10 Things That Don't Belong in Your Fish Tank

Posted by Allie Layos
 Aquariums And Fishes

Avoid these potential hazards to create a safe home for your fish friends. 

Decorating your tank can be a fun activity, but creating a home that is safe for your fish can also take some real planning, especially for new fish owners.

There are countless decorations to choose from, but some aren't fish friendly. Avoid the following items to keep your fish healthy and happy.


Many plastics can release potentially toxic chemicals when submerged in water for long periods of time, and you should avoid them in your tank.

As a general rule, if it smells like plastic, don't put it in your tank.



Ceramics can leach chemicals and heavy metals that can harm your fish.


Wood that has been purchased at a pet store and has been pre-treated is fine, but don't go grabbing pieces of driftwood to save money; they can alter the water chemistry in your tank.



Avoid rocks in your tank, as some contain harmful minerals.

Beach sand

It may seem like a cheaper way to decorate your tank, but beach sand contains chemical residues and other materials that can be detrimental to the health of your fish.

Buy your sand at the pet store.


Shells and Corals

Shells and corals will add calcium that the system may not need. Avoid them in a fresh-water tank.

Some glass

Not all glass is bad, but avoid glass with sharp edges, or glass that has been painted.

In fact, it's best to avoid any decoration with sharp edges, even if you find it in a pet store.


Consumable Decorations

If it's possible for the item to be consumed by your fish, it's probably not a good idea to include it in your tank.

Fish like to bite and chew on things, but some things can be fatal or release toxins into the water. Consider this before adding decorations to your tank.

Anything Degradable

If the item becomes soft or falls apart when submerged in water for a long period of time, this can alter the water's chemistry.

Anything Bearing a Pathogen or Parasite

You may not know if the item falls into this category or not, but baking, boiling, or exposing to ultra-violet light can often eliminate these risks.

Without these hazards in their home, your fish are sure to live a long a healthy life. Happy tank decorating!

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10 Things That Don't Belong in Your Fish Tank