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FAQs about Commercial & Custom Tanks for Marine Systems: Shape & Size

Related Articles: Size Doesn't Always Matter! Thoughts on the Desire to Create Bigger Marine Aquariums By Scott Fellman,  Making Your Own Tanks, Sumps, Designer Marine tanks, stands and covers, Aquarium RepairMarine System ComponentsCanopies, Covers & Lighting Fixtures,

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

Remember... you'll have to get inside whatever shape, size... to aquascape, do maintenance, chase livestock... And to consider how high on the stand... (will you be sitting, standing... more of the time?)... and to leave some room above the tank to haul up, otherwise remove the canopy/top to get into the ding dang thing. And will the floor take the weight? RMF

Tank Shapes - Structural Integrity Concerns   6/28/12
> Crew, per below, I previously corresponded with Bob about aquarium
> shape and structural pitfalls of certain tank types. I gathered from
> Bob that larger glass flat back hex tanks may pose issues and seal wear with time.
> <They do indeed>
> I assume the same structural dynamics may be at play whether the tank
> is acrylic or glass, and recognize that short/deep is better than tall/wide.
> <Yes>
> Are there disadvantages to half-circle tanks in comparison to
> rectangular tanks? I see that Sea Clear / Clarity Plus has a 180
> Gallon Half Cylinder Acrylic (1/2" - 60" x 30" x 30"). Would it be
> better to find a rectangular design at this capacity?
> <These (acrylic) tanks are very sturdy>
> Thanks, Dave
> <Welcome. BobF>
Re: Tank Shapes - Structural Integrity Concerns   6/28/12

Bob, thank you. Would these tanks have a sturdier design than a rectangle?
<Mmm, well (here it, or something comes)... it more depends on the thickness (mostly) of the top and bottoms (am not joking)>
Purely speculating and possibly misapplying physics, but seems there is advantage in that the display pane has better stress distribution than a rectangle. But, does this increase the focal stress on each of the two corner seams for the back pane?
<Not to be (too) elusive (or appear or get caught being so), acrylic of both shapes is stronger, more trauma resistant/structurally sound, than glass. Cheers, BobF>

Bow front vs. rectangular 6/5/2011
I am thinking of upgrading my aquarium. I have a 29 gallon now, but I wish I had of purchased a bigger one. I was at a LFS today and saw a 46 gallon bowfront with everything and stand for a great price. My question: Is a rectangular aquarium long always better than a bow front. There are 40 gallons out there, but they are never sold as a kit and are never on craigslist. Anyway I only plan on keeping small fish. So are there any real disadvantages to the bowfronts? Thank you!!!!
<Hello. There's really nothing to choose between bow and flat fronted tanks assuming they both contain the same amount of water. Bow-fronted tanks sometimes "look" odd from some angles, and of course replacing a leaky pane of glass is more difficult if that pane is curved rather than flat, but that's about it. So choose whichever tank you like. Cheers, Neale.>

BioBubble and Marine Fish   4/27/11
To whom it may concern at BioBubble,
I recently visited your website and watched your informational video.
Your product, in the suggested uses for small mammals (such as hamsters, mice, etc) and small reptiles certainly seems interesting and innovative, as well as aesthetically pleasing. However, I find it distressing that you would suggest and encourage keeping aquatic marine life in one of your "BioBubbles." For example, in your video, you show not just one, but two juvenile specimens of Plectorhinchus sp. fish being kept in one of your BioBubbles. Please consider the fact that even one of these fish needs a habitat of several hundred gallons of water. Similarly, the other species of marine fish (clown fish, dwarf angel fish, etc.) shown to be kept in your products, require far more space and filtration than your product could possibly provide (as it is presented).
Thus, I would like to respectfully, but emphatically, encourage you to revise your marketing. Marketing your product as a reasonable habitat for clown fish, dwarf angelfish, and other such demanding ornamental
marine life is irresponsible, misleading and likely to incite a strong negative response from experienced marine aquarists. Furthermore, given that the marine aquarium industry is already under heavy scrutiny from the environmental conservation community, it's of the utmost importance that businesses operating in the aquarium industry demonstrate themselves to be responsible and educated. When an aquarium product company presents itself as gravely ignorant of the requirements of these animals, this only hurts the hobby and industry as a whole. It will benefit us all if companies producing products for the aquarium hobby conduct themselves with integrity, educating themselves on the requirements of these animals before suggesting products entirely inappropriate for their care.
In a time when many of those involved in environmental regulation and protection would like to see the marine aquarium industry shut down entirely, I implore you. Please do not to make yourselves yet another
example of the ignorance and irresponsibility that contributes to the destruction of these fragile marine organisms.
Thank you,
Sara Liva (aka Sara Mavinkurve)
Data posted to form 1 of http://www.apaapproved.com/contact.htm   4/27/11
> This is APA's response (very nice) to the complaint I made regarding their "APA approval" of the product.
<Well... all right! B>
Re: Data posted to form 1 of http://www.apaapproved.com/contact.htm
> Sara,
> If you would like to leave feedback about a product please do so at www.apaapproved.com (Click "Leave Feedback")
> You will note we addressed your concern in our report stating;
> "Be sure to keep the bio load low (limit the number of inhabitants) in this small environment. Also be careful what species you mix together. Photo above and on packaging are for unit reference only and not an accurate depiction of size, number or mix of inhabitants."
> Their video in (sic, "is") new, we have not seen it, and we agree with you that it is very misleading as far as what can be kept in the Bio Bubble. We will address it with them immediately. 
> Best Regards,
> Jen
> Jennifer Hughes
> Approval Support
> American Pet Association
> 800-APA-PETS

Irregular Tank vol. calculation  1/18/10
<Hello Jenna>
How do I calculate the volume of an irregular hexagonal corner tank?
<You have to find the area of it's 'footprint' and multiply this by it's height>
The back two sides measure 22 inches each, and the front 3 sides measure 13 inches each. height is 25 inches.... <Mmm, I'm not going to try to calculate this myself, but... divide the area into a square (or rectangle) and triangles. Find the area of the square. Then find the area of the triangles and add together. Do a Google search on 'how do you find the area of a triangle' and you should be able to do it ok. Simon>

Marine Set-Up/Tank Depth 1/27/09 Hello all at wetwebmedia.com, <Hi Richard> Is there a minimum tank depth? I'm doing research for my first saltwater setup and see that the "standard" 90 gallon tank size is 48" long x 18" wide x 24" deep. According to my reading so far I want to maximize the footprint of the tank for gas exchange purposes and so forth. So, wouldn't a tank that's 48" long x 24" wide x 18" deep make more sense? <Yes, more gas/air exchange per gallon of water would be the way I'd go. I'd opt for a 70 gallon tank.> Would it make a difference to the fish if they only had 18" of depth instead of 24"? <They will be quite happy in 18 inches of water.> I assume it would either be a custom tank or a DIY (my preferred route to be honest, I love working with my hands). <You may be interested in reading here and related articles and FAQ's posted above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marineSetUp.htm> Thanks for your time and the wonderful work you all do at WetWebMedia. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Richard Feldman

Re: Trigger Flashing/ Goatfish Quarantine  12/18/08 Thanks again bob, Regarding the eminent overstocking issue... Is there one particular fish in this system that puts it over the edge? <Mmm, no... not one animal in particular> I'm guessing the Grouper <The Chromileptis will be the growth winner here... but is actually a pretty mellow Serranid for its size> or the Puffer (within the next year). We all have the tendency to default to the "future upgrade" justification... <Ah, well-stated> But, within the next few months, I have been given permission (for lack of a better word) to get a substantially larger system. <Heeee!> Ironically, from my girlfriend's perspective, this is not so much for the welfare of the fishes... Nope. We have a few unsightly scratches on the acrylic that are beyond my capability to buff out. If I'm going through the trouble of replacing... Might as well get a bigger one. <I like the way she thinks!> After all, what's the difference if we designate 5 feet of wall space or 8 feet? <Yeah! You don't need that couch! Or the TV for that matter if you have a fab tank> While we're on the subject, I notice that 300g seems to be about the largest tank available without having something custom made. <Yes, this is generally so> Typically 96" x 30" x 24", I think. The 240g is the same dimensions, less 6" in height... <Mmm, yes...> Do you think the extra 60g makes a significant difference? <Indeed it does... aesthetically, particularly if folks will be seeing the tank more often while standing, walking by, versus seated in the area... And maintenance wise, in terms of getting ones ding dang arms in and about... Though I have unusually long arms for my height (from carrying oceans of water about in buckets for most of my youth), I can't reach the bottom of such tanks AND see what I'm doing at the same time. Good to invest in some all-plastic tools for this...> I'm concerned with the weight issues here... I live in a duplex in Los Angeles, with a raised, wooden foundation. There is a small crawl space, accessible from outside. I rent. <Mmm, do think re getting underneath the floor, in this crawl space... putting in at least some 32 pound cinder blocks and wood shims... under the floor joists to the wall where this tank will go> Other than hiring a structural engineer and further investing in reinforcements, any suggestions? Strategically placed hydraulic floor jacks? <Mmm, likely just the blocks and shims... IF you owned the place, I might pour some footings... have done this digging... not hard if the ground isn't too bad... but takes a good long while with such restricted space> I was toying with the idea of using my 100G as a refugium... What's the ballpark weight on 340-400g total? <Mmm... about 7.8 pounds per gallon of seawater, and the tank itself... best to count on about ten pounds per gallon used... Filled half way, uh... 500 lbs.> Am I nuts? <If so, so am I... If nothing else, we can start a club> I'm hoping, with this size, to have your blessing to keep my existing fishes and add a few more. Any comments? <Am giving you my, arf, arf! Seal of Approval... am getting good at balancing a ball on my nose... Hey, where's my chunk of mackerel?> And, finally... The real reason I was writing... When you mention attempting to strike a balance with potential parasites, specifically crypt... I get that means, for the most part, maintaining water quality and boosting immune systems. But, I was also wondering if you were perhaps hinting at biological assistance... I would love to see a Cleaner Shrimp in action. <Mmm, too likely to be inhaled here... in pieces... by the Trigger, Puffer... all will have to get in line> I have enjoyed a You-Tube video of a Skunk Cleaner working a large Dogface. I know that nothing is etched in stone when it comes to compatibility... And I know that I would be playing Roulette with a $20 resident and/or snack... I guess I'm curios what my odds are... Thanks for everything. <Thank you, Bob Arf Fenner>

240 Gallon FOWLR Compatibility Big Tank/Big Plans/Big Tradeoffs (Stocking a 240 FOWLR)  12/4/08 Hey Ya'll! <Hiya! Scott F. in today!> I am in the early stages of planning a Fish-Only/Live-Rock tank probably shooting for 240 gallons. I normally wouldn't want to waste your time, but some of the stocking possibilities will play a big role in the amount of money I want to put into the project. <I'll bet!> Besides that, I have seen a lot of information about compatibility and requirements of space for the fish I am considering, but I have had a hard time finding anything that gives me a comprehensive answer about the big picture. One thing about the aquarium shape/size itself: I have this crazy notion that somehow a deeper, more square tank gives fish a greater feeling of freedom when swimming. For example, is there any reason to think a 48x48x24 240 gallon as opposed to a 96x24x24 240 gallon would allow creatures like a Koran Angel, Lunare Wrasse or Zebra Moray Eel to feel like they have more open space in which to roam? Or, am I just crazy? It seems like the longer, narrower tank would be more cost effective so that's where I would probably lean if it doesn't change things much. <Good thought. I'm all about wide, low aquariums, but in the case of fishes that "range" over large territories in the wild, I would prefer a longer aquarium.> My biggest question is about the compatibility of fish but even more so about a sequence of introduction. The fish I am most desiring to house are the following ordered from most wanted to least: Koran Angelfish, Dragon Wrasse, Harlequin Tuskfish, Zebra Moray Eel, Lunare Wrasse, Dogface Puffer, Naso Tang, Niger Trigger, Antennata Lionfish. I am guessing that the Lunare Wrasse is the most likely to be incompatible with something else on the list even if added last. I also feel like the Lionfish and the Trigger could be particularly aggressive towards some of the others especially if they are still small, right? <Oh, yes!> A loose plan I had would be to add the Koran and Dragon as juveniles because I would love to be able to watch them change. I figured the Harlequin Tuskfish, Naso, and Dogface would probably be next. Would they be dangerous to add while the first two are still juvi's? After some time I thought adding the Trigger and the Lionfish. I definitely figured if it's compatible at all, the Lunare would have to be last and I really wasn't sure about the best time to add the Zebra Moray Eel. So the big questions are, of course, are there any glaring compatibility issues in the list? Would you make any specific alterations to my basic sequence of introduction? Is this too much fish(&eel) for 240 gallons? <To be honest, I'd avoid keeping Naso Tangs in aquariums. They just get so large and require large amounts of physical space to live anything close to a natural life span. In my opinion, too many of these magnificent Tangs die needlessly in aquariums that are too small to sustain them. Other thoughts: I would pass on keeping both a Trigger and a Lionfish together in the same aquarium. For that matter, do consider the Puffer as a potential problem for your Lionfish. I would also consider choosing either the Lunare Wrasse or the Harlequin Tusk Fish-but not both. They could get pretty aggressive towards each other.. I would get the Moray Eel in the aquarium as soon as possible and get it eating before any of the other fishes are introduced. I would probably avoid small juveniles of the other fishes, so that they don't become snacks for the Moray. Stocking involves lots of trade offs, huh? Also, take into account the amount of metabolic  wastes that the fishes you are considering will generate!> I had considered a glith upgrade to 300 (96x24x30) but don't know even how much difference that would make at this level. <You'd be surprised what a difference it can make. If you're gonna do a big aquarium, the extra 60 gallons is well worth the additional expense, IMO.> Again, I don't think there's anybody out there who I've seen give better advice so I would greatly appreciate your thoughts! Scott <You're too kind. Thanks for the compliment! Best of luck to you. Regards, Scott F.>

A big "Thank You!" & Tank Dimensions/Overflows 7/20/08 Dear WWM Crew, <Jill> Thank you SO much for your outstanding commitment and hard work! The time you put into answering the daily FAQ's is a blessing. Thank you! <Thank you very much, glad the site has helped out!> I will be upgrading soon from a 7 gallon (saltwater) to a 75 gallon tank, which will eventually be an LPS dominated reef system. I have learned that three of the most important aspects of this hobby are researching, planning, and patience. <Stick to the above and you can't help but to be successful.> Before I make my large purchase, I wanted to ask you the following: in your opinion, which tank dimensions would be 'better'? 48'L x 18'W x 20'H or 60'L x 18'W x 16'H. Of course the word 'better' is subjective and dependent on the species being kept, but for the general overall health of the reef system, which would you prefer and for what reasons? <Taller tanks are tougher to work in, but 20' is not too tall unless you have very short arms. 16' is too short for my liking aesthetically, but if you like the look, go for it. The longer tank will technically provide a larger surface area for gas exchange, but the sump and skimmer will also provide gas exchange. The big difference I see is lighting. While a deeper tank requires more intense lighting, 20' is not overly deep. T5/PC/VHO can work fine at this depth for LPS. The longer tank will require longer and consequently higher wattage bulbs. Personally I would go for the 48' tank in this particular case, although, as you said, this is subjective and the next crew member may say 60'!> I have also decided on the Eheim 1262 (rated at 900 GPH) for the main pump. <My favorite pump.> In your opinion, would one overflow, or two work better in this system? <Always two, at the minimum. Three to four drains even in a system this size.> My research has led me to believe that one drain is preferable in a 48' system, while two is better in a 60'. <Has more to do with flow than the length of the system. Do distinguish overflow from the drains that actually provide the flow capacity.> Finally, do you believe that the standard overflow and drain pipes (as supplied by Tenecor reef ready tanks) would be appropriate for this pump? <You will want to make sure you have a minimum of two 1.5' drains or a single 2' to handle the flow from this pump. Double these drains if you wish to provide redundancy (you should).> Please accept my apologies if I have not supplied the correct information. I've researched the site for months and have purchased the CMA but still feel like a 'beginner' and have much to learn about this amazing hobby! <Keep reading, you will!> Thank you SO MUCH for your valuable advice! God bless! Jill <Welcome and thank you. Enjoy the new setup.>

Aquarium Sizing & Such, Marine Stocking 6/22/08 Hi, I have a kind of silly question to ask. First, I have 10+ years of freshwater experience, 4 years of brackish and 1+ years of marine. So my basement looks like a fish store, lol. Anyway I would like to set up a show tank, preferably about 200 gallons. Currently I only have damsels and clowns in FOWLR systems. I've learned not to trust coral. The fish I would love to have would be 1 Dwarf Zebra Lionfish 1 Blue Dot Puffer 1 Powder Brown Tang 1 Metallic Foxface Rabbitfish 3 Banggai Cardinal Fish 1 Coral Beauty Angelfish Now I have friends who keep fish too but not really of the kind I'm looking for. One problem is some say yes and some say no. One problem would be that the Blue Dot Puffer would nip at the Dwarf Lionfish, but one of my friends say that as long as the puffer is fed, he won't be a problem. <Not often related to feeding, more along the lines of general aggression/territorial issues. Depends on the individual personalities of the fish.> Is that correct, or do I owe my friend a smack? <Smack them anyways.> Another would be that the Lionfish would eat the Banggai Cardinals, but again, I've heard if there is enough rockwork that they are fast enough to not become meals, and if the lionfish is fed right, there won't be a problem with him anyway. <If they can fit in his mouth the lion will most likely try to eat it, and it only has to get it right once.> Is that all correct? I've also looked up how big an aquarium should be, but it only comes up per fish. If it's all added up, it should be a 350 gallons. That just seems like it would be too much open space to not enough fish. <Not really possible in my opinion but I know what you mean.> So would it be ok to place them in a 200 or 250 gal? <This would probably work, the tang needs the most room here, at least six feet of straight line swimming room.> Is 350 the minimum? I want to move my hobby upstairs, that is why I want a show tank. I'm just afraid a 350 gal (even a 250) might be too heavy and bust through the floor. <Definitely a concern.> I live in a house built in 1950. How do I test my floors without taking the risk of just filling up a 350? <I would call a professional and have them take a look.> Sorry if this is just a "duh!" question. Thank you for your time. <Welcome> <Chris>

UK water capacity 02/28/2008 Hi Crew, <<Hello Gaynor, fellow UK (England) person here, Andrew>> I am from Scotland and have been given numerous different answers to this question so I am hoping you may be able to help as you are more knowledgeable than some of these Pet/Aquarium shops. <<Always a problem with people using different sites / conversions for measuring tank volume>> I have a 4 foot by 18 inches by 15 inches tropical fish tank with an undergravel filter which is covered by approximately 2.5 inches of gravel, I have tried to find the water capacity of the tank so that I know the exact amount of treatment I need to put in the tank if and when required. <<Your water capacity of the tank alone is 46 UK gallons (208.84 litres), the workable volume of the tank when taking substrate, equipment and decor into account will be about 42 UK Gallons (190.68 litres). So, when you have a need to know total volume of the tank for medication purposes etc, use the 42 gallon (190.68 litre) figure>> I am new to keeping tropical fish although my husband kept them over 25 years ago but he says he has forgotten so much. I would be grateful if you could advise me in U.K. gallons and litres what the water capacity is in my tank. <<Hope the above helps>> Many thanks, Gaynor <<Thanks for the questions, any more info required, then ask away. A Nixon>>

Re: water capacity 02/28/2008 Hi Andrew, <<Hello again>> Many thanks for your assistance, I have checked with numerous pet shops and they all gave different volumes but none of them have ever mentioned the equipment and decor in the tank. <<Well, when we think about it...We have the aquarium which is of a fixed volume with nothing in it.. As soon as we start adding substrate, plants, equipment, this will then take up that volume, thus reducing the actual water volume in the tank.. Some people completely forget to take this into consideration>> You say you are from England, whereabouts in England do you live. <<I live in Staffordshire>> <<Hope this helps and thank you for the follow up. A Nixon>> Regards, Gaynor

Tank division  2/21/08 Hi there everyone Love your website! <Okay!> I have recently purchased a 10ft X 1.5ft X 2.5ft tank and I was toying with the idea of dividing the tank with a piece of glass/acrylic with holes (water to pass through), or egg crate, or live rock (not sure what to use) in it and have a reef setup on the one side and have FOWLR on the other e.g. large angelfish. The partition would prevent the non compatible reef fish from entering the reef section and the predatory fish from eating my shrimps etc... Yet, I would be able to run the same (reef) filtration. This way there would be no need to setup a separate FOWLR. Have the best of both worlds on one tank. Any thoughts? <Can be done... I'd read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i1/Baffles/baffles.htm for some input re> If you agree would three feet be enough for the reef section? Regards Shaamiel <Sure. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank division 2/21/08 Thank you very much. Really great article. Is it safe to assume that you are recommending I divide my tank with the baffle theory? If so, would you recommend I drill holes in the acrylic divider or have an overflow over the top of the divider for water flow. <I just like the design ideas of the article referred... the barrier should definitely be perforated> Any recommendations on water circulation in the tank with the divider present? <Yes... here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm> Much appreciated Regards Shaamiel <Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. BobF>

Hexagon tank size 02/09/2008 Hello. How are you today??? <<Hello, Andrew today...Very well thank you, a lovely Saturday evening>> I have a hexagon-ish tank and I wasn't sure what gallon size it was. Do you think you guys could help me out?? My hexagon tank has a height of about 1 foot 10 inches. The width is 1 ft. From one corner to the other corner of the tank is about 2 feet and from one side to the other is about 1 foot 10 inches. Attached I have a file showing you the dimensions of my tank. Please help me. Thanks a bunch. <<There was no picture attached to this email. I would need to know the exact height of the tank, and the width of a side panel, and then I shall be able to give you the gallonage>> <<Thanks for the question. A Nixon>>

Re: tank size, figuring  2/9/08 Hi Neale, the only problem is that there are fishes in it already and it is a cycled tank. Thanks for your quick reply. <Still not a problem. Half empty it. Count the amount of water needed to fill it back up again. Double that number. A logical mind solves every problem! Cheers, Neale.> re: tank size Thanks. Hahaha, I should have thought of that.:) <Ah, well, not everyone is as smart as I am. Glad I could help, Neale.>

Tank shape, Selection 2/6/08 Hello WWM crew... <Hi Rick> My question is regarding tank shape. Intent on getting back into the marine hobby. Will be setting up the filtration and lighting for a reef tank so I have that option, but leaning towards starting with a FOWLR. Due to space issues in an apartment, I have been looking into the prospect of a custom made corner tank. Of the options, I like the bow front, but am open to a pentagon, triangle, or L shape if you guys thought one of them was a better choice? Now to the question: I know corner tanks are not ideal and that a longer rectangle tank is best, but since I probably don't have a choice here, is there a general equivalent rule of thumb I could use here? For example my old rectangle tank was 75gall. The corner tank I'm looking at now is 92gall. Because of the shape would I stock it as if it were a 75? Less? Thanks so much for your time. <Rick, with limited choices, is best to go with the tank that has the largest surface area (LxW=A). If the 92 gallon corner tank has a smaller surface area than the bowfront, go with the bowfront. The extra gallonage of the 92 won't help too much in regards to increased stocking levels. James (Salty Dog)> Rick

Length vs. Width vs. Height of Tank 1/28/08 Crew: <Hello.> Here's a non-emergency, fact-finding, opinion-seeking question! (We know you have lots of opinions!) <Yes, many found here.> As you may or may not remember, we have a 120-gallon tank that's 4x2x2. The tank has been up for 14 months and is finally stable, fully cycled and beautiful. <Great.> It's home to a Sailfin Tang, two Yellow Tangs, <Likely territoriality issues here.> two Clarkii's Clowns, two Yellow Chromis, one Fairy Wrasse, one Coral Beauty, one Algae Blenny, one Engineer Goby and (in the sump because they jumped and we can't get them out) two very small Snowflake Eels. <They won't be small for long, your are rightfully seeking a larger tank.> We also have a Torch, Plate, Trachyphyllia, Button Polyps and various and assorted Zoos. Here's the question: Our LFS has two other tanks on sale. One is 125 gallons in a six-foot-long configuration, the other a 180 in a 6x2x2 set up. Putting aside that the 180 is 60 gallons more stable, which is better? Length? Width? Depth? <Length and width as opposed to depth.> If we upgrade, the biggest expense by far is a new lighting setup (will probably cost us in the $800 range to get what we want). <Your lighting upgrade you propose will likely cost the same for each of your proposed new tanks. Given the livestock you have and their potential size grown, I would opt for the 180, larger if the opportunity arises.> Thanks! Michael and Dianne <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Re: Length vs. Width vs. Height of Tank 1/31/08 Scott: Thanks for the answer. So just to make sure we understand .... You would choose a 125-gallon tank at 72x18x24 over a 120-gallon tank at 48x24x24? <Hmm, no. The width and length are more important than depth. That is not to say that you want a tank six inches deep either! The greater footprint, the more surface area there is for gas exchange. Also, deeper tanks are more difficult to work in and require greater intensity lighting.> No hesitation? Thanks, Michael and Dianne <For swimming room/distance as far as the tangs the six foot tank would be better. If you can get the 180 mentioned in our previous correspondence you will have the best of both and more room/water volume for your fish as they grow larger. The 120 is a great shape for aquascaping, but you simply need more room with your fish you have listed. Welcome, I hope this clarifies this for you, Scott V.>

Tank size, Marine  10/30/07 Good Afternoon, As always, thank you for the wonderful website, as well as for taking the time to answer all of our questions. I know I speak for everyone when I say that it is much appreciated! <Hi Kim, glad we could help you.> I have one quick question. I currently have a 4ft 55 gallon marine tank that I would like to upgrade to something larger. I was thinking either 75 or 90 gallons. (I would prefer to stick with the 4 foot length). A used tank has become available to me, but it is larger than I had planned on. It is a 110 gallon, 48"x18"X29" tall. It has custom dual overflows.......... four one inch drains, and two one inch returns. It comes with a 38 gallon sump, but my question pertains to the tank. I understand that taller tanks are not the most sought after sizes, but this seems like an opportunity to take the next step in this hobby. Would this setup be something that is workable, or would I be better to not touch it with a ten foot pole??? I'm concerned about gas exchange, as well as adding volume that is not really "valuable" since the volume is in height rather than width. <As far as gas exchange, you will still have the same surface area as a standard 90 gallon tank, more when you consider the sump and overflow capabilities. As far as the space being 'valuable' that is really up to you and what you consider valuable. I personally like tall tanks. They allow for a DSB without taking up what feels like the entire height of the tank, as well as leaving open swimming space at the top for your fish. The drawback can be lighting a taller tank, but one approach would be to create different zones in your tank. The more light intensive corals could go near the top and the less intensive towards the bottom. It really depends on what you want and how the tank fits into what you have planned for your next tank.> You're thoughts are greatly appreciated. Regards, Kim in Boston <Thank you, I hope this helps you decide. Scott V.>

Set up... FO SW, reading  -- 9/24/07 I have been reading the articles ontop articles <?> this website has to offer and I am truely amazed and thankful to all of You who make it easy to find the knowledge we need to make sure our creatures of the sea are cared for in the best possible way! I am currently in the process of deciding between a 360 gallon tank (8'LX3'WX2'H) or a 392 gallon tank (7'LX3'WX2.5'H) for a FOWLR set up. The tank inhabitants will be a trigger (clown or niger), <Not the Clown...> an Emperor Angel, Sohal Tang, Guineafowl Puffer, Harlequin Tusk, Blue Hippo Tang and a Clown Tang. Which tank dimensions would you recommend? <The choice twixt these two is more ornamental than functional... I would choose the former> To filter the system I will be employing the use of ATI Bubble Master 250 protein skimmer and a 50 gallon refugium <I'd go much larger> filled with a 4-6" deep sand bed, Live Rock and Caulerpa. <I'd choose other algae> All housed in a 6ft long sump. Would you recommend a wet dry filter for a FOWLR system? <Sometimes> I was thinking of using Vanuatu live rock. My local fish shop told me that it is less dense and is filled with lots of hiding spots for the fish. What type of live rock would you recommend? <Posted...> How many pounds of live rock should I buy? <Ditto> I heard that 1-2lbs per gallon is suggested but wanted to double check just in case. For water circulation I will be using 2 EcoTech marine Vortech powerheads along with 4 Hydor Koralia 4 powerheads. Will this be sufficient water circulation? <Likely so> Thank you for your time in answering my questions. Brad <Keep reading, gathering useful data, opinions... Bob Fenner>

Tank Size...Space vs. Volume -- 09/17/07 Good afternoon Bob & Crew, <<Greetings Mike...Eric here>> I trust this finds you all well. <<Can only speak for myself, but yes, thank you>> It is always a pleasure to write to you when it is not regarding sick fish because it usually means I am progressing with my new hobby as opposed to playing catch-up on something I missed. <<Ah yes>> This question is regarding the size of my next tank that will replace my 72gal. bowfront. <<Okay>> First to my current stock: Corals: 2 Finger Leathers, a Gold Crown Leather (Toadstool?), 1 Glove Polyp, 1 Starburst Polyp, a Green Star Polyp, a Colt and a Frogspawn (oops! - tucked it away in the corner for safety) Inverts & Misc.: Sea Urchin, Serpent Star, 3 Nassarius Snails, 3 Trochus Snails, a small Conch, some MIA Hermits (just found one), 2 Feather Dusters (one just popped and went MIA) Fish: A 4" Purple Tang, a Coral Beauty, a Pixie Hawkfish, two 2" A.O. Clowns, 6 Blue Green Chromis and a new 5" Sargassum <<Triggerfish?>> in QT (what a fish - and here comes the expense to accommodate it). For my next tank, I'm trying to evaluate the importance of "room to swim" vs. "sheer volume". <<Mmm...'both' need be taken in to consideration, in my opinion...with the former being overlooked all too often>> I know both are advantageous and beneficial, but sometimes one just can't have everything. <<Yes...and thus the need to research/objectively choose fishes for the available environment>> Option 1: 180gal. W72"xD24"xH24" because I really want the 72" of length for the larger more active fish to swim in. <<When matching fishes to the environment (or vise-versa!), the tank's depth is of as much importance...and maybe the more limiting factor. It doesn't do a fish much good if the tank confines don't allow it to 'turn around'...though in this instance it shouldn't prove to be a problem>> Option 2: 135gal. W72"xD18"xH24" - this one fits better in the room at 18" depth. I lose approx. 45gals of volume but without giving up much swimming room - is this a fair statement? <<Mmm, not in my opinion...re my previous statement>> Is the 24" depth (front to back) that big an advantage, useable space wise, over the 18"? <<It is>> Option 3: 175gal. W72"xD18"xH30" - I gain back some volume of water but without really adding back room to swim. <<Not true...fish don't just swim 'left to right'... But in your case I would opt for added depth over height. A deeper tank such as this would be an ideal display for a species of Flasher Wrasse where low piles of rock rubble provide refuge while the open water volume allows the wrasses to dart about and 'display' above>> With the exception of the Chromis, the rest always seem to swim near the bottom of the tank so adding height will add volume but without the benefits of additional useable space to swim (fair statement?) <<This is possibly just a swimming behavior adapted to the environment...as in the placement of powerheads in the upper reaches of the tank spewing laminar streams of water making swimming uncomfortable...along with sending food quickly to the bottom where the fishes learn to look for it>> How important is it to just add pure volume (beyond a certain point, and I can't say I know what that point is for sure) if it doesn't benefit the fish in terms of (what I perceive to be) useable space for my fish? <<Mmm...larger volume means increased dilution/slower degradation/greater stability...all 'of use' and 'important' to the fishes>> The other problem I see is that these thirty-inch high tanks look like they will be a pain to work in (although I haven't had one). <<This is true>> Otherwise I could even get the 180gal. tank in a height of 30" and the volume jumps to 220gal. I understand larger tanks will accommodate more/larger fish, but what if they are still "in each other's face" so to speak? <<Then it is a 'stocking' issue>> Am I really helping with extra height, or does it just benefit system stability? <<Depends on the fishes...but as stated, in your case I would opt for the deeper tank over the taller tank>> Therein lies my dilemma. Volume vs. what I perceive to be useable space for movement. Just looking to make a well informed decision here (and at these sizes, I don't want to have to make it twice). <<My vote is for the 180g display (of course [grin])...but any of the three will serve with the stock-list you present, given proper thought to the aquascaping>> Thank you for your time and any words of wisdom you may have to offer. <<Hope I've been of help>> Mike from Canada, eh. <<Regards, EricR>>

Tank size? & shape, SW...  -- 07/23/07 Thanks guys, my question is simple and complex. I have a 45 Gallon Hexagon--tall tank. I was told that this tank is not ideal for saltwater fish and may play a role in why my tank is not cycling and why also my fish are dying. I cannot get my nitrates up and my nitrites down. I don't have a lot of live rock and plan to get more but was concerned if the tank size is keeping me from getting enough oxygen in the tank? thanks. >>>Greetings, Jim here. How long has your tank be set up? Every tank cycles differently, and your tank being a hex has nothing to do with anything. Banish whomever told you this from the list of people you'll listen to about aquaria - immediately. For one thing, you need to let the tank cycle before you add fish.. your fish are dying from nitrite levels. I'm a little short on info here, how much life rock to you have? Give me a volume or "stack size", not poundage. Cheers Jim<<<

Upgrading from 20gal to 56 gal. Marine Set-Up 7/13/07 Hello Crew, <Hello Eric.> My birthday is coming up, and I have a fantastic girlfriend who is considering buying me a 56 gal "column" tank. (close to the dimensions of a large square box, not a hex tank) (How great is that?!) <Does she have a sister? I'm happy for you, but I'm not a fan of column tanks. You may have more gallons, but the surface area is small for the volume of water it contains. Much less room for air/water exchange, and not much horizontal swimming room for the fish. You would be much better off with a standard 55 gallon.> I am contemplating moving my current setup (20gal high) into the 56 gal.. but am a bit unsure about how to do it. The 20 gal is about 3 months old. My tank is as follows: 20gal high tank Aquaclear 30 filter standard florescent lighting Fission Nano Skimmer (not a fan of AT ALL-- way too many modifications, too many bubbles, not enough skimmate being removed (hardly anything) not large enough collection cup, etc.) <Not familiar with this product.> Maxi Jet 600 powerhead 1 inch very fine (sugar) grade sand bed About 10 lbs live rock, all small pieces with purple algae and a ton of surface area. I do plan on adding more. ammonia, nitrite, zero, nitrate about 10ppm ph is 8.3 -SG is 1.025 Fish: 1 small (1 inch) false Percula Clowns 1 Bicolor Blenny (2 inches) 1 Firefish (2 inches) My question is this: If I get a new tank and add about 35 gals of fresh saltwater and aerate the water, etc for a few days, (along w/ new skimmer, bigger filter, and extra sand, eventually more live rock) then add the sand, water, filtration, etc from the 20 gal setup, will that be enough to cycle, or should I cycle on its own and wait? <I'd put the sand in first, then the rock, and let this run a couple days. You shouldn't lose your biological filtering.> Also, I have read about skimmers a ton, and have found that there are mixed reviews for the Berlin Airlift 60. I found one nearby, and am interested. Any thoughts on this skimmer? <My opinion is you get what you pay for. Most air operated skimmers aren't going to be efficient in terms of amount of water processed per hour.> Thank you for your quick response, you are always very helpful. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Eric

Saltwater Fishtank Construction Questions   6/8/06 Crew: <Paula> First, let me start off by saying thanks to James, Bob, and Tom for helping me. <You're welcome.> Being a newbie to the site, I knew only the basics. You guys have helped me expand my knowledge and think about my options. So thanks again for that. My first question relates to a marine article I read on your site. It says that if I am thinking about having a marine aquarium, bigger is better. It also says that the minimum size I should have is about 40 gallons to allow for plenty of "cruising" room for the fish. <Not only cruising room, but the larger tanks offer better water stability, fluctuations in specific gravity and pH aren't as drastic.> The tank I wish to remodel is from 40-50 gallons. How many marine fish would this comfortably house, along with one or two decorations? <Depends on the size of the fish.  Keep in mind a 40-50 gallon tank is not large.  I'd say five smaller fish would be safe.> My second question is about the same article on marine aquariums. As I said, I have that large tank that is 40-50 gallons. I also have a 10 gallon tank that is about the same height as the larger one. Is there a way or device to connect the two so my fish would have some more room? Or is it just better to go with the 40-50 or a bigger model? <Bigger would be better.  No way to actually connect the two tanks offering one display area.  I would use the ten gallon as a sump.  An overflow and return pump will be needed to do this.  This will give you more total gallons in the system which will improve the carrying capacity.  It also allows for much better aeration and CO2 removal and a place to put your heater and skimmer, yes, a skimmer is very beneficial to good water quality.  When the time comes, do research what you want to buy before buying as to needs/requirements of the animal and your ability to meet these requirements.  Compatibility is also something to look at.> Thanks for the help! <You're welcome and good luck.  James (Salty Dog)> Paula

Second Floor Tank Size 8/21/05 Hey guys, <Howdy, Ali here...> I am a budding marine aquarist who is planning to set up a 55 gallon tank in my 2nd floor apartment.  A concern I have, being on the 2nd floor, is the weight-bearing capacity of the floor.  I've heard from other credible sources that you could basically put a 55 gallon tank anywhere and that the weight shouldn't be an issue.  What do you guys say. <Shouldn't be of too much concern as long as your apartment building has met all the building flooring codes> I really appreciate your help.  Should I get a smaller tank, a 45 gallon or less.  My other question is are glass tanks more prone to leaking than acrylic?  I'm leaning towards getting an Oceanic glass tank or an AGA tank.  Again, I truly appreciate your help. Gary <The standard 55 gallon tank has horrible dimensions for a saltwater or reef tank (way too narrow). Consider setting up a 40 gallon breeder or a standard 50 gallon (the 50 will be a better choice if you plan on utilizing a 3-5" fine grain sand bed). Both have great surface area and are easy to work with along with being very reef 'friendly'. I personally prefer glass tanks and have never had any leak on me. AGA and Oceanic both make solid products, I highly doubt you will have issues with yours, especially if you stick to a 40 or 50 gallon sized aquarium. Good Luck Gary!-Ali> General Advice re size/shape of tank for SW Tank Setup   11/5/06 Hey Crew, <Jeremy> I just need some general advice regarding Tank Size and an Emperor Angel.  I am about to buy a fully setup 120 gallon system from a co-worker to upgrade from my 55 gallon setup.  As it happens, I was at the LFS the other day and saw a different sized 125 gallon tank.  It was very long (7ft I think, about as long as the 215, just not as wide or tall) and not like the show tank style (only 4 ft long) that I would be buying. <Shows how things change... the "stock" 125's I was familiar with were six feet long> I am thinking of selling the show tank to a friend and using the filtration, LR, Lighting, etc. for the longer 125.  I remember the argument Bob made in his book about surface area vs. volume.  I can't see the 4ft 120 being better than the 7ft 125 for the angel. <Agreed> I am really upgrading tanks because of the emperor angel I currently have in the 55.  He is still a small juvi (about the size of a flame angel), but I want him in a bigger tank ASAP.  Would he be well off in the longer 125 or should I hold off, save up and get the 215 later on and just use the show 120 for now? <Mmm... what time frame are we talking about here? If it's only a handful of months, I'd hold off and get the larger system> The LFS guy said the emperor would be fine in 125 but I keep reading that I will need a 200 gallon system. <Eventually even larger> If both tanks are 7ft long, would 6" extra depth and height matter that much? <Could> I don't want to sound ignorant, but just trying to think ahead. If I buy the 125, I wouldn't have to upgrade the skimmer, wet/dry, add more LR, etc. again.  I have to think about cost too. <Yes> Also, I was at a different LFS the other day and saw a really beautiful tang.  It had similar markings of an Achilles tang, but instead of orange, it was a mix of bright blue and yellow highlights.  The sign said Goldrim, but I thought they looked similar to Powder Brown Tangs. Any ideas what it was?   Thanks, Jeremy <Likely either Acanthurus glaucopareius or A. japonicus. Both are written about and pictured on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Tank shape, maker reliability I am thinking of buying an All-Glass bow shaped tank, but my son warns me that they are unreliable in terms of leaks and/or breakage.  Has that been your experience with them or are they just as reliable as a "standard" tank?  I am considering a 75 gallon for cichlids. Thanks! Alice Marshall <This shape is just as, if not more "strong" than rectangular aquariums... and this manufacturer has an excellent reputation (IMO) for quality and consistency. Bob Fenner>

Size DOES Matter! (Choosing A Tank Size) Hi, my name is Kristine and I am in the planning stages of a FOWLR set up with aspirations toward corals waaaay down the line. <If you're like most hobbyists, I'll bet that "waaaay down the line" comes sooner than you think it will! LOL> Ultimately, I would like to have a 100 g tank.  HOWEVER, I was thinking I would start very small (10 g's perhaps) with a small amount of LR and maybe 2 fish.  Maybe even 2 fish (1-2" each) is too much, I dunno...  My idea was to eventually move up and I'd still have a nice QT when it was needed. <A good thought!> Anyway, I had kind of decided against this idea since I understand that generally speaking, it is more difficult to achieve and maintain good water quality on a smaller system. So, I considered even starting out bigger.  Obviously the amount of money involved is a huge consideration, which makes me a bit leery of doing this.  SO, I'm back to toying with the idea of a 10 gal or so system just to start, just so I can learn as much as I can and get the basics down (H20 chemistry, maintenance, etc...) before moving' on up.  I am a voracious reader and I value your opinion and have read info on your site as well as anything else I can get my hands on. <Me, too! And I'm a voracious eater, too! And, on occasion, voracious spender on aquarium stuff...been accused of being a "voracious wave hog" by my surfing pals, and a "voracious fish geek" by my significant other! I know the meaning of voracious, man!> This is something I've wanted for about 16 years and I am willing to wait until it's right to "launch out into the deep", so to speak.  I want to take it slow and do things right the first time to minimize casualties (to both my small charges and my pocketbook). <Agreed. If you take a little more time to plan it right, you'll reap the rewards down the line- and, more important, so will your animals!> My real question is twofold:  1) is a 10 g set up as described above (including inhabitants)  a good or bad idea and   2) if it IS a good idea for me to start small and use this arena as an experiment of sorts, what equipment would you recommend to set it all up? <Well, I really think that you should consider a larger tank...a minimum of 40 gallons. To be honest with you, a small, or "nano" tank is not as easy to keep as you might think. In my opinion, The environmental fluctuations, maintenance demands, and lack of a margin for error make a small tank very difficult to maintain. There is a seemingly harsh, but possibly correct school of thought which suggests that, if you cannot afford the equipment for a 40 gallon tank, you can't afford this hobby! Now, that really is a bit harsh...but it may be true. Yes, larger tanks are more expensive to outfit properly, but I'd rather see you save your money and slowly assemble the equipment that you need for a larger system. We receive soo many emails from people who'd like to keep that "one extra fish" or invert in their small tank, and it can be frustrating to discourage them from adding that animal! However, a tremendous amount of restraint is required when you keep small tanks- something many of us don't have! Try to go with a larger system, and you'll think yourself many times over in the future! Really, in the end-"more is less!">     The wealth of experience and information you have all provided have been priceless.  Many thanks for your time and this wonderful resource! Kristine <Thank you so much for visiting the WWM site! Let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding your setup and future plans! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Metric Conversion - Dear Crew: Just an FYI regarding the questioner who thinks that 600 liters is "close to 300 gallons US." This is not so--it is only "close to" 160 gallons:   600 L  times  1.06 Q/L  divided by 4 Q/G  equals 159 gallons. <Doh!> More simply: 600 L divided by 3.79 L/G equals 158G.  The discrepancy between these two formulas comes from rounding 1.057 Q/G to 1.06 Q/G. If one does not want to memorize conversion factors, here are three great links to online automatic converters for all sorts of measurements: <This is exactly what I do.> http://www.convert-me.com/en/ http://www.admiralmetals.com/metric_conv.htm http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/conversions.html Thanks for al your advice since I started this great hobby last Christmas, Steve Allen <Thanks Steve, will post on the dailies and hopefully everyone in the crew who can't convert metric will see it. Cheers, J -- > Does Size Matter? Tank Size that is... Hey guys, I currently have a 45(36x12) gal I am thinking about setup for FOWLR.  I only have a space large enough for a 36" tank.  I have thought about getting a 65 Gal(36x18).  I know that the additional depth will help far aquascaping. <It can, depending upon the biotope that you are trying to replicate...> My question is, will there be a great difference in water stability due to the larger size, to off set the cost of the new tank, stand, and the loss taken on the 45 gal that I have no use for otherwise.  Also what fish cannot go into the 65? <Well, when you take into account the amount of water displaced by sand, rocks, etc. that 20 gallons can make a difference. Even the 65 gallon tank will probably hold less than 40 gallons of water once it's ultimately stocked and aquascaped, so there is some validity to buying the largest system that you can. And, by the way, you could always use the 45 as a sump/refugium for your 65 or larger, which will effectively increase your system's capacity! Just a thought!> Dwarf angel, trigger, tang, puffer, will they be to large and work against my bio on the LR? <Well, I'd personally hold off on any trigger, tang, and some puffers in anything less than a 100 gallon tank. That's my personal bias, but it is mainly based upon the ultimate size that these fishes can achieve, their need for physical "space", and the quantity of metabolic wastes that they are capable of producing. A well-stocked 65, or even 45 gallon tank can be every bit as impressive as a much larger tank if a few simple rules are followed concerning bioload, equipment and aquascaping. If 45 gallons is what you have to work with, then try to assemble a system and animals to compliment a tank of that size. Have fun! Regards, Scott F. > Thanks again for a great site and service you provide to our hobby.    -Randy

Maximum Reef tank height? 11/2/03  Hi Crew,  <howdy>  What is the maximum height you can make a reef aquarium before you run into problems? I am considering a 48" tall tank.  Thanks, Greg  <for the very generic/vague nature of your question, I am not sure how to respond. By problems, do you mean from poor light penetration )mp worries here... scale lighting appropriately with metal halides for punch)... or do you mean "problems" regarding adequate gas exchange with water at depth (can be tempered by aspirating skimmers/reactors and ozone). Is this a DIY tank? If so, you cannot build safely over 30" without a laminate or 4-sided capture. You need to do much more research here my friend. Do browse our archives on big tanks. Anthony> 

Tank volume or area Bob, I'm just starting out researching and reading a lot on your site and through books (just purchased Reef Invertebrates yesterday).  I'm at the stage of deciding on the size of the tank.  I want a tank that will fit an alcove in our family for built-in look. I'm looking at two bowfront reef ready tanks made by Oceanic to fit in the space: a 72 gallon (48Wx18Dx23H) and a 90 gallon (48Wx18Dx28H).   My question is whether its worth getting the larger tank, the 90 gallon, even though the added volume is due to the greater height of the tank, 28" versus 23".  Is the additional 5" going to require significantly more lighting and be more difficult to maintain?  Thanks.  <Good questions... if the lost space at the top doesn't present maintenance/access challenges to you, "bigger is better"... more stable chemically and physically, more pleasing aesthetically. You are correct that the other dimensions (length, width) would be better made large rather than height... for your livestock as well as you functionally... but I would go with the larger system, and not be overly concerned re lighting. Bob Fenner>

Is Bigger Better (Large Tanks) Are large aquariums better than small aquariums? And if so, explain how? Thanks <Well- that is a pretty broad question, and it may not be as cut and dry as you might think! One of the big (no pun intended) advantages of large tanks is that they provide significant water volumes, which assist in the dilution of organic wastes. Larger water volumes tend to be more environmentally stable, more forgiving, and, if well-managed, create more optimum conditions for fishes and invertebrates. Additionally, larger aquariums give fish more "physical space", which affords them the ability to establish territories and engage in more natural behaviors. On the other hand, larger tanks require more equipment, can be more expensive to operate, and physically more challenging to clean, because of their larger dimensions.  Some fishes, such as Seahorses, are often kept more successfully in smaller aquariums, as they can be "closer" to their food sources. There is so much more to this debate than I could possibly mention here, but I think that these points can give you a good basis for your own further analysis. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Tank size query Dear WWM Crew!    I might have to move my tank!!! I just see an opportunity to upgrade here. I have my fiancée convinced that I cannot safely move the tank in one day that I need to have a second tank setup in the new house and have it running for a while and then transfer all the live rock and live stock slowly over a month's time! >>Nice work!>> BTW, rather than moving my DSB, I'm going to set a new one up in the new tank and seed it with sand from the current one! >>That's the way to do it. I even have permission to retain my existing 72G bow-front as a second tank!!!! >>Nice!>>   And now to the question'¦  The tank will not be on a concrete slab and so the weight does matter. Do you think a standard 90G tank of dimensions 48X18X24 inches is better or an oceanic 77G tank that is 60X13X23 inches is better? Volume versus length? The 77G may end up with a 15G sump, while the 90G may be sumpless or have a 10G at the most'¦ >>Well, it depends on what you are keeping. If you are doing a reef I would go with the 90 - the depth allows for better aquascaping. If you are going with fish, the length may be better - although that 13 inch dimension worries me. So scrap what I said. I thin the 90 is better!>> I'm concerned most about the 13 inch width of the 77G tank. Live stock includes a Kole tang (currently 4') which will be my largest 'guest' by far! >>Although the 4 foot length of the 90 isn't really enough for a tang. Why not go with a 150? 60x24x24?>> Also I'm worried about the lack of width limiting my live rock aquascaping options. >>Me too!>> Narayan >>Rich>>

Re: Tank size query Thanks Rich!   Nothing is final right now, but the house is not likely to have a finished basement and so the tank may be on the 1st or second floor. The weight of the 150 gallon tank will require strengthening the floor. I'm concerned for my Kole tang who is currently 4" and maybe 2-3 years old. I want him to be around for the next 15-20 years at least and don't think my current 72G BF is going to be enough. The tank will not be a full-blown reef, but will contain a few colonies of mushroom coral etc. I really am looking for a setup that will be under 1000 lbs and the 77G is the longest tank I can get with that restriction. As for aquascaping, I'll just have to do my best with what I have, so will a Kole tang be happier in a 60X13 inch area or a 48X18 area? >>That's a toughie. If it were me I would go for the longer tank and leave as much swimming room as possible.>> Thanks, Narayan >>Rich>>

Re: Tank size query Thanks Rich!   Based on your reply it sounds like either solution is not acceptable. I was hoping to stay with glass aquariums, but I guess acrylic may be the way to go. Tenecor has a 90 gallon flat back hex that is 60" on the back side, 48" on the front side, 18" wide and 20" tall. This is almost twice the price of the oceanic 77G. In your opinion, is this worth an extra $600? Will it make enough of a difference to a Kole tang? Narayan >>I don't know about the hex. My gut tells me the 90 would be better because the extra panels reduce the swimming space. What about a 100 glass - I think they are pretty standard at 60x18x20 (or close to that). Rich>>

Re: Tank size query Rich. Tenecor, Tru Vu and SeaClear make acrylic tanks in a 100G 60X18X20 size. Unfortunately all-glass, oceanic and perfecto don't! Do you know who might make a 100G 60" GLASS tank? Thanks in advance, Narayan >>Sorry, I don't! I hardly ever say this but I think your best bet is to go to a couple LFS and see what they have to say - they have the catalogs right there. Let me know what you find out. Rich>>

A weighty question How much does a 65 US Gallon Fish tank weigh when filled with water and regular fish. Thanks Teresa Martin <Mmm, well, about ten pounds per gallon... including gravel et al... so approximately 650-700 pounds overall. Do read on WetWebMedia.com re stands, spreading out this mass on your floor. Bob Fenner> Tank Dimensions Hi there. I hope everybody is well! I am buy a new tank and I have the following 2 options when it comes to size: a) 70" x 23"(w) x 23"(h) - 155 Gallons b) 78" x 18"(w) x 23"(h) - 125 Gallons Option (b) is the one that I really want to choose, because I like long tanks, but 30 gallons seem to be quite a significant amount of water and I'm not sure if the tank would be wide enough. If you had to keep a FOWLR setup with some "big" fish of say 8 inches in size, would the 18 inches be wide enough? The only problem I have with option (a) is that it looks "smaller", despite the extra gallons. <If you intended fishes have a maximum adult size of 8 inches, either tank would work fine. I would get what you want.> I have ready through many of your articles and FAQ's and it looks like you generally suggest the "long and low" approach, so would "long and narrow" be better than "short and wide" in this case? <In this case, neither tank is of the high variety and either would serve you well.> Thanks in advance, Chris <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

How tall is too tall? Hello Bob and the rest of the crew, <part of the rest of the crew says Hi! right back at you. Anthony Calfo in your service> Thanks for all your hard work. What an exhaustive amount of very helpful information! <a labor of love> I am considering buying a new tank from a guy who builds custom tanks for a living. For whatever reason, he has a new tank that did not get sold, so he is trying to get rid of it at a great price. The only problem is that it is a little taller than I would prefer. The dimensions are 48"long by 18"wide by 36"tall.  <if built out of half inch glass this should have sealed stringers (glass braces) or a meta capture (banding) if it is structurally sound. Is the tank maker a professional or a local with a caulking gun?> 120-125 gallons I think. I plan on doing a reef system with sand, LR, soft corals and a select few fish. I foresee myself getting into LPS, maybe SPS, and a clam or two in the future.  <the clams and SPS will be great together and in your case you might luck out with the LPS too in such a nicely deep tank (they will be kept in lower half of tank). Do resist too much mixing of these groups for long term success with either though> I am going to build the rock up in height as much as is practical to get the corals closer to the lights.  <necessary for the SPS and Clams> Do you feel this tank is too tall for a reef?  <not at all... a very nice tank with lots of lighting options for corals at various depths> I know, I know, what kind of lights am I going to use? Good question. I have been reading the articles and FAQ's extensively and I will most likely go with either PC's or VHO. <this will make it rather difficult unless you can keep most of your corals in the top 12" of the tank. Halides are more cost effective in terms of cost of power vs. light produced> I don't want to get in MH (too many other issues to deal with). <heat and expense of operation shouldn't be factors... marketing misrepresentations> Concerning lighting, I have a question. Reading through the lighting FAQ's, I noticed that Bob tends to recommend a mix of 75% full spectrum and 25% actinic blue whereas some of the other contributors recommend a 50/50 mix. Is this just a matter of opinion?  <nope... really a matter of the animals you keep. Emphasis on daylight for shallow water species (SPS and blue clams)... or 50/50 for deeper water animals (LPS, Zoantharians)> What would be better for my future setup? <2-175 watt 10K halides at minimum. If you will go mostly for SPS corals, then you are a candidate to 2-250 watt halides. Please don't let anyone talk you into 400watt halides unless you can rule out LPS and will go hardcore on shallow colored SPS corals> Thanks, Mark Miami, FL <kindly, Anthony>

Minimum Tank Sizes Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro at your service.> I'm setting up a 75 gallon aquarium, 48x18x24. I'm doing things right in that I'm researching and researching and researching. <Good to hear.> I am going to have fantastic filtration through an AquaC EV-180 and a Lifereef Berlin sump. I am going to have a refugium about 20 gallons. This will give me approximately 110 gallons of water, counting tank, sump, and refugium. However, that's not including liverock volume. <Correct, I was just about to mention that.> When a fish such as an angel, is listed at 100 gallons minimum, does that mean you tank should have the length dimensions of a tank that would be about 100 gallons, or are you looking at volume of water including from all sources listed above? <Actually both. They need the swimming room (dimensions) and the water volume to dilute pollutants.> I certainly don't want to crowd any animals, as I will not have very many in my tank. However, could an angel, or a butterfly like semilarvatus, listed at 100 gallons be happy in a 75 gallon as I have described? <No, not in the long run.> A very respectable marine fish retailer mentioned that most fish, if introduced to a tank when they are only a few inches long won't outgrow the tank. Is this true? <Yes, but that is because they will die prematurely.> I hope this wasn't too confusing. <Not at all. FYI, when in doubt, under stock. You and your fishes will be much happier and healthier.> Thanks for the help! Brandon Wilson <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Tank Height My tank will be 72" long.  I'm trying to decide how high and how wide it will be. <More of both!>     The prevailing opinion seems to be that 24" high is ideal, both for purposes of cleaning and with respect to light penetration.  I think, however, from an aesthetic point of view, a 30" high tank will look nicer.  Can another 6" really make it that much more difficult to light and clean? <Mmm, yes... unless you're a basketball playing body plan... it's tough to reach down that far... and light intensity does drop off badly with depth... however, there are tools... and brighter lights!>     With respect to width, Tullock's book recommends at least 18" because the aquascaping potential at 12" is too limited.  Will another 6" -- that is, a 24" width -- materially improve the aquascaping possibilities?  I suppose the wider width also means better side views. <Yes>     Is this all just a matter of personal taste or is there a right answer? <It's... a combo! A blend/mix between function and esthetics... I do think that 30" is a practical maximum for a six foot length system both-wise. Bob Fenner>

Tank Size  3/22/03 Hey Phil,<Hey Tyler> how's it goin<It's going good> i have a few easy questions for ya again.<Shoot> if you had to choose between two tank that held the same amount, would you pic the one that was 72x18x22 or the one that's 48x22x26.<I like tanks that are wider.  To me it's better for the fish.> i prefer the longer one but what would the fish prefer.<Depends on the fish>  Would it be better to have two hippo tangs in this tank or a hippo and then after the hippo gets a little larger ad a smaller yellow tang.<In this size tank, you can only keep one Hippo Tang.  Head over to www.wetwebfotos.com/talk  and talk to "Freckleface" on our forums.  She will tell you all about her little (well not anymore) Hippo Tang.>  also how come on a lot of people web sites their hippo tang look purple., It could be the lighting on the tank, types of foods that are fed, could be from a different part of the South Pacific.> thanks a lot again your really helping me out (i will hopefully have my tank this weekend)<Sounds very sweet... please keep me updated.. p.s. pictures would be nice!! :)  Phil>

New tank and no clue where to start... I just got a new, used tank for Christmas and am interested in setting it up as a reef tank. It is a 61 gallon Plexiglas tank with a divider down the middle which has 2, 2 inch holes in it. The dimensions are roughly 4 feet side to side, 1 foot back to front, and about 3 feet top to bottom. There is a Plexiglas rim all around the top of the tank that is probably an inch or so wide which would, I think, prevent me from putting any hang on filter systems without cutting away some of this rim. There are 2 spouts on either of the 2 top corners which I am told are to be used for gravity filter systems but they are broken and will need to be replaced if I intend to use them. My questions for you are first, does the aforementioned description seem like a viable tank for a reef tank? Further, what type of filtering systems and lighting would you suggest to get the tank up and running. I am really lost as to where I should go from here so any help would be great. Thanks. <<Well, the shape of this tank is a bit problematical... better to have something more flat and wide... rather than tall and narrow... for looks and functions sake... the more surface area the better. Be this as it maybe/is, the tank you have is... well, the tank you have... and it can be made into a working reef... but, if you haven't kept marines before, I strongly encourage you to try just keeping a "Fish Only" system for a few months (much easier, more forgiving).  Take a look around at different filter possibilities. A "hang on" system or components like a skimmer are still possibilities, even if the lip of the tank must need be cut (not all the way to the edge... minimally). Or better still, much flexibility and safety can be gained by situating a sump/reservoir under, behind or to the side of the main tank, and placing much of your water conditioning gear there, using a pump to move the water back to the display tank. You need to consider how best to route this water exchange, but don't be dissuaded from the possibility of drilling, cutting the top or back to fit through hull fittings. Scan the net, visit other hobbyists who have tanks, read the books on marine aquariums you can lay hands on, and contact an acrylic fabricator in your area if possible (look in the phone et al. directories under "plastics"). And do "ring me back" if you have specific queries. Bob Fenner>>

First Tank, What Size? I'm kicking around some ideas about my first salt water tank. I was wondering what you suggest I get as far as size and what animals to put in there. I was going to try to start with clowns but am interested in breeding them. Are they an easy fish to breed and what species do you suggest as a first attempt at both care and breeding? <<Thanks for asking! As far as size, "the bigger the better"... at least a forty gallon... for stability and flexibilities sake... the tank can't be too big. Measure up your space available and wallet, make a list of all the gear, livestock you'd like... and put in as large a system as you think you can handle... Trust me. Clownfishes are an excellent breeding start... As are some types of Cardinalfishes (family Apogonidae)... the males of the latter are mouthbrooders... Be chatting,  Bob Fenner, who will risk the chance of sounding self-serving (as a pet-fish writer/photographer), but do read about the hobby as much as you consider prudent before plunking down the big bucks...>>

Tank Capacity Formula How do you estimate how many gallons are in a tank. Mike Williams <<A few ways... mainly by multiplying the inside dimensions in inches and multiplying the length, width and depth together, dividing by 231 (cubic inches per gallon)... to yield the gallons... If it's a real big tank you can do the math in feet: L X W X H divided by 7.48... gives gallons... Or if it's a real big, irregular tank, or has a lot of stuff displacing the water in it... and you need a better idea way... you can use a watch with a second hand, a bucket of known volume and a garden hose to gauge (by measuring how long it takes to fill the bucket per whatever volume it is) how many "bucket-fill equivalents" it takes to fill your tank... Bob Fenner>>

Tank size? Hi: <Cheers, Anthony Calfo in your service> I'm going to be able to move soon, so I'm considering to a larger tank, I'm going for a 300 ltr (80 g) tank, Can you tell me the best dimension for the tank ( I want to have different tangs)? <for fishes...low and long (for gas exchange, territorial dispersion, etc) is recommended. Hence, a six foot long 80 gallon would be better than a four foot long 80 gallon tank. Mixing tangs is difficult in such a small tank. Many are not tolerant of each other and most have adult sizes that are way too big for an 80 gallon tank. Please research your fishes adult sizes and husbandry well before you buy them> Also can you give me any suggestions, the best sump dimension/system? skimmer? the stand? Rene <much information has been written about this in the WWM archives... an enormous resource. Please browse the FAQs and articles on the topics you desire. In a nutshell though... I'd say a wet/dry system with bio-balls, a Euroreef skimmer and a reliable auxiliary filter for carbon, backup and QT fixes like an Eheim. Best regards, Anthony>

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