Steve Jobs and Apple forever changed the world of art with their revolutionary design philosophy. They didn’t use flashy colors and loud announcers who shout, “More, more, more!” Instead, they opted for simplistic black, grey, and black color schemes that utilize tons of white space and elegantly simple designs. Their products proved to be breath of fresh air in a world that bombards us with sensory overload.

Apple created a minimalism renaissance, but minimalism is old news in the world of aquascaping. Many aquascaping aesthetics, particularly those with origins in Japan and China, emphasize negative space and simplicity.

Japanese-Inspired Minimal Aquarium

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Obviously, minimal aquariums aren’t for everybody. They kind of fly in the face of some aquarium design philosophies because we so often associate aquascapes with bright, tropical fish and impossibly complex corals. Even freshwater aquariums, which tend to be fairly monochromatic, violate the principles of minimalism by creating an intricate ecosystem, like a miniature jungle.

If you’re the type of person who absolutely adores minimalism, then allow me to introduce you to the gorgeous world of sleek, simplistic aquarium designs.

Minimalist Aquarium

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Both freshwater and saltwater aquariums can utilize minimalistic designs, but freshwater is probably the better choice. Freshwater species tend to have muted colors, whereas saltwater species are generally much more colorful and visually complex. There are exceptions, of course — the freshwater beta fish is both eye-catching and colorful.

The designer of this nano aquarium proves that even saltwater aquariums can maintain a minimalistic design as long as you’re careful about managing space. The tank features two island-like groups of coral separated by a refreshing expanse of white gravel. Each island holds a thousand tiny little details, but the white space and the symmetry balances out the complexity.

Designing a minimalistic freshwater aquarium is even easier. All you need is a few pieces of driftwood and a couple of rocks and you’re good to go.

The key to designing a simple aquascape isn’t in what you add to the aquascape — it’s in what you don’t add to the aquascape. You need to restrain yourself and allow the emptiness of your aquascape to enhance its beauty. The trick is hitting that magical sweet spot where there’s just enough stuff in the aquascape that it’s interesting, but not so much that it violates the intended aesthetic.

Minimal aquariums are ideal for environments where relaxation is key. A simplistic aquascape would be perfect in an office building because it would destress workers and put clients at ease. Remember this the next time you’re thinking about designing an aquascape for your home or office: sometimes, less is more.