We’ve covered all of the basic colors of the rainbow with our Aquarium Colorology series. For those of you who missed out, you can find the previous installments here (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). But we’re not quite done — we still have to cover brown and the neutral colors.
Wait a second. Brown? Really? I mean, brown is usually such a boring color — it’s the color that people select when they don’t want to stick out. Why bother focusing on a color that’s synonymous with boredom and mud?
Well, it’s important to keep in mind that every aquascape brings together disparate elements into a cohesive whole. Brown might not be as soothing as green or as lighthearted as yellow, but it can still play an important role in aquascapes. More than anything else, brown serves as a stable background color that allows the other aspects of your aquarium to shine through.
Brown is an earthy color that reminds people of dirt, mountains, trees, and the great outdoors. It is a solid, reliable color that fits in beautifully alongside green, blue, and other colors that are common in nature.
Creating a Brown Aquascape
As I said before, brown aquariums aren’t for everybody. The main reason is pretty obvious: most people don’t think that brown is very pretty. The other reason is that brown fish aren’t nearly as eye-catching as neon tetra or mandarin fish. Still, brown aquascapes can create a powerful and unique aesthetic impact. Don’t be too quick to judge brown aquariums, though — you might be surprised by what they have to offer.
Some aquascapers follow the mantra that less is more by stripping down an aquarium to its absolute minimum. The aquascape above has sand, fish, aquarium wood, a few rocks, and nothing else. These aquascapes are a bit like a Zen sand garden — beautifully elegant in their simplicity. There isn’t a dazzling array of bright fish or frilly plants to excite the eye. Instead, viewers can quickly take in the peaceful scene.
These types of aquariums are perfect for modern homes and offices. Modern architecture style focuses on simplistic designs and basic geometry, all while highlighting empty space. These aquariums mirror the modern art style by creating a vacant aquascape that is at once both beautiful and peaceful.
The other option is to incorporate wood into a verdant green aquascape. Pairing green with brown will enhance the natural feel of your freshwater aquarium. Somewhat surprisingly, brown wood can actually act as the star of your planted freshwater aquariums. These aquascapes often create a carpet of green plants, which allows brown wood to stand apart as a focal point. As you can see in the aquascape below, the brown wood stands out against the bright green to create a restful spot for the eye.
Brown is one of those universal colors that fits in just about everywhere. There really aren’t great rooms or terrible rooms for brown, per say but there are a few things that you should keep in mind. First off, brown fits in beautifully with natural hardwood floors and other earthy furniture. When you’re designing your freshwater aquascape, you should think about the color of the wood in your house. You can actually match the color of your house to the color of your aquarium’s driftwood.
Second, you should place your brown aquascape inside of a modern room. The simplicity of the aquascape will match the Zen-like aesthetic of a modern living space.
Don’t put a brown aquascape into a colorful or exciting room. Brown just isn’t a very eye-catching color, so your aquascape will be swallowed up by all of the other sights. If you want your brown aquascape to be the star of your room, then you really have to make sure that nothing else in the room will overshadow it.