Fishbowl Decorating Ideas


Fishbowls offer several surfaces for decorating: the internal environment, the external surface, the bottom platform, and the top opening. The purpose of decorating is to increase the eye appeal for viewers and provide environmental variety for the fish. Your room setting will also influence your decorating decisions. This article is limited to aquariums that are round or spherical in shape and used for freshwater fish and plants.

The Internal Environment

  • The size of your bowl and number and type of fish will affect the choices you make for the internal living environment. Most aquarium owners start by using a bottom layer of colored sand, gravel, marble or pebbles. Live or artificial plants are inserted into this medium to give the fish structures to swim around and hide behind. Placing a larger rock or figurine (treasure chest or scuba diver) on the bottom completes the traditional look.

    You can have fun and be creative by inserting non-traditional figurines to reflect holidays or seasonal changes. Your preferences might include snow people, farm animals, cartoon characters, vehicles, Santa Claus, or a variety of plastic children's toys. Small bowls require frequent cleaning-use that opportunity to change the internal environment at the same time.

The External Surface

  • The outer surface of the bowl presents different possibilities because you and your fish can see through it. Wrapping a background scene around the back half of the bowl on the outside gives you an unlimited way to alter the fish's view and for you to view them in differing environments. Creativity is your guide. Try changing the geographic scene to view cities or ponds and waterways. You can use your favorite photographs, magazine and book covers, flags, and CD and DVD inserts. Simple changes in color by using construction or wrapping paper or aluminum foil will provide light entertainment. You might focus on seasonal or thematic motifs, or family vacation pictures. The visual variety will give you a pleasing illusion.

The Bottom Platform

  • You will have some type material on the internal bottom of your bowl but do not overlook the platform you provide under the bowl or its surround. Placing your bowl on a silver platter or a Depression-glass plate may draw a viewer's eye. Consider ordinary household items to enhance the visual image presented in your room. You might place the bowl atop a stack of classic books or a tray filled with golf balls. The area around the bowl allows for seasonal and holiday decoration. Consider laying out boughs of evergreens or centering the bowl inside a wreath. Colored cloth or flags may be draped around the bowl and sprinkled with paper shapes (stars, circles, squares) to give a nestled effect. A ring of fresh fruit encircling your bowl gives another reason to take a closer look.

The Top Opening

  • Tying a ribbon around the top opening or lip of the bowl may be all you need to create a focal point to attract attention to your fish. The upper edge presents an opportunity to hook or hang items and objects of interest to you or your visitors. Draping a toy fishing rod over the edge or resting a small ladder up against the side may give your bowl a whimsical focus. A child's stuffed animal overlooking the rim into the bowl may provide interest. Do not overlook common items of clothing: hats, scarves, bandannas, and sunglasses may all be used to decorate the top opening.

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