Can You Decorate the Outside of Your Aquarium?

Japanese-Inspired Aquarium

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Aquascapers often spend so much time worrying about what goes into an aquarium that they don’t devote a lot of brainpower to the question of what goes around and aquarium. You need to think of your custom aquascape as if it’s a stunning piece of art. You wouldn’t hang a beautiful picture on your wall without adding an appropriate picture frame, would you? Then don’t overlook the outside of your aquascape, either.

For example, look at this absolutely stunning freshwater aquascape. The aquascaper who designed this art piece was clearly inspired by Japanese architecture and Zen gardens. The whole aquarium is almost like a dollhouse, except that orange-speckled goldfish take up residence instead of Barbie and Ken dolls.

The aquascape strikes a beautiful balance between the interior and the exterior. The aquascape itself is lush and vibrant, filled with healthy plant life that calls to mind the tranquility of a Zen garden. The outside is all right angles and dichromatic earth tones to add to the feeling of simplicity and elegance.

This is just one possible option for the outside of your aquascape — the possibilities are truly as endless as your imagination. The only catch is that you don’t want to go overboard. Generally speaking, the more stuff you add on the outside of your aquascape, the more it will distract from your gorgeous aquatic scene. And you definitely don’t want to obscure the viewer’s field of vision. What’s the point of having a custom aquascape if you can barely see it behind all of the stuff you’ve added?

The trick is to strike a balance between the interior and exterior. The Japanese-inspired goldfish aquarium pulls that off so beautifully because the interior complements the exterior and vice versa. The best way to achieve visual balance is to create consistency between these two worlds, either by maintaining a constant theme or by including visually consistent items.

Aquarium with Stony Exterior

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If you have a lush green aquascape that’s filled with overgrown plants, then you could decorate the outside of your aquascape with natural wood, art pieces that depict scenes from nature, or houseplants that spill over the top of your aquarium and cascade down the glass. If you have a saltwater aquascape with vibrant corals and tropical fish, then you could complement the scene by decorating your aquarium’s exterior with rock sculptures or eye-catching colors. You might want to consider hiring an interior designer who can help you create a consistent theme throughout your living space.

You could also create a themed exterior, like an aquarium built into an old-fashioned TV set or an aquarium that’s fashioned out of an old car. Or how about an aquarium phone booth? These Japanese aquascapers made a powerful statement by building a truly one-of-a-kind aquarium exterior. The funny thing is that the aquarium’s interior isn’t even all that impressive — it’s just a bunch of goldfish. This aquarium made international news because it was built in public space and the exterior is delightfully playful.

Aquarium Phone Booth

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You might want to visit your local public aquarium for inspiration. They do an excellent job of using architecture to complement aquatic scenes by building huge rock structures and walls of water.

Listen, if you want to go with a streamline all-glass exterior that won’t distract from your aquascape at all, then go for it! But just keep in mind that you can also utilize the exterior of your aquarium to create an aquascape that will leave viewers awestruck.


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