Coffee table aquariums we actually like
Add an internal or canister filter and you've got yourself a functioning aquarium not much different than any sumpless system. If you need more lights for plants or a look down reef, you can always add some submersible lights such as the magnet-clipped LEDs Tunze introduced last year. Note: These designs have built-in perimeter fluorescent lights.
Aquascaping for top-down viewing is an exciting prospect. Hardscapes and plant arrangements would take on a new dimension. When it comes to reef organisms, many look their best from a top-down perspective.
Granted, these aquariums aren't ideal around small children or pets, and they aren't the most practical. But for the crazed aquarist who wants an instant conversation piece parked between their couch and TV, these will definitely make a statement.
We have no idea how this Taiwanese-made coffee table aquarium works, but it sure looks fancy. Designs like this demonstrate the potential for someone to design a purpose-build table aquarium with all the functionality of a conventional aquarium.