Big Ceramic Store Blog

Clay Habitats For Critters And Fish

A few weeks ago, my granddaughter brought home a hermit crab. A friend of hers, gave her a few pieces to put in the tank with it, however; the "cave" just wasn't big enough for Bert and his shell.

Her first question was, "Nana, do you think you can make a bigger one for him?" I don't know about you, but it's very hard for me to say no to a pretty little face smiling up at me... so of course, the answer was yes.

Let's head to the studio and make my granddaughter happy.The great thing about clay, once fired to full cone, it's impervious to water! What does impervious mean? Simply, it will not absorb water, or break down in water. It also means that it's the perfect medium for fish tank décor! That's great... I need a couple new pieces for in my tank.

So, let's talk a little about the clays best suited for this type of project.

  • Air dry or self hardening clays will NOT work in aquariums since they will break down in water, however; they are great for critter habitats! Not only are they easy for kids to work with, they shrink a lot less than fired clays.
  • Laguna Stoneware clays are my choice for in aquariums and for habitats. They're easy to work with, some are heavily grogged giving a more natural look, and they hold their shape well for sculpting. They also come in great colors, meaning I won't have to do as much work to get a pretty finish!

Laguna collage
How can you decorate your habitats?

  • Texture, texture, texture! There are so many ways to add unique and amazing details to a simple piece. A simple twig, or weed, can do amazing things to a piece of clay and make it look natural. Or, let the kids use buttons, stamps, screw heads, etc... and give it their own signature style!
  • Underglaze... Add a little color, or a detailed design, with underglazes. There are so many options and colors out there, I can't imagine not being able to come up with something that will suit you and your critter!
  • Glaze... Between matt, gloss, translucent, opaque, every color imaginable, and unique texture and finishes, glazes were designed to please the eye!
  •  Don't forget, if you are making an aquarium piece, wash it well with clean water before submerging in tank.

Here's Bert's new cave... hope he likes it! I will fire it, then let my granddaughter paint it with Mayco Softee Acrylics, to suit her style.

If you'd like to share your ideas, projects, or submit a post for our blog, email us at! We look forward to hearing from you!

2 thoughts on “Clay Habitats For Critters And Fish”

  • Lawrence Johns | #

    I have Trinity white modeling clay firing at 04 with Mayco glazes fired at 06. Will this be safe for a fish tank? I can't find any information that is understandable. Should I just get a ph tester? Thanks


close X

An error occured

close X