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Having Fish Tanks In Your Garage

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

I have around 20 tanks in my garage and I always get asked the same questions:

How do you heat them?

How do you keep them cool in the summer?

Is your garage insulated?

So, if you have been thinking about expanding into your garage here are a few things I have learned so far:

Buy a heater that is rated for higher than the fish tank it is going into. Since I live in the Carolinas, I have heaters that are rated for twice the size of a tank that they are going into. This will make sure that when it gets cold, the heaters can still keep up. Now, if you live in a cooler climate you might want to buy heaters that are rated for 3-4 times to ensure your fish stay warm.

For the summers (depending on where you live) a fan may be all you need. Our summers here only get around the 90’s and only for a short period of time so a fan is all I need for where I live. If you live in a place that gets much more heat than you may want to buy chillers or consider getting a mini ac unit for your garage just for the summer time.

Outlets - most outlets can support anywhere from 1,500 - 2,000 watts which means you can plug a lot of things into your outlet without having to worry much….but there is still a limit. Most things for your aquarium are rated around 30 - 50 watts such as:

Heater - 50 - 200 watts

Lights - 30 - 50 watts (some can be higher)

filtration - 50 watts

The most I have on one outlet is 1,550 watts which is around the max capacity.

I have the following on this outlet:

10 heaters

1 central air pump

4 lights

1 water pump

A great way to use less energy or use less “plugs” is:

Use a central air pump for your filtration. Instead of having a filter for each tank get a air pump that can support the amount of tanks you plan on having - this way you use only one plug and less electricity.

Use “daisy chain” lights - use lights that can connect into each other instead of having to have their own plug. Most shop lights have this option which is a game changer when it comes to plug space.

Another tip for when setting up fish tanks in your garage is to use lids!

I never used lids in my home aquariums as I like to have emersed growth and because I found lids to be more of a burden then their worth. Plus I don’t have fish that jump out fortunately. BUT for the garage, I think it is a must! The reason why is that there can be sudden loud noises such as the garage door opening, car doors slamming, etc…And all these noises can spook your fish and cause them to jump out. I saw this happen 1st hand a few times, most of the time I was right there when it happened and I was able to save them but a couple of times I wasn’t. Now I have tops. I use plexiglass sheets which cost around $20 for a pack of 10. They are pretty flimsy but they get the job done.

Lights - when it comes to lights I recommend setting everything on a timer. I personally use the Kasa smart plugs as it makes it really easy to put your lights on a timer and you can turn them off and on all at once. I would also recommend getting a light that is the size of the width of your rack. This way if you put say, 4 tanks on one shelf then you’ll have 1 light to light up those 4 tanks.

Now, the best part about having fish tanks in your garage is how easy it is to maintenance. Normally you can drain water right outside and finding a water source is normally pretty easy as well. Since you can use the outdoor hose or use a python system from your kitchen or bathroom sink. And if you spill water on the floor, no worries! It’s the garage! And trust me…you’re gonna spill water.

If you have fish tanks in your garage, let us know some tips or tricks that you picked up!

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