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DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece

DIY Small Fish Tank Aquarium Centerpiece

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece

Do you want to craft the most amazing centerpiece that will have your guests bewildered before dinner? Learn how to make this awesome DIY project in a little less than an hour. You can find everything you need for pretty cheap, too!  If you're tired of hosting boring dinner parties, liven up the mood with your aquatic terrarium of wonder. Read more to learn how it's made!

Aquatic Table Centerpiece

For an organically modern design that will have your guests mesmerized, create this Aquatic Table Centerpiece.  The natural riverbed textures, drifting marimo balls, and tranquil fish, give this marine vase an unforgettable allure.

DIY Projects How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece


  •  Large glass vase.  If you’re on a budget, you can search Goodwill (they have shelves and shelves of vases!)  I found that Goodwill vases didn’t quite have the modern edges that I was looking for, so I ended up selecting a great vase from Michael’s Crafts.  Don’t forget to bring your Michael’s smartphone app for 40-50%.
  • Smooth decorative stones from the Dollar Tree.  They had both light and dark options, and I opted for the darker color.  They are only $1 per bag, and 3 ended up being just perfect!
  •  Time to hit your local Petsmart!  The rest of your supplies will come from the pet store.  Let’s start with aquarium gravel.  Get a small bag that most closely matches the color of your Dollar Store rocks.
  • Aquatic plants – find ones that fit your style!  There are some that are frilly, some that are sleek, some that are scruffy, some that are – you get the picture.  I’d recommend getting about 3 plants and varying the height a bit.
  •  (Optional) If your Aquatic Vase is going to be getting some great natural sunlight, your plants will thrive without any special supplements.  But if the vase will be in the center of the room without access to direct light, I’d recommend the CO2 Booster plant supplement.  It will help give your plants that extra supplemental “boost” to keep them green and leafy.
  • Marimo balls. Petsmart usually carries them over next to the bettas, and they are about $8 each.  That seems expensive for a wad of moss, but they add so much to the charm of your Aquatic Vase, and they are so cute drifting around on the bottom!
  • Betta food.  Cheap and simple.
  • Betta Bowl Plus water purifying drops (any brand will do).  This is really important, otherwise your betta will likely die when put into regular tap water in the vase.  These drops will purify the tap water to make it fish safe.
  • Fish net.  They are just a couple of dollars, and very handy for skimming drifting pieces of plant from the top of the water, as well as catching the fish for water changes.
  • Lastly (so he doesn’t get sloshed around in the cart too much!), the most fun element on your petstore list – the betta!  There are usually many many options to choose from, so pick your favorite little fish and head to the checkout.

Step 1

Create a layer of rocks, one rock deep, that covers the bottom of the vase and comes up the sides slightly.  We are creating a bowl shape with the rocks, in preparation for step 2.

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece


Step 2

Fill the center of the “rock bowl” with aquarium gravel.  The aquatic plants need gravel to sink their roots into, but we want to hide the gravel inside of the rocks (so don’t pour the gravel against the glass – keep it in the center for the best result).

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece

Step 3

Cut open the bottom of the plant containers and gently pull the plants out.

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece

Step 4

The roots are generally packed in gel, so wash away the gel from the roots.

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece

Step 5

Nestle the roots of each plant into the gravel, spacing them out as desired.

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece

Step 6

The plants will be floppy without water, but try to get the roots facing straight downward into the gravel.

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece

Step 7

Fill the vase with room temperature tap water.

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece

Step 8

Use the fish net to skim off any little loose leaves or particles that drift to the top after water filling.

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece

Step 9

Drop the marimo balls into whichever area of the vase you would like them to sit in.

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece

Step 10

Read the directions on your water purifying drops and put the appropriate amount into the water.  Most brands advertise immediate results.

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece

Step 11 (Optional)

If you are going to use the CO2 Booster for your plants, follow the bottle directions for those as well, and pour into the water.

Step 12

You are almost ready to introduce the betta to its new habitat.  Just make sure that you let the vase water reach room temperature.

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece

Step 13

Gently pour your betta into the vase and you’re done!  Enjoy your tranquil, natural decor.

DIY Projects | How To Make An Aquatic Table Centerpiece
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  1. Very pretty, but terribly cruel. Please do not place any living creature in a tiny glass like this, without a filter or heater. Contrary to popular belief, it is truly cruel to place bettas in anything under 3 gallons.

    • Many people don’t know but Bettas live in puddles out in the wild. Too big of a tank will actually scare them. They love confind spaces. Bettas are the few fish that can live in small containers and usually need to live alone as they tend to kill most other fish. Never put two Bettas together. Beautiful project.

  2. I love the idea of this centerpiece! My grandkids have a couple of betas in small fish bowls, and the water needs to be changed almost every other day. What kind of maintenance does this require, and how would you clean it?

  3. Yes, it’s cruel to have a betta live in anything under 5 gallons, including all those betta bowls that petsmart sells.
    Those emersed petco plants need filtration or an air pump or they will die, but that’s ok, because they will die after a couple of months anyways submerged in water. The Marimino ball will be ok.
    Plants need soil, if using just gravel at the very least give them some root fertilizer tabs. Reputable aquarium stores don’t sell those emersed plants and they will also sell aquarium soil.
    Yes, plants need Co2, but they also need light to live. Regular ambiant room light is not enough, and light from the window is asking for algae.
    Speaking of algae, you can’t use glass scrapers on tiny round bowls.
    Betta safe is not needed unless you have bad water. Always test your water.
    If you live in a cold area, you need an aquarium heater for tropical fish.
    Without filtration and plants, a betta’s water should be changed at least 50%-75% daily.


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