If you’re looking for more natural tank decor that’s not rock, terracotta aquarium decorations might work for you. Terracotta is an Italian word that means “baked earth,” and that’s literally what terracotta decorations are. They’re made from any type of fired clay.
If you’re thinking about using terracotta in your aquarium, remember that not all terracotta glazes are safe for fish. While most exterior glazes are as hard as glass, interior glazes have more of a potential to leach into the water over time. Therefore, it’s best to avoid glazed terracotta pots that aren’t explicitly designed for fish tanks.
I’ve found five terracotta aquarium decorations that I like for different purposes. I’ve included some that are secluded refuges, some that fish can use to come and go easily, and one that’s mainly decorative.
Top 5 Terracotta Aquarium Decorations to Choose from
My top five terracotta aquarium choices all have their own purposes. Some are more enclosed for increased seclusion for shy fish, nocturnal fish, and spawning spots. Others provide a refuge that makes the fish more visible to enjoy your fish pets even more. I’ve also included decorative miniature pots that you might like.
The terracotta igloos is a cute cave-like area where your fish can go to hide or breed. There are two openings, so a quick getaway is possible for shy fish.
However, I like that the igloo palace has an upper echelon so that multiple fish can hide inside without bothering each other. Furthermore, both openings are 1″ wide, which is big enough for an easy escape if a scary fish invades someone’s territory.
Another thing that I like is that the igloo has a very small hole at the top to help it settle down and not float upward in the tank.
The igloo measures 4″ x3″, so it is best if you have small and medium fish in your tank that needs a refuge.
Adding a terracotta jar to your tank gives your tank more of the feel of lost underwater antiquities than a regular clay pot. Of course, all terracotta breaks down a bit with time, but this jar looks even more authentic as the water wears it down.
I like that there’s a top and bottom opening in the jar, so fish can easily swim in and out, and you can see what’s happening inside. Also, if you end up getting more than one of these, you can arrange them slightly differently without it looking like you have two of the same jar.
The top opening measures 2.1″ wide, and the bottom opening measures 1.5 inches wide. The jar itself is 3.7″ x3.7″, so it’s best for small and medium fish.
The Cichlid Hut is an excellent spot for spawning cichlids. Since it only has one small opening, your lovebirds will be able to spawn in peace.
However, you will not want to keep the cichlid hut in the tank when you do not intend to create a breeding refuge for your cichlids because they will hide out inside, and you’ll never see them.
The Cichlid Hut is also stackable, which can be fun if you want a whole village of breeding caves.
The opening is 1″ wide, and the other dimensions are 4″ x4″ x2″. This size is fine for dwarf cichlids, small and medium-sized cichlids. However, it won’t work for larger cichlids.
Terra Cotta Pots
A list of terracotta aquarium decorations isn’t complete without terracotta pots. Don’t underestimate the appeal of a humble flower pot in your aquarium.
This 10-pack will allow you to scatter them throughout your tank in various arrangements. For variety, I like to bury some in the substrate to show just the top portion.
I’ve also seen some people smash a few pots to make the display look more like authentically sunken pottery. Just be sure to sand down any sharp edges so that the fish don’t cut themselves.
Another fun idea I’ve seen is to lay the pots on their side and stack them up in a triangle shape like a house of cards.
These individual pots are 2.6″ x2.6″ x2.5″ and make great hideouts for your small fish. However, if your fish is more than 2.5″ long, you’ll want larger pots.
These pots make me think of using them next to some Greek Fish Tank Decorations.
Miniature Clay Pots
For a more Old-World look, consider adding these rounded miniature clay pots instead of flower pots to your tank. You can imagine they once held olive oil or wine and spilled in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean sea.
Each pack comes with five miniature clay pots, which you can arrange in different ways throughout your tank.
You do need to be especially aware of the size of these pots. Each miniature clay pot only measures 0.6″ x0.9″ x1″. They’re the smallest ones on our list and work best in a tank with tiny fish that like to hide.
However, it would be best if you mainly considered them as decorative rather than functional terracotta for your tank. Nevertheless, they’re ideal as terracotta decorations for smaller tanks.
Video: 6 Uses For Terracotta Pots In Your Aquarium
Terracotta aquarium decorations can provide places for fish to hide while adding Old-World charm to your tank. Terracotta is a more realistic option than plastic and breaks down beautifully in the water over time.
If your tank is big enough, it might even be fun to add a few ancient columns or an Old-World background to complete the look.
When choosing a terracotta decoration for your tank, it’s essential to think about how you envision your fish using the decoration, the size of your aquarium, and the size of your fish (if you want the fish to use the pots as a refuge).
If you’re still unsure of precisely what you want in your aquarium, you might consider other DIY fish tank decorations to make your tank unique and suit your fish. Or, you could go for something totally different and use some Dinosaur Aquarium Decor.