Custom Aquarium Design Guide – FAQ 2022

Are you thinking of getting a custom aquarium with a unique design manufactured? Start with these 6 key factors

  • Location: which location in homes, offices, public spaces, or zoos
  • Material: glass aquariums or acrylic aquariums
  • Shape: cylinder aquariums, bubble aquariums, arch aquariums, bull nose aquariums or any shape imaginable
  • Livestock holding facility: saltwater fish, freshwater fish, and corals
  • Budget
  • Timeline

Here is a list of FAQs to consider:

I would like to get a custom aquarium that is built into a wall. How can this be done?

You should select a local, licensed, and insured contractor of their choice. Your favorite aquarium designer can then work with you, or directly with your contractor, in establishing guidelines for the aquarium support (base stand), canopy and trim options, filtration, and maintenance access dimensions, and lighting/electrical requirements.

What is the difference between a glass aquarium and an acrylic aquarium?

There are several differences between glass aquariums and acrylic aquariums. Glass aquariums are generally less expensive yet they can be quite heavy which makes shipment and aquarium installation cumbersome. Acrylic aquariums are lighter, stronger, have better insulation properties, and can be bent/shaped into various forms making them an ideal choice for custom aquarium applications.

How large or small an aquarium can be created?

There is no size limitation to your aquarium system. A professional aquarium installer can create almost any size and a variety of shapes ranging from smaller in-home/business or research-grade systems to larger commercial applications.

What is aquarium Life Support Systems (LSS)?

Aquarium aquatic creations feature state-of-the-art filtration and lighting systems to ensure healthy, balanced aquatic environments – the key to maintaining the health of your fish, and the value of your investment. Your life support system should be customized to your application, type of inhabitants, animal density, available space and client preferences.

  • Lighting: Complete lighting systems are offered from standard fluorescent, power compact, to metal halide.
  • Water Circulation: A variety of styles and types of pumps are available and designed for proper water circulation and to ensure the proper flow rate of your filtration system.
  • Biological Filtration: Biological filters are designed to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria to remove toxins from your aquatic system. Options include fluidized bed biological filters to wet/dry sump systems.
  • Mechanical Filtration: Canister filters designed to remove free-floating particulate matter from the aquatic system.
  • Chemical Filtration: Chemical canister filters and activated carbon remove dissolved compounds and elements in your aquatic system and help keep your water crystal clear.
  • UV Sterilization: UV sterilizers are types of canisters that house germicidal light bulbs that can kill free-floating bacteria and parasites in your aquarium system and help ensure the health of your inhabitants.
  • Ozonization: This type of filtration is the oxidation of dissolved organics in the aquarium system through the application of ozone.
  • Protein Skimming: A type of foam fractioning that removes dissolved organic compounds in your aquarium’s water.
  • Heating and Cooling: A variety of heaters and chillers (refrigeration units) are offered for optimum temperature control of your aquatic system.

How to decorate my aquarium?

You can select from a variety of aquarium decorations ranging from decorative corals, rocks, and gravels to fiberglass reef forms and synthetic plants. Color schemes can be custom matched to your personal preference and existing home or business decor.

Do not forget to design a complete aquarium lighting system. Configurations are system-specific and vary depending on the size of your aquarium and the type of inhabitants you wish to support (e.g. freshwater/saltwater/ reef systems).

  • Coral and Lava Rock Aquascaping

This is the most popular type of decoration used for saltwater fish aquariums because it is fairly inexpensive and creates a realistic display. Using real coral and lava rock, this type of aquarium decoration features real bleached corals in a variety of colors and textures. Corals are natural and vary in size, color, and shape. The lava rock accents the coral to give the aquarium a more natural appearance. Aquarium coral is usually sold by the case however piece by piece ordering is also available. This is the most realistic coral display of all the aquarium decorations because real corals are used to create the display.

  • Fiberglass Reef Sculptures

These forms are medium-priced and create an attractive rock-like display. Reef Sculptures are fabricated using synthetic materials and are limited in design only by the designers’ imagination. The Reef Sculptures are free-standing and are practical and aesthetically appealing. The sculptures can be utilized to disguise pre-filter boxes (overflows). The sculptures can be made on a PVC frame in sections making them easy for installation and cleaning. The sculptures can also be made in almost any color.

What are some common livestock for USA aquarium?

All of the livestock you select to populate your aquarium must pass a rigorous quarantine process to ensure their health and the health of your aquatic community.

  • Annularis Angel
  • 3-Stripe Damsel
  • Bangai Cardinal
  • Spotted Pufferfish
  • Emperor Snapper
  • Flame Angel
  • Spotted Hawkfish
  • Lemon Damsel
  • Lemonpeel Angel
  • Naso Tang
  • Paddlefin Wrasse
  • Porcupine Pufferfish
  • Squarespot Anthias
  • Sailfin Tang
  • Sebae Clownfish
  • Skunk Clownfish
  • Snowflake Eel
  • Yellow Tang

What are the common aquarium styles?

Our only limit is your imagination. Below are some common styles.


Flat Back Quad

Triangle End

Flat Back Hex


Bow Front

Inverted Bow Front

Double Inverted Bow Front


Double Bullnose


Semi Cylinder

Radius Triangle





Double Bubble

L Shape

Angle L Shape

H Tank

Arch Tank

When communicating your aquarium design concept, some elements should be taken into consideration. These elements, depending on the configuration, affect the overall cost of your aquarium system.

  • Material thickness(determined by aquarium height)
  • Radius(thermoformed in oven)
  • Length(seaming of materials, most aquariums greater than 10′ in length require a vertical bond)

How will I take care of my aquarium system?

Ask your aquarium installer company if they can provide aquarium installation and general maintenance, fish, and supplies – everything needed to provide a beautiful aquatic display that enables you to just sit back, relax and enjoy.

If you choose to maintain your own aquariums. A large variety of reference books/videos and other materials are available to help both the beginner and advanced aquarist understand the essentials necessary to maintaining a healthy aquarium system.

How will I get fish and supplies for my aquarium?

You can choose to personally select fish from reputable dealers in their area, or get aquatic livestock (freshwater/saltwater/invertebrate livestock) shipped directly to you from anywhere in the world.

There are so many different aquarium companies with web sites offering custom aquariums. Which aquarium company should I order my aquarium from?

When constructed under the highest quality standards and properly maintained, your piece of “living art” will remain a part of your home or business for many years to come. To ensure this, there are many factors that you should consider :

  • Although price is clearly important, you should also choose an aquarium company that has a proven track record of providing quality aquarium systems and an aquarium company that will stand behind the products and services they provide.
  • The aquarium company should be a full time business with a physical retail location that you can visit or call anytime during working hours.
  • The aquarium company you choose should have proven experience and they should be able to provide you with references and photographs of their work.
  • Although many web based aquarium companies, which operate out of a home or garage, provide fine products, they often do not carry insurance, guarantees or customer support for the aquarium products they provide – all of which are important components insuring customer satisfaction and years of enjoyment.

How can I get an aquarium system sent to me?

Many large custom aquarium design companies can freight your aquarium to almost anywhere in the world. International aquarium shipments vary depending on location. Please ask your sales representative for freight rates to your location.

==> More useful information from your favorite aquarium hobby website.

Further Reading

Are You Interested In Any Of These Popular Aquarium Accessories?
(Limited Supply Again, Click The Images To Check Current Availability.)

Read These For Your Aquatic Friends:

👉 Trending

👉 Species Introduction

👉 Aquarium Guide

👉 Water Heating Products And Info

👉 Water Pump Products And Info

👉 Aquarium Filter And Info

👉 Turtle Guides

👉 Water Plants

👉 Fresh Water Aquarium Guides

👉 Marine Aquarium Guides

👉 Other Essential Products

Recent Posts