How to Keep Your Aquarium Spotless with Aquatic Janitors

As much as I love pets, taking care of them can be a real pain sometimes. You’ve got to feed them, wash them, walk them, clean up after them, and sweep up giant clumps of hair that collect in the corners of the room. It would be so much easier to keep pets if they spent less time making your house messy and spent more time making your living space spotless. How great would it be if cats liked to do dishes instead of nap all day? Who wouldn’t want to keep a dog that vacuums your carpets?

It’s not as far-fetched as it might sound. Some aquarium species spend every second of their waking day scrubbing your beautiful custom aquarium to make it absolutely spotless. Algae eaters, snails, shrimps, and other aquatic janitors will gladly gobble up algae. They get a nice meal and you get an unobstructed view of your aquascape.

Check out this before and after sequence — the driftwood starts off coated with a thin layer of algae. Once the neritina zebra snail and the amano shrimp are done with it, you can’t even tell that there was any algae on the wood to begin with.

Before and After Algae Eaters

Image source: Bubblesaquarium.com

One of the nice things about employing aquatic janitors is that there are so many aesthetic options available. You can select the right species that won’t distract from the overall aesthetic of your aquascape.

Siamese Algae Eaters

Often abbreviated as SAE, this fish is a favorite among aquascapers for its unending appetite and quirky eating habits. The SAE’s mouth is shaped kind of like a vacuum, which allows it to skim across the bottom of an aquascape and suck up icky algae. SAEs are a good choice if you want to add a bit of activity to your aquascape. They’re also a dull brown color, which means that they won’t distract from other fish and aquascaping features that are supposed to stand out.

Siamese Algae Eater

Image source: Uvm.edu

One of the problems with SAEs is that they won’t dig very deep into your substrate. Some might dig under the gravel to get at the tasty morsels below, and some SAE get lazy and just wait for the daily dose of fish food.

Snails

Snails are an excellent choice because they’re so visually dull. I realize that dullness doesn’t really sound like an advantage, but keep in mind that most aquascapers want beautifully colorful fish like beta fish or discus fish to stand out in an aquarium. Snails, with their dull shells and barely noticeable movements, will be overlooked in favor of more brightly colored creatures. Snails will also dig under the substrate to give your aquascape a nice, deep cleaning.

Neritina Zebra Snails

Image source: Nanofish.com.ua

The only catch with snails is that some species have a tendency to cruise across the aquarium glass, which can ruin your view.

Shrimp

Amano shrimp are named after Takashi Amano, a freshwater aquascaper who revitalized aquascaping in Japan. Amano loved these shrimp because they clean up algae without distracting from the overall aesthetic of the aquarium. They’re almost completely transparent, save for black eyes and a few brown splotches on their body. Amano shrimp are like a ghost cleaning crew, invisibly scrubbing the rocks and plants in your aquascape.

If you’re thinking about getting a custom freshwater aquascape, then I highly recommend considering one of these options. They’ll work hard to keep your aquarium clean, they’re dirt-cheap, and they will gladly step back and let more colorful fish stand in the spotlight! And if none of these creatures float your boat, you can always take a more hands-on approach and get cleaning equipment that can help you get the job done.

Fresh or Salt Water? Choosing the Right Tank for You

Paper or plastic? Half empty or half full? Fresh or salt water aquarium? That is one of the classic questions, a dilemma that has plagued mankind ever since a guy first put a fish into a big clear bowl. Not only is this the first question that a prospective aquarium owner will have to make, but it is also the most important. One thing that you’ll soon learn is that salt water tanks aren’t for everyone, and vice-versa.

FOR BEGINNERS

Before we get too far into it, let me just start off by telling you that if you have never owned an aquarium before, you should probably start with fresh water. However, if you’re the type of person who really likes to commit to a hobby and spend a bunch of time and money on your passion, then salt water tanks might be right up your alley.

COST

Just about 90% of the difference between salt and fresh water boils down to the cost. Salt water tanks will be dramatically more expensive to maintain than their fresh water counterparts. If you’re getting a salt water tank, you can expect more expensive gear, pricier fish, and a higher maintenance cost. If you just happen to be a millionaire, though, and you want to install an elegant and stylish grand aquarium into your mansion, then salt water is the way to go.

Salt Water Fish from Finding Nemo

Image: fish-lighting.com

MAINTENANCE

Salt water tanks will require quite a bit more time and patience to regulate than fresh water tanks. Salt water tanks are affected very easily by pH imbalances, so it is crucial that you carefully monitor your salt water tank regularly. On top of that, the ecosystems of salt water tanks have a really tough time recovering from these imbalances. A fresh water tank can swing right back if you make a mistake, but a mistake on your salt water tank might have you hitting up the fish store to buy some replacements, so buyer beware.

Otocinclus Affinis Algae Eater

Image: tropical-fish-pictures.blogspot.com

ALL THE PRETTY COLORS

So, salt water tanks are super expensive. Why bother with them at all? One very simple reason: they look better. That’s all a matter of subjective taste, of course, but by and large most people prefer to look at salt water tanks rather than fresh water ones. The fish are brighter and more colorful, and there is a much wider variety of organisms. Coral, crabs, shrimp, snails, and frilly fish will add vibrant splashes of color to your tank. Don’t get me wrong — fresh water fish are still pretty, just not as pretty.

Blue and Orange Discus Fish

Image: aquatic2000.com

ADDING IT ALL UP

If you want to have a tank that just sits there and looks pretty, a bit like having a painting on your wall, then you should go with a fresh water aquarium. If you’re the type of person who would prefer to paint a picture from scratch, or work on a car engine, then salt water aquariums would probably be a good match. It’s like pretty much any hobby out there: the more money and time you spend on a craft, the better it will look in the end.

Origami Money Fish

Image: fliesonly.blogspot.com

The 3 Best Ways to Creative an Active, High-Energy Aquarium!

One of the most appealing things about aquariums is that they’re so beautifully tranquil. All you have to do is look at an aquarium for a few minutes and the stress will melt right out of you.

Of course, what’s calming and peaceful for some is boring for others. Some people enjoy stress — they feel energized by quick movements and daring art. If that sounds like you, then a high-activity aquarium might be right up your alley. Adding quick movements to your aquarium requires a bit of finesse, but these are the three best ways to create an exciting, action-filled aquascape!

Active Fish

Some fish are couch potatoes — or perhaps I should call them gravel potatoes instead. They like to lounge around at the bottom of the aquarium without a care in the world. Other fish like to fancy themselves as the Michael Phelps of the aquascaping world. They dart around your aquariums like they’re in a race with an unseen opponent, weaving in between rocks and plants so quickly that they’re almost hard to follow.

Filling your aquarium with active fish is the easiest way to add some excitement to your aquascape. Fish like rainbow fish and danios are rarely ever still. Take a look for yourself — these piranha and danios dash around the tank like a group of hyperactive children.

Currents and Loose Plants or Coral

The ocean is full of movement. It’s got currents, waves, and tides pulling the oceans of the world in a hundred different directions. It’s hard to capture those forms of movement in an aquascape because a 20 gallon aquarium isn’t going to have storm-tossed waves or lunar tides. What you can do, though, is create false currents with your water pumps. All you have to do is position your pump so that it casts a stream through the center of your aquarium.

The only problem with this setup is that the current will essentially be invisible. You’ll be able to notice it when fish swim through it, but for the most part it will be too subtle to detect. That’s why you have to pair it with loose, flowing wildlife like certain species of coral or freshwater plants. These organisms will flow and undulate in the ever-present current. Just be sure that your plants and coral can withstand the full blast of the water pump; you don’t want the current to be so direct that it pushes away sediment and uproots features of your aquascape.

Bubbles

Fish usually swim along a horizontal plane and plants sway left and right. Bubbles, on the other hand, can add some interesting vertical movement to your aquascape. All you have to do is hide a few air pumps beneath the gravel or behind a rock formation and you can have a constant stream of jittery bubbles rising to the surface. Saltwater enthusiasts will have to rely on a pump, but a properly maintained freshwater tank with lots of plantlife will create bubbles spontaneously. Extremely verdant freshwater tanks will even begin to resemble sparkling water.

Aquarium Plants with Bubbles

Image source: Freshwater-aquarium-passion.blogspot.com/

Combine all three of these elements together, and you’ll have an aquascape that’s absolutely teeming with activity. Don’t get stuck thinking that aquascapes have to be languid — your aquarium can be as active as you are!

Building a Snake Aquarium: Not for the Faint of Heart

It’s kind of funny how people react to animals. People everywhere absolutely adore fish. If you have a beautiful custom aquarium then you can impress pretty much anybody on Earth. If you replace those fish with snakes and reptiles, then suddenly you’re going to provoke an entirely different reaction. Unlike fish, snakes are universally feared across all cultures.

A lot of people are scared off by snakes, but some people like adding an element of danger and suspense to a living space. Today we’re going to talk about these fearsome ophidians and how to incorporate a bit of danger into your aquarium or paludarium.

Picking the Right Snake

The most important step with owning a snake is selecting the right species. Some species of snakes spend their entire lives in water, while others have to rest on land in order to survive. My recommendation is that you go with a land-based snake that hunts in the water. If you want a snake that spends all of its time in the water, then you’re probably better off going with an eel. Eels are generally a bit easier to keep and they have the a similar aesthetic.

Cottonmouth

Image source: Wildflorida.com

The biggest benefit of keeping a land-based snake is that you get the best of both worlds — you’ll be able to admire your serpentine pet as he sleeps on land and you’ll also get to see the snake’s fluid movements as it slithers through the water. Keep in mind that one of the most captivating things about snakes is how they move. Once they get into the water they’re fairly mobile. Adding your snake to a paludarium will showcase your snake’s hypnotic movements as it slithers through the water.

One of the coolest things about aquatic snakes is that they like to rest their bodies on the ground underwater and then poke their heads up so that just their nostrils break the surface of the water. This allows them to breathe air while remaining hidden from predators and unwary prey. Since snakes usually coil up to sleep, this unique pose puts their slender bodies on display for you.

Snake Resting Underwater

Image source: Scorpion-forum.com

And nothing beats watching a snake hunt underwater.

Snake Eating Fish Underwater

Image source: Flyfisherman.com

Building a Snake Tank

Snake tanks have a couple of special requirements. For one, you must make sure that the lid is secured. Keeping fish is fairly easy because you don’t have to worry about them pushing off the lid and leaping onto your living room carpet. Snakes, on the other hand, can and will pop the lid of your aquarium and go on an exciting adventure through your home.

Also, many species of snakes need heat lamps in order to stay healthy. That naturally limits the number of options that you have available for the rest of your aquascape. I recommend that you go with a tropical-themed paludarium. Tropical plants will flourish under the hot, humid conditions. Also, it will give the paludarium a jungle vibe that will make the aquascape feel more dangerous and exotic.

Snake tanks aren’t for everyone, but if you’re one of the brave few who’s willing to invite one of these fearsome predators into your home then you will be able to create an absolutely unforgettable aquascape!

Taking the Plunge: How to Get Started in the Aquarium Hobby

As much as I love aquascaping, it suffers from one major drawback: it’s kind of hard for newcomers to break into the hobby. To be honest, I think that’s the main reason why more people don’t own aquariums.

I definitely understand why newcomers might be intimidated. Setting up an aquarium for the first time can be expensive and keeping an aquatic ecosystem healthy is more complicated than keeping other pets.

Don’t let any of that scare you off. To be honest, these two factors aren’t nearly as bad you might think. If you want to get your feet wet in the aquarium hobby but you’re concerned about the price tag and the learning curve, then we have a clever solution that will allow you to take the plunge into one of the most rewarding hobbies out there!

Nano Saltwater Aquarium

Image source: 3reef.com

Newcomers might want to take baby steps as they venture deeper and deeper into the aquarium hobby. The easiest way to do that is to experiment with nano aquariums. These miniature aquariums are cheap (you can easily set one up for less than $100 if the aquarium is small enough), and you won’t have to worry too much about accidentally ruining your aquatic ecosystem.

Curvball of Nanoreefblog explains it best: “The all in one nano reef aquariums available to consumers today really do provide a great stepping stone into the hobby in an affordable way. I say stepping stone as many of these small aquarium setups will need some modifications as the hobbyist gains experience and wants to make a better aquarium for the animals he/she is keeping.

“In terms of creating a great aquarium without breaking the bank, it’s completely doable – researching the right equipment and purchasing the best gear up front will save a lot of money down the line.”

Nano Aquarium

Image source: Reefbuilders.com

Think of nano aquariums as training wheels for the hobby. They’ll give you an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of aquascaping, and you won’t waste a lot of money if you make a beginner mistake.

Nano aquariums also act as a rough draft for larger aquariums. Not only do they give you a chance to learn the ropes, but they also allow you to experiment with aquascaping styles to figure out the aesthetic that fits your personality. Can’t decide between a saltwater and freshwater aquascape? Create two nano aquariums to experiment with the different styles before investing in a larger aquarium.

Once you’ve graduated from a nano aquarium to a larger aquascape, there are a number of different uses for your leftover nano aquascapes. Probably the easiest solution is to use the aquascapes as small art pieces. If you’ve got a large aquascape in your home, you can leave the nano aquarium on your office desk to promote a more relaxing work environment.

Nano Aquarium

Image source: Nano-aquarium.info

You could also use the nano aquarium as a testing ground for your next aquascape idea. Add the inhabitants of your nano aquarium to your larger aquarium, and suddenly you’ve got a blank slate for a new project.

And don’t forget about gifts! Giving away a nano aquarium is an excellent way to share your hobby with your friends and family. Nano aquariums are fairly inexpensive and they don’t require a lot of responsibility — it’s pretty much the same thing as giving a person a potted plant. Ideally, the gift will encourage your friend to become a diehard aquascaper and you’ll have a new partner in crime as you explore the beautiful world of aquascaping!

How can NeverWet Change the Aquarium Hobby?

There have been a couple of viral videos floating around the Internetshowcasing the mind-boggling effects of hydrophobic chemicals. If you haven’t seen them before, I’ll let you take a look for yourself:

The best way to help you understand this bizarre chemical is to break down the name. Hydro means water, and phobic means fear of. So, a hydrophobic chemical hates and avoids water. Oil, for example, is hydrophobic and won’t dissolve in water.

In contrast, most of the materials that you’re familiar with in everyday life are hydrophilic (philia means love). That means that they’re attracted to water molecules or the material is dissolved by water. That’s why it looks so freaking weird when we see water pour across hydrophobic surfaces — it’s so uncommon in nature because we aren’t used to seeing water act like that.

NeverWet and other hydrophobic brand chemicals could have a truly unique impact on the aquarium hobby, especially since hydrophobic materials won’t dissolve in water by their very nature. From a purely mechanical perspective, coating your aquarium’s gadgets in hydrophobic coating could help them survive daily wear and tear or make cleanup much easier. You could use the chemical to protect your LED lights from harmful saltwater splashes, you could treat the inside rim of the aquarium so that beads of moisture don’t form right above the surface of the water, and you could coat your protein skimmer to make cleanup a breeze.

Hydrophobic Coating on iPhone

Image source: Wired.co.uk

One of the coolest things about hydrophobic chemicals is that they can completely waterproof your electrical products. The researchers in the video completely immerse an iPhone without any trouble whatsoever. Do you want to create an aquascape with an underwater iPad? I’m not really sure why you’d want to, but with NeverWet at least you have the option! It makes me think back to that aquarium that was shaped like an aquatic dollhouse. That aquascaper could convert an iPod into a miniature underwater TV to complete the dollhouse feel.

Personally, I think the best way to use NeverWet is to play with falling water. We’re used to seeing water fall in a certain way because we see it almost every day — in the shower, when we brush our teeth, when we cook, etc. Water rolling across a hydrophobic surface looks bizarre and alien because it goes against our expectations. You could create a truly captivating waterfall or fountain that draws attention to these beads of water.

Hydrophobic Solution on Clothes

Image source: Launchgram.com

For example, let’s suppose that you create a paludarium-aquarium hybrid. You could have a small waterfall trickle across the paludarium plantscape before spilling over into the aquarium. Covering the surface of the waterfall with a hydrophobic coating will fundamentally change the aesthetic, making it look alien and bizarre.

It will be interesting to see how hydrophobic chemicals impact the aquascaping hobby as aquascapers toy with clever uses for the chemical. Will hydrophobic pumps and filters become a common feature in modern aquariums? Will aquascapers experiment with beading waterfalls and seemingly magic pools of water that avoid spreading out?

Top 10 Most Beautiful Freshwater Aquariums of 2012 — Hungarian Edition!

Earlier this week, we took a look at the most beautiful aquariums from Japan’s International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest. The IAPLC accepted entries from all countries, but Japanese entreats accounted for about half of the total number of submissions. We don’t want to be too Asia-centric with our recent features on Wabi-Kusa displays and shishi-odoshis, so we’re going to even things about a bit with my top 10 picks from the 2012 Hungarian Aquascaping Contest.

#10

Freshwater Aquarium by David Zoltan

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

I love the balance between the heavily planted half of the aquarium and the open half. The simplicity of the right side of the aquarium gives my eyes a chance to rest after the natural chaos to the left.

#9

Hungarian Aquascaping Contest Aquarium

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

This aquarium does a spectacular job balancing the warm reds against the cool greens. The bright red-blue fish provide a striking contrast with this aquarium’s intermingling colors.

#8

Hungarian Aquascaping Contest

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

This aquarium perfectly captures nature’s chaos. Beautiful!

#7

Hungarian Aquascape by Naggy Nikolett

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

The rocks in the lower right portion of the aquarium remind me of weather-worn wood, like the type that you would find at a pier. That combined with the white sand makes this aquascape resemble a beach cliff with overgrown tropical plants.

#6

Cliff Aquarium Aquascape

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

Most aquascapes start with a flat bottom and then draw the eye upward with plants and rocks. It’s extremely rare to find an aquarium that starts high and brings the eye downward with canyon-like crevices.

#5

Hungarian Miniature Aquarium

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

This aquarium may be small (you can tell it’s tiny by looking at the shrimp), but it still packs a visual impact. The tree is practically coated with miniscule bubbles. I would love to see this aquascape after the carpet plants grow out a little bit more and cover the dark sand.

#4

Hungarian Freshwater Aquascape

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

If the other aquascapes are underwater forests, then this one is an underwater jungle. If only it had a lionfish and a tiger shark to complete the image.

#3

Hungarian Aquascaping Contest Winner

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

This aquarium took first place in the Hungarian Aquascaping Contest, and for good reason. The diverse plant life cleverly explores the length, height, and depth of this aquascape.

#2

Freshwater Aquascape

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

The thin plants, bright sand, and tiny plants give this aquascape a lighthearted feel. It isn’t quite as visually overwhelming as some of the more complex aquascapes.

#1

Bright Freshwater Aquascape from the HAC

Image source: Hac-aquascaping-contest.com

This luminous aquascape is practically overflowing with light. The bright, leafy plants and floating islands of plant life draw the eye upward towards the sunlight.

Playing with Light and Shadow in a Silhouette Aquarium

One of the most difficult things to tinker with in an aquarium is light and shadow. The reason is quite simple: many of the organisms in your aquarium require light to survive, so prioritizing aesthetic over light requirements could leave your coral and plants near death.

But don’t fret: just because it’s difficult to play with light in aquariums, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Silhouettes are one of the most effective ways to toy with light in your aquascape. The beauty with silhouette aquariums is that you don’t fiddle with the light at all. Rather, you simply change the viewer’s perspective so that the light illuminates the back of an object.

Here’s a good example:

Aquarium Silhouetted Against a Window

Image source: Cahkeb.com

Silhouette aquariums are fairly rare. After all, many people want to make out all of the colorful details of the fish and coral. Silhouetted aquascapes reduce an aquarium to two colors: black, and whatever the natural hue of the water is.

Though, some people don’t see that as that as a disadvantage. A dichromatic aquascape can be quite beautiful in its simplicity. You can even use this to your advantage if your aquarium features fish that aren’t very colorful. The shadows will make the dull colors a nonissue while emphasizing the outline and frilly fins of the fish. Pair these with visually complex organisms like leafy plants or beautiful coral to create a truly unique aquascape.

The other benefit of this type of aquarium is that you can have one aquascape act as two completely distinct art pieces. Viewing the aquascape from the bright side will allow you to appreciate all of the vivid colors, while viewing the aquascape from the shadowed side will allow you appreciate the beautiful fins and flowing leaves of the aquatic denizens. You can use this to create a contrast between night and day, color and shape.

Silhouetted Aquarium

Image source: Planted-aquarium.de

The only catch with a silhouette aquarium is that you can’t have coral or plants on the shadowy side of the aquarium. These organisms simply won’t get enough life-sustaining light to stay healthy. Past that, you’re left with a wide array of design options. Fish-only aquariums lend themselves naturally to silhouetted aquascapes because fish don’t have the same light requirementsas plants and coral. Throw in a bunch of rocks and driftwood to create complex shapes that hint at a mysterious, intriguing world beyond the shadowy veil.

It’s entirely up to you how you toy with light and shadow in your custom aquascape. Personally, I would love to create an Asian-inspired aquarium that emphasizes simplicity and negative space. The dichromatic aquascape would allude to Japanese artwork, which often only features just two or three colors.

Let Your Fish Break Out of Aqua-Prison with a Custom Fish Highway

Being a pet is great. They don’t have to worry about being eaten by wild animals, they are lovingly cared for by their owners, and they never have to go hungry. That’s the type of life that most animals in the wild could only dream of.

The only catch is that they have to give up part of their freedom. They lose the ability to swim through the endless depths of the ocean or explore bubbling brooks. Is it all worth it? Probably. If you gave most creatures the choice of living in a small house or risk getting eaten by sharks every single day, I think a lot of critters would probably opt for the small house.

Two Tanks Connected via Fish Highway

Image source: Aquatic-eden.com

One devoted aquarist has attempted to give his gilled pets a little bit of extra freedom by building a fish highway. He’s got two individual aquariums with a water-filled tube stretching between them. You ever see that cartoon show Futurama that has people and aliens zipping around in suction-powered tubes? Yeah, it’s kind of like that, except that the ride is a bit more leisurely.

It’s really a mutually beneficial arrangement. Fish get to have a little bit more freedom, and the aquarist gets to have a much more dynamic viewing experience. I mean, depending on how close the fish are to the owner, you could have the fish following the aquarist around from room to room, kind of like a doting pooch who’s thrilled that his master has come back from work.

Fish Swimming up the Fish Highway Tube

Image source: Aquatic-eden.com

The one downside of such an unorthodox aquarium is that maintenance can be a little bit tricky. The owner of this aquarium has to use special cleaning magnets to scrub the algae off of the tubes — after all, he can’t exactly open them up and scrub the sides with a brush, otherwise he’d end up flooding the room. The other difficulty lies with maintaining enough water in each of the tanks. The aquarium owner explains, “The highway tube is completely sealed except for the openings at each end which are submerged below the tank water levels. Like a large drinking straw, when the air is sucked out of the tube the water rises inside it and will stay there unless you let the air back in.”

Aquarium with Fish Highway Tube

Image source: Aquatic-eden.com

With a bit of ingenuity, the owner of this aquarium has managed to overcome most of these hurdles. For example, listen to how he maintains a water flow through the tubes: “Water is pumped through a separate pipe from one tank to the other using a small pump. As the tank water levels change (one rises and the other falls) flow is induced through the highway by the force of gravity.” Pretty clever, eh?

Theoretically, this type of fish tank could be extended throughout any house, no matter how large. Stretching it through multiple rooms would require intense cleaning maintenance and some impressive feats of engineering, but it’s possible.

Two Fish in the Fish HIghway

Image source: Weburbanist.com

This type of aquarium isn’t for everybody, obviously. It’s less of a “look at that neat thing in the corner of one room” and more of a “I’ve devoted my entire building and thousands of dollars to making my fish happy.” It fits better in a business space than a home, because your fish could swim by and greet potential clients as they wait to be helped. You might even get a few customers in the door just because locals will almost assuredly spread the word about your kooky aquarium. Building a tank like this would be expensive, to be sure, but it’s an investment that might just pay off in the long term — both financially and in keeping people delightfully entertained.

5 Beautiful Examples of Interior Decoration To Complement Your Aquariums

Aquariums are show-stoppers. As soon as you put an aquarium in a living space, every other art piece pales in comparison (well, unless you happen to be the owner of an original Van Gogh). That puts aquarium owners in a tough position. On the one hand, everything else you put into the living space will look boring compared to the aquarium. On the other, you can’t just install an aquarium and call it quits — you’ll also need beautiful furniture to round out the aesthetic. So, how can you strike the balance? How can you showcase your gorgeous aquarium without completely eclipsing all the other features of your room?

The trick lies in visual harmony. Truly skilled interior decorators know how to unite different visual elements under a common theme. Today, we’re going to go over a few examples of how creative interior design in conjunction with an aquarium can truly elevate a living space.

Interior Decoration

Living room aquarium — Image source: Houzz.com

In this room, the aquarium maintains a balance with the television and the green painting on the left wall. Each wall has a visually prominent rectangular showpiece, which creates a sort of symmetry throughout the room.

Living Room Aquarium

Living room aquarium — Image source: Houzz.com

It’s immediately obvious that the aquarium is the room’s centerpiece. What other art objects come close? The wiry vine sculpture to the left of the aquarium? The sculpture on the table beneath it? Not even close! The flashes of blue and yellow stand out next to all the neutral browns, whites, and greys. Despite how much the aquarium dominates the room, it still belongs in the living space because of its shape. The thick wood border is a visual parallel to all of the woody rectangles throughout the room: the floorboards, the table, and the box-shaped furniture.

Living room aquarium

Living room aquarium – Image source: Houzz.com

This room is bright, colorful, and cheerful. The pictures on the right wall exhibit eye-catching orange and yellows, which mirror the electric blue of the aquarium on the opposite wall. This room feels like spring, doesn’t it?

Bar with Aquarium

Bar with Aquarium — Image source: Houzz.com

Whoever designed this room was completely unabashed about emphasizing the aquarium as the star. The bright blue aquascape is the first thing that catches your eye in a room filled with rich browns and white marble. The circular bar also frames the aquarium, making it a centerpiece in a much more literal sense. The bar also serves as the visual bridge between the aquarium and the rest of the room. Your gaze flows from the circular aquarium, to the marble-and-wood bar, to the brown-and-white features of the room.

Aquarium Bookcase

Aquarium Bookcase — Image source: Houzz.com

At first, it might take you a few moments to spot the aquarium nestled between the shelves of this bookcase. The designer of this room took a much more humble approach to aquascaping — fitting, considering the surrounding art pieces. Books have a sort of introverted, unassuming energy. A book never looks very exciting, but you can fully experience its beauty after you take the time to read it cover to cover. This aquarium perfectly fits with that concept. A larger-than-life, flashy aquarium would create a visual imbalance next to such a quaint bookcase.

From the grandiose to the humble, rooms can be built around an aquarium.  It isn’t a matter of jamming all your favorite things into the space, but finding a subtle touch that highlights the aquarium without letting it overwhelm everything else.  How would you decorate your room?  What are your favorite aquarium complements?