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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm pondering and beginning to plan out my next aquarium. I have one with the traditional driftwood, plants/gravel and it's lovely and doing well. And I appreciate all the crazy naturalistic styles that are popular. But—

I kind of want to do something different. In my head I'm picturing a multitude of small ceramic, wood or clay pots, small china teacups, dishes stacked or mounted at different levels with real plants in them. I'm thinking of going to thrift stores and searching out odd, quirky colorful small containers and making it almost like a china or curio cabinet with live plants and fish.Maybe even having some containers oddly stacked (glued together?) to create verticality, leaving spaces in which the small fish can swim around. Also, I have the idea of small mirrors or other oddball trinkets (not fake fish store castles, FWIW) that could be incorporated. Almost a living art project. I'd likely do a simple black sand bottom just to keep it from getting too scummy looking.

Are there any sites or books with examples like this? Obviously I want to avoid toxic materials, and want the environment to be healthy. I'm just thinking: The in-home aquarium is an artificial space to begin with... why not embrace that idea and make something that doesn't try to imitate some "realistic" underwater ideal?

Has anyone had any experiences doing this? Thanks, and I welcome other thoughts and ideas here. I think this could be a really cool project, and a different way of thinking about tank space.
 

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While in the fish only/cichlid world, I found a number or really unusual ideas for tanks. Some follow the personal interest of the owners. Portions of surfboards or bikes were a couple I remember. Bit difficult to decide where to cut and they did take some special cleaning to get the remains of grease/oil off the bike but with proper care and common sense, it works. Bleach soaks are great for this. Cheap enough to soak a whole bike and wonderfully safe and effective for cleaning. I find we are often limiting ourselves when we follow the normal ruts made by others.
Teacups/dishes, sound like an easy setup compared to some others. I like lots of rock and find limestone to be really easy to find and use. That might leave me using stones for a lot of the decor with decorative cups placed like on shelves?
Your game, your rules!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cool. I keep thinking it could be almost easier to set up a tank like this. It's sort of modular, and if you needed to move or trim something, you could just move the container around. I'm thinking if it is something like a teacup, I could drill a few holes in the bottom and back side with a Dremel tool to let water flow through.
 

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Everytime I see the word teacup in this my mind goes back to something similar I've seen in the past. Cant for the life of me remember where that might've been though. If done well this could be pretty cool! I also recall someone trying to re-create a "natural" look in that they used trash like you might find scattered about a real body of water. Empty glass bottles and stuff like that.
 

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It would be cute if you pump water up into a teapot filled with filter media, position it to pour into a cup just above the waters surface and then overflow into the tank, it would be a teapot HOB. I also think a pocket watch would look neat in a setup like this, but I don't know how you would seal it.
 

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I think that it all comes down to what you want out of the tank. If you want a scape like you describe, go for it.

I feel part of this comes down to what you want the central feature to be. For me this has always been the fish and other livestock being the "star of the show". When you use an unusual scape like your describing, your giving the emphases to the objects you have placed in the tank, rather than the fish. This isn't bad or wrong, just different.
 

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I think it is a cool idea. But my concern would be cleaning. It will be quite a chore to wipe algae off of dishes AND the aquarium walls every couple of weeks. The amount of crud that will fall in and around many such objects will mean extra work for sure. I saw where someone used pyrex glass dishes of different sizes for their plants, and placed them all around the tank. After a month they quit that set up because of the work to keep a clean tank with all that stuff in the way. It looked cool though. But be warned!
 
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