Beggining with a large tank
I've never owned an aquarium before as an adult.. I've had some smaller 10 gallon freshwater aquariums when I was still a kid.. But now I really want to get a large aquarium for my house.
I'm looking for recommendations, advice and blessings from the online aquarium community, so that's why i'm here..
I'm looking for a large tank 150-250 gallons.. rectangular.. My plans for it are to be a freshwater planted aquarium.. I actually don't want a lot of fish in it... I'm not a fan of the tanks that have 100 different species of brightly colored fish constantly swimming everywhere.
I'm more interested in the ecology of it, and wanted a low maintenance bio diversity..
I know what i want is done more frequently on the smaller scale.. I haven't read of many huge tanks like it... And i wanted to know more about filters, and stuff for what I specifically want.
I'm scared to buy a big tank for a few reasons...
- Is a plumbing hookup required to start one?
- I wanted to buy a used tank, so how hard is it to transport? how many people are required to move it?
I realize the costs and all of that stuff.. I guess I mostly wanted to know if anyone would actually suggest owning such a big aquarium, i guess the pros and cons over a smaller tank... and suggestions on getting it moved, if i decided to buy it used from someone.
Thanks a lot!
To answer your questions:
1. No plumbing the tank is not necessary, just makes it a little easier
2. I'd say 4 guys to move a 125g aquarium (6' long)
Here's my thoughts, bigger is always better, on a tank like that I'd recommend a canister filter like an Fx5. As for plants etc, I'm consider going with a dirt substrate (see my journal) capped with sand, then planting amazon swords or a few other tall plants.
As for fish:
2-4 Bristlenose Plecos
6 Bolivian Rams
20-30 Rummeynose or Cardinal Tetras
This would be a south american bio-tope, its not heavily stocked, the plant list for SA isn't too hard to come by, and the fish for the most part are relatively easy and could get along. With this stocking the plants would really be the showcase.
I would recommend getting a python to clean it, and a power head (with hose attached) to drain it - this is what I do and I can drain about 25g of water in 10 mins, and refill takes 5-10 (but I can be doing other things)
As for low maintence, you will still be required to do partial water changes (probably about 25% either weekly or bi-weekly), feedings everyday. But when it comes to the plants you will just need to trim, clean the filter intake occasionally. The filter needs cleaned every 3 or so months
The pros to a large tank:
Lots of room to stock fish - or you can have a decent # of fish without looking crowded
More room to aquascape
More water = more consistent water quality and more difficult for something to change those parameters fast
Takes up a chunk of space
Heavy to move
Higher upfront costs than a smaller tank
^as for the costs, I know of many ways that you can save money right off the bat, so start looking for that tank
There are several ways to do a planted tank, ranging from very high maintenance and high budget to a minimalist ecosystem approach(Diana walstad), which is what you appear to be aiming for. The goal is to emulate a natural ecosystem as much as possible with a minimum of aquarium gadgetry. However, there is no way to make an aquarium completely self sustaining so you will have to do some maintenance. Hardy85's stocking suggestion is a good combo, but for a low maintenance Diana walstad tank you may have to take out some.
You can make a large tank set-up a little easier sby using two good sized canister filters and low light / low maintenance plants
What type of plants are you thinking about ?
Last edited by Cliff; 01-16-2014 at 08:17 PM.
If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
"Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
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The biggest thing with something that big -
1) make sure you have the space for those large tanks.
2) make sure the floor can support that weight. - here are sizes and weights for some of the larger more common tanks - 200+ gallon will obviously be much more -
125 Gallon 72 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 23 3/8 1400 lbs
150 Gallon 72 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 28 1/2 1800 lbs
180 Gallon 72 1/2 x 24 1/2 x 25 5/8 2100 lbs
You would obviously want to make sure the structure is sound. Ideally you would want big tanks on a concrete slab but otherwise run perpendicular to the floor joists and then reinforced with plywood under the stand. And make sure the stand is rated for that weight to (even more if you decide to use a sump)
My husband and I bought a used 125 gallon tank off of craigslist. Him and I did part of the move and our friend helped him move it for part as well. It did fit in my Pontiac Vibe station wagon with the seats down, though I dont really recommend it. Ours is filtered by two rena xp3 cannister filters rated for a 175 gallon tank each. It gives good flow.
We are going to moving those fish into a 300-350 gallon tank in our basement. For that big we are ordering a new acrylic tank online and having it delivered.
Pre-fab'd tank stands for 125-150gal tanks are pretty costly. You're probably better off going the DIY route, plus you'll end up with a sturdier product in the long run. Not sure how handy you are (I'm not), but there are directions available (and videos) for DIY stands. They can be condensed and expanded, based on the same plans.
I think that if I were going to make a heavily planted 150gal tank (and have the plants be the showcase of the tank), I'd probably go with a few Angels or Discus (not a big school - some people overstock these fish like crazy, just because they have a big tank), a big school of corys and maybe a school of hatchet fish. A small family of Amano shrimp would be cool, too, to spice things up a bit.
That would cover the bottom, mid & top dwellings and keep your plants the main focus. I would suggest a big school of Roseline sharks, but you said you didn't want anything too flashy or active. That might be a little too much activity for the mid, since you have the relaxed Angels.
As for filtration, you'll probably want two filters, so you can cover two sides of the tank (to prevent dead spots). If you limit your stocking, you won't have to get too crazy, but doubling up your filtration capacity is always a good idea. If you go 150gal, you could probably get away with 1.5x the filtration capacity (so 2 filters rated for up to 225+ gallons), based on your limited stocking and additional plants (which also aid in filtering the water).
Last edited by KevinVA; 01-16-2014 at 09:02 PM.
Wow - my first tank was a 75 gal and I thought that was big! Good for you for going even bigger. Your options are endless for aquascaping and stocking. You have gotten great advice from everyone in the previous posts. Get the biggest tank you can afford to set up and maintain.
Filtration - 2 API Filstar (Rena) XP-XL, each rated for 265 gal. You want to have 2-3 times your tank size for filtration. These would give you excellent filtration and they are very user friendly.
Heaters - 2 Hydor ETH inline 300 watt heaters. If you need to ad an in-tank submersible heater, Aqueon Pro Heaters. They are top of the line.
Buy your equipment online - you will save big $$$.
And as Frozen Tundra stated, make sure your floor can support the weight - figure 10-12 lbs per gallon for the finished tank.
Many of us have built our own stands (myself included). You can build a very inexpensive, extremely sturdy stand that you can customize to your liking.
For stocking, I would go with 2 larger schools - a school of mid to upper tank fish and a school of cories for the bottom. And a few bristlenose plecos.
Last edited by gronlaura; 01-16-2014 at 09:56 PM.
My 75 gal Journal & My Dual 29 gal Journal
75 gal - Pristella Tetras, Scissortail Rasboras, Neon Dwarf Rainbowfish, Leopard & Zebra Danios, Wild Caught BNP
29 gals - Left Tank - Diamond Tetras. Right Tank - Harlequin Rasboras, Peacock Gudgeons
Future 40 Long - Panda Garras & Glowlight Danios
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass....it's about learning to dance in the rain"
Hello, As other have mentioned the bigger the better, so its good that you are going with a big tank to start with. You can stock more fishes and in a much more consistent environment.
But yes either you have a small tank or a big tank, its very important to do a weekly 35 to 40% water change and shiphon the gravels.
If you want to go with less maintenance, you can start of with artificial plants (So no maintenance required except water changes, gravel cleaning and timely filter cleaning)
Go with a good quality recommended canister filter available in your geographical area.
Rest best of luck and once setup i hope you enjoy your tank. :)