chemicals into the water and they also won’t affect the pH value in a negative way like rocks will. However, it’s worth mentioning that like with most decorations for your fish tank, they are not necessary so if you have to choose between them and something else – go for whatever suits your tank best instead of choosing based on what will look the prettiest in your tank.
So remember, while some decorations look nice and can create a cool effect in your tank, they might also be hazardous to the environment and inhabitants of your aquarium. On the other hand, others like rocks and wood, or quality plastic plants are great alternatives because they offer both an aesthetically appealing view with minimal risk of harming anything in your fish tank.