Creating a perfect balance to the interior of the aquarium is highly important for the critical
eye and this is achieved with background.
Background can influence not only the breeding of the fish but also their development. Some fish
might find the background a good hiding place, others use it to lay their eggs or sometimes the background can
simply help them feel secure, closer to their natural environment.
A) Different type of rocks:
limestone - maintains or increase the roughness of the water
shale - available in grey, red or green
slate - provides a great contrast between the plants and fish
lava - available in various colors: red, brown and black
basalt - sharp-edge rock that needs to be well polished to ensure the fish aren't injured by it.
Use branches from an oak tree, beech tree or Grape vine. Barks especially tan could be used for
decorating the lateral aquarium walls and peat wood can provide colour and acid to the water. Do not use resinous
wood or any collected coming from sea water and it would be saturated in salt. The ideal combination between rocks
and wood would be when moss and fern can develop in between them.
Before introducing any elements to the aquarium ensure that these elements have been properly
disinfected and any bacteria and damaging substances have been eliminated.
Collecting and cleaning rocks
Know the dimensions of your tank prior to collecting the rocks, use a tape measure, as this will
enable you to establish a structure ad-hoc, it is then easier to change any inappropriate rocks rather than taking
them home with then realizing that they don’t match. It might also be useful to photograph this background which
will make it easier to reconstruct it when you get home.
When cleaning the rocks leave them overnight covered with water, this way any soil and dust will
be easier to remove. It is recommended to use a wire or plastic brush to clean the whole surface of the rocks and
also to wear protection gloves.
Rocks need only be boiled in special situations, when they have been collected from highly
Once the aquarium rocks have been thoroughly cleaned and dried, the easiest way to start
assembling the background is at the front of the aquarium, this way you can correct visually as the tank is right
in front of you. If you took pictures of the desired background now would be a good time to use them.
If you don’t have pictures start by establishing the resistance structure, the bigger rocks will
represent the ground. Afterwards you can start using the connection rocks in order to aggregate the piles and to
create covered spaces where eggs can be laid. Try to avoid perfect symmetry; irregularities assure resemblance with
the natural environment.
The contact surfaces between rocks must be as large as possible, otherwise when the algae forms
appear they can turn slippery.
If everything went smoothly and the background shape is final, the next step would be
You start with the exterior layer, the last placed rocks, as they will be the last ones
introduced to the aquarium. We dismantle next the so-called connection rocks.
The placement of
the rocks into the aquarium
Before starting to introduce the rocks to the aquarium ensure that the water level is 3-4
fingers below the regular level, as once the rocks are introduced the water level will rise. Place the rocks
following the same order you did when you assembled the background and of course use the pictures if necessary.