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Last update: April 7, 2021

The Perfect Location to Put Your Aquarium in Your Home!

Woman choosing a table as the best location to set up her glass fish tank

I think you will agree with me when I say:

Fish are not like any other pet on earth!

What makes them unique is that they live in a heavy glass rectangle filled with water.

This is both a blessing and a curse. While it’s part of what makes fish such a unique pet to keep, it definitely has a downside…

Remember: Once your aquarium is properly set up, it will need to be disassembled to move – even just a few inches. Not only is this a huge pain, but it will also stress the fish.

It is for this reason that you should take some time to find the ideal place for your fish tank before you set it up.

I often recommend figuring out where you want to locate a fish tank before buying it – since the location will impact the size, shape and weight of the aquarium you can buy.

The right place for your fish tank depends on the following factors:

  • Size of the aquarium
  • Shape of the aquarium
  • The layout of your home
  • How you use your home

So, the right place for my fish tank might not necessarily be the best place for your fish tank.

But that doesn’t mean that choosing a location comes down to guess work!

To make your life easier, I have 7 simple points you need to address when choosing the perfect spot in your home.

Trust me, you will be thankful when you find the perfect location on your first attempt.

With that out of the way, let’s jump into the guide!

1. Can you see it?

Let’s face it:

Aquariums are designed to be looked at!

Fish don’t follow you from room to room like a dog or cat.

To get the most out of your fish tank, you want to set it up in a location that makes it easy to view and enjoy.

Obviously, this rules out your back room or basement. But anywhere else that you frequently walk past or sit and relax is fair game!

Oh, and as an added bonus…

By having your aquarium in plain sight, you can quickly identify if something goes wrong in your aquarium. Whether it’s an algae outbreak, sick fish or even a leaking tank – the sooner you notice the problem, the sooner you can fix it!

2. Is the location near power and water?

An aquarium might be the only time that water and electricity are a good mix.

You see, equipment, like filters and heaters, need a power source. For this reason, the closer the fish tank is to an electrical outlet, the better. While you could run an extension cord from the other side of the room – it not only looks ugly but is also a tripping hazard.

Similarly, water changes play a major role in aquarium maintenance. And the closer your aquarium is to a water source, such as your kitchen sink, the easier maintenance will be.

3. Is there room to move?

You need to take a look at the space around where you will set up your fish tank.

If it feels a bit cramped, then this can cause issues in the future.

You will need to access the top of your aquarium for water changes and feeding as well as the equipment such as filters, air pumps and heater controllers.

You also want to make sure that there is space around your tank to place a large bucket – you will use a bucket regularly when performing maintenance on your tank.

4. Is the area hot or cold?

You would be amazed at how quickly the temperature inside your aquarium can change. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

You see, large, rapid temperature changes occurring throughout the day can stress your fish, which can lead to sickness or even death.

To avoid these temperature changes, be wary of the following:

Heating: Nearby heating vents, fireplaces and space heaters can raise the temperature of your aquarium.

Cooling: Nearby fans, air-conditioning units and vents can lower the temperature of your aquarium.

And finally, the most overlooked source of temperature changes – your window.

A cool breeze blowing through an open window or sunlight shining through the glass can both cause the temperature to change in your aquarium causing your fish unnecessary stress.

If you want to set your aquarium up near a window, keep it closed.

Speaking of windows…

5. Is the area bright and sunny?

As if you needed another reason to be mindful of windows… Direct sunlight hitting your tank encourages algae to grow.

A tank that sits in sunlight, even for just a little while each day, can lead to algae calling your aquarium home. Not only does algae block the view of your fish, but it looks downright ugly.

This doesn’t mean you can’t set your aquarium up near a window – simply keep the curtains drawn.

6. Are there speakers nearby?

While it’s up for debate just how much sound will stress fish (your aquarium filter also makes a lot of noise), many fish keepers agree that a subwoofer and an aquarium are not a good match.

The low tones of a subwoofer cause vibrations to travel through the water in your tank, stressing your fish.

This is the same reason why you should not tap on the glass of your aquarium. That quiet tapping sound on the outside of the tank sounds like a jet engine on the inside of your aquarium.

Besides, if you have shy fish, they will scatter and hide every time they hear a loud noise, leaving you to stare at a seemingly empty tank.

When it comes to choosing the right place to put an aquarium, the quieter the location, the better.

7. Can the location cope with the weight?

It’s easy to forget that water is heaaaavy.

In fact, one gallon of water weighs about 8.3 pounds. That means that even a small 10-gallon tank filled with water is going to be hefty.

And, that doesn’t include the weight of the aquarium itself.

The larger the size of the tank, the heavier it’s going to be.

That Ikea side table may look pretty, but it’s not going to be strong enough to hold up a decent-sized aquarium. And if the table breaks, well that’s an expensive accident, not to mention a big mess to clean up. Goodbye aquarium!

It is for this reason that larger-sized aquariums often have stands specifically designed to support the weight of a fully filled tank.

Conclusion

If you have made it this far, you should have found the best place to set up your fish tank. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

But before you rush out to buy a fish tank to fit this space, I recommend sleeping on it. Remember – a fully stocked fish tank is a giant pain to move. It’s better to get the location right the first time than to waste your time moving it later.

Do you have any other tips for choosing the best location for an aquarium? Let me know in the comments below!

Ian Sterling

I've been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it's an addiction. I'm here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.

I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here.

Comments (32)

Hi, thanks for this. I moved my tank to a new location away from my windows and my fish seem much happier.

In my living room l have a perfect place to keep aquarium but it is in the west. What should I do? Please help me.

Hi Jayasri,

I am not sure I understand your problem. Is it the afternoon sun shining on your tank?

One more thing about where to put it and the weight is; do you have a basement or is the aquarium going to be on the second, third , etc floor? Water weighs (says 8.3 pounds per gal.; the correct figure is 10 pounds per gal: and the weight of the tank is the tank itself, substrate, heater, filter, decorations in the tank, and the fish. Although you might not think about it that fish you ate or caught was what 10-15 pounds. The ones in your tank might be ounces to 10 pounds or more when the reach a good size. so make sure to calculate all weight that will be on the spot. Don’t forget to include the stand as well. To get to the point is the floor capable of handling all the weight, remember all this weight will be on a very small foot print(spot on the floor. Floors may be able to handle alot of weight but it is usually spread out over a larger area, like your bed which may be with you and your spouse, may be a kid or 2. Or a bunk bed which may weigh more. Even a water bed. the point is this amount of weight is distributed evenly across the floor which is why the floor can support it. 300, 400 or more on 2-4 foot area may no be able to hold that much weight so you might have to figure out a way to distribute the weight more evenly. Just a thought.

Hi Mike,

Excellent point. I weighed up including water weight in the guide but decided not to. I didn’t want to confuse beginners who typically buy smaller sized aquariums where this is less of an issue – I imagine most of beginner tanks would way less than an adult male (200 or so pounds) which a floor that is built to code should easily support. But you are correct, it is certainly a point that is worth keeping in mind for those who are considering a larger size tank.

Thanks so much for weighing in, I really appreciate it!

Can i keep a fish bowl on my dining table. The room doesnt have much of sunlight. Its away from windows. Its actually a bit dark if the lights are not on. Can i keep it there ??

Hi Yeldo,

As long as there is enough light to mimic the day-night cycle, your fish should be fine.

My bedroom has very little natural light (only one tiny window) and the only lighting I have is a lamp. Would this be too dark for a fish tank? Or would they be fine with the tank LED lighting.

Hi Rejoice,

If your tank has an LED light situated above it, that’s perfectly fine. This light acts as a substitute for natural light. Just don’t forget to turn the light on and off at night, to simulate a natural day/night cycle. A plug-in timer makes this much easier.

We are considering 45 gallon aquarium and stand with led lighting to set in the foyer. There is minimal outside light unless door is open. Our biggest concern is the weight of everything. Our house is on crawl space.

Hi my name is Sterling and i have been epping a tank for 3 or Mayer years right now I em ten and the biggest tank i have in a 36 gallon!!!

I love fish to and my favorite right now is a red blood Parrot Cichlid that i have it is always changing about my favorite!!!

Hi Sterling,

Cool name, that’s my last name! Blood Parrots are beautiful fish, that’s a great choice for a favorite. I’m happy to hear that you are enjoying fishkeeping!

Hi,

I want to put a 65 gal in my bedroom (upstairs) and it will have a 40 gal sump setup would that be okay? Is that to heavy? Also it’s a bright room during daylight would it be fine as long as it’s not in direct sun? Lastly, I have a one year old we’re frequently in my room. Would his screaming/crying be an issue for the fish? I really do feel like my room is he best place especially because I’m there he mostand for various reasons you mentioned.

Thanks

Hi Arnita,

Unfortunately, I cannot give a yes/no answer here. There are a lot of factors that go into it. Whether or not your house has been built up to code, structural issues, etc.

Using water as a guide (at 8.34 lbs/gallon) the tanks would weigh a combined 878 lbs, probably more as this doesn’t take into account the weight of rocks and other decorations which add more. The average male weighs around 200 pounds, so 5 of them would weigh close to your tank. You’ll have to be the judge as to whether this is feasible.

Indirect sunlight shouldn’t present an issue, neither will a screaming child.

Regarding placement- Should you consider how far away you are from a water source – in anticipation of cleanings?

Hi Monnae,

You raise an excellent point and for some, this will indeed be worth considering. To be honest, unless you have multiple tanks, or live in an unusual home with limited water access, I personally would say this is the least important factor. Whether it’s your kitchen, bathroom or outdoor hose, water shouldn’t be too far away. From here it’s just carrying a bucket through your home.

For larger water changes that require more than one bucket, there is a handy device called a water changer, essentially an extra long garden hose designed for filling and draining aquariums – no more lugging water through your home.

Hi Irish,

I don’t see why not. Plenty of doctors have fish tanks in their waiting rooms.

Hi Jazmin,

It’s typically recommended to imitate a day/night cycle. You can use a plug-in timer so that you are not constantly switching it on and off yourself.

Hi Mr Ian Sterling,
Hope you doing well,
Well i wanna ask you if add 2 Tank fish at the same room , the first one is 240L ,the second one is 450L of watter, and my flat in 8 floor, so do you think it’s super heavy for the floor, because i actually kinda worry about it ,
Please help me (: of you don’t mind
All the best
Younes

Hi Younes,

Unfortunately, I am not qualified to comment on the structure of your floor. Can you speak to the building manager or builder to determine what the floor is rated at?

Hi Leanne,

An aquarium heater is commonly used inside fish tanks for this very reason. It stops temperature swings which can cause stress to fish.

Hello.

Im considering to start an aquarium as a hobby as im in love with panted fish tanks.

I want to buy a 20 gallon fish tank to keep on my desk which is in my room.
My desk has enough support to hold a fish tank and some electrical outlets nearby.
But its also placed beside a window (not infront of it). and the curtians block direct sunlight for that particular area even when they are open.

I have a few worries.

First will the fish tank have an problem because its beside a window. even though direct sunlight doesnt pass through.

Second would the desk im planning to place a fish tank be a problem as there is a tv beside it. Also tv produces sound even though not as loud a speakers

Third will the fish tank splash water to my desk (not counting the water changing sessions)

Fourth I also write articles on the desk so peace and quite is essential. I do not mind the water splasing sounds and ripple sounds as they are quite soothing. but would the filter and other equipment nessecary produce any unwanted loud sounds?

I really would like to start my planted tank but im afraid it would inturrept my work flow or sleep. Hence i would like to hear your opinion whether this is a bad idea or not

Hi Abs,

Great questions.

As long as the light is blocked, this won’t be an issue. Nor will the cold if you buy an aquarium heater with the setup (keeps the water at a constant temperature)

The TV is less ideal as sound waves will vibrate through the fish tank. An alternative could be to grab a cheap pair of computer speakers and plug them into the tv, so sound comes from a different location other than your desk.

The fish tank shouldn’t be splashing your desk unless: It’s too full or any bubble decorations are too strong (when the bubbles pop, they can spray water that builds up over time)

The final question is really difficult, as it depends on your tolerance (or intolerance) to sound. Some people can’t hear the mild buzz that a filter gives off, others find it incredibly distracting. If you go the spongefilter with airpump or canister route, you can install the filter further away and the tubing runs into your desk, which minimizes the electrical hum. As always, some devices are noisier than others.

I hope this helps with your decision!

Hi Mara,

I wouldn’t recommend carpet – water will spill eventually and it will cause your carpet to stink or worse, grow mold.

I plan on moving my aquarium into the living room area but I’m worried that the sound of the tv will irritate the fish in the tank. The tv will be about 12ft across the room from the aquarium. How far do you suggest for the tv to be away from the aquarium to not irritate the fish inside of it?

Hi Jason,

The biggest issue is vibrations. If your fish tank is 12 foot away, you don’t want it on the same surface that your TV sits. You also don’t want it directly in front of the speakers.

Hi my name is Dawn my Daughter just bought me a 60 gallon tank and stand for a early bday present and im wondering if there anything with wheeles that i can put it on because eventually we will be redoing our floors

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