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Can You Have An Aquarium In An Apartment?

6 min read

I have been in your situation before.

You’re sitting in your apartment all alone for whatever reason. My reason was that I was studying for college so I didn’t want people coming over as a distraction.

Maybe you’re just an introvert, no worries you don’t have to explain.

You can’t have a dog or a cat, so you are wondering if you can have an aquarium in your apartment.

You can have an aquarium in your apartment as long as your landlord gives you permission. Make sure you get an aquarium that is the proper size for a small apartment. If you have a large apartment and want a larger fish tank, talk to your landlord about the floor strength, especially if you are on an upper floor.

Let’s dive in (not into your fish tank) and analyze this question in more detail..

PetAquariums Can You Have An Aquarium In An Apartment?

Acquiring Permission From Your Landlord

Fish tanks can be a great source of relaxation, especially if you are in a lonely apartment with no lively pets such as a cat or a dog.

Any type of indoor pet may seem a bit overwhelming to take care of in an apartment, but an aquarium may be the perfect apartment pet.

Prior To Signing Your Lease Agreement

This may seem like common sense but you should think of rather or not you would want a fish tank before you even move into an apartment.

Even if you don’t have a fishy friend yet, if you have always wanted one, you should consider this before you sign a lengthy lease agreement just in case you decide to finally jump into the aquarium world and set up an aquarium.

If you already have your mind made up to get an aquarium then this will be even easier. You can ask before you even go look at the apartment.

If fish tanks are allowed, you should still establish some guidelines just in Case.

  • How Big Of A Tank Can I Have? – You need to make sure there is not a maximum size of aquarium you can have in case you decide to go the extra mile and set up a 55-gallon aqua world in your apartment.
  • Can I Have a Fish Tank On One Of The Upper Floors? – This may seem like common sense, but if you are inexperienced, you may not realize how heavy a fish tank can get. They can get heavy enough to bend flooring over time, so the size may be limited on the 2nd or 3rd floors but you should still be able to have a decent-sized aquarium.
  • Do I Need Insurance? – In today’s world, you may need pet insurance for any kind of pet. You may want to get your own insurance, even if it isn’t required. If your aquarium springs a leak or comes completely apart, water will be everywhere. If this happens and you don’t have insurance, then the written agreement may not be enough to cover you.
  • Is It Actually In The Lease Agreement – You should read the actual lease agreement and if it is not written in, you should have them write up an agreement. Even if the landlord is a pleasant lady, she might shoot flames out of her ears if your aquarium collapses and you have water on two different floors of her apartment building.

Personal Testimony – We have never had an aquarium burst in our apartment but one evening, I was watching T.V. after a hard day’s work when water started leaking from our ceiling.

It was raining outside so I was confused since we lived on the middle floor but it was raining outside.

Came to find out, our upstairs neighbor had let her bathtub overflow haha.

The moral of the story is that you never know what is going to happen so it is better to have some type of insurance to cover your aquarium.

Who knows, there could be an earthquake while you are at work that shakes your aquarium apart at the seams and water is everywhere when you get home.

Put Your Aquarium In The Right Spot

If your aquarium is 20 gallons or less, then the weight isn’t too important, but for anything heavier and you should put it along a wall where it is more likely to be next support beams so the floor is less likely to warp.

Other than the weight you should keep your aquarium out of the sun and as close as possible to a faucet, even if it is your bathtub.

You will have to do regular cleanings of your aquarium, so the closer to the water source the easier it is to transport water.

You can follow normal aquarium setup procedures as far as:

  • Put your aquarium in light but not in direct sunlight.
  • Make a drip loop with the power cord. You want the power cord to run down from the pump to the floor and then back up the electrical outlet so if any water leaks, it runs down to the floor and not into the outlet.

Make sure Your Aquarium Isn’t Too Big

Apartments are usually small and for the most part temporary living arrangements.

As for a 20-gallon tank being the best size for the weight-to-floor support ratio, a 20-gallon tank is also the best size for a smaller apartment.

It won’t take up too much of your already limited space and the smaller the tank, the easier it will be to move when your temporary living arrangement is up.

Of Course, if you have a large apartment and you plan on being there for quite a few years or if you own the apartment then this changes the game and you can treat your aquarium setup as normal for the most part.

Make Sure You Don’t Bother Your Neighbors

Some aquariums can actually be quite noisy so here are some options to consider:

  • Read the reviews online and try to get an aquarium with a quiet pump even if it costs extra money.
  • If your aquarium is noisy don’t put it next to a wall between two apartments.

Keep Your Fish tank Clean

Once you do decide to put your fish tank in an apartment, you can follow the normal cleaning procedures for your type of fish tank.

Just because you have a tiny fish tank for a tiny apartment doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to be cleaned.

In fact, the smaller the fish tank the more it needs to be cleaned.

Budgeting The Cost

If you live in an apartment, it usually means that you have less money or are living on a budget.

You can buy a used aquarium on places like craigslist or Facebook marketplace. Sometimes, you can buy a complete setup with fish included that someone is trying to get rid of. You should be able to drain most of the water and transport it to your apartment.

If you are dead set on buying everything new, you can buy an aquarium kit which usually includes everything you need except for the fish, food, and water. Sometimes the kit will even include some sample packets of food.

Can An Apartment Aquarium Cause Mold In Humid Areas?

If you live in a humid area like the southern United States by the beach then an aquarium in your apartment can possibly cause mold so here are some things you can do:

  • Buy a Humidity Meter as soon as you set up your aquarium.
  • Keep the humidity level between 30-50 percent.
  • If the humidity is getting too high then buy a dehumidifier to keep it at the desired levels.

Mold is not something to take lightly, so you might want to get a humidity meter regardless of where you live.

When mold is found, everywhere it touches has to be torn out and rebuilt.


I believe we have established that you can have an aquarium in an apartment but there are some things to consider.

  • Make sure you have a written agreement.
  • Get insurance of some type whether or not it is required.
  • Make sure mold and water damage are covered by your aquarium insurance.

We believe it is not worth it to have an aquarium in your apartment unless it is covered by insurance.

20 gallons of water flooding is no joke.

Written by:

Pet Aquariums

Have you any questions?