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Ogre44 11-22-2012 02:12 PM

New tank after Xmas, what size to get?
I have finally talked The Missus into a second, and more importantly, larger tank.
I am granted permission to acquire either a 50 or 55 gallon tank during the next "Dollar per Gallon" sale at Petsmart.

The debate comes down to the 48" length of the 55 vs the 18" depth of the 50 gallon.

I intend the following:
Sand substrate
loads of plants, rooted, stem,floating, hardscape mounted, the whole shebang.
Piles of driftwood.
11 or so Harlequin Rasbora
11 or so Emerald Catfish
1 pair Bolivian Rams
Possibly another school, or a pair of gourami of some sort.
Possibly some Khuli Loaches

Would a 55 or 50 suit this setup better?


rjordan390 11-22-2012 02:44 PM

You did not say what the depth of the 55 gallon is. Background plants can grow fast and I think a tank with 18 inches depth would better suit background plants. I would advise to build it up slowly and not put in a lot of plants. The idea is to enjoy both fish and plants; but if you add too many plants, how will you see the fish when these plants get taller? They also need swimming room too.

Ogre44 11-22-2012 03:06 PM

Ah, a dreadful oversight on my part.
The 55 Gallon is 48" long and 12" deep while the 50 gallon is 36" long and 18" deep.

SeaHorse 11-22-2012 03:22 PM

a 45 Long is 48" x 12" x 18 tall. I have one.

Quantum 11-22-2012 04:20 PM

I've never liked the dimensions of the standard 55 gal and would choose the 50 myself

none of the fish listed necessarily need the 48" length and the extra 6" front to back space of the 50 I think would be better for the type of aquascaping you describe

but do they sell the 50 gal at Petsmart? it's not as common as the 55

Canadian Fish 11-22-2012 04:50 PM

I prefer the 55 long. If a fish has an extra foot of swimming length, they will use it. The Harlequins will love it. All the fish I keep in my two 55s take full advantage of that extra 12" of swimming space before they have to turn around.

SeaHorse 11-22-2012 05:04 PM

I think I have to agree. Having seen many fish swim in circles in cramped spaces, and then see small fish make total use of all the space I gave them, way more than the average person would, I am totally into long horizontal swim room. Get the biggest horizontal space you can afford allowing for turn around room of course. So if there is any thought of getting something that grows a bit bigger down the road keep that in mind now too. Keep us posted on what you get!!

Byron 11-22-2012 07:45 PM

The intended fish are the relevant factor (assuming you have the space for either tank to begin with). And from my experience, most fish are better with length than with depth or width.

By most fish I mean all active swimmers, which includes all the barbs, danios, most (but not all) characins (tetras). You mentioned dwarf cichlids (rams) and length is important here, not for just one but for a pair or a harem or perhaps two species.

The extra 12 inches between the 3-foot and 4-foot tanks is very significant for the above.

On the other hand, rasbora are not active swimmers, and some characins the same. Gourami, angels and discus also are sedate, but length is important here for territories.

I agree with those who have mentioned the narrow depth (front to back) of the 4-foot 55g, but the length is worth this if you intend certain fish. And you can always have more fish in longer tanks, all else (volume) being equal.

Another thought, if 4 feet in length is OK in your intended space, go to a wider tank with this length, such as a 70g. I have one of these and it is very workable.


Quantum 11-22-2012 09:00 PM

well the 50 gal has a bigger footprint so it does offer more area for territories and none of the fish listed are active swimmers

Ogre44 11-22-2012 10:28 PM

Thanks for the input everyone.

Byron, I would love to go for the 70 gallon, but the lengths and depths (see what I did there?) I've had to go to for permission for choice between the two tanks mentioned make me quail in cowardice at the very thought :P

So, general opinion seems to favor the 55 for swimming room and just linear footage for territory establishment.
Also, it is possible that availability may play a factor. I will admit I hadn't considered that facet of the issue.

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