Bankers, CEOs, hedge-fund managers, surgeons and celebrities are key customers ordering bespoke aquariums. Integrated into the building design, sometimes as custom floors, such customers are given the impression that they can walk on water!
With installation cost that can reach over US$1.5 million and maintenance of as-much-as US$35,000 per month, architects create evermore elaborate indoor oceans advertised as anything from art and sculptures to furniture, entertainment or custom walls and floors to complement the décor of your residence. Other marketing materials refer to personal wellbeing associated with the merging of indoor and outdoor spaces or even talk about Feng Shui.
The sales brochures don’t talk so much about the wellbeing of the aquarium’s occupants or the implications for the reef and oceans from which they are taken. When an individual tank can feature 1,000 fish of more than 100 species this must be taken into consideration given the growing demand for these ostentatious displays of wealth in homes from London to Sydney, Lagos to Dubai, LA to Florida. One of the examples given in the linked article is of a tank in Lagos, Nigeria created as a dance floor, with integrated disco lights, and stocked with marine fish, including 60 Banggai Cardinalfish. This species of fish are described as “inhabiting a small area on the Indonesian Banggai Archipelago, have silver bodies, marked with vertical black stripes.” Setting to one side the obvious concerns about disco lights, music vibrating through the tank and people stomping above you, let’s take a look at the population status of Banggai Cardinalfish, given it was specifically mentioned.