How Much Does a Custom Aquarium Cost?
A custom aquarium is fantastic for those who are looking for an aquarium that is unlike any other. Many that choose to go this route often want something that is either built into the wall or designed for a unique room that cannot support a traditional aquarium. Custom aquariums help the aquarium to look part of the room rather than an accessory inside the room, and they also usually take up less room since they are built into things. The costs are going to highly depend on the complexity of the design, the company performing the job, the size, and other factors.
How much does it cost?
- Pricing a custom aquarium can be hard since the design options can be limitless. However, most that have had a custom aquarium installed had paid anywhere from as little as $3,000 to as much as $13,500. Do not be surprised if some quotes are in the six figures! Since most jobs are going to be unique, consider using free services such as HomeAdvisor.com that can help you get exact quotes for your particular project.
- To make purchasing a custom aquarium easier, most companies will charge by the gallon. If this is the case, plan on spending around $50 to $125 per gallon for a freshwater tank and upwards of $150 per gallon for a saltwater tank. For example, a 50-gallon saltwater tank could cost $7,500 or more.
- According to Reefsanctuary.com, customized aquarium can start at $1,300 and go up from there.
What is going to be included?
- Customized tanks are commonly going to be made from either glass or an acrylic based material. Each one is going to have its own advantages. Acrylic is going to be lighter and a pinch more than glass.
- A custom tank is perfect for a spot that does not fit a traditional tank. These tanks can either be built into the wall or similar to a traditional stand that you see at local pet stores. They can also be custom fitted with any material or accessories that you need.
- Capacities for custom tanks can be as little as 50 gallons to as much as 50,000 gallons.
- The price of a custom aquarium should include the aquarium itself, the installation, the set-up of the filtration system, and filling the tank with water.
What are the extra costs?
- Larger tanks may require a structural engineer. This will ensure that the tank can adequately fit within your home’s current structure and that it will be secure. The larger the tank is, the more support it will need. On average, for every gallon of water, an aquarium is going to weigh a pinch over eight pounds. As you can see, a 500 gallon tank can weigh 4,000 pounds. This, of course, can put a lot of stress on certain parts of your home.
- Before an aquarium is even built, plan on spending $100 to $400 for the design process. An architect will be able to draw up the design, pick out the materials, and let you know exactly what the aquarium is going to look like once finished.
- A customized stand, if required, will be an additional cost on top of the aquarium.
- Regardless of the aquarium, the fish, coral, filter system, lights, etc. will all have to be purchased to complete the tank. These prices will depend on the size of the tank, the type of fish required and so forth.
- Depending on the installer, some may charge additional fees for delivery and travel.
- Larger aquariums will often need an electrical system nearby. This, of course, can lead to additional outlet installation charges.
- Maintenance throughout the life of the tank may be needed. You can choose to hire a service to come in and clean the tank once a month or so.
Tips to know:
- Most contractors will always be willing to haggle on the price. Do not be afraid to tell them what you can afford. Many are more than happy to work with your budget.
- If you are thinking about a customized aquarium, there are a few things to keep in mind. This includes the access to the aquarium, the ventilation, the pump and lighting system and the amount of space to fit the entire setup.
How can I save money?
- Do not focus on the price entirely! Instead, focus on the quality of the work that they have done in the past and the reputation of the company. With any large project such as this, it is always best to get at least three to five quotes.
- A customized tank is not always the route to go. You really have to ask yourself why you need a tank. Do you want it because you want something unique, or do you need it for a space that cannot fit a traditional aquarium?
- If possible, try to come up with the design of the tank yourself so you can avoid the set-up fees. There are many ideas and examples online on which you can base your own design.