Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about DIY Tanks, Sumps... for Marine Systems: Size & Shape

Related Articles: Making Your Own Tanks, Sumps, , Designer Marine tanks, stands and covers, Aquarium RepairMarine System ComponentsCanopies, Covers & Lighting Fixtures,

Related FAQs: DIY Tanks, Sumps 1, DIY Tanks/Sumps 2, DIY Tanks/Sumps 3DIY Tanks/Sumps 4, & FAQs on DIY Tank & Sump : Design, Materials, Tools/Construction/Sealants, Plumbing... DIY Acrylic Tanks, DIY Glass Tanks, DIY Wood Tanks, DIY Other Material Tanks... & Tanks, Stands, Covers, Custom Aquariums, Stands, Covers..., FAQs on Commercial, Custom Tank: Design, Shape, Materials: Acrylic, Glass, Other... Tools, Location, By Make/Brand/Manufacturer Name, & Acrylic Tank Repair

Bigger is better

Tank size  10/2/10
Hello crew!
Allen again.
So my old tank's glass got cracked, in other words I need to buy a new one.
Thankfully I was still in the cycling stage so there are no livestock yet.
I plan to use 3x 175W halides in large lumenbright reflectors for my new set-up. What size of tank should I get? Wider should be better. Thanks!
<Is... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tkshape.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Larger Aquarium questions Bob, thanks for the repository of information and book. <You are the reason for their making my friend> Several questions. We're looking at setting up a larger FOWLR tank in our office. We're looking for the visual wow factor, so we're projecting it to be it at eye height (65-70" off floor). <Wow! Nose-bleed heights> To accomplish that, we're probably looking at tank stand of 36", and tank height of 30 to 36". Length will probably be 96" to 120". The question now is depth. It will be viewed on one side only (blue black against a wall), so we're trying to gauge what the best depth will be. Do we need to go to 36" or is 24 or 30" ok.  <Wider is better... but 30 inches is fine> Obviously we like to give fish as much room as possible. 30/36 gives you the ability to give them a front and back area, but it may encourage too much unseen activity in the back ?? <Not likely a problem... one that will be solved by the livestock... they will learn to come out> Any recommendations on depth at that size? Tank designers (most) are pushing for 36" (besides the additional cost, but that's minor) saying it gives a greater feel of 'depth'. <It does... and for the height of the system, a pleasing space to aquascape the back wall... If you can afford the space in the room and cost... I'd opt for the wider system> Also, the bio-load will probably be a bit heavy with a predator/carnivorous fish tank (lions, triggers, groupers, box/puffers, possibly an eel) - but we'll have a 540 to 675 gallon tank to work with. We do plan on having several hundred pounds of LR (probably not live sand though) supplemented with filtering. Do you recommend the CSR wet/dry (do they make a size that can handle this size) or possibly the CSR Cyclone line?  Also, what model Protein Skimmer (probably venturi based) do you usually like in this size <I would build or have built your own... sump system.... a Euro-Reef Skimmer...> (it'll probably be two here, possibly three). At this size, is ozone recommended? <Yes> Lastly, for acquiring livestock, say lions, triggers, groupers, boxfish, puffers, Tangs, is there an recommended size for acquisition in relation to the rest ? e.g. lions, groupers, triggers, box, etc, etc (in terms of smallest to largest). Thanks for any help. Ed <Yes... all this is posted on the species, groups coverage on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: Larger Aquarium questions Bob, thanks for the responses. I thought I was deleted out of there :-), but read that you were on a trip. Hope your trip went well. <Yes, thank you... am holding off further sorting, labeling, scanning, placing of images/slides shot... as a "treat"... Must first "eat my Lima Beans here..."> Actually the aquarium specs have gotten larger. We're now at 10 x 3 x 4 (H). So its going to be a large one. We're got three overflows, and returns going through the overflows (probably two out of each Overflow in different directions). <Four feet high, starting at three feet from elevation in the room? I hope/trust there are more than eight foot ceilings... I encourage you to stop at three feet of height... for ease of set-up, maintenance... and cost. Every foot taller about doubles the expense of the tank itself> I'm worried that we're going to be creating all sorts of currents in various directions, but have been told that that doesn't make a difference. . . <Correct, no difference> We are having some issues with circulation. It looks like 8x is what you want to achieve in terms of water turnover. Using Marine Concepts top of the line skimmer, we're looking at a 2x water turnover for protein/fraction skimming. It'll draw from the 80 gallon sump and skim what it can I guess. The returns are probably going to be 2x AmpMaster 3600, or possible 3. That'll give about 4-5x water volume circulation. I presume that's enough on a larger tank. . . . Marine Concepts also indicated that they recommend the Iwaki 100, but the larger AmpMaster is usable as well. I was going to spec the Iwaki, but the AmpMaster looks to be a bit quieter, no reliability issues that I've heard of yet, and a bit more volume. If I can get away having 3 of the same pumps, it gives me some redundancy that I can switch around in there in case a pump fails. <Yes... though there are other choices> The width problem is still there. We're still debating between 30 and 36. At 36, we'll have a foot of working room behind the tank. At 30, it'll be 18". <Make this at least eighteen inches> Since most of the plumbing is underneath, the tank maintenance guys have told me there is minimal need to get behind the tank, if at all. I may just go with the wider one at that point. <Depends on what you want to do from back there...> I'm getting a medical tank and a acclimation/q tank ready now. Having some issues with temporarily holding my livestock :-). Not sure how, but somehow I cycled a tank in like 3-4 days using liverock from another tank of mine. I figured there would definitely be an ammonia, nitrite spike, etc. I also have a massive CPR cyclone biofilter/skimmer on a 50 gallon tank (overkill, I know but I'm moving things around). Never saw the ammonia pass 1 ppm, nitrite never exceeded 0.5 (at least that I could see/test). Then again all the filtration could be in the LR and my 'bio filter' (which you advise taking out, I know, but I'm keeping it in, in case I have to medicate the tank and it may kill the LR), may not even be doing much.. . . <Not much> One issue I do have is a space crunch - I have to hold a 12" dragon eel, a 4" grouper, 4" clown trigger and 3" bursa trigger, and a lionfish (Volitans 4") for about a month. I have a 45 gallon tank and a 20 gallon medical tank. I know I can put the eel, the grouper and one of the triggers in the smaller tank. Do you think it has enough room for the small lion as well? <Put a piece of large diameter PVC pipe or a fitting in there for it to hide/rest in> This is not long term, only until I can get the larger tank set-up/cycled. The eel shouldn't be an issue as he's small and pretty much sits at the bottom and there are plenty of LR for him to crawl around in. I think the grouper and trigger should be ok as they are both about 4" or so. <Keep a sharp and continuous eye on the Clown Trigger, now and ongoing> The lion mostly uses the top third of the tank and floats up there away from rocks anyhow which the trigger/groupers float in/on top of. Then with the last small 3" trigger I can put him in the small tank or 'loan' him to a friend to terrorize his tank for a few weeks. . . I don't think a 45 is enough space for the two triggers together and that may be problematic. . . Your thoughts ? <Only able to be ascertained through experience. See triggers coverage on WWM> I'd prefer not to use the 20 as it doesn't give them good space to move around, whereas the 45 is quite roomy. . . your thoughts? <Worth trying if this is your alternative> Lastly, how does WetWebMedia sustain itself ? Are you guys predominantly just hosted and revenues are from advertising ? Thanks <The "labor" is voluntary (none of us are paid directly), with income from our Sponsors. We spend the proceeds on web management and traveling together. Do have a few other related sites coming up... selling image work... Bob Fenner who is asking another large custom tank friend, Dan Freeman to respond to your queries as well. Dan?> regards, Ed

Re: Larger Aquarium questions, Dan pls take a look, respond Bob/Dan (don't have his email). Thanks again. We'll look at the 30" possibility. The design of the stand has actually been lowered to 30", for a total height of 6'6" at 4' aquarium height. The ceiling is 10' high or 10'5" (office lobby).  <Very impressive dimensions for a tank... mainly intended to be viewed while standing?> It was actually recommended to me to keep the height above 6' in a lobby environ unless its built into a wall (another guy who has an aquarium in his lobby). <Yes, agreed> He basically indicated, that people try and reach into the water if its not high enough and also try and put things into the tank when your receptionist isn't looking. That and having lionfish stings when people place their hands in the tank. . . . Now, he has a nice and high tank, the only thing he sees is cigarette butts, potato chips, Cheetos, bubble gum, and mints on top of the tank that people tried to toss in (but failed because of the enclosed top). He just has his maintenance guy clean that off every two weeks making sure nothing gets into the tank.. . . . Wonderful human nature isn't it ??? <Devise a complete cover> Usually the additional ft in height from 3 to 4, increases the cost significantly as it moves up in acrylic thickness (from 3/4 to 1"). However, since we're at 1" now anyway for the tank due to safety and it being 10' (8' tanks are usually at 3/4 which is much cheaper), the additional cost for 4' vs. 3' is quite mile (5% more).  <Cheap> That and I've been told acrylic comes in 4' sections anyhow. . .  <Yes, stock sheets are four by eight feet... like plywood> Yes, the maintenance could be an issue, but the maintenance guy pretty much said, there isn't much difference between 3' and 4'. he's probably going to have to go in there every once in awhile anyway, and he'd rather have 36" width and forgo the additional 6" in the back rather than 30" and having 18 back there. I agree with you that 18" makes it almost workable back there vs. 12" which means you can only slither. . . its going to be dark blue do you like blue or black for fish tanks ??) <Both... but Blue is better in general> back anyway back there and plumbing is coming up through the bottom 2" thru hulls, sorry bulkheads (I'm used to boating terms). <Equivalents> Overflows are sized at 8 x 10", so I've got plenty of room to do anything in them, and are placed in the back corners and middle of the tank. <I strongly encourage you to fashion/have fashioned overflow weirs/towers in the corners... with the through puts arranged under/in the corners> The 4' height is going to make it a bastard to aquascape though isn't it? Vertical height is always a pain to fill in, otherwise you end of with dead space.. . . <Not hard to do> Regarding the holding tank. Is it possible that this tank is fully 'cycled' after 4 days ? <Yes... please read through WWM> I guess it doesn't really need much cycling since we're importing 6 big pieces of LR from another tank. . . If I get an ammonia increase, it should have happened or started already ? I don't see it and I have a trigger (who is eating and generating ammonia) and two small damsels (which the small trigger can't swallow, yet. . . .) in there, there should be good measurable traces of ammonia. Salifert tests are reading <0.5 ppm (white results, no yellow). The eel, grouper and lion are zero problems. The clown so far is fine. I will be watching him now and ongoing. Obviously with the larger home later, lesser problems are probably going to arise just from space. He hasn't picked on the lion yet, which is the thing I'm concerned about if I move him to the 45 gallon holding tank. In terms of space, the 45 is plenty for these small guys, just don't know in terms of 'attitude' just yet, so we may have to play as you suggest. Thanks for the responses. You can forward to Dan as well, since I don't have his email. I was inquiring into your hosting as I can usually get/give good deals on dedicated hosting. Not sure how you were handling the sponsors and how you managed your servers or who does. Again, many thanks. <I don't make others e-mail addresses available w/o their express consent... Dan is a very busy neurologist, but does indeed have many important things to say to you, your situation, having a spectacular system in his waiting room. Bob Fenner> regards, Ed

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: