12 best designs for your small aquarium set up

Having an aquarium is always interesting. The water element and the sound of the water filter can create a calming atmosphere in the room. In another way, we all know that to have an aquarium, you should spend a lot of money. There are some things that you should prepare not only the tank and the fish. You should also consider the filter, lighting, decoration, and even the plants if you want to make the aquarium to be seen more lively. It’s not a cheap project.

However, there is always a way to deal with the difficulties. You can have your first aquarium with a small tank that will be surely cheaper than the big one. It is true that the small aquarium will be less impressive than the big one but trust me it could be proper as well. Anyway, it might be a little bit difficult to deal with the small aquarium because the filter and any other details are not standard. But, don’t worry because there are some products available at the store. You just have to make sure to find the right size so that it won’t make the aquarium full with only the filter.

Basically, there are some considerations that you should take in arranging a small aquarium such as:

  1. The amount of the fish. Don’t make your small aquarium too crowded with the fish because they can’t grow well without proper space.
  2. The size of the fish. Don’t purchase big fish to be put in a small aquarium because they can’t swim well. Remember that animals can also be stressful. With big fish, your aquarium won’t be seen as pretty and the only impression that you get is a crowded narrow aquarium.
  3. The filter. Choose the filter that is made for the small tank. The size and the capacity should fit well with the tank.
  4. The decoration. Just like decorating your house. You can’t put too many items and too much decoration that will only make the aquarium look crowded and overserving.
  5. The lighting. Find the balanced lighting. It means that the size and functionality should be able to increase the aquarium’s value rather than make the aquarium look overserving.

Here are some interesting ideas that you can have for your small aquarium designs. It will vary in the design style, shape, and even the living thing you want to grow in the aquarium.

Zen Style

The zen style will be simple and there won’t be too many colors. The design is a ‘back to nature’ design with a peaceful impression. If you want to make the aquarium a media for you to create a peaceful atmosphere in the room, then the zen style is the best choice that we recommend. The design will be focused on the stone arrangement and wood application.


There are two different kinds of stones that is needed those are gravel in white color and the bigger one in natural wood color. Then, it is added with plants in the center of the stone arrangement to bring a balanced impression. Simple Zen Design from @s.fishtanksaquascaping



This zen-style aquarium brings the Japanese style atmosphere with the three, stones, and soil added there. You can see the tree that is really typical of Japanese culture. Zen Japanese Style from @lepoissonrougeoff

Coral Reef Aquarium

Not all people are familiar with the coral in the aquarium but it will be so pretty and unique. The value will also be really high by having coral in the aquarium. You can see the coral without diving in the ocean. Such an interesting one! However, if you want to have the coral, you should really take care of it because the treatment will be a bit different with the common fish. You can ask the seller about the maintenance and make sure that you have the time for the routine maintenance.


This coral aquarium is really amazing. There are some different kinds of coral that are arranged together to create such a perfect design. You can see the balance and how artistic it looks. There are also some fish put in the aquarium to make it look real. Coral Reef Aquarium from @aquariumdesigngroup



The design of this coral aquarium is more like spring. The choice of the coral is adorable and some of them look like flowers that are blooming. The additional greenery there makes the aquarium look like a real flower garden. Floral Coral Aquarium from @sheer_glass_aqua



The interesting thing about this aquarium is the shape of the aquarium. Then, the coral arrangement of the aquarium makes the coral look like falling slowly to the bottom of the aquarium. Terraced Coral Aquarium from @coral_fish_zoa



The fishbowl aquarium is loved by many people because of its shape. It is cute and not boring while we are all shown the rectangular aquarium tank shape since we were kids. The design makes it possible to be placed in a certain spot to function as decorative items in beautifying the decoration. Even when the round fishbowl will be a little bit difficult to dealt with, but it is worth it.

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The fishbowl is decorated as if it is a forest. There are some different plants arranged there to make it look green and fresh. Forest Fishbowl Design from @hiroisekainitadahitotsu



Even when it looks simple, the design is really valuable. The shrubs, sand, stone, and a twig are arranged aesthetically. It can be copied for you who love simplicity. Simple Fishbowl Design from @hiroisekainitadahitotsu


Spring Theme

Just like its name, the spring theme will bring you to the spring world with color inside the decoration. Well, it is great to bring spring inside the aquarium every day. The colors will give you a fun atmosphere around the room and give you a good mood. You can create a spring theme by applying colors to the decoration and choosing colorful fish as well.


The plants here are like kind of ferns where one of them is in a high one as if it is a bamboo in the garden. The colors are varied that makes this aquarium design looks like  agarden during spring. Spring Garden Aquarium from @chihirosaquaticstudio



Rather than a garden, this aquarium is more like a forest. It is because the plants provided there are similar to big trees in different colors. Spring Forest Aquarium from @skylightaquarium


Vertical Aquarium

The vertical-shaped aquarium will help you deal with your small home space. It will only need a small space but still wide enough since it is widened vertically. Besides, the impression of the vertical aquarium will be majestic so you don’t have to be worried about the beauty. Here are examples of the possible vertical aquarium arrangement you can have.


With a simple design, this aquarium has a clean impression. There is a minimum of detail but not boring with some different kinds of plants provided. You can see the surface of the aquarium in brown color as if it is the real soil in the garden.  Simple Vertical Aquarium from @nakayamachiyomi



If you love art, this one is perfect for you. The arrangement of the stones and twigs is adorable with a unique skill. Then, the application of the greeneries and moss makes this aquarium look like a rainforest. Rainforest Aquarium from @myhomenature



The aquarium in a long vertical tube has its uniqueness even when you only put a small effort into decorating it. It can be perfect for your living room or dining room. Vertical Tube Aquarium from @ryou.roki


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