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e36bmwtuner 11-22-2008 10:23 PM

New tank--what size?
Hi all!

Well, my parents have graciously offered to have me combine my multiple tanks into one large aquarium with another tank set aside as a hospital tank. I am looking at a tank somewhere around 8 feet long by 5 feet wide by 4 feet tall. What do you think of the size? Is it possible (yes I know how heavy it will be) to get an aquarium of this proportion made out of Starfire glass? Or would acrylic be a better choice?

My basic plans are to make it into a reef tank (variety of corals, focusing on sps and other shallow water corals) with a ton, repeat ton, of fish. I am planning of having several large angels and surgeons, one of the less fish-agressive morays, possibly a butterfly, a "school" of damselfish, a lunar or banana wrasse, a non destructive trigger (semi-oxymoron, yes i know), a grouper, probably lyretail, and others. I'm planning on focusing mostly on indo-pacific fish with a few from the red sea, and the same goes for the corals.

What are your thoughts on this? Any ideas regarding the size of the filter (skimmer, sump, refugium, etc)?

Thanks much!!!
Ricki Weston

andulrich4all 11-25-2008 10:30 PM

I know acrylic is a stronger material and can be much lighter. However, it does scratch much easier.

onefish2fish 11-26-2008 12:21 AM

i like the dementions, but personally i've had custom tanks but never got one built for me.

id say talk to local glass companies, or fish tank builders, fish stores anyone you can get a hold of to get ideas from them.

i do know a custom built glass tank can cost a fortune, esp. stocking it.

and the angels are going to nip at the corals and the grouper is giong to get huge, the morey will eat fish most likely.

id say go with as big of a sump, refuge you can.

please make a tank thread when it gets on its way- sounds awesome.

ajmckay 11-28-2008 12:08 AM

Your parents offered? Holy crap that's almost 1200 gallons if my calculations are good... (and thats assuming 1/4 inch glass, which is way too thin so probably more like 1100 if you use 1" glass/acrylic).

Now I don't have nearly the amount of $$$ it would take to set up and maintain that scale of aquarium, but if you're set on it I would think the only possible way of making that work is to have it custom added to the building with a custom load-bearing system because there's no way wood or anything of the sort could handle that amount of weight... The glass for the tank alone would weigh tons (literally, many thousands of pounds). In fact, the glass would weigh so much, I think it might be lighter to form 3 sides out of waterproof brick/block (like what you build buildings out of), and have just the front be glass/acrylic. Your sump as well will need to be nothing short of massive... What kind of building is this going into might I ask (specifically square footage, construction materials, will it be on solid ground, like in a basement, or will there be a floor/sub-floor underneath)?

To get ideas and plans to build this I would suggest talking with a specialized aquarium builder, maybe your local zoo has a reference? You definitely want someone with experience building tanks of this scale, either for zoos or for large commercial tanks for office buildings and things like that. Oddly enough, you might also want to call up Rainforest Cafe, as they have some decent sized tanks there.

Keep us updated I suppose.

e36bmwtuner 11-28-2008 12:17 AM

Well they sorta got tired of me always wanting "just one more tank because I need so and so a fish that I can't put in my other tanks for whatever reason."

Thank you very much about the weight information. I was afraid it was going to weigh a lot. I was estimating between 10 and 15,000 lbs up and running. Hmmm okay I will most definitly check out Rainforest Cafe. I was thinking of maybe even going to the Denver Aquarium and talking to their "people" to see what advice they had to offer regarding the manufacturing of the tank. As for the location, I am going to put it in our basement... I wonder if even that will be strong enough...


P.S. The dimentions I am looking at now are more along the lines of 8 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 3 feet tall.

e36bmwtuner 11-28-2008 12:20 AM

Our basement is a walk-out, fully finished type. Although it does have concrete floor. As for the sump: yes I know its going to have to be huge. I'm thinking maybe a 250-300 gallon wet/dry type along with a 100-200 gallon refugium. That does not include the UV's or the skimmers, or any other mechanics.

Pasfur 11-28-2008 05:07 AM

There is a lot of information available on these type setups, so spend some time browsing the web for ideas.

One very important thing to keep in mind. The basics of an aquarium to not change. Wet dry systems are going to make such a setup a headache, requiring extreme water changes. Regardless of tank size, you want to go natural with your filtration. Live rock, live sand, and protein skimming should be the basics of your design. For such a setup you will use large amounts of base rock to save on costs.

Clearly a large sump system and refugium will be beneficial. An algae scrubber should be given great consideration. Lighting will be a huge concern and you need to plan the depth of your aquarium accordingly.

This link should prove extremely helpful:
David Saxby | January 2007 Tank of the Month | UltimateReef.Com

GuppyColorMaker 11-28-2008 02:05 PM

Good luck finding one!

ajmckay 11-29-2008 11:11 PM

David Saxby's tank is the most amazing thing I've seen next to a live reef... And even then his seems cleaner.

Ricki, honestly, I wish you luck in such an endeavor... It sounds like you're going to have to do a lot more research though. I think a concrete floor should be able to hold up a system like this, however, like I said; you could probably save $$ and weight by using block instead of glass on 3 sides, or 2 possibly.

Like Pasfur said, I think you should take the steps necessary to really make this thing "bulletproof" quoting the people at G.A.R.F. since I like their system of doing things... I would design the system as natural as possible to keep the manual maintenance and water changes as infrequent as possible.

Good luck.

e36bmwtuner 12-02-2008 10:48 PM

So I have a bit of an update, It sounds like an acrylic tank, even though it will still weigh a ton, is not completely insane pricewise. Right around 6 grand for a tank 8',5' (wide), and 3' (tall). I would rather not have a half concrete, half acrylic tank because I will be moving out of my parent's house before too long and a complete fish tank would be easier to move than a semi-built in one. It is going to be a reef tank so I will use lots, and lots of Fiji live rock. Thanks for suggesting the "faux live rock" but i'll stick to the real stuff. I have yet to find a fake rock with the exact same properties as the real deal. And with the fish load I plan on having, infrequent water changes, no matter how good of a filter I get, are going to be impossible. Thanks for the advice though! Keep it coming!


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