PROS & CONS of Fake Decorations
Fake decorations can be attractive whether you’re a new or seasoned fishkeeper. I rarely have non-fake decorations in my tanks, but even then I can’t help but browse through the selection of manufactured decorations whenever I walk into a fish store. Plants, rocks, coral and driftwood are amazing choices for a tank, but sometimes you just want more flashy!
Below are the pros and cons of fake decorations:
Simple to set up, extremely long lasting
Fake decorations are great because they require absolutely no maintenance. These manufactured items are certified to be safe for aquariums, and are made of non-rotting material. You put them in the tank as you’d like, and that’s it.
You can immediately see enhancement
Going along with point #1, fake decorations allow you to immediately see the change that you want in your aquarium. There is no waiting for tannis to seep out of the wood, or waiting weeks for plants and coal to grow to their fullness.
Easier to clean around
In a well-decorated fish tank with around ~50% to ~70% cover, it can sometimes be a challenge to move your siphon to the nooks and crannies around your tank. This is especially a problem if you have fragile decorations such as plants, as the last thing you want to do is uproot or break stems! With manufactured decorations, the cleaning process is a lot easier, and there is less to worry about. Similarly, if the decoration itself is dirty, just take it out and rinse it without fear. Done.
A larger selection
In contrast to organic decorations, fake decorations can be found much more commonly in fish stores. There are more colors, more designs, and more sizes readily available to you at a store nearby or online. Only want your plants to get to a certain height? Want a rock cave that won’t collapse? Fake decorations make it easy.
Anyone who’s kept bottom-dwellers or Cichlids knows that some fish can be aggressive to their surroundings and even eat your expensive live plants. One great benefit to fake decorations is that whatever you choose, it is much less likely to be destroyed by your fish.
Can look cheesy or fake
The most obvious downside to having fake decorations –and the reason why myself and most other fishkeepers avoid them if possible – is that they can sometimes look too strange or cheesy.
A sunken treasure ornament is great if that’s a theme that you want to pursue in your tank, but otherwise it distracts from the rest of your tank, especially if you are trying to go for a more natural look. This is not to say that ALL fake decorations are cheesy or fake, and in fact I have a few silk plants that look even more stunning than the real ones, but that it’s more of a possibility if you choose to go this route.
Can be Expensive
Most fake decorations have reasonable prices, but in some cases they can be even more expensive than the real thing. Instead of shelling out $120 for a piece of fake driftwood, a real one can be bought for less than a third of the price. Instead of buying that fake rock decoration (you know, the one with the fake plants hanging on top) it may just be easier to gather some rocks from the local river and introduce cheap, low-light plants.
Can Hurt fish
Some fragile fish with long fins (such as Bettas) can be injured if you introduce decorations that are sharp or made out of thick plastic. Always research your fish’s needs before purchasing anything for your aquarium, and make sure to see what materials the fake decorations are made out of!