Houseplants are having a major moment, but if you’re looking for a statement-making décor option that can double as a pet, nothing beats a fish tank.
Seriously! Home aquariums combine all of the beauty of a well-tended terrarium and give your home aesthetic a unique pop of color and movement. They can also add some next-level design to your home, and scientists have proven that watching fish reduces stress.
If you want to have a beautiful home and enjoy free relaxation, you have two options:
- Download an aquarium screen saver and play it on a loop on your TV or computer.
- Actually get a fish tank.
If you picked option No. 2, you chose wisely. And we have the tips to help you design a statement-making aquarium for your new home.
Building a Home for You and Your Awesome Fish Tank
If you haven’t seen Animal Planet’s amazing show Tanked, drop everything and hit up YouTube. We’ll wait. (You never knew that you needed an aquarium/kitchen island combo in your life, did you?)
Nothing says “I’m the cool homeowner™” like having a massive aquarium in your home. If you want to include a fish tank wall or pillar, working with your builder can make the tank installation cheaper and easier when you move in. Even if you have more modest aquarium dreams — think a 30-plus gallon tank — taking a few, smart steps during the building process can save you time and money when you set up your aquarium.
- See if your builder can install the plumbing and wiring required for big aquariums before they install the drywall and flooring.
- Ask if your builder can do anything to prevent leaks.
- For aquariums that aren’t on the ground floor, make sure load-bearing structures can actually handle the weight of a large fish tank full of water.
- Have your builder install flooring that won’t be affected by any leaks around your in-home aquatic sculpture.
If you’re going for a more wabi-sabi style in your home, an indoor fishpond or fountain could be right for you. (Just make sure you don’t invite anyone over who might fall in. We’re looking at you, Michael Scott.) Ask your builder if they can install the necessary plumbing and wiring for your indoor pond. Depending on the builder, they might even install the entire pond or fountain for you.
Tank Placement for Happy Fish
Fish are very sensitive to changes in light and water temperature. Finding the right place to put your aquarium can make sure your fish stays happy and healthy.
Here are some placement tips to keep in mind:
- Natural light could force your fish to live in a brighter than desirable environment.
- Incoming sunshine might cause the water to heat up to unsafe temperatures.
- The aquarium should not block any walkways.
- Small children can’t tap a fish tank that they can’t reach.
Be mindful of how light enters your house throughout the day before you start setting up your aquarium. You might like sitting in your sunny reading nook, but your fishy friends could easily overheat; place a light-loving houseplant there instead.
Pro Tip No. 1: It’s way easier to keep fish healthy in a darker space with aquarium lights and water heaters than it is to fight too much light and overheated water.
Strategic tank placement can also help protect your fish from the Darlas (the fish killer from Finding Nemo) of the world too! If you share your home with children that insist on putting their hands on the glass, tapping the tank and running around and bumping into things, you might not want to put your fish tank within their reach. Think about how your family moves around your home and place your aquarium in a spot where your loved ones won’t trip over cords or bump into the tank.
Pro Tip No. 2: Smaller tanks look awesome in custom-built cabinets. If you don’t have the time/money/level of Zen required to install and maintain an aquarium wall, this is a great way to achieve the same aesthetic and keep your fish out of harm’s way.
Decor That Shows Off Your Fish Tank
After you install your aquarium, you should focus your home’s (and tank’s) décor to show off your beautiful fish!
Minimalism is your friend if you want to highlight your show-stopping fish tank, so skip the see-through “aquarium” toilet seats and tacky shell accents. Don’t stack décor objects on top of your aquarium; that clutters up the look and makes feeding difficult. You can’t make jumbo packs of fish food look good, so store your fish food, nets and other supplies out of sight. .
Ambient lighting can help you take your aquarium design to the next level. Focused lighting draws the eye to brightly colored fish and healthy plants, without causing distractions the way décor objects do. Just be sure to monitor water temperature before you commit to a lighting plan.
Tending to Your Tank
Like super trendy houseplants, pet fish and aquariums look really cool, bring nature into your home and have mental health benefits.
But your fish, like any pet, will need proper care. Fish need feeding, weekly water changes, algae scrapped off tank walls and décor, and working tank filters/heaters/lights. In addition to fish-centric maintenance, you need to test the water and keep chemicals balanced, especially if you have saltwater tanks.
So, what do you do if you love the look of a big aquarium, but aren’t in the mood to spend your days scraping algae and filtering skuzzy water?
Hire an aquarium professional. They take care of everything from major maintenance projects to routine cleanings. Search Angie’s List or Thumbtack to find the right tank maintenance team for you and enjoy your home aquarium with 100 percent less fish poop.
Do you really love fish? Do you have an awesome fish tank? Snap a pic of your setup, tag NewHomeSource on Instagram and we’ll make your fish #InstaFamous!
After graduating in 2016 from The University of Texas with a degree in English, Sanda Brown became a content writer for the BDX with a focus on website copy and content marketing.
At the BDX, Sanda helps write and edit articles on NewHomeSource.com, writes website copy for builders, and manages a team of freelancers that work on additional content needs.