A marine aquarium, be it fish only aquarium or a marine reef aquarium, is very attractive. Therefore it is quite understandable that the aquarist wishes to place it in an area with the most visual impact. The aquarium could go nearly anywhere in the house without too much difficulty.
Marine aquariums are in fact sometimes placed in bathrooms and kitchens as well as other more obvious areas in the house. There’s nothing wrong with this, provided proper consideration is given to the welfare of the fishes and other livestock.
The very first consideration is the size of the aquarium which will indicate the weight. Before the system is even designed, the location should be carefully considered. In addition to whether the aquarium will fit the chosen area properly, there must be an electrical supply that is accessible with the aquarium in place, and the aquarium must be easily accessible for maintenance. Any sump that is going to be used has to be taken into consideration.
If the aquarium is small there could be a temptation to place it on a piece of household furniture. Great caution is needed as much furniture today is not particularly strong. Seawater is heavy, for example the seawater in a net 100 litre aquarium (circa 26.5 US gallons) will weigh around 100 kg (circa 220.5 lbs). Then there’s the weight of the rocks, sand and the aquarium itself to add on. This size of aquarium is not considered big, but I wouldn’t like to trust a piece of home furniture with it, or a smaller aquarium for that matter. It is better to use a proper aquarium stand which will be strong enough.
Another consideration applies to larger aquariums. They will need proper stands, or have supports made individually for them if décor is important, and, in addition, the floor must be strong enough. Solid floors may well be fine, but a suspended floor may need to be checked for suitability, and strengthened if necessary.
It is best not to site an aquarium next to electrical equipment, such as a TV etc. The location may be excellent for visual effect, but seawater next to electrical equipment is not a good idea, as electricity and seawater are not a friendly mix! There could well be dangerous problems, particularly during maintenance of the aquarium.
An aquarium is best sited away from an area of heavy foot traffic, to afford a level of peace to the inhabitants. Some reasonable traffic is not a problem as it does not seem to adversely affect the fish, but constant heavy traffic, such as children, is excessively disturbing.
Similarly, do not place an aquarium against or close to a central heating radiator or an air conditioning outlet vent. In the first case a hot radiator may heat the seawater and in the second cool it (causing heaters to switch on thus costing more). Also, a radiator or outlet vent may need servicing at some point.
Aquarium lighting nowadays is advanced and can provide sufficient spectrum and power for the aquarist’s needs. So there is no requirement for the aquarium to receive any sunlight. Allowing the aquarium to receive sunlight could be detrimental, in that excessive algae growth could be caused (subject perhaps to other additional conditions) and if the sunlight was available for long enough the seawater could be heated. It would not be a good idea, for example, to site an aquarium under a large glass area in the roof or in a garden glasshouse.
Choosing a good location is a really good idea when the weight of the stocked aquarium is considered. Moving it ’as is’ is impossible. Breaking down a stocked aquarium, particularly a reef, to move the system is not fun when it could have been avoided in the first place.