How Much Electricity Does an Aquarium Use?

Aquarium electricity consumption is a major cost factor, third only to food and maintenance costs. This is because you need more electricity to run things like the filters, lights, powerheads, heaters, protein skimmers, air pumps, water pumps, and uv-filters.

Aquarium General Electricity Consumption

If you want to know the exact amount of aquarium electricity consumption, you’ll see that it actually depends on the size of your tank. Generally speaking, this is as follows:

  • A small, freshwater fish tank (about 10 gallons) uses about 150 kWh per year.
  • A medium, freshwater fish tank (about 30 gallons) uses about 150 – 200 kWh per year.
  • A large, freshwater fish tank (about 55 gallons) uses about 200 – 400 kWh per year.

Aquarium Lighting

Most of your aquarium’s electricity consumption is used for your lighting system. This actually accounts for about 45% of your entire bill even though you don’t run it 24 hours a day. While the fluorescent light bulb (15 – 40 watts) that comes with most hoods doesn’t cost much money to use, planted tanks do cost more. This is because they need more light at a higher wattage (30 – 100 watts). Saltwater reef tanks are like planted tanks in that they also need more wattage (150 – 1,000 watts).

Aquarium Heating

Your aquarium electricity consumption for the heating element uses about 35% of your entire bill. Of course, the larger your tank is, the more heat it’ll need. Additionally, if you have tropical fish, they’ll also need more heat. For a 30 gallon tank heated to 72°F you’ll need 110 kWh per year, while the same tank heated to 82°F will consume 440 kWh per year, which is four times as much electricity.

How Much Electricity Does an Aquarium Use?

Your Aquarium’s Other Needs

While lighting and heating are your aquarium’s main needs, you also have a few others. You’ll need to include the following elements to factor in your aquarium’s total electricity consumption:

  • Filter: It uses about 12% of your entire bill.
  • Airpump: It uses about 8% of your entire bill.
  • Waterpump: It uses 10 watts of electricity for a 200 gph and 30 Watts for 300 gph aquarium.
  • Powerhead: It uses 3 – 50 watts.
  • UV filters: It uses in between 8 – 130 watts.

Fish aquariums really don’t cost a lot in electricity consumption. However, tank size does figure in significantly. Your other important considerations are whether you have a densely planted, saltwater, or reef tank. All of these will cost you more in electricity consumption.

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