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Do Fish Tanks Attract Roaches?

do fish tanks attract roaches

Nothing ruins the aesthetic and purity of a new fish tank more than a bunch of cockroaches swimming on the surface and roaming around. But how did they get there? Do fish tanks attract roaches?

Fish tanks attract roaches because they create the perfect habitat. Cockroaches thrive in wet, humid areas with standing water. Fish tanks also accumulate leftover food, waste, and algae, providing roaches sustenance. Fish tanks offer them the warmth, wetness, and nourishment they need to survive.

This article will further discuss our pest problem and what you can do to solve it.

How Do Fish Tanks Attract Roaches?

Several factors can impact whether your aquarium stays free of roaches and other bugs. For example:

  • Heat
  • Moisture
  • Hiding spots
  • Food and waste build-up

Aside from aquariums, any place that satisfies these requirements will become a roach’s favorite haunt. Unfortunately, in your case, your aquarium is the ideal location for cockroaches, silverfish, and any other bugs in the area, because it offers the best circumstances.


Cockroaches like hot spaces because they add to the humidity and keep them protected from the cold weather.

In the case of a fish tank, the water heater, lights, air stone and wires, filters or pumps—the entire set-up gives roaches the chance to stay near warmth and have water at their disposal.

However, even if the roaches don’t get the chance to be near water, the overall system is still appealing enough that you’ll find roaches around the fittings, inside, and at the base of the fish tank.


Roaches prefer dark, humid places. Being around or in an aquarium allows them to stay near a source of moisture.

But, let’s say your fish tank has adequate sealing. You could still find roaches around the aquarium because the fish tank may have a small leak. It might also be that someone may have spilled water while cleaning the tank, or the filter may have sputtered out water when the water levels were low.

Whatever the case, the excess water presents roaches with a tepid environment, which they desire.

Hiding Spots

Roaches will instinctually hide when threatened, and fish tanks offer many nooks and crannies to hide in.

People don’t typically give their fish tanks a regular, thorough cleaning. This habit allows the roaches to remain undisturbed within the confines of the fish tank. Places like the back, under the hood, within the wiring, and the filter gives these pests plenty of hiding spots.

Not to mention it gives them sustenance as well if you have the fish tank atop a cabinet or a stand. Because the stand is usually left undisturbed, any wayward crumbs or fish food that finds its way into the cracks becomes food for the roaches.

Food and Waste Build-Up

Cockroaches have no problem eating fish food because their food is often made from other insects. In fact, compared to the food roaches typically get, fish food serves as a gourmet treat for them. That’s why roaches often flock to your fish tank when they’re hungry.

You might leave the food container open, sprinkle the food accidentally around the tank, or even put in too much, causing the fish to abandon the food on the water surface. Whatever the reasons, roaches get plenty of food from the fish tank.

That, paired with the calcium build-up, fish waste, and algae growth in the tank, gives these roaches plenty to stay healthy.

How Do I Find the Roaches Around the Fish Tank?

If you’ve seen a roach or two around your fish tank, that may be it.

However, if you fear that there may be a lot of creepy crawlies hanging around in the dark, take a flashlight, and start searching around the tank for the following (be warned: use gloves and a mask if you’re allergic to cockroaches):

  • Egg sacs: These are small and white, clustered under the surface, and stuck to it. You’ll find the eggs in the corners and dark corners.
  • Droppings: These will be brown, cylindrical, and very small.
  • Clogs in the filter: Your filter is warm and cozy. Take it out and wash it with water to remove any build-up and waste. Check the filter sponge carefully and the filter interior for any eggs or roach exoskeletons.
  • More roaches: If you have your fish tank on a stand or a cabinet, you may need to lift it and see. That’s a very cozy area for the roaches, and you may just see some roaches roaming around.
  • Dead roaches under the hood: The space right near the lights is where you’ll likely find roach droppings and plenty of dirt.

How Do I Get Rid of Roaches From My Fish Tank?

There are several options.

One option would be to stop the roaches at the source – find the possible entry point for the bugs and block it. For that, you’ll need to scour your home for any small holes or nooks where the cockroaches could come from.

This includes all water drainage areas, including the kitchen and bathroom sink, windows, and door gaps.

You’ll also want to give your home a thorough cleaning, especially in areas where you don’t visit — like the basement and attic — because cockroaches enjoy dust and dirt.

If that doesn’t solve your problem, here are some essential tips that may help you get rid of the critters:

Use a Bug Bomb

Bug bombs are mild poisons that kill roaches quickly but can cause nausea among humans and can be damaging for smaller animals.

During the fogging process, keep everyone away from the area. If possible, keep your fish in a separate room, away from the fish tank.

You could also use an insect trapper, sprays, and insect repellants. Whatever you use, you’ll also need to have your fish tank thoroughly cleaned before you introduce the fish back, so there’s no risk of them getting exposed to the poison too.

Call Pest Control

do fish tanks attract roaches

If you have a pretty heavy roach infestation around your fish tank, it’s only a matter of time before it spreads further. Calling a pest control service will help nip this problem in the bud.

A professional pest control team in your area will have all the equipment needed to remove the roaches once and for all. You’ll still have to wash the fish tank inside and out. But hiring someone will give you a chance not to do the dirty work yourself.

How Do I Prevent Roaches From Getting Into My Fish Tank?

Your fish tank will be susceptible to a roach or insect infestation as long as you have it.

However, some ways you can keep your fish tank and fish protected include keeping an eye on your tank to ensure that no roaches find a secret spot. You must also keep the back of the filter clean at all times. Also, keep the list of the tank covered at all times. And every time you feed your fish their food, clear away any food that spills on the side.

This way, you’ll know that you’ve done everything you can to prevent another roach invasion.

Final Thoughts

Roaches like moist, damp spots, so it is likely that you may see a roach or two roaming around the fish tank. Please do your best to clear them away as soon as possible to get the chance to breed.

Your fish tank is an attractive investment for your home, not a roach home. Give it the right amount of attention, and you’ll enjoy it for many years to come.