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First approved sea chest design

AquaTerra Tank Decor has both a long and a short history. Several decades ago, construction engineer, Don Nail, was faced with a dilemma. His wife, Karla, purchased a fish tank for their two young sons. While she liked how much her sons enjoyed their new aquarium, she really didn't like the way the bare tank looked with the rest of their decor. "Ugly" was the word that came to mind.

Early sea chest prototype

So, Don tried to find a way to make it more palatable. Eventually this led to his first invention, a decorative sea chest style cover that could slip over the aquarium and had a lid that could be raised to feed the fish. The decorative cover went through several iterations before coming up with a good solution.

Since the cover was such a hit at home, Don thought he might be able to sell them to others. He looped in his brother, Wayne who was a carpenter, to help build covers to sell to local pet stores. The response was good, but the early cover design was labor intensive. 

Early product concept drawings

Don came up with several additional designs: a pagoda, a castle, and a contemporary (circa 1970) model. They had marketing researched performed and tried to find a manufacturer; however, their busy lives with young families made them set aside their plans.


After a retiring from a career as a commercial construction superintendent, which included some of the iconic buildings of the Portland, Oregon skyline, Don took to inventing again. This included revisiting the aquarium cover idea.

Don was looking at investment property on his way to talk to a manufacturer when real estate broker Trinh (Trina) Vu, owner of Stone Creek Realty, saw one of the aquarium covers in the back seat of his car. She loved the idea. As a marketer, she saw the potential in the design. They formed a partnership as NV Innovative Products, LLC to bring Don's inventions to market.

After two years of research and development (leading to a pending patent), AquaTerra Tank Decor is now able to offer tank covers in a variety of styles at an affordable price ranging from the new chest model under $100 to castles and pagodas with more intricate details. Covers can be shipped flat and easily assembled without tools in just minutes.

Recent re-engineered designs

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