36" or 48" tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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36" or 48" tank?

I'm in the process of researching planted aquariums. I'm a newbie, so I'm trying to figure out what's involved and hopefully making sure I'm successful.

I've been going back and forth on what size tank to get. I've been looking at 36" and 48" tanks. I have room for either. They range from 44 gal up to about 72 gal depending on which tank and dimensions.

I realize the larger tank will have higher start up and operating costs. I'm leaning that way as (maybe incorrectly) I feel it might give me more options for fish to stock the tank. It seems maintenance wouldn't be appreciably more on the larger tank? Are there other aspects of the larger tank (or smaller) that I am not considering?

I"m sure other people have gone through this thought process. Any regrets on the size you picked? Happy with the size you picked for some particular reason? At least in the short term, this will likely be my only tank so I'd like it to be one that I can grow into and be happy with long term

thanks
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 02:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yo_eddy View Post
I'm in the process of researching planted aquariums. I'm a newbie, so I'm trying to figure out what's involved and hopefully making sure I'm successful.

I've been going back and forth on what size tank to get. I've been looking at 36" and 48" tanks. I have room for either. They range from 44 gal up to about 72 gal depending on which tank and dimensions.

I realize the larger tank will have higher start up and operating costs. I'm leaning that way as (maybe incorrectly) I feel it might give me more options for fish to stock the tank. It seems maintenance wouldn't be appreciably more on the larger tank? Are there other aspects of the larger tank (or smaller) that I am not considering?

I"m sure other people have gone through this thought process. Any regrets on the size you picked? Happy with the size you picked for some particular reason? At least in the short term, this will likely be my only tank so I'd like it to be one that I can grow into and be happy with long term

thanks
Hi, and welcome, in general (and in my opinion) bigger is better providing you have the space and funds. Aside from the initial expenses of purchasing the tank, light, and filtration I don't feel like every day operating costs would be appreciably more. Maintenance (or time invested) should also not be much more. When you compare a 10 gallon to 125 then sure then we might be looking at more time spent, but in this case it's not so drastic a difference.

A larger tank would afford you more room to stock whatever fish you desire. Larger volumes of water are also more stable (or take longer to become unstable) than smaller ones.

Something else to consider aside from the length of the tank is the width. If you're planning on planting (and even if you're not), many find it favorable to aquascape a wider tank. Standard 55's are 12 inches whereas the smaller 40 Breeder is 18 inches wide. I'm not sure about the others.

As to personal experiences, I've owned a 55 gallon when I was younger and a 40 breeder now. I really appreciate the wider side of the 40B even though it's shorter and has a smaller volume. I think most people will suggest you get the largest you can afford. If you end up being like most people here, you'll end up upgrading anyway (either in size or quantity!)
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 02:56 AM
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It can be difficult to light a tall tank effectively--you end up with too much light at the top and not enough at the bottom. I think the max I'd go with, height-wise, is about 20 inches. Others will have different opinions on that specific number.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 03:26 AM
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Hello and Welcome,
Lighting, co2 and all that comes with it(do pressurized co2).
I would say to go with depth over length, more ground to use.
I have both a 40B(36x18") and a 75(48x18"), 1 canister on the 40 and 2 on the 75.
Fish load depends on the kind you keep, I have just about the same amount in each tank but the 40 has "nano"(CPD's and the like) fish, where the 75 has angels and tetras.
Maintenance is about the same on them as far as the filters go, you don't clean both filters at the same time. but high tech is way more maintenance then low tech so keep that in mind.
Larger the tank, the more balanced it is, more forgiving, more ferts and co2 though.
I had a 42 bow once, i liked it when the bow was in the back, so a 72 bow would be nice that way i always though. or 2 of them.
Height is another concern, but it depends what you want, the deeper a tank, the wetter you get.
Regrets, yes. buy a house that you can get a 10' long tank into.
I'll check back in 3 years to see if you still have 1 tank. More power to ya.
Hope that helps a little.
ps
Watch where you put them, I cracked 1 of my floor joists with a 125 that i had. after that, all of my tanks are in the basement now, and that is ok.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yo_eddy View Post
I'm in the process of researching planted aquariums. I'm a newbie, so I'm trying to figure out what's involved and hopefully making sure I'm successful.

I've been going back and forth on what size tank to get. I've been looking at 36" and 48" tanks. I have room for either. They range from 44 gal up to about 72 gal depending on which tank and dimensions.

I realize the larger tank will have higher start up and operating costs. I'm leaning that way as (maybe incorrectly) I feel it might give me more options for fish to stock the tank. It seems maintenance wouldn't be appreciably more on the larger tank? Are there other aspects of the larger tank (or smaller) that I am not considering?

I"m sure other people have gone through this thought process. Any regrets on the size you picked? Happy with the size you picked for some particular reason? At least in the short term, this will likely be my only tank so I'd like it to be one that I can grow into and be happy with long term

thanks
If you want a tank to grow into go 75 gallon, but most importantly if you have to skimp on the other equipment to do the 75 gallon over say the 36" 40 gallon breeder then I would advise going 40 gallon and getting the equipment required (quality pressurized co2, ferts, quality 2 led lights, quality canister filter) over a bigger tank.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input. The 48 I'm considering is 20x20 (w x d) and the 36 is ~22 x 22. I like the depth better on the 36", but am considering stocking Denison Barb's. From some of the things I've read they would need the extra length, and the total volume might be pushing it for them (too low), so I may reconsider.

I'll go two canisters either way. Still working that out.

Weight should hopefully be covered. The crawl space has multiple supports within a foot or two of the tank location. I may double those up with some directly underneath. Likely overkill, but better safe than sorry.

I am likely splurging on lights. They need to pass the wife test and fit in with the rest of the decor. A futura-s matches somewhat stylistically with the light over our dining room table. They have a version that will fit either size. Just need to pretend I can't see the cost on that though. Possibly Radion's as those would work. I really like some of the ADA lights, but for no real reason I like the thought of sunrise/sunsets and storms and I don't think I can get the ADA's to do that.

And I've already planted a seed for another tank down the road. This tank hasn't been met with rousing enthusiasm, but plant the seed now, and it doesn't seem like a stupid idea later. Probably will need to wait until I retire though. I actually could get a 10' tank in this house, but that might make her head explode. Down the road, who knows? thanks again
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 03:23 PM
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Another consideration is the stand as the tanks are not of "standard" size. Both look like ADA sizes (the 48" is 120-P) and their stands are not cheap.
When in doubt, calculate the footprint and the large one would be my choice.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 03:55 PM
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You might want to consider a standard size as OVT suggested. One so the stand is cheaper and two because PetCo has their $1 a gallon sale going on right now. So the tank and the stand would be cheaper than an odd ball size.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 06:11 PM
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I personally would go with the 75. I have a 57 gallon 36 long - 18 deep - 21 high. I like the proportions but if you go with Flourescent bulbs, 36" long bulbs for some brands are hard to find. 48 inch bulbs are much more common. Hydroponic bulbs are typically 24" and 48". Now if you go with LEDs designed for aquariums, 36" aren't too hard to find.
I currently use 2x36" Fluval Plant Spectrum v.3.0. Nice ramp up and down adjusted via iPhone. Plenty of light for 21" high tanks imho.

Last edited by hbosman; 03-06-2019 at 06:17 PM. Reason: added
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Another consideration is the stand as the tanks are not of "standard" size. Both look like ADA sizes (the 48" is 120-P) and their stands are not cheap.
When in doubt, calculate the footprint and the large one would be my choice.
The stand is turning into the hardest item to source. I'm still looking for someone local, but I did find a place in Houston, from a post here, that can build and ship.

I'll look into the petco sale as well, but we just remodeled and whatever I pick needs to blend or the fish tank idea gets vetoed. I'm not sure I have the votes to overturn
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 01:16 AM
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One more thing to note is the ease of scaping. A larger tank may allow for more room and options but may require more scaping materials and know how to achieve the look you're after.


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 01:37 AM
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Go big or go home! I jest. Really it is about what you want from your tank. More surface area will give you more options as far as plants and scape are concerned. Smaller tank is less cost and are a bit less maintenance. As far as the stands are concerned, it may be easier and cheaper to get a combo at Petsmart or Petco.

I can't comment on size regrets since I started large from the beginning. However, I imagine that if I started small I may have regretted not going bigger. That is just my point of view though. I love a large expansive area.

On the other hand. I do see the allure of smaller tanks that allow the owner to focus on the tiny details instead of maintenance.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 04:03 AM
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@Yo_eddy, Petco and Live Aquaria have some decent stand choices. If a stand is a bit too short / narrow, making a custom top is much easier and cheaper then making the whole thing.

Another option closer to you is https://aqualabaquaria.com - if you don't see it on their Web site call the owner as he does do custom.

A longer shot is re-purposed furniture: Craigslist and such.
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