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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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40 or 55...

So, I bought a 55 gallon over the summer during one of petco's $1/gallon sales. I thought it was a rare occurence, lol.

I have the DIY stand all drawn up and ready to be built but I'm not actually doing any work on this tank until next summer.

As I try to brainstorm aquascapes, I find myself a bit frustrated with the 12" depth of the 55 so I'm considering craigslisting the 55 for $45 and using that to buy a 40 gallon at the next sale.

I want a larger tank because I want to keep my three favorite fish once again... 1 Red tailed black shark, some Khuli loaches and a few angels.

additionally, I'll have a small shoal of cherries, or rasbora's.

With those fish in mind; I'm going to need several cave-like shelter's for the RTBS and khuli's and I just think the narrow footprint of the 55 will be too constricting.

Also, since I plan on using a soil/sand substrate I think the extra height of the 55 will make balancing the lighting too difficult.

So what are all your thoughts?


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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 10:17 PM
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The 40G breeder gives you plenty of room to work with in terms of scaping. You might miss the length of the 55 if you have territorial fish.

Also, the 40G breeder is so short relative to what you expect that you need to use a taller stand in order to get a good view of it from the front. Otherwise you look down on it.

The 40G breeder is a somewhat akward tank to light. You either need two low light fixtures spread front to back or one more normal fixture raised a good bit off of the top of the tank (with a light hanger most likely).

The 40G breeder is a great tank for many reasons but it is just sort of akward in a few unexpected ways so keep that in mind before you get one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by firefiend View Post
So, I bought a 55 gallon over the summer during one of petco's $1/gallon sales. I thought it was a rare occurence, lol.

I have the DIY stand all drawn up and ready to be built but I'm not actually doing any work on this tank until next summer.

As I try to brainstorm aquascapes, I find myself a bit frustrated with the 12" depth of the 55 so I'm considering craigslisting the 55 for $45 and using that to buy a 40 gallon at the next sale.

I want a larger tank because I want to keep my three favorite fish once again... 1 Red tailed black shark, some Khuli loaches and a few angels.

additionally, I'll have a small shoal of cherries, or rasbora's.

With those fish in mind; I'm going to need several cave-like shelter's for the RTBS and khuli's and I just think the narrow footprint of the 55 will be too constricting.

Also, since I plan on using a soil/sand substrate I think the extra height of the 55 will make balancing the lighting too difficult.

So what are all your thoughts?
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 10:38 PM
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in terms of preference i'd go: 40L, 40B, 55.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 11:00 PM
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I've never seen a 40L - I bet that looks good!
I have both a 40b and two 55s. I agree with everything madness said. The 40b is my favorite for the depth, but my stand is too low. The tank is great to see while sitting in a chair, but you can't see much standing up. Lighting is an issue for me too. I do low light, but I think I'll get two individual T5NOs in the future - one for the front half & one for the back. You can really be expressive with the hardscape and plantings in a 40b, you have to much more creative to overcome the shallow depth of the 55. Sadly, I like the long length of the 55 - but if I had to pick just one, I'd keep the 40b. The shapes will dictate what fish you can have, if you're fair to your fish. Some folks don't care, but some fish need the room to turn and/or hide that a 40 has, and some fish that are active schoolers like the long length of the 55.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 11:06 PM
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40 breeder is very nice, except you'll probably need a 4 bulb T5 fixture to light it effectively. You could do a nice noon burst, but I would only run the front and back bulb for the majority of the time. Catalina makes great 4 bulb fixtures for a good price that can run just 2 bulbs at once. 55 is nice for the length, but its so narrow its hard to scape. Id say for a new 55 gallon tank you should at least get 55 bucks off craigslist! 45 is a little low if you ask me. You can make either work well, but I love the 40 breeder.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 11:19 PM
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I was in the same position a year ago. It was the Petco $1/gallon sale and I was left deciding between a 40B & 55 gallon. I actually had both of them in the cart and rolling to my car at one point. Unfortunately my car couldn't fit both, lol. I saw it as either you want to focus more on the fish (55 g = more bioload) or the aquascape (40 g = more depth). You could certainly do both with either tank but one has a slight advantage towards an area. I went with a 55 gallon because I wanted a nice school swimming the length of the tank.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 11:39 PM
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40B without a doubt has amazing dimensions...
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 11:44 PM
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40b with 2 T5NO dual bulb fixtures
fyi these fixtures are becoming hard to find, but light my tank perfectly.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-28-2011, 01:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firefiend View Post
So, I bought a 55 gallon over the summer during one of petco's $1/gallon sales. I thought it was a rare occurence, lol.

I have the DIY stand all drawn up and ready to be built but I'm not actually doing any work on this tank until next summer.

As I try to brainstorm aquascapes, I find myself a bit frustrated with the 12" depth of the 55 ...

So what are all your thoughts?
You have hit upon the main reason that I'm not a fan of 55 gal tanks. They look great from the front, but that 12 inch front to back makes aquascapeing difficult.

A lot of people have recommended a 40 gal breeder. This is an excellent size tank.

I recommend a different alternative. Go with a larger tank, like a 70 gal tank or a 90 gal tank. The 70 has the same frontal area as a 55, but is 18 inches front to back. The 90 has the same base as the 70, but is a few inches taller.

Your stand design would even work. Just make it 6 inches longer front to back.

That way you'll get the front visual impact of the 55, but have that depth for aquascapeing. Yes, a 70 or 90 will cost more but you might be able to find one used.

Last edited by DaveK; 09-28-2011 at 09:20 PM.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-28-2011, 02:34 AM
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I would recommend looking into a different tank as well. I have a 55 at home and was very frustrated with the lack of depth. The tank always looked drawn out and eventually I gave up trying to get that "look". My friend has a 40B and we were able to get a great look and the added depth helped dramatically with the aquascape, but like mentioned above, you need a tall stand or it looks odd. I like the ideas thrown around by DaveK as well, since they give you everything the 55 and 40B are lacking.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-28-2011, 02:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
You have hit upon the main reason that I'm not a fan of 55 gal tanks. They look great from the front, but that 12 inch front to back makes aquascapeing difficult.

A lot of people have recommended a 40 gal breeder. This is an excellent size tank.

I recommend an different alternative. Go with a larger tank, like a 70 gal tank or a 90 gal tank. The 70 has the same frontal area as a 55, but is 18 inches front to back. The 90 has the same base as the 70, but is a few inches taller.

Your stand design would even work. Just make it 6 inches longer front to back.

That way you'll get the front visual impact of the 55, but have that depth for aquascapeing. Yes, a 70 or 90 will cost more but you might be able to find one used.

+1. If you're anything like me, you're going to eventually want both (more fish and aquascape to your heart's content). If you can afford it now, go the largest possible. I'm waiting to own a house before I go beyond 55 gallons but 125g is definitely what I have my sights on. If you have the available footprint for a 4' long or an 18" wide tank, you can definitely squeeze in a 75 (or maybe even a 90). You won't regret it if you enjoy this hobby.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-28-2011, 02:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
I recommend an different alternative. Go with a larger tank, like a 70 gal tank or a 90 gal tank. The 70 has the same frontal area as a 55, but is 18 inches front to back. The 90 has the same base as the 70, but is a few inches taller.
anything bigger than a 55 is not included in the $1 per gal deal
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-28-2011, 03:09 AM
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I recommend the 40. In the long run I would try and upgrade, like when the angels and shark near adult size, but the 40 will be great for a very long time. It will take up less space than the 55 and maintenance will be much quicker and easier.

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-28-2011, 03:58 AM
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Like Dave said, the standard 75 gallon is one of my favorite size tanks, 48x18....125 gallon is the 6 foot version, I have both, still, I like the 75g for planted.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-28-2011, 05:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great feedback... I would love to go larger but sadly, it's just not practical at this time.

After reading all the posts I think I'm leaning towards the 40B. The biggest issue people seem to have with it is the stand height. Since I'm building the stand custom I can easily resolve this part. Then I just need to figure out the lighting.

So for those with the 40B, what stand height do you find most pleasing? Typical stands would be about 30-33". Going too high would make leaning over the tank difficult (without a stool, at any rate).


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