Many of us have dreamt of having a beautiful home aquarium. After all, a beautiful glass aquarium, properly illuminated and teeming with colourful, schooling fish can be a breathtaking sight.
And it can even be good for you. Thought the research is still limited, preliminary findings suggest that the act of watching fish has a mentally calming effect. And we can probably all do with a little less stress in our lives.
But you don't want to just drop an aquarium in a room and call it a day. To take full advantage of its aesthetic effects, you want to work the tank into the design of the room.
This isn't hard to do; the beauty of the tank makes it pretty flexible. But it does require a little knowledge of design and an idea for a location in order for it to be as breathtaking as possible.
Don't worry, we're not going to make you sit through a whole course on interior design. There's really just one key principle that needs to be grasped: the focal point.
Every room needs a focal point, something to draw the attention of everyone who enters. Common examples include windows with outdoor views, accent walls, or furnishings like bookcases. In our case, the focal point is the aquarium.
Now creating a focal point is all about ensuring that it draws the eye. For an aquarium, the simplest way to do that would be just to place it at eye level in an uncluttered part of the room. Normally you'd have to consider creating a lighting scheme in order to further accent the piece, but here that's only necessary if your aquarium light isn't notable enough to do that on its own.
Having done that, you want to frame the point. An aquarium on its own is eye-catching, but you want to make sure that it is really the star of the whole room. How you want to accomplish that mostly depends on the specific room that you're using, and the overall decor scheme that you have going on.
That's the most basic way you could create a focal point with an aquarium. Knowing those, you can create any number of possible setups. However, pure aesthetics aren't the only thing to consider when designing your space.
Those fundamentals of design will help you to pick out a spot that's aesthetically appealing no matter what room it's in.
But first, there certain factors specific to raising fish that need to be considered.
This is the simplest concern, as naturally, your aquarium will need power to fun filters, lights, heaters, et cetera. You might pick out the perfect space in your home office, but if it's going to need extension cords running across the floor then that's going to be a tripping hazard and look terrible.
Fortunately, this isn't usually too much of a concern, as most rooms have multiple power sources to choose from, so you're rarely ever too far from an outlet.
The second concern is water. Water changes are basic aquarium maintenance and the closer that you are to a water source the easier that that's going to be.
The other thing that you want to be conscious of is the aquarium's proximity to water-sensitive materials. Accidents happen, and you don't want to risk damaging your book collection or valuable electronics because of a little spillage.
Ideally, this wouldn't be an issue in the first place since you don't normally build a focal point in a cluttered area. Having too much business can draw attention in the wrong way, making the space look cramped and claustrophobic. But sometimes the space available is limited and we just have to do the best we can with what we have.
In cases like these, your main concern should be how easily you can get into and move your aquarium. You'll want to have easy access for feedings, cleanings, water changes, and the like. And you'll want it to avoid surrounding it with heavy furniture so that you can move the whole tank relatively easily if you need to.
Different fish have different requirements in terms of how much warmth of cold the can tolerate. So if you set your tank under an air vent or near a sunny window without thinking about it, you could cause your poor fish unnecessary stress.
To an extent, this problem can be managed with heating or cooling units. But if you can just avoid it outright it would be great for you to do so.
On the note of windows, you'll want to be conscious of sunlight for another reason.
Direct sunlight encourages algae growth, and putting your fish too near a large, unshielded window can turn the tank into an underwater forest. This means more time spent cleaning, more frequent filter break downs, and possibly shorter lives for your fish.
We all know not to tap the glass of the aquarium. But if your tank is too close to a major source of the sound, then you could be doing almost the same thing without realizing it.
Speakers are the most common culprit, so if you're setting up in your living room then you'll want to be conscious of things like soundbars or subwoofers.
Optimal placement of your home aquarium can create a beautiful centrepiece for your living space, bringing life and beauty into your home for years to come. But it's important to give just as much thought for your fish' quality of life.
A common mistake of many novice aquarium keepers is to underestimate the amount of space fish need to live happy, healthy lives.
To ensure the best experience for you and your new aquarium community, check out our guide on choosing the right size tropical aquarium for beginners.