I recently received an email from a couple of PetTails readers who wanted to share with me pictures of their home aquariums. The couple explained to me that they have been enjoying the aquarium hobby for over 25 years and recently made some major home renovations to incorporate a custom 350-gallon tank into the design of their basement – a space they nicknamed “Pirate’s Cove.” This inspired me to do some research about how aquariums can be more than just a hobby – they can become part of your home décor! I have seen plenty of photographs on the internet of unique and unusual aquariums including fish tanks that double as coffee tables, sinks and even toilet tanks. To me, these aquariums are nothing more than novelty items and, in most cases they are not a very healthy environment for aquarium fish. There are, however, a variety of ways you can incorporate your fish tank into the décor of your home such that it enhances the aesthetics of your home without putting your fish at risk.
In an article published in the New York Times in August of 2010, Jennifer A. Kingson explores the rise in popularity of custom aquariums as design elements in homes. Kingson visited the home of an affluent couple in Tribeca who incorporated a 14 ½-foot, 450-gallon aquarium into the design of their living room. At the touch of a button, the couple could change the color of the light illuminating the tank to turn the colorless fish inside the tank any one of 64 different colors including pink, fuchsia and turquoise. Interior designers say that custom aquariums like this one are a surefire way to impress peers. In addition to their use in doctors’ offices, aquariums have also become a popular design element in upscale nightclubs, hotels and restaurants. In residential applications, a well-kept fish tank adds an element of softness and fluidity to starkly modern construction and may also serve to bring an element of nature into even the most unnatural design.
You do not have to be a millionaire to incorporate an aquarium into your home décor scheme – if you do it right, a well-placed 40-gallon tank can be just as stunning in a family home as a custom-designed 400-gallon tank in a corporate office or luxury hotel. The key to incorporating your aquarium into your home décor is to select the ideal location where it will be both visible and accessible. If you want your aquarium to become the centerpiece of your room, you should put it in a location where it will attract the attention of your guests. Don’t hide your tank away in a nook or cranny – put it on display so others can appreciate all the work you put into cultivating it. When selecting the best location for your tank it is also important to be practical – you will need to be able to access the tank to perform your routine maintenance tasks so don’t put it somewhere that will be difficult to get to.
Finding the right aquarium stand or cabinet is an important part of incorporating your fish tank into your home décor. If you cannot afford custom cabinetry, try to find a piece within your preferred price range that matches the existing woodwork in your home. You also have the option of refinishing an existing aquarium cabinet to match your home décor scheme or you might consider building your own. Keep in mind when selecting the stand or cabinet to display your aquarium that the cabinet should enhance the appearance of your tank, but it should not take the focus away from it. Do not choose something that is too bold or ornate because it could distract from the natural beauty of your aquarium. If you aren’t concerned with matching your aquarium cabinet to the existing furniture in your room, try to stick with something simple in a neutral color like black or brown.
Cultivating a freshwater or saltwater aquarium is a challenging experience and, depending on the size of your tank and the type of fish you keep, it can also be a time-consuming hobby. If you are going to put all this time and effort into the setup and maintenance of your tank, you deserve to enjoy it! By making your aquarium a focal point in your home you can put all of your hard work on display for yourself and others to admire. A thriving aquarium is a natural, living design element that can enhance the aesthetics of any home, large or small. You do not have to spend a fortune on a custom tank – you do not even have to fill your tank with exotic fish in order for it to be worthy of admiration. In order to incorporate your aquarium into the décor of your home you simply have to put your tank on display for all to see.