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Tank in front of window?


Tabitha

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I was just given a 55 gallon with no hood or lights. I have goldfish now (in another tank) and have kept them before but never without a hood and lights. So I was thinking of setting up the tank in our computer room (directly against the window) and letting them have natural sunlight. There are trees that give shade, and I have vertical blinds to close when necessary. Would this be acceptable or can you see any other problems other than algae that could be a problem? I do have a lot of filters, heaters, etc. for the tank out in the garage so would really like to set it up this weekend.

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Natural light is very good for them. However, you need to make sure that your window is well insulated before putting a tank in front of it. If the sunlight heats the tank, this can be a real problem. Cold drafts can also be a problem. The final issue to consider is algae. It will grow quickly with natural sunlight.

I think this is manageable with diligent attention. Keeping the blinds closed for part of the day and making sure that the window is well enough insulated to avoid large temperature changes would be necessary to make this work.

Edited by jmetzger72
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Hi there! I also have my tank in our computer room right beside our front windows with shade trees and horizontal blinds.

The downside is definitely all the algae growth, which never completely goes away. And the heat and draft issues.

An upside is that live plants will flourish in your tank. :)

Also, when I do water changes, the tank is close enough to the window that I just pump the "dirty" tank water right out of the window through the tube and into our garden outside. The plants right outside the window are very happy and healthy! :)

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Another thing to consider is putting an insulated background on the back of the tank, like foam board. This would block light and heat from coming in from the back of the tank. You would just get light from above the water's surface much like having a strip light.

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My wheels are spinning now. Looks like I'll have this set up this weekend. The windows are new and dual paned, there shouldn't be drafts or anything... I'll put a thermometer in to make sure. Thank you two, I'm very excited to do this!

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My wheels are spinning now. Looks like I'll have this set up this weekend. The windows are new and dual paned, there shouldn't be drafts or anything... I'll put a thermometer in to make sure. Thank you two, I'm very excited to do this!

Great, we will look forward to hearing and seeing how it goes!

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My wheels are spinning now. Looks like I'll have this set up this weekend. The windows are new and dual paned, there shouldn't be drafts or anything... I'll put a thermometer in to make sure. Thank you two, I'm very excited to do this!

Good luck, and please post photos of your setup!

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I keep my tank by the window during the summer and it turns green, the fish turns bright colours and the plants flourish. Keep in mind that warm temperatures are not one of my 'problems' at this latitude. My one problem was that once the sun started to fade and I moved the tank away from the window, the green algae began using up the oxygen in the tank and I had to act fast to get the tank back into control.

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I have a 55 gallon in front of a large window out of necessity, and it attracts diatoms like no other. However, this alone is not a big deal if it doesn't really bother you. I just wipe the sides down and do bigger water changes than usual on that tank because wiping the sides down causes the water to turn brown. We keep the blinds closed, but they aren't great blinds so some light does get through regardless.

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I kept one of my tanks in front of the window for the duration of it's setup, and my plants did really well. Also, the fish looked beautiful when the sunlight hit them just right! Algae was a huge problem, though, and diligent as I was, i could never keep it under control. Best of luck with your new 55!

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Algae as others noted is a significant problem. It is easy to deal with generally if you aren't keeping live plants, but if you are it can become really frustrating. Even with a background to block the sun some and shades kept down most of the time, my tank experienced some pretty significant algae issues when moved in front of a large sunny window. Previously I had only dealt with brown algae and blue green alge but in the sunny window I was growing all sorts of other kinds like Blackbeard algae (which honestly is the most obnoxious, hard to get rid of, and nothing will eat). I eventually got it under control but it took a couple rounds of bleaching all my plants and upping my co2. I now have my tank on a windowless wall and will probably never put it in front of a window again if I can avoid it :P I don't mean to try to discourage you, you should definitely try it out. I just wanted to warn you because I didn't believe that a little direct natural sunlight could cause such an issue ;)

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Algae as others noted is a significant problem. It is easy to deal with generally if you aren't keeping live plants, but if you are it can become really frustrating. Even with a background to block the sun some and shades kept down most of the time, my tank experienced some pretty significant algae issues when moved in front of a large sunny window. Previously I had only dealt with brown algae and blue green alge but in the sunny window I was growing all sorts of other kinds like Blackbeard algae (which honestly is the most obnoxious, hard to get rid of, and nothing will eat). I eventually got it under control but it took a couple rounds of bleaching all my plants and upping my co2. I now have my tank on a windowless wall and will probably never put it in front of a window again if I can avoid it :P I don't mean to try to discourage you, you should definitely try it out. I just wanted to warn you because I didn't believe that a little direct natural sunlight could cause such an issue ;)

So true about the plants ... I spent a lot of money on plants I had kept successfully in other tanks only to have them die a quick death in that tank! Now, I keep silk plants in there, and buy anacharis to float only when my fish are breeding.

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My tank was not in front of the window, but perpendicular to it. Our sun hit the tank approximate 19 hours a day at the height of the summer. I did not have a 'stationary' algae problem but massively green water. As I said, the real problem only started when the sun stopped hitting the tank because of the changes in day length and the angle of the sun. The algae in the water died and the fish was clearly suffering. But while the sun was 'on' and the algae flourishing, I think he really enjoyed it.

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I loved reading everything you all said. I had the tank all set up in the computer room, water and all... When I went to plug the filters in, the prongs wouldn't fit in the outlet. The prongs would just fall out. My husband said it had to be replaced. I'm hoping it will get fixed tomorrow. I am also thinking because of the algae I might just set it up in the livingroom. Too much fishy drama today. I'll keep you updated but pictures won't be beautiful because it's an old scratched up tank I got for free.

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I wonder how much a window screen would alleviate possible issues? They have been shown to reduce light strength significantly.

I think they reduce by about 40% right? My window had a screen and I kept the blinds down most of the time (leaving them open maybe a couple hours a day), I also put a background on that tank (although not initially despite people's recommendations on tpt to do so to cut sunlight). I don't know :idont I'd never had green spot algae, hair algae, or black beard algae in my tanks...all of which cropped up in that sunny window :P same tank and plants now in the new house and haven't seen any of that nonsense yet (knock on wood)

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I wonder how much a window screen would alleviate possible issues? They have been shown to reduce light strength significantly.

I think they reduce by about 40% right? My window had a screen and I kept the blinds down most of the time (leaving them open maybe a couple hours a day), I also put a background on that tank (although not initially despite people's recommendations on tpt to do so to cut sunlight). I don't know :idont I'd never had green spot algae, hair algae, or black beard algae in my tanks...all of which cropped up in that sunny window :P same tank and plants now in the new house and haven't seen any of that nonsense yet (knock on wood)

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Yep, a single layer is about a 40% reduction. Thank you for the information, Jess. :)

Out of curiosity, do you think any of the algae had to do with figuring co2 out, or did it happen much later in the tank's development?

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I wonder how much a window screen would alleviate possible issues? They have been shown to reduce light strength significantly.

I think they reduce by about 40% right? My window had a screen and I kept the blinds down most of the time (leaving them open maybe a couple hours a day), I also put a background on that tank (although not initially despite people's recommendations on tpt to do so to cut sunlight). I don't know :idont I'd never had green spot algae, hair algae, or black beard algae in my tanks...all of which cropped up in that sunny window :P same tank and plants now in the new house and haven't seen any of that nonsense yet (knock on wood)

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Yep, a single layer is about a 40% reduction. Thank you for the information, Jess. :)

Out of curiosity, do you think any of the algae had to do with figuring co2 out, or did it happen much later in the tank's development?

It definitely could have been part of it. But when I initially set up the tank I was running the same light I had been running on my 40 gallon, so light from an artificial source was actually less compared to co2 than in the previous tank (the window was the only added light source when I first set up the tank). It took me several months I think to find the light I use now (which is very powerful), at which point I definitely had more of an algae issue until I upped co2.

It's hard to say what was the exact cause of the algae considering that there are multiple factors at play including a larger tank and co2 that needed to be adjusted appropriately. All I know is that even when I got things dialed in to the point that my plants didn't look like furry underwater puppies anymore, I still had more algae issues in that tank than I did with my 40 gallon that had the same equipment etc running (and I should note the 40 was near a window but it was a small kitchen window above the tank that was not east facing like the large window the 75 was put in front of)

I wouldn't say don't put a tank in front of a window ever, but for me, if there are other options I would avoid the window in the future. Bf actually suggested my tank go in front of a window when we moved and I said absolutely not :P

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