Starting Out Big vs Small? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Starting Out Big vs Small?

I have a 55 gallon (48" long) as well as a 20 gallon high, and was wondering... should I go big for my first planted, or small?

I plan on doing something that is Nature aquarium style with maybe a little bit more cohesion with a biotope idea, if that helps at all...
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 04:11 PM
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big.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 04:26 PM
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Depends on your budget and what you already have. If thats not an issue, go big.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 04:28 PM
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Don't think size matters as much as keeping it simple at first. Big tank is likely to be more stable, easier to maintain, but more important for initial success is keeping things simple. Not too difficult to grow plants, not too many fish, etc... Complexity is your worst enemy. Buy less of the highest quality kit that your budget can afford to minimize headaches and have at it.

Good luck and have fun.


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danh Vu View Post
Depends on your budget and what you already have. If thats not an issue, go big.
Good advice right there.

I don't think aquarium size is as big of an issue when starting out like it is in the saltwater aquarium hobby. When you get down into the nano/pico-size tanks, then it gets slightly more challenging... But I don't think 20g is small enough for it to be considered "difficult" to keep stable. I think it just depends on how much you're willing to spend, how much time you have to maintain the aquarium, and whether you think you're going to want a lot of plants/fish or not. Obviously, you can fit a lot more fish and plants into a 55g than a 20H.

Personally, i'd start out with the 55g. That's a good size to work with.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 04:39 PM
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For me it would depend on how your co2 situation is gonna be. You could easily do diy co2 in the 20, but if I had a 55 Imo would want pressurized! But once again depends on budget and what type of lighting used!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 05:01 PM
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The 55 is going to be a bit easier to care for simply because of the 35 extra gallons keeping things more stable. As others have said too, you're going to have more fun stocking a 55 than a 20. But really it just boils down to your budget and starting out simple.

And even that doesn't matter because you're going to plant the other one too, I guarantee it. And then buy another one of some size because, well, we're just never satisfied.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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I think I'll go with the 20 just to keep things... manageable.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 01:59 PM
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Are you new to fish keeping in general or just to planted tanks?
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 02:12 PM
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Strictly speaking from my experience as someone who's still in the beginner phase of planted tanks and fish keeping, starting with a 10 gallon was a bigger challenge than I could've possibly imagined. Thankfully that was about six months ago and things have gotten so much more manageable for me. I should've been better prepared in hindsight, but in my excitement I just wanted to jump right in and pardon the pun, "get my feet wet."
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Fish in general... BUT, I did spend 3 years researching reef aquariums in my free time (literally going through 20+ books twice, including Julian Sprung's enormous 3 volume set) and would say I have a pretty good knowledge of the basics that translate over to Freshwater.

For instance, routine water changes and the dangers of overstocking as well as maintaining pH levels. The only thing that I am really a tad bit unsure of after reading several books regarding planted aquariums are maintaining the macro and micro nutrients vital to plants...


@LiveHumanSkeleton: Yeah, it's very tempting. Hehe, I think I can manage to withhold for a few more months while I research though.

PS: I think I finally decided on what my tank will have. Hopefully a Southeast asian blackwater biotope featuring various cryptocoryne and dwarf rasboras!!
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 06:20 PM
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I have a fetish for the nano tanks myself. They are precious little gems.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 06:29 PM
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plant the 55


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 07:12 PM
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I was in a similar situation as you, I have a 55 and a 20g long so I started out with the 20 long (was cheaper to set up to see if I had any success growing plants or if I liked the hobby) and they I moved to a 29. I dont really like the dimensions of the 55 but some people are able to make nice scapes so if you have the money, a 55 might be the way to go. Another point is that you see many people on this forum with nano tanks, so It really depends on what you want. If you want something a little smaller or bigger then there's no real difference in what you choose besides the money for light,substrate...etc.

OR You could set up both!

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses everyone!!

I think I'm gonna get my feet wet with a low-tech 5 gallon, hopefully maintaining a budget of <$100 and move on to the 20 gallon this summer.

Probably just hardy plants only in the 5 until I can keep it stable for a few months, then I might add a tough fish...
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