Designing Nemo: 30 Fish Tanks Create a Decorative Splash

It requires a dedicated individual to maintain a fishtank. I’m not talking about a child’s softball-size guppy bowl or even a tiny flower vase containing just one beta fish. I’m talking about a sizable, teeming saltwater tank pumped with exotic, vibrantly colored fish and coral.

The aversion to the upkeep on this scale is clear. It’s like adding a part-time job to your hectic schedule. Architect John Black says when you’re planning for a large fish tank, an important consideration is the monthly maintenance cost. He designed and set up on a 9-inch-deep, 16-inch-high and 110-inch-long tank at Manhattan Beach, California, that he says costs about $500 per month only for cleaning the tank and caring for the plants and fish. (A maintenance-cost estimate for a koi pond he’s designing under a glass floor is $1,000 per month.)

Of course, not all tanks have to be so grandiose. Small and midsize tanks are easily managed by diligent seekers, especially when family members split the responsibilities, and the benefit of owning a serene, undulating, colorful bit of liquid art is priceless.

And of course, you can colour coordinate the finely manicured blues and greens and rainbow of tropical fish along with your home’s decor — and vice versa.

Markay Johnson Construction

Home bar areas are popular places for aquariums. The cool blue lights and flickers of swimming shade are a more complicated alternative to a neon sign or lava lamp. This layout also knocks down the belief that fish tanks have to be rectangular. Cylindrical fashions, which supply 360-degree views, are becoming much more popular.

Arc Design Group

A large cylindrical tank at a well-trafficked place makes moving via an expansive space feel much less isolating.

Lapis Design Partners

The homeowner of this 9-inch-deep, 16-inch-high and 110-inch-long tank needed it to have the “look of a piece of art hanging on the walls,” architect John Black says. A structural engineer made the steel-column service system that’s connected to the exterior wall of the aforementioned floor. This allowed the massive tank to be suspended 48 inches from the floor, putting it at eye level. “It was interesting to observe how people at a dinner celebration tended to line up across the tank to check at the gorgeous saltwater fish,” Black says.

The tank has been gorgeously framed in teak to match the woodwork of the space.

Budget: $11,000
Care: $500 per month

DSA Architects

A well-planned aquarium may work at any decor design — yes, even a desert-inspired one. Here, a calm horizontal tank amazingly elevates the rustic weathered inside.

InHouse Design Studio

A strategically positioned tank on a bookshelf helps break up the mess and unwind the eye.

Mega Builders

A swath of electric blue steals the show in a stark white living room. Aquarium colors can easily be built on, as evident from the planter pot’s dollop of blue.

Urban Colony

Meanwhile, blues, greens and yellows in aquariums work wonders in abundant, wood-filled spaces.

Archipelago Hawaii Luxury Home Designs

This towering rectangular aquarium can help soften the prosperity of timber.

Level Design Studios

In home theaters the cool glow of an aquarium provides just the perfect ambience.

Phil Kean Design Group

Nothing punctuates contemporary decor over the potent statement of an imposing wall which captures sea life.

Alpha Design Group

Even a straightforward contemporary dining room is enhanced using a crystal-clear fish tank.

Master Pools by Dominion Pools Canada

Placing tanks near water features and pools is a no-brainer for eye-catching layout.

Abramson Teiger Architects

A low-slung tank spanning the duration of this pool brings fresh meaning to swimming with the fishes.

Mercury Mosaics and Tile

With that in mind, among the greatest places to get a fish tank is still near the tub. Comfort has never been swimmingly serene.

InterDesign Studio

Here, a plant-filled aquarium is in excellent harmony with its outdoor surroundings.

Phil Kean Design Group

But consider any room in the home for a fish tank. The calming effect is very good for kitchens, also.

A single horizontal fish tank adds depth and motion that many other wall art can’t.

Mark Scott Associates | Landscape Architecture

Here, aquarium and art match each other on opposing walls.

Doreen Le May Madden – Lux Lighting Design

Adding water plants to insides is difficult. With an aquarium that they immediately become a part of the decor strategy.

Elad Gonen

A very simple fish tank within this kids’ room adds a little wonderment and colour.

Cathleen Curtin Architects PLC

Sleek and refined, an aquarium is a wise way to break up an overwhelming wall of cupboards.

Jeannette Architects

A saltwater aquarium warms up this crisp and clean kitchen.

Marcson Homes Ltd..

A window-style aquarium adds playfulness to an otherwise rigid wine cellar.

Natalia Skobkina

Masculine living room decor softens just the correct amount with shimmering ocean life.

Red Ridge Millwork

This metal-drenched kitchen will feel chilly with no reflective colours cast by the hanging aquarium.


Even darkened spaces benefit from a splash of submerged color and light.

Jeannette Architects

With an otherwise dull white workstation, marine life brings this room to much-needed life.

Electronics Design Group, Inc..

The calming effect of aquariums can help rejuvenate the mind, making them exceptionally sought in home office spaces.

Arc Design Group

This indoor-outdoor space shows that even from the most luxurious locations, aquariums can nevertheless stand out.

Electronics Design Group, Inc..

“Tank” is an understatement for this lavish, huge aquarium. That is because when it comes to designing fish aquariums, the ocean’s the limit.

See related