Skip to main content

How to Use Rock, Wood and Gravel for a Home Aquarium

The author is an air warrior, military historian and writer on warfare and military history



An aquarium is a large tank filled with water in which fish are kept as a hobby. The size of the fish tank will depend on the type of fish that are going to inhabit it. Along with water a natural environment for the fish has to be created. This is essential for the fish to survive and if possible breed. The aim is to try and duplicate the exact environment in which the fish feels at home.

The basic requirements for creating a natural aquarium are rock, wood, and gravel. These are tastefully used in the tank to simulate the environment in which a fish is used. Generally, the items like rock, wood, and gravel can be purchased from the local aquatic retailer. In case a hobbyist buys the items from the fish shop, he can be sure that the items are safe to use and will not harm the fish. Normally buying from a fish shop can be a costly affair and sometimes it may be a good idea to go it alone and collect the items and decorate the fish tank yourself. The hobbyist will have to be careful and get some knowledge of the rocks and wood required. In case the correct types of rock and wood are not used, the results can be disastrous and that may well bring an end to the aquarium.


Setting up the aquarium

To set up your aquarium, the first step is to buy a fish tank. The size will depend on the area available in your room or house to display the tank and also the type of fish that you plan to breed or keep. Once you have decided on this fundamental step, you can go ahead to set up the aquarium.


The first step is to arrange for rocks. This step is important. It must be ensured that the rocks are not those that may contaminate the water. Rocks bought from a fish dealer are treated and safe. Rocks collected from the garden and the fields may have been sprayed with a pesticide or chemicals. They cannot be used straight away. It is better to proceed a little distance to a stream or a pond and collect the rocks from there. These will require cleaning and washing. It is recommended that the rocks are boiled and then only introduced into the fish tank. It must be ensured that the rocks are plain and simple and not lava rocks. Lava rocks can contaminate the water.


This is the next step. Aquarium wood is the real problem. Bogwood sold by the fish dealer is treated and is costly. Picking up any wood from the garden or field and using it in the aquarium is a sure-shot recipe for disaster. The main requirement is that the wood that is used in the aquarium should be waterlogged. Wood from fen ditches and river banks can serve the purpose. It’s best to first clean the wood collected and then boil it for some length of time before using it in the aquarium. A hobbyist can also use driftwood and bamboo. Driftwood can be collected from beaches, but the procedure will involve cleaning and boiling. This step cannot be obviated.

Gravel is the least of the problems. Small quantities of gravel can be collected from the driveway and used. All it will require is a wash. Once all the three items for the aquarium-like rocks, wood, and gravel are ready they can be used to decorate the aquarium. A hobbyist may also like to add some shells for better effect. By collecting all the items personally, the enthusiast can save money. He will also have the satisfaction of having made his own aquarium.

Other items

You may also like to give the aquarium a natural look with some plants. The best is to go in for artificial plants and set them at vantage points to enhance the beauty of the aquarium.


Last word

Once the aquarium is set up, the next step is to populate it with fish. In this case, I will recommend you go by the advice of the local fish and aquarium dealer. You must tell him you are a beginner or novice so that he can guide you to which fish to buy. But in case you have sufficient knowledge then you can make your own choice. There is no way you can catch fish on your own as you require tremendous resources which you may not have.

Lastly, once the aquarium is set up it will give you and your children an endless source of entertainment. That is the last word.


MG Singh (author) from UAE on July 06, 2021:

Scroll to Continue

Devika, thank you for commenting.I am glad you find the article a help.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 06, 2021:

MG Singh Your article is most helpful in having an aquarium. It sounds exciting and a great idea for a hobby. You tips are valuable and your advice on the correct choice of fish is important to acknowledge that.

manatita44 from london on July 06, 2021:

A different and creative piece from you, Bro. But I have learnt something new. Lovely colours in your aquarium.

MG Singh (author) from UAE on July 05, 2021:

Bill, it's always a pleasure to read whatever you write.

MG Singh (author) from UAE on July 05, 2021:

Thank you, Chitra, so nice of you to have commented.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 05, 2021:

Great informative article about setting up of fish aquarium at home.

I have fish aquarium at my home, since long-- may be thirty years or so. Never thought that an article can be written about this.

Choosing the right combination of fish is very important. You have very well explained everything in this post.

Thank you for sharing!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 05, 2021:

I'm saving your aquarium article on the off-chance that one day I will purchase one. Thanks for sharing your information.

MG Singh (author) from UAE on July 05, 2021:

Jennifer, thank you, I am flattered.

Jennifer on July 05, 2021:

Wonderful article and made so simple. I love the fish aquarium in the house and I found the information given by you very valid.

Related Articles