The Location to set up a home Aquarium

When we look for a house, often the advice we receive is location, location, and location. It is not different when it comes to the position for a home aquarium. This seemingly simple task is often overlooked. Many people completely ignore some very crucial factors.  Why is the location to set up a home aquarium so important? Why can’t we just set it up wherever we would like it to be?

Where we set up our fish tank is not all about where we would like to see our pet fish. It is more important to the well being of the fish.  The overall environment of the aquarium.  How easy you can maintain it.  As well as the safety of the house or apartment.

1. Do not set up an aquarium near a window where there is direct sunlight or very strong daylight.

Anyone who has kept an aquarium for a few months knows that the algae are one of the biggest problems any aquarium may face. It is hard to get rid of, and it keeps coming back.

One of the leading causes for an algae infested aquarium is too much light. Placing an aquarium in an area where it can receive direct sunlight is asking for trouble. Unless you prefer green water and green glass. Sunlight can overheat the water temperature in an aquarium very fast. Also, the temperature will also drop rapidly as soon as the fish tank is no longer in the sun. Fish do not like fluctuation in the water temperature. Since they are cold blood species, they can’t regulate their body temperature like we humans do. Therefore, it is incredibly unhealthy for them. In the summertime, direct sunlight might even heat up the water to a lethal temperature.

2. Do not locate an aquarium near a door.

Fish can be scared and shocked every time the door is opened and closed. You might not feel much of a shock when you close a door, but it is too much for the fish. The shock traveling through solid matter is much stronger than it is through the air. It goes through the wall, the floor, the aquarium stand, the fish tank, the water, and all the way to the fish. They can feel it, which is too strong for them if the door is nearby. The shock of a door closing can be a significant stress factor for your fish. Therefore, keep the tank away from the door if you want to keep your fish healthy and long-lived.

3. Do not place an aquarium near a radiator, an air conditioner, or a vent, where the temperature can change rapidly.

Once again, fish require stable water temperature to thrive.

4. Do not locate an aquarium in an area where there is heavy traffic.

Fish can be easily disturbed by large frequently moving objects such as people around the tank. It can be very stressful for them.

5. Do not place an aquarium directly on the floor where you can easily kick it and break it by accident.

Whether you decide to put it on an aquarium stand, a desk, or on a dresser, make sure it is sitting on something strong and solid. One U.S. gallon of water weighs about 8.35 pounds or about 3.79kg. A small 10 (U.S.) gallon tank can hold as much as 80 pounds of water.  It can be way over 100 pounds with the substrate, decoration, and equipment.

The surface to support the fish tank must be perfectly level. An uneven surface might crack the tank in the long run even if it does not break right away. The floor where the tank is on must also be perfectly level.  It is the best to have the fish tank located against a wall or in a corner.  It is where the floor can support the tank better than if it is in the center of the room.

6. Locate an aquarium near an electrical outlet.

This will make it easier for you to hook up all the necessary equipment such as the filter, heater, lights, and air pump. The electrical outlet should not be directly under the aquarium to avoid short circuits in case of a water leakage or spill.

7. Locate your aquarium with easy access to water.

A healthy aquarium requires the frequent partial water change. A 5-gallon water bucket can weigh as much as over 40 pounds.  Walking a long distance with such weight is not very enjoyable.

8. Locate an aquarium in an area where there is enough space around it for you to work on during the maintenance.

Without an adequate working space, you might get lazy maintaining the aquarium.

9. Locate an aquarium in an area where you can sit comfortably to observe the fish.

While we have been through the part that to avoid heavy traffic around the fish tank, the aquarium should also not be where you rarely visit. It gives you the opportunities to notice any problem in the tank at an early stage.

10. Locate an aquarium in a relatively quiet place.

Fish do not like noises and should stay away from television, stereo, radio, and any other noise-making sources.

Choosing an excellent location for your home aquarium is one of the very first steps to set it up. This is especially so for a large aquarium because its position can be relatively permanent. Therefore, you will not only need to pick the right spot for the aquarium, but you also need to make sure you will be happy about the location of the aquarium in the long run.

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44 thoughts on “The Location to set up a home Aquarium

  1. After wading through all the “expert” information on the internet, I am so happy (relieved) to have found this site. All the information to be successful at setting up an aquarium and keeping my fishy friend healthy is all compiled here in a thoughtful, well written manner. Thank you for making me rethink my aquarium placement. You saved my fish from a lot of undue stress. I had planned on putting him in my tv room but I now see that with my surround sound speakers that would be a HUGE mistake. I spent just $25 on my betta and so far over $100 on my aquarium setup and supplies, but it is worth it, because it was love at first sight!

    • Hi,
      You should not get the fish and the “bowl” at the same time. In fact a fish bowl is not suitable for any fish unless it can hold at least 5 gallon of water. You need to set your aquarium up before getting the fish. In order to do so, you will need a proper sized fish tank, a filter, a heater if you plan on getting tropical fish, an air pump and air stones, aquarium water conditioner, fish food. Basically there is more to it then just buy a fish and bring it home. Please read the other articles in our fish library to get a better idea of what you need to do. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask us on the forum. πŸ™‚

        • Hi Sarah,
          An air stone is for hooking up to an air tubing and air pump. It makes bubbles in an aquarium to increase surface water movement to promote gas exchange between the water and the atmosphere. So the water will always be oxygen rich. For details, you can check out our article on Air Pump.

    • The article is about general rules for most fish species under most circumstances. There are always exceptions to each rule. By the way, Betta is one of the few fishes with possible individual personalities. πŸ™‚

  2. The only location where I can set up my aquarium is near the source of heat (Radiator) in the winter what can I do to make it possible to for the aquarium to sit there?

    • Maybe not to put the aquarium directly in front of and above the radiator should lessen the possible danger of temperature fluctuation of the tank water.

  3. I started keeping some small fishes in small aquarium12 inches long. I put it on my hifi player. All of them died within the day. I suspect it must be the location. pls advise. I changed the water, put in anti chlorine , yet other new fish also died. I almost give up. thanks

    • How big is your fish tank? Please give the actual size in liters or gallons. The length doesn’t really tell.
      Do you actually have an aquarium filter? Heater? What fish did you keep in there?
      It would be easier to answer your questions if you go to our forum to ask.

  4. I live in an earthquake-prone city. Any advice for tank placement or type of tank to purchase? My house was built in the 50’s and has roughly one plug per room, and they are generally all taken up. I had my fish in a tank that had no lid (has a sort of fountain-y water feature on top) in my bedroom, because I love watching them from bed, but during the recent 7.8 earthquake a lot of the water splashed out and onto the plugs behind and to the side (didn’t put it directly above the plug because electrocution isn’t on my to-do list). my setup was a pretty simple 20 litre tank with filter for 2 comets and a snail (Patsy, Eddie and Saffy). Also I realise I’m rambling, but 7.8 earthquake…. shudder.

    • Hi Kelly,
      What you need is a “drip loop”. Google it and you will see the images. You should also keep your fish tank in a position that it is not directly above the electrical outlet. So no amount of spill will cause an accident. Feel free to ask more questions. πŸ™‚

  5. I’m preparing to buy a 55 gallon Tank and filling it with Glo fish. The only place large enough, dark enough, and cool enough to place this size tank, is in my foyer. I don’t have a lot of company and I live alone. But I do have to come and go for work. There are only five flats on my floor, but I have only one neighbor. My door will be opened and closed at least twice a day. All other areas of my flat will be too bright, I get a lot of sunlight, and too noisy. My foyer is dark, and there is a powder room close by. Do you think my fish will have too much stress being by a door under those circumstances?

    • Hi Dee,
      It is fine if the door only opens and closes twice a day.

      The bigger problem is the light. You will get into algae problem soon enough if there is too much light in your room. You need to at least avoid direct sunlight at all cost for the fish tank if you have no way to darken the room while you are away during the day.

  6. All my rooms are South facing so get a lot of sunshine, I keep the curtains closed most of the time. I wonder if putting my tank which is roughly 35litres with 4 guppies, 3 Barbs, 4 Cardinal Tetras and 2 Corey’s would be better off between the 2 windows on the south wall facing into the room rather than on the wall opposite the windows (does that make sense?)

  7. hi, I have a corner tank (approx. 190litre) which I have yet to setup, it will be holding tropical community fish.
    can you advise what would be a minimum recommended distance to place a small/medium sized stereo speaker from the tank?
    I had planned to position one on the wall above the tank, with music played on occasions at a ‘moderate’ level..
    Is this best avoided and if so what is a recommended safe distance between tank and speaker?

    • There is no minimum distance. Use the common sense instead. πŸ™‚
      Actually it is a bad idea to place any electronics directly above the fish tank. What if it falls into the fish tank by accident?

      “Moderate” music is fine. What might bother the fish the most is the “boom” from the subwoofer. Explosions etc. from the movies are the worst lolz… Anything you can literally feel the shock will bother the fish.

  8. I have a 20gal tank with two 3″ goldfish. We are moving this weekend to a house where my options for placement are either well-lit rooms with varying low levels of traffic, or a darker basement area (where running a dehumidifier is necessary) with lots of small child traffic. We already have an algae problem in its current location and I was planning to put the tank the basement space, but the dehumidifier and high traffic/noise levels have me reconsidering. Can you offer me any advice? Should I just put it in the well-lit rooms and get an algae eater too? Can algae eaters even be in a tank with goldfish? Need help! Don’t want to rehome them.

    • Hi Sharon,
      You do not have to put the fish tank in the basement. As long as the fish tank do not get direct sunlight and daylight it will be fine. Basically you can let it sit in a corner on the opposite side of the window. Traffic is not too big of a concern as long as the kids do not attempt to break the fish tank. πŸ˜› Traffic is also not a big problem as long as people do not frequently walk back and forth right in front of the fish tank. The human movements a few feet away from the fish tank do not affect the fish as much. Goldfish are also less likely to be affected by human movement. Some of them will actually follow you around for food. It is all about individual situation.

  9. I am getting started with a five gallon fish tank and would like to place on kitchen counter beside my sink. Easy access to water and a had smaller tank there for a bit and fish seemed to do ok. It is the counter above the dishwasher. Any concerns?

  10. I was wondering. Im getting ready to set up fish. I have a place in mind. In the dunning room.I was wondering if that is a safe place to keep them.

  11. Hello! I have at least 152 questions to ask about a new tank and set up I’m getting. After roaming around the internet piecing together the answers to my questions i was came across your forum witch seems active (which was hard to find). I was wondering if you had an email or something i could contact you at so i don’t have to replay back and forth over a forum, unless you prefer that!

    • Hi Joshua,
      Sorry for the late reply. I have not checked the comment section for a while.
      I prefer to use the forum. πŸ™‚ It is convenient.

  12. I put my tank in the middle of my bedroom, against the wall, there are two windows on the left side of it (about four feet from it,) from this description, is it okay? What if they are by lights like my lamp, I have one by there on my desk, is that okay (I have LED lights in the tank.)

    • Hi Mikey,
      The fish tank must avoid direct sunlight. It is also highly recommended to have it to avoid direct daylight as well. Daylight has UVA in it, which can also promote algae growth which makes the maintenance harder.

    • Hi Dennis,
      It depends on the actual distance. If it is too close, I do not think it is a good idea. Not only the fridge must be opened many times a day which might bother the fish, it also releases heat from the rear. My fridge also vibrates from time to time lol…

  13. We have a small house with wood floors throughout. We have a drum set that is played frequently. We’d really like to get a saltwater tank again and the only place to put it is in the room next to the room with the drums, probably 20 feet away. Would that be bad? Is there a way to make that scenario better?

    • Hi Sarah,
      If you have no other option of where to put the fish tank, I would recommend using a piece of foam under the fish tank. It will reduce the transmission of sound and shock through solid matter. I have a piece of foam under every one of my fish tanks. I got them from Ace Hardware. They cut the foams to my specifications. When it was all done, I asked how much. The manager told me it is free. πŸ˜€ Nice folk.

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