Fish Quality of Life - Tank Length vs. Width?

Awesome458

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I’m in the process of planning a monster “all predator” FOWLR tank and I’m curious what the group thinks of long swimming space (length) vs. turning space (width) from the *fishes* perspective.

This is a quality of life question for the fish. What’s best for them to ensure a happy home and plenty of space to get exercise and for social interaction needs.

Put yourself in the fishes place, would you like the long straightaway across the front for high speed swimming, or a wider tank with less length, but more room to turn around?

The initial size of the fish will not exceed 6” or 8” so they will have plenty of room. My plan is to keep them healthy and happy for as many years as possible. I’m still working on what the initial fish will be, but they will definitely include Triggers. ;-)

My space will allow a maximum 16’ long tank and a maximum 3’ width and either 30” or 36” tall tank. Dead stop maximum in all dimensions…

If I go with a 3’ width, the front will need to be 14’ long max. There are entrances to adjacent rooms at either end of the tank that I need to preserve enough room for walking and moving furniture etc.

If I go with a 30” width, it can be a full 16’ long. Although this is a large (at least from my perspective) tank, my plan is to not overload it with fish, but to keep the number on the low side of what’s recommended.

The tank will be fully automated with top quality equipment. I’m retired, so I can attend to the tank as necessary (feeding, manual double check tests, etc) without any problems on a daily basis.

I would love to have some real wave action (imagine a wave rolling across 14’ of tank length) in the tank (even if it’s only on demand occasionally) and some area that has a high flow that the fish can get exercise swimming against a strong current.

Ideally, I would like the environment to mimic their natural environment in the ocean/reef as much as possible. This will not doubt require some flow modelling on a computer for the water flow, but it should be a stack of fun…


Thanks in advance and Cheers!
 
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I'd need to see the space you're talking about to offer my opinion on the 14' vs 16' tank, but you definitely want to allow room for walking around, moving furniture, etc. With this size of tank are you planning for a fish room for a quarantine system, fragging area, work space, sink, RO and water storage system?
 
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Awesome458

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I'd need to see the space you're talking about to offer my opinion on the 14' vs 16' tank, but you definitely want to allow room for walking around, moving furniture, etc. With this size of tank are you planning for a fish room for a quarantine system, fragging area, work space, sink, RO and water storage system?
Thanks for your reply. The equipment room will be in a remote location and will be in a repurposed room in the car park ~ 7’ x 30’ in length, with full HVAC and access to an existing large sink with hot and cold water. There will also be space for a video scientific microscope bench that may prove useful from time to time.

Cheers!
 
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I think that I would take the extra 6" width of the 3'x14'.
Thanks for your reply! I’m on the fence at the moment, six inches wider or two feet longer? I know Triggers love to swim, but more width has its advantages as well.

I’m going to mock up some 1” x 2” x 8’ wood for both of the tank sizes to visualise how they will look and work in real space. After a day or two of walking around and looking at them, the answer will no doubt become readily apparent.

I got this idea to mock up the tank frames from a BRS video where the bloke mocked up his tank with PVC pipe to assist with aquascaping the rock features. After watching his video, I thought it should work for me to see how such a large tank would no only look in the available space, but how easy it would be to ingress and egress into adjacent living spaces.

This may well show that the front corners need to be angled, or that a bow front might work better than flat faces. The DT room is open to the gourmet kitchen (open concept type of construction) and will only have seating in it as the media/entertainment room will be in another part of the house. It’s going to be sweet cooking in the kitchen and being able to see the DT. :)

Cheers!
 

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0406856D-B11D-401D-88A9-7F812FA430E9.jpeg

I have a very large French Angel (and adult Emperor Angel) who turns around fine in 24”… so your 30” would be fine— even better. I hope that helps.
 
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Thanks for your reply! I’m on the fence at the moment, six inches wider or two feet longer? I know Triggers love to swim, but more width has its advantages as well.

I’m going to mock up some 1” x 2” x 8’ wood for both of the tank sizes to visualise how they will look and work in real space. After a day or two of walking around and looking at them, the answer will no doubt become readily apparent.

I got this idea to mock up the tank frames from a BRS video where the bloke mocked up his tank with PVC pipe to assist with aquascaping the rock features. After watching his video, I thought it should work for me to see how such a large tank would no only look in the available space, but how easy it would be to ingress and egress into adjacent living spaces.

This may well show that the front corners need to be angled, or that a bow front might work better than flat faces. The DT room is open to the gourmet kitchen (open concept type of construction) and will only have seating in it as the media/entertainment room will be in another part of the house. It’s going to be sweet cooking in the kitchen and being able to see the DT. :)

Cheers!
I think this is a good plan. Using the mockup will give you a clear idea. Honestly, either option would likely be totally awesome for the fish you're considering. Go with what fits your space best and makes you happiest. Can't wait to see how this turns out!!
 

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I’m going to mock up some 1” x 2” x 8’ wood for both of the tank sizes to visualise how they will look and work in real space. After a day or two of walking around and looking at them, the answer will no doubt become readily apparent.

I got this idea to mock up the tank frames from a BRS video where the bloke mocked up his tank with PVC pipe to assist with aquascaping the rock features. After watching his video, I thought it should work for me to see how such a large tank would no only look in the available space, but how easy it would be to ingress and egress into adjacent living spaces.
This is a very good idea especially for something so big.
I suggest that you make 4 separate frames.
One that is 14' x 30" as the "core"
Two that are 1' x 30" for the "book ends"
And one that is 14' x 6" for the front

That way you can easily add or remove the different frames to the core piece to create all of the sizes to visualize them.

You could make a 14' x 30", 14' x 36", 16' x 30", or even a 15' x 30" all by rearranging the frames.

Just a thought.
 
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Awesome458

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This is a very good idea especially for something so big.
I suggest that you make 4 separate frames.
One that is 14' x 30" as the "core"
Two that are 1' x 30" for the "book ends"
And one that is 14' x 6" for the front

That way you can easily add or remove the different frames to the core piece to create all of the sizes to visualize them.

You could make a 14' x 30", 14' x 36", 16' x 30", or even a 15' x 30" all by rearranging the frames.

Just a thought.
Great idea, thanks! I thought it would be easier to visualise and avoid any second guessing once the beast is installed.

Cheers!
 
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Awesome458

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If my choice was

a) 36" x 14ft Long

or

b) 30" x 16ft Long

I'd pick A

Either way, amazing size.
Thanks for your reply! I’m leaning that way, but I want to construct the skeleton frames to make it easier to visualise the tank in-situ.

Cheers!
 
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I think this is a good plan. Using the mockup will give you a clear idea. Honestly, either option would likely be totally awesome for the fish you're considering. Go with what fits your space best and makes you happiest. Can't wait to see how this turns out!!
Thanks for your reply! I think the mock-up will be very revealing, especially when you walk around it. If it’s too large, I can reduce the size to fit the available free space perfectly.

Cheers!
 
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0406856D-B11D-401D-88A9-7F812FA430E9.jpeg

I have a very large French Angel (and adult Emperor Angel) who turns around fine in 24”… so your 30” would be fine— even better. I hope that helps.
Thanks for your comments! Your French Angel is awesome!

Cheers!
 

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I agree doing a mock up would be the right way to go here. it will give you a "feel" for the tank in the space.

my personal thoughts ( and I could be wrong here as I am not a fish..ha )
I am not sure with 30" vs 36" if the fish would even notice?

also gotta keep in mind reaching the back of a 36" tank.

man either way this is going to be EPIC! will this be DIY plywood or glass or acrylic build?

plz keep us posted i wanna see this come together.
 
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Awesome458

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The mock up should make it much easier to visualise such a large tank in the available space. Ingress and egress zones have to remain accessible in the nearby rooms and a mock-up will make that easy to ascertain.

I’m currently exploring acrylic tanks, glass would be too heavy and I’m not interested in a plywood option. So, acrylic seems like my best option. If the RPE offers a different solution, I will certainly explore their recommendation.

It’s a lot to suss out, but that is part of the fun. This will be an integral part of our whole home remodel project, so it’s going to be epic!

Cheers!
 

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The mock up should make it much easier to visualise such a large tank in the available space. Ingress and egress zones have to remain accessible in the nearby rooms and a mock-up will make that easy to ascertain.

I’m currently exploring acrylic tanks, glass would be too heavy and I’m not interested in a plywood option. So, acrylic seems like my best option. If the RPE offers a different solution, I will certainly explore their recommendation.

It’s a lot to suss out, but that is part of the fun. This will be an integral part of our whole home remodel project, so it’s going to be epic!

Cheers!

I think acrylic is the best choice here too. plywood tanks are cool but with the cost of wood these days and the hassle & risk if a major leak I feel acrylic is the way to go.

i was looking into a 300 right before covid then checked again about 4 months back of coarse there was a big price bump.
hopefully the price will come back down here soon?
any idea where you think you might get it made?

oh are thinking about a close loop system?
 
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I think acrylic is the best choice here too. plywood tanks are cool but with the cost of wood these days and the hassle & risk if a major leak I feel acrylic is the way to go.

i was looking into a 300 right before covid then checked again about 4 months back of coarse there was a big price bump.
hopefully the price will come back down here soon?
any idea where you think you might get it made?

oh are thinking about a close loop system?
Thanks for your post…

I’m still looking around for a manufacturer for the tank. Thus far, I’m leaning towards:

Seaquatic Aquariums

As for a closed loop system, maybe, but it may ultimately end up a hybrid closed/open system. It’s too early to say now. I want to see some computer modelling for the tank water flow and wave currents. I’m not sure if I can achieve everything I want with just a closed loop, or just an open system.

I want to explore current flows in detail because I want some high current areas where the fish can get sufficient exercise and perhaps a rolling wave down the long 14’ or 16’ front of the tank. Even if the rolling wave would only be on demand, it would be an awesome feature.

So, I’m in fast learn mode now as my previous experience was back in the “prehistoric” period of ‘78 to ‘83. Lots has changed since the aquarium dinosaurs were walking around. Back then, you had an under gravel filter (gasp!), or a hang on the back of the tank filter (double gasp!) or a canister filter. High tech was considered a diatomaceous earth supplemental filter.

Cheeky mode = Off… It’s going to be a stack of fun for sure and the journey will be as fun as the day I add my first predators to the tank. Although I love reef tanks and mixed tanks, this tank will be a predator only tank with live rock.

Future plans will no doubt include an additional reef tank and a select few specimen tanks to celebrate my love of Octopuses, eels and lobsters. They were all part of my aquarium pets back in the day and they will be again!

Cheers!
 
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I think going from 30” to 36” is a substantially larger percent increase than going from 14 feet to 16. You will be able to do more impressive aquascaping and the fish will have more room to interact with it.
Good point! I have a substantial amount of tools for working with rock, both wet and dry cutting, carving and drilling tools. It will be easy to get the look I want…

Cheers!
 

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