How would you like to swim with the fishes? No, I don’t mean in the “killed by the mafia” sense of the phrase — I mean literally swim alongside fish. Some squeamish folk may not be keen on the idea, but others adore the idea of a natural, beautiful aquascape that is both an art piece and a swimming pool. But is such a thing even possible?
The short answer: Yes.
The long answer is a bit more complicated. Yes, you can have a swimming pool-aquarium hybrid, but only if you specifically build your aquascape with that in mind.
1. Is This Guy Serious?
Yes, I’m totally serious. In fact, pool-aquarium hybrids have become more popular in the last several years. Often called “natural swimming pools,” these aquascapes combine the serene beauty of ponds with the functionality of swimming pools. While some might cringe at the idea of fish brushing against their swimming trunks, other nature-loving enthusiasts would jump (or cannonball) at the chance to get back to Mother Nature.
2. Chlorine and Water Quality
People dump chlorine into swimming pools because it keeps the water nice and clean. The chlorine kills aquatic organisms while leaving humans unharmed. As you might imagine, a pool-aquarium hybrid can’t have any chlorine in it whatsoever. As a result, you’ll have to pay attention to the water quality to make sure that your aquascape can support the creatures in your pool.
Yes, you might run into algae from time to time. That might not necessarily be a bad thing — some nature-loving individuals adore swimming in bodies of water that aren’t so sterile.
3. Fish Stress
Imagine that you’re sitting in your home, and suddenly a gigantic brown bear bursts in through your front door and starts roaming around your house. That’s kind of what fish experience every time you dive into their home. If you plan on building a pool-aquarium hybrid, it’s important that you select inhabitants that can handle the stress of frequent human company.
Selecting compatible fish is just as important for you as it is for your fish. You don’t want to add any aggressive or poisonous breeds that could harm you while you’re swimming laps.
4. Showcasing Your Aquascape
Aquariums and swimming pools usually have different viewing angles. Aquariums are usually viewed from the side, while swimming pools are viewed from the top. That makes it a little bit more difficult to appreciate the aquatic beauty of your aquascape. If you dig out an enormous hole in your backyard and fill it with water, it would be nearly impossible to view the aquascape from the side.
There are a few workarounds, though. Building the pool close to your house means that you could set up a viewing panel in your basement. You could also build the pool into a hill and install a viewing panel along one of the sides of the hill.
Both of those options are a bit complicated, though. Personally, I would recommend that you create an aquascape that emphasizes crystal clear water. Some ponds and lakes can be rather murky, but with the right planning you can have a backyard aquascape with beautifully transparent water. That way, you can look down into your water and see all of your fish, frogs, and aquatic plants as they go about their daily lives.
So, which category do you fall in? Are you the type of person who looks at natural swimming pool and thinks, “Wow, that’s awesome!” Or are you uncomfortable with the idea of having fish and aquatic weeds touching you while you swim?