Finding the right place to set up a fish tank
When it comes to fishkeeping, the task of finding the perfect fish tank placement that compliments both your tank and the livestock that reside in it is often overlooked. While you may have the perfect space in mind for entertainment purposes, there are a lot of additional factors to consider, such as proximity to heat sources, exposure to sunlight and whether or not the space holds enough room for clear access to the top of your tank. If you’re in the process of setting up a new fish tank, or wondering if your current fish tank is set up in an ideal environment that can help improve the livelihood of your fish, keep reading as we walk you through the most important pointers to consider when it comes to aquarium placement.
Where is the best place to keep an aquarium?
While there’s no one-solution-fits-all answer to this question, as this will ultimately depend on the layout of your home, access to power sources and space constraints you have to work with, there are a number of considerations that may influence your decision.
A correctly set-up aquarium is a true thing of beauty, and as such, owners should set up a tank in a location that makes it easy to view and reap the benefits of their thriving ecosystem. Placing your aquarium in plain sight, or in a location you frequent in the home, also comes with its own set of unique advantages, as by having an unrestricted view to the beauty of your tank, fishkeepers hold the ability to quickly identify any signs of ecosystem issues. Whether it’s a poorly fish, unresponsive filter or a growing algae concern, the sooner you’re able to spot the problem, the sooner you can take the necessary action to keep your aquatic friends happy and healthy.
Consider location, noise levels and room temperature
While it pays to place your fish tank in a space you spend the majority of your time in, fishkeepers should also take into consideration the level of footfall, noise and general room temperature of the space. For example, if you’re considering placing your tank in a living room, fishkeepers should be mindful of their radiator temperature, the noise of external factors such as speakers, TV or electronic devices, and whether or not this room is the main intersection of the home for visitors, as areas of high traffic can place unnecessary stress on your aquatic friends. As a general guide, below, we’ve listed the top environmental stresses to avoid when it comes to where best to place a fish tank:
Water transmits sounds very well, and your aquatic life can be particularly sensitive to strong vibrations, as these vibrations travel straight through aquarium water and can disrupt the ecosystem. While levels of disruption are often debated between fishkeepers, as an aquarium filter can make just as much noise as a regular living room speaker, it still pays to be mindful of the sound you expose your aquatic life to.
Ensure primary sources of noise and vibrations are kept to a minimum, eg: lower the bass levels on your sound systems and keep TV volume to a minimum. We would also recommend not placing your tank close to areas of high footfall within the home, such as by the front door or close to a walkway, as door slamming, running up the stairs or heavy footsteps can trigger high vibrations and disturb the aquatic life in your tank.
If you’re an experienced fishkeeper, you’ll likely already know that placing your tank in direct, natural light can encourage algae to grow. A tank that sits in direct sunlight will promote fast algae growth, while also potentially contributing to the rising temperature of your fish tank. Because of this, conservatories are not recommended as a suitable place to keep your fish tank, as 15+ hours of direct sunlight in summer time will soon create a rapid algae issue and pose major health risks for your fish. As well as creating unnecessary risks through summer, the very nature of conservatories means they can also become extremely cold in winter time, and as such, year round, a conservatory is not the ideal environment to hold any fish tank.
Is it ok to put a fish tank near a window?
If you have no option but to place your fish tank near a window, or your preferred fish tank spot has direct natural lighting, there are a number of ways around this. Instead, we would simply recommend installing adjustable blinds, or closing the curtains during the day to block direct sunlight. Fishkeepers can also go one step further and install background material covered with thin insulation board or cardboard on the back of the tank to prevent algae buildup or overheating from direct sunlight.
The overall temperature of your tank is one of the most important factors when it comes to deciding on the best place to hold a fish tank. While we’ve explained in detail in our how to heat your aquarium and how to cool your aquarium blogs, it’s important that your chosen aquarium placement has no heat sources that could raise or cool the water temperature above the recommended guidelines. When it comes to heat, avoid placing your aquarium near a fireplace, radiator, or in rooms that are considered ‘sun traps’, as these can quickly cause aquarium temperatures to rise which reduces levels of oxygen, increases stress and can seriously impact your livestock.
If you have no option but to place your tank near a radiator, ensure that the specific radiator is turned off to help regulate your fish tank's overall temperature.
While aquariums overheating can pose a bigger risk to your aquarium’s livestock and can cause more complex issues than cold temperatures, It also pays to be mindful of cold spots, as this can still lead to a great deal of stress for your aquatic friends.
If you are considering placing your aquarium in a cooler area of the home, we would recommend either investing in a traditional aquarium heater, or a titanium heater, to offer greater control on your fish tanks temp levels.
Aquacadabra FAQs - Top Tips for Placing Your Aquarium
- Will the weight of my tank affect where I place my aquarium?
Yes. It’s easy to forget that the sheer volume of water your aquarium will likely hold is going to be incredibly heavy.
As one gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds on average, this means that even a small, 10-gallon fish tank is still going to be heavy just on sheer mass alone - and that’s without taking into account the weight of the tank itself, along with fish, filters, heaters and additional accessories. This is why the majority of our large aquariums come with strong aquarium cabinets and stands, that are built purposely to withstand such weight. Because of this, we would recommend either investing in a purpose-built stand, or consider investing in a strong unit that will hold your fish tank’s weight comfortably. This is definitely an overlooked expense, but if a flimsy table or stand breaks, the cost of replacing your livestock and the water damage it’ll likely present if your cabinet breaks will be a lot more expensive in the long run.
- Where should you not place an aquarium?
To summarise the above, fish keepers should avoid areas with heavy footfall, or places in the home that have constant access to direct sunlight, such as conservatories, as constant access to heat, cold or constant movement and noise can each affect the livelihood of your ecosystem.
- Where should a fish tank be placed in a home?
As a recommended guide on where best to place your fish tank, at Aquacadabra, we would suggest finding a spot where your aquarium becomes a focal point, but isn’t in the way of any essentials, such as light switches, radiator valves, or ventilation systems. It also pays to ensure that your tank is situated close to, but not directly over, any power sockets, as due to the nature of fish tanks, you’ll likely need a lot of accessible power outlets to keep all systems plugged in and running 24/7. Cables in use should also have a drip loop (a drip loop simply allows the cord to drop down below your outlet before rising back up to it), where any potential water droplets will gather, instead of running into sockets and posing a greater safety risk.
- Should I worry about my fish in a busy area of the home?
Absolutely. Fish are incredibly sensitive to noise and vibrations, so if you’ve got a loud TV, or your ideal location backs onto a set of stairs or sits close to a door, consider moving to a quieter area, where the tank is still in full view.