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Top 7 Cool Fish Bowls and Tanks


Evil little egg-eating betta male

First off, it is a travesty that I can’t find 10 cool fish bowls and instead had to do the top seven.  Fish bowls are such a fantastic medium – Why aren’t more people making commercially available cool fish bowls? If you know of ones I missed, please comment and let me know!

Second, I should add that I don’t actually approve of “fish bowls.”  Fish, as a rule, should be in tanks with at least 2 gallons, a filter and aeration. I actually used to breed betta fish as a hobby (look at that – I just typed I AM A TOTAL DORK but it came out “I used to breed betta fish as a hobby“) – though after my third time watching those betta eat all the eggs for which I had so anxiously waited – I was over it. I think I was supposed to remove the male. Hm. Oh well. I was young. And a total dork.

That being said, we’ve all had goldfish in a little bowl that we won at a school fair (for me at St. Joe’s in Sea Isle City, NJ throwing ping pong balls into fish bowls) that lived for years. Let’s face it, if you’re a goldfish, your expectations for life are probably pretty low. Bottom line is, when I go into pet stores and I see all the little betta fish in those leetle tiny bowls it hurts my heart – it really does. I want to buy them all a big old tank of their own. Move them on up, to the East Side, to a deluxe fish bowl in the sky-eye-eye…

Ironically, I have no problem fishing with live minnows I’ve hooked myself. Go figure.


Ah well. I’ll work out my fish-love-hate relationship on my own time. On with the cool fish bowls  & tanks!

Fish Condo

Love it! How chic. The fish condo is a glass fishbowl with a white ABS shell. Fishbowls can be stacked for a condo-like appearance and glass bowls may be removed for easy cleaning. (7.5″ x 7.5″ x 8″)

The design is by Teddy Luong is a student at Carlton University’s School of Industrial Design who won the Canadian Build a Better Competition. Or at least that is what every Google search for this thing says – for the life of me I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of such a competition. Nutty Canadians.

Coming out the Spring of 2010, it is available for advance purchase here for $25, which I have to say is pretty reasonable for such a cool little design.

In theory cool. In practice...click to buy on Amazon

The Wall Mounted Fish Bowl

Fish as wall art!

In theory this is a great idea. Problem is it probably looks best in a brightly lit room, which will help fill it up with algae pretty quickly, which is a little less than pretty. If you want the little round ones, they’re available at Amazon, naturally.

If you have a little more space and a lot more money ($175-$1325), this other wall mounted aquarium (left) is the way to go: (Available Here) It even comes in three different colors and four sizes ranging from two gallons to twenty and a half.

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Damn. I threw like four under-powered imacs out.

The iMac Fish Tank

If you like fish and are a bit of nerd, do I have the fish tank for you!

Good design with an inappropriate amount of computing power is still good design. I wish I’d thought about that before I tossed like four of these colorful little iMac buggers. Maybe a fish tank isn’t what Steve Jobs had in mind, but I’m sure he appreciates the re-imagining. He’s too busy posing for Time covers and trying to sell as many iPads as possible before people realize they have no idea what they are going to do with them. Can’t make a fish tank out of an iPad though. Maybe a really cool place mat.

Do you think Steve Jobs worries he’ll run out of words to put “i” in front of? Will I some day be the proud owner of an iToilet?

A quick Google search for “iMac aquariums” will find you all sorts of resources for creating or buying your own, but I have to say I liked Jake Harms’ approach the best – he seems to have a real love for the project. He has kits available to help you create the Apple Tank of your dreams for $125.

Books to put between: Jaws, Moby Dick...

Bookend Fish Bowls

This is another form over function situation, but in theory, very cool.

You could put those poor miserable little betta males in there. So pretty. So anti-social. They’re like the Greta Garbo of the fish world. They Vant to be alone….

Fun trick – put a mirror near them. It makes the little betta think there is another male in their territory —  they get all excited and start posturing, and then eventually realize there isn’t any threat and stand down. You can probably take away the mirror and bring it back in  a few minutes and get the same effect.

Fish aren’t all that bright, after all.

The Labyrinth Aquarium

This thing is definitely a conversation piece – even if all you ever say about it is “Dude, I dropped $6500 on this!”

Available from OpulentItems.com this crazy configuration of fish bowls is like a modern day Habitrail for fish. Only when I was little I could actually get a piece of a Habitrail for like three dollars… this is a little out of your average 8 year-old’s allowance budget.

As cool as it is at first glance, I feel like fundamentally there is something inelegant about it… maybe the black caps on the bowls, I’m not sure.

It is probably much more impressive in person.

Fish just hanging around

Ceiling Mounted Aquariums

While this smacks a little of those houses showcased on every episode of Miami Vice you ever saw, I’m sure in any sun-filled California palace it would be pretty impressive. In a 2000 square foot split level in Maryland – little strange. In a double-wide trailer – really inappropriate.

Obviously, if you have the cash to get the giant ceiling mounted aquarium you have the cash to hire the service that comes and cleans it all the time, which is really what would make it amazing. Anyone who has ever had an aquarium knows you don’t want  your housekeeping – or “tank-keeping” as the case may be – scrutinized.

I found this particular one at Spacearium. While their fish tanks are obviously very custom and very cool, their web site is a little too cool for school, so I apologize for that ahead of time.

Coffee table fish

Coffee Table Fish Tanks

I have never owned a home (or rented an apartment) slick enough to pull off the fish coffee table without it appearing forced, but in theory, I like the idea. Having the lighted tank so low to the ground may be a tad reminiscent of under body car lighting, which, on second thought, may be cheesy in just about any home. But in theory, again, I like the idea.

The one pictured here is available from Unique Aquarium Designs based out of the UK, so the shipping might cripple you, but it was a cheery picture to illustrate my point. The sofas are right out of Mad Men.

Amy Vansant

Voted Funniest Non-Mommy Blog by a Bunch of Moms I Got Really Drunk.Amy has been finding creative ways to make no money since high school.

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2 Responses

  1. kara

    Impressed at how you have managed to goof off and do something constructive simultaneously.

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  2. Amy Vansant

    Goof off? You call pouring my blood, sweat and tears into a triumphant ode to betta fish goofing off?!? How dare you, Ms. Kara… Now shove off while I go research the migration paths of swallows, how to breed silk worms and the number of times Glenn Beck cried over his deep love for America this week.

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