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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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.

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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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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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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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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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.
 

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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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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I bought my 40b and 55 years ago when I worked for Tetra. The stands are pine and were the only style of stand I could order at the time,
The 40's stand is 28" tall, the tank (counting the rim) is 17" tall = 45".
The 55's stand is 32" tall, and the tank w/rim is 22" tall = 54" tall. I find the 40b way too short, but the 55 is a few inches too tall for me to enjoy when I'm sitting in the room (I'm 5'4" tall) I have a really hard time cleaning the 55, or even putting plants in, etc. It doesn't help that the 55 came with a wood canopy - that sucker is heavy & hard for me to lift over my head height to remove!
I've since aquired another 55, and I'm going to make a stand to hold them both that makes them the same height - it's going to be about 4 - 5" shorter to make cleaning easier on me. Your height will determine what's best for you. I enjoy my tanks mostly while sitting in the room, so that means I like them a lilttle lower, too.
 

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anything bigger than a 55 is not included in the $1 per gal deal
This is true. However, you'll also find that the tank is one of the least expensive parts of the system, and unless you have a total failure of the tank, one of the more durable.

More to the point, It will last for years. My 90 gal tank, which is my FW planted tank is way over 20 years old.
 

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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.
agreed, but for penny pinching on the sales 55g is easier to aquire lids, lighting yada yada than the 40B. Height on a 40B needs to be considered for stocking purposes also. That said,,, my 40B :hihi:

 

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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).
Just going to throw this out there, but I have my 75g on a 4ft stand which brings it up to everyone's eye level, and I'm VERY happy I did so.

All it takes is a chair to get into the tank for a much easier viewing experience. To each their own though. Personally I think tanks should be eye level with people in the room. First thing you see walking into the house is 1/4 of the tank and it just invites you to come in. At the dining room, I would have it eye level with people sitting, etc etc


To OP: With a 55g, you're going to be really sad with the lack of depth that a 75g does have
 
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