Where to Place a Planted Aquarium at Home

by Apr 2, 202013 comments

Ideal Location of Your Aquarium

Planted aquariums require less work to maintain (once you find the balance of everything) but need more work to set up for the first time. So we need to plan for it properly. Most importantly, we need to consider the ideal location of the tank at our home. So in this article, I will walk you through all the considerations on deciding where to place a planted aquarium at home. After this, we will determine the dimensions of the tank that can fit in your desired location.

Whether you will put fish or not into a planted tank, it is important to think ahead and be very concerned about the fishes and plants’ well-being and family members to avoid accidents and disaster.

Table of Contents

Can the Location and Chosen Stand Withstand the Weight?
Can You See Your Aquarium?
Is There Ample Space to Move Around?
Is the Location Near a Power Outlet and Water Source?
Is the Location Near Windows and Doors?
Is the Location's Ambient Temperature Hot or Cold?
Is the Location in a High Traffic Area of the House?
Is the Location Near a Sound System or Loud Neighbors?
Another Warning!
My Tank
Closing Remarks

Can the Location and Chosen Stand Withstand the Weight?

When choosing your tank’s location, remember that it will be challenging to move the tank elsewhere once filled with water and fully-stacked. A 30 gallons tank, for example, filled, will weigh from 150 to 180 kg depending on the amount of substrate, rocks, and driftwood you put into it. Make sure that the floor can withstand the weight of the aquarium plus the stand of your choosing.

The stand should be leveled, use a bubble level for this purpose, properly supported, and weight evenly distributed. Be it a custom-made cabinet; a table made off solid hardwood, a metal rack, sturdy furniture like waist-high cabinets, etc.

Please don’t take risks here. If the stand breaks or the floor collapses, well, that is an expensive accident, not to mention a big mess to clean up. Did I not say it will be a disaster?

DIY Table Stand with Metal Support by Omar Krishnan Jusico Afuang Philippines

DIY Table Stand with Metal Support by Omar Krishnan Jusico Afuang Philippines

Can You See Your Aquarium?

This is common sense. Put it in a location where you can easily see it, with no obstacles in between. Aquariums are designed and created to be looked at. Isn’t that too obvious?

By having your aquarium in plain sight, you can quickly identify something wrong with your aquarium.

Whether it’s a sick fish, or all fish gasping in the water surface, or algae breakout, the tank’s inside glass starting to look dirty, or your tank is leaking, the sooner you notice the problem, the faster you can tend to it.

Having a planted tank at home requires you to have a keen eye for those menaces like algae starting to infest your tank.  

An unobstructed view of your planted aquarium makes for a pleasant viewing experience. Who doesn’t like that?

Can you see your aquarium with no obstruction

Is There Ample Space to Move Around?

It should have ample space around it, or at least the front and two sides, so you can work with it and have an easy time moving around it. You have a lot to do once you start setting up your first planted tank.

You should have plenty of access at the top, front, and even sides of the aquarium when putting and designing the substrate, rocks, and driftwood placement/determining the angles when you start aquascaping.

There is a considerable amount of planting that will happen afterward. It depends on your chosen style of aquascaping and how many plants you bought. So you should be able to move freely around your tank.

You should be able to put a water bucket at the sides of the aquarium so you can perform a water change. When trimming overgrown plants, you sometimes need to peek at the sides to have a better viewing angle instead of cutting the wrong plant.

With all the electrical equipment, tubings from your filtration system that you will be using at your planted aquarium, you need to be able to route the wires and tubings at the back or sides of the aquarium.

Repurposed Rack Stands by Omar Krishnan Afuang

Rack Stands – Aquascaped Tanks by Omar Krishnan Afuang – Philippines

Is the Location Near a Power Outlet and Water Source?

It should be near an electrical outlet for your filter, light, submersible pumps, etc. You can use an extension cord but route it carefully so that there should be no tripping hazard.

While you are gaining experience, you will find out that you need more electrical outlets for additional equipment. As you can see from the picture below of my tank, I have 8 (2 not visible) equipment plugged. Among them are my filter, lighting, 3 submersible pumps, CO2 solenoid, and two CPU fans sets. 

Likewise, your planted aquarium should be also near a water source as doing water change every week or twice a week is a vital part of your maintenance. If possible, do not put your planted aquarium on the 2nd floor of your home unless you have a water source there.

I use RO/DI water for 0.5 cents per 5 gallons, and it is always placed near my tank. I have to haul it through our terrace stairs, though.

My Aquarium near a power Extension

My Planted Aquarium Near a Power Extension

Is the Location Near Windows and Doors?

Please keep it away from windows as direct sunlight shining through windows and into your tank, even for an hour or a couple, will cause algae to thrive, and it is tough to control.

If possible, avoid placing your aquarium outside the house (terrace, for example), even if it is completely shaded or just receiving sunlight an hour or two in the mornings and afternoons (most intense sunlight is in the surrounding hours of midday).

If you have no choice, maintaining a planted tank outside the house and keep it algae free, or at least minimal to no visible algae, is still possible, albeit much harder to do (need to start heavily planted) and requires a lot of adjustment to your light, CO2, fertilizers, and long-monitoring before you find the balance.

Ambient light from the sun is hard to control, and you have to stay ahead of it so that your plants prefer your own light. We will discuss this in another article.

A Planted Aquarium Next to a Window But shaded By Than Tagam Philippines

A Planted Aquarium Next to a Window But Shaded – Aquascaped by Than Tagam – Philippines

Did I say there is no such thing as an algae-free tank? They are everywhere (from your water source, plants, and hardscape you bought, even from the air as spores, etc.) and you may not even see them, just waiting to show their fangs on the first weakness (imbalance) they detect on your tank. Algae is just there, waiting,  and being opportunistic. Don’t let them, find the balance, and always give your plants a fighting chance. Every hobbyist, at some point, battled and try to eradicate a specific kind of algae or combinations of algae, but that is for another article. Even if you had found the balance and your tank seems stable and algae-free for months and even years, you may still get algae here and there. So enjoy your planted aquariums at the same time always be vigilant and observant and don’t skip with your maintenance.

Is the Location’s Ambient Temperature Hot or Cold?

Avoid placing the tank near heating vents, fireplaces, radiators, and air conditioning units because those can drastically change the temperature of the water in your tank. You would be amazed at how quickly the temperature inside your aquarium can change.

Since I am in a tropical country, and my tank is in our terrace (completely shaded, no direct sunlight), I installed a couple of dual CPU fans to maintain the water temperature in the 24 to 27 C range. The Philippines have a tropical maritime climate, meaning the weather is generally hot and quite humid.

Average temperatures in the Philippines usually range between 21 °C (70 °F) and 32 °C (90 °F), with the average yearly temperature coming in at around 26.6 °C (79.9 °F). Temperatures can fluctuate between regions and depending on the season, however generally January is the coolest month while May is the warmest.

Aquarium plants generally prefer cooler waters. Plus, plants uptake of nutrients and CO2 are better with cooler waters. For the discussion of Temperature Water Parameter of Planted Aquariums, go here

my aquarium fan

Customize CPU Fans by Ahmed Cruz – Philippines

Is the Location in a High Traffic Area of the House?

Keep the tank away from high traffic areas of the house where people/family members are always passing through, running kids, etc. Avoid placing the tank near doors as the fish will be stressed from the constant opening and closing.

Is the Location Near a Sound System or Loud Neighbors?

The tank should be away from subwoofer speakers as the bass tones create significant vibrations traveling through solid objects into your tank and stressing your fishes.

That is why we should not allow our kids or any visitors from tapping the aquarium glass. That silent tap outside the tank sounds like a loud boom inside the aquarium. When it comes to deciding the right place for your aquarium, a quiet spot in your home is one of your fish’s best friend.

Another Warning!

Please remember again – that a full stacked aquarium is a giant pain to move, even if it is as small as a 5 gallon. It is better to get the location right the first time than to waste your time moving it later.

aquarium traffic

My 35 Gallons Planted Aquarium in our Terrace

My Tank

This is my 35 gallons tank, located on our terrace, and it is right beside the stairs. It is on an elevated concrete platform where some of my wife’s terrestrial potted plants are used to be.

I still have plenty of space on the sides and elevation choices at the front due to the stairs, but the back is a stretch, and I need a chair when cleaning the back glass.

There is no direct sunlight shining on it at any time of the day. It is not really ideal, but I really have no choice. There is no room inside the house anymore.

My canister filter is at the back-left and its intake and outtake tubings are on the left side. All the electrical wirings are routed at the back. My smart WiFi extension and smart plugs are on the table beside it, they are used for automating my light, canister filter, submersible pumps, CO2 solenoid, etc.

Having multiple tanks is a plan of mine with different aquascaping styles in mind and if I decide to push through with it, it will be right on that table beside the fan. I will replace it with a hardwood table to support the aquarium. I am planning to use a 15 or 20 gallon long for my next planted aquarium.

Want to Explore More?

Dutch Style showing Dutch Streets 8 ft x 18 in x 13 in High-Tech Aquascaped by Jay-r Huelar Philippines

Dutch Style

This style is characterized by many different assortments of plants and leaf types. Carefully planning and designing a multitude of textures, shapes, and plants’ colors is the main focus. It is much like the terrestrial plants that are displayed in flower gardens.

My 3rd Re-scape

The Fastest Method - How to Cycle a Planted Aquarium

The fastest way of cycling your newly planted aquarium is to use your old filter media, gravel, soil, hardscapes, and even part of the old water from your old aquarium to your newly planted aquarium.

Water Drop on Grass After a Rain

Safe Water Sources for Planted Aquariums

Your water source should be chlorine or chloramine-free at the most basic of things and should have very little unknowns in it. Remember, you cannot test everything in the water, so your water must be clean with little unknown substances. But to add to the confusion, very pure/clean water is also bad for your plants and faunas, which we will explain further.

Water Parameter pH

pH - Planted Aquarium Water Parameters

pH is the measure of the acidity and basicity of your water. The range goes from 0 to 14, with 7 as neutral. pH lower than 7 indicates acidity, and pH greater than 7 indicates basic or alkaline water. Like the Richter scale used to measure earthquakes, the pH scale is logarithmic, so a pH of 5.5 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 6.5.

Using a Trickle Filter Aquascaped by Jei Joaquin Philippines

Trickle Filters - Types of Planted Aquarium Filters

If you love DIY-ing, then you will feel at home on the next three types of filters that we will discuss, including this one. The trickle filter concept is to expose the water to as much air as possible, providing more dissolved oxygen. This will make your biological filtration very efficient and far better than other filters. 

A Riparium in Combination with Walstad Method using a Shallow Tank Aquascaped by Arnel Perez Philippines

Riparium Aquarium Style

A Riparium is a type of Vivarium that typically depicts an environment where water meets land (riverbanks, streambanks, the shoreline of marshes and swamps or lakes), but it does have minimal to no land parts, unlike a Paludarium (which provides significant land parts). In other words, you are replicating the shallow parts of these natural bodies of water.

Closing Remarks

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have additional questions or want to share your experiences with how you determined your aquarium’s ideal location at home, please leave a comment below. Next, we will be discussing how to determine the tank dimensions of your planted aquarium.

13 Comments

  1. Andrea Gatti

    Thanks for this article, I have found it very useful. I didn’t know about the light would increase drastically the increase of algae. That’s probably why when I used to have one it was always a mess. Could you please let me know what is a good combination of plants for a tropical aquarium? I really like yours, well done.
    Thanks for you help, I really appreciate.
    I wish you the best,
    Andy

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for commenting. Without seeing your tank, I can’t advise you of what to do. If you can tell me what is the size of your tank, if it is outdoor or indoor, what is the light that you are using, low-tech or high-tech, fertilizers if any, filtration, if you have diy or pressurized tank co2 injection, water parameters if you know (ph, temperature, ammonia, nitrite, nitrates), what plants are currently in there, what type of algae, etc. For starters, undemanding plants includes anubias, bucephalandras, crypts, amazon swords, dwarf sagittaria for carpets, java fern, water sprite, water wisteria, some ludwigias, etc. to name a few.

      Reply
  2. evans

    Aquarium is a kind of a pretty furniture that really beauties your home bit really high in price. To get the Best view of an Aquarium one has to look for the best spot in the House to place it to get the best view. This article gives us an insight of some nice places to place an Aquarium to get its best view.

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hi Evans,

      Thank you for your comment. Have you heard of Walstad Method? It is a natural planted tank that you can setup for well under 100 $. The most notable aspect of this is using inexpensive generic potting soil as the first layer top with thin layer of sand. I will cover this on another article. Please watch out for that. The aim of Walstad is to provide an ecosystem where plants and fishes balance each others needs.

      Reply
  3. Ann

    Hi! It’s beautiful. I love aquariums and I like how you share your experience creating one. I have thought of a spot for years where to place an aquarium but I really appreciated the recommendation of not moving the aquarium around once it’s built because it’s super heavy.

    I’ll share this post with my husband to see if he also get’s excited with the project as I am.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I have bookmarked your site. 

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hi Ann and I hope you are having a good day! Thank you that this article has made you very interested and helped you in your decision to start your very own planted aquarium at home. Please watch out for more articles in the coming days.

      Reply
  4. Elmira Sacop

    Hi Lemuel, thank you so much for sharing your experience on how you started your own Aquarium. Here in UK, I seldom see one here, be it a dental clinic, surgeries (where GP Doctors are) and even houses. I saw one, in one building, a housing for an elderly people. Its a massive aquarium but you can only see fishes and plastic plants. There’s no life in it. Its not pleasing to look at. I work with one family and they have a small aquarium. It was requested by her daughter who loves fish. it has plants but it goes rotten. At the end, fishes died. I just realised now that once you’ve learned the simple scientific method, you’ll have an amazing and beautiful aquascape inside a small aquarium. Hopefully, British people would have an idea and interest about aquascaping. For sure, you’ll have more audiences here in UK.

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hello Mah! thank you for sharing your experience with us. Please watch out for more articles coming soon.

      Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Thank you so much Mamita for the love and support!

      Reply
  5. Ali

    You did a great job! I believe that this is the information that can’t be find on the web easily and you decided to share it with others for free, that’s really great!
    I didn’t know much about best place for aquarium at home but I’ve been always interested to know more about this topic and your comprehensive guide helped me a lot. I don’t know if you wrote this post 100% by yourself or got help from other sources as well, anyway, it has really brilliant information which convinced me to share it with my friends on social networks.

    I think, the Internet needs more quality posts like yours these days, especially when we see a lot of crappy ads and scams about this topic. You can’t read a post easily on a website without seeing tons popups but your site and post is an ideal example of a quality article which is not covered by annoying ads, has very useful information and lets readers enjoy reading every piece of it.

    Thank you again and I wish you continue providing such that quality information in the future which turn the Internet and blogs into a better place to surf!

    Best,
    Ali

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hi Ali,

      Thank you so much for visiting my site and appreciating this article. Mostly it came from experience about where to locate your aquarium, others were from thorough research about the topic, and inputs from my co-hobbyists as well, some of it are just common sense.

      Reply
  6. Catherine

    Wow, these aquariums are really beautiful. I never really thought about the impact the sound would have but this makes sense. Similar issues are raised about wind turbines located in the ocean and their effect on the marine life.

    I am really into sound audio. Is it possible to have an aquarium in the same room as a subwoofer and what would be considered a safe distance?

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hi Catherine,

      If you have no choice placing your planted aquarium in a room where you have a subwoofer, just don’t play chest thumping bass music loudly.

      Reply

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