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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I want to chat about the best size tank. I have a large wall in my dining room that I want to put a tank on (or in!).
I'll most likely build my own stand out of 2x4's and plywood depending on the size of the tank I go with.

What are the pros and cons of the different volume 6 foot tanks?

125 gallon = 72 x 18 x 21
150 gallon = 72 x 18 x 28
180 gallon = 72 x 24 x 25

Has anyone setup a 125 and wished they'd gone larger? Or, vice versa, anyone setup a 180 and wish they went smaller?

Things I'm considering:
  • Stocking options. How much will they vary w. the extra space front to back (+6" on the 180)?
  • If fish don't swim vertically much then why bother with a 28" tall unless you can get some fish that prefer the top of the water ...
  • I'll do a follow up post when I get drawings/pictures, but another consideration is that the wall in question borders my mudroom. The mudroom is large and it's just crying out for a tank in the wall in this space. I'm not sure I can pull it off b/c of doors that would be too close to the tank in the mudroom, but if this is the primary goal then going smaller (125 gal) may be better
 

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Hi, normally the general consensus is the larger the tank the better. With that said I would offer up knowing the stocking plan helps. For instance if you don't have top water swimmers, you probably don't need the extra height. I would suggest the biggest width however (unless room, cost, etc. is an argument). Since you are debating about putting it in your wall I would suggest the taller aquarium, although I did read your concern. I have an in wall tank and I find the extra height to be preferably so there is less dead space to the ceiling (although I do need a ladder to clean the tank). You will get various opinions on this however I would say if you go in wall you won't regret it - it adds a great visual in the room.
 

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I have a 125G and have never regretted my decision to stay small with a 72" tank. I like the look, the stock options do not significantly increase and it cannot be underestimated how much easier it is to maintain a tank that you can reach inside to the bottom without a ladder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi, normally the general consensus is the larger the tank the better. With that said I would offer up knowing the stocking plan helps. For instance if you don't have top water swimmers, you probably don't need the extra height. I would suggest the biggest width however (unless room, cost, etc. is an argument). Since you are debating about putting it in your wall I would suggest the taller aquarium, although I did read your concern. I have an in wall tank and I find the extra height to be preferably so there is less dead space to the ceiling (although I do need a ladder to clean the tank). You will get various opinions on this however I would say if you go in wall you won't regret it - it adds a great visual in the room.
That makes sense, thanks for the tip. If i can figure out in-wall taller height sure does make sense. if you're gonna do it, do it!

Do you have any pics of your in-wall?
Where are you keeping filtration? i guess it has to be on the side?
 

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Hi! I want to chat about the best size tank. I have a large wall in my dining room that I want to put a tank on (or in!).
I'll most likely build my own stand out of 2x4's and plywood depending on the size of the tank I go with.

What are the pros and cons of the different volume 6 foot tanks?

125 gallon = 72 x 18 x 21
150 gallon = 72 x 18 x 28
180 gallon = 72 x 24 x 25

Has anyone setup a 125 and wished they'd gone larger? Or, vice versa, anyone setup a 180 and wish they went smaller?

Things I'm considering:
  • Stocking options. How much will they vary w. the extra space front to back (+6" on the 180)?
  • If fish don't swim vertically much then why bother with a 28" tall unless you can get some fish that prefer the top of the water ...
  • I'll do a follow up post when I get drawings/pictures, but another consideration is that the wall in question borders my mudroom. The mudroom is large and it's just crying out for a tank in the wall in this space. I'm not sure I can pull it off b/c of doors that would be too close to the tank in the mudroom, but if this is the primary goal then going smaller (125 gal) may be better
The 28" 150 gallon is useless for most fish, I wouldn't even consider it.

Anyone who has had a 180 and 125, would always take the 180. I wouldn't go with a standard 125 gallon at all going forward. I have one 125 gallon, but it's 72 x 24 x 18... so 18 tall, 24 deep. The length of a tank is most important, the depth next, then height... within reason.

Get the 180.
 

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And then, there is this...



Yep.
*And yes. THAT, is a Cichlid. :oops:
And, though I doubt our OP is considering an aquarium set up expressly for the purpose of properly keeping something like this (Vive' Le' Tank Buster, man!). Sometimes the largest tank you can fit (that the budget will allow, of course...), in the space you have available, is the 'right' one for the fish you want to keep. That pictured fish is gonna need room to turn around in that tank (well-kept *Parachromis dovii males can grow past 30 inches in length!). The food and waste produced by something that size will demand something large in water quantity to help slow down Nitrate buildup - and help keep the dreaded HITH/HLLE Goon, at bay.
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I ALWAYS advocate for getting the largest aquarium your available space to house it, budget and other considerations will permit. Having 'more aquarium than you need', is a luxury you - and your Cichlids - will definitely benefit from.
Go BIG early in this game, and you will not regret it. :)
 

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wow that's beautiful!
I want mine to be visible from both sides which complicates the filtration plumbing situation
Mine is not in the wall, but I used a 10 foot long peninsula tank to split my office off from the rest of the house for ye olde quarantine remodel.

This is accomplished with the overflow tower built into the tank so that it will sit flush against the wall no that end. Drains go directly into the sump, straight down to limit the length of the return line for safety. The sump(s) are in the stand, and also run nine feet out from the wall. Return lines run from the end of the sump in the room back to the wall, up the tower, and then across the top of the tank under the canopy, so the returns are in the end opposite the room. The return lines are the only part of the filtration system which are noticeable. I've asked multiple people if they noticed the overflow tower and they have universally said no.

Because the idea was to split the room architecturally, it's very tall. The stand is 42", tank 30" and there is a 15" canopy. It stands 85 inches tall. I use a ladder even to feed. I cannot reach all the way to the bottom of the tank, so I have a grabber to fish stuff out. I had to stand in it to scape it.... all that said, I went natural rocks and sand and I don't have to get in there very much at all because it doesn't look dirty. I use a magnetic cleaner to clean the glass, and that's it. I made the decision to go so tall because that was what made the tank fit the space. I honestly think you'd want to do the same if you had it in a wall. It might look a little weird otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This is accomplished with the overflow tower built into the tank so that it will sit flush against the wall no that end. Drains go directly into the sump, straight down to limit the length of the return line for safety. The sump(s) are in the stand, and also run nine feet out from the wall. Return lines run from the end of the sump in the room back to the wall, up the tower, and then across the top of the tank under the canopy, so the returns are in the end opposite the room. The return lines are the only part of the filtration system which are noticeable. I've asked multiple people if they noticed the overflow tower and they have universally said no.
OK. Yikes! I am definitely out of my league. I'm intimidated by sumps and overflows. Just the idea of having to plumb all that and the risk of failure terrifies me. I was imagining I'd get an fx5 canister and run the pipes up/down 1 of the sides. I definitely want to go as big as is possible, but have some things to work out like the stupid doors in the mudroom! With both doors fully open there's only 3 feet of wall between them while the entire wall is closer to 10 feet. I'm asking myself what it would mean if I couldn't open those doors all the way (b/c they open into the stand) or if I can change the way one of them swings to get me 6 ft of clearance. Will that mess up the feng shui of my whole house...? My wife has opinions too and fish tanks are very much a my thing.

I looked through your posts to find a pic of your tank and am extremely disappointed that I am not finding any. Do you have any to share? I'll let you know if i notice the overflow tower so you can add to your sample size for that poll.

PS - From your posts responses I'll now be spending some time reading aquariumscience.org. Please excuse the slowness in my responses.
 

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The lack of pictures is indeed conspicuous. You are the first to really comment on it. I intend to post more pictures in March and document the story of how it went after it's all been up and running for a full year.

However, because I like you, and I consider us friends, here is a picture with my top off.
Plant Window Purple Houseplant Interior design


Here you can see the return lines that come up the tower at the wall and run out into the room to create a positive flow in the tank.

Property Purple Lighting Flat panel display Comfort


This from the other side and with the Canopy and the lights on. There's no banana so I included a daughter for scale.
 

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Wow.
I've been trying to get El' Hefe to post up a picture or two of that beast for MONTHS now. And well now finally, thar it izzzz!!!!
Whew.... nice! And, it's most certainly a big'n. :cool:
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
the return lines that come up the tower at the wall and run out into the room to create a positive flow in the tank.
I have a daughter about that size and no bananas so this worked far better for scale, and ya, it's enormous! It's beautiful. These are tears of joy & inspiration 😭

The return lines are behind that black overflow plastic casing? How could anyone see them with the canopy on? By positive flow you mean pushing the water from one end of the tank (outtake, far open-air end) back to the other (intake near the wall)?

I want to ask you a dozen more questions, but I suppose it's courteous to wait until you've submitted your post that explains how you did the build and how it's going . After all, it's overdue. No one needs or wants to wait for a year update. Us cold climate folks are imagining spending the winter indoors and are about ready to tackle that aquarium project. Your article might be the spark many lurkers need to forge forward 🙃
 

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I did mention this in another post - but here is at least my reasoning for holding off:
When I started this, I asked the forum if anyone had done anything like a giant Mbuna tank. Nobody had. Also, the general consensus was that the longer the better. However, I could not find anyone who'd gone 10 feet. All I could find stopped at 8, and at that point, most folks would stock big haps or fronts and stuff. We wanted lots of small fish. Most everyone agrees that the longer you go, the more you can really get away with for these fish...
So, I broke a lot of "rules" that most people would live by on the stocking. Whenever I see that members (Mostly fleeting new ones) have broken the rules, they the the ominous "Give it a year and see how it goes."
I've been really open with the build, answering questions and talking sumps/filtration mostly because this is what fascinates me, but I have not shared pictures because, frankly, I didn't want the comments. After the year, in early March, I'm planning to lay it all out. Maybe I'll do it early, but I'm here to document the answers to all the questions I had when I started this adventure. Heck - all these fish have been with me for at least 10 months, and many for 14. They've been all together now for just over 6 months. To be honest, it's going swimmingly.
I still, however, feel like when I lay these cards down, some folks around here are going to go apoplectic. :ROFLMAO:
 

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Well now....


Your article might be the spark many lurkers need to forge forward 🙃
Yeah. El Hefe' has had that effect on a lot of peeps since he started posting up on C-f!
Now that I've had a day to sort of work out what I'm seeing in that aquarium. I've got a couple impressions of it I can share.
  • That aquarium really does look a LOT like a reef tank. Oddly enough, since it IS supposedly capturing the aesthetic and look of an African Rift Lake, Freshwater reef. I dunno, maybe it's the lighting color? And well, the rocks do sort of come out that same kind of pinkish looking color, you see in salt water live rock. The colorful spots of light representing the Mbuna help to inform the colors of salt water reef inhabitants as well.
  • Yes. The fish in that tank ARE small! All too often we see (over and over again.....) so many African Mbuna Cichlids just practically jammed in these too-small aquariums. The fish look big in tanks stocked like that. And, despite my own inclinations to 'Over Tank', we are all just a bit guilty of getting the tank we can get away with. One that will 'fit the fish' (whatever that actually means...). E' Hefe' has just basically completely checked out of that discussion with this aquarium. It's, Just,
REALLY.
BIG.
A mic dropper!
-
I can honestly say now, that is the largest (personally owned - non-municipal) African Mbuna Themed aquarium, I've ever seen. And yes, I'm still trying to work that out and get my head around it. (That's a good thing. I guess....).
 

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I actually call it SenorStrum's Mixed Malawiish reef - so you're spot on to how the lights run now.
That is an old picture, and in it, the lighting is distinctly pink. When I first filled it, you'd be proud. I had it full of anubias. I had 30-40 plants in there, as can be seen. Unfortunately, on one of my last shipments in, I brought in anubias rhizome rot (or nematodes, the internet jury appears to still be out on that one) and it went through and killed 75% of the plants outright. They just...melted...Some of them were able to be saved - more as tissue cultures than anything else, but most died.

I say all that to say - that's the reason for the pink lights. La Sra. prefers blue reef lights on the fish. Plants do not prefer this, but I found that you could keep them alive by turning the UV all the way off on the reef light and then running a high dose of pink... like Amazon weed "Closet-tomato-growing" pink lights. After the disaster, all that was removed. The lights are now 10,000k White and Actinic/reef blue. They are all specifically saltwater lights. I'm looking for some coraline algae, but I guess I need more calcium... :ROFLMAO: ?

It was really hard to stick with small fish. Red Empress has been one of my favorites forever, but alas, still not to be. Yellow tail acei are the largest we have in there. I have quite a few fish in there now.
 

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Your dedication to the 'Mbuna Cause' with that massive aquarium, informs you well, El' Hefe'.... And please, DO NOT entertain or give in to the base impulses of those not so.... enlightened.
Oh no....



Bucchochromis lepturus!!! A dedicated piscivorous, HAPLOCHROMINE Cichlid. Or, at more than 16 inches in adult-sized overall length,

La Mas Hermosa Grande', Senor' Strum. :cool:
 

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I would go 180 everytime. The 24in width allows for more options when stocking larger fish and gives more room for aquascaping. I have a 220 that is 72x24x30 and a 260g that is 84x24x30. The difference in WxH of the 2 means that reaching the bottom of my 220g while standing on a stool is still difficult. I still need a stool for the 260g but I can easily reach everything inside the tank. Reaching the external overflow on the back of the tank is another story.
260g
Wood Plant Grass Water Pet supply

220g, yes that rock is huge. 24x18x12 ish.
Water World Fish Gas Glass
 
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