A Japanese theme can lend a zen element to your aquarium. Common elements in Japanese aquariums include scaled-down depictions of mountains, hillsides, forests, and bonsai with Japanese aquarium decorations scattered throughout.
Some of my favorite Japanese decorations include a cherry blossom tree, dragon, torii gate, cottage bonsai cliff scene, and pagoda lanterns.
Top 5 Japanese Aquarium Decorations to Choose from
If you’re looking for Japanese Decor options to fit your Japanese aquarium theme, these five decorations can work well. Use just one, or pair several together.
Pink Cherry Blossom Tree
It’s sakura season year-round with a beautiful ornamental Japanese cherry tree blossoming in your aquarium. The tree has an elegant bonsai style, dripping with cascading blossoms.
Rather than the cherry blossoms being light pink, they’re neon pink on this tree. If you don’t already have neon decorations in your tank, you’re in luck because there are a few extra neon pieces Included with the cherry tree.
The company also offers a green-and-yellow-blossomed version, but I’m not sure what type of tree it is fashioned to be.
You’ll want to keep the height in mind when deciding how it will fit in your tank. The tree is 10.6” tall and 9.8” wide, so that it would take up a large portion of a smaller nano tank. However, in a larger tank, it would add a nice splash of color to the overall landscape.
The oldest dragon tales in Japanese mythology and folklore depict dragons as water gods. Many of their stories of dragons and their artistic depictions match stories and artwork from Chinese traditions. Thus, if you end up wanting to do a Chinese-themed tank later, this dragon would still work.
Getting a dragon water god to reside over your tank can add to the overall mystique of your aquarium. Of course, it doesn’t do anything fancy like shoot water out of its mouth, and only the tiniest of fish can swim through its lower openings. However, it’s an exciting piece to add to a Japanese-themed tank.
This dragon is larger than you might expect and will be a rather prominent piece. It will be too big for some tanks at 3.75” high, 10” long, and 6” wide. If you have a tank that’s 29 gallons or smaller, it’s probably going to be taller than your tank, so be sure to measure your tank first.
Japanese Torii Gate
Japanese torii gates are common entrances for Shinto shrines, transitioning from the mundane to the sacred. I really like the symbolism since fishkeeping can be a calming and meditative hobby.
Many torii gates in Japan are ancient, with the oldest existing one dating back to 1535. I like the attention to detail on the gate that makes it look well-cared-for but old. The wood seems hand-hewn, the roof shingles are detailed, and the paint looks like it has faded in the sun with time.
Many depictions of torii gates we see in the West tend to show a head-on view of them that looks more like a door opening. However, traditional torii gates include fences on either side, so you’ll want to give the images for this aquarium decoration a look so that you’re not surprised if it doesn’t match what you thought it would look like.
All the small cross pieces in the gate are fun places for your fish to swim through. It looks awe-inspiring when a school of small fish like neon tetras swim through. I have mine flanked with plants to look like part of a forest shrine lost to time.
This piece is modest at 7.09” long, 5.51” wide, and 4.33” high. It looks lovely paired with other Japanese decorations that fit it in scale.
Asian Cottage House with Bonsai Tree
If you’re looking for an entire Japanese aquarium scene, complete with landscaping, bonsai, Japanese lantern, and house, this aquarium ornament has it all.
I like the decoration’s attention to detail. For example, there’s a small wooden bridge over an aperture in the cliffside, a stone stairway winds upward toward the house, and a pair of pots lie broken near the doorway.
There are plenty of nooks and crannies for your fish to harbor, and the house can be a place for shyer fish to hide. The house has an opening in the front and back, which will allow the fish to escape a more aggressive fish.
You’ll want to keep the scale of this ornament in mind if you decide to pair it with other Japanese decorations for your tank. At 7.75” long, 8.5” high, and 5.5” wide, it’s small enough to even fit in a 10-gallon tank.
Japanese Fairy Garden
This set includes three styles and sizes of Japanese tōrōs or stone pagoda lanterns. The first pagoda lanterns came to Japan from China and Korea in the 6th century along with Buddhism, symbolizing Buddha’s teachings.
Later, in the 1500s, tea masters started using them as garden ornaments. In modern Japanese gardens, they light the path wherever needed.
This set includes:
- One ishi-dōrō, or stone lantern
- Two sizes of tachidōrō, or pedestal lanterns
- A few flat stones that you can use to decorate the pathway near the lanterns
While these lamps do not light up, they are pretty for placing along pathways or nestled in various places in your Japanese-themed aquarium.
The tallest lantern is 4.5” tall and 2.1” wide. The smaller ones are 2” tall and either 1.6” or 0.8” wide. Thus, they’ll fit in any size tank and can be a part of a larger theme.
If you really want to stick with a Buddha-themed aquarium check out our top 5 Calming Buddha Decoration Ideas for your fish tank.
Video: Japanese Sand Waterfall Aquarium
These five items deserve your consideration if you’re on a quest to find lovely Japanese aquarium decorations. My favorite is the Asian cottage house with bonsai tree since it embodies all the elements I think of when I think of Japan. Plus, it works in nearly any size tank.