How To Start A Home Office Aquarium

By Andy Birks from

With the number of US workers primarily working from home tripling since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, dedicated home offices have become a key part of the working day for many.

With more and more time spent in these spaces, many have looked at how they can create a functional and stimulating environment that also helps keep stress at bay.

Adding a fish tank to your home office can be a great centerpiece and help you strike this balance, by bringing nature right to your desk!

So let’s look at what to consider if you’re planning to keep a fish tank in your home office.

Content Table

Why Keep An Aquarium In Your Office?

Adding an aquarium to your home office not only creates a focal point and a desirable working environment but it has several other benefits.

For example, you may know that bringing nature into your workplace, such as houseplants, can help reduce stress. However, studies have also shown that watching fish in an aquarium may help to reduce blood pressure.

If you spend a significant amount of time working in your home office, taking a break to look at your beautiful fish can help boost your focus and productivity when you do get back to the task at hand.

Further studies have shown that an aquarium can help improve your mood and even lead to improved creative performance. So you may find a few minutes watching your tank gives you new ideas and renewed motivation!

It’s likely your room size and environment will have a bearing on the fish tank you choose. If your home office is on the smaller side, a nano aquarium of 10 gallons or fewer may be the best option.

But if you do have the space, a larger 20 gallon aquarium can be a great feature as well as giving you more flexibility if you want to start a community tank. Also, bear in mind that larger aquariums can be easier to maintain.

This is because the waste produced from your fish and leftover food, in the form of ammonia and other toxins, takes longer to build up in a bigger aquarium. So it gives you more leeway when keeping these water parameters in check.

Choosing The Most Suitable Fish

Your choice of fish will often be driven by the size of the tank you have in your home office. If you have a small nano tank on your desk, for example, you’ll need to choose suitable nano fish such as rasboras or neon tetras that will only grow to about an inch long.

But even if you do have a small aquarium in your home office, you are not necessarily restricted to freshwater fish. Several great nano reef kits will allow you to keep exotic saltwater fish like Possum Wrasse.

It’s key not to overstock a smaller fish tank though. For a freshwater aquarium, the general rule is to allow 1 gallon for each inch of fish. Stocking levels can be tricker for saltwater tanks so it’s best to check for each species of fish you plan to keep.

If you have the space for a larger aquarium in your office, you could set up a community tank or even keep more aggressive species. Several types of cichlids, for example, need more space to swim as aggressive species need enough room to establish their territory.

Setting Up Your Aquarium

There are several things to look out for when setting up your new aquarium, some of which can be particularly key in a home office.

Firstly, take care if you’re planning to keep your fish tank on your desk. Although it may be a great place to locate it to look at while working, remember that aquariums are heavy! A standard 20 x 10-inch tank can weigh around 110 to 120 lbs once filled with water and equipment.

So you’ll need a very sturdy desk for a nano aquarium. For a tank of 20 gallons or above, we’d always recommend using a dedicated aquarium stand that has been designed to support the weight.

Maintaining the right temperature for your fish is also key, and this has a bearing on where you place your tank in the room. Make sure you keep it away from windows and direct sunlight or draughts from doors. All these factors can cause temperature fluctuations that harm your fish.

You should also make sure you have the appropriate-sized filter and heater to keep your water clean and at a constant temperature. Generally, for a freshwater aquarium, your filter should be able to cycle all the water in your tank around 4 to 6 times an hour.

Caring For Your Fish And Your Tank

When it comes to maintaining your tank and caring for your fish, one of the main considerations is keeping your water parameters at the right levels. Ammonia and nitrites should be as close to 0 ppm as possible, with nitrates no higher than 50 ppm.

Your filter will help maintain this balance, particularly if it contains biological filter media. But you should also perform water changes as part of your general maintenance. Some aquarists prefer to change about 20 percent of the water weekly, while others do a larger fortnightly change.

The main thing is to regularly test your water using a test kit at least once, if not twice, a week. A good test kit will also allow you to quickly and easily check your water’s pH and hardness in one go.

Make sure you check your tank’s temperature regularly too. This can be a glance once or twice a day when you feed your fish. While many good heaters have built-in temperature displays, it’s a good idea to keep a separate thermometer in your tank as a failsafe.

The Bottom Line

An aquarium can be a fantastic addition to your home office, providing a focal point, and a beautiful means of escape when you need to take a break.

And with plenty of freshwater and saltwater nano tanks to choose from, you don’t need great amounts of room to bring some aquatic life into your workspace.

Just remember to look for the most appropriate aquarium for your space, stock carefully with the right fish, and monitor and maintain your tank’s water parameters, and you’ll have a thriving piece of aquatic nature to help you focus and de-stress!

Author Biography – Andy Birks

Andy is the owner of Simply Aquarium and manages the team of experienced writers on the site. He loves helping fellow aquarists and introducing new people to the hobby!

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