Peace, calm, tranquility — if these are the things that you seek, then a custom aquarium is the way to go.

But there’s only one problem: the constant hum of lights and the persistent bubbling of water pumps can kind of ruin your tranquility. Today we’re going to talk about ways to cut down own noise pollution and build a quieter aquarium.

1. Cut Out Unnecessary Equipment

Getting rid of excess gear is definitely one of the easiest ways to silence your aquarium. Some gadgets are necessary for your aquatic life to survive, but other equipment can be removed as long as you help your ecosystem flourish in its absence. For example, freshwater tanks can survive with nothing more than light and food, assuming that you do frequent water changes and monitor the water condition. Freshwater ecosystems can thrive on their own because the plants and animals do a good job of replicating the cycle of life that takes place in nature.

Saltwater aquariums, unfortunately, aren’t quite as versatile. You probably won’t be able to skip out on gear.

2. Hide the Electronics

If you can’t get rid of noisy equipment, then you can always muffle the noise by hiding gear behind thick cabinets or behind furniture. That’s one of the reasons why aquariums built into cabinets are so popular. Not only does the lower compartment hide unsightly equipment, wires, and tubes, but the thick wood of the container also muffles the drone of electronics.

3. Switch to Low-Noise Alternatives

You get what you pay for. If you select a cheap piece of equipment, then there’s a fairly good chance that the hardware will be noisier than one of its pricey counterparts. I recommend that you specifically look for low-noise equipment that will run in near-silence.

Overflow systems are notorious for their noise, so you should follow instructions for building quieter overflow systems.

4. Install Vibration Mats

Aquascapers aren’t the only people who have waged a war against noisy equipment. Computer technicians, car manufacturers, and pretty much every other profession that deals with moving parts has thought up ways to cut down on vibration. Get rubber vibration mats or insulating material from specialized stores like car parts stores or computer parts stores. When installed against fans or noisy pumps, the anti-vibration material will absorb the noise and leave you with a whisper-quiet aquarium.

You might also want to line the inside of your aquarium cabinet with insulating material like foam or rubber. If you’re on a shoestring budget, you could even attach egg cartons to the walls of the cabinet to break up sound waves. The more you do to cut off noise vibration, the quieter it will be.

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