Should I Put Anything Under My Fish Tank? What Experts Say?

A proper setup of the aquarium is needed for safety and long-term maintenance. This portion of the maintenance is often ignored. Many asks should I put anything under my fish tank? And what can I put underneath?

If you have a rimless aquarium, then you must need an aquarium mat under it. It helps to level the undersurface of the tank.

You can find various quality aquarium mats in the market. There are also some cheap alternatives to it. You will find all about it detailed later in this article.

Should I Put Anything Under My Fish Tank
Should I Put Anything Under My Fish Tank

Is It Necessary to Put Aquarium Mat?

Yes, putting a mat under your fish tank is necessary if you have a rimless tank. But if you have an aquarium with a rimmed edge, then it is not necessary.

A mat will create a protective barrier underneath the tank. It is needed because an aquarium becomes quite heavy after putting water and all the décor items.

On the other hand, no surface is actually 100% flat and leveled. If you do not put a mat under the tank and if your tank is larger in size, then it will be prone to break or get damaged.

So, it is wise to get a mat, then put all the hard work to risk. 

Will Aquarium Mat Protect the Wood Surface?

Yes, it will protect the wood surface if the mat you choose is waterproof. If not, the mat will only partially protect other damages but not water damage.

If the mat is not waterproof it can get damped very easily. When the mat gets damp, the wood will also get damp eventually. Those mats cannot fully prevent the wood from getting wet.

But the mat will protect the wood from getting scratches or similar kinds of damage. Because the fish tank will rest on the mat surface, not on the wood surface.

Waterproof mats will do both for you.

Aquarium Mat
Aquarium Mat

What Should I do to Protect the Aquarium Wood Stand?

You need to varnish the wood stand before putting the mat and the aquarium to protect the wood surface. On the other hand, a waterproof mat can protect the wood surface.

The wood surface is prone to damage by water if there is any leakage. As the aquarium is a water-containing tank, it is natural to get damped wood. If it happens all the time, it will eventually ruin the wood stand.

To protect the wood, the best thing you can do is to varnish it. It protects the wood from many potential damages. After varnishing, the aquarium mat can give another layer of protection to the surface.

How to Install a Mat to Your Aquarium?

Installing the mat in your aquarium is not a difficult thing to do. You can do it very easily with only a scissor and a blade. Here is the step-by-step guide of how you can install your aquarium mat.

Step 1:

Cut open the box of the mat and keep it under something heavy to flatten it. Because it may want to roll back as it was inside the box. It may take a couple of hours.

Step 2:

After the mat is flattened, measure the aquarium and roughly cut the mat with a scissor according to it.

Step 3:

Peel off the sticky paper and place the aquarium on it.

Step 4:

Turn the aquarium upside down and cut the extra edges with the help of a blade. Turn it back and see, if there is any extra edge. You can cut it off from that angle as well.

And we are done. You can now set up your aquarium as you please.

What to Look for in an Aquarium Mat?

There are many brands of aquarium mats. But choosing the right one is not an easy task. Here are some things you need to look for while buying a mat for your fish tank.

Right Color

Look for something which is black or gray. It will nicely blend with the fish tank décor. Otherwise, the mat will take too much attention than the tank itself.


You already know the importance of a waterproof aquarium mat. It can save your stand from getting damaged. The fish tank will contain mostly water. So, it is a good idea to get a waterproof mat.


Make sure the material of the mat is good, spongy, and easy to cut. Otherwise, it will be trouble for you to cut the mat according to your aquarium size. If that happens, the whole aesthetic will be ruined.

Can I Use Any Alternative to Aquarium Mat?

Yoga mats or Styrofoam are good alternatives to aquarium mats.

All an aquarium mat do is make a place where the fish tank can sit leveled and stay there steadily. For that, you just need a surface that is spongy and cushiony. Yoga mats and Styrofoam provide you with the same thing.

Of course, you are not going to get it waterproof. Which is one of the most important features of a traditional aquarium mat. But it will do the work.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can I put an aquarium mat under a rimmed aquarium?

Yes, you can do that for extra support. But if you don’t there will not be any problem.

Should I buy a rimless aquarium?

It’s completely up to your preference. But it is true rimless aquariums look absolutely gorgeous.

How aquarium mat supports the aquarium?

By leveling and smoothing the surface on which the aquarium sits.

Do fish tanks need support from the mat?

It’s better if there is some extra support. Because most of the aquarium is heavy.

Are DIY mats good for an aquarium?

Yes, any non-slippery and rubbery surface can be used as an aquarium mat which helps it to stabilize. And you can do it yourself. 


An aquarium is not only precious to your soul but also costs quite a lot of money and hard work. After decorating and maintaining everything, you do not want it to crack. That is why every aquarist should rely on aquarium mats.

You do not have to use something so expensive and high-end. You can make your own aquarium mat with cheap materials like a camping mat, yoga mat, Styrofoam, etc. No matter what you use as an aquarium mat, but do use it.

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Arif H Fahim

Welcome to PetFishTank! My name is Arif. I make an effort to publish educational articles using my many years of expertise as a fish owner.

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