Child Proofing Your Aquarium

Posted by on December 10, 2012 - zero

Child Proofing Your Aquarium: By R2R Member cdness

As aquarists we all take great pride in the tanks that are in our care. Many of us also have small children who share in the enjoyment that a reef tank can bring. The aquarium can have a soothing effect on children and can spark their interest into things that may not be something they would have a chance to interact with where they live.

With this in mind there are also some things with the aquarium that can be dangerous to small children like electricity, plumbing and chemicals. Even with those cute innocent eyes, our children can also unknowingly harm the inhabitants of the aquarium. This article will describe a few ways to protect our children and our tanks from potential harm.

Notice: No children were harmed in the writing of this article.

Cabinet Doors

Many of our aquarium stands come with cabinet doors on the front. With all of the equipment stored under there, this can become a very interesting place to a toddler with all the noises, lights and toys to play with. Fortunately there is are easy ways to secure the doors so a toddler cannot get access to the equipment. First a strong latch can be installed. This can either be a mechanical clip or a strong magnetic latch. As a secondary to the latch, the standard child proofing items can be used, just like in the kitchen. Install the clips and the levers and you are set.



Wiring and electricity can be very dangerous to children. I have seen pictures of different tanks, mine included, where wires are accessible by a toddler or small child. These wires can easily be pulled on, unplugged, or shorted out depending on the cables. The best way to control this is to make sure all wires are behind the tank. If this is not possible, use wire loom and zip ties or wire nails to secure the wires to the stand, wall, or other object to prevent them from getting pulled on. Cover any exposed outlets as well to make sure nothing can get placed into them.



This one should be common sense, or at least I thought it was. If all of the plumbing is behind the tank, no one can get in to reach it right? I thought this was true until I saw that my 10 month old had found out how to remove the tube from my ATO container and was playing with it. I knew she was seconds away from it ending up in her mouth. Make sure all plumbing is blocked in some way because toddlers are smaller and can seem to get themselves into small spaces. Attach the plumbing to the solid parts of the stand with strapping or the pipe saddles. Make sure it is braced so no leverage can be placed on the pipe which can damage the glass of the tank.


The majority of the chemicals we use in our reefs would be considered toxic to young children, which is why they must be secured. Make sure they are high up and out of reach, or behind a child proofed door (see above) so they cannot be ingested. I know with my 10 month old everything seems to make it to the mouth at some point, so assume it will and look around to make sure nothing is within reach.



Spills happen, there is no way around them sometimes. This includes massive spills down to the dripping of water off your hands and arms when you are working in the tank. Since a toddler spends most of their time on the floor, you want to try prevent the spills from contaminating the floor. Place a towel down at the base of the tank to catch the drips. If you do have a spill, use a good carpet cleaner to clean it up right away. If there is some dripping on the stand, wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe after working in the tank. If the spills are larger a shopvac can be used to clean up the majority of the water, then follow up with a towel and spray.


Protecting the Tank

Little ones can unknowingly be destructive at times in the drive to have fun. Smashing your cell phone on the floor, pulling your food off the table, tipping over planters, etc are all common things that just happen. When you add an aquarium into the scenario there are a few other issues that can be prevented by the steps described above. Those issues would include the unplugging of the return pump, ATO pipe out of the sump, penny in the aquarium, random toys in the aquarium, and the addition of juice so the fish can drink… All of these can affect the inhabitants of the aquarium. So in protecting your children you are also protecting your fish and corals.








This article describes a few different ways to child-proof the aquarium which will protect both child and fish alike. By keeping both safe you will provide the enjoyable environment for your youngster to watch the fish for years to come.

** Note: Images included do not represent support of a particular brand or product. Please research the best solution for your situation. If there is an issue with any image, please let me know and I will remove on request.


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