Showpiece aquariums in Sarasota


Showpiece aquariums in Sarasota


Date: March 19, 2014
by: Heather Merriman | Black Tie Assistant Editor


Peace in the kitchen was what Terri Klauber wanted when designing her downtown penthouse apartment seven years ago.

“I wanted to bring some calmness into the kitchen,” says Klauber, whose life with husband Michael Klauber, co-owner of Michael’s On East, obviously involves cooking.

Home aquariums are known for adding a sense of relaxation to a space while also acting as a stunning feature to the design of the home.

“It was really me saying, ‘Let’s have a place where we can just be,’” she says.

The kitchen, and the house, was built around a fish tank, which is located on the hallway wall, facing the kitchen.

The couple’s fish tank has become a central feature of their home. The peaceful addition not only provides the calmness Terri wanted, but has also turned out to be a source of entertainment, as well as a place to think.

“I love catching people just standing in front of it, looking at it,” says Klauber. “It’s cool to see them get lost in the moment.”

Seascape Aquarium designed the custom 350-gallon tank, which contains artificial coral designed by Ringling College of Art and Design student Daniel Marot.

The Klaubers’ tank is home to a variety of fish, including a midnight parrot fish, a white-spotted puffer fish, a Picasso triggerfish and a blue angelfish, to name a few. This collection of fish species classifies it as being an “aggressive tank.” The fish the Klaubers chose for the aquarium must be able to survive in a more aggressive fish environment.



As previous owners of an aquarium store in Connecticut, Chris and Laura Jessen’s experience and passion for fish tanks is evident by their Siesta Key home’s aquarium. Chris Jessen, previously a custom aquarium designer, specialized in live coral, and still does, but now just for his personal aquarium.

The 300-gallon tank contains 35 varieties of coral, many grown by the couple. Large polyp stony coral, soft corals, polyps, Montipora undata coral and a 20-year-old stony coral are among the corals seen in Jessens’ tank.

The tank is completely natural, the rock itself being the filter. Other pertinent features for the tank are bright lights (which run 10 to 12 hours a day) and a lot of water flow.

“Water flow is very critical,” says Chris Jessen. The tank runs on a dusk-to-dawn cycle, much like humans.
The large tank has been the focal point of the home’s sitting area for four years now.    

“We wanted it away from the water and the television. It’s moving, living art,” says Jessen, “It’s something people always talk about, and it’s a nice place to sit and relax.”

When choosing fish to inhabit the tank, Jessen notes, “Whatever won’t eat the coral.” Colorful breeds are what the Jessens have been choosing for the tank, adding to the already colorful and lively atmosphere the coral brings to the tank. Angelfish, Scooter Blennies, gobies, damselfish, Royal Gramma, two 12-year-old clown fish, hawk fish and Kole tangs are among some of the fish that inhabit the tank.

When meeting with the Jessens, not all of the coral in the tank were open. Coral retract during the night. During they day, they expand to absorb as much light as possible, leaving photo opportunities for only a few of the corals in the tank.

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