Home aquariums can be great fun and very rewarding. But they can also cost a surprising amount to run, so look around for cheap electricity deals to save money. You could also cut down costs by only putting the main lights on for a few hours a day, using energy-saving LED lights at other times, and keeping an eye on your temperature settings.
Part of the pleasure of owning a home aquarium is accessorising it with objects and plants. Many objects come straight from the pet shop – you have bright background designs, wood and rock ornaments, silk and plastic plants, and natural and coloured gravels and sand. The range of decorative ornaments, from the familiar rocks and tree stumps to the more adventurous shipwrecks and castles, is increasing all the time.
But many people find that everyday household objects can be used to similar effect, and far more cheaply. The cost of various bought objects and ornaments can soon add up and, besides, it can be a lot more fun to make your own. It makes your aquarium unique and more personalised. We take a look at the top five home aquarium hacks with household items below.
Comic Book Background
If you’ve old comics or posters lying around the house and don’t know what to do with them, how about creating a colourful superhero background for your fish? Use a safe adhesive or background applicator to apply it to the back of the tank, smoothing it out with a putty knife. Your fish will love their new friends!
PVC Pipe Tunnel
Fish love caves and tunnels to escape to, so it’s a good idea to create some hideaways for them. A popular material to use in aquariums is PVC piping. Saw a length of pipe to the desired length and then cut about the bottom third off along its length. This gives you a little room to push the tunnel down into the sand or gravel to secure it. You can also cut the entrances at an angle to make it easier for the fish to enter. Use aquarium safe adhesive, such as aquarium silicone, to glue sand or gravel on to the pipe. Aquarium silicone takes about a day to dry, after which the tunnel should be soaked in tap water for a day and then rinsed.
If you want to get even more creative, you could make a rocky background out of Styrofoam. Cut two layers to the right size for the back of your tank and glue them together using a safe adhesive. Cut out a compartment for your filter and any other components. Then you can start the fun part – carving out the first layer to look like rocks. Place it in the tank and finish it with a powder colour pigment mixed with water and aquarium safe hobby cement – use greys and browns for a natural effect. Make sure everything is dry before filling up your aquarium.
Gravel Glass Bottle
This one’s easy – simply grab a glass bottle that’s lying around, cover it with gravel or pebbles using aquarium silicone, allow it to dry, rinse and add to your tank!
Mossy Coconut Cave
Add a taste of the exotic to your aquarium with a coconut shell. Cut it in half, scrape out the meat and cut a doorway into one or both halves. You then need to boil the coconut thoroughly to get rid of tannins that may turn the water yellow – keep boiling it and changing the water until it runs clear. You can remove the hairs and sand the coconut to make it smooth, or just leave the hairs on. Rinse it off and add to the tank! You could also add some moss for extra effect.