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Hi everyone I decided on the following tank

120Gal 18"L x 60"W 26"H

Since I've never set up a size of this magnitude I have several questions.

1) Filter Recommendation and how many
2) Heater and how many
3) I want a beautiful colorful tank of fish, recommendation of groups of fish and qty of m to f
4) I really want to make it look like a real life tank which has lots of rock, sand and wood anything else?

Thanks
 

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IMO I would make your decisions in this order #3, 4, 2, then 1. Ideally you would have a general idea of what fish you will stock and then decide how you will decorate to suit to the fish and your aesthetics. After that I would decide on the equipment which depends on 3 & 4.

As far as Africans go I have only kept mbuna which I enjoy because they are beautiful and have interesting behavior. I also think mbuna are better suited to confinement in a aquarium because they are smaller and territorial. Something inside of me cringes when I see large free swimming species in small aquariums. I would pick one species that is a must have for you then go thru the process of elimination to determine the other inhabitants. I think most beginners, myself included years ago, try to stock too many species. I doubt this approach is ever sustainable for more than a couple of years. Personally I think its better to have fewer species but bigger groups of each.

Im probably an outlier here but I use Filstar XP-L (XP3) canister filters. These are relatively low flow for their size but hold a ton a media, quiet, easy to maintain, and are inexpensive. The first one I bought has been running continuously for almost 15 years without any issues. I run 3 of these on my 90gal and will have 4 on my 125gal. I also have a couple of strategically placed Hydor powerheads to keep the waste suspended so its captured by the filters rather than on substrate. If I didnt have so much rock I probably wouldnt need any powerheads. If $$ isnt the biggest factor I highly recommend the Aqamai KPS powerheads. They are tiny, completely silent, and have WIFI App control.

I have had a 300W Hydor ETH heater on my 90gal for ~12years or so without any issues. I guessing one of these would be enough for a 120gal depending on your ambient conditions.
 

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Cosi said:
IMO I would make your decisions in this order #3, 4, 2, then 1. Ideally you would have a general idea of what fish you will stock and then decide how you will decorate to suit to the fish and your aesthetics. After that I would decide on the equipment which depends on 3 & 4.
This.

General rule of thumb for heaters is ~2-3 watt per gallon. This can vary if the tank is in a particularly warm or cold room though.
 

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I personally would put a sump on a tank that big, but to each his own. There is really no rule for how big you sump should be, but for me, it has to contain at least twice the water volume as there is in the top 1-2 inches of your tank. Then keep the water level in the sump halfway. This is for safety reasons. Sumps are really flexible because if you ever want to upgrade the flow rates, all you have to do is change the pump. With a canister, you either have to add one more or upgrade it. Also, sumps can make it easier to change media because there is no need to disconnect a canister. Just take out a cartridge and replace it, rinse it, whatever. However, sumps are trickier to get started and for a full maintenance (cleaning everything top to bottom).
 
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