Where To Put An Aquarium – Tips No One Tells You!

I have been recently looking at new homes and my wife could tell all I cared about is where my aquarium would go!!

This is a decision that every aquarium owner is faced with every time they wish to install an aquarium in their home. Whether it be a Betta Bowl or a 500 gallon reef tank, the answer to where should you place your aquarium is different for every home, but there are some important tips that can really help you make the right decision

The best location for an aquarium is in a room or position that provides maximum viewing pleasure. Also consider easy access for maintenance, lighting, air circulation, and the weight of your tank with people standing beside it. Avoid drafts, speakers, windows, doors, bedrooms and kitchens.

Most of the other posts on the web all talk about the same things, but what I’m going to reveal to you in this post is the things I’ve found while doing maintenance and installations on countless aquariums.

Some of these things can really destroy an aquarium in more ways than one…

Usual Aquarium Locations Everyone Talks About

All the other posts talk about the following things to think about before placing your aquarium and they do warrant thinking about but you may have read about this tips already:

  • Doors – Banging doors stress fish
  • Drafts – Play havoc with maintaining water temperature
  • Speakers – Vibrations in the water stress fish
  • Electrical – No outlet nearby is a problem
  • Windows – Direct sunlight can cause algae issues
  • Bedrooms – Noise and blue lighting spectrum can disturb sleep
  • Kitchens – Cooking oils can affect water chemistry
  • Feng Shui – Creating the right energy from its positioning

While all of these are important factors these next tips are what I can assure you will make or break the longterm success of your aquarium:

Does The Location Support Aquarium Weight?

Aquariums can get heavy real quick!!!

Freshwater weighs around 8.3lbs/3.8kg per gallon
Saltwater weighs 8.6lbs/3.9kg per gallon.

Take a look at this chart to see the weight for the size of the tank you are looking to install:

Aquarium Weight Guide

When I was pondering the ‘Where should I place my aquarium?’ part of my build I decided on the location for my 75 gallon reef, but I knew the tank was going to be close to 650 lbs just for the water, 50 lbs for the stand, 50 lbs for the glass, then also the one thing many people forget about – People viewing the tank!

When I have parties, you can guarantee there are always 3-4 people looking at the tank,  and double those viewer numbers if it was a peninsula-style aquarium!

My house is 100 years old and I wanted to make sure that the floor could take 1000-2000 lbs of weight within a 5 ft sq area around my tank! So I supported the underside of the floor area in the basement

Now you may only have a 20 gallon tank that is going in your son’s bedroom, but remember this thing is going to weigh close to 200 lbs. Do not go putting the tank on a shelf above his bed ‘because it looks cool!’

Aquarium Joist Bracing
My Under Tank Support

Once an aquarium is set up, its location is final! You can not even move it 1” (unless it is a 1 gal Pico Aquarium). If you get this location wrong you will have to empty the tank and then move it. All this adds stress to fish.

Trying to move an aquarium with any amount of water in it adds tremendous loads to the glass and seams which could damage the integrity of the aquarium.

The other problem that I have seen is that aquariums need to be completely level and the stand seated correctly to evenly distribute the immense weight of the water to the floor. When a floor or an incorrectly made stand begins to bow or sag it places pressure points onto the glass of the aquarium.

Google ‘Burst Aquariums‘ and just see the mess an exploding tank makes to a place! The weight of the aquarium and where to install it needs a good bit of research, especially if your home is old like mine!

If you want more information regarding the weight and support ideas please see the article in the Further Reading section at the end of this post.

Selecting Location For Aquarium Maintenance

This is by far THE BIGGEST factor when it comes to an aquarium’s downfall. Placing an aquarium where access for maintenance is difficult eventually makes the owner procrastinate.

The regular maintenance begins to drop off month by month and then an algae bloom, ammonia spike or tank crash prevails because the tank became a detritus factory!

There have been some aquariums that I absolutely dreaded working on because they were such a pain to work on. Tanks like this may look great at first, but I can tell you they do not last many years before their demise.

Here are some of the aquarium installation locations you should try and avoid if possible:

  • Aquariums in busy areas – Shops, offices, and waiting rooms are brutal for maintenance unless completed out of hours
  • In Wall aquariums with no or limited access from the sides and back
  • Aquariums behind furniture – Having to move half the room around every day just to get to the tank soon gets tiresome!
  • Very tall aquariums where you cannot physically reach the bottom of the tank with your arms. Delicate work trying to remove a dead fish or place a coral using long tongs can make a 5 minute job take 30!

The easier it is to work on and access all parts of the aquarium and its equipment the more likely the maintenance will stay regular. Having a sink and water supply close by is super handy, having an area you can clean out a stinky filter is nice, getting water to and from the aquarium without spilling is essential.

It is little things like this that I really wanted to place the sump for my reef tank in an area that had all these and also at a height that was comfortable to work at. Kneeling into an aquarium stand for 30 minutes each week can hurt your knees. Yes, I’m getting old now I’ve turned 40!

My Sump In My Basement

I was so fortunate enough to have a basement in my house and it only cost me a few hundred dollars for a return pump to move the water up approx 14ft to my tank, but I can tell you my maintenance is a breeze! If you can do an installation like this, you will not regret it!

I understand not everyone will have that luxury so keep your aquarium stand neat, tidy, and clean – Have all your maintenance tools, food, medications easily accessible but out of sight. Hooks, shelves, and draws can be easily fitted into your stand to house your stuff.

The point I’m trying to make here is to place the aquarium as best you can to give you the easiest maintenance. The easier it is, the faster it is and the more you will want to do it. When maintenance begins to slide, the aquarium starts to decline!

Location For Maximum Aquarium Viewing Pleasure

This is the NUMBER ONE reason why most of us get an aquarium – To enjoy the beauty of an underwater world in our home or office! The movement, the colors, the interactions, the learning, the bond we all form with our aquariums is like nothing else.

Placing your aquarium in the best spot to sit and enjoy it is the most important factor, but to get that spot suitable we have to look at everything mentioned in this article, because if the viewing spot is right but the location is wrong then you could have years of trying to figure out why fish die unexpectedly!

Daughter Reef
My Daughter Loves Our Reef

To me, the best location for a home aquarium is where you can sit back, relax, and view it without moving your head. Across from the couch, on your office desk, Heck, get rid of the TV and give that real estate to your aquarium!

Aquariums help to reduce stress and sitting back with your favorite beverage for 30 minutes of aquatic therapy works wonders, especially when the kids have gone to bed and the house has gone quiet!

I hate seeing photos of aquariums stuck in hallways, behind couches, in formal dining rooms to be viewed only when entertaining. An aquarium should be given pride of place in the most commonly used room of your home or office because it will then ensure you keep it clean and it will become a focal point that you will be proud to own and show off to anyone that shows interest!

To Finish

Finding the right location for your new aquarium takes a little bit of thought but ensuing the floor and stand can take the weight, you can easily do maintenance and you can enjoy the view of your tank are paramount.

There are thousands of aquarium photos all over the web so I ask you to go and look at some of them and try and pick faults with their locations to help you get a better understanding so that you can pick the ultimate spot your aquarium deserves!

Further Reading

You may also find these article helpful:


Hi, I'm Richard and I have been an avid aquarist for over 30 years with a passion for Saltwater Aquariums. I love to pass on my knowledge to help others get the same amount a pleasure out of this hobby as I do. View my About Me page to find out more about me & my mixed reef aquarium.

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