Opinions on tank sizes wanted!! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: springdale ar
Posts: 50
Opinions on tank sizes wanted!!

Im thinking of building a stand to hold multiple tanks in the same spot ....

Trouble is cant pick what size tanks. I was thinking about two 30 or 40 gal breeders side by side or a stand with 4 20 longs (two on the bottom then two up on a shelf above them).

any advice?

Figured the two breeders would give me lots of room to grow plants but the 4 20ls would give me a chance to make 4 diff. bio types.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 04:10 PM
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Location: Pasadena, california
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I've been thinking of a rack system too.
There are a few things to consider, atleast this is how I've been thinking about it. Don't let my ideas squish yours. I say go for it, it only costs money and time to play

Lighting: are you standardizing? So one length/type of bulb in all of you fixtures? can you use 1 fixture for multiple tanks? I know you can light two24" or under tanks with a single 4foot fixture, but then the light levels will have to be the similar. You can't really do that with a 30", but you could probably put a 20l and a hex or 5 next to eachother and get away with it. Or do you want to experiment, maybe a tank on t5, one on cfl, one on led? How are you going to run the lights? If they're all on the same schedule there is less concern, but if they're not you will have to block out light between tanks. That might be easier in horizontal rather than vertical arrangements.

Water: will they be on the same loop, or separately managed? I would think for biotope setups you would want to manage separately. But I've never tried for a biotope so its up to you.

Mechanicals: how will you house the mechanicals in a servicable way? Canisters off rack? I've been running my tank on a shelf and I can tell you that air pumps that aren't closed in a cabinet can drive you crazy!

Weight: don't underestimate this or you could end up with 80gal on a footprint of 20gal. Less concern if you are on the ground floor on a slab. Also, your rack will have to be strong and level.

Visual impact: this has multiple parts to it. How does it look in the room? Is it a distraction, or a nice centerpiece? Will putting two scapes next to eachother stress your eye with multiple focal points? Will stacked arrangements make one too low to comfortably view, and the other too high?

I keep debating myself...
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: springdale ar
Posts: 50
this is the cabinet I was going to use for the 20ls
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Location: springdale ar
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 06:21 PM
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I can't view the pic from my phone.
My second response got cut off when the metro hit the underground section.

I realized I didn't answer your question.

If you don't already have a bunch of equipment for 30" tanks that you are trying to keep cross compatible, I would go with the two 40b in a vertical arrangement. I would keep each on its own water loop so you can do the biotopes youre interested in. I say so because i get frustrated by the lack of depth to the standard 30" tanks, it is less pronounced in the 20l because of the reduced height, but it is apparent in the taller 29.

Personally I would go with a stand that has a cabinet on the bottom for your mechanicals, preferably two canisters. The closed doors will spare you from the air pump madness...

I would probably do an oversized shelf. I would keep it wide enough to have a four foot fixture hanging over each tank. I say this because hydroponics lights are in 24 and 48" standard lengths and can be found in the same t5ho 6700k or 10000k setups for cheaper than replacement bulbs marked for aquarium use. My 24" fixture does fill the 30" tank nicely, if you decide to go that direction.

Keep enough space above the bottom tank to perform service, including using nets at all four corners and scrapers, etc. I've been through all that having my tank on a shelf, and I can tell you it sucks. Also the added space will let you adjust fixture height for different light levels.

Visually you will be making a compromise by having two tanks, but not as bad as the viewing angles if you were to keep 3. Another argument for added space above the bottom tank: I like to be able to stand in front of my shelf and be able to look down into the back wall of the tank, just under the shelf above it. This allows me to view stems from above, and if you do any lillies you will have space to enjoy the flowers, but I do personally prefer open top tanks.

My situation is a little different because I already have a ton of equipment for 30" tanks that I don't really want to take a hit on and my wallet is starting to feel the weight of this hobby. I'm sure I'll be posting a bunch of questions, trying to get what I want and squirm out of the $$s, but like any project, it will be fraught with compromise.

Hope that helps!

Now that I read that, maybe that's what I'll do!!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 06:28 PM
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Forgot to mention. Put some kind of backing on the shelf behind each tank. This will help limit light from one tank reflecting off the wall and disturbing the light cycle of the other, unless they're on the same schedule, then no worries!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 06:47 PM
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I think the choice is largely preference - I would rather have two larger tanks in which there is more room to work with, but clearly a great many others would rather have many tanks even if the size of each is more limiting.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 06:50 PM
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Last note, promise. Started thinking how I would do two 40b with as much of what I've already got as possible.

Check out home depot for racks.

I've got a 4 foot rack from them. It's stainless steel with leveling legs. The shelves are on this plastic wedge system so you can play with heights in 1" increments. This will let you set it up, walk away, and come back to see if you really like the heights. My 29 sat on top for 6 months with no issue and each shelf is rated at 700# or so. Just get a piece of plywood cut to fit the shelf to spread it evenly.

It's wide enough that you could pick up a small night stand or something to sit on the bottom shelf for airpump, etc.

Don't be fooled, 48" tank won't fit, but the fixture would look fine.

My 29 currently lives on a 36" black version of the same thing. This shelf size is perfect for a 30" tank. Fills it nicely.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 07:34 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 1,703
If you are thinking of going with 40G breeders then now is the time as Petco is having their 1$ per gallon sale.

There is a (relatively) cheap double tank metal stand for sale at Drs. Foster and Smith. It is an over under rather than a side by side but 40G breeders have a big enough footprint that I would want to stack them anyways for space saving.

The size used for 30G and 40G breeders is actually the 65G size (same footprints) and the price is $75.


Unless you are doing breeding of some sort and need separate water volumes you are probably going to prefer the larger tanks to work with rather than multiple small tanks.

The only downside to the breeders is that they are 36" long but you could do an ugly hack with a 48" light over the top (especially if you hang the top one) or just get cheap Odyssea lights or something.

BTW, in my 40G breeder I can actually put a medium or large decoration in and still have room behind and in front of it whereas in the smaller tanks the width (front to back) of the tank means that a driftwood piece or large rock or decoration pretty much dominates that area of the tank.
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