One of the dynamics I always grapple with in this hobby is the constant desire to add a new coral or a new fish. What keeps my consumption in check is a fear of disrupting the balance in my aquarium. It takes a while to have a stable aquarium system, and I know from experience that the challenges tend to happen when you push things one step too far. Newly added corals and fish seem to be much more likely to die than the veterans in the tank, and sometimes that’s all it needs to tip the scales out of balance. Here are some things you can do to change up the look of your aquarium and make it feel fresh and new, without adding livestock to the tank.
Create a new focal point
The focal point is the part of your tank that grabs your eye and draws you in. Where is it in your tank? Maybe you don’t have a strong focal point right now–that could be one of the reasons you are a bit bored with your current look. Why not move some of the rock work around to create a new focal point and a new look? The extra aquascape project may be just the recipe to keep you engaged with your tank and it might give you that new tank feeling once again. Who knows, you might even find a little more space for just one more coral. One quick disclaimer or point of balance here. You do want to be careful to remove detritus as you go. Consider it a bit of a spring cleaning and remove some of the debris. You also want to be careful not to disrupt sensitive corals or otherwise dramatically change the location and environment for your corals, but a little bit of movement and rearranging should be fine.
Grow a coral on the wall
Looking to change up the look your tank? Think inside the box and try growing corals on the actual aquarium glass. You read that right. Corals will grow just about anywhere, including on overflows, plumbing and even the aquarium glass. Lean a piece of live rock with a fast growing coral species like xenia, green star polyps or zoanthids and watch the polyps “climb” up the rock and grow on the aquarium glass.
If you are daring, you could use a magnet to hold the frag in place. You wouldn’t want to grow the corals on the front of the aquarium glass, but this technique is great for changing up the look of your tank walls in the back and on the sides. Don’t waste that precious surface area in your aquarium. Take one of your existing corals and see if you can get it to grow on some of the vertical surfaces.
Paint the aquarium in the back (on the outside) for a new look
Tired of looking at those wires through the back and sides of your aquarium glass? Want to change up the look of your tank, but you don’t want to tape one of those fake backgrounds on the tank? Why not change up the look of your aquarium by painting the back and/or sides? Believe it or not, it is pretty easy to paint aquarium glass. It might take a couple coats, but you can apply paint to the outside back and side panels of your aquarium pretty easily, if you can reach them easily. Truth be told, this works best when the aquarium is empty, so you may want to pick up some backup supplies from an online retailer like Swell UK so you can move your livestock to a temporary home while you remodel, but once you do, your aquarium is going to look great. Black and blue tend to be the more popular colors, but I suppose you could paint any color you wanted. Use your imagination and create the look you want.
Remove frags from frag plugs
Don’t like the way corals look when they grow on frag plugs? Just because you bought the coral on a plug doesn’t mean you have to grow it that way in your tank. Use your coral fragging skills to remove the coral frag from the plug and mount it on what you want, where you want, in your tank.
The possibilities here are endless, but keep things fresh and interesting.