Figurines get kind of a bad rap in the aquarium world. If you go to your local pet store, you’ll probably find a bunch of relatively cheap, plastic sculptures of sunken ships and treasure chests. They’re great for kids’ aquariums for the novelty effect, but they just don’t have a place in classy, custom aquariums. The problem is that people tend to lump all figurines together in the same category of “cheap, kitschy, plastic junk.”
Figurines may not be as bad as you think. The popularity of terrariums have been on the rise, and with them miniature figurines have also increased in popularity. Some terrarium enthusiasts like to create complete scenes in their terrariums. You’d think that it would make the terrarium look cheap, but it actually creates a unique sort of rustic charm.
Theoretically, you could apply the same principles to your custom aquarium. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating that you go out and buy a plastic model of a sunken ship for $20. What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t outright dismiss figurines as a possible means of decorating your aquarium.
The most important thing to remember when considering aquarium figurines is that you can include virtually anything into your aquascape, assuming of course that it won’t harm your ecosystem. You could, for example, create an aquascape that perfectly replicates the New York City skyline, giving your fish a chance to swim around the Empire State Building like some sort of post-apocalyptic vision of a sunken world. You could also equip your aquarium with a perfect to-scale replica of your childhood home, complete with a sand driveway and leafy plants to replicate trees in your back yard.
A good example of an aquarium that successfully integrates manmade sculptures into a natural environment is the Atlantis Hotel Aquarium. As the name suggests, this aquarium creates a picture of the mythological sunken city, complete with submerged Roman columns and ancient buildings.
This is a bizarre approach to aquariums, certainly. Many hobbyists would prefer to mirror nature as much as possible. Still, figurines might be a tempting alternative for people who really want to put the “custom” in “custom aquarium.” Don’t let cheap, plastic figurines muddle your vision for your next aquarium project. Be bold! Be inventive! If you want to create an aquarium that includes a flawless scale replica of the Titanic, then what’s stopping you?