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Can I Put a Fish Tank in Front of a Window?

Choosing the perfect spot for your aquarium is no easy feat. You want it in a place with good lighting to enhance visibility and improve viewing enjoyment. Near a window sounds perfect place but should it be done and is it safe?

Yes, you can put a fish tank in front of a window if you take the proper precautions. Direct sunlight can cause problems for an aquarium including increased algae growth and extreme fluctuations in temperature. Closing blinds/drapes at peak light and/or covering the tank with a blanket will help.

Now that you know you can keep your aquarium near a window (under the right circumstances, that is), let’s explore this topic in more detail. Together we’ll discover how much light fish need, what happens to fish in direct sunlight, what is the best place in for a fish tank, what spots aren’t recommended, and what type of aquarium light is best.

So, if you’re ready to learn more about proper aquarium placement in a home, then let’s begin!

Can a Fish Tank be in Direct Sunlight?

Fish shouldn’t be kept in direct sunlight since it can wreak havoc on both the tank inhabitants and the aquatic environment. Sudden increases in temperature can lead to massive, unwanted algae growth not to mention sunburnt fish.

If there’s too much light and no where for fish to hide, direct sunshine can lead to skin lesions on the head, dorsal fin, and upper back. The skin’s vibrant coloring will start to dull or fade and appear thicker, ‘patchier’ and whiter.

At this point, action must be taken immediately to remedy the problem – start by moving the tank to a cooler location and provide fish with high-quality food to help speed up the healing process. Over time, your aquatic pets should recover.

What are the Problems with Keeping a Fish Tank Near a Window?

Though keeping a home aquarium next to (or in front of) a window sounds like a great idea, there are some serious drawbacks to this placement. The 3 main problems with putting a fish tank near a window include the following:

Algae Overgrowth

Natural light is the driving force behind algae overgrowth in an aquarium. Too much sunshine and heat will cause greenery in the tank to flourish and take-over! Excessive algae can make the tank appear ‘dirty’ and alter the water parameters which can negatively affect fish and other aquatic creatures.

algae on aquarium glass

Extreme Fluctuations in Temperature

Natural light is the leading cause of increased heat in an aquarium. Direct sunshine can make fish more active which then requires more oxygen. However, the warmer the water, the less oxygen it contains. If the tank is too hot for too long, fish and other aquatic creatures will suffocate and die from lack of O2.

Stressed or Damaged Fish

Too much light in an aquarium is a major contributor to stressed or damaged fish. Direct sunshine can lead to heightened aggression among tank inhabitants not to mention ‘sunburnt’ fish – loss of coloration, white spots/lesions on the head and back, lethargy, loss of appetite and hiding out are all signs of this.

*It’s important to note that fish (like all living creatures) need light. Sunshine is an essential part of healthy growth, not just for fish but for plants, corals, and beneficial bacteria as well. Just be aware of the affects of too much light and heat on fish and be mindful of any changes in appearance of behavior.

How much Sunlight do Fish Need?

Most aquarium fish require 8-12 hours of light per day. Natural light like sunshine is best, provided it’s not during peak hours when intense heat can penetrate through the glass and harm tank inhabitants. Diffused sunlight by way of a draped window or partially covered tank is your best bet.

Where should You “not” Put a Fish Tank?

You should never put a fish tank on a ledge or weak stand/structure. As well, don’t put an aquarium in a hallway of high traffic area where it can easily be knocked over. Also, it’s not recommended you keep a fish tank in a window with direct sunlight, unless you can provide coverage by way of blinds or a blanket.

Where is the Best Place for a Fish Tank in a Home?

The best place for a fish tank in a home is a quiet place away from high traffic and direct sunlight. Putting an aquarium on a sturdy stand made specifically for it will provide the strongest foundation possible. Also, ensure the area is open and free of clutter for easier access to the tank.

betta fish in an aquarium

Can You Put a Fish Tank Next to a TV?

It’s not recommended that you put your fish tank near a tv. The blinking and flashing lights from the device not to mention the loud sounds and booming bass emitting from the speakers can cause undue stress for fish. Instead, place the tank on an adjoining wall where you can view both the tv and tank.

Can You Put a Fish Tank Near a Door?

It’s not recommended that you put your fish tank on an outside wall or near an exterior door. Doorways are typically high-traffic areas which increase the likely off a knock-over accident. The frequent sudden movements of people passing throughout the day can also startle and stress out fish.

Can You Put a Fish Tank Outside?

You can put a fish tank outside, provided you can easily move it indoors once the weather becomes an issue. If you intend to keep it outdoors year-round, then you must use a heater in colder months as well as provide some sort of coverage from the sun during peak daylight hours.

Shade and shelter are a must for an outdoor aquarium. However, avoid placing it under trees where leaves and debris can enter the tank – a lid would be helpful in this case. As well, make sure the species of fish you choose are hardy and can adapt to fluctuating temperature conditions.

What Type of Aquarium Light is Best?

The best aquarium light is one with an adjustable LED bulb which won’t increase the heat in a tank, nor promote algae overgrowth. LED lights also come with an ambient or ‘blue light’ feature which mimics moonlight and helps ease fish into the evening (or darkness) hours.

Check out the following aquarium lights available online through Amazon.

Final Thoughts

To sum-up, it’s okay to put your fish tank near a window, provided you have some of sort of protection during peak daylight hours. Too much sunlight can cause unwanted algae growth and extreme changes in temperature. Blinds that can be closed easily and a blanket to drape over the tank are recommended. A heavily planted aquarium will also help provide coverage and shade for fish.

I hope this article has been of help to you. Thanks for reading and good luck with your aquarist hobby!

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