As a fish keeper, one of the most common questions we get confused about is whether to have an open fish tank or a closed one. Out of curiosity, I did complete research on this, and here’s what I found. Should a fish tank be covered?
It is recommended to cover a fish tank because it keeps the tank system safe from the surrounding. Also, putting a cover slows down the rate of water evaporation. However, from an aesthetics point of view, it is fine to keep a fish tank without a cover provided proper care is taken.
Actually, both types have their pros and cons. Through this in-depth article, I will help you to decide which one will be best for you and also in which scenario. So keep reading till the end.
Advantages of having a closed fish tank
1. Prevents unwanted items entering the tank
It may happen that you have kept your fish tank in an area where heavy decoration items are kept over it.
Now if the fish tank is not covered with a lid or hood then heavy items can fall inside the tank cause injury to your fish. Also, dirt and debris can get collected on the surface of the tank.
2. Prevents fish from jumping out of the tank
Your aquarium fish are sometimes overzealous, isn’t it? So sometimes out of curiosity, they might jump out of the tank.
You have to take special care, especially if you highly energetic fish, fish that are known for their jumping skills. I remember one incident when, after feeding my fish I forget to put the lid on the tank.
A few minutes later I found my younger sister screaming that the fish was on the floor! If you are beginner fish keeper then for a moment you will become clueless on how to put the fish back in the tank.
So it is better to take prevention rather than waiting for such situation.
3. Prevents the tank water from splashing out
As you probably water is good conductor of electricity. So you don’t want water to come in contact with your electrical components.
If you have an arrangement like me where I have kept the electrical board a few inches above the fish then it is must to have a cover for safety.
And not just that, you won’t like to break your legs because the tank water splashed out on the floor, right?
Therefore it is good to keep a lid or hood and prevent the fish tank water coming out.
See Also: Can You Keep A Fish Tank On The Floor?
4. Slows down the rate of tank water evaporation
This is a scientific reason and probably the most important why you need a fish tank cover.
Evaporation is the process in which the surface water changes into gaseous phase. Here’s how a cover on your fish tank slows down the tank water evaporation.
Water condenses on your fish tank cover and re-enters the fish tank instead of getting evaporated. This reduces the necessity of adding more water frequently.
Isn’t it a good thing? So you should definitely cover your tank unless you want to add water more frequently.
5. Helps to retain the heat inside the tank
The hood or the lid of your fish can also help to hold the heat inside the tank. Although a heater is enough to maintain your fish tank temperature.
Still, especially in winters it can cause an added benifit and help to retain the heat inside the fish tank system.
6. Keeps your curious pets away from the tank
If you have pets in your home especially cats then you should take care. It may happen that you are away from your tank and your pet cat takes this opportunity to play with your tank fish.
Although it depends on how curious your cats but still it good to take prevention. You don’t want your cats mess with the aquarium water and decorations, right?
7. Prevents the odor of fish tank from coming out
When you haven’t cleaned your fish tank for long then you might feel an awkward smell coming out of the tank. And in most cases, you won’t like this smell.
So at that time the fish tank cover proves to be beneficial and helps in preventing the fish tank odor from getting mixed with the outside environment.
Also read my article: Can I leave my aquarium light on 24 7?
Disadvantages of having a closed fish tank
1. Doesn’t look so good
The fish tank cover has many benefits but most often they are bulky and might not look so beautiful compared to the open tanks. Although this is a subjective thing but still this is a disadvantage.
The fish tank with a closed container might appear like a closed container box. But don’t worry there are ways to design it or choose its color in such a way that it blends with the background.
For example, at our home, since we have put a fish tank under a TV with a black screen. So it made quite a sense to have a black cover that blends with the background. In a similar way, you can think about your aquarium.
2. Always have to open the lid to do anything
Whether you want to feed your fish, add water, or do anything else you have to open the cover first, and then only you can do anything.
If there was no cover then you could just do the task without an added step of removing the cover. Right?
Advantages of having an open fish tank
1. Looks very beautiful
Yes, open aquariums look very beautiful because of being simple and sleek. The aquarium looks more natural when it is without a lid instead of seeming like a container box.
Moreover, you get more options to decorate your tank because even tall plants that grow above the water and big stones can be added.
2. Hassle-free maintenance
If you are a guy who spends lots of his time in front of the tank, wetting the hands, doing some tweaks.
Then probably, having a cover can disturb you a lot because every time you have to take it away and again place it back when your work is done.
Whereas, in open tanks, you can just dip your hands and do whatever you want. Isn’t that a hassle-free thing?
3. Adds another dimension
Yes, you can get another dimension to look at your aquarium from the top. It may be interesting for you to look at your fish and the plants from a different angle.
4. Less cost compared to the closed one
Since, the open tanks only include the aquarium and not the lids. So cost of the lids or covers can be saved.
Also Read: Aquarium Air Pump Placement Guide
Disadvantages of having an open fish tank
1. All the advantages of a closed fish tank will be missed
Since there’s no lid or hood to cover the tank, the chances of fish jumping out, water splashing out, your pets getting interested in the tank, debris or heavy objects falling inside, the odor coming out, an increased rate of evaporation will increase.
Fish tank open or closed
If you are a beginner then it is recommended to get a closed tank because it has many advantages and it is safe for your fish. However, if you are a little experienced, spent most of your time near your fish tank, care more about the beauty then you can go for an open tank.
As I have already discussed with you above, there are many advantages of having a closed fish tank. The only disadvantage is you have to compromise with beauty and little extra work of removing the cover every time you want to feed, clean, or any other work with your tank.
But I think the pros are much higher compared to the cons for a closed fish tank. Also, the cons are not that major concerns.
So if you are a beginner and just looking for advice on whether you should cover your fish tank or not. Then my answer would lean more towards yes.
At our home, we have three aquariums and all of them are covered. In fact, we rarely had a tank that we didn’t cover because I and my dad, personally like to have a covered fish tank.
Now as I discussed for the closed fish tank. It has many aquascaping opportunities because you can even choose plants that grow out of the water (there’s no lid or cover to block it).
And if you have seen the beautiful aquariums online then mostly they are the open ones, isn’t it?
But I would only recommend them if you are a little experienced in this hobby and really concerned about your fish tank aesthetic.
Long story short, whatever you do make sure that you taking the proper care of your fish along with not disturbing the beauty of your tank.
Can you completely cover a fish tank?
Yes, a fish tank can be covered completely. As long as the fish tank is not sealed completely with a cover and the air can get inside the fish tank, the tank ecosystem can thrive without any issue. Aso, the fish tank filters and air pumps are there to provide the required aeration to the tank ecosystem.
Should I cover my fish tank at night?
Yes, it is recommended to cover a fish tank, especially at night because the fish can jump outside. The tank owner can’t even know about it unless waking up in the morning and noticing the dead fish lying on the floor. So it is better to take precautions.
Can you leave the lid off a fish tank?
Yes, it perfectly fine to leave the lid off a fish tank. In fact, many tanks come without lids. However, proper care must be taken because without a lid the fish can jump out of the tank. Also, water can splash out on the floor or something can fall inside the fish tank.
Does a fish tank lid need holes?
It is not mandatory to have holes in the lid unless the lid is sealed tightly and there’s no way for outside air to enter the tank. Although the filters and air pumps are sufficient to provide the aeration still, it is important to allow the passage of some fresh air inside the tank. At least one finger-sized hole is needed for feeding and air ventilation.
How much space should you leave at the top of a fish tank?
Generally, it is recommended to have at least a 1-inch gap between the top of a fish tank and the water level. Doing this prevents the fish from bumping their head, every time they come up, and also it is good for aeration.
Hope your all doubts are cleared regarding whether to cover your fish tank or not. If found this article helpful then please do share this with others as it helps me to reach more fish lovers like you.
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Thanks! Have a happy fishkeeping day!
Hi! I’m Praveen Ghoshal, the founder of eFishkeeping.com. Inspired by my Dad, I got interested in fishkeeping when I was a kid. Since then, I have been involved with this hobby. Currently, I have 3 fish tanks at our home, where I enjoy this hobby with my Mom, Dad, and Younger Sister. Read more about me here.