What To Put Under The Fish Tank To Protect Wood [8 Best Things]

Getting your fish tank ready is an exciting project, but it’s super important to make sure you don’t harm the surface underneath it, especially if it’s made of wood. 

When you put a heavy fish tank on wood, it can create scratches, and dents, and even make the wood weaker over the long run. To avoid all that trouble, it’s really key to pick the best things to put under your fish tank. 

In this article, I’m going to talk about what to put under the fish tank to protect wood and also walk you through each step to do it the right way. So, let’s jump right in.

Top Items to Place Under a Fish Tank

Image Credit: nytimes.com

1. Place foam underneath a fish tank

A foam underlay is a great choice to spread out the weight of your fish tank evenly. Look for special foam padding made for this at pet stores or online shops. 

This soft layer helps stop the tank from touching the surface directly, so it’s less likely to get scratched or damaged.”

2. Purchase a towel of a larger size

If you’re looking for a quick and budget-friendly solution, a larger towel can be a viable option. Place a thick, absorbent towel under the fish tank to create a protective barrier. 

Just ensure that the towel is larger than the base of the tank so that it covers the entire area and provides proper cushioning.

3. Get an Aquarium Stand

If your fish tank is on the bigger side, it’s a good idea to think about getting an aquarium stand. These stands are made to hold your tank safely. They do two important things: 

First, they keep the surface underneath safe from any weight or pressure. Second, they give you a spot to keep all your stuff related to the aquarium, like supplies and tools.

4. Choose Rubber as a Base

Opting for a rubber foundation is a clever move. You can use rubber mats or pads for this. Rubber is really good at absorbing shocks, which is important because it keeps your tank from causing any scratches or dents due to its weight. 

So, consider this soft and protective option for your tank’s base.”

5. Try Using a Camping Mat

Don’t overlook camping mats – they’re strong and sturdy. These mats can handle the weight of your fish tank without a problem. 

They’re a great choice to shield your wooden surface from the pressure that the tank exerts. So, think about using a camping mat as a dependable way to protect your tank’s base

6. Consider a Yoga Mat

Similar to a camping mat, a yoga mat can also serve the purpose well. These mats are designed not to slip and have a soft, cushiony texture. This texture actually helps prevent any harm to your tank or the surface it sits on. 

So, if you have a yoga mat lying around, don’t hesitate to use it as a protective layer for your fish tank

7. Utilize a Polystyrene Sheet

Including a polystyrene sheet beneath your tank is a smart move. This sheet helps distribute the weight of the tank evenly, which is important for keeping things balanced. 

Polystyrene is a lightweight material, and it acts as a barrier that safeguards your wooden surface from any potential marks or scratches caused by the tank. 

So, remember to consider a polystyrene sheet as an effective way to keep your tank and base in good shape

8. Choosing the Right Mat for Under Your Aquarium

Consider getting a mat that’s made especially for aquariums. These mats are designed to handle the unique environment around fish tanks. 

They’re often waterproof and built to withstand the moisture that’s common in these setups. These mats don’t just shield your wood from damage, they also help keep things neat and clean. 

So, remember to go for an aquarium-specific mat to add an extra layer of protection while keeping everything looking tidy.”

Proper Steps to Install a Mat to Your Aquarium

Step 1: Clean the Area 

Before you put down any protective mat, it’s important to make sure the spot is nice and clean. Take a moment to clear away any dirt or bits of stuff. 

This helps to avoid anything getting stuck between the mat and the wood. Starting with a clean surface sets the stage for a proper installation.

Step 2: Measure and Cut 

Now, it’s time to measure things out. Get a good measurement of the bottom of your fish tank. 

If you’re using materials like foam or rubber that can be cut, it’s a smart move to trim them to fit just right under your tank. This way, they match the tank’s size and shape perfectly.

Step 3: Position the Mat 

Now, let’s get that mat in place. Put the material you’ve chosen right onto the surface where you’re planning to set up your fish tank. 

Make sure you spread it out evenly, covering the whole area. It’s important to have it centered and lined up just right. This helps everything look balanced and fit properly.

Step 4: Set Up the Aquarium 

Now comes the exciting part – getting your fish tank on its new cushion. Gently put your tank onto the mat or padding you’ve prepared. Take your time and be careful as you do this. Once it’s on there, give it a look. 

If you notice anything a bit off, don’t worry. You can make small changes to make sure the tank is sitting really securely and completely level.

Step 5: Check for Stability 

It’s time to give your setup a little test. Use your hands and softly press on the tank from different sides. The idea is to see if it wobbles or moves around. If you feel any wobbling or shifting, no need to worry. 

Just adjust the mat a bit. Move it until you find that sweet spot where the tank feels really stable and doesn’t wobble anymore. This helps keep everything secure and in place.


It’s really important to take care of the wood under your fish tank so your furniture stays nice and lasts a long time. 

When you pick the right things to protect it and follow the steps we talked about, you can enjoy your fish tank without any stress about harming the surface underneath. 

If you’re not sure about something, feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks a lot for reading!


How can I be sure the wood is safe for my aquarium? 

To make sure the wood is safe, you should use aquarium-safe wood that hasn’t been treated with harmful chemicals.

Look for wood types like driftwood or other options labeled safe for aquarium use. You can also boil or soak the wood before putting it in the tank to remove any potential toxins.

How long will wood last in an aquarium? 

The lifespan of wood in an aquarium varies. It depends on the type of wood and how well it’s taken care of.

Some types of wood can last for years, while others might start breaking down over time. Regular maintenance and monitoring can help you catch any issues early.

Does wood in aquariums cause algae? 

Yes, wood in aquariums can encourage the growth of algae. Algae feed on nutrients in the water, and wood might release some of these nutrients.

However, proper tank maintenance, like controlling lighting, water changes, and algae eaters, can help keep algae growth under control.

Can plywood support the aquarium? 

Plywood can be used to create a sturdy base or stand for your aquarium. However, not all plywood is suitable. Marine-grade plywood that’s water-resistant and free from toxic glues is a better option.

It’s important to ensure that the plywood is strong enough to support the weight of the aquarium, and using additional support like legs or braces is recommended for larger tanks.

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