When owners of aquariums first plan their tanks, there are occasions some of them only have an outdoor area available. Balconies can appear to be the ideal choice. The aquarium is out of the way, and the majority of the time, the fish have privacy.
There are many things to consider before you go with this option. Tank owners often find themselves asking.
Can you leave an aquarium on the balcony? It is possible; however, there are more negatives for doing so than there are positive points for this decision.
Before saying one way or another, we will go through all you need to know about leaving your aquarium on a balcony, and the impact it can have. Among some of the things to think about are:
- Outdoor Environment
- Home Architecture
- Maintenance Time
- Aquarium Technology
- Fish Species
In general, aquariums shouldn’t be left in the path of direct sunlight. This can pose all kinds of issues that are not good for fish.
Why are Balconies Not the Best Choice?
There are many areas around a home, which are not ideal for an aquarium. While balconies may appear to resolve some of the issues, others may face a tank owner to a higher degree.
One of the first being sunlight. Inside homes, tanks shouldn’t be placed close to windows. Once you do this, you can suffer a massive algae outbreak. The more light your tank gets, the faster and more significant the growth of algae.
If your balcony doesn’t receive any sunlight, then it is a possibility to do this. However, if you find it is on the cooler side, then there is the water temperature you need to think about. Extreme temperature swings are not healthy for fish.
They are cold-blooded, and they can’t adjust their body temperatures and follow the surrounding temperatures. If it is hot, then they get hot and become uncomfortable. Sun makes this worse as it can increase water temperatures in a small volume rapidly. Fish can overheat and die.
If the water cools, the same can happen; however, fish will appear to be lethargic for a while before anything drastic happens. That is unless you have freezing temperatures at night. Keeping your fish at a healthy temperature is vital. If your water temperature falls outside the ideal temperatures for your fish, then you will need to think again of where to keep your tank
It is possible to purchase high-grade temperature regulators and heating systems, which can prevent your tank from freezing or overheating. Yet, even with these, it can still be too much for your fish, and they can quickly stress out with continual temperature changes.
How Balcony Architecture Affects Aquariums
Your home’s architecture will matter, as does the area surrounding your home where balconies are located. There are many reasons a tank can be affected by a home’s architecture.
Stray balls or toys: All it takes is some kids to be playing on the street and one of their balls, Frisbee, or anything else they are playing with, accidentally finds its way onto your balcony. Glass in aquariums may appear strong, yet they are not made to withstand a knock from a ball or any hard object.
Even if this doesn’t break the glass, sudden noises like this can easily shock fish. It is for this reason; you shouldn’t ever put an aquarium next to a TV or a set of speakers.
Opportunist Predators: Not all aquariums come with lids, and if you happen to have one on a balcony without a lid, then it can leave it exposed and a threat from predators, and anything else, which may fall inside.
Birds in the daytime, owls at night, cats, or any other pest that likes fishy treats can easily make their way to your tank, and if they can catch your fish, they will. It can also be possible for them to pull your tank over, as can children who are curious about what’s inside. Be sure your tank has a lid if you are taking it onto your balcony.
Access to Electricity
Aquariums will require electricity. There are lights, air pumps, and filters, which all require power. The issue being not every balcony or hardly any has access to an electrical output by default. These make it easy for anyone to tap into your electricity. Depending on how you wire up your balcony, you may have to leave an extension through sliding doors. This in itself is a security risk, especially if you are not at home for the day.
What Fish Are Best for Balcony Aquariums?
While there are many fish that are not suitable for balcony life, even if they can withstand cooler water temperatures, this often leaves aquarium owners to select fish that are ideal for this kinds of environment.
- Golden Rainbow Trout
All these can be found in garden ponds as well as one of two in an aquarium. While you may lose some of the many colors, it doesn’t mean there is no color available. Koi is one such fish that are highly decorative, as are goldfish. Exotic fish can be hard to care for, and they won’t survive in these outdoor environments, so they are better avoided.
Maintaining Outdoor Aquariums
If you are sure you want to have a balcony aquarium, and you can cover most of the things regarding the sun, shade, electric, and water access, then there are some other things, which you have to consider.
For fish to be able to survive in a tank, three things have to be true:
- Stable temperatures: Temperature fluctuations will kill fish. Therefore, no matter what kind of fish you have, you will need to be sure you can maintain the ideal temperatures. Even goldfish need stable temperature ranges. Fancy goldfish need temperatures in the range of 68-74 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Oxygen and Filters: You do need a filter, especially for goldfish, and you do need to oxygenate the water. As long as you have access to electricity, then you can have a separate air pump and filter, although if you select the correct waterfall type filter, this can deliver oxygen to the water.
Truth be told, just about every aspect of your water’s quality will be even more important if you have a balcony aquarium. Since you are exposing your fish to external and often uncontrollable factors, then the controllable elements become much harder to accomplish. You will need to be continually monitoring your levels and carrying out more preventative tank maintenance.
While many owners may consider the ideal place to place their aquarium is their balcony, other things can change many individuals’ minds.
Feng Shui dictates the best areas around a home to place aquariums. The best being by your front door. It welcomes a beneficial flow coming into your home. On the left side of your home means family or new beginnings
Feng Shui says never to put your aquarium in your bedroom, kitchen or anywhere near a sunny window.
Although it doesn’t specifically mention your balcony, there are not many homes, which have balconies close to their front doors.
It does say not to place your tanks in the kitchen, or the path of sunlight. Feng Shui has been around for thousands of years, and if they are saying not to leave your aquarium on your balcony, then there are good reasons for not doing so.
Aside from this, you can opt for cold-water fish, and decide the extra work is worth it. For many, it isn’t because they may not sit on their balcony that often, and won’t see their fish.
Hi, my name is Adam and I’m an aquarium enthusiast! I didn’t discover the joys of being an ‘aquarium fanatic’ (as some of my friends call me!) until I was in my 20’s. When I first started out I found it difficult to find all the information I needed so I started this website to compile all the useful information I can think of. Enjoy!