Sunday, April 15, 2007

The open top aquarium

A little over a year ago, I saw pictures of an open top aquarium setup in a fish store in Houston and found it really interesting. I had also read about people who grew terrestrial plants around their aquarium.
TIP: Often, terrestrial plants are sold for aquarium use, especially plants from bog type areas, but these are not designed to be grown under water. This causes the plants to die after a few months and decompose and contaminate the water. Always research plants you buy before adding them to your aquarium. Google can help you find "blacklists" of plants frequently sold for aquariums that are not appropriate. I've seen even prestigious stores sell them at times (perhaps unintentially).
I envisioned growing plants on a platform slightly above and behind the aquarium and Shane joined me in this vision. We originally bought a 72g bowfront tank to do it. But I wanted a cool background and there were some really neat imitation ones [1], [2] but unfortunately they're made overseas and rarely get imported here. There are some DIY options [3], but they are labor intensive and not as realistic looking. Regardless, backgrounds would take up a lot of depth and the bowfront wasn't very deep to begin with. During the recent yearly blow-out sale at one of our local aquarium stores, we used that line of reasoning to justify the purchase of a 215g tank to take the place of the bowfront for this project. The bowfront remains, but will become a different aquarium at some point in the future.

I was able to find the photo below of an aquarium that is very much like the vision I have for the 215g. Ours will be much larger and I want to avoid having the lights so close to the water so it's easier to view. This site will chronicle the build of the 215g and include other aquarium related things.

Photo Source