Species that are naturally ‘shy’, or that like to hide away will benefit from cave-like decorations within their habitat.
Aquarium rocks (usually those formed as caves) can also be used as spawning areas for certain species of fish.
There are different forms of aquarium rock, such as caves, pebbles and other naturally or artificially-formed structures and are often made from either natural stone, polyresin or wood.
- Usually natural rocks that have been formed or collected for their use in aquariums. They form a wide variety of shapes and sizes but are usually found as cave structures within hard-water aquariums.
- The most popular materials for natural stone ornaments are natural slate and limestone. These rocks are usually intended for hard-water aquariums and are suitable for saltwater and freshwater terrains.
- Polyresin decorations are made of an incredibly strong polymer resin, which is heated and poured into a mould. Polyresin rocks can have incredibly detailed and intricate designs, so can be made to look like authentic natural stone decorations.
- Most polyresin stones will have been painted with a specifically-designed non-toxic paint (if painted at all). Most polyresins have been made to be suitable for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
- Wooden aquarium decorations, usually made of hardwoods (as softwoods are unsuitable for most aquariums), can be in the form of roots, natural wood structure (like a tree branch)
- They can be carved to make habitat structures such as multi-level caves and hide-away holes.
- Some decorations are known as “airstones”; these stones are usually porous rock or limestone and gradually diffuse air into the tank.
- Air-driven rocks (or “airstones”) provide several health benefits to the fish whilst eliminating the noise of a traditional filtration system. They come in all shapes and sizes and are also available in synthetic materials.
Cleaning your Aquarium Decorations
Non-porous decorations, such as synthetics and plastics, can be cleaned in a diluted bleach solution. Simply soak the decorations within the solution, scrub with a toothbrush, rinse with cold water and allow to soak (again, in cold water) for at least five minutes.
Many decorations will come with advice on how best to clean their specific product.