Published September 23, 2012
Choosing the right location is the key to a healthy freshwater tank.
New aquarium hobbyists often assume that the most important decision they have to make before setting up their tank is in regard to the tank itself – its size, shape and the materials used to construct it. While selecting a high-quality tank and choosing the right tank size are both very important factors in starting off on the right foot with your aquarium, you should also take the time to really think about where you are going to put your tank.
If you do not select the right location for your tank it doesn’t matter what it is made of or what size it is – you could end up struggling to maintain the water quality in your tank and it could become a stressful (or even dangerous) environment for your fish. When it comes to selecting the right location for your tank there are a variety of factors to consider.
If you are going to take the time to cultivate a beautiful and thriving freshwater aquarium, you should put it somewhere it can be admired. Your aquarium should be the focal point of whatever room you place it in and it should be something that draws attention when you have guests in your home. That being said, it may not be the best idea to place your aquarium in the entryway of your house or in another high-traffic area where it could be bumped into or knocked over. You will need to find a balance between visibility and safety – select a location for your tank where you can easily see and admire it but not somewhere it might get in the way or be in danger of having someone run into it.
Another factor to consider when selecting a location for your tank is convenience. Not only should you be able to easily access your tank to feed your fish and to turn your aquarium lights on every day, but there should also be enough space around the tank that you can easily perform your routine maintenance tasks. When you are first considering where to put your tank you may be tempted to think that that empty nook or cranny you’ve been trying to find a way to fill is the ideal location. While your tank may look great in this location, you may realize your mistake the first time you go to perform a water change and find that you can’t maneuver around the sides of the tank. The best location for your tank will be somewhere with enough space on both sides of the tank that you have some room to move and there should also be enough space to accommodate your tank stand or aquarium cabinet. If you do not have an aquarium cabinet to use for storing your aquarium supplies, you may also need to find a location for your tank that is near some other kind of storage solution.
When selecting a location for your tank you may think that placing it near a window or under a skylight is a good idea. Natural sunlight will be beneficial for your tank, right? Though a small amount of natural sunlight could be beneficial for your tank, putting your tank near a window or skylight will be more trouble than it’s worth for the minor benefits. If you place your tank in direct sunlight, you could have trouble maintaining a table tank temperature because the water will warm up throughout the day as the sun begins to heat things up. Another problem you may encounter is excess algae growth. Like plants, algae require sunlight in order to grow and the more sunlight available, the more quickly algae will grow. If you place your tank near a window or under a skylight you may find yourself struggling to keep up with the thick green slime that begins to form on your tank walls and decorations.
Just as placing your tank near a window or skylight can cause problems in regard to tank temperature, so can putting it too close to a heating or cooling vent. Maintaining a stable tank temperature is incredibly important for the health of your fish. Even if you have a high-quality aquarium heater in your tank, your tank temperature could still fluctuate if you place it directly over a heating or cooling vent. Placing your tank within a few feet of a vent should not be a problem but if the air from the vent rises up directly beneath your tank it could cause problems.
Now that you know what factors are the most important to consider you can begin the process of selecting the perfect location for your tank. Keep in mind that while the health and well-being of your fish is important, you should also take your own desires into consideration. Try to find a location for your tank that will provide you with the best view of your aquarium without posing any challenges or threats to the health of your fish and the quality of your tank environment.