Fish tanks are a beautiful addition to any home. They can provide hours of enjoyment and relaxation. But there is a menace that many people have encountered at one time or another. If you have a fish tank, you may have noticed that they attract ants to it. Ants can contaminate the water and make it unsafe for your fish.
Do fish tanks attract ants?
This is a question that many people ponder over, as ants are often seen as a nuisance. If you have ever had the problem of ants in your fish tank, you are not alone. Many people have found that their fish tanks are a target for ants.
If you are dealing with ants around your fish tank, there are a few things that you can do to get rid of them.
Although there are many methods of combating ants, it is important to first understand why they are attracted to your fish tank.
Why Are Ants Attracted to Fish Tanks?
While there are several reasons ants are attracted to fish tanks, some of the prominent ones are listed here:
Whose Food is it Anyway?
Ants are attracted to fish tanks because they think the fish are eating the food that the ants are trying to get to. Those innocent fishes are actually eating the algae that are growing on the glass of the fish tank, but the ants don’t know that. They just see the fish as a threat to their food source.
Since most algae need a moist or wet environment to thrive, they can be found wherever around or inside water bodies.
Fish tanks provide a source of water for ants, which they need to survive. So, ants are attracted to fish tanks because of the moisture. Sometimes, the ants will even try to drink the water in the fish tank, which can be harmful to the fish.
A Feast for the Little Beasts
Ants may think the fish are food, thus, are attracted to fish tanks. They can smell the fish and the water and they think it’s a good place to find a sumptuous meal. The synthesis and identification of odor signals (pheromones), which activate by communicating with one another, are the essential mechanisms behind the ant’s sense of smell.
Also, the ants will eat the fish food, which is another source of food for them.
Shelter Goes Helter-Skelter
They may have been preparing a cozy place to stay in the now-flooded tank when they began coming out into the open. You’ll be able to tell this is the case if you identify some of them bearing eggs or larvae.
How to Get Rid of Ants from Your Fish Tank?
To get rid of ants from your fish tank, you’ll first need to investigate how they’re getting in. Once you know their invading route, you can take the necessary steps to block their access. There are a few things you can do to get rid of ants in your fish tank.
You may need to treat the tank with an insecticide to get rid of any ants that are already inside. However, this is a risky approach. Chemicals in the insecticide may be poisonous and can be fatal to your fish. Fish would eat the dead ants, and consequently, you will end up killing your fish.
A simpler trick is to try using a piece of tape to make a barrier around the tank. Put the sticky side of the tape on the outside of the tank, and then wait for the ants to walk across it. The ants will get stuck to the tape, and you can then peel them off and throw them away.
DIY Ant Spray
Want a more effective solution? You can try using vinegar and water solution to spray the ants. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to 1 cup water and pour the magic potion into a spray bottle. (Swirl mildly before use!). Spray the mixture directly on the ants. If you are really angry with them, pour it over the ant hills!
Put drop cloths down around the plants so that any dripping doesn’t get into the grow beds if you plan to spray anything that could be harmful to fish. Also, make sure your fish tank is properly covered.
If you want to give them a soapy death, then you may substitute vinegar with soapy water or diluted washing detergent. Ants will die almost instantly if they come into contact with either of these sprays. But be very careful with anything with soap around your fish tank.
The Acid Test
How about a natural ant killer? Balsamic vinegar and lemon juice are the partners in crime. Add both in equal quantity to make a killer solution. Pour it into the ant hills or visible campgrounds. The acidity will either incapacitate or scare away the ants without harming the aquatic habitat.
If you dislike the poison option, then try Diatomaceous Earth (DE). It is not poisonous, yet it kills insects by choking their spiracles, causing them to suffocate and dehydrate to death.
To be safe, opt for DE which is food-grade. To get rid of pests like weevils in grain stores, food-grade DE is commonly added (up to 2% by volume). If you’ve ever consumed grain that was cultivated and stored before being processed into finished goods, you’ve consumed DE.
So, don’t worry it is safe for fish too if it’s food grade. Avoid materials used in swimming pool filters and substances with additional ingredients.
Bait with Borax
Borax is a common household chemical that can be found in a variety of everyday items. Mix it with sugar in equal proportion. Take about a teaspoon of that mixture and add enough water to make it the consistency of honey. You may sweeten it more with 4 parts sugar and 1 part Borax.
Place it directly in the ant trail on small pieces of cut-up paper plate or something similar. This is a far superior option to heavy-duty chemicals.
How to Safely Prevent Ants Coming to Your Fish Tank?
As the popular adage goes “prevention is better than cure”, it is always better to take preventive measures to protect your prized possession; fish in this case. Whether it is a new tank or a salvaged one after the ant attack is subdued, preventing these crawling insects is very important.
Here are a few interesting tips you can easily implement to keep ants away from your fish tank.
- Make sure no food debris around the tank might attract them.
- Keep the tank clean so there is no dust for them to build their hill in.
- Consider using an ant-proof barrier around the tank. This could be a line of Vaseline or a sticky trap.
- Ants dislike the smell of spearmint and avoid it. Plant it around the tank or throw a few twigs around.
- Draw a beeline of calcium carbonate, also known as limestone. It has a chalky characteristic that ants dislike because it impedes their scent-following abilities.
- Ants are drawn to cornstarch and will attempt to consume it. The ants can’t digest it, and as they starve, it slowly kills them. Put it in their way as they return to the nest, and also sprinkle some on the hill.
- Place a ring of Diatomaceous Earth around the perimeter of the tank stand or floor to prevent them from returning to rebuild their fort.
There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that fish tanks attract ants. However, some people believe that ants are attracted to the moisture and humidity around fish tanks. Some believe it is the source of food that attracts them. Some believe that ants are attracted to the sweet water in fish tanks, while others say that ants are not attracted to fish tanks.
There is no definitive answer to whether fish tanks attract ants because there are many variables to consider, such as the type of fish tank, the location of the fish tank, and the type of ants.
If you tried the tips and preventive measures in this article and are still not able to exterminate the red army invasion of your water kingdom and feel exhausted, don’t give up. Fishes need your love and protection.