can you keep a fish tank in your bedroom?
Sleep Safety

Is It Safe To Have A Fish Tank in Your Bedroom?

Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Louise Carter

Few things are more relaxing than watching fish swim around an aquarium.

Many of us report feeling calm and relaxed after doing so, suggesting that a bedroom is perfect for an aquarium. Unfortunately, certain hazards make this setup less than ideal.

Fish tanks require lots of space and can develop faults, so sleeping next to them can be a safety hazard.

Aquariums need lights and noisy water filters, and algae in a fish tank can create foul odors. Fish tanks also increase humidity in the bedroom, potentially leading to black mold.

There are ways around most of these concerns if you want to keep an aquarium in your bedroom. However, if you sleep alongside fish, you need to understand the risks.

Can You Keep a Fish Tank in Your Bedroom?

Keeping a fish tank in the bedroom won’t suit everybody, but there are advantages.

Many people find watching fish swim highly relaxing, and it’s undoubtedly a better pre-sleep habit than watching TV, using a computer, or other screen-based activities.

Environment and Behavior stated that spending a short time watching the occupants of an aquarium is good for mental health, lowering anxiety and stress.

Unfortunately, there are reasons against keeping a fish tank in a room where you sleep.

is it bad to sleep next to a fish tank?

Is it Bad to Sleep Next to a Fish Tank?

Sleeping with a fish tank by your bed is fraught with issues, but this doesn’t mean you can’t make it work. Let’s explore the risks of sleeping beside a fish tank:

Space

You must assess whether you have sufficient space for your bed, wardrobes, and other furniture. Also, you need to be able to walk around everything comfortably.

Consider that a fish tank has a reflective glass surface, almost like sleeping beside a mirror.

You’ll also need to determine where to put a fish tank relative to the windows. Although you may like being awoken by sunlight in the morning, this will spike algae production in the tank.

Safety

If you’ve found sufficient space for your fish tank, consider the safety implications of its positioning. Namely, is there a risk of the aquarium toppling over while you’re asleep?

The tank’s glass could fall onto your bed and shatter, leaving you at risk of injury. Also, if you have a cat, it may show an unhealthy interest in your fish, increasing the risk of an accident.

Think about the flow of electricity to your fish tank, as you’ll need to plug it into a wall socket. Can you safely move around a bedroom in the dark without falling over the power cable?

Light

Lighting is essential for monitoring the aquarium’s inhabitants, ensuring that they remain healthy and are getting along. In addition, lights regulate fish’s circadian rhythms.

As per Frontiers in Endocrinology, the internal body clock is essential to basic functioning. Lighting helps fish understand when to eat and rest, but bright lights may keep you awake at night.

You can switch off the lights in an aquarium at bedtime, but only if your fish have adjusted. Don’t expect fish to alter their circadian rhythms to aid your sleep. Sudden changes will cause stress and anxiety.

If your fish are used to light overnight, cover the tank with a blanket.

Heat

If your fish tank is plugged in, it’ll consume energy. This means that the room temperature will likely rise, which can be problematic because sleeping in a cool bedroom is preferable.

You can’t resolve this by switching the air conditioning because fish need a consistent temperature outside their tank to flourish. If you must sleep with an aquarium in your room, learn to do so without AC.

Noise

Water pumps, filters, and other peripherals run overnight while you sleep.

Some consider the white noise generated by a fish tank comforting. If you struggle to sleep in silence, you may fall into this camp. However, if you’re not used to the sound of an aquarium, it’ll disturb your sleep.

Quiet filters can be purchased from exotic pet shops. Equally, you could try enclosing any apparatus in a cabinet to muffle noise. Overall, you’ll need to tolerate the noise or wear earplugs.  

Smell

You’ll find pungent odors coming from your fish tank, usually algae. Other explanations include unclean water, rotting plants or food, and dead fish in the tank.

Keep changing the water in your aquarium and get a carbon filter to avoid these odors.

can a fish tank in your bedroom make you sick?

Humidity

Keeping an aquarium in a bedroom will increase the humidity level. The water from the tank will evaporate across the day, entering the atmosphere of your room.

The bigger the aquarium, the more humid a room becomes. This is less of a concern in a large room because the water molecules have room to circulate. However, small spaces with high humidity levels can develop chronic problems with black mold.

Get a hygrometer if you sleep in a room with a fish tank because this will measure the humidity level in your room, which should always be below 50%.

Ventilate your room without reducing ambient temperature, and consider using a dehumidifier.

Can a Fish Tank in Your Bedroom Make You Sick?

Fish tanks can cause breathing problems due to the increase in humidity. As the air around you becomes more humid, body temperature increases, making breathing more challenging.

Anybody can experience breathing issues in a humid room as humidity leads to the growth of mold spores. Biology links breathing in fungal spores (Stachybotrys chartarum) with bleeding lungs.

Black mold can become a chronic problem that refuses to disappear once it sets in, so avoid letting things get this far. If you believe adding a fish tank to your bedroom will lead to unmanageable humidity levels, reconsider whether it’s the right choice.

If you find watching fish go about their lives in an aquarium helps you sleep, a fish tank could be an ideal addition to a bedroom. However, it’s preferable to house your aquarium in another room, enjoying the sight of your pets before retiring to a tankless bedroom.