Ideas for domestic aquariums

Aquariums built into the internal architecture of a home are becoming an original and unexpected feature in many homes in the UK

fish tank with fish
Fish tank
(Image credit: TBC)

According to statistics indoor fish are the most popular choice of pet for Brits, representing 9% of the total pet population - that's an estimated population of 19.9 million fish. It's not hard to see why either - fish are easy to keep, especially in rented accomodation, and acquarium technology has advanced considerably since the humble goldfish bowl.

No longer exclusive to the underground lair of a plotting Bond villain, showpiece fish tanks are now more popular than ever with celebrities and high net worth householders. Sometimes costing in excess of £50,000, these watery habitats have been installed in the homes of the Beckhams and Madonna among others.

Daniela Iurascu of Aquarium Architecture explains, "Aquariums have changed considerably over the last five to ten years and the technology nowadays allows us to create striking displays and keep in a home aquarium some of the most amazing aquatic creatures. Bespoke aquariums are a very popular feature and are a great way of integrating nature into home."

white and natural oak floor walls of pale hallway and staircase

(Image credit: TBC)

Here an aquarium has been back lit making it the sole focus in the walls of a pale hallway.

kitchen with fish tank wood panels island breakfast bar

(Image credit: TBC)

In this kitchen a fish tank is inlaid into the wood panels adding a dynamic focal point for diners at the island breakfast bar. Daniela explains about the hidden access points, "The tank is often designed to look embedded in the wall but there is access above and below it in order for us to maintain it. If the tank is very large sometimes we will only require access from above and we will have a separate filtration room for the equipment that is normally stored below. We keep all the equipment hidden so that you only have the visual of the aquascape."

living room with sofa set with cushions staircase and fish tank with fish

(Image credit: TBC)

This tank in this living room adds to the feeling of spaciousness
connecting the two spaces and adding a sense of fluidity to the

Daniela advises that the installation of the tank itself should only take a day but the full process can take between one to 12 weeks and sometimes even more based on the size of the aquarium and the property. Space is one of the biggest issues, "Many people don't realise that depending on the type of aquarium, almost the same amount of space is required for filtration as is taken up by the aquarium itself" she adds.

Typically a hardscape freshwater aquarium requires maintenance once a month, while a reef aquarium requires maintenance weekly. Daily tasks like feeding the fish and wiping the glass are very straightforward, but even these can be automated. "Aquarium technology has come a long way in the past 15 years, which has made previously impossible to keep species of corals and fish a relatively straightforward task" Daniela concludes.

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Ginevra Benedetti
Deputy Editor (Print)

Ginevra Benedetti has been the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home magazine since 2021. With a career in magazines spanning nearly twenty years, she has worked for the majority of the UK’s interiors magazines, both as staff and as a freelancer. She first joined the Ideal Home team in 2011, initially as the Deputy Decorating Editor and has never left! She currently oversees the publication of the brand’s magazine each month, from planning through to publication, editing, writing or commissioning the majority of the content.