Here Fishy, Fishy | Best Ways to Display Your Home Aquarium

Posted: 05/05/2015

Are you a fish lover? I don’t mean tilapia on tasty fish tacos. I mean the kind you could just stare at for hours as they swim and scuttle around an aquarium. There is something rather soothing about the rhythmic to-and-fro of anything from little guppies to puffer fish in clear water among decorative stones and “sunken treasures.”

There are a number of options for displaying your aquarium, big or small. What it really depends on is how much of a feature you want it to be in your home, and whether you go with salt water or fresh water creatures.

Salt vs. Fresh Water

Let’s start there. And I’m going to be honest right from the start: salt water aquariums are significantly more expensive to establish and maintain than fresh water aquariums. The fish and other water creatures cost more, and you need live algae and plants to help keep a saltwater tank clean. You need sand as opposed to rock and not only do the sides of the tank need to be cleaned, but the sand does too. In fact, with a larger saltwater aquarium, you’re better off hiring a professional to come clean it once a month so that you know it’s done correctly and regularly.

That isn’t to say that saltwater aquariums aren’t worth the expense; they are certainly more colorful and more beautiful than a fresh water aquarium, which often requires brightly colored rocks and other accidents to give some punch to the duller colors of most fresh water fish.  

There are, of course, exceptions to the dull tones of freshwater fish, such as brightly colored goldfish, bettas (be careful what you pair these aggressive buggers with – especially avoiding other bettas), mollies and discus, to name a few.  An added benefit to a freshwater tank is that they’re easier to clean, especially if you also use a filter. The fish are significantly cheaper (which means they’re easier to replace too).

Where to Display Your Aquarium

So, we’re going to sort of skip right over the small 10 gallon tanks that go on a counter somewhere. They don’t add anything drastic to your home décor and are often there for the sake of having fish (a noble cause indeed). But when you get into the big kahuna that becomes the centerpiece of your living room, there are a few things to consider.

If you plan to do a built in tank – such as built into a wall or around a fireplace as pictured here – you have to make feeding and cleaning easily accessible. If you read the link above, you’ll see that a saltwater tank requires at least 15 minutes a day of maintenance – so you need daily access to your swimming pets.  A cabinet disguised as a wall that gives you access to the top of the tank is a good idea.

As you look at your aquarium location, keep these factors in mind:
  • Keep it away from windows, especially those facing the east or west. Sunlight is the leading cause in algae growth, so if you want to minimize it, no tank by the window.
  • Avoid placing an aquarium near a door; the sudden movement may not stir you up, but the vibration can scare and cause stress on your fish.
  • Large vents, radiators, or air conditioners can change the temperature of the water in your tank, which is something you want to keep relatively the same at all times to keep your fish healthy.
  • Use a stand, table, built into the wall, whatever you desire, but don’t put a fish tank directly on the floor.
There are a lot of options depending on what you want and where you want the aquarium to be. HA Construction can certainly help in that design, and work together with your “fish guy” to showcase your fish in the ideal location of your home.