Finding room for an aquarium can be a challenge if you live in a modern tiny home. One smart way to work a fish tank into a small space is to pick a design that also functions as a piece of living room furniture. A fish tank coffee table or end table could be just the solution you need to start an aquarium in tight living quarters!
Introduction To Fish Tank Furniture
Over the history of fish keeping, folks have gotten quite creative in their endeavors to blend aquariums into their living spaces and furnishings. There’s nothing especially attractive about a boxy aquarium surrounded by cords and equipment, and a freestanding set-up takes up room you may otherwise need in a small home.
Aquarium coffee tables are a great solution if you’d like to squeeze a mid-sized to large tank in your living room without sacrificing a lot of space. Let’s take a look at these stunning fish bowl coffee tables and see if they’re the right option for your home!
Are Coffee Table Aquariums Safe?
One of the first questions I’m asked about these types of aquariums is whether they are safe, and the answer really depends on the construction and design of your tank. Most commercially manufactured coffee tables are made from thick high-quality acrylic or glass and are very durable, but you still have to be careful around them:
- Designs with reinforced corners may be more durable than the all-glass styles and better for active households (or those with small children).
- If you wouldn’t risk buying a glass coffee table for your living room, then this style fish tank is probably not an ideal option for your household.
Since these aquariums are low to the ground, they can be accidentally damaged by cleaning equipment like vacuums, balls/toys, and booted feet. They often have sharp corners and clear glass tops as well. Falling on or against a glass coffee table tank could definitely cause an injury and may also damage the aquarium.
Advantages Of Fish Tank Coffee Tables
There are health benefits to owning an aquarium, and watching fish has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and even improve your quality of sleep! A glass fish tank table is a great way to turn your aquarium into a functional centerpiece of your living room. Here’s what these tanks bring to the table:
- Space-saving designs that allow your tank to double as a table.
- Clear glass or acrylic construction allows you to observe your fish from any direction or orientation, whether standing over the table or sitting on the couch.
- You can coordinate your tank’s aquascape with the colors and style of your living room decor
- Ideal aquarium set-up to showcase a few large, active freshwater fish.
Downsides To Furniture Aquariums
Stunning as these tanks are, they have a few downsides you should be aware of before you invest in your table tank:
- They are usually quite expensive and typically range from $600 to over $1000 for a moderately sized 25-gallon capacity.
- There are fewer options for aftermarket equipment like heaters, filters, lights, chillers, and pumps, which limits the customization of your set-up and the type of animals you can safely keep inside.
- It’s not always easy to access the tank for water changes or feeding.
- These tanks are only ideal for a small number of fish rather than a densely stocked or planted community.
For the reasons above, if you’re starting a saltwater tank avoid the coffee-table-style design. The level of care that reef and marine tanks require makes a coffee table aquarium highly impractical, so save your money for a traditional set-up instead.
Types Of Aquarium Coffee Tables
Let’s take a look at the construction and materials used to create aquarium coffee and end tables, and the shapes they typically come in:
Glass Or Acrylic
All table-style aquariums have elements made from either tempered glass or high-quality acrylic, so you can see your fish. These materials are strong enough to handle the weight of the water and are fairly durable as well. Glass topped tables are sturdier overall, but acrylic are less likely to cause injury if you fall on them.
The most impressive (and usually the most expensive) coffee table tanks are made entirely from glass and acrylic and allow an unobstructed view into the tank from any angle. This is also the hardest design to work with, in terms of hiding equipment and cords, and you can’t really DIY this type of table tank at home.
Next to the expensive glass and acrylic designs, the most common construction material is the wooden coffee table tank. Wood is both strong and durable, and using a wooden frame protects your aquarium’s corners from being damaged. You can even DIY one at home by building a wooden frame around a standard tank and topping it with a custom glass or acrylic top!
Hexagon and octagon shaped coffee table tanks are some of the most popular, and having extra sides makes it easier to see your fish from any angle without any distortion. These tanks can have either a square or long footprint, depending on the orientation of the sides and top panes.
Round and cornerless aquarium coffee tables are molded from a single piece of acrylic. The lack of hard edges means they are less likely to get damaged, but there’s a noticeable “fishbowl” effect from the distortion of the glass or acrylic. That’s one reason why this style is not as popular as they used to be.
Rectangle Or Cube
Next to the hexagon, rectangular or cube-shaped coffee table aquariums are the most common shape. They are easier to DIY, especially if you build them around an existing tank. This shape is ideal for healthy circulation and helps your filtration system pick up debris as well.
11 Cool And Stunning Coffee Table Aquariums
Here are 11 of the best fish tank coffee tables on the market. These tanks are available for purchase from several manufacturers, and you can even design and build your own if you’d prefer to customize a tank coffee table!
1. 40 Gallon Coffee Table Aquarium
This beautiful 40-gallon aquarium has a glass pedestal base and tough acrylic table top for a fully unobstructed view. This six-sided hexagon shaped tank is ideal for goldfish and includes plastic plants, fluorescent lights and a simple filter pump.
2. DIY Coffee Table Aquarium
If you’re a crafty person you may prefer to build your own coffee table tank, and this design shows you how to do it step-by-step! Convert an existing 30-gallon aquarium into a glass-topped table with wooden reinforced corners and a sturdy, attractive base.
3. Nautical Aquarium Coffee Table
If you prefer to keep your living room in ship shape, then this clear 28-gallon aqua coffee table might be the one for you. Made from acrylic and glass, this long and narrow table aquarium resembles the profile of a ship and comes complete with a filter and lights.
4. Axolotl Coffee Table Tank
You don’t need to use gravel or sand in the bottom of a coffee table tank; you don’t even have to use it as a fish tank! This substrate-free set-up for aquatic salamanders or turtles is both easy to clean and incredibly fun to observe, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box with your design.
5. DIY Coffee Table Aquarium With PVC Pipes
This isn’t the fanciest or most practical design, but if you’d like to quickly build an aquatic element into your existing coffee table, consider using PVC pipes. A set-up like this allows you to see and feed your fish from the top of the pipes as they swim around the table’s edges.
6. Rectangular Aquarium Coffee Table
One of the simplest designs on our list is this almost cube-shaped 25-gallon aqua coffee table with a raised base. Made from glass and acrylic, it comes complete with substrate, lights and filter and would make a great set-up for fancy goldfish.
7. DIY Glass Top Coffee Table Aquarium
If you’re good with tools you could design a table around a 20-gallon aquarium, like in these step-by-step plans. While a long-style tank is the perfect length for a coffee table, you could also opt for a high-style aquarium and use a smaller glass top to turn it into an end table.
8. Wooden And Glass Coffee Table Aquarium
This durable 36-gallon table tank is a lovely set-up with a hardwood frame and an all-glass tank and table top. The lights and internal filters are hidden inside the base, and additional plugs allow you to easily add a heater or other equipment without dealing with messy cords.
9. Modern Aquarium Coffee Table
I love the look of this modern coffee table aquarium! The partially solid top makes it harder to see your fish from above, but also means the table is sturdier and safer for busy households. You won’t have to worry that your kids or pets will fall on this tank and cause a disaster.
10. Easy DIY Aquarium Coffee Table
Even if you’re not the handy type who builds furniture for fun, you can still DIY your own coffee table tank with this clever hack! Use a short aquarium shelving unit as your table frame, and then top it with a nice glass or acrylic top! It’s an easy, affordable and surprisingly attractive solution.
11. Simple Fish Tank Coffee Table With Lights
Like the aquatic salamander table above, here’s another table that skips the substrate and instead uses the bottom of the tank to enhance the lighting. LED strip lights in the top of the table reflect off the bare bottom, making the whole tank glow. Mix up the colors and you’ll have the ultimate mood light!
Don’t let having an aquarium cramp your style or space; consider buying or building a fish tank coffee table instead! These tables are a great way to consolidate your aquarium into a functional piece of furniture. Which style of coffee table did you like the best? Share your opinions in the comments, or join the fun on social media.