Part of the beauty of aquariums of all sorts is that they are open to interpretation and inspiration from any number of angles. We’ve seen Oliver Knott’s Hallelujah Mountains with floating aquascape elements, Wesley Vreeswijk meticulous coral arrangements, and nano reef aquariums are just begging to be customized in a myriad of ways. Minimal aquascapes are also a thing, we planted our own flag in the live sand over nine years ago with our EcoReef Zero concept coral tank but a new exhibit at the Sumida Aquarium takes this style to a whole new level.
This assortment of half a dozen ultra clear glass boxes feature an abstract, 3D printed structure paired only with one type of marine fish or invertebrate, and we believe these tanks turned into something really special. The tanks are all kept clean with an innocuous corner internal filter and probably a lot of hand wiping of near-daily accumulation of diatoms, but dang are these tanks hyper photogenic!
The abstract structures merge seamlessly with a bottom plate so that each tank is a feature of just one type of fish, and a miniature sculpture to highlight and exalt their unique particularities. The seahorse are paired with a few interlocking rings, the blennies are provided with a structure punctuated by a number of different holes and our favorite, the longnose hawkfish is provided with a number of elevated saddle-like structures – perfect for the perching Oxycirrhites typus.
This sort of pared down aquarium exhibit is awesome at making viewers focus on the spotlight animal and while it might initially be a great conversation starter, it would be rather plain to watch everyday in a home aquarium setting. Nevertheless, this interesting exhibit from the Sumida Aquarium is a startling contrast to the reef tanks packed wall to wall with frags and corals, and there is certainly a lot of room for aquarists to explore the creative middle ground between these two extremes.