You don’t have to be a kid to get excited about creating a themed aquarium, but how do you come up with a unique motif and design a cool fish tank setup to bring it to life? Let’s take a look at 15 aquariums and examine how a few coordinating design elements can really bring your fish tank themes together!
15 Creative and Exciting Aquarium Themes
The good news is that it’s not difficult to create an impressive themed aquarium and you don’t have to incorporate your chosen theme into every element of your tank design. In fact, a few simple decorations are often all you need to emphasize a theme without going overboard or striking a garish note.
The key to designing a unique themed tank is to incorporate your motif into two or three elements of your setup. You can further emphasize your theme with the right soil and plant colors. The three easiest ways to spice up an aquarium theme are:
- Attaching a custom printed aquarium theme or background to the tank.
- Using some themes fish tank decorations or toys inside the aquarium.
- Starting with a pre-made themed aquarium setup that includes branded elements like a tank, hood, substrate, and/or decor.
Disney Fish Tank Themes
It probably comes as no surprise that some of the most popular topics center around Disney movies and cartoons. It’s not just kids who find these tanks irresistible, as many adults still love their childhood Disney too! Given the large number of characters, it’s not difficult to create an amazing and unique Disney themed tank!
One of the easiest ways to create a small fish tank for your child is to purchase setups with built-in bottoms and tank covers. as in the Frozen and two Disney classic examples below. But you can also start with a standard sized fish tank and use plastic models, stickers and/or colored substrate to make your theme stand out!
2. Classic Disney #1
3. Classic Disney #2
4. Little Mermaid
One way to design really girly fish tanks is by using some toys or models to decorate a pink or purple substrate, like in this Little Mermaid themed tank. It’s amazing how just adding Ariel and Ursula to a tank makes the subject pop, especially against the vivid pink gravel! Personally, I would also add some sparkly or glitter-based elements to this one as well, to up the girly factor.
5. Finding Nemo
You also don’t have to stick to a straight movie theme, and you can incorporate Disney characters from various cartoons if you prefer. In this example, the Finding Nemo fish tank decor and stickers are used along with some Little Mermaid elements (see ya, Sebastian!) to create a complete Disney Ocean theme.
Spongebob themed aquariums
«Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?» If you can sing along with the choir, maybe you’d be interested in one of these three SpongeBob SquarePants-themed aquariums?
6. Sponge Bob
When space inside a small tank is at a premium, it makes a lot of sense to emphasize your theme through exterior methods rather than using a lot of branding on the interior. A simple Spongebob fish tank background can bring your nano tank theme to life without adding clutter or taking up the space you need for your pet fish!
7. Bikini bottom models
For larger tanks, consider recreating the town of Bikini Bottom with models of the character’s distinctive homes and businesses. You could use the famous pineapple or the Krusty Krab, along with Patrick and Squidward’s houses! Different colored substrates are a great way to create paths and other city effects as well.
8. Spongebob Tank with Waterscape
There’s no reason why you can’t design an aquatic-themed tank, like this beautiful and rather subtle example. Most of the hardscape is made up of generic rocks and gravel, but a couple of key themed decorations make the SpongeBob tie-in clear. I really love the way the delicate aquatic plants resemble terrestrial grass in this serene design.
Zen Fish Tank Themes
Meditative or Zen-themed aquariums are usually designed to create a relaxing or contemplative feeling when you look at them. This broad theme can cover a wide range, from densely landscaped gardens to small tanks with a central statue of Buddha or the Ying-Yang symbol.
9. Simple Buddha Statue
10. Zen Garden Waterscape
My favorite Zen-style aquariums are designed around aquascapes (living plants) and hardscape elements like rocks, sticks, and branches to create a harmonious atmosphere within the tank. Zen aquariums may contain some fish or invertebrates for algae control, but the main focus is often on plants and decoration rather than animals. These styles can be expensive to set up and require a lot of maintenance.
11. Zen Backgrounds
Using a Zen-themed background like this one can add depth to your aquarium and make it look like it extends far beyond the back of your tank. These backdrops also help draw attention to anything that extends above or outside of your aquarium, such as branches or flowering aquatic plants above the water.
Other Ideas for Aquarium Themes
You’re also not limited to Disney, SpongeBob or Zen themes! You can choose a theme based on your favorite movie or novel (Harry Potter, anyone?), choose a theme from a comic book series, or even base your theme on your favorite video game.
12. Spooky or Haunted Aquarium Theme
I love the intense creepiness of this Enchanted Forest theme. The thick, bare branches extending from the top of the tank against the pale, moonlit background are unbelievably creepy! A few dark rocks and some gravel substrate complete this simple theme and bring it together into a very impressive aquarium.
13. Glow In The Dark Ocean Reef Theme
If you enjoy the look of things that glow in the dark, why not design a Glow -themed tank? There are hundreds of unique glow in the dark fish tank decorations and you can even buy special brand GloFish that glow under your blue light or moonlight! This underwater reef theme is taken further with glowing plastic anemones, jellyfish and substrate.
14. Shiny Space or Galaxy Theme
The sky is the limit when it comes to luminous tank designs, so why not break out of our atmosphere and create a space-themed aquarium? There’s no shortage of cool ideas, from a brilliant Marvin the Martian or another classic cartoon character to the cows and aliens from South Park.
15. Video Game Theme
Video games are a very popular and creative option for designing a theme. You could choose a classic game from your childhood, like this tank based on Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers game. Add in some obvious game elements like the easily recognizable green pipes, cloud faces, and bricks, and you have a masterpiece for your fandom! Consider a Spyro the Dragon theme, or go modern with a Witcher or Skyrim themed aquarium!
As you can see, themed aquarium decorations can be simple or quite complex. There are many ways to bring your theme to life within your tank, from printing custom backgrounds to the creative use of models, toys, and other decorative items like plastic and live plants. Do you have a themed tank? Share it with us below or on our social media pages!