Aquarium Designer

Create spectacular fish tanks and underwater habitats.
picture of Aquarium Designer

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$21,000 – $86,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Aquarium Designers do?

If you’ve ever been mesmerized by fish swimming in the wall next to you at dinner, or dazzled by the stingray aquarium your favorite celebrity boasts about on MTV’s Cribs, consider a career as an Aquarium Designer. Aquarium Designers combine knowledge of aquatic plants and fish with a stunning sense of aesthetic and design to make things that aren’t anything like your typical fish tank.

This field requires you to think outside the box — or should we say, the basic fish bowl. Clients hire you to make a statement, so Aquarium Designers tend to go big and bold when it comes to designs. Celebrities, restaurants, and city aquariums all hire you, and it’s your job to find a way to turn anything they want into reality. That means if a client demands a four-story shark tank or a working television in their exotic fish wall, you get to work either figuring it out yourself or hiring people who can make it happen.

Designing a watery home for animals starts with a client meeting. You discuss what they’re looking for, getting a feel for their budget and the overall look they hope to accomplish. From there, you give suggestions. You might let them know of the color patterns on a particular type of fish, or what plants are attractive as well as good for fish.

If necessary, you come up with creative solutions to difficult problems, like a tank that needs to be odd-shaped or really thin. The actual building of the tank falls either to you or to someone on your team. You put the sides up and the filters in, and then you get to work adding the plants. You also make sure the walls are properly finished and covered so as to avoid spills and keep the fish safe.

The safety of the animals and plants is huge in this job. Though looks are important, you want to make sure you create a habitat that will allow the animals to thrive, especially since you tend to use pricey species, and replacing them won’t make their owners very happy.


Should I be an Aquarium Designer?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Leader: You're good at taking charge, giving directions, and inspiring other people.

  • Also known as: Aquarium Landscaper

    How to become an Aquarium Designer

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Aquarium Designer-related education!
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