Would you stand on your aquarium? No, probably not. Would you dance on top of your aquarium? Definitely not! But for the Qua bar in Austin, Texas dancing on top of an aquarium wasn’t just acceptable, it was expected. The bar’s main attraction was a dance floor, which also served as the viewing panel for an underfoot aquarium filled with sharks and stingrays.
Now, I know that a lot of you are concerned about the wellbeing of the fish. After all, vibrations travel through water and turning an aquarium into a dance floor will probably give the sharks a headache. In that case, fear not: Qua closed down a while ago. It’s hard to nail down a specific reason, but if you look at the Yelp entry for the Qua bar, you can see a long list of dissatisfied customers that have given it an average rating of two out of five stars.
Well, I’m not here to discuss whether or not Qua is a good bar — I’m only interested in the fish tank. Regardless of the fact that the bar closed, we can still explore the idea of an underfoot aquarium and use it as inspiration for the next great custom aquarium project.
You probably wouldn’t want to create an underfoot aquarium. As I said before, the constant vibrations from your footsteps could stress out the fish. You can still keep the top-down aquarium design and use it in a different format. All you would need is a low aquarium with a transparent top.
The best example comes from this indoor pond, which has a long, thin pond that stretches along the side of room. Rather than leaving the pond with an open surface, you could cover the water with an acrylic panel to create a clear viewing surface for the fish below.
Another idea would be to create aquariums that double as tables. Once again, you would have to be careful and make sure that you aren’t constantly creating vibrations that can upset or even injure your fish. Everything should be fine as long as you use the surface of the table sparingly. You could decorate the top of the aquarium with art pieces, all while appreciating the unique top-down view of your aquascape.
The other challenge with a top-down aquascape is selecting fish that look good from above. Many fish aren’t very suitable for a top-down aquarium because they’re vertical and thin. Sharks and stingrays are a good choice because they are much broader than most other fish.
So, are top-down aquariums a viable possibility for your next custom aquarium? Certainly. The Qua bar closed because of reasons other than its aquarium, which was actually quite lovely. Just avoid overusing the surface of your aquarium, and you can create a stunning top-down aquascape that will give you a new perspective into the aquatic world.