Feng Shui is "a philosophy that creates an environment which is ergonomic; it lets us work efficiently, comfortably and successfully by following the patterns of nature" (www.spiritweb.org). For many years, people have been following the Feng Shui principles and installing fountains or aquariums in their stores, restaurants or homes so as to improve their work or living environment. Till recently, fountain decorations have always been the more popular choice of the two because many feel that the maintenance cost of keeping a real aquarium is too high. However, in recent years, fake aquariums, called "desktop fish tanks", have become very popular and have started to be widely used by people for Feng Shui reasons.
The popularity of these fake aquariums soon spread to flea markets, gift shops and other specialty stores. Such fake aquariums are sometimes relabeled and marketed as virtual pet commodities. Other versions of aquariums that are of a smaller key-chain size are also developed. Often times, they also come with a colourful light as well. Apparently, the signifier for the same item has been repackaged to make it more marketable. Additional functions for the item are also discovered and added such that the commodity may appeal to a larger market.
Not only these aquariums imitate the real aquariums, but they also allow one to keep sea animals that scientifically cannot be kept together in the same tank! One could have sea horses, starfishes, tropical fishes, lobsters, and octopuses all in the same tank without feeding them. (Safe Simulation)
My personal anecdote
My boyfriend bought me a medium-sized fake aquarium for my birthday last year. According to my informal opinion survey, over 50% of the guests who see my fake aquarium believe that it is real, at first sight. 100% of my guests feel that my fake aquarium is "better" than real pets, and makes my room livelier. 20% of them even ask for the store's name and location, as they would like to own this really "cool" pet.
Go back to see other flying postmodern virtual pets...