Are your aquarium dreams too big for standard shapes and sizes? Enter Aquatic Escapes: the Lower Mainland's leading provider of custom aquariums and life support systems.

Find our aquariums in homes, offices, restraunts, tv & film, care centers, trade shows, at Science World and on Telus Optik TV's Aquarium Relaxation Channel.

AE does not fabricate our aquariums in-house: we will design, order, deliver, setup and maintain the aquarium for you. Let us make the entire process smooth and hassle free.

Aquatic Escapes specializes in bringing the natural beauty of saltwater and freshwater environments into your home or office. We provide custom aquarium design, installation, cleaning and diagnostics and are proud to be Vancouver's leading aquarium maintenance and service company.

Review our step-by-step process below or jump straight to our Custom Quote form and send us your request!


Step 1 - Choosing an Environment

The first step in designing your custom system will be to choose what you want to keep in it. The most basic level will be choosing between a freshwater or a saltwater (marine) aquarium.

Let's start with an important point that you should consider: in most cases, saltwater will be more expensive than freshwater. Setting a budget will help you decide if you can handle the costs associated with a high-end reef aquarium. Saltwater will require additional supplies such as salt and equipment like a protein skimmer. If you are interested keeping corals you will likely need high intensity lighting, extra circulation pumps and live rock to name a few things.

Aquatic Escapes can help you determine what type of aquarium is right for you.

Here are some examples of aquarium types you might consider:

Freshwater Saltwater
-Goldfish -Fish-Only
-Community -Fish-Only with Live Rock
-African Cichlids -Reef
-South American Cichlids -Seahorses
-Planted -Jellyfish

Step 2 - Selecting Size and Shape

What you will keep inside your aquarium will to some degree dictate what size and shape it should be. Large fish will require a large aquarium, seahorses need a tall one, jellyfish do best in a round one, etc.

The custom shape suggestions shown here provide an example of what is possible when fabricating your custom aquarium out of acrylic. If you do not see your dream shape listed contact us and we will find out if it can be made.

Our aquarium manufacturers have made some of the world's largest aquariums so size will largely be determined by working space and budget.

Step 3 - Creating the Environment

Once you have decided what type of aquarium you would like, as well as the size and shape, it is now time to decorate it. Aquarium decorations serve a greater purpose than to simply please viewers. Called 'Aquascaping', the interior of the aquarium is designed to provide an ideal living space for the fish, invertebrates and plants that will call it home. Aquascaping is successfully accomplished when the fish's needs are met, the aquarium maintains long term health and it looks spectacular to boot.

Synthetic vs. Natural

There is nothing quite like the real thing when it comes to decorating your aquarium. A living coral reef is endlessly fascinating and a true testament to nature's beauty. There are circumstances, however, when a living reef or real plants are not an option (for example when keeping coral-eating fish). In this case a synthetic rock and coral structure could provide the Aquascape. These are designed and custom built to fit perfectly inside your aquarium.

Have a look below at some synthetic aquarium structures designed, fabricated and installed by the same company that will build your dream aquarium.

Step 4 - Designing the System

Other odds and ends to consider for your dream aquarium include aquarium position, equipment, life support systems, finishing and cabinetry.

Wherever you decide to put your aquarium remember you (or your skilled maintenance company) will need to maintain it, so provide ample space above the aquarium and easy access to the life support system. You will also need to feed your fishes every other day so be sure you can easily reach the top to do so.

What equipment you place on the aquarium will be mostly determined by what you keep in it. This is where Aquatic Escapes can step in to help you design the ideal life support system for your setup. There is a huge amount of variation when it comes to equipment price, quality and effectiveness. We have experience with a wide range of products and can assist you in making the right choice for you and your aquarium.

Once the equipment has been selected we will put it all together in a clean and easily maintainable manner. There is nothing worse than a life support system that is a jumbled mess of plumbing and power cords.

The final piece to the system design puzzle will be any finishing work such as ventilation and cabinetry. Aquatic Escapes works closely with professional cabinetry specialists to ensure it will effectively frame the aquarium, be constructed of proper material and provide access panels where needed.

Step 5 - CAD Aquarium Design

We find it helpful to design and build your system using CAD drafting of the aquarium and its components. This facilitates communication so we can ensure that what you envision and what we seek to create are one in the same.

Step 6 - Selecting Materials

Glass vs. Acrylic

There are positives and negatives to both construction materials, so here is a list that will help you decide what might work best for your aquarium system:

Pros: Glass Pros: Acrylic
Ideal for Reef Setups Lightweight
Harder to scratch Strong
More cost effective Unique shapes


Cons: Glass Cons: Acrylic
Heavy Scratches easily
Max size approx 300 gallons Expensive

Submit your request for a quote

Thank you for your interest in a custom aquarium by Aquatic Escapes.
Please allow us up to 3 business days to build your quote.