can you keep a fish tank in your bedroom?
Questions And Answers

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

Few things are more relaxing than watching fish swim around an aquarium. Many people report feeling calm and sleepy after doing so, suggesting that a bedroom is a perfect place for an aquarium. Unfortunately, certain hazards make this set-up 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, while the algae found in a fish tank can create foul odors. Also, fish tanks increase humidity in a bedroom, 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’re going to sleep alongside fish, you need to be acutely aware of 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 to doing so.

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

In fact, Environment and Behavior stated that a short time spent watching the occupants of an aquarium offers a significant boost to mental health, lowering anxiety and stress. This meditative, calming effect will always be welcome before bed.

Unfortunately, there are also reasons against keeping a fish tank in a room in which you sleep. Think carefully before setting up an oversized aquarium in your bedroom, especially if other potential locations exist within your home.

is it bad to sleep next to a fish tank?

Is it Bad to Sleep Next to a Fish Tank?

As intimated above, sleeping with a fish tank by your bed is fraught with issues. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make it work. As with anything pertaining to sleep, your comfort is the most critical factor. Just take any warnings under advisement.

Before we explain why you should proceed with caution before setting up a fish tank in your room, let’s make something clear. When referring to a fish tank, we mean an electrically powered aquarium, not a solitary goldfish in a bowl.

Let’s explore the risks of sleeping beside a fish tank. Take all of this under advisement before committing to setting up an aquarium in your room. Once a fish tank is in situ, it can be hard to relocate.

Space

Your first concern needs to be an honest assessment of whether you have space for a fish tank in your bedroom. You’re not going to want to sleep with your face pressed against the glass, so can you realistically fit such an accessory into your room?

Think about the fact that a fish tank is a reflective surface. You would not want to sleep next to a mirror, and the same applies to a fish tank. It’s considered terrible feng shui to sleep beside anything of this ilk.

You’ll also need to think about where to place a fish tank in relation to windows. You may like to be woken by sunlight streaming onto your face in the morning, but if so, you can’t sleep next to an aquarium. Sunlight will spike algae production in the tank.

Safety

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

It’s obvious what the risks are here. The tank’s glass could fall onto your bed and shatter, leaving you at risk of injury. Factor pets into this decision, too. For example, if you have a cat, it may show an unhealthy interest in your fish, increasing the risk of such a mishap.

Think about the flow of electricity to your fish tank, too. You’ll need to plug your aquarium into a wall socket. Can you safely move around a bedroom – let’s assume it is dark and you are working from memory or feeling with fingertips – without tripping over a power cable?

This is an important consideration, as electricity and the water found in a fish tank are uneasy bedfellows. Always take the safety considerations of such a power-hungry piece of equipment under advisement.

Light

Fish tanks always come with lights. These are essential to help you keep an eye on the occupants of the aquarium, ensuring that they remain healthy and are getting along. In addition, lights help regulate the circadian rhythms of your fish.

As per Frontiers in Endocrinology, this internal body clock of your fish is essential to basic functioning. Light helps fish understand when to eat and when to rest. The trouble with this is that the bright lights of a fish tank may keep you awake at night.

You can switch off the lights in an aquarium at bedtime, but only if your fish are used to this. Don’t expect fish to adjust their circadian rhythms to aid your slumber. Sudden, wholesale will cause stress and anxiety.

If your fish are used to light overnight, the best you can do is cover the tank and hope this is sufficient to avoid losing sleep.

Heat

If your fish tank is plugged in, it’ll be consuming energy. This means that the temperature in your room will likely rise. That can be problematic, as it’s always advisable to sleep in a cool bedroom.

You cannot combat this by switching on the air conditioning or plugging in a fan. Fish need a consistent ambient temperature outside their tank to flourish. If you must sleep with an aquarium in your room, learn to do so without AC.

Noise

Noise is another concern when sharing a room with a fish tank. It’s not your pets that will be creating a din, but the water pumps, filters, and various other peripherals that will run overnight. These can’t be turned off while you sleep.

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

Quiet – not silent, but quiet – filters can be purchased online and from exotic pet shops. Equally, you could try enclosing any apparatus in a cabinet to muffle noise. Overall, you’ll need to tolerate the racket or use earplugs.  

Smell

You’ll find some pungent odors coming from your fish tank.

More often than not, algae will be to blame for these stenches. Other explanations could include unclean water, rotting plants or food, or, sadly, a dead fish within the tank.

Keep changing the water in your aquarium, and get an appropriate carbon filter, and you’ll avoid these odors as much as possible. Eventually, they’ll catch up with you, and the smell of fish can be hard to eradicate from a bedroom.

can a fish tank in your bedroom make you sick?

Humidity

Keeping an aquarium in any bedroom will increase the humidity level quite dramatically. 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. In a large room, this is less of a concern. The water molecules have room to circulate. However, small spaces with high humidity levels can quickly develop chronic problems with black mold.

Get a hygrometer if you sleep in a room with a fish tank. This will measure the humidity level in your room, which should always be below 50%. Ventilate your room as much as possible without reducing ambient temperature, and consider using a dehumidifier.

Can a Fish Tank in Your Bedroom Make You Sick?

If you’re wondering if fish tanks can cause breathing problems, the answer is yes, thanks to the increase in humidity. As the air around you becomes more humid, body temperature increases. This makes breathing more challenging and potentially aggravates asthma.

Anybody can suffer breathing issues in a humid room as humidity leads to the growth of black mold spores. Biology links the breathing in of these fungi (Stachybotrys chartarum) with internal bleeding from the lungs.

Black mold can become a chronic problem that refuses to leave a home once it sets in, so avoid letting things get so far. If you believe that adding a fish tank to your bedroom will lead to unmanageable humidity levels, reconsider installing the aquarium.

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