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Re: Subject: Good Size for a Large Tank

Charles Kuehnl wrote:
> I am in the process of building a new home <snip>
> ... two pretty good size ones ... <snip, cost and
> effort?>

Hi, Charles--

Like you, I like the schooling fish.  I have a 6'
(All-Glass) 180g, and it's my easiest and most stable
tank (after an initial battle with algae when I
experimented with fertilizing too much).  The extra
space is really nice to move the plants that get
surprisingly big in a 55g or something else.  Of
course, like street signs that turn out to be bigger
than the bed of your pickup truck, it's hard to
realize how big plants are in a big tank until you
try to move them to a smaller tank.  ;-)

It's very easy, IMHO, to spend 10x more on a tank
that's 10x bigger (or more, if you get excited about
MH and CO2, etc.)  However, I suggest you resist this
(at least for the first six months until you get a
pattern down).  Big tank, fill with water, and you
can throw fish and plants in there with almost nothing
at all.  Of course, you may *want* to do more than
that, just keep in mind it's not required (you can
even light half the tank and just keep plants on that

> I have read many places (mostly here and on the
> sites of those who post here) that as the tank
> length exceeds the periphery of your vision it
> gives the impression that the tank is much larger
> than it really is and that this effect is quite
> impressive.

That's very interesting... did it suggest what a
common 'periphery vision' was, or how big this was?

> Where this big tank will go I have room for up to an
> 8 foot (maybe up to 8.5 or 9 feet) long tank but am
> wondering how much I am biting off work wise.

Not to be trite, but even though I really like my
6' 180g tank, I really would have preferred the 8'.
Also, my tank is 24" square on the end, and if I
were building a house as you are, I'd have it 24"-30"
tall, and 4' wide and 8'-9' long with an island in
the middle (probably about 500 gallons).  I would
need access on both sides, but I'd establish a strong
current "doughnut" around the island to make my cories

> I have had other hobby endeavors that I turned into
> occupations and they soon were no longer fun.

I'm annoyingly repetitive on this list for bigger
tanks with lower fish stock, and those really are
less maintenance than all my smaller tanks.  YMMV.
I find it much like gardening... fun, pretty results,
I'm not always in the mood, but my tanks goes through
seasons just like the garden does.  You don't have
to do a highly manicured Dutch aquarium twelve months
a year, every year.  With a big tank, you can throw
in a driftwood log with two anubias, and your tank
is impressive just because of the size ("less is
and all that).  It's cheating, but it works.  ;-)
And, actually, some of the most impressive setups
I've seen were like this.

The biggest issue is that you can't "change your mind"
later, unless you make sure your built-in fish tank
looks like it would make a nice trophy case  should
you want to take that 6-month tour of southeast Asia.

> I know bulb size will be a determining factor for
> the length as will consideration of space for a good
> size filter and pumps, and then there is the large
> holding tank for water to do water changes.

On the bigger tanks I don't think it's as big a deal
on the bulb size (there's more room to fudge).  I *do*
agree that it's best to stay with the 2' bulb 
intervals, if you're not going MH, though.  Make
sure you have a good stand with good storage, and
if possible, get running water and a drain nearby.
Our water supply is atypically good, and I have no
holding tank.

>  I would think that the difference between 5 and 8
> feet is not that much (except for the plant
> pruning) but the biggest tank I have so far is about
> 1/3-1/4 the size of what an 8 footer would be.

Agreed.  And, lazy me, I've moved to slower growing
plants so that's less work.  But, really big anubias
and bacopas and crypts are awesome and unique, and
are 'open' enough to leave lots of room for fish.

Also, make SURE your floor can handle it.  The fish
store guy will probably tell you the big tank has the
same pounds-per-square-foot as a refrigerator, but
that's only true if you have The Hulk in your 
refrigerator.  I put mine in the living room, but it
started moving itself into the basement over a period
of six months (no kidding).  I had to move it.

Good luck, and (please) let us know how it goes.  I'm
*always* interested in things like this, and whatever
you might discover.

As an aside, I'm designing tanks for the next house
(can't afford it yet, but I'm working on that).  It's
that large freshwater "island" tank with strong
current, 9'x4'x30".  Also, I'm planning a marine
set-up that's probably half that size on the main
floor, with a refugium and two 'surge' tanks that will
overflow into the main reef tank in the basement
(which will be about the same size as the freshwater
tank). Goals are large and automated/low maintenance.
It will take a couple years before we know if I'm just
a wild dreamer or not.  ;-)

charleyb123 at yahoo_com

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