Advice on size needed - how big is too big

KaraGreg

New member
Hi,

I'm new to this forum. I currently have a 180 Gallon with LPS and lots of fish. We have 5 tangs, 2 clowns, a fox face and a trigger. I'm not a fan of SPS - but really enjoy the easy to keep LPS. We're building a new house and are designing our living room around a large tank. 300+. That said, when I mapped out all of the dimensions tonight in the floor plan, I'm worried that my original size of 96x30x36 will be too large for the space. We're now exploring a 84x24x30, or 84x30x36.

I want to have a large tank which would allow me to have lots of fish. My fav. part of the hobby is the fish - and a few LPS around to make it look like a reef. Is there a balance of going from 265 to 400? or 300 to 400 gallons? Just wanted to see what others out there who have had these sizes think.. I've got no one in my area with a tank this size to connect with so am hoping you may be able to give me some advice on:

- Is there a size (say 300 gal) that is easier to buy equipment for then going up? Ie, you only need 1 of things for 300gal, but would need 2 for 400gal, etc?

- forgetting cost difference in the tank and stand, is one size significantly more expensive then another size?

- with my tangs (and would love to get more) - do I need 8 feet long or is 7 sufficient? What about width - is there pros and cons to 24inches vs 30inches?

I'm going to have to buy all of the equipment new for the new tank so want to make sure I am factoring in all considerations prior to purchasing it online.

As well, I'm exploring centre overflows which would allow me to walk around all 4 sides. However, based on length, I may consider putting it against the wall and having it as a "wall/room divider'. That would mean that I would be able to have it drilled on one end - with pipes going down the side instead of the middle. Would you recommend one over the other?

MANY Thanks for your advice. This is our dream home, and I want this to be my "dream" piece/focal point!!

Thanks again,

Kara
 

saltwatershark

New member
The bigger the better! I don't think the cost for filtration differs much in the 300-500 gallon range (or even up to, say 600 gallons or so)-- once you're in the "300 club" might as well go to 600 gallons!

In all seriousness there really isn't much of a price difference for the equipment and the size is really function of your space, structural considerations (eg basement versus 2nd story and the direction of floor joists), access to running water and the plumbing stack, etc. I'm completing a 700 gallon tank currently and the biggest factor aside from structural considerations is the height of the tank and the appropriate lighting. Don't forget that once the tank is about 30" or taller, you won't be able to touch the bottom. I didn't care about this and my tank is 37" tall. The lighting is really heavy duty for this depth, but this will enable some pretty elaborate rock work.

Make sure you think through the structuaral considerations first and foremost, then figure out where your sump,RODI (fresh) reservoir, saltwater reservoir, and quarantine tank(s) will go. The consider noise-- having a separate fish room apart from the display would be fitting for a tank of this size. Trust me, a separate fish room for all filters, sump, etc. is a really nice thing to have.

Hope this helps!
 

NewMariner

Reef Tank Aficionado
No matter what she says, SIZE MATTERS.

I had a 180g tank, that I adored 10 years ago. I gave it up due to my son. Now, I have a 96x36x32 sitting in the garage. I would of gone bigger had I been able to afford it. The biggest cost is the tank itself. Stand and equipment are only slightly larger expenses.

In my opinion, I would go with a wider tank then with a taller tank. This allows for a little better aquascape of your live rock, and also allows for more turning room for the tangs.
 

ca1ore

Grizzled & Cynical
No matter how big of a tank you get there will always come a time when you wish you had mores space (sort of like closet space)! So, get as big a tank as you can afford and maintain. I recently got s 265, and already lament not going to 8 feet long and at least 30" front to back. Perfect tank for me would be 96"x36"x30" (so approx. 450 gallons).
 

DavidinGA

New member
I have a standard 210gal and with the cost of what I have in it it would only be marginally more if I would have went with a 400gal tank (the problem being I don't have room for anything bigger than the 210). You would have a slight initial cost increase mainly because of the cost of the bigger tank it's self. Bigger skimmer or a few more led's is just peanuts once your committed with the higher cost of a larger tank...
 

Oldude

Premium Member
Premium Member
My dimensions are 96 x 36 x 27. Having 36 inches front to back makes a huge difference in the dynamics of the tank and gives a greater perception of depth when viewing from the front. For me 27 high works well because any deeper than that makes it that much harder to reach the bottom for retreaving fallen items or moving stuff around if needed. In my opinion longer is better, I have 7 tangs in my display and having 8 ft gives them more area to swim and they are a joy to watch. I would have gone to 10 ft if room would allow.
All that said, it is more expensive to run a big tank - more lights, more salt for water changes, more live rock, more fish, more corals, etc. etc. however as far as I am concerned it is worth it.
Welcome to Reef Central & good luck with your project.
Happy Reefing!!
 

KaraGreg

New member
You guys are wonderful. We have a few features now with uor 180 - separate room, bigger equipment, lights, etc so I am used to that drill. The entire house was designed to hold an 8 foot tank - and 5,000lbs. It will be on the main level - with direct plumbing to fish room underneath it. We've added all sorts of joists, and steel beams and all that man stuff (hubby's job!) so I know we are covered for the supports, etc. We understand the costs well - which is why I wanted to maximize my tank size without it being "too big". Your feedback is extremely helpful!

For those who mentioned that your tank is 30+ inches deep - and you cannot touch the bottom - how do you do this? If a coral falls, or a rock lands on something, or a piece of plastic hits the bottom - how are you reaching it? We have those plastic fish arms - the tongs that can go get stuff but I find they are hard to manage, and hard to get smaller items. I also find that they won't pick up anything with much weight. Ie - rocks, etc. Is this a big deal? I think I would LOVE 36inch tall but am nervous of not being able to touch the bottom.

We are debating on a 30 or 36 inch wide tank. If we are going to put it in the center of the room with a full walk around - I didn't know if 3 feet would be cumbersome - whereas 30 inches, plus stand, seems to be a little less intrusive.

Do any of you have numerous tangs in your 8footers? I've dreamed of having a few of each kind - but always stayed away from it with our 180 due to space. Would increasing to 96x30x36 be sufficient to have a few of each? Where is the "code of rules on fish and size" book ;) ha!?

Also - I'm in NB and have been working with miracles on the order. They are advising star fire glass with 2 center overflows (if my plumbing is below the tank) for an 8 footer. Do you all agree? I currently have a long side overflow - on the 6 foot side of the tank - in my current set up.

Thanks again!!
 

dave.m

Active member
For reaching the bottom, you are correct about the tongs, but make sure you have more than one pair - makes it easier when lifting. I have taken care of 36" tall tanks and you will have to accept that sooner or later you are going to have to take your shirt off to reach the bottom.

And so what? You just can't beat the incredible panorama that a 36" tall window provides. Time spent reaching down to the bottom versus time spent looking at the tank is too small to even calculate. Get a face mask and a snorkel if you're really planning on spending a lot of time down there. ;)

If your tank is in the middle of the room then I'd agree with putting the drains and returns in the centre of the tank. Four-sides viewing is an impressive feat that many would like to pull off if only they had the space for it.

When you refer to "groups" of tangs, how many are you actually talking about? Some tangs get much bigger than others and space is finite. The more crowded the tank gets the greater the amount of aggression you will eventually start to see amongst your fish.

Dave.M
 

ca1ore

Grizzled & Cynical
My dimensions are 96 x 36 x 27. Having 36 inches front to back makes a huge difference in the dynamics of the tank and gives a greater perception of depth when viewing from the front. For me 27 high works well because any deeper than that makes it that much harder to reach the bottom for retreaving fallen items or moving stuff around if needed.

Yeah, wish I had more front to back depth on my tanks - 24" becomes limiting quite quickly. My current 265 is the first tank I have ever had that was 30" high, and while I agree with the arm-length point, that extra height is nice.
 

saltwatershark

New member
My tank is still empty so I really don't know. But at 37" high who cares, it'll be incredible to stare at! Seriously, I have some tongs and I'm ready to dunk my face in if need be. At almost 12 foot long it'll be a lot of fun watching tangs race the length of the tank. Plus at this size you can introduce lots of fish that typically are not considered reef safe in smaller aquaria-- eg, larger angels and triggers.
 

Oldude

Premium Member
Premium Member
Do any of you have numerous tangs in your 8footers? I've dreamed of having a few of each kind - but always stayed away from it with our 180 due to space. Would increasing to 96x30x36 be sufficient to have a few of each? Where is the "code of rules on fish and size" book ;) ha!?

If you have ever been scuba diving you'll see that fish don't mind being a bit crowded - they all hang around together on the reef while there is lots of wide open space just off the reef that they could go to but they prefer the reef. That said I know it is about food sources and protection but they still tend to crowd themselves. So in my opinion the real question is; can you handle the bio-load? Having the right equipment will be essential. Also I would choose tangs that don't get too large so they don't trash the place when they are full grown adults.
You will also want to introduce the same shape tangs together or they will often beat up on any newcomers. If you plan to add any aggressive tangs like powder blue etc. you should usually add them last. Like Dave said you can still have too many, an 8 foot tank sounds big but when the fish grow they fill the space pretty fast.
 

vair

New member
300g plus, what ever you go for make sure to make a generous size fish room for running the back end of it all. They get small real quick with sumps, water storage, equipment and you still need space to work in there.
 

KaraGreg

New member
Big thanks to you all - I think we are going to go with 96Lx30wx36h! Many thanks for your advice and reassuring comments. I will have many more questions, I am sure :)
 

dave.m

Active member
That sounds like an epic build. I hope you will keep us all informed of your progress.

Dave.M
 
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