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Old 09-07-2004, 12:56 PM   #1
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What size tank for a beginner?

Good morning all...

I've been doing a lot of reading and research for the past few weeks, and I'm ready to start putting together a list of aquarium accessories that I want to buy. However, my biggest problem so far has been trying to decide on an aquarium size. In most of my reading, the rule of thumb seems to be "the bigger, the better" for a beginner, mostly because a change in water quality is apparently easier to control in a larger environment. does this seem to be an accurate statement? for those of you who did start with a large tank, did you run into any problems that made you wish you had started smaller?

My thinking right now is that I will get a tank no smaller than 55 gal, with a maximum size of around 120 gal.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!!!
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Old 09-07-2004, 01:00 PM   #2
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I prefer a 75gal over a 55 gal. The resoning is that the 55 is just to narrow to easily aquascape where as the 75 is a bit wider and that makes it alot easier when it comes to doing the rock aquascaping.

The larger the water volume the more stable the system. That is a true statement. Of course at the same time the larger the system the more costly to operate so there is a balance there between stability and cost.

If you have space and a budget I would start with a 75.
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Old 09-07-2004, 01:10 PM   #3
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You might want to think about what your budget is. The cost can add up pretty quickly. What do you want to keep? Fish Only, Fish Only With Live Rock, Reef? One thing that you can do to save some cash is buy only the tank and stand from your LFS and purchase everything else online or out of a catalogue. As far as tank size goes, I'd personally choose a 75gal tank over a 55 because it has a larger footprint. In my opinion, it is easier to aquascape with the extra 6" of space from front to back. HTH
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Old 09-07-2004, 01:12 PM   #4
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lol, fishfreek beat me to the punch once again!
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Old 09-07-2004, 01:19 PM   #5
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I do love my 75g starter tank. But learning more about fish and coral, I really wish I had a 125g. I take that back, a 210g is the object of my desire. 8)

So, my answer to your question about wishing I had started with a smaller is - - - I wish I had started with a larger tank.
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Old 09-07-2004, 01:19 PM   #6
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I agree. I was going to go with a 55 until I realized that the 75 was the same length, only deeper and a couple of inches taller (IIRC). It seems like a good size all around. Though no doubt in a year or two I'll be pining after a 180 . . .
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Old 09-07-2004, 01:34 PM   #7
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I like the 120. I wish I would have bought it instead of the 90. My 90 has a 18 deep by 4ft wide foot print, while the 120 has a 4ft by 2ft foot print. 2ft for aquascaping is aswesome. The only two problems I see are that:

1. It is a lot of water volume in a small foot print. Unlike the 125 with is 6ftx 18" the weight is not spread out a crossed multiple floor joist( but this really only matters it you are placing it on a unsupported floor)
2. You'll need better lights (if you plan to keep coral) like Metal Halides with a min of 175w since the tank is so deep. but the good thing is you'll only need two as opposed to 3 with a 6 ft tank.
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Old 09-07-2004, 02:17 PM   #8
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If you can, get the 120!
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Old 09-07-2004, 02:34 PM   #9
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I think it's important to look at costs.. It makes no sense going for a big tank and then realizing you're gonna have to skimp on all the other stuff you need. It's better to do a good small tank than a mediocre large one.

Also IMO, anything around 30 gal or over is fine for a beginner so don't feel like you have to go big to stand a chance.

However (I think I just wrote this in another thread too) it's very important to take the intended livestock into consideration before purchasing a tank. There are a lot of SW fish that get very big, and indeed should not be kept in smaller tanks. It's never a good approach to get the tank setup first and then decide what life you want to put in it. You'll nearly always want something you can't accommodate.
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Old 09-07-2004, 02:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinsdad
I do love my 75g starter tank. But learning more about fish and coral, I really wish I had a 125g. I take that back, a 210g is the object of my desire. 8)
:
It doesn't end there. Now I want a 400 gallon
(won't happen )

Agree with others, the bigger the tank, the better.
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Old 09-07-2004, 03:06 PM   #11
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As big as possible, as small as necessary.

I agree with all that is stated here. Larger tanks equate to larger water changes, more power consumption, and more initial set-up costs. The benefit is a more stable envirinment and less chance of an expensive crash. You can do a nice set-up in a 55 gallon, I actually like the more narrow profile. Once you do it, you will want a 100+ gallon though....... Ask me how I know
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Old 09-07-2004, 05:15 PM   #12
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I just started on a 72 gallon bow. Altough I wish it were bigger I am happy with it.
big enough to have many options. A couple of years down the road I'd love to move up.
Good Luck
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Old 09-07-2004, 07:21 PM   #13
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About 3 weeks ago I was all primed to start my first SW tank, a 90Gal. I ony have room for a 4ft tank and I thought the 90 was the largest 4ft made. As I went to AGA to find the actual dimensions(for the stand) of the 90 I discovered the 120.

So anywho my 120 will be here on Friday. Now that the stand is done and in place I'm kinda stunned/scared on how big this thing is gonna be. But don't get me wrong its gonna be a ton of fun.

The 120 is a third larger than the 90, which means more stability but also 6in more of fish. The change in cost for me from a 90 to 120 wasn't very drastic.
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Old 09-08-2004, 12:32 AM   #14
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I started with 29 and 38 gal FO tanks. I now have a 75 gal reef with a sump and fuge. Make sure you are committed to the time and money before you buy that big tank. I like my 75 but I could see a 120+ sometime later
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Old 09-08-2004, 06:39 AM   #15
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Buy the biggest tank that will fit into your space. That said, I have over $2000 into my 75. So keep an eye on budget.
What are the plans so far?
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Old 09-08-2004, 09:16 AM   #16
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Thanks for all the replies!!

From what I've seen, I think I will go with something in the 75-90 gal range, as it should fit nicely into my budget. If I can find a good deal on a 120, I might cave. As far as purchasing is concerned, my plan was to buy the tank accessories first with the tank size in mind, and then buy the tank last. That way, I can hopefully purchase quality parts and not have to settle for the cheapies after blowing my wad on a huge tank! :P

My current plan right now is to go with a FOWLR tank for now with some coral somewhere down the road. As far as livestock is concerned, I have been planning on having what seems to be the solid choice for starter fish, a Tang, a Clownfish or two, maybe a couple of Damsels or Chromis. Although I have heard that Chromis might have issues with the Clowns. And of course, a nice cleanup crew as well!
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Old 09-08-2004, 11:51 AM   #17
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My 2 blue/green chromis do very well with 2 perc clowns in a 75g. You might wanna consider the chromis instead of the Damsels. I've heard stories of the territorial buggers (depending on the type, of course) wreaking havoc and how they were so hard to remove with the rock in place. And depending on the tang choice, it might have to go in near last or last instead of as a starter.

Good luck!
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Old 09-08-2004, 07:22 PM   #18
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I am WAY below all of you!

My wallet can't handle the lighting requirements for a long tank. a 48" lighting setup is WAY more expensive than a 24"

and I would also need MUCH more Live Rock.

Expensive. So I went with a 37 gallon cube. A bit limiting, but It saves alot of dough.
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