How Much Electricity Does a Fish Tank Use: How to Reduce It

By: Alex | Date Posted: April 28, 2021

Aquariums have high energy consumption requirements. Be it powerheads, Aquarium lights, filters, protein skimmers, heaters, water pumps, air pumps, or UV filters, all of these tend to consume energy.

A 10-gallon small tank aquarium for freshwater fish requires 150 kWh energy per year, while a 30-gallon medium tank has between 150-200 kWh yearly energy requirement.

Finally comes a 55-gallon large aquarium with having 200-400 kWh annual energy requirement. All of these values have been computed by considering the basic equipment and serve as an average.

Aquarium lights account for approximately 45% of the cumulative bill, followed closely by the heater, which constitutes 35% of the total cost. 12% of the cost can be tagged against filters, whereas air pumps hold the remaining 8%.

All these estimates are based on an average aquarium setup.

It is imperative to note here that lighting is the only aquarium component that doesn’t run throughout the day.

People can also exercise control over lighting expenses by regulating the equipment used and the time duration.

Most hoods are accompanied by a common fluorescent light bulb running on 15-40 watts of power. This does not add up to the cumulative cost to a very great extent.

Planted tanks using power compacts or VHO fluorescent bulbs, or a combination have higher lighting requirements, leading to greater power consumption.

Heating an aquarium can further contribute to your expense meter. The amount of heat required is synonymous with the size of the tank. Tropical fish environments have higher water temperature requirements leading to higher heating expenses when compared to their non-tropical fish aquarium peers.

You can take the example of a 30-gallon tank that will consume 110 kWh per year on being heated at 72-degree Fahrenheit. The same tank consumes 440 kWh yearly on being heated at 82-degree Fahrenheit, four times the former.

The wattage requirement of water pumps ranges between 3 watts to 400 watts depending upon their gallon-per-hour rate.

Water filters, air pumps, and powerheads consume just 3 watts of electricity, extending to 50 watts for heavy-duty ones.

Now that you have gained an idea of the aquarium’s electricity requirements let us look at how you can reduce the same for bringing down your environmental footprint.

Tips to Reduce Fish Tank Electricity Consumption

Switch To LED Lighting

The aquarium lights are usually kept on for about ten hours daily, and you can make a significant difference by optimizing the same.

For doing this, you need to primarily switch to LED lighting systems as these lamps bring down electrical consumption while delivering the same level of illumination.

If the lamps light up the area outside the tank, you can cut down on the width of the beam by opting for tighter lenses. Alternatively, the light can be shifted closer to the water’s surface. Solar energy can also yield great results on a properly-placed tank during a sunny day.

You can save 2/3rd of electrical energy by placing the aquarium in a well-sunlit area and turning on the light only when it is actually required. But for obtaining this ideal scenario, you will have to opt for an aquarium equipped with a sensor and regulate the lamps based on the intensity of sunlight.

Set It Up In A Heated Room

The ambient temperature surrounding your aquarium has a big role to play in determining your aquarium’s water temperature. You can bring down energy costs drastically if the outside temperature is higher than your aquarium water’s target temperature, as it will have less power requirement for warming your aquarium.

Thus, if your target temperature is 25-27 degrees and you have placed your aquarium in a room with a temperature of 22 degrees, then your heater will only have to compensate for the difference by a maximum of 3-5 degrees.

Fish Tank

Save Energy With Closed Aquarium Covers

Opting for a closed aquarium cover can tag along with massive cost savings, especially if you have small to medium-sized aquariums without any special shapes.

This prevents the heat from dissipating through the water surface, and it stays in the aquarium much longer compared to an open-cover variant. The waste heat of the lamps is also helpful in heating your aquarium water.

Opting For An Aquarium Brick Wall

It is often advised to install a back wall in the aquarium for aesthetic reasons and bring down the aquarium costs. Well, insulated plastic goes into the composition of these back walls, which can offer thermal insulation to your tank while imparting a more natural feel to your underwater world.

Invest In Efficient Pumps

For bringing down watt consumption while maintaining a similar level of water flow, you need to purchase efficient pumps.

The ones filled with algae and dirty water will not be of much use in pushing out the water. This is why it becomes necessary to clean them at regular intervals and even place the pumps at the right spots for optimizing their performance.

Select The Right Aquarium Filter

Aquarium filters come in varying power levels, and you need to choose the one in sync with your aquarium. For doing this, you can either seek out specialist advice or consult the aquarium manual so that it operates at an energy-efficient speed.

Set The Aquarium Temperature After Considering The Type Of Fish You Have

The type of fish in your aquarium is a determining factor for the temperature you set. It is best if all the ornamental fishes have similar temperature requirements. While tropical fish like discus fish or guppies have high-temperature requirements, Central European ones like Orfe and Moderlieschen can fare well at low temperatures.

The optimum temperature can be decided upon after consulting an expert. After doing this, you can adjust your water temperature using a digital thermometer. Placing an aeration stone underneath the heater will help with the circulation of cold water.


Your aim here should be to strike the right balance between everything to benefit optimal performance with minimal energy usage.

Thank you for reading!


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