Advice wanted: Tank placement.


New member
Please chime in on advice about where to put my tank, I'm just now starting demo, rebuilding, etc. but knowing where the tank will be will assist in where to put some plugs. And potentially advise on things I'm not foreseeing right now.

Some absolutes
  • Tank has a footprint of 5' x 6'
  • Tank is viewable on 3 sides, two of the 6' sides and one 5' side (picture represents non-viewable pane in black)
  • Tank will be completely enclosed top to bottom, trapping heat will be paramount this working, I will have ventilation to the outside however.
  • While some sort of closed loop may happen with the existing holes in the bottom, I'm not a fan of them for energy concerns, I really want to make this as low energy a tank as possible given the constraints on size.
  • The sides/front are 3/4" acrylic, back is 7/8" (due to the way they made the back black by slapping thin black sheet on top)
  • Sump is 8' x 3'... long story but for the sake of argument lets assume this won't change.
  • Assume the area where the sump "juts out" is going to be doored off, as an access area for back of tank access.
  • For the purposes of placement, the tank will be on this side of the room. (See picture)
  • There are going to be service hatches all around the tank, and the tank will primarily be accessed in that way (above and below) rather than having a truly functional "fish utility room" there just isn't enough space to do that.
  • I'm looking to build a bar top (or quasi-bar) around the perimeter if anything to assist with getting over the tank to do any sort of work. Not set in stone though, as I'm sure a small step ladder could do something similar.. but it's acrylic so would rather not have to deal with those scratches that will inevitably happen when the ladder looks funny at the acrylic.
  • This is probably more of a zen/meditation area than a man cave, but my wife is calling it that presumably because she knows it may have mess at various times (still need to figure out water storage/mixing)

Please excuse the crudeness of the photo, I'm no where close to as skilled as quite a few people are on here with Google Sketchup and the like :)

Option 1: Dead center
  • Three sides viewable
  • approx. 5 feet space from tank to walls on the two 6 foot sides (couch, chairs, etc)
  • Access from all 3 sides (and back)
  • View should be spectacular, front back view of 5 feet in two directions, 6 feet in another
  • multiple sides of rock to have corals on
  • In order to get that view aquascaping has to be carefully planned
  • Would seeing through ruin the illusion of depth?
  • Aquascaping would be more limited to allow appropriate clearance from walls
  • Water movement, i'm not a big fan of closed loops (holes are already there)
  • Limits pumps to back wall (I'm not sure that those "stick mounted" seaswirl like ones in the corners near the front wouldn't be an eyesore"
  • Limits pumps to extremely strong pumps (Tunze 6200/6300 equivs) maybe Vortech MP60(?)
  • Thickness of acrylic limits vortechs to MP60
  • That post (box) holding the room up... granted it's only 8 inches thick but I'm wondering if that itself will be an eyesore with only about 2.5 feet of clearance from the front of the tank to the post. Needless to say a bar top on that side will be limited/non-possible.
  • More surface area I have to keep clean! :)

Option 2 - Against the window
  • Unobstructed view without a post in the way
  • More flow via pumps along "back"(side) wall
  • More options, MP40s now possible with thickness reduced
  • Aquascaping can be closer to "back"(side) pane without worry of being too close
  • One less pane that will be a pain to clean ;)
  • "Complete" wrap around bar top an L shape at least
  • Less construction/finish work needed only need to do 2 sides instead of 3

  • The obvious.. I lose a viewing pane
  • Accessing the "back"(side) could be quite problematic unless I leave a gap on that side to get between with forethought of inflation adjustments (of my midsection over time)
  • Window being an older single pane window will become a source of condensation, and eventual mildew/mold, while I am going to rip out drywall, replace with mold/moisture resistant stuff, FRP, insulation in the walls/floor, I'm not replacing a window.

Option 3- ????
I am going to limit myself to that half of the room, I did consider putting the tank dead center on the window side of the wall, but even if I rotated the sump and had a "sitting area" to cover the part that juts out the distance to the post would then be only 1 foot, and the post is the whole reason that got me second guessing my placement (well that and water flow)
And yes I did consider separating the two parts of the room from wall to post and having 2 side viewable (with some of a third) but it just seem silly with such a wide tank, not an good choice for room divider.


Active member
I think you are going to want access from as many sides as possible in order to access stuff inside such a wide tank. Remember, you are only going to have about 2' access from any side (unless you're an orangutan).

What about putting the "back" of the tank against the 8" pillar? That gives you access to the tank from all sides, plus you regain the use of all the walls and the window in the room. You can wrap the tank with bars as you like. The only downside I can think of is bringing electricity and water to a central location, but that can probably be managed by increasing the width of the pillar by a few inches and bringing everything down from the ceiling.



New member
Yeah, the access is the issue that I think will represent the biggest challenge, I think I have a good feel for how to accomplish that with very large access doors that are magnetically attached to the frame and can just come off.

While I do like the idea of the back against the pillar there are a couple issues that would come of that.
1) It would potentially still need to be 2 feet away from the pillar to account for the sump. So instead of it being 2.5' from the post/pillar it'll be 2.5 feet from the wall which would really make it a smoosh.
While I could potentially move it off center maybe a foot and just build around the sump that's jutting out it might make it a bit of an eyesore (might be time to break out the cardboard and lay it on the floor.

2) I didn't mention it in the picture, but you enter the room from the bottom left corner walk straight across to the bottom right to get to the backyard. The entire room is a very open concept 15' x 23' with one post in the center to hold the whole thing up. If the tank was "flipped" I'd be worried that the back of the tank is just a big 5 foot wall of nothing, and simply seeing a bit of the sides as you walk through.


New member
Oh and the power and water shouldn't be a huge issue, I can actually get access from under the floor (since part of the demo is removing it all :D).

Thanks for ideas... yeah reaching stuff is going to be a pain... maybe the center should be a free swim zone with no corals or anything that needs to be touched :D