The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
427 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My last tank was a 10G. It did very well. It was taken over by plants by the end of its life (my roommate did not feed my fish over a christmas break and I wound up with nothing but snails :( ), but I had to leave everything behind except my rocks when I moved to Chicago.

Now, I have a boyfriend, a dog, and a cat... but no hobby. I really miss fish, so I'm thinking of going on craigslist and seeing what tank I can get for cheap, and start all over.

A 10 was nice. It seemed underwhelming in the huge livingroom I used to have, but it might seem more suited here, in half the space with twice the bodies (even as small and furry as two of them are). However, I had issues keeping the water stable sometimes. It was a constant battle. A larger tank would mitigate the problem somewhat, but that makes water changes more difficult, and stands for larger tanks start getting pricey.

A small, bedside betta tank would scratch the itch, but I have had poor luck with shrimp in the past, so I would have a betta and nothing else in probably a 5G. Bettas are pretty, and can be active and entertaining, but I loved watching my zebra danios dart around for hours. Plus, a bedside tank would not be there for me to watch while I'm in the livingroom.

I would love to go big or go home, and dive back in with a 40L or a 55, if I can find one for $50ish (or hit the petsmart $1/gallon sale. I don't mind the cheaper tanks, since it's usually too dark in my apartment to see the frame anyway), but I've never stocked a tank that big. We'll be in this apartment for at least 2 years, near as I can tell.

My aquascaping style is "PLANTS EVERYWHERE", so I don't need a particular aspect ratio to work with. I'll probably do a sand substrate with root tabs (that's what worked for me before), so a larger footprint won't necessarily increase my costs a huge amount in that respect, either. I'm going low-tech, with fluorescent clip-lamps (again, based of my 10G success--two desk lamps with 60W equiv. bulbs, for about 8 hours a day, did all I needed).. so maybe a shallower tank?

What are folks' thoughts? What factored into your decisions on tank size? What else should I factor into my decision?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
474 Posts
20 longs are a nice size, and easy to maintain. I have a colony of shell dwelling cichlids in my kitchen which are super fun to watch.

That said, I LOVE my 90 with 20 sump, and like you said it's a lot easier to keep water clean. Ironically the 90 is now less work since I plumbed it into permanent fill and drain lines from my house lines, so I only use buckets on the 20. The 90 is nice too because you can have big swords and dense Val forests without losing all room for the fish to swim. 20s get full of plants really quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
I'd wager most folks would not consider a 55 as a 'big' tank. 55 and under it seems easier to maintain and grow plants, from low tech to high tech. Once you start getting beyond 55 gallon footprints, longer, deeper, bigger, lighting starts to become more challenging, getting enough CO2 in larger tanks can require pressurized approaches, etc.

If I were diving back in, Petco locally for me has their $1/ gallon sale going, and I'd grab a 40 breeder. Shallow enough that lighting is easier, 3 feet long, but has enough front to back depth to aquascape, especially a heavily planted chaos scheme.

But if budget is a concern, think about a 55, which can easily be lit with 2 shop lights, with enough intensity to grow many different species.

Alan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,846 Posts
Here are my random thoughts on the subject...

Personally I can't stand the 40 gal long or standard 55 gal tank sizes. They are only about 12 inches front to back, which make them much harder to aquascape. I think a standard 30 gal tank or a 40 gal breeder make much nicer looking tanks. Note both are wider that a standard 55 gal tank.

If you like that 4 foot long front on the 55, consider a 70 gal tank. It's got the same front area as a 55 but is 18 inches wide. That extra 6 inches give you some fantastic working room for your aquascape. You could also consider a 90 gal tank which has the sane base as the 70 gal tank, but is a few inches taller. The down sides of these larger tanks is that they will cost you more, not only for the tank but for most of the other equipment. Your no longer in that $1 per gallon sale range. Also these may be too big for your apartment.

You can sometimes find very good prices for large used tanks, but check them out very carefully, especially for chips or cracks in the glass, especially along the edges. Also make sure the frame and center brace are in good shape.

Another often overlooked but very important factor is what do you plan to keep in the tank? You need not figure out everything in advance, but have some idea. On a smaller tank, your usually up close to it when viewing it. On a larger tank you can do this also, but you also might be looking at it from across the room. You might want larger fish in such a tank. Same sort of things with plants, what are you looking to keep in the way of plants. For example if you plant giant Vallisneria in a 30 gal tank it will over grow the surface and look way out of place. In a 90 gal tank, it might still over grow surface, but at least it looks good with decent pruning.

My way of doing things tends to pick several species of plants, and mostly stick to those species. I feel you get a much more unified look to my tank that way. That being said, I would not call wrong someone that had a little of everything all mixed up. I apply this to fish species kept also. Depending on the size of the tank and species of fish, I usually get about a dozen or so all of the same species, limiting the number of main species of fish I keep.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,721 Posts
I would steer you in the direction of the 40 gallon breeder.
Significantly larger than your 10 gallon so the parameters are much more stable.
More room for the fast moving fish like Danios (which really don't belong in a 10 gallon) and more room so you can set up a nicer community. Cories and Zebra Loaches for the bottom, some showy top fish, perhaps even a Betta (though not with Danios- they may pester him and nip his long fins)
Larger footprint for more plants, yet you can leave an area out front for the fish.
Shallow so even the DIY lighting options will give you pretty good light. No need to go high tech- just use some liquid carbon supplement like Seachem Excel.
It is still not so large that you cannot do water changes with buckets if you must, but a Python is not very expensive, and would be a good thing to buy, if it will attach to your plumbing.

A 40 breeder full of water, substrate, decor, etc. weighs something close to 400 lbs, so it is not so heavy that it has to have a special spot in the building. A sensible stand will spread that weight out over the floor so pretty much any construction will handle it.
Easy to filter. I am currently running an Aquaclear 70 on mine. This is pretty good with all the plants I have in there. The mid sizes of canister would work well, too. I have a 36 gallon tank with a Rena Filstar XP2 that is a nice size for this range of tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
963 Posts
I agree with everything said so far.

My two cents to summarize:

Pros - more options as far as stocking/aquascaping/planting
more stable water chemistry

Cons - weight/size restrictions
$$$ - bigger is almost always more expensive. Bigger/more filters, lights, substrate, livestock, plants, ferts, co2, and definitely don't forget about treating a large tank for anything needing aquarium meds!

That being said I always recommend the largest you can either fit or afford. Just keep in mind that almost always in my experience, the aquarium itself is the cheapest part of the whole system you will need to set up for a happy and healthy aquarium. If you'd like any clarification or elaboration on anything let me know. Good luck in whichever you decide on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
424 Posts
40 breeder or jump to a 75 imo

large tanks start at 120...imo
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
427 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks to everyone for their input!

To address a few points:

I consider above 36 to be 'large' because of an entirely arbitrary personal demand that I am able to conduct water changes myself in about an hour or less. That means 2-3 buckets that I can carry (around 3 gallons each; so a weekly 1/3rd w/c keeps me just under about 30G). (I have no muscles whatsoever)

A 40 looks like it will be my best go. The spot I have in mind is actually between two windows, as that literally has the least natural light in the apartment. I'll have to put 'blinders' on it to help control the light. It's right at 4'6" wide, so the 4' front is nice, but due to the light concerns something narrower might suit. I'm almost considering making a psuedo-built-in cabinet that stretches floor to ceiling and frames the tank, hides the miscellaneous equipment, and creates a sort of 'window' between the windows. I'm not sure yet, though.

As far as stocking, I'd actually like several silver dollars. I know they can get quite large, but I'm sure I'd be able to upgrade before they reach that point, since often they are sold at just an inch or so. But, they are large enough (and flashy enough) that viewing across the room is not an issue. A small school of Harlequin Rasboras and some Neon Tetras. Common fish, I know, but pleasant enough to keep. Maybe some corys, but I want to keep the need for water changes reasonable (per my earlier concern with buckets and my ability to actually carry them). (EDIT: Silver Dollars are notorious for nibbling plants, but I figured that with the right plants that would just cut down on my trimming. I generally wind up with massive overplanting because I actually just.. don't... trim. Lol)

I have been duly informed that I need to "wait a few months" since we have a number of big expenses coming up between now and.. well.. Christmas. But I don't want to wait that long. I may have to be content with the betta tank as noted. I'm going to see about doing a low-tech 5G. My other option is literally a tank full of miscellaneous plants collected piecemeal and no fish until next January.

Whatever is decided, I will of course start a new tank journal. It's sure to be an interesting journey, due to space and funding constraints. I would like to keep this thread for airing others' decision factors for the sizes they chose. It's interesting, because small does not necessarily mean inexpensive, and likewise large does not mean difficult. Tanks seem to be very personal choices, and I'm curious to see other's justifications for the sizes chosen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,074 Posts
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top