The Age of Aquariums Adding a Fish Tank to Your Living Space

New York City has always been a sometimes hectic, stressful place to live and work, and now - perhaps more than ever - New Yorkers can use all the tranquility they can get. Short-term fixes like day spas and weekends at the shore can help, but for a more lasting remedy for the stress and clamor of day-to-day life in a white-knuckled city, maybe you should consider"¦fish.

Yes, fish. Not as in spring rolls and sashimi at Tao, but as in aquariums full of sparkly, darting aquatic critters. Whether in your own home or in your building's common areas, a softly bubbling aquarium can satisfy you and your fellow residents' need for soothing, life-affirming design elements in our tightly wound times. Maybe it's the exotic touch of nature that comes with aquariums, or maybe it's just that everyone likes to watch pretty fishies swimming in hypnotic swirls; whatever the explanation, a luminous tank full of living jewels is fast becoming the hallmark of well-appointed spaces across New York, and residential buildings are jumping in as well.

A Splashy Entrance

As far as lobbies go, few things can match a shimmering slice of marine life for making an impression. Want to create an automatic aura of calm? Voila. Want to connote opulence and status without being ostentatious? Done. An aquarium can lend an otherworldly feel to even the most banal surroundings. For a lobby that lacks character, you couldn't pick a better makeover idea; for one that already has some style, a tank might be the crowning touch. But whatever your space is like now, an aquarium is a great investment sure to make residents, guests and potential buyers swoon the moment they walk through the door.

Best of all, an aquarium is an easy and inexpensive way to upgrade your building. Ready to take the plunge? Just follow these simple guidelines, and you'll be well on your way to underwater bliss.

Getting Your Feet Wet

Before you start planning, the first question to consider is whether your lobby or common area can accommodate an aquarium. According to Joe Caparatta of New York Aquarium Service, Inc.,a company that installs and maintains high-end aquariums, the first issue is the load-bearing capacity of your floors. "Water is heavy stuff - about 8.2 pounds per gallon, so you have to make sure your floors can take it," he advises. You may want to consult an engineer if you're getting a large tank. Next, consider light requirements. Too much sunlight will cause algae blooms, says Caparatta, so you need a shady location where you can control the amount of light that gets in. And lastly, fish are highly vulnerable to rapid fluctuations in temperature, so you'll want to pick a stable spot away from doorways and other drafts.


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  • Caparatta is the the Da Vinci of saltwater reef aquariums. If you speak fish language and have an intellectual conversation with the man he will leave you in awe and amazement. I was at the Brooklyn aquarium society meeting and heard his lecture on unique corals and keeping them and it was an amazing expierence..... The man clearly knows his trade
  • this was useful because i'm doing a project for school. its "my dream room" and i have $15,000 to spend. this gave me the prices i needed and i now know that i can't turn my walls and maybe floor into a saltwater aquarium. thank you! :D