Updated: February 9, 2023 - By: - Categories: Equipment

Pretty much all aquariums can do with a great cave decoration. Not only do they add mystery and appeal to the look of your tank, but they also provide huge benefits to many of the fish and animals we keep in our aquariums.

Best cave aquarium decorations

SpingSmart Hideaway Rocks

SpingSmart Hideaway Rocks, check on AmazonSpingSmart Hideaway Rocks, check on Amazon #ad

Dimensions: 3.7″ x 2.7″ x 2″

This naturally styled cave has a swim-through design that looks great while providing your fish and animals with a place to shelter. It is made from a ceramic material that doubles as a great environment for beneficial bacteria to colonize.

This cave decoration has no sharp edges that could injure your livestock and will not fade in time. Use this cave decoration for small fish like dwarf cichlids and bettas.

Blue Bay Moonstone Ceramic Ornament

Blue Bay Moonstone Ceramic OrnamentBlue Bay Moonstone Ceramic Ornament #ad

Dimensions: 2.8″ x 2.3″ x 3.5″

This piece is made from an eco-friendly, non-toxic ceramic material and can be used in both fresh and saltwater aquariums. These caves have more than one entrance, each of different sizes, so if a larger fish chases a smaller one in, there’s always an escape route.

One of the most interesting features of these cave decorations is that they glow in the dark, creating a really interesting environment when the lights go out. These are small decorations and are sold as a set of four. Small fish like bettas and Kuhli loaches will love hiding out in these stones.

Blue Ribbon Swim-Through Stone Pile

Blue Ribbon Swim-Through Stone PileBlue Ribbon Swim-Through Stone Pile #ad

This great-looking rock hideout has many small entrances but actually provides plenty of space for a school of small community fish like corydoras catfish or loaches to hide in. This is because the interior of the cave is one large chamber.

This ornament has a very natural look to it, almost like a pile of pebbles, and will work well in nature-style aquariums like hillstream biotopes.

BobbyPet Hobbit House Aquarium Decoration

BobbyPet Hobbit House Aquarium DecorationBobbyPet Hobbit House Aquarium Decoration #ad

Dimensions: 11.5″ x 7.5″ x 6.5″

This charming, hobbit-styled ornament is handcrafted from non-toxic resin and will keep its great colors without fading. At over 11 inches in length, this little underwater house for your fish is quite large for an aquarium cave.

This piece will work well in naturally colored aquariums of 15 gallons or more. It has entrances of between 1 and 2.2 inches in diameter to provide a safe and comfortable place for shrimps and small fish like clown loaches, barbs, and guppies to relax.

Exotic Environments Tall Skull Mountain

Exotic Environments Tall Skull MountainExotic Environments Tall Skull Mountain #ad

Dimensions: 5.5″ x 5″ x 10″

This cool, skull-mountain-themed aquarium hide has handpainted detail and a swim-through design that your small fish and animals will love. It is made from a high-quality, non-toxic polyresin, and this ornament is great for use in both fresh and saltwater tanks.

Use this cave ornament to make a statement in your home aquarium. This hide is ideal for shy and nocturnal fish like loaches in 10+ gallon aquariums.

Hygger Poly Resin Log

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Dimensions: 6.3″ x 2.5″ x 2.3″

This naturalistic hide is great for planted nature aquariums with shrimp or small fish like bettas and gouramis. This piece has a treetrunk design with lifelike moss detail that you and your fish will love.

It is hand-painted and great for small tanks of 2.5 to 20 gallons. This hide is also ideal for nocturnal fish that like to hide out during the day like loaches and small catfish.

JOR Coco Shrimp Cave

JOR Coco Shrimp CaveJOR Coco Shrimp Cave #ad

Dimensions: 5″ wide by 3″ tall

These coconut shell hides make an excellent, natural hide for your tropical aquarium. Your fish will love hiding under these simple but charming shelters, and shrimp, in particular, will find them a safe and quiet place to rest and shed.

This is a 2 pack, so you can arrange them together or set them on opposite ends of the tank to create different territories. You can grow java moss or small epiphytic plants on these shelters for a beautiful, natural environment.

SpongeBob SquarePants

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Dimensions: 6″ H x 3″ Dia

For all the Spongebob Squarepants fans out there, this is the perfect fish hideout for your tanks! Your aquarium will look just like Bikini Bottom with this light-hearted ornament. Get creative and add a splash of color to your tank with this officially licensed product.

This piece is made from safe, non-toxic resin and is great for small fresh or saltwater aquariums. Being a small shelter, this ornament is only suitable for shrimps and small fish like Kuhli loaches.

PINVNBY Coral Aquarium Cave Decoration

PINVNBY Coral Aquarium CavePINVNBY Coral Aquarium Cave #ad

Dimensions: 6.3″ H x 4.7″ L x 4.7″ W

This coral reef-themed hide is perfect for low-tech saltwater aquariums. You could use this piece to create a saltwater look, even in your freshwater tank. It is made from high-quality, non-toxic resin and has loads of interesting molded and painted details like corals and seashells.

This aquarium cave has good-sized entrance holes and is suitable for bettas and other small fish and invertebrates like shrimp and snails. This ornament is best for tanks of 10 gallons or more.

Penn-Plax Hideaway Pipes With Realistic Green Moss Like Texture

Penn-Plax Hideaway PipesPenn-Plax Hideaway Pipes #ad

Dimensions: 3″ L x 3″ W x 2.8″ H

This is a simple but effective design with a great moss-covered look. These hideaway pipes are perfect for small, territorial cichlids or small catfish like corys. Many fish will enjoy swimming through these pipes, which helps to eliminates stress, aggression, and boredom.

The entrance holes are 1 ¼ inch in diameter, so this shelter is for small fish only. It is made from a non-toxic polyresin and is suitable for both fresh and saltwater tanks.

Plecoceramics Stone Magma Decoration For Cichlids

Plecoceramics Stone Magma Decoration For CichlidsPlecoceramics Stone Magma Decoration For Cichlids #ad

Dimensions: 6.7″ x 5.1″ x 3.9″

These caves make a great retreat for small cichlids and plecos. They have large entrances with no sharp edges, so you don’t have to worry about your fish being injured. Your pets will love the swim-through design.

This cave is made from aquarium-safe, baked clay and is the perfect size for 15-50 gallon fish tanks.

Aquatic Creations Ancient Vase

Aquatic Creations Ancient VaseAquatic Creations Ancient Vase #ad

Dimensions: 6.5″ x 6.3″ x 8.7″

These hand-painted high-quality resin ornaments are great for fresh or saltwater tanks. They have an ancient carved vase look that will look amazing in something like a shipwreck theme aquarium. The carved detailing on this vase just adds to its authentic appeal.

This easy-to-clean vase is the perfect size for 10-55 gallon tanks. Fish like eels and loaches will love hiding out in this beautiful shelter.

VORCOOL Aquarium Sea Rock Cave Ornament

VORCOOL Aquarium Sea Rock Cave OrnamentVORCOOL Aquarium Sea Rock Cave Ornament #ad

Dimensions: 4.33″ W x 4.72″ H

This sea rock-style cave ornament has attractive painted moss detail and is safe for use in both fresh and saltwater aquariums. The ornament is made from non-toxic resin and makes a great retreat for bettas and small goldfish.

The styling of this cave will work in just about any theme aquarium and has a great natural look that works great in nature-style aquariums.

Capetsma Hollow Tree Trunk

Capetsma Hollow Tree TrunkCapetsma Hollow Tree Trunk #ad

Dimensions: 5.3″ x 4″ x 2.7″

This realistic hollow log design with bark and moss details is perfect for shrimp, bettas, corys, and other fish that are smaller than 5 inches long. The trunk creates a swim-through feature in your aquarium that reduces boredom while also providing a great shelter for shy and nocturnal fish

This piece has 5 entrance holes that your fish will love swimming through and works great for 5-50 gallon aquariums. The styling of this ornament is best for nature-style aquariums, especially tropical freshwater setups.

Penn-Plax Deco-Replicas Granite Aquarium Ornament

Penn-Plax Granite Aquarium OrnamentPenn-Plax Granite Aquarium Ornament #ad

Dimensions: 2″ H x 2. 75″ W x 2. 5″ D (larger sizes available)

These granite-style swim-through ornaments are the perfect choice for aquarists who keep small cichlid tanks. Each cave makes a great territory that will reduce aggression amongst your fish, keeping your tank peaceful.

They are suitable for use in both fresh and saltwater tanks, however, and they also make great hideaways for the shy, non-territorial fish and invertebrates in your aquarium. The asymmetrical design makes these great for stacking in interesting and creative ways.

Are caves really that important?


Caves are a very important feature in any aquarium where fish or other animals are kept. Apart from the interesting look they create in your tank, they have a number of important benefits to the health and happiness of your pets as well. Many fish need a safe, dark retreat to hide in during part of the day where they can rest.

Nocturnal fish like Kuhli Loaches will look for a small, dark cave to hide in, even though there’s nothing in the tank that might harm them, it is just their natural instinct. In other cases, there may be a real danger for some of the creatures in your tank. Fish fry and baby shrimps can easily be eaten by larger fish in your aquarium and will look for safe places to live and grow where larger fish cant reach them.


Sometimes even adult fish need a place to rest and unfortunately, it does happen that normally peaceful schooling fish will bully one of their friends. It is very important that a bullied fish can get away and rest in a place where it feels safe and can recover from its stress.

Many aquarium fish, like cichlids, can be very territorial and need a small area to defend. Without a clearly defined territory, these fish can be very aggressive and will constantly fight with other fish in your aquarium.

How to choose caves for aquarium fish?


Make sure you choose a cave ornament that is big enough for the fish you keep to safely enter without getting stuck. It is very important that the caves you use don’t have any sharp edges that could injure your precious livestock, so inspect every ornament before you put it into your tank. Usually, any sharp edges can be easily removed using a file or some sandpaper.

It is better to have many small caves than just one large one because often your fish don’t want to share a hiding space. For very territorial species, try to spread your caves out throughout the tank and have other ornaments in between them that break up the line of sight between territories. If you prefer to stack your cave ornaments all together, try to have the cave entrances facing in different directions to reduce aggression.

For nature aquariums, it is a good idea to choose an ornament that matches the theme of your aquarium or the biotype you have created. Rock-like caves work great in most nature aquariums and log-style shelters are perfect for amazon style community tanks.

At the end of the day, your fish won’t be too concerned about the style or color of the caves you use so let your creativity run wild and choose a great design that appeals to you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Cichlids need caves?

Although not all cichlids will need caves, Many cichlids, especially the African species, are highly territorial. They tend to live in a cave or an area between rocks that they don’t allow other cichlids into. Providing these fish with a cave of their own reduces aggression in your tank.

Can you make a DIY aquarium cave?

You can make your own DIY aquarium cave from, ceramic plant pots, PVC pipes, old china teapots, or even rocks and slate. If you do go this route, just be sure to use materials that are not toxic and won’t alter your water chemistry and harm your fish.

What kind of cave do bettas like?

Bettas like all sorts of caves. These fish like to hide and rest in caves and also enjoy swimming through tubes. You can use any sort of cave you like for your betta as long as it is big enough, made from fish-safe materials, and has no sharp edges that might hurt your fish or damage their beautiful but fragile fins.

 What can I use as a natural aquarium cave?

You can arrange rocks in your aquarium to create a natural cave. Rocks are heavy and can damage the glass in your aquarium so be careful when packing them. Be sure to pack them in a safe way that will never collapse o your fish.

Another great natural aquarium cave is a piece of driftwood with natural cavity in it. Mopane driftwood wood often has great hiding spaces.

We enjoy keeping fish, and have for many years. We are trying to promote the hobby as much as possible. We want to see many others succeed in their fish keeping efforts and are committed to sharing our knowledge when we can.

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