Why does nearly every home aquarium have a simple round or rectangular design? As with chairs and lamps, aquariums are furnishings that can take on a variety of styles and shapes. Here are nine cool expamples:
Perhaps no freestanding aquarium has as high a head-turning quotient as the Silverfish from the France-based Octopus Studios design company.
The Silverfish’s most striking design feature is obvious from the photo to the right—multiple bulbous fish tanks interconnected by water-filled tubes allowing fish to swim freely around the entire system. Taken together this aquarium looks like a large model of some molecular structure.
But here’s what’s most cool about the Silverfish: Every aquarium is constructed by hand. Octopus will not only install museum-quality heating and filtration systems but also incorporate personalized silk plants and lighting. Don’t like any of the standard Silverfish stands? Provide the company specifications for your own.
If you have to ask the price you can’t afford it.
Zero Edge aquariums come in a variety of sizes and models but here’s what they have in common: They have no lid.
Instead, a Zero Edge is placed within a customized basin. As water overflows the aquarium it drops down along the side into the basin, which then channels the water through a filter to be recycled back into the aquarium.
The whole process is very quiet. And because this filter system produces none of the splashing or bubbles found in standard aquariums the open surface of the aquarium is glass-clear. Further, the Zero Edge has no visible hoses or bulkheads; it’s a pure fish 360-degree fish viewing experience.
The Zero Edge’s open-top design does create it’s own maintenance issues. Water evaporates from a Zero Edge faster than a regular aquarium. Fish jumping out of the aquarium is generally not a problem. Curious cats on the other hand . . .
If you are attracted to the idea of an aquarium that hides the cords, tubes and pumps —but can’t afford a pricey Zero Edge (above)—then the classy high-design aquariums by Fluval are ideal.
All the interworkings of the Fluval are contained within a classy pewter housing at the base of the aquarium. That leaves the remainder of the aquarium for pure fish viewing. A wonderful value at only around US$130.
biOrb Life Aquarium
Our gadget blog recently reviewed the Philips HF3490 iPod clock radio featuring an LED lamp that mimics natural sunlight changes throughout the course of a day. The oddly-capitalized biOrb is the aquarium equivalent of that.
BiOrb Life Aquariums are available in three sizes and three colors. Each comes with an LED light that’s set to a 24-hour timer and that’ll will gradually brighten and dim in the course of the day. It will also gradually change colors, letting off a more reddish hue at high noon and a blueish moonlight-like ambience around midnight.
The changing “natural light” of the biOrb is supposedly healthier and more pleasant for the fish. We can’t vouch for that. But we do know that it is pleasant for humans. The biOrb is our favorite bedside aquarium and idea for rooms that get little natural light. Available at Amazon.
Aqua Square Coffee Table Aquarium
Now we come to the aquariums-as-furniture section of this post.
First up: the Aqua Square Coffee Table by Midwest Tropical. This 25-gallon tank is illuminated from below, creating quite the striking effect in a darkened room. It’s covered by a glass table top that’s 36 inches (91cm) square.
The largest practical issue with setting up an Aqua Square is the power cord. You don’t want to simply run a cord exposed along the floor, so either you need to get a cord cover (that might be unsightly) or somehow conceal the cord with a rug.
Surprisingly, the aquarium requires minimal maintenance. The same can not be said for keeping this all-glass coffee table free of fingerprints.
Aquarium Sink & Toilet
It isn’t unusual for deceased fish to be flushed down a toilet. But how about living fish swimming around your toilet tank? That’s what the Fish ‘N’ Flush appears to be. In fact, this aquarium is comprised of two tanks: a forward 2.2 gallon (8.3 liter) front tank for the fish and a rear tank with water that’s used for flushing. Add to that a dolphin see-through toilet seat for an extra piscine touch.
If you are a toilet purist (and Spot Cool Stuff admits to not wanting our toilets to double as aquariums, or as unusually themed restaurants, or as anything else) then consider a bathroom sink aquarium—very pricey at over US$6,000 but very cool looking. LED backlighting built into the base provides your fish with an excellent view of you brushing your teeth. Openings to the aquarium are covered with lids that double as soap dishes.
On The Edge Wall Aquarium
Even if your goal isn’t world domination you can appreciate the look of an On The Edge Wall Aquarium. These framed aquariums are designed to be flush with a wall, making a room appear to have a window with a view out upon an underwater world. On The Edge uses glass four times stronger than typical that typical aquarium glass. So it won’t break—until the good guys bust into your office and shoot at it.
Unlike all the other aquariums on this list, the Fish Highway is not available for retail sale; the aquariums depicted in the photos on this post was custom build. But fish enthusiasts have been constructing tubes for fish to swim in since at least 1877 when the first patent for a sort of Fish Highway was filed in the United States.
Key to designing your own Fish Highway is making the tubing completely air tight. Once that’s done, submerge one end of the tube in a tank of water and use a vacuum cleaner to suck air out of the tube’s other end. The suction created will cause water to flow through the tube. Once the tube is full of water submerge the tube’s other end in the second tank; the water levels in the two tanks will automatically reach an equilibrium. (You can see how this works on a much smaller scale using a straw and two water glasses).
The Fish Highway is not the cleaning headache it may first appear to be. The water, which continuously flows through the tubing, is filtered in the same way the fish tank water is; cleaning magnets remove the algae. The larger issue is constructing a tubing system that can withstand the stress placed upon it by the weight of the water, the flow of the fish and people bumping into it. If your Fish Highway is not strong and firmly secured you’ll soon find yourself in a wet room having sushi for dinner.
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