Where to Place Your Fish Tank?

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Before setting up an aquarium, you need to make one important decision— where will it go? This is something that many new aquarium hobbyists overlook. It seems like a non-issue. But actually, where you place your fish tank will affect a lot of things in the future, including water parameters, fish stress levels, and the safety of the aquarium itself.

The right spot for an aquarium isn’t something you can choose on a whim. But it’s not that difficult to make the right choice if you know what to watch out for. That’s exactly what I’m here to teach you in this article.

9 Tips for Choosing Aquarium Location

If you’re not sure where to start, consider the following tips. If you follow this list, you should manage to find the perfect spot for your aquarium. I’ve included the most common safety hazards to watch out for, as well as the most important practical considerations. So, without further ado, let’s see what you should account for when choosing the right location for a fish tank.

– Amount of Sunlight

When it comes to sun exposure, little to none is best. I would strongly advise you to keep your fish tank away from windows or any source of direct sunlight.

Sun exposure is a double-edged sword. It’s a great free solution if you have a planted aquarium. Light exposure helps your plants grow quicker and healthier. It also helps your fish search for food. Aquarium fish cannot see in the dark, so they won’t be feeding when the light is out. But when they have a source of light, foraging becomes easier.

That being said, fish don’t have a biological need for sunlight. They won’t get sick if they have no access to the sun’s rays. There are also some potential downsides to sunlight exposure. If you don’t have a planted aquarium, there’s no benefit to keeping your aquarium in the sun.

First of all, algae can soak up the rays and they will multiply and grow out of control. Daily sunlight exposure will ensure that you’ll never get rid of these pesky water weeds. But what’s worse still is that sunlight can be potentially harmful to your fish.

You read that right. Exposing your tank to sunlight can lead to rising water temperatures. Keeping your fish tank close to a window will lead to unstable water parameters because of constant warming and cooling throughout the day. It’s best to keep your tank in a darker room and use aquarium lights throughout the day.

– Access to Your Fish Tank

You might be tempted to put your aquarium somewhere where you can conceal all the blocky equipment like filters, lights, air pumps, and so on. However, this will only make your job harder in the future. After all, you need to perform at least weekly maintenance tasks such as water changes and cleaning. And let’s not forget the additional daily feeding.

You should keep your tank somewhere accessible. It must be in a place that’s easy for you to reach. You definitely don’t want your aquarium to be encased or tucked away on a tall shelf. There should be enough space for you to reach around the sides and in the back of the aquarium. This will make it easier for you to feed your fish, perform water changes, turn the aquarium lights on or off, and so on.

– Noise Level

Fish don’t have ears, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be affected by sounds. While they can’t exactly hear you blasting music, they can certainly feel it. That’s because sound, especially loud noise, creates vibration. This vibration travels through the air and hits all the objects it encounters, including your fish tank.

While humans can’t sense this vibration, unless the sound is very loud, fish are especially sensitive to it. Fish can even sense very low-frequency vibrations, somewhere between 10-20 Hz.

Constant exposure to even low-level noise can stress your fish, resulting in negative health outcomes. When sound vibration is intense enough to travel through the water, your fish will get scared and they will swim away to hide. That’s because low-frequency vibrations usually indicate danger, such as an approaching predator.

Thus, you should keep your fish tank in a quiet, low-traffic area. The perfect spot would be somewhere away from speakers, TVs, or doorways. This will ensure the perfect, quiet environment where your fish won’t be exposed to constant low-level stress.

– Tank Safety

The last thing you want is an unfortunate accident that breaks your aquarium or hurts your fish. You’ll have to find a safe spot for your tank, away from any potential danger.

Keep your aquarium in a place where it won’t be in the way. You don’t have to tip-toe around your aquarium if you don’t place it in a high-traffic area. Avoid placing the tank close to doors or windows. It takes just one careless swing of the door for your glass aquarium to crack.

Also, avoid keeping your aquarium close to hanging objects or suspended furniture. You never know when someone will accidentally drop something when reaching for the upper shelf.

If you have kids or pets, you should also ensure that they don’t have access to the aquarium. In this case, keeping the aquarium hood on is also a good idea. This also goes without saying, but keep the aquarium away from playing areas. If your children or house pets play with rubber balls or other bouncing toys, you can never predict where the toys will land.

– Floor Level

Not a lot of people talk about this, but placing your aquarium on an uneven floor is dangerous in the long term. Whatever you do, you must ensure that the water surface in your aquarium is as close to perfectly level as possible. And the only way to do that is if you find a good spot to place your tank. The floor and furniture you put your tank on should be free of bumps and it shouldn’t have any slant.

It doesn’t matter if the floor or furniture offer great support if you can’t achieve even water levels within the tank. An uneven tank will eventually leak or break. This isn’t as big of an issue for smaller or wider tanks. But very large and deep tanks have to support a lot of stress due to the extra water volume they carry.

All tanks are rated as suitable to hold a given volume of water, but that’s only assuming they’re perfectly level. When the water surface is uneven, this causes a lot of extra strain on the seams of your aquarium. Because the joints keeping your tank together are fixed with silicone glue, you really don’t want to push an aquarium to its limits. If you have an aquarium sized 90 gallons and up, you’ll want to double-check the floor level and support.

– Room Aeration

Aquariums usually have a specific smell. While a well-maintained tank shouldn’t stink up your room, all tanks will have a faint earthy smell because of the substrate at the bottom. If you place your aquarium in a poorly ventilated area, you might feel it. This is generally not an issue, unless you’re sensitive to such smells, or if the air humidity is too high.

If you can’t keep up with aquarium maintenance all the time, there’s also a chance that some pretty nasty odors can emerge. Fish don’t smell in and of themselves. They can’t sweat or get dirty. But they can still soil the water. As levels of fish waste and uneaten foods accumulate, the water can get pretty dirty and smelly.

Algae, bacteria, fungi, and poor water oxygenation can also contribute to an unpleasant fishy smell. Last but not least, if you’re using a new tank, completing the first water cycle can also result in weird smells due to the new bacteria build-up.

Keeping your tank in a well-ventilated area is the best way to overcome such issues. Proper room aeration helps dissipate the smell, so you won’t have to stink up your place between water changes. Of course, this is just treating the symptoms. It makes things more bearable for the time being. But a clean aquarium with proper water parameters shouldn’t smell funky.

– Room Temperature

Fish are sensitive to suboptimal temperature ranges or sudden temperature fluctuations. If the water inside the aquarium gets too cold, your fish might lose their appetite and they’ll stop breeding. This can also negatively impact their growth. If the temperature gets too high, harmful bacteria can proliferate a lot faster. Fish that are kept in high temperatures also tend to have shorter lifespans.

If you don’t have an aquarium heater yet, you must place your fish tank in a warm room where the temperature is stable. The optimal temperature range for most fish is between 77°F-82°F, but there will be some slight variations depending on the species. However, generally, you shouldn’t let the room temperature drop below 77°F.

You also shouldn’t let the room temperature climb too high, because of the aforementioned reasons. Maintaining stable room temperature is crucial, especially if you keep smaller aquariums, such as those sized 50 gallons and under. But larger-sized aquariums will still undergo temperature fluctuations if left long enough in sub-par temperatures.

Keeping all this in mind, I’d avoid placing the aquarium in an AC room. When it gets really hot in the summer, most of us wouldn’t be satisfied with keeping the room temperature at just 77°F. I’d also keep the aquarium away from sources of heat such as radiators. The closer the tank is to a direct heat source, the higher the chances for water overheating.

– Visual Appearance

This is usually the first thing we have in mind when thinking about the perfect location for a fish aquarium. The spot we choose can contribute a lot to the visual appearance of a room and of the fish tank itself.

This factor is as important as the other safety precautions we’ve talked about so far. After all, aquariums are supposed to be looked at! You don’t invest so many resources into building the perfect aquarium just to put it away somewhere where you can’t see it.

You should keep all the other tips in mind because you can’t compromise on tank safety just to choose the perfect viewing location. But you can still find a nice, safe spot to display your aquarium and brighten up the room at the same time!

The perfect aesthetic location will differ depending on your preferences. Some people prefer to keep their tank in a darker room, others want to keep it surrounded by potted plants. Some want it in a private space, while others keep it on display in the living for everyone to admire.

You’re free to choose whichever location you enjoy more for your fish tank. But for all the hard work that goes into setting up and looking after an aquarium, you’ll probably want it to take the spotlight. I personally make my tank a central part of the room. I put it somewhere where it can be viewed from all corners and from across the room, so it can easily catch the eye.

– Electrical Outlets

You should place your fish tank close to a power source because you need that to fire up your filter, heater, and lights. This is just the bare minimum that you need for an aquarium. More complex set-ups also require power to run the wave maker, return pump, additional lights, and more.

You should make sure that your power outlet is strong enough to run all the aquarium equipment, especially if we’re talking about large aquariums. You’ll also need a high-quality power strip with enough slots for all the different equipment.

However, that’s just one part of the story. Besides needing access to a power source, you should also position your aquarium and power strips in such a way as to avoid a spilling accident. If you accidentally spill water on the outlet or power strip, you risk creating a short-circuit or even getting electrocuted.

To take all the safety precautions necessary, there are a few things you should do. First, don’t place your fish tank right in front of a power outlet. Put it somewhere further away and to the side of the outlet. Keep the power strip off the floor and somewhere away from potential water splashes. Last but not least, you should arrange all power cords in a drip loop. This will prevent the water from running down the cord and into the outlet.

Is it OK to Put a Fish Tank Near a TV?

It’s not a good idea to place your fish tank near a TV. There are two main reasons for that. First, lights from electronic devices such as TVs can disturb your fish. Not only will TV light interrupt their rest, but it can also cause stress. Flashing lights can scare your fish and put them in an alert state because fish aren’t used to such rapid and frequent light changes.

Second, the sound coming from the TV is another cause of stress in fish. If the TV is close enough or loud enough, the sound vibration will hit the aquarium. This puts your fish in fight or flight mode because low-level vibration traveling through the water alerts them about potential predators. So, your fish will mistake the soundwaves coming from the TV for a dangerous predator.

You can tell if the sound is bothering them if you notice your fish swimming in the opposite direction. They might all flock to the opposite corner of the aquarium, or they’ll start hiding among plants and decorations. This also applies to other sources of sound other than TVs. Be it speakers, loud household appliances, slamming doors, or other loud objects, your fish will feel it. And they won’t like it.

Can a Fish Tank be in Front of a Window?

As we’ve discussed earlier in the article, this is not the best spot for keeping an aquarium. Windows are a double-hazard for your fish tank. Placing your fish tank near a window means nearly 10 hours of sunlight exposure every day. Sunlight exposure leads to algae overgrowth as if getting rid of algae wasn’t difficult enough as it were.

Sun exposure can also mess with other water parameters. The light can heat the water above its ideal temperature range, which will upset your fish. The increased temperature can also lead to more water evaporating. As the water evaporates, the volume of liquid decreases and harmful compounds like ammonia and nitrates rise.

And let’s not forget about the more obvious issue. Keeping your fish tank near a window is also dangerous for the tank itself. Whenever you need to open or close the window, you’re likely to hit the glass if the tank is too close or standing in the way.

Can You Put Your Fish Tank in the Bedroom?

Of course you can! The bedroom is an excellent location for keeping a fish tank. It’s a quiet and low-traffic area. Thus, this setting is likely to be healthy and relaxing for your fish. Keeping a fish tank in your bedroom can have some benefits for you as well. Watching your fish is a relaxing activity and it can help you fall asleep easier.

If you’re the kind of person who likes a little bit of background noise, the filter sounds can also help you drift to sleep. However, if you need a dark and quiet room to fall asleep, you might need to invest in a quiet filter and some programmable aquarium lights. Keep in mind that you need to place your tank in a room where the temperature is constant. If you use an AC in your bedroom, this isn’t the best location for your aquarium.

You should also ensure that you have a way to ventilate the room properly. Sometimes, aquariums can start smelling a bit weird between water changes and cleanings. You wouldn’t want to sleep in a smelly room. An aquarium can also lead to increased air humidity. If the humidity reaches a threshold above 50%, this can encourage mold formation, dust mites, and insect infestations.

Can You Put Your Fish Tank in the Kitchen?

The kitchen is another dangerous place to keep a fish tank. There’s a long list of reasons why kitchens aren’t ideal. If you or other family members cook every day, the kitchen is a high-traffic area. Kitchens also tend to be pretty loud. Think about microwaves, blenders, constant opening and closing of cabinets, and so on.

Temperature fluctuations are also the norm. If you cook multiple dishes on the stovetop or are using an oven, you can expect the room temperature to rise abruptly. But perhaps the worst part about keeping a tank in the kitchen is the chemical hazard. Sizzling oil, cooking fumes, and cleaning supplies can all be dangerous for your fish if they accidentally make their way into the tank.

Sadly, you can’t avoid properly cleaning and disinfecting your kitchen, especially since a fish tank is in itself a source of dangerous bacteria. Whenever you get water splashes on countertops, dish drying racks, or kitchen utensils, you risk potential foodborne illness.

In the best-case scenario, your kitchen aquarium should be somewhere far away from food surfaces such as counters or tables. This will reduce most of the risk from chemical poisoning or bacteria contamination. You should also keep the tank far away from the fridge, stovetop, or oven to avoid heating your aquarium. Proper ventilation is also key to preventing fumes from affecting your fish.

Conclusion

There’s a lengthy list of factors to consider before choosing the perfect spot for your aquarium. But you can’t compromise on any of these if you want your tank and the fish to be safe. To sum it all up, you should keep your aquarium in a quiet, low-traffic area with constant temperature and good ventilation.

The aquarium should also be perfectly level and the floor should be strong enough to support its weight. Avoid putting your tank next to windows, doors, heating devices, or in places where you can’t easily reach it for daily maintenance.

avatar I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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