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aquarium in the workplace

Enjoy a planted fish tank in your office space

In the slightest chance that you haven’t heard of a planted tank yet, picture this; sitting on top of your office desk is a small 12-inch cube aquarium neatly scaped to look like a scene from a tropical jungle or an elegant medium size fish tank mounted on a wooden cabinet in a corner of your office space with a view that reminds you always of that time when you went fishing with your family when you were a little kid. So, you’re starting to think that having a small tank in your workplace or your home office is a good idea.

It is! Not only will an aquarium improve the interior design for yourself, your clients, or your employees and the rest but studies have also shown that workplace aquariums can make you feel relaxed, increase productivity and creativity. Also the calming effect of a fish tank, even small aquariums, can help in reducing stress (if there is no disturbing pump in the background of course). Anything that lowers stress levels is a good thing. Work after all definitely does lead people to certain stressful situations and a planted aquarium is just the perfect piece of furniture to help cope with that. I is scientifically proven that green colour reduces stress levels as well as the nature contact does. Combined together in the office aquarium, may improve the mood of your co-workers and generally- the atmosphere.

Before you get started with your new office aquarium, here are a few things you need to consider which will help you maintain a work life balance and make sure everything remains manageable. There are many companies around the world which specialize in setting up aquariums in the workplace so if your boss can aford it, it's worth thinking of such services. People who do it on regular basis know the best how to set up an aquarium in the workplace for minimum angagement of the employees. If not, maybe you'll be able to convince him that you're specialized in home offices :)


 Bear in mind that the size of the tank equals the volume of water in the tank. So, unless you are willing to spend a pretty sizable chunk of your spare time each week maintaining and doing the water changes, huge tanks are off the list. Yes, aquariums do require weekly water changes no matter what some folks say. I do not consider it the ugly side of this hobby; in fact, I rather enjoy it. Let us focus nonetheless on the aquariums that are as beautiful as the large tanks but are so much easier to maintain. A 30 cm cube tank might not look bad sitting on the side of your desk especially if the tank has crystal clear water and green healthy plants. It is not a bad home for a single male Betta too. Some people might find the space of a nano tank inadequate to their liking. If you are one of those people then you can contemplate getting a 2 ft or 3 ft planted tank on a cabinet. You just have to consider the location of the tank and the volume of water that goes in it. A well-maintained planted aquariums would require a weekly water change of about 30-70% and the larger the tank the heavier it is so putting it on something unstable would be a recipe for disaster. We are trying to reduce stress during the working hours, not raise your blood pressure so continue to read for more advice.


 The next thing you need would be the filtration. Having the proper filtration is the difference between “easy maintenance” and “hard work”. A good filtration system can and will help prevent algae and unwanted buildup of organics. There are a lot of types to choose from. The “Hang on the Back” and the external canister filters are best suited for your plan. The “Hang on Back” works perfectly for smaller tanks like the 30 cm nanocube. The manufacturer will indicate the capacity of the filter so choose the one that is adequate to your tank size. If you decide on a larger setup with an external filter, make sure they are quiet as well us the pump when running so to avoid any distracting mechanical noises in the background.


 We are looking to set up a freshwater environment. Anything from the sea; sand, rocks, driftwood should be off-limits. There is a good chance that they will leach out substances that will harm the pristine environment that we are looking to create. Local pet stores offer cleaned and treated driftwood and river rocks but should you decide to collect materials make sure to clean it before putting them in the tank. River rocks should be tested. Do the acid test. Put a few drops of muriatic acid or vinegar on the rock and if it fizzles and creates bubbles then there is a good chance that it will make your water hard. Soft to neutral water is preferred for our purpose. Sand is awesome as a substrate, just make sure to wash it thoroughly or until the water becomes clear. Driftwood should be free of tannins. These should be soaked in water for weeks or boiled for hours. Having a soil-based substrate (Aquasoil) works to your advantage. Just walk to your local pet store and ask about what brands they can recommend.


Given that the size of your office aquarium and the filtration have been chosen, the next thing that needs scrutiny is the type of plants you would want in there. Aquarium flora can be categorized into low-tech and high-tech types of plants. The main differences between these two categories are just the amount of light and the CO2 needed. High tech plants are those plants that require more light and more CO2 in the water column – the brighter the light the more amount of CO2 that is needed in the water to keep the plants thriving.

Low tech plants are those that do not require much light and CO2 to thrive. Those are the plants we would want to have in an aquarium in the office setting. Plants like Anubias, Java Ferns, Cryptocoryne, Bolbitis, Ludwigia Repens, Dwarf Sagittaria will thrive without CO2 supplementation provided that the tank is not too bright and the temperature should be anywhere from 25 degrees to 29 degrees Celsius. Find our article about easy aquarium plants here to search for more species.

Choosing undemanding plants has a direct link to the amount of time spent maintaining the tank.


Looking and tiny, ornamental fish swimming in the tank definitely may help to reduce stress which is often met in the office. Keeping fish is a bit more complicated when we're talking about smaller tanks. Your choice of livestock has to be in line with the size of the tank and the type of filter provided. Bear in mind that a planted tank should never be overstocked nor should any type of aquarium for that matter. There are dozens to choose from and dozens more to avoid. In general, avoid any fish, shrimp, or snails that would most likely eat your plants. Fish that have a tendency to alter the hardscape are off the list as well. Goldfish and most types of cichlids are plant eaters and they also like to dig. These types of fish are perfect to a fish-only underwater world e.g. African biotope aquarium.

Search for Small tetras on the other hand like the famous Neon Tetra. These are perfect for planted tanks.

 Guppies are a colorful and lively choice and would be perfect eye-catching inhabitants of a planted aquarium. A good clean-up crew is a welcome addition to any aquarium with the Ottocinclus being the best suited for this purpose. Amano shrimps would do great as well. They will surely support the work of the filter.


 Be knowledgeable about everything you put in your tank. Know enough about the different fish species fauna to put together. Doing re-search before beginning by watching videos and reading articles about this hobby really helps a lot. Remember, what you want to create is an ecosystem that is dependent on balance so be responsible with your choices. Keeping fish (or any other pets) means responsibility. We hope you'll set up a new creative design soon to enjoy the beautiful aquascape during your working hours! Maybe the tank will impress your business clients or office mates as well? Or at least improve their mood.