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covered planted tank

Pros and cons of aquarium cover

While setting up a new tank, many hobbyists wonder if it's better to have an open aquarium or cover it with a glass lid. Both solutions have advantages and disadvantages. In this article we will try to analyze both option to help you make the right decision.

covered aquarium

Why are the covers useful?

Glass covers play many roles which are very functional to run a fish tank.

Temperature fluctuations

They protect against water temperature fluctuations which is very useful in case of sensitive fish species.

They prevent evaporation

Cover helps to reduce evaporation of aquarium water and increased humidity in the room. This contributes specially to aquariums with large water surface.

Jumping fish

Glass lids prevent fish from jumping out of the aquarium and thus protect them against death.


Who have kids and cats knows what this means :)

Contamination from the outside

Having a cover surely helps to limit the contamination falling to the fish tank from the outside such as cat hair or dust.

Base for lighting and cabels

It is a good place to install lighting and discreet organization of cabling from all devices working in the aquarium and requiring a permanent connection to electricity.

We know that not all of the arguments above are particularly important for many hobbyists. And it's absolutely fine! After all, it's your personal choice whether to have a cover or not.

Covers for tanks with large water surface

It is also commonly accepted that the cover is necessary for large, several hundred-liter tanks. From them, the water will evaporate very intensively and quickly, providing high humidity in the room and creating the risk of fungus or mold on the wall around the aquarium, especially in old buildings and rooms without good ventilation. The owners of smaller aquariums have more comfort and freedom of action here. Moreover, tanks with intense evaporation are more likely to have problems with water parameters.

Open tanks- yes or no?

Again, everything depends on personal choices. However, open aquariums are more aesthetic and compose better to the surroundings. When having live plants, you have to be aware that plants can grow above the water surface which is a great element of arrangement. Moreover, they also make it possible to admire the crystalline water surface and provide a slightly closer contact with nature reflected in the aquarium.

While having an open tank you must be aware that water evaporates quicker than from covered tank. This means that during water changes you need also to refill the difference, usually visible to the naked eye (sediment on the glass). Also, active and dynamic fish are more likely to jump from the open aquariums.

So what fish are the safest choice for the open tank?

It is worth resigning from fish that swim near the surface and have a tendency to pop out (e.g. cichlids), and it is definitely not worth putting too much stock in the tank, because then the risk of stress increases and the fish will want to jump out as part of the escape.

Plastic lids

There is another idea if standard glass lids are not possible to install on the existing aquarium. Some use covers made of plexi. However, this method is found as short-lasting. Such a plastic lid deforms over time under the influence of heat from lighting and loses its transparency.


To sum up, the choice whether the cover is needed or not remains in hobbyist's hands. Everything depends on the stocking and external factors. Nevertheless, having the aquarium lid is very useful when we have jumpy fish and small children.