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Custom Freshwater Discus Hardscape

Here at Ocean Treasures, we like to keep pushing the boundaries of design when it comes to our aquariums. I wanted to design a tank that focuses on natural elements. Wood, rock, water, and metal. No plastics, wires, or hoses should be visible and all pipes are made from hand bent stainless steel tubes. I wanted something to fit within the current trends of using raw elements in interior design. A glowing blue reef looks awesome, but can be in contrast to a lounge, bar, restaurant, or home encapsulated with raw roods and metals.

The cabinetry was custom made with a floating canopy. Floating canopies are one of our trademark items that we use in our high end designs. To complete the modern trend of rimless aquariums, we hide all of our lighting and wiring within this canopy. This way, we can have an unobstructed top view of the tank which can feature fun elements like our rain feature or the emergent branches that break through the water's surface.

Suspending the canopy took some thought. In the past, we have mounted the canopy to the wall or suspended it from the ceiling. I wanted a way to mount it on a stand alone system. Ive seen people use aluminum bars and light racks, but again, I wasn't satisfied with the way that looked. It did not complement the system as much as it took away from the clean look we are striving for. I chose to use steel piping typically used for plumbing. We powder coated them in flat black and mounted them to the side of the stand and the canopy.

For a warmer feel, I wanted to focus on freshwater as the lighting and colors will be closer to the edison light bulb feel vs the glowing blue of a 90's rave. (Nothing against glowing blue reefs or 90's raves) We used a mix between hornwood and manzanita with Japanese seiryu stones.

The animal of choice was the Discus fish, which have been bred to have a wide range of colors and patterns. They can come in blues, yellows, and in our case, we focused on reds. I wanted a concise theme vs a rainbow of colors. To supplement the discus, I chose the rummy-nose tetra as a schooling fish due to their red faces.

For a little added mystery, we use Black Ghost fish. These fish are blind and maneuver by electrolocation and will often play in the intricate branch work.

With all three types of fish, come three very different types of behavior that keep the tank active and entertaining.

To top of the experience, we have developed a rain feature that has undergone multiple designs. Our rain feature simulates rain, which further enhances the open top style of the tank. Depending on application, we have designed our rain feature to either serve as an evaporation replenishment system or recycle the tanks water. In this case, it is recycling the tank water. When paired with high quality LED lighting like the Kessils we have here, the shimmering effect is enhanced creating a very impactful experience.

Maintenance on this system was designed to be as simple as possible. Being Freshwater, we just use tap wanted with conditioner and PH buffer. It has a large canister filter with an inline heater. A 10 gallon tank is also used to automatically top off water lost due to evaporation. Compared to full salt water reef system, the maintenance is minimal.

If you are interested in one of our custom systems, feel free to contact us at

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