4ft vs 5ft tank

dvlpr

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Hi all,

Very new to this hobby, so this may sound dumb, but... I know the saying - the bigger tank you can get, the better, however, is there a big difference in running and equipment costs when comparing a 4ft and a 5ft tank? That is, the number of lights (can I still get just 2 for a 5ft?), pumps, etc... I have space for a long, but narrow tank, provided I reinforce my floor properly (will try to document that all in my build thread), but I'm just not sure if it's worth trying to stretch it out to a 5ft, or just settle for a 4ft. I'd like to get some fish in there, some inverts and maybe softies later on. Will most "newbie-tank-keeper" fish live happily in a 4ft?

My current tank is freshwater Juwel RIO 240 (selling it to make room for the marine one) and I think that's rather on the small side now... of course when I just got it in, I thought it was huge, but not anymore :) Not sure if marine fish swim differently? Maybe they are happier going around in a circle?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
 
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Gareth elliott

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Most popular leds these days have an 18” spread that give some wiggle room for placement.
so a 60” long tank 3 units of 18” coverage would leave about 6”. Which really is just the edges where you dont normally keep rock anyway.

a 5” does open up some fish choices for active swimmers.
 

JayLu

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I think in the end, you would be happier with a longer 5 foot tank. It does open choices for more active fish, and provides more room for aquascaping. But I like larger tanks, so it is just my opinion. You probably will more quickly move out of the newbie phase than you think you would. The 5 foot length would help delay another upgrade. But it will cost a little more than the 4 foot tank.
 

andrewkw

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I'm a 5 foot fan too. I've had my 60x18x24 since 2006. Before 5 foot tanks were somewhat seen as oddballs before 60" T5 there really wasn't a light suitable for complete coverage. That being said I always liked not having a perfectly lit tank. Now with most people using led's you could almost say a 5 foot tank is easier to light as most leds real coverage maxes at about 18". The extra length is great for aquascaping and for fish to have room to swim back and forth.

Really consider the widest possible tank not just the longest. Yes I've had this tank a long time (I had a 180 for a few years but lost it in a move), but 18" is just too narrow for a reef imo. 24 or 30" would be much better.
 

90's reefer

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Bigger is always better in the long run imo.
I have a standard 120 4x2x2 corner overflow. The only thing I wish I would have done is make it a peninsula style for 3 sided viewing and ease of cleaning.
With 3 sides you can do quite a few more corals than a standard.
Here is a quick pic I just took.
20200223_134631.jpg
 
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DeniseAndy

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24" depth gives more room for aquascaping. If you want a look down tank, then a shorter height is good, otherwise I always would go at least 22" high minimum. JMO
 
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dvlpr

dvlpr

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Thanks! Unfortunately cannot fit a peninsula - I only have a long stretch of a wall where the tank can go and it's alongside the dining table and my wife already declined my careful suggestion to move the dining table elsewhere :)

At the moment I think I'm choosing between WB 130.4 (like it better overall) and RS 525XL (it's longer than WB), but until my current tank is sold I don't have to make this decision, so thus all the worries with regards which size to pick.
 

Tastee

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I’m in the process of setting up my RSR 525XL myself. In terms of equipment I don’t think there is a lot of difference, so there would be little savings there. I went with the Red Sea skimmer so possibly I could have got away with the RSK-300 in a 425 instead of the RSK-600 I got for the 525. Cost difference isn’t big in any case.

For me it would come down to the space it is going into. In my case the 5’ perfectly suits the wall space I have.

D4C88387-4A27-413C-96F4-DCE8B8F1565B.jpeg
 
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dvlpr

dvlpr

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I’m in the process of setting up my RSR 525XL myself. In terms of equipment I don’t think there is a lot of difference, so there would be little savings there. I went with the Red Sea skimmer so possibly I could have got away with the RSK-300 in a 425 instead of the RSK-600 I got for the 525. Cost difference isn’t big in any case.

For me it would come down to the space it is going into. In my case the 5’ perfectly suits the wall space I have.
Thanks! That looks perfect in that spot! I still haven't crossed RS525XL off my list either :) Choices, choices...
 

K7BMG

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Well in the end you want the 5 footer, If thats what you can fit.
Put in a 4 foot and you will always be thinking I wish I had the 5.
I dont know anyone that would say the reverse.
 
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dvlpr

dvlpr

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Well in the end you want the 5 footer, If thats what you can fit.
Put in a 4 foot and you will always be thinking I wish I had the 5.
I dont know anyone that would say the reverse.
If my house was on a slab, I'd put in a 6 footer - no questions :) but having suspended timber floors means I have to be careful about weight and thus the 4-5 foot debate in my head.
 

K7BMG

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Interesting term when you say timbers. Makes me think your in a log cabin or different type of building.
If your in a wood framed structure (Typical home) you are talking about floor or ceiling joists., then the following should apply.

Do you know the direction of the joists?
"Typically" the joist's will run across the shortest span, not the longest.

So if your tank is six foot and the floor joists are 90 degrees at a standard of 16 inches on center then the tank will have at least 4 joists under it. If its against the wall as you said, and that wall/footing is supporting the end of the joists ("Load bearing wall or footing") even more so.

I was told by a structural engineer, If you stand on the floor with the ball of one foot your applying more pressure on that point than the whole of a fully loaded 100G tank, as the weight distribution is spread over the whole of the footprint.

Now it "MAY" be a concern if the joists are parallel with the tank, as the tank will or could have one joist under it for support.

Forgot to add.
If you have the ability you can draw out a floor plan, and stop by a local structural engineers place of business and simply ask them, offer to pay them but most will not charge.
You will need to have the following information on the drawing though, so some leg work and measuring will be involved on your part.
Exterior walls
Interior walls
Direction the joists are going.
The size of the joists 2x6 2x8 2x10 ECT.
The spacing of the joists.
where the tank will sit.
 
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PatW

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If you are thinking of tangs, an extra foot will really help. With tangs, the longer (width), the better. I have a kole tang and he uses every inch of a 6’ width and 3’ depth. Any active fish will use all of the tank.

By the way, depth is good for aquascaping. A 24” depth is quite a plus over 18”.

As far as lighting, LED lights tend to be point sources. So parts of the corals tend to be shaded which is why many people combine LED and T5 lights. Another fix is just have more LED fixtures and dial them down some.
 
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