Since I share my house with two mischievous cats (or rather, they share their house with me…), I have gotten pretty good at keeping my fish tanks cat proofed over the years. However, in the beginning I did have a few incidents that involved me walking into a room with a cat completely submerged in our 200 gallon fish tank – I learned to keep the lid on the tank after that! Fortunately, there really isn’t much involved when it comes to keeping your fish safe from the cats.
1. Keep a lid on the tank at all times. In addition to preventing the cats from going fishing in your prized cichlid tank, a secure lid also keeps fish inside the tank and helps slow down the rate that the water in your tank evaporates.
2. Keep all supplies organized under the stand. The cabinets that most fish tanks stands come with are perfect for keeping fish nets, medications, filter media, and especially containers of food. I’ve lost quite a few containers of food to a cat that decided to bat it off of the light strip where I had it sitting – the end result was a container with a broken lid and cracked sides, as well as fish flakes all over the floor.
3. Make sure the air pump is secured above the tank. If you use an air pump in your tank for decorative purposes, make sure that you have it secured above the water line so that a curious cat can’t “accidentally” push it off – especially when you’re out of the house. An air pump that takes a leap off the top of your tank will cause all the air stones and decorations to become uprooted, not to mention anything else that gets in the way of the tubing.
4. Keep power strips and other cords contained. I like to try to feed all my cords under the fish tank stand so that when I close the cabinet doors all the cords are contained and no longer accessible. I don’t recommend placing a power strip on a nearby table because it definitely isn’t fun to come home and find all your filters turned off after the power strip took a nose dive to the floor.
In addition to making sure you have a tight fitting lid on your fish tank at all times, I would also recommend covering all the gaps left at the back of the hood where the filter is – especially if you have slower moving fish. I like getting a piece of plexi-glass cut to size so that I can remove it if I need to.
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