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The word zen comes from the Chinese word ch’an. It’s a state of concentration or meditation. A peaceful aquarium can help put you at peace and allow you to unwind and destress at the end of the day. Adding zen fish tank decor can enhance that experience.
When you’re looking for zen fish tank decor for your aquarium, you want to aim for simplicity and a calming scene. For example, rather than having ten different items in your tank, you might have one large focal point surrounded by greenery. Another option is to create a calming diorama where you can lose yourself.
Some of the aquarium decorations that I like to suggest for zen aquariums include impressive rocks, decorative pebbles, a pre-made scene, or zen statues.
Top 5 Zen Aquarium Decorations to Choose from
Here are the top five zen aquarium decorations I recommend, with some ideas on using them.
Dragon Stone (Ohko stone) is named for its large scale and unique texture. The rock’s unique scale-like pitting gives it its name.
Dragon stone is a sedimentary rock originating from Japan’s lakes, ponds, and seashores. You’ll find it to be lighter than many common rocks for aquariums. The pits and crevices are favorite hiding places of smaller fish. My catfish has a favorite pocket where he likes to hide during the day. Also, the pits make this rock the easiest to tie plants to in a cichlid tank.
When setting up a simplistic zen tank, I often put a large dragon stone in the middle of the tank or set up several sizes together.
The listing in the link includes three options:
- One small rock, one medium rock, and one large rock (appropriate for a 24″ or longer tank)
- Two small rocks, one medium rock, and one large rock (suitable for a 24″ or longer tank)
- One extra large rock (13″ x10″ x13.5″)
While dragon stone is impressive, your tank will be very stark and not nearly as calming if that’s all that’s in it. Thus, I like to add plants to the tank to gentle up all the angles. I suggest Dwarf baby tears (Hemianthus callitrichoides) and Mini pearl moss (Plagiomnium affine), which will grow on the dragon stone and create a lost-world jungle effect.
Decorative Polished Pebbles
There are several options for using polished pebbles for a zen effect in your aquarium:
- As the substrate: This option is especially lovely in a small aquarium.
- To make a rock cairn: Stacked stones are common in zen gardens, denoting our ability to create order from nature’s chaos. It can give a sense of harmony and balance.
- As a pathway: You might consider a pathway of round rocks within another substrate like sand. Cluster them together in the path or spread them apart at intervals for the effect you like best.
- Create structures: Stack a few stones together to make a simple doorway for fish to swim in and out.
Choose from a 2-pound or 4-pound bag, and let their unique attributes spark your imagination.
Mountain View, Bridge Pavilion with Moss
While natural objects can be relaxing elements for a tank, so can having a diorama of a calming place that you can step into in your mind’s eye when you watch your fish.
This aquarium decoration depicts moss-covered mountains. A footbridge and a land bridge connected the mountains at two different levels. In addition, there is an Asian-style pavilion to rest along the way.
You can elicit different effects depending on the substrate you add at the bottom of the tank. For example, ice blue gravel gives a feeling of the mountains rising from tranquil blue waters. Black gravel matches the color of the mountains so that the scene blends in more. Or you can plant carpeting moss such as Christmas moss (Vesicularia montagnei) on the bottom of the tank to blend in with the moss on the mountains.
This mountain scene is 9″ long, 2.8″ wide, and 6.3″ tall. It can even fit in a 10-gallon tank, but it would probably overwhelm it, so I suggest it for at least a 20-gallon tank or larger.
Elephant Statue with Moss
Ganesha Is one of the most worshipped deities in Hinduism. He removes obstacles, brings good luck, and is the god of intellect, wisdom, and beginnings.
This Ganesha elephant statue falls in the zen category of having one large statue to preside over your tank. I suggest putting it in the middle of the tank and surrounding it with greenery. After all, the statue has vines wrapping around it like the jungle is starting to reclaim it. You might consider flanking Ganesha with rocks.
Ganesha is 4.75″ long, 6.25″ high, and 3.5″ wide, so it is small enough to be a focal point even in a nano tank.
If an elephant god isn’t quite your style, you might also consider one of the other statues Blue Ribbon offers in this listing:
- Ancient Buddha
- Cambodian warrior head
- Thai warrior (although, I find him a little more menacing than peaceful)
If you like ancient statues and civilizations try one of these Eqyptian Aquarium Decorations.
Buddha Hand Statue
Mudras are hand signs common for meditation in yoga. For example, the mudra with the thumb touching the ring finger is the Surya Ravi mudra. In English, it’s called the seal of life. This mudra represents vitality, sexuality, energy, and balance.
This symbol in the middle of your aquarium can help to ground you. Plus, your fish will enjoy swimming through the opening in the middle of the fingers.
The statue is 6.3″ tall, 5.7″ long, and 4.3″ wide. Thus, it will fit in any tank. However, you should be aware that the hand is closer to black than slate gray. OMEM also offers a sinking Buddha head in the listing that might interest you.
You can also add some tall Bamboo Aquarium Decorations for a hidden forest look.
Video: Building A Zen Buddha Fish Tank
Choosing zen fish tank decor for your aquarium should be something that you do with care since it is often the focal point for your entire tank. My favorite zen tank element is dragon stone, but there’s no reason you can’t use it in conjunction with a large focal point like the Ganesha statue, along with some lovely moss and plants.
There are so many fish tank decoration ideas from which to choose, but a zen aquarium decor can help add serenity to your home and tranquility to your life.