Updated on: June 2, 2023 by Praveen Ghoshal | Reading Time: 4 minutes
You may have seen or heard about people turning their pools into aquariums. While the end results look stunning and the idea is intriguing, how realistic is it to consider converting a pool into a home for fish?
Changing a pool into an aquarium is possible, but it is a very expensive process that takes meticulous planning. Furthermore, it would require a lot of effort to ensure the pool remains habitable for fish in the long term.
Whether your pool would be appropriate for an aquarium would also depend on the climate you live in.
While the thought of having a large, open aquarium in your backyard would have any fish enthusiast incredibly excited, making it happen may not be very fish-friendly or wallet-friendly.
Can You Change A Pool Into An Aquarium?
Changing a pool into an aquarium can be done, and it has been done. As you can imagine, a lot of work is involved in making this happen.
Anyone who has set up an aquarium inside a home knows that it takes at least a couple of weeks to turn an empty container into a live-able environment for most types of aquatic fish.
If you decide to make your pool an aquarium, it will no longer be safe for you to swim in.
The conversion is a major process that will take a lot of time, money, and planning.
The longer your pool has been used as a swimming pool, the harder it’s going to be to try and make that space live-able for fish.
You also have to consider the environment you live in and what kinds of fish will be able to survive being exposed to those elements.
Having safe aquariums that are the size of swimming pools is perfectly possible, and you can find them all over the world.
The difference is that those aquariums were designed specifically for fish and are completely equipped to keep fish safe and healthy for as long as possible.
How To Change A Pool Into An Aquarium
A pool has to be completely drained of its water, and any chemical residue that could be in the pool needs to be taken care of. All the ingredients in those cleaners can be deadly to any fish that would live in that environment. Once you have drained and cleaned, the pool needs to be thoroughly rinsed.
Clean, filtered water then needs to be pumped into the pool. The parameters of the water need to match the type of fish you plan on putting in a pool.
A filter system and temperature gauge would need to be fitted to your pool as well so that you’re able to detect any major changes in the pool water.
Essentially, you’d be setting up a pool a lot like you would a regular aquarium, just on a much larger scale. Changing the pool is a lot of work but isn’t necessarily the most difficult part.
The biggest challenge is keeping the habitat consistently safe for your fish.
Is Pool Water Safe For Fish?
Pool water is incredibly unsafe for fish. Regardless of your pool type, adding fish into it is a very irresponsible move.
Naturally, you’re treating your pool with a lot of chemicals to make it a proper environment for people to be able to swim in. Even though your pool is big, it’s still a contained area, and those chemicals just swirl around in the water instead of dissipating.
Over time, those chemicals become permanent fixtures in your pool. Remnants can stick to the liners as they flow in and out of the water.
It can be really difficult to scrub that residue out of a pool well enough to guarantee that no fish will get sick.
Furthermore, any of the accessories or plants you would put into an aquarium would likely be harmed by these chemicals too.
Without a sufficient amount of chlorine, there are all kinds of unhealthy bacteria and pathogens that can breed and spread throughout a pool. These are not just bad for humans, but are bad for fish too.
Even though these things may exist in a natural, fish-friendly environment, they are in much lesser amounts since those natural bodies of water are so much bigger than a pool.
Can You Put Fish In A Chlorine Pool?
Chlorine and fish never mix well. Chlorine is extremely harmful for fish, causing them great distress before making them irreversibly sick.
Even the small amounts of chlorine that aren’t filtered out of tap water can be enough to make fish very ill, which is why it’s always recommended that you never fill an aquarium with tap water.
Can Fish Live In A Saltwater Pool?
A saltwater pool isn’t a suitable environment for fish either, even if they happen to be saltwater fish. This is because a saltwater pool isn’t the same as a natural body of saltwater that some aquatic life is accustomed to.
A saltwater pool isn’t chlorine-free like some people assume. Saltwater pool water contains just as many harmful chemicals as chlorine pool water.
Is Changing A Pool Into An Aquarium Worth It?
The issue with turning a pool into an aquarium is it’s not sustainable.
You would have to be able to conduct frequent cleanings and be cognizant of how weather changes could impact water temperature and quality.
Even so much as a sunny day could have a major impact on the fishes’ environment, and if you can’t get it under control, your fish are at risk.
Your fish will have to be fed of course, and even if you have no issue feeding a pool full of fish, a lot of waste will be produced. This means you’ll have to perform some really big water changes frequently to keep bacteria in check.
The type of bacteria that builds due to fish waste makes your pool un-swimmable.
If you want to have a water fixture in your yard that is actually safe for fish, you’re better off installing a new fixture or creating a pond.
It will, of course, still be an investment, though arguably a much smarter investment in the long run. Not only will your fish be happier in an environment that was created especially for them, but you can keep your pool swimmable.
Even if you have all the resources and the time to safely change a pool into an aquarium, it’s not the friendliest choice for fish. It’s also not the most feasible choice to keep fish alive and thriving long term, which should be the main priority when bringing fish home.
Ultimately, your choice is to either have a pool or an aquarium; having both is not possible if you also want it to be safe for both you and your fish.