“If you can dream it, they can build it”
— and those who have seen even just one episode of National Geographic’s Fish Tank Kings would very much agree! The show features incredibly talented custom aquarium builders who combine creativity, engineering, and expertise to create one-off fish tanks in jaw-dropping sizes, shapes, and styles for high-profile clients across the globe.
The fact that this reality series has been so popular just goes to show how we all love a good aquarium and the wondrous aquatic creatures that inhabit them. The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums estimates that every year, 700 million people visit aquariums in at least 50 countries worldwide.
Mesmerized by the underwater scenery that unfolds before us, people don’t usually think about the immense talent and tons of hard work that went into creating those custom-made aquariums, right? For instance, the Newport Coral Reef Tunnel in Kentucky — it’s a massive 60,000-gallon fish tank that looks so real, it’s hard to imagine that it’s manmade, custom-built by us!
If you’re reading this then that means you’ve fallen in love with a freshwater aquarium or saltwater fish tank you’ve seen somewhere, and are thinking of having one for yourself. Or you’ve had one too many store-bought fish tanks that didn’t do justice to your vision of how an aquarium should look. We hope this blog can help you make informed decisions about getting your own custom-made aquariums to fit your unique personality and high standards.
What do custom-made aquariums have over store-bought fish tanks?
In a nutshell, a customized fish tank gives you the freedom to transform your vision into reality. Custom aquariums offer a distinct look and impact that you want it to have because essentially, the idea and concept comes from YOU! Here are the top reasons why a customized aquarium trumps a standard store-bought fish tank anytime:
1. Custom aquariums can be designed to meet your budget.
Whether it’s your first “grownup” fish tank or you’re transitioning from a standard aquarium, it’s best to set your parameters first. Think about how much you want to spend versus what kind of setup you want — and be realistic about it. When choosing a custom aquarium builder, “if it’s too good to be true then it probably is.” So it’s not always wise to go with the fish tank contractor with the cheapest rate.
2. Customized aquariums can be re-configured in different ways to change the look.
Just as you want to spruce up your home or place of business every so often, you might want to update the look of your aquarium once in a while. The easiest way to do this is to ask your builder to install a modular reef island that can be assembled and reassembled into different forms and shapes. Better yet, call your custom aquarium contractor for help, just to be on the safe side.
3. Getting a custom-built aquarium means thinking out of the box — literally!
Forget about the standard rectangular fish tank. With a custom aquarium, you can have almost any tank shape you want, like this gigantic cylindrical aquarium with a lifelike mangrove “growing” out of it. And if you’ve been to the Key West Aquarium Mangrove Exhibit, you’d see that it doesn’t look boxy or artificial at all. Now, you can’t get that with a store-bought aquarium, can you?
4. With custom-made aquariums, you can specify the glass you want to use.
Acrylic or plexiglas is the most common fish tank glass in the market because it’s the cheapest kind. The downside, however, is that it tends to scratch easily.Standard float glass also has a greenish tint and relatively lower clarity. Many custom aquascapers prefer low-iron or “crystal” glass made with silica, which is significantly clearer and has a clean, seamless look to it.
5. Custom fish tanks can be tailored to the requirements of a particular fish you want to take care of, even the hard-to-maintain ones like oscars, bettas, or sharks.
As a novice aquarist, it’s a good idea to hire professional tank builders to create a habitat tailored to help your aquatic pets grow and thrive in a habitat that’s also easy on the eyes. Having a go at it on your own could be risky if it’s your first time, not to mention life-threatening for your livestock.
6. Bespoke aquariums are made to fit exactly the size of the space you want it to occupy.
In the UK, a man had a 4,800-gallon measuring 13ft x 13ft x 7ft that takes up his entire cellar, with an entrance from his bedroom on the floor above. If you think that’s impressive, then imagine the Israeli guy who has a 10,000-gallon reef tank in his living room, big enough for scuba diving. With custom-made aquariums, the size limit is only as big as how much you’re willing to spend.
7. Custom aquariums can be built according to your lifestyle.
Whether you’re a busy professional who simply wants to wind down in front of your beautiful fish tank after a hard day’s work or you’re more of a hands-on aquarist. You can consult with your fish tank builder to have self-cleaning and/or self-regulating systems that are easy to maintain and will keep your livestock healthy and thriving for a long time.
8. A custom aquarium is perfect if you want a built-in installation to occupy an unused or awkward space, like under the stairs or where a fireplace used to be.
Seasoned fish tank builders would agree that the best custom aquariums are those that look like they were “meant to be” in the space they were built in. It’s this intentional, bespoke feel that makes your aquarium look polished, luxurious, and truly unique.
Customization implies variations upon request, while bespoke means that everything begins and ends with an idea specific to the client’s individual wants.
9. Custom-made aquariums are great interior design elements and surefire conversation starters in any home or business establishment.
Imagine the wow-factor of an aquarium that’s also a living room center table. Or, instead of a plain old wall, having a huge fish tank serve as a room divider. To ensure a consistent design aesthetics, have your custom aquarium builders coordinate with your architect or interior stylist in executing your design ideas.
10. With a custom fish tank, you can have the aquarium of your dreams — and you don’t have to do it yourself!
Hiring professionals for the job ensures that your fish tank is tailored to your specifications. But please do listen to your build team when it comes to what can and what can’t be done, especially if you’re a newbie aquarist. Remember too that what you’ll be building isn’t just a decor but a habitat for the living, breathing aquatic creatures that will populate it.
However, creating a beautiful, safe, and enduring aquatic environment is no small feat, so it makes sense to work with a professional team with a proven track record. Creative Coral Design is built on a foundation of 40 years of combined experience in designing and fabricating artificial coral reefs, freshwater habitats, and themed environments. We’ve designed, fabricated, and installed one-of-a-kind custom aquariums and themed environments for numerous clients in residential, commercial, zoos, and seaquariums.
Our team of experts, master craftsmen, and veteran aquarium designers, produce some of the finest coral and reef inserts on the market — at prices that novice and experienced aquarium owners alike will appreciate. Whether your approach is no expense spared, or every dollar scrutinized, we can help you turn your vision into a reality. Connect with us today and let our team get to work on a solution that’s tailor-made for you.