11 great fishrooms to inspire you

by Owen James

Image: AlfandAnita

What fishkeeper wouldn’t want their own aquarium fishroom? After one aquarium becomes two, and then two become five, it gets harder and harder to convince your parents / wife / husband / self that you can really justify another fish tank in your living room or bedroom. Not without buying flippers and a snorkel mask, anyway.

Some of the advantages of having your own fishroom include:

  • Easier maintenance, since all your tanks are in one place
  • Cheaper to heat, and potentially cheaper to light
  • Large numbers of small tropical tanks can be run off single air blowers
  • Option to create centralised filtration systems, where appropriate
  • Potential to install dedicated plumping, such as a sink and drain
  • No worries about noise, heat, or spilling water on to the carpet
  • Oh yes, you can keep more fish!

There are disadvantages of building a fishroom, too:

  • You need to have either a spare room, or the space to build a dedicated extension or free-standing structure such as a shed
  • It’s going to be expensive (though you can make some savings – instead of multiple fancy aquarium hoods and stands which you’d need to buy if you had 6-7 individual tanks, for instance, you can build a rack system from timber)
  • You might not like all your fishtanks being tucked away out of sight (but unless you live on your own you might not have a choice)
  • You’re going to have to deal with a lot of damp
  • There may be an increased risk of disease spreading, which you need to guard against by keeping individual nets for different tanks separate, or by sterilising them between tanks, and so on

All these problems can be overcome with careful planning, which we’ll look at in a future article on AquaDaily.

Inspiring fishrooms on the Internet

To further whet your appetite, we’ve tracked down some of the best fishrooms on the web, all owned by individual hobbyists, together with links to their websites. Enjoy!

1. Rhonda Wilson’s planted tank and livebearer fishroom

We're green with envy at Rhonda's amazing fishroom

We're green with envy at Rhonda's amazing fishroom

Rhonda is well-known for her Tropical Fish Hobbyist articles extolling the virtues of natural aquariums that are filtered by plants. She has over 70 tanks in her fishroom, each glowing like an emerald, thanks to all the vegetation. Her website contains lots of practical advice on setting up your own fishroom. (Learn more about Rhonda’s planted aquaria fishroom.)

2. Ted Judy’s tropical fishroom

Neater than most aquarium stores

Neater than most aquarium stores

Ted rebuilt his entire fishroom, installing an automatic water-change system. You can learn about building your own fishroom racking system on his site. He also profiles fellow aquarist’s fishrooms.

3. Kveetka’s display-based fishroom

Most fishrooms are pretty functional affairs, but YouTube poster Kveetka’s tanks would grace any living room. Two new smaller tanks have been added to the line-up since the video was posted – a 10-gallon cherry shrimp tank, and a 4-gallon tank squeezed in beside the filter.

4. Shene’s killifish room

Your fishroom, your rules

Your fishroom, your rules

Bill Shenefelt has been keeping tropical fish for 50 years, and his primary love has always been killies. As you can see, his fishrooms (he has three) aren’t the most tidy you’ll come across, but the fish are happy, going by the stunning pictures on his website. And function comes first with, for instance, R.O. water supplies built-in. You’ll find floorplans to the fishroom on his website, as well as killifish for sale.

5. Jim Lynch’s cichlid room

Jim made the aquarium stands himself

Jim made the aquarium stands himself

All the racks in Jim’s fishroom are made from timber. He has 20 tanks in total, ranging from 180-gallons down to a tiny 3.5-gallons, and he owns dozens of cichlids. In total, Jim has nearly 1,000 gallons of water in his house, plus a further 2,500 gallons in an outdoor pond. Read more on his Cichlid Room website.

6. Ste1200’s shed-to-fishroom conversion

When YouTube user ste1200 found fishkeeping was taking over the house, there was only one place to go – into the shed! The shed houses several rows of tanks – ten 18″x12″x12″ (35-litre) tanks on the bottom and middle rows, and five smaller 16″x8″x8″ (20-litre) tanks on the top. They are mainly devoted to breeding dwarf cichlids, danios, barbs and tetras.

7. Coral frag nursery in Portugal

Few people can afford to keep a marine-based fishroom; one reef tank is often pricey enough, and after spending all that money who wants to hide the tank in a garage? But Machado De Sousa is no ordinary aquarist. The image above hardly gives an insight into the incredible coral frag system he’s developed – so press play to watch and drool!

8. raycam01’s steel girder rack-based fishroom

42-year-old Australian YouTube poster raycam01 has several big aquariums in his fishroom garage, all mounted on a metal racking system. The video is a bit shaky, but there are some nice tidbits of information on aspects such as the plumbing of the aquariums, which are filtered via a sump. He specialises in African cichlids. The room was incomplete when the video was posted, which gives you an idea of all the work that goes into such a project.

9. Baker’s Betta bunkhouse

This fishroom is a skyscraper for bettas

This fishroom is a skyscraper for bettas

Specially created to keep and breed bettas, this fishroom won’t be too everybody’s tastes. The tanks – boxes, really – are housed on five racks, each holding 27 of the 1/3 gallon-sized containers. So function is being put before aesthetics here. But there’s no doubt John ‘Bob’ Baker knows his bettas, and his site will be instructive to fellow betta fans.

10. George J. Reclos’s 10-tank fishroom

Imagine having ten new aquariums!

Imagine having ten new aquariums!

George’s fishroom dimensions are a bit more realistic for most of us. Despite holding just ten 112-litre tanks in total, George says the room has made a big difference to his fishkeeping hobby:

Needless to say, I would prefer to have the kind of fishroom I read about in the magazines or the fishy groups I attend. Those 175 tanks reported by a fellow hobbyist still make me dream. However, even ten tanks are better than nothing and they offer me the kind of versatility I never had before, while their maintenance is not adding too much in my week schedule.

You’ll find some contruction details on George’s fishroom page, as well as his stocking plans.

11. Alf and Anita’s 160-tank fishhouse

If you can't give your fish a room, how about the hall?

If you can't give your fish a room, how about the hall?

The only thing better than a fishroom? A partner who is as crazy about fish as you are. Killiefish fans Alf and Anita of Scandanavia have 160 fish tanks scattered throughout their house. Most are the concentrated in their hall-based fishroom, but they’ve also tanks in bedroom, their kitchen, and all over the house. Their fishroom information also details several of their stunning display tanks.

Updates (new fishrooms I discover along the way)

Do you know of other fishrooms on the web? Let us know (with a link please) in the comments below!

Check out Katy's Tropical Fish Guide for more aquarium info.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

RickieB 08.14.08 at 10:45 pm

Here’s a neat one you might want to look at:


Actually I don’t think he’s made the room yet, it’s still a work in progress. But with all those tanks in one room most of us would call it a fish room most likely.

Neat blog, but please post more regularly :)

Patrick D. Neary 05.31.12 at 1:33 am

If there were one fishroom I could imitate, it would be Dave Stewarts’ fishroom. I with there were more pictures of the room itself, but having been in it and seeing how he has everything set up, from the automatic water change system to every tank being a planted tank to RO and tap water lines available for every tank, this is the room I want to build one day. It is amazing.

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