The Aquarium As Decoration

i vividly recall the visit one Saturday of a gentleman of about 50, accompanied by a younger man, whom I later learned was both the gentleman s son and the person responsible for the interior design work on his father's residence. Sizing up the situation and instinctively zeroing in on the manager of the shop as his target, the older man strode right up to me. I was, at that moment, standing in front of our magnificent 135-gallon reef display tank. It had only recently received maintenance and the addition of some new specimens, and it looked marvelous that day. "How much to duplicate this in my living room?" he inquired. I told him. He didnt blink. "Willyou come and maintain it for me?" Of course we could arrange for that. Dad did all the talking, only occasionally engaging in a whispered consultation with Son. He wanted this fish, that coral, and those anemones. He allowed a flicker of annoyance to show in his face when I suggested that predators and prey might not fare well in the same tank together. And at least one Purple Tang was a requirement, because the aquarium had to match the purple living room drapes. Accordingly, we structured the fish population around Purple Tangs.

Eventually, a beautiful reef tank was installed in this

Aquarium Aquarium Designe

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The reef aquarium as architectural focal point: oak cabinetry housing a 270-gallon glass system created by Exotic Aquaria.

man's splendid mountain retreat. Everything, from the custom-built filtration and metal halide lighting systems enclosed in hardwood cabinets (done by the family carpenter) was of first-class quality. But it proved to be a disappointment. No one in the family wanted to take responsibility or even get their hands wet. Between weekly cleanings by the maintenance service, algae grew on the glass. Feeding the fish, once the owners learned that their diet must consist of more than flake foods tossed in every few days, became a hassle. There were repeated requests to rearrange the live rock to make the tank look "more artistic." The system was never allowed to develop its potential.

Less than two years later, it was all redone. The marine system was removed and a freshwater aquarium with plastic plants now occupies the space, augmenting a panoramic view of the Smoky Mountains. Why? Because the point in having the aquarium for this family was not to own a living reef, but rather to have a colorful, low-maintenance decoration for their living room. When it became apparent that the aquarium would require not only regular visits from the maintenance person, but also a degree of attention — and understanding — from its owners, the aquarium became less appealing, and, of course, considerable money was wasted.

My advice for readers of this book, then, is to ask yourself if you are looking solely for a decoration. While a nat-

ural marine aquarium can enhance any home, if your main reliable system is needed. The natural approach described interest is in the decorative aspect, I strongly urge you to hire here satisfies that need. As an added benefit, including many a competent business to carry out the installation and main- elements in one ecosystem stimulates other avenues of in-

tenance. Be prepared to pay a handsome weekly, biweekly, or terest, from chemistry to fluid mechanics to nutrition, that a monthly fee for this service.

child might want to explore. Contrary to popular belief, a

There is an old saying, "If you can't spend money, you young persons first tank need not be freshwater; there are a must spend time." Most aquarists, of course, fully intend to growing number of young aquarists in the marine aquar-

care for their own aquariums, but it is vital to recognize the ium hobby who started in with saltwater and have never commitment that this represents and to plan for it. Unde- owned a guppy or goldfish, niably, a natural marine aquarium can be a spectacular fo-

Diy, a natural marine aquarium can De a spectacular rc point for any room. The degree to which your efforts i caring for it are rewarded will be in large measure dictated

The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The word aquarium originates from the ancient Latin language, aqua meaning water and the suffix rium meaning place or building. Aquariums are beautiful and look good anywhere! Home aquariums are becoming more and more popular, it is a hobby that many people are flocking too and fish shops are on the rise. Fish are generally easy to keep although do they need quite a bit of attention. Puppies and kittens were the typical pet but now fish are becoming more and more frequent in house holds. In recent years fish shops have noticed a great increase in the rise of people wanting to purchase aquariums and fish, the boom has been great for local shops as the fish industry hasnt been such a great industry before now.

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