Floating Skyscrapers Turn Trash into Treasure

We recently discussed architectural recycling options for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and we have also looked into a few underwater skyscraperdesigns. This next design is a fusion of these two ideas. Designed by Milorad Vidojevic, Jelena Pucarevic, and Milica Pihler, the Lady Landfill Scraper is intended to float around the ocean, collecting garbage to incorporate into its design.

Trash Island Bottoms

The basic design of the structure was inspired by the Eiffel Tower, which is clearly evident in the plan layout. Essentially, it looks like the Eiffel Tower was flipped on its head and then suspended in the ocean. As the tower drifts through the Pacific Ocean, the lower portions of the tower create a sort of net that captures drifting plastic.

Once enough garbage has been collected, the mass of plastic is transported to the center of the structure, where it is processed and recycled to create fuel. According to the designers, this process would provide enough energy to power the entirety of the structure, resulting in a self-sustaining garbage cleaning device.

Trash Islands

The upper levels of the tower support grow zones, where plant life can suck up carbon and provide nests for birds. Additionally, the highest levels would contain the control center and the housing for the human laborers aboard the vessel. This section includes an automatic ballast system that sucks in or expels water to ensure that the vessel remains balanced.

The Lady Landfill Skyscraper is really quite clever. Not only does it do all of its work without requiring external power and resources, but it would start to clean up the Pacific Ocean, a task that would otherwise cost billions of dollars. The LLS would eventually pay itself off by providing a constant source of tradable energy. It cleans, it recycles, it’s self-sufficient, and it provides more living space. It’s really a shame that this design merely received an honorable mention at the 2011 Skyscraper Competition.

“Woosh… Tunk!” Goes the Japanese Shishi-Odoshi

So, you’ve set up a gorgeous backyard pond aquascape only to discover that deer and other animals view the plant life like some sort of all-you-can-eat buffet. Putting up a fence will distract from the beauty of your aquascape, and you can’t exactly patrol your property with a shotgun all day.

The Japanese have solved this problem with the brilliantly simple shishi-odoshi. I’m sure you’ve seen one before – they are those bamboo water fountain things that spill over and make that “tunk” noise every so often. They operate on a very simple principle: by default, the bamboo tube has an unbalanced center of gravity so that the open end is always facing upward. Once it’s filled with water, the center of gravity changes and the shishi-odoshi spills over, kind of like one of those toy drinking birds.

Shishi-Odenshi Bamboo Fountain

Image source: Rakeshravindran.com

Many people just assume that the shishi-odoshi (also called “sozu” and “those Japanese bamboo water thingies”) is some sort of artistic statement, but it’s actually much more practical. It acts like a scarecrow – or a scaredeer, scareboar, or scare-anything. In fact, the name “shishi-odoshi” roughly translates into “scare the deer” in Japanese. That abrupt, periodic “tunk” noise scares off deer and other unwanted garden nibblers.

But the shishi-odoshi has transcended its utilitarian role and has taken on a new identity. Nowadays, you can find shishi-odoshi in gardens even when there’s no real threat of unwanted animals. The device adds soothing background noise. Some might find it annoying, but I could listen to a shishi-odoshi all day.

What I love so much about shishi-odoshi is that they provide an alternative sound to running water. It goes from a steady trickle to a sudden rush of water, followed by the characteristic hollow impact. The periodic sounds create musical rhythm and consistency, all while breaking up the empty silence of a peaceful backyard pond. You can even control how frequently the shishi-odoshi moves — a faster water flow will be more frequent and a slower water flow will be less frequent. Imagine retreating to your backyard zen pond, closing your eyes, and letting the stress of the day melt out of you as you count five shishi-odoshi impacts — one for each minute.

You may want to include a shishi-odoshi as part of your backyard aquascape merely for the sound or for the Asian aesthetic. After all, we all know how delicious Asian fusion cuisine can be, and simplistic Asian-inspired art is all the rage these days. A shishi-odoshi could provide some compelling authenticity to a Japanese-themed aquascape, all while incorporating an interesting audio element.

Keep in mind that you don’t need a garden or a pond in order to benefit from the beauty of a shishi-odoshi. You could place a self-contained shishi-odoshi just about anywhere – even inside of your home.

You could also feature a shishi-odoshi as part of your aquarium. Aquascapers often have fountain water spill over into live aquariums, so why not do the same thing with a calming shishi-odoshi? It will help make your Japanese koi feel right at home.

The Paludarium: Half Aquarium, Half Land, Double the Fun

Are you a glass-half-full type of person? Well, what about a tank-half-full type of person? Would it bum you out to see a half-empty aquarium, or would you be excited by the mix of the aquatic and terrestrial worlds?

Behold the paludarium, an amazing aqua/landscape that lets hobbyists enjoy their favorite species from both biomes. Paludariums allow you to combine fish, land plants, aquatic plants, amphibians, reptiles, and insects all in one flourishing miniature ecosystem.

Paludarium with Flowering Plants

Image source: Paludariums.net

Wait a second. Paludarium, aquarium — I’m noticing a similarity in these words. Both of these “ariums” fall under the larger umbrella category of vivariums. Latin for “place of life,” a vivarium is space that is used to raise plants or animals. Aquariums are vivariums that are devoted to fish and other aquatic creatures, while paludariums (stemming from the Latin word for “swamp”) include a combination of water and land.

Why do I bother mentioning this? Well, mostly because people in the hobby don’t use these words correctly. Some readers might get halfway through the article and think, “Hey, wait a second — that’s not a palu-whatcha-call-it, that’s a vivarium!” That’s because a lot of people refer to paludariums as vivariums, probably because “paludarium” is kind of hard to say. So, I want to clarify that this article is all about paludariums, even though you might know of them by their more colloquial nickname, “vivarium.”

29 Gallon Vivarium

Image source: Dendroboard.com

One of the biggest advantages of paludariums is that they allow you to show off a unique array of wildlife. Not only could you mix and match aquatic-only plants and fish with air-breathing land animals, but paludariums are also the ideal habitats for creatures like frogs, newts, or salamanders.

This allows paludariums to truly capture the swamp aesthetic. Granted, most people would prefer brightly colored coral reefs or lush aquascapes with crystal-clear fresh water, but there’s just something viscerally appealing about the swamp biome. They’re not exactly beautiful in the most traditional sense of the word, but they do have an undeniable allure. They feel more mysterious and feral than their devoted aquarium counterparts. One popular fixture in paludariums is a fog machine, which gives the habitat an otherworldly mystique while keeping the air in the tank comfortably humid.

Foggy Frog Vivarium

Image soruce: Jasonsterrariumcreations.webs.com

Kind of looks like it came out of Jurassic Park, doesn’t it?

That’s probably the coolest thing about paludariums — they replicate an environment that people almost never get to see — well, unless you happen to live near the Florida Everglades. It’s kind of ironic, but coral reefs, one of the most secluded and difficult-to-reach biomes in the world, are so adored for their beauty that they’re replicated everywhere. You see saltwater coral displays in homes, businesses, and huge for-profit tourist aquariums. Paludariums, on the other hand, are so rare that some readers are probably seeing these manmade swampy biomes for the first time.

Close-up of Paludarium Habitat

Image source: Aquaticplantcentral.com

Paludarium, meet Reader. Reader, meet paludarium. Here’s hoping that I can play matchmaker and hook you two up for a lifelong relationship. I know a few of you are thinking that these paludariums look cooler than aquariums. Go ahead — don’t be afraid to admit it. Just because the aquariums are the favorite “arium” the world over, that doesn’t mean that you have to step in line and conform. Embrace your inner swamp hermit! Crawl through mud! Catch wild frogs! Explore the marshland! Wrestle alligators! OK, maybe not that last one, but you get the point. Paludariums have a truly stunning and unique type of beauty, and there is absolutely nothing stopping you from appreciating them from the comfort of your home.

The Quirky Life of a Garden Eel

Most aquariums fall into one of two categories: a lush freshwater aquascape with lots of vibrant green plants, or a tropical saltwater aquarium with beautiful coral and brightly-colored fish. It’s not surprising at all that these two aquascapes are the most popular because they’re so incredibly gorgeous, but some aquascaping fans prefer unorthodox forms of beauty.

Today we’re going to focus on a truly quirky underwater denizen: the garden eel. What makes these little fellas so weird? Take a look-see:

Garden eels are the type of creature that you either love or hate. Their serpentine appearance and odd behavior is enough to give some people the heebie-jeebies. The fact that they hide the lower halves of their bodies almost implies something sinister, like a snake lurking in the grass. Additionally, their vertical movements are just plain weird to horizontally-oriented creatures like you and me.

On the other side of the coin, though, there’s something undeniably endearing about garden eels. The fact that they hide in the sand shows that they’re timid, but they constantly poke their heads out and look around like overly-curious children. Their movements are pensive and adorable, kind of like a curious child who’s just been exposed to a new, slightly scary toy for the first time.

Spotted Garden Eel

Image source: Majikphil.blogspot.com

And on top of all that, garden eels are bizarrely alien. It just doesn’t look like these creatures fit anywhere on planet Earth. They’d be more suited in a science fiction movie or in a Dr. Seuss book. They just look weird.

For a few aquascapers out there, the delightfully weird personality of garden eels is perfect. These funky creatures can help you create a one-of-a-kind aquascape that’s sure to leave a lasting impression on anybody who lays eyes on it.

The thing that I love most about garden eels is that they can act as a replacement for aquatic plants. Saltwater aquariums rarely have plants, relying instead on neon-colored coral (which are actually colonies of animals) to give the scene a more organic feel. Garden eels can also replicate plants in their own special way. They’re “planted” into the soil, they sprout upwards like plant stems, and they poke their heads around like flowers swaying in the breeze.

Garden Eels

Image source: Flickr.com

Their simple lifestyle could be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on how you look at it. These eels excrete a special mucous to cement the walls of their burrows, creating permanent underground homes. These eels won’t be terribly dynamic, so I wouldn’t recommend them if you’re trying to build a high-action aquarium. On the bright side, you’ll always know where to find your tiny eel buddies — they almost never leave their homes.

The other important thing to consider with a garden eel aquarium is that you need to have very deep gravel deposits. You can’t put in half an inch of gravel and expect your eels to live happily ever after. They can need up to a full foot of gravel, which leaves less room for aquascaping up top. Also, they tend to be finicky eaters, which means that they could be a handful if you’re new to aquascaping or if you don’t have a professional aquarium maintenance team.

Don’t let that scare you off. If these funny-looking eels make you smile, then start designing your very own custom garden eel aquascape!

Like Hanging a Picture: Wall-Mounted Aquariums

If you gave somebody the task of spicing up a living space by adding art, I think it’s safe to say that most people would start by adding framed pictures. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if wall art such as posters, pictures, and paintings make up the most common household art in America. It makes sense — framed pictures have a couple of advantages that other art forms can’t match. They occupy giant empty spaces on the wall to make a living space feel less empty, they take up no floor space whatsoever, and they’re easily visible because they’re at eye level.

So, why not capitalize on all of these advantages by installing a wall-mounted aquarium? It might seem a bit strange at first, but wall aquariums could make a great addition to your home, especially if you don’t want to devote valuable square footage to a huge aquarium tank. Some wall mounted aquariums are only a few inches thick, which leaves more than enough space for other pieces of furniture.

Wall-Mounted Aquarium in Modern Room

Image source: Decorfind.blogspot.com

There’s only one catch to wall-mounted aquariums: you’re probably going to have to do a bit of construction. First of all, you can’t just drive a few nails in a wall and expect to be able to hang a 10 gallon aquarium. You’ll need a sturdy installation that will secure your aquarium to the wall, kind of like those wall mounts for flat screen TVs. Second, you’re going to have to power your aquarium somehow. The last thing you want is to install a gorgeous custom aquarium, and then let a visible cord ruin the aesthetic. I highly recommend that you hook up the aquarium’s power in such a way that the power outlet and cords are obscured by the aquarium itself.

Alternatively, you could always have an aquarium that’s built in to the wall itself. Built-in aquariums have all of the advantages of their mounted counterparts, with the added benefit that built-in aquariums tend to look much more elegant and beautiful.

Aquarium Built Into Wall

Image source: Blog.tradeplatform.com.au

These two types of wall aquariums have a very similar aesthetic, but they send out very different messages about the owner. A wall-mounted aquarium is inherently more ephemeral than a built-in aquarium. Sure, it takes a bit of elbow grease to install a wall-mounted aquarium, but you can still move a wall-mounted aquarium to a new location whenever the mood strikes you. This makes wall-mounted aquariums much more flexible, but the downside is that the mounted aquarium won’t always feel like an intrinsic part of a living space. It might come off as a “tacked on” extra that ancillary to the centerpiece of the room.

Built-in aquariums don’t have that flexibility. You’re pretty much stuck with wherever you put it. That isn’t necessarily a downside, however. By building an aquarium into a wall, you’re making a powerful statement about a room. The aquarium is part of the room, which allows you to use the aquarium as the room’s centerpiece. Plus, a built-in aquarium could pump up the value of your house!

Mini Bar with Built-In Aquarium

Image source: Blog.aquanerd.com

You should consider all of these factors before installing a wall aquarium in your home or office. Both aquariums will provide you with a beautiful aquatic display, but the type of aquarium you choose can fundamentally affect the overall feel of the living space. Either way, these aquariums options are perfect if you want to introduce some aquatic beauty to your living space but you don’t have the floor space to spare.

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 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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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.


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.


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!

Aquariums and the Art of Complementary Colors

What’s your favorite color?

Do you prefer vibrant reds or cool blues? Do you like the Japanese-inspired simplicity of black, white, and brown, or do you want to be surrounded by bright neons and swirling colors?

We all know our favorite color – for me, it’s green. But here’s an even more important question: how many of you know what colors complement your favorite color?

That’s when you get into tricky territory. Complementary colors are a mix of science and art – science because it involves the color wheel and the unique mechanics of the human eye, and art because the most effective color schemes require a touch of creativity.

Claude Monet Complementary Colors

Image source: Artbyarlene.blogspot.com/

That’s just as true for aquariums. It would be unwise to pick a bunch of unrelated fish and dump them into an aquarium because each one looks pretty on its own. Fish, much like the furniture in your living space, need to complement each other in compelling ways to create a visually stunning aquascape.

So, let’s take a look at the color wheel. Essentially, the color wheel takes the three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue, and then mixes them to create a flow of color. The color wheel is an invaluable tool because it allows you to quickly determine complementary colors. You can find your favorite color’s complement by looking at the opposite color on the wheel. For me, green is complemented by red to create festive Christmas colors. You can also create split complementary and analogous color schemes. Just click on the picture below to find out how.

Advanced Color Wheel

Image source: Wallpaper4me.com

But there’s more to it than that. Tertiary colors also come into play to create a complex weave of contrasting colors. A great online tool is this website, which can provide you with a mix of complementary color combinations. Just click your favorite color and voila!

For a good example of the effectiveness of strategic color placement, take a look at this beautiful custom aquarium. First, click on the image to view it in full-size and then take a moment to determine the most predominant colors.

Okeanos Aquarium with Complementary Colors

Image source: Okeanosgroup.com

Clearly, the most dominant color is blue, followed by yellow and purple. The cool blue creates a relaxing atmosphere, but the vibrant, yellow fish create visual pockets of warm color that naturally attracts the eye. And what do you get when you mix blue with yellow? Purple! The purple coral spaced throughout the aquarium naturally highlights the calming blue hues while simultaneously enhancing the sharp yellows.

Now imagine toying with these color schemes and creating a balanced ecosystem wherein all of the species get along peacefully. Developing a truly beautiful aquarium requires scientific expertise and an artistic hand. But when you put the two together to create a cohesive aquascape, the results are absolutely breath-taking.