No, Your Fish Tank Probably Isn’t Slowing Down Your Wi-Fi

Every once in a while, someone will ask us whether their aquarium might be negatively affecting their internet connection. On the face of it, it’s an unusual question. However, it’s become far from unexpected for us. That’s as the likes of Virgin Media and TalkTalk continue to pedal an old tale surrounding fish tank ownership and Wi-Fi speeds.

The same tale routinely appears in articles often published or contributed to by broadband suppliers on the subject of slow Wi-Fi. Fish tanks are frequently listed alongside various other supposed culprits, including fairy lights, central heating boilers, mirrors, and even vases of fresh flowers.

While there’s some merit to each of these suggestions, in reality, the likelihood of a home aquarium (or a vase of flowers) slowing down your internet is slim to none. Instead, by far the largest offender in slowing down Wi-Fi in any space is solid physical obstructions such as walls and doors.

By contrast, while reflective mirrors and fish tanks full of water can potentially absorb or deflect Wi-Fi signals, the effects pale in comparison to structural elements like thick walls and solid wood doors. Even a person standing in front of a router is more likely to impact Wi-Fi signal strength, however minimally, than simply having a fish tank in the same room.

Of course, placing a Wi-Fi router directly underneath, behind, or within the cabinet or frame of an aquarium absolutely can slow down your wireless internet connection. That’s to say nothing of it being an odd choice of location in the first place. The same is true of placing such equipment behind any other sort of physical obstruction, including TV units and bookshelves.

The Proof of the Aquarium vs. Wi-Fi Speed Pudding…

The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. Or, in this case, in testing out (and hopefully proving) our belief that fish tanks do not slow down internet speeds first-hand. That’s after the very question in point came up while installing a large new tank for a client a couple of weeks ago.

The client enquired with us on the subject after having pored over the placement of their new eight-foot aquarium… only to have a friend tell them it could mess with their Wi-Fi, according to something they’d read on the internet! The chosen location was in the middle of an open-plan living space, where the fish tank would serve as a partial room divider.

If there was any truth in the suggestion that fish tanks slow down Wi-Fi, the size and position of this particular aquarium would make it a prime culprit!

Testing if a Large Fish Tank Negatively Impacts Wi-Fi Speeds

To disprove the theory that a fish tank of any shape or size may negatively impact wireless internet connectivity, we measured Wi-Fi speeds in various areas of the room in question and elsewhere in the same property before and after installing the new tank.

Following installation, filling, and turning on all equipment, Wi-Fi speeds remained unchanged, both in the same space as the aquarium and adjacent rooms. Testing while sitting directly on the other side of the newly installed tank opposite the router at the far end of the same room, Wi-Fi speeds seemingly increased on one test… almost as though the aquarium was amplifying the signal!

In reality, it was more than likely just a normal fluctuation in Wi-Fi speeds. In any case, signal strength didn’t drop post-install in any part of the property. Furthermore, Wi-Fi speeds have remained consistent and unchanged in the days following the aquarium installation with no significant deviation.

Fish Tanks vs. Wi-Fi Speeds: Conclusion

Following our test, we’re happy to conclude and report that the idea that fish tanks negatively affect wireless internet connectivity is essentially a myth. That, or the impact is so minor that it’s not detectable under casual testing.