Can A Fish Tank In Your Bedroom Make You Sick?

Does the soft gurgle of an aquarium seem like good background noise for sleeping? The smooth sounds of the bubbles and the low mumbles of the pump can help some people sleep. And, some parents like to choose fish as their children’s first pets as an introduction to learning pet care and responsibility, and kids often prefer to have their new fish friends in their rooms. But can a fish tank in your bedroom make you sick? Keep reading to find out what you need to know before setting up an aquarium in a bedroom.

Will A Fish Tank In Your Bedroom Make You Sick | family bedroom with bed, crib, playpen, and aquarium

Will A Fish Tank In Your Bedroom Make You Sick?

We see many different room designs with an aquarium as the bed’s headboard or a fish tank somewhere in a bedroom or on a child’s side table. Some might believe that this could cause sickness, while others who have tried it for years never had a day’s worry around the subject.

Fish tanks can, however, make you sick. The sickness will mainly not be the water or anything the fish have to do with it, but the way you look after the tank. The responsibility of cleaning an aquarium is more significant when you have it in your room.

Another reason a fish tank might cause congestion or symptoms of being ill is that the proper mechanics are not in place to keep the water clean and healthy for the fish and regulate the temperature in the water and the room. 

How Can A Fish Tank In Your Bedroom Make You Sick?

The first and most common way a fish tank can cause health problems is the mold forming at the back of the tank. Mold forms because the pump keeps the water clean, the water temperature on point, and heats the area around the tank. Water and heat are vital to forming mold. Leaving mold untreated can cause breathing problems – something you do not need when you sleep.

A fish tank in your room will alter the room’s humidity level to get hotter, and if you struggle to sleep in a warm bedroom, think twice before placing your aquarium in your bedroom. 

The fish and the water also have a chance to make their mark on you if you let them. Anyone can pick up Salmonella easily when cleaning the tank and handling the fish. Children are even more at risk for this infection, which may lead to gastroenteritis, high fever, and bloody diarrhea. 

People and children with breathing problems like asthma should try to avoid a fish tank in the room. Bedrooms are usually smaller rooms in the house, with little to no breeze going through the room, and the fish tank will decide the order of humidity and what is in the air. In addition, breathing disorders lead to sensitive lungs, and experts advise against fish tanks in bedrooms.

Guidelines To Ensure A Fish Tank Is No Threat To Your Health

If you or your child find that a fish tank in the room does more good than harm, you should follow specific rules and guidelines to keep the aquarium from ever making you sick.

You can deal with the mold by keeping a close eye on it and having a good cleaning routine. Cleaning can occur from once a week to once a month. For bedroom fish tanks instead, opt for the once-a-week option. 

Cleaning once a week is not too frequent to impact your fish and will ensure you don’t struggle with your health. With each cleaning, you will replace a quarter of the water with new water. (See our tips for getting crystal-clear aquarium water here.) The accessories you add to the fish tank, including substrate, will also need cleaning. 

Ensure you do not clean anything in a basin you use, like the kitchen or bathroom. Instead, use a bucket with soap and water and an old toothbrush and clean every part thoroughly. Children can help with this step and even wear rubber gloves (that you use for this purpose only).

To keep the humidity at bay and ensure as little as possible water vaporizes into the air, always add a lid to your fish tank. You can also invest in a de-humidifier to neutralize the bedroom air and eliminate unwanted bacteria.

When you have a fish tank in a child’s bedroom, you must take extra precautions to ensure their safety. 

  • Stability – the fish tank should be on a stable surface, more in a corner or out of a walkway, to ensure no one bumps or walk past the tank too often. 
  • Keep the cleaning and food supplies elsewhere – this is important, as children sometimes get curious and want to start cleaning the tank or give food when it is not due. This way, you can ensure that there is always supervision when cleaning the tank or feeding the fish.
  • Responsibility – before you speak to your child about a fish tank, let alone one in their room, make sure they understand that fish are special pets, and putting your hand in the water or messing with the pump is not part of having a fish. Suppose your child is too young to understand; wait until they are older before introducing a fish tank.

The Pros And Cons Of An Aquarium In A Bedroom

You might want to consider the pros and cons of a fish tank in a bedroom before you decide whether it is the right thing for you or your child. Remember that a fish tank takes responsibility and costs money to uphold.

Can A Fish Tank In Your Bedroom Make You Sick

The Positives of A Fish Tank In Your Bedroom

There are many positives to a fish tank in a bedroom. So many people do it, love it, and will continue to use it for many years.

  • Improve sleep quality – listening to the subtle bubbling of the fish tank will help you fall asleep faster, and in children, you can use this to replace the white noise machine.
  • Reduce anxiety and stress–watching the calm fish swimming and water flowing helps people reduce anxiety and stress levels.
  • Benefit high-energy kids – a fish tank’s calming effect can also be present with hyper children.
  • Decrease pain – the calming effects of an aquarium reduce thoughts of fear and anxiety and might even decrease pain because the mind is at ease.
  • Night light – some children are scared of the dark. The subtle glow of the fish tank will help them overcome their fear or deal with it until they do. Ensure that the light in your fish tank is not too bright or too close to their bed, as our minds need darkness to shut off. (Also, make sure you know how much time your fish tank light should be on.)

The Negatives Of A Fish Tank In Your Bedroom

Some potential negatives that people have noted in the past:

  • Funny odors – Decomposing food inside the tank, dead fish, or fresh plants that are not so fresh anymore can cause funny smells. Regularly cleaning the tank and removing dead fish as soon as possible keeps the smell at bay.
  • It can be too loud – the mechanics of the tank might invade your sleep. The noise level will depend on your pump and if you are a light sleeper. 
  • It might be dangerous in children’s rooms – They might bump it, throw something against it and break it, and are more susceptible to Salmonella infections.
  • Too light – The light of the fish tank could be too bright and interfere with sleep. Luckily, there is a timer you can add to the light and set it to go off an hour or so after your child goes to sleep.


Can a fish tank in your bedroom make you sick? That depends! If you don’t have underlying health issues, such as asthma, and keep on top of your tank and water cleaning, then having an aquarium in your bedroom can be soothing and beneficial to your mental health. If your child wants the tank in their room, make sure that the tank does not pose a safety risk.

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