You’ve probably been to an aquarium and enjoyed the tanks of colorful fish and underwater plants, but have you imagined creating your own smaller version in your home? A home aquarium requires some planning, but is actually a rather simple project that can bring a blank wall space to life.
In recent years, raising fish and building home aquariums has become an increasingly popular hobby as well as an elegant and exciting addition within a home. Consider your home aquarium to be living art in a room such as a den, living room or between the kitchen and dining room.
Choosing the Right Tank
Aquariums of varying sizes, shapes and details have been popping up in more and more homes, and depending on your budget and space, you can make your aquarium a very impressive design element within your home. The first step in deciding if an aquarium will be a good addition to your house is assessing the amount of space you have available. Fortunately, whether you plan on using a custom-built tank or purchasing a ready-built tank, there are plenty of size options. Keep in mind, it is recommended that the area is not in the direct sunlight, is on level ground and close to a water source.
From a design standpoint, an aquarium can be purchased or customized to match the interior of your home. An aquarium stand that is strong enough to hold the weight of the tank filled with water is just as important as the aquarium, and many ready built tanks are sold with stands in a variety of woods, colors and styles so that you can find one that fits right in with your home design. There are also tanks and stands available as corner units or in varied shapes to bring an extra style component to your home aquarium.
If you want to get more creative with your tank, consider a custom built tank. Custom tanks will need to be built and installed by a professional aquarium installer, but will give you an impressive and unique home aquarium. These tanks come in shapes ranging from spheres, to L-shapes, to tanks with a bubble that creates a separate room within the aquarium. Choosing a custom built aquarium also opens the options to build your tank within a wall, create cabinetry above or below the tank, and select from endless options for the size and shape of your tank.
Another determining factor when choosing the size of your tank is the type of fish you will have. Certain fish require more space and the more fish in your tank, the larger it should be. There are many books and resources on the Internet that can help you choose fish that can safely survive and thrive in captivity. When researching your fish, you’ll also learn how to best care for them, what to feed them, and if there is any additional equipment that you’ll need to buy. Angelfish, lionfish and grouper are just a few types of fish that are appropriate for an aquarium and suitable for a first-time aquarium owner.
Equip Your Aquarium
There are aquarium installation companies that can professionally install and maintain your aquarium, but if you have the time and dedication, a home aquarium can also be a do-it-yourself project. Purchasing the right equipment for your home aquarium is important to ensure the aquarium runs properly, maintains good water quality and that your fish enjoy a long life. In addition to the tank and stand, suggested equipment for a new aquarium is a filter, heater, air pump, PVC pipe, water lines and aquarium sump. In terms of maintaining water quality, you will want to consider purchasing water conditioners, chemicals and treatments to ensure healthy water for your fish. After deciding on equipment you can get started decorating the tank with gravel, rocks, plants, or other props from a pet store.
If you have tropical fish in your aquarium, a heater and proper lighting will be necessary to ensure their survival. Lighting can also be an effective design element to beautifully illuminate your aquarium and the fish inside and even adds a relaxed mood to the room. Keep in mind that incandescent lights can give off too much heat and be harmful to the fish, so opt for fluorescent.
Most pet stores stock glass and acrylic tanks up to 180 gallons. A good size reference is that a 125-gallon tank is 72 inches in length, 18 inches deep and 21 inches tall. If you want a tank that is larger than what your local pet store stocks, try an online retailer or manufacturer.
One of the most important things to take into consideration when planning and building your home aquarium is the water. Typically it is recommended that you don’t place your aquarium too far from a water source and drain, but with proper planning you can run water lines directly into the tank. A water line directly into the tank will make aquarium maintenance down the road much easier. When maintaining your tank, you’ll need to drain out and refill some of the water often and planning ahead with water lines will save you a lot of hassle.
Remember that like any project you take on within your home, you can go as large or as small as your budget desires. There are plenty of retailers, manufacturers and installers that specialize in aquariums on both small and large scales and create extravagant aquariums. Even if your budget doesn’t allow for some of the features, it’s helpful to browse for inspiration and incorporate a few ideas into your own project. The possibilities for designing a home aquarium are nearly limitless, and even if you start off slower and on a smaller scale, there are many opportunities to make your aquarium a true focal piece within your home.