Please recommend a tank size for my fish list


New member
I am going to build/or obtain my dream tank based upon my fish list...i am converting a 2 car garage into a family room(wife's orders)...tank will be a FOWLR and will have 2 to 3 times the recommended amount of rock consisting of standard rocks, slabs and branch. wife wants a family room and i want a dream tank but i also gave up buying a new truck for this and wife has given her approval as it is a GO..just got to figure it all out now


Drawf angels
coral beauty (have)
bi color
1/2 black (have)

Large angels

raccoon (have)
heniochus (b/w)
saddle back

Fox face

harlequin tusk
lunar (have)
pink face

powder blue (have)
atlantic blue
sail fin(have)
powder brown
white cheek(?)

now i realize there is aggression issues with fish on this list...
that is part of the reason for the amount of live rock is to break up line of sight..but in your recommendation for tank size please include lots of swimming room as well

grow out /temp home tanks currently on hand
200g (7ft)
210g (6ft)
175g bow (6ft)
75g (4ft)
55g (4 ft)

the crow out tanks can and will be used for additional display tanks after the dream display is completed and up and running as i said before i know there is aggression issues with this list so if i need to or have to i can/will move the fish(s) that need to be moved back to one of the crow out tanks....

all recommendation's for tank size are welcome...but chewing and all please give an honest objective opinion


New member
Since you say you want to include plenty of swimming room, plus plenty of room for rockwork, it sounds like you do not just want recommendations for the minimum possible size for that full list. So keeping that in mind, I think that your limiting factor is not only the unicorn, but also your large angels. The queen, for instance, might get to be 18". So I would think that your minimum width is 36". And I think you'll want at least 8' in length for the tangs. So your minimum is maybe 8' long by 3' wide by maybe 30" high (450 gallons). For plenty of swimming room, how about geting a tank that's 10' long by 4' wide by 3' tall? (That's only 900 gallons!)


New member
I think you need at least an 8'long x 24"wide tank. Heigh isn't all that important. I have alot of fish in mine, but not that many.


New member
so afr the recomended tank sizes are SMALLER tahan i have in mind...mrwilson you are correct iam not looking for min size..i looking fo what would be a nice comfy home for life for theese fish size...i want lots of rock work for territorial issues and i want lots of open space for swimming room


New member
re think some of the big fish. i would stick to more of the smaller tangs and medium sized angels. use ur 200 gallon, but be careful about stocking. also keep in mind of the different needs of the fish. lots of rock means lots of grazing points, but not a lot of swimming space.

check out take a look at their reef tanks. your setup should be similar, minus the corals.


New member
iam interested in a tank of 2 to 3 k gallons to comfortably house for life the above fish list....i want my dream tank and iam not setteling for a normal sized tank that i already have.....

what i am looking for is sugestions of respectable (not minimum) tank size to happily support the fish list with 2 to 3 times the standard amount of rock per gallon...


New member
Well since your looking to go with a tank that is bigger than minimum size . Lets attack the question a different way.
How big of a space do you have avalible for this tank ? What part of the house is it going into and will the room its in be used for ?


New member
Well my post just flat out went into cyber oblivian so ill try this again here.....i am requiring a 6 foot width....because of the amount of rock......i have room to go about 25ft long but it will be a built in look and i will have the sump gigantic skimmmer and other equipment behind the tank so i will need room for a doorway at one end of the tank...the room is going to be a family room...converting grage into a family room
Without looking at the list in detail, I think 1000 gals plus is definitely in order.....

Your question is so open ended it is difficult to answer........ to be honest :) In your 2000-3000 gal design paramenter, there are three main limiting factors:

(1) Physical - where are you putting this tank.... is there a "spot" you had in mind? Are you limited in any one particular dimension? How about weight...... relaistically every 1000 gals is going to weigh at least 5 tonnes..... so structural requirements are a serious concern also.

(2) Economical - did you win the lottery or do you have a budget in mind :D If there is a ceiling on your budget, then I would say that bigger is not always better...... by that I mean if you can afford to kit out a 1000 gal tank, but decide to stretch to a 2000 gal tank, but make do a 1000gal systems equipment, then I would advise against that. What ever your budget is, base your figures on about 70% of that, giving yourself a 30% contingency. Then plan for a system which allows for an excellent skimmer, and excellent mechanical filteration system..... plenty of space for a macro algae bed, and a decent sized water preparation facility.... for doing large scale water changes...... without a good system behind you this tank will be a nightmare.

(3) Time - how much time do you have? Are you retired.... ah yes, I see from your avatar you are...... coz this beauty is going to take alot of time........

All in all..... if you base your gallons on the old 1" per 5 gallon rule (which does have its merrits, but is largely obsolete IMO) and taking max wild sizes, I;d say you have roughly about 240" of fish..... so that means about 1200 gals. To be honest, that to me sounds about "right" as a comfortable minimum..... not an absolute minimum, but a minimum as you have defined it....

That would be a 10x4x4 tank...... which sounds nice..... and would allow for allot of rock work...... you could build a reef wall right down the centre, 8' long, with an average width of 2' and an average height of 2'..... alowing say a good 6" down the back for circulation and a good 18" along the front meaning your big fish can swim up and down...... and they will swim over the rockwork too.... grazing along it.......

The reef wall iself could have a 12"x12" pvc frame runnign its length, allowing a massive cave in the middle for fish to take refuge in......

Whilst I agree length and width are more inportant that depth, with fish as big as you will have, a decent depth of water will allow big fish to pass over / under one another....... so every time they pass one another need not be a confrontation......




New member
Thank you for your reply.. physical... i have a spot in mind..will have the structure(concrete) checked out and redone if necessary to support the weight... limit on deminsions is 25ft long and 6 foot wide and 4 ft high(i dont want more than 4 foot high)

economics...price is not the issue ..yes it is but i can do it over a couple years time (with out the fish) and i wont short cut it..short cuts is not an option..if i cant do it right it wont happen but its going to retirement my money and my time and i have the most important part and that is the wifes aproval to do it.. water prep area is already taken care of....i have a temp controlled fully plumbed workshop that i cant used anymore(medical reasons) that is 10 foot from the area the tank will go in and i can pump the "new water right in the tank from there...

I know the original post is open ended...and it was posted that way to get out of the box thinking....iam aware of the structal, eand equipment i said it will be done correctly even if i cant spell

i guess the question is a little more open ended than i thought it was but iam still in the early planning stages (need warmer weather to for me to work on the remodle job) so other than the location and max size i can fit into the location the only part i have completely figured out is the fish list which i felt i needed to have so the tank can be built around the intended inhabitants with in the size restrictions of the room....i liked your idea of the long reef wall..and cave...i think ill use that in my plans.


New member
Another important ? - how will you get a jumbo tank into your house? With dimensions larger than 36 wide most tanks will not go through standard doors. Unless you are building it inside your house?


New member
Iam converting a garage into the family room..tank will be in place (thru over head garage doors before the over head car doors are frammed in and filled in...


Cyprinius carpio
Team RC
You do realize that you are going to have to post pics so we less fortuate souls can live through you. I think you are getting to do what many only hope to do one day.
I was going to suggest 12'x4'x30" but it seems that you are going even bigger. One thing that I think would be interesting would be not to light the back 2' of the tank. I would do this because:
1. cost even though it isn't in your case.
2. if done correctly it would make the tank seem bigger and it could look like you would be looking into the open ocean and fish would be migrating in/out of the rockwork.
3. the darker areas might help with aggression and allow a place for fish to hide and "reappear" later.
4. hide intank equipment.

Regardless good luck and please post.


New member
That partially darkened tank idea sounds incredibly cool. With a tank this big, there are all sorts of possibilities like that not even conceivable in regular sized tanks.


New member
Yeah i like the part dark tank idea myself..and less lights to buy and run as well... the electric co. here gets enough money from me and dorrs why cant they close them after they go thru them


New member
Maybe a raised lagoon?- half of the tank visible from ground level through viewing windows, the other half a look down tank? I was just thinking about doing something different like that because large tanks(2-3k range) compund in cost so fast once you get over 8ft. I recieved an estimate on my next tank, and it will be $2500 more to add another 2ft. onto my aquarium.--just a thought


New member
Honestly if your going to go big then GO BIG . Leave enough room on one end to put in french doors that open out into the family room . That way you can get bigger equipment in behind the tank easier than standing it up on end or fighting tight corners and door ways .

I understand why you don't want to make it too deep . Same should go for width too . You dont want to have to go swimming just to reach the middle of the tank . I think 4 foot wide and 4 foot deep and 20 foot long would be good . Thats right about 2400 gallons .

Set up 220 as a sump .
A 55 as a top off tank .
And a large plastic stock tank as a mixing tank for water changes .

plumb it all in so there is only the opening of valves and operation of pumps to do water changes . If its all hard plumbed together then there will be less work and less mess . during routine water changes .