Can You Use Toys In Aquariums? Are Plastic Toys Safe For Fish?

Can you use toys in aquariums for decoration? Toys with paint and moving parts can be dangerous for your fish. Read on to know which kind of toys you should buy. 

Who doesn’t adore a well-illuminated and well-decorated aquarium? Kids love watching fish move effortlessly through the water, and it even has a calming effect on humans

But fish are easily bored, and depression is surprisingly very common for them. That is why, when you get an aquarium for your home, you need to look for decorative items that can hold the attention of the fish.

Can You Use Toys In Aquariums

Another reason is, of course, that these items make the aquarium more beautiful and more fun to watch. One decorative item that is a most sought-after option is toys. But not all toys are appropriate for aquariums. This article will talk about everything you need to know if you are getting toys for your aquarium.

Can You Use Kids’ Toys in Aquariums?

The toy industry in the US amounted to $32.6 billion in 2020, with a 16 percent increase from the previous year of 2019. This data shows off the immense love kids have for these toys, especially the cartoon character toys. 

Kids are usually the reason people buy aquariums. Parents look forward to using these character toys in their aquariums to develop an exciting theme for decorations. 

Unfortunately, if you believe that these toys are safe for the fish, this is not the case! Here are the reasons why:

Fish Are Not Resistant to Chemicals and Pollutants

The thing is that human bodies are much more resistant to different chemicals and pollutants than fish. Thus, what may be fine for a kid’s skin may not be feasible for a fish.

Can You Use Toys In Aquariums

The Toy May Get Stuck Inside the Fish’s Mouth

Also, your child may or may not take the toys to his mouth. On the other hand, the fish will have to spend its whole life in the same environment and water as the toy.

Shady Manufacturers Do Not Follow Guidelines

Though toy manufacturers are given rules and regulations about the percentage of chemicals they can use in a toy, some manufacturers do not follow these rules and use highly dangerous chemicals, especially lead, for the toys. These chemicals, again, can be problematic for the fish.

Which Toys Can You Use In An Aquarium? 

Now, you must have heard from everyone that you cannot use toys in an aquarium. However, there are exceptions to this rule as well! The fact is that some types of toys meet the criterion. These are:

Ceramic and Pottery Toys

Toys made up of ceramic or pottery toys are safe for an aquarium. These toys do not use chemicals, and they can easily stay for a long time in the water. However, make sure that you soak these toys in water for a long time without damaging them. 

Can You Use Toys In Aquariums

Some ceramic toys can get discolored, and their strength and texture can also get damaged. You can make use of these toys for making breeding shelters for your adorable fishes.

Plastic Toys That Are Not Painted

Yes, this is a surprise, but you can use plastic toys and figurines that are not painted and have stickers without any danger. Make sure that you clean the toy well and remove any adhesives before putting it in your aquarium. 

Pro Tip: If you are unsure whether there is paint on your toy or not, there is a neat trick to find out. Soak the toys in water for some time, and then use your fingernail to scrape off the color. If the toy’s color comes off easily, the toy is not safe for your aquarium.

Which Toys Should You Avoid Using In An Aquarium?

If you are planning to use those kids’ toys in aquariums, there are some tips and points that you can consider:

No Complex Toys

Avoid using any kind of toy that has many complex parts or designs. These toys can look beautiful, but it may not be easy to clean them. Also, fishes can get caught between these complex parts and can harm themselves.

Can You Use Toys In Aquariums

No Rubber Toys

If there is a choice between plastic and rubber, it is advisable to go for plastic toys. For manufacturing rubber toys, latex derived from a rubber tree gets soaked in chemicals for a long period. 

When you soak these toys into the aquarium water, the chemicals from the toy can leak in the water and prove to be dangerous for the fish. 

No Metallic Parts

Go for toys that do not have any metal parts, for example, coils, springs, screws, etc.; when these metal parts come in contact with water for a long period, they oxidize, and the metal rusts. Some metal toys come with a waterproof coating, but it is always better not to risk.

No Battery Operated Toys

Batteries in a toy can prove to be hazardous for your aquariums. The reason is that these batteries come with lots of toxic materials. 

Thus, when you soak these toys with batteries in the water tank of your aquarium, there are high chances that the toxic material in these batteries can prove to be highly dangerous for the fish.

No Spray Painted Toys

Some plastic toys get paint spray in them. These paints can easily fade and then leak into the aquarium water. So, avoid such toys, even for decoration purposes, in your aquariums.

Can You Use Toys In Aquariums

Answers To More Questions About Aquarium Toys

Can you put plastic toys in a fish tank?

Well, unfortunately, the answer is a no. Plastic toys can be harmful to the aquatic life in the aquarium, and they can even be poisonous for your fish. 

You can put some of the plastic toys in the fish tank. However, it would help if you were careful that these toys do not have paint on them, as they can be hazardous for the fish.

What toys can I give my fish?

You can give toys made of ceramic, pottery, or plastic that do not have any paint. Toys other than these materials can be dangerous for your fish.

Can you put action figures in an aquarium?

You can put action figures in the aquarium, but they should not have any paint on them or sticker decals. Make sure that the action figures are not very complex and don’t have moving parts in them. Battery-operated action figures are a strict no-no.

How do I entertain my fish tank?

There are many ways to do so; for example, you can place a ping pong ball in the aquarium or a mirror to watch your favorite fish swim around, or you can place toys made up of ceramic or pottery in the aquarium.

Can You Use Toys In Aquariums

Choose Your Aquarium Toys Carefully!

Taking care of aquatic life can be a difficult task. You should be extra cautious with everything you do, especially when decorating the aquarium. 

Many people believe that they can use toys for decoration purposes, but it is not so as per experts. Normal toys can prove hazardous for the fishes as their paint can easily leak into the water. 

If you decorate your fish tank with toys, we suggest using ceramic or pottery toys and unpainted plastic ones. Try not to go for any toys that have complex moving parts, batteries, or are made from rubber.