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What to Put Under Fish Tank?

If you own a fish tank, you need the proper set-up to ensure that the tank is level and protected. Apart from the stand on which it sits, other aquarium accessories are required. This begs the question, ‘what should I put under my fish tank?’

A padded aquarium mat is put under a fish tank to help keep it level and to protect the surface of the stand. It provides your aquarium with a stable, comfortable foundation on which to rest. While it may not look like much, this extra add-on is an essential piece of equipment for most aquarium hobbyists.

Now that you know you should put padding under your fish tank, let’s take a closer look at this topic in more detail. As we move through this article, I’ll explain how to properly place padding under your aquarium, where to purchase this padding and which one is the ‘best.’

So, if you’re ready to learn more about the advantages and (sometimes) disadvantages of fish tank padding, then let’s get started!

What is the Best Thing to Put Under a Fish Tank?

The best thing to put under a fish tank is a padded aquarium mat. It helps prevent to protect the aquarium stand while keeping your tank balanced. These work especially well for larger tanks, although 10- to 15-gallon aquariums can also benefit from this supplemental piece.

Though you can make your own under-fish-tank pad, it’s better to invest in one specifically designed for this purpose. DIY versions can move, crumble, and even damage your stand. Go to your local fish store and inquire about purchasing or ordering one. If all else fails, you can find them online through Amazon.

What Can I Put Under My Fish Tank to Protect the Wood?

To protect the wood finish of your aquarium stand, there are a few things you can do. First, begin by finishing the wood with a varnish or stain. Once dried, place an aquarium mat between the stand and the tank. If you have a smaller tank, you can cut the mat to size beforehand.

If you don’t have a prefabricated aquarium mat, you can try placing a yoga mat under your aquarium. Or you could use some thinly cut Styrofoam. Keep in mind, however, that Styrofoam can crumble under weight so you should it duct tape first. A rigid piece of house insulation would work better, nonetheless.

Why Do You Put Foam Under a Fish Tank?

Styrofoam can be placed under a fish tank to help keep it level and/or to protect the stand’s surface. By evenly distributing the weight, your aquarium is less likely to leak or break. An unbalanced aquarium is dangerous, not only for its inhabitants but for you as well.

Being a spongy material, Styrofoam may not be the best thing to put underneath your fish tank. If your aquarium stand has gaps in it, the Styrofoam will eventually get compressed into those gaps. This could result in uneven pressure near the base, which could damage your floor or cause your tank to tip over!

Do I Need to Put Polystyrene Under My Fish Tank?

You should put polystyrene under your fish tank, especially if it’s a larger aquarium and you want to keep it stable. If your tank has just a glass bottom, you should definitely consider putting some sort of protective padding down between it and the stand.

Some of the newer tanks, however, have a plastic edging around the bottom which acts a build-in protector and leveler. This edging also helps preserve the surface of your aquarium stand, whether it be wood or metal. Water damage can result in either a warped wooden stand or a corroded metal stand.

Be careful, however, as sometimes a mat will come with a new tank and beginner hobbyists have been known to throw it away thinking it’s part of the packaging! If you see a thin, black piece of material the same size as your aquarium, hang on to it!

Do You Need a Mat Underneath Your Aquarium?

You don’t always need a mat under your aquarium, although it’s recommended for bigger tanks. If your tank has a plastic base and is balanced atop a strong stand then no, you can skip the mat. A rimless or glass-bottom tank absolutely should have a mat underneath it.

As it’s always better to err on the side of caution, investing in an under-fish-tank mat is a good idea. Even if you have a tank with plastic edging along the bottom, a mat will provide extra stability for the aquarium and extra protection for the stand. It’s a win-win situation!

What is the Best Mat to Use Under Your Aquarium?

Finding an aquarium mat in your local pet shop may not be that easy. Unlike Europe, where they’re readily available, most stores in North America only carry a few brands for smaller tanks, if any at all! Your best bet is to go online and order one through Amazon.

I recommend the this Placement Mat for Rimless Aquariums, available online through Amazon.

It offers support strength as well as leveling for uneven surfaces. Reasonably priced with the convenience of being shipped right to your front door, why not check it out today?

Do I Need a Mat Under My Aquarium?

As a fish keeper, you don’t always need a mat under your tank, though it’s often recommended by aquarium hobbyists. If your stand is made of wood and it’s not finished with varnish or stain, then you should put a mat down to protect it from warping.

On the flip side, if you have a metal stand and you want to prevent it from corroding, then you should also place a mat down first. You can buy a prefabricated aquarium mat or make your own out of a camping mat. Simply cut it size and voila, you’re done!

Under any circumstance whereby the tank is unbalanced, always put a mat underneath it to keep it sturdy, level and to prevent it from leaking or cracking. Large tanks should almost always have an aquarium mat, especially if they’re the older, glass-bottom units.


To conclude, a padded aquarium mat is often placed underneath an aquarium to keep it balanced and to protect both the stand on which its sits and the floor beneath it. While not necessary for smaller tanks with built-in plastic bottoms, this accessory is a fundamental piece of equipment for most fish keepers.

I hope this article has provided you with the information you seek. Thanks for reading and good luck with your aquarium hobby!

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