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How to Make Your Aquarium Appear as if It’s Professionally Designed

Professional Design for Fish Tanks San Diego, CA

From 2011 to 2018, some of the most exuberant and spectacular aquariums were featured on the reality television show Tanked, which aired on the Animal Planet cable network for more than 150 episodes. Every aquarium shown on Tanked was (though we will say that most were a bit zany and over the top) designed by a professional acrylics manufacturer with many years of experience setting up freshwater and saltwater tanks for commercial establishments, celebrities, and interior decorators with wealthy clients. Retaining the services of professionals who set up aquariums for discerning clients isn’t the only way to make a tank look as if it could have appeared on an episode of Tanked. If you follow the tips below, you can also add plenty of pizazz to your enclosed aquatic ecosystem.

Focus on Plants

Forget about fake plastic plants—the best-looking aquariums are those that have been carefully planted with living plant species from the start. Some of the most eye-catching aquariums in the world are the finalists of the annual International Aquascaping Contest, which is organized by the Aquatic Gardeners Association. Aquarium plants are colorful, resilient, and relatively easy to care for. Moreover, they make your tank look as natural as possible, and this is a goal professional aquarists pursue. Your local aquarium supplier should be able to tell you which plant species are right for your ecosystem based on the fish and invertebrates you keep.

Don’t Overlook the Substrate

Along with plants, the choice of planted aquarium substrate is what makes a tank look professional. A blend of sand with colorful river rocks can make a major difference in how your habitat looks, and it will also keep bottom-dwelling species happy.

Use Live Rock for Reef Tanks

Reef tanks are aquariums that replicate the look of a coastal coral formation. They’re very popular among saltwater fish keepers not only because of the colorful species but also because they require live rock. In essence, live rocks are fragments that have broken off coral reefs and have come alive with sponges, barnacles, algae, and other creatures. They always look interesting and make reef tanks look very natural. Make sure to acquire live rock from reputable dealers who are into “harvesting” instead of scavenging from coastal reefs. The synthetic “Real Reef Rock” is manmade and looks better than what’s pulled from the ocean, and it comes without all the “hitchhikers” that can be a real nuisance.

Choose Darker Backgrounds

Black, blue, or even grey tones add a touch of visual depth to any tank, particularly smaller ones that hold 20 gallons or less. Some of the most attractive aquarium backgrounds feature underwater photography, and they’re usually edited to darken the cyan hues.

Set Up the Right Focal Point

Many fish keepers arrange plants and decorations near the center of the tank. This is a natural inclination of human design, but it doesn’t translate well into aquariums because it’s seldom found in natural habitats. A better focal point would be located off to one side of the tank, thus creating a sense of contrast between the spaces filled with plants and decorations. When one corner of the tank features more plants and objects, territorial species will flock there, and this is ideal for injecting harmony into a diverse community tank. At Aquatic Warehouse, we have displayed planted and reef aquariums that are beautifully aquascaped to stimulate some ideas of your own.

One of the best ways to ensure your aquarium looks beautiful and professionally designed is to keep the fish and plants in it healthy and vibrant. To accomplish this, you’ll need to keep several important supplies on hand. Whether you need aquarium controllers, filtration, protein skimmers, testing kits, or any other aquarium supply, Aquatic Warehouse has got you covered. Stop by our store located in Kearny Mesa, order from our website, or give us a call with any questions you might have at 858-467-9297.


Contact Information

  • Address: 5466 Complex Street Suite 204
    San Diego, CA 92123
  • Phone: (858) 467-9297
  • Email: sales@aquaticwarehouse.com
  • Working Days/Hours: Mon - Fri / 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Saturday / 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Sunday / 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM


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