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I have been looking into start a tank and cant decide on which size. I have been debating on a 26 or 46. Price wise there is not a lot of differance between the two. I could be wrong, but i think the 46 gallon will be more forgiving if I mess something up due to having more volume of water. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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You are correct. The bigger the tank, the more forgiving it is, when\if you mess up.
 

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Honestly, no matter how big a tank you get you will at some point look at it and say, "Darn, I wish it was bigger." So always go for as big as you can get and then make the most of it!
 

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If I were to go back in time, I would have gone bigger and I have a 29 gallon. Big tanks only have one disadvantage, they take up more room. Other than that, I can't think of anything negative about a bigger tank.

One thing to realize, the tank is probably going to be your smallest cost overall. Some things will cost signficantly more for the size. If your footprint is 2x as big, you will pay twice as much for substrate, plants, fish, etc. But other things, like filtration, uv filters, stand, and other equipment may only be 10-20% more than a smaller tank. So the actual tank will usually be pretty cheap interms of this hobby, depending on how far you want to go with it.
 

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Just to play devil's advocate here...

To some people, bigger is not always better. I've had large tanks in the past, at least in my SW days, and I eventually decided that smaller tanks are easier to work with, and lower-cost/quicker payoff as well.

Yes, tiny nano tanks present a few issues, but generally speaking, anything 10g and larger is relatively practical. You have to remember that the larger the tank is, the more plants will be required to "complete" the scape. This means that both money and plant selection must be available to you. When you don't fully stock your tank with the correct amount of plants, algae and other issues can present themselves that wouldn't normally do so with a packed tank.

Then don't forget that finding and arranging hardscape materials is more of an undertaking the larger the tank is. It can be frustrating to look at your tank and feel like there is just too much open space, or negative space. These are all things that should be considered, IMO.

With a smaller tank, say, a 20-long (just, one of my favorites), you can probably "complete" your scape and be satisfied with the way it looks upon the first, immediate planting. And I've never had a problem (in the FW world anyway) with a small tank crashing so fast that by the time I got home from work it was too late. I'm talking about 5 or 10 gallons here, not 1g pico tanks. Yes, the smaller the tank is the faster it can fall apart if something is wrong, but it's not lightning fast or anything. Not for your typical, planted community-esque type of tank. Maybe if you had a specialty tank, with specific parameters, like a Sulawesi biotope, or a brackish tank, that would be different.

So, I'm not a fan of the "bigger is always better" mentality. I do love big tanks, though, don't get me wrong. Just, bigger does not necessarily equal better.

(And yes there have been stories of people wishing they had gotten smaller tanks after the fact. It has happened to me before, and I've read stories on this very website).

With all of that being said, I will echo the others who recommend a 40-breeder. Those are just the perfect size, IMO, to create a beautiful 3-dimensional aquascape.
 

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As you are looking at 26 and 46, I thought I'd give my 2 cents. I personally liked the novelty of a bowfront tank when I first saw them. But after looking at them for 5 minutes or so they give me a headache. For me at least there is some irritating optical distortion with the curve that make watching a fish swim around inside it annoying. This is just my opinion but I'd reccommend making sure that you have seen a full bowfront filled with water and fish and it doesn't bother you prior to purchase. I'll take a flat front (and a lot of saved money) over a curve anyday.

40 Breeder sounds nice although I really loved the size of my old cichlid tank, a 65 gallon. Its the same footprint size but taller. I think it depends on what your going todo with it. Extra Height would normally mean more light is required. I'm certainly biased in that regard as my basement has a 90 gallon (75 gallon + extra height), a 65 gallon (40b + extra height) and a 25 XH (20H + extra height).
 

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AS LONG AS you can easily reach the bottom, bigger is best. I have a 27 inch tall tank and it is on a kind of high stand.

I am not the tallest guy around, I can barely reach the bottom when I'm on a stool. But I did wish my 10 gallon tank was bigger. Too few fish options, and LIMNOPHILA takes over quite fast. Go for the 46.

@ above guy, I picked my "35" gallon semi bowfront because it was cheaper than the 40. Not only that, but the 40 gallon was 27 inches tall. I don't know how much a true bowfront would distort, but I can see my fish just fine.

If I had a "beef" with my tank, its that the back isn't well lit near the top. I had some mifoil that would stop growing at a certain point because they reached a shadow. It is an issue that I haven't been able to solve. The hood came with the tank...
 

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I'm sure a bit of preference comes into it. The first curved glass aquarium I saw was an all-glass corner tank (54 gallons perhaps?) I saw it empty and thought it was a neat idea and was actually considering it. A few weeks later they had a demo tank setup with it and I immediately hated it. When the water is added and actual fish swimming around I didn't like it. I assume it was the combination of following a moving object from my stationary position made the distortions more noticable and the addition of water with its own refractive index so the lens effect is magnified.

So Im sure the effect is lessened when there is less of an angle but I have looked into it much and honestly the pet stores I goto nowadays don't seem to have any demos with filled bowfronts so I can't judge. I'm sure initial experience put me off on the concept so now its something I would look for and be annoyed by.
 

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Height is your enemy. Even my 75 is too tall for my taste. I can't reach the bottom without rolling t-shirt sleeves up and I have long arms. I think the perfect plant tank shape is a cube.
 

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Honestly, no matter how big a tank you get you will at some point look at it and say, "Darn, I wish it was bigger." So always go for as big as you can get and then make the most of it!
Gotta agree. Went from 10 to 28 to 75 and now on a 210. And guess what, want bigger.

Bigger in the beginning is more $, but cheaper than buying small, and then buying bigger. Bigger does give you more options in the long run.
 

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Since this hasnt been touched upon yet I thought I would throw it out there: do you have the room to house the bigger tank+stand? and would it be in a place you could enjoy it?
These seem like obvious questions but Ive placed tanks in spots that I later regretted (under a sunny window...instant algae) then found out I couldnt move it anywhere else.
 
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