Are you thinking of getting an aquarium for your home or office but want something that will wow your family or guests? Or perhaps you want to makeover your existing tank to give it a unique character?
Whether your goal is to build a new tank or upgrade one, there is surely one design that will fit your taste. However, if you want to make your aquarium something different from the usual ocean-inspired scenario, why not consider a prehistoric theme?
This refreshing design not only gives your tank a distinct look but also allows you to relive a portion of history in an underwater setting. This won’t be about some cavemen or ice age scene, though.
‘Prehistoric’ in this article means the glorious period when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Think Mesozoic, or if you’re more specific, the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. Imagine gentle giants amid towering trees or a wild predator chase with an erupting volcano in the background.
Think you can tweak your tank to recreate a scene from these periods or something from a well-known favorite dinosaur theme park or movie? Well, it takes more than some stick-on background to give your aquarium a prehistoric vibe.
Read on for some suggestions on how you can create an authentic prehistoric-themed aquarium even newbies can ace.
Prehistoric Tank In The Making
Just like any other setup, a prehistoric-themed aquarium requires some effort and creativity on your part. After all, designing a tank is an art that balances form and function for you and your fish.
The following are some suggestions for you to nail your dinosaur-inspired marine ecosystem:
1. Do Your Research
Before you get too excited about building your tank, make sure you know everything about your chosen design. There are several ways you can enrich your dinosaur knowledge. If documentaries bore you to death, you can opt for a movie marathon or browse some sites on the web. Besides learning about land-based dinosaurs, you can also discover more about marine monsters that dominated the primeval seas.
Once you’re done, you’ll also need to learn which fish to put into your tank. While you can choose just about any fish, it’s best to look for species that trace their roots back to the dinosaur era.
Some well-known aquarium fishes, such as Gourami and Cichlids, descend from the fish order Perciformes, which appeared during the late Cretaceous period. Tetras make good fishes for prehistoric-themed aquariums as well as they come from the order Characiformes, which also appeared during the same period.
Aside from knowing their dinosaur-related ancestry, you’ll also need to familiarize yourself with the characteristics of your chosen fish. Learn about their feeding habits and other needs to ensure they don’t die as the dinosaurs did.
Fish aren’t the only ones who lived together with prehistoric reptiles. Snails and shrimps also live during or even earlier than some dinosaurs. You can also add one or two to keep your tank clean but more so to sustain your desired prehistoric aquarium theme.
2. Prep Your Tank
Now that you have an idea of what kinds of fish can make your prehistoric-themed aquarium legit, it’s time to prepare your tank. Any tank will do, although 10 gallons would be ideal.
As for tank setup, you can choose a complete kit to shorten the assembly time or go DIY. Just make sure to have all the essentials such as lights, filters, water heater, and water pump.
Lights can help your fish discern the difference between day and night, especially if you don’t have enough natural light in your room. Filters clean the water in your aquarium while pumps help with air and water circulation. You can also add some air stones to ensure your tank has enough oxygen.
Having all this equipment has several advantages. For one, these will ensure that your fish will have a happy time living in your tank. They also ensure that your tank is well-lit and balanced so you can enjoy your dinosaur-inspired aquarium for a long time.
3. Bring In The Dino Décor
Here comes the most exciting part of your prehistoric aquarium design. Your aquarium wouldn’t be complete if you don’t have accessories that scream dinosaurs. Yet before you head out to shop, read on for some décor selection tips.
As for your design, you can either select a life-like underwater depiction of this glorious era or choose to depict their tragic end. If you prefer the former, dinosaur figures, hatchlings, and eggs make a good choice. You can also add in a volcano and some greenery for a theme park effect.
If you’re more of the skull and skeletons type, fossil-like ornaments can make your tank look like an underwater excavation site. You can choose from figures like a Triceratops skull or another fossil as the focal point of your aquascape. Throw in some rocks or wood for added effect.
Substrates are also good options to keep larger rocks from scraping your aquarium floor. If you want something fancy, you can also add a cave structure. Add in a stick-on dinosaur background and you’re all set!
A pro-tip when choosing dinosaur décor: pick any shade but green and opt for easy-to-clean accessories. Algae can quickly grow on your décor, so it’s best to spot them before things turn nasty for your tank. When it comes to cleaning, never wash any of the decorations with soap or detergent. Bleach is also a no-no as this contains chemicals that can harm your fish.
Relive The Glory
Now that you have everything for your prehistoric theme, it’s time to assemble them and make them into one amazing tank. Start by assembling your tank equipment. Place air filters in discreet locations so your design will stand out.
Next comes your layout. It’s best to add everything to your tank first before filling it with water. This way you can still do some modifications without turning the water all blurry. Take a few steps back and check if your design is balanced well.
You’ll need to wait for at least 20 hours before adding your fish. Use this time to check your decorations and make some adjustments. When you add fish, balance it with a small clean-up crew to maintain a good aquatic environment. You can combine one of the fish species mentioned above along with one or two shrimps and snails.
Dinosaurs Not Dead
These simple tips will help you design a one-of-kind aquarium for your home or office. A prehistoric-themed aquarium not only gives you something that looks straight out of the movies or some excavation site, but also the chance to learn more about living and extinct wildlife. What’s more, you get to showcase your knowledge through a uniquely designed marine ecosystem.