Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Aquarium Basics

Choosing an Aquarium Location
Finding the proper location for your aquarium is key to your own enjoyment as well as to the health of your fish.
Finding the proper location for your aquarium is key to your own enjoyment as well as to the health of your fish.
© Perfecto Manufacturing

There are three basic factors to consider before actually purchasing an aquarium. You want to decide where the tank should go, what kind of fish you want to keep in it, and how much money you feel comfortable spending. You should really make these decisions before bringing home a tank. Aquariums last for many years, and if you make the wrong choice, you may have to live with it for a long time.

The first thing on the list is choosing an aquarium location. It is important that you be able to view the aquarium easily from a favorite chair. Keeping the tank in an area where you spend a lot of your time will enhance your enjoyment of your fish and your interest in fishkeeping.

Sitting comfortably and watching the fish lets you appreciate them, and it also provides an opportunity to note if they are behaving normally. Experienced aquarists can catch problems early by simply noting changes in the behavior of their fish.

The tank also has to be in a place that offers ready access. Although an aquarium doesn't require much maintenance, it does need some. If it is difficult to work around the tank because of a lack of space, you will be much more likely to put the work off and let the water quality deteriorate, and as a result, keeping your aquarium healthy will become much more of a chore.

The location of the tank should also be determined by the room's light, temperature, and traffic. One of your goals is to provide the fish with a stable, secure environment. This is much easier to do if you can control these factors.

Sunlight coming through a window or door can overheat the tank, particularly in summer, raising the water to lethal temperatures. Excess light can also cause significant algae growth in an aquarium. The combination of warm water, sunlight, and nutrients in the water encourages unwanted algae to multiply and cover every surface in the aquarium.

Nearby windows and doors can subject the tank to drafts of cold or hot air, making it harder to maintain a consistent water temperature. Rapid changes in temperature create enough stress to cause some fish to become sick. For this reason, the tank should also be kept away from radiators, vents, and other sources of hot or cold air.

Heavy traffic around the aquarium can be very disturbing to many fish. If people are continually walking by the tank or if nearby shelves or furniture receive frequent use, the activity can stress the fish and make it more difficult for them to thrive.

See the next section to learn about choosing an aquarium display.

To learn more about freshwater aquariums, see: