Rimless 180 or 225? What are the best dimensions? Eurobracing required?

SkiCatTX

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I am in the market for a new tank in the range of around 180 to 225 Rimless. Thought I have been keeping fish and corals for over 20 years, the largest tank I've had was a 40g with a 10g sump, and I currently have a 28g and 10g, so this will be completely new territory for me.

I have a space in mind that is 64" wide, so I was originally planning on a 60"L x 30"W x 24"H ~180. Problem is that the standard 5' 180 tanks are 60"L x 24"W x 30"H, or 30" high instead of 24". Having normal length arms, I would have a hard time reaching into a 30" high tank, and I much prefer the look of deeper (technically wider in official terms) tank. That likely means a custom build, which adds like $1,000 to the cost…just to swap out those dimensions.

However, after doing some more research, is appears that many 225 tanks are 72"L x 30"W x 24"D, which is essentially one foot longer, and not that much more. There are also stands that fit those dimensions, if I choose not to make one myself. If I go this route, then I'll have to rearrange some furniture, but I could get an 84" space, leaving me about 12" on the right side of the stand for a removable panel and at least some access to the right end of the stand and tank.

Now, the next problem is that a rimless tank more than 60" usually requires either Eurobracing on the top and bottom, or crazy thick glass. This makes the tank absurdly heavy, and of course less clear to look through, even with higher clarity glass, and I am not interested in acrylic. I just personally think the bracing around the top detracts from the look of a rimless tank. I mean, what's the point of rimless if you're just going to put more obstructions around the top anyway? I'm fine with extra bracing on the bottom, so would that be enough? (I know I can talk this through with the builder, but I want to be somewhat educated before I go there.)

So, what I'm essentially asking is, those of you who have these larger tanks, what are your thoughts on measurements, bracing, etc.? Are there things that I haven't mentioned above that I should be considering?

Some additional notes:
- The tank will be on the first floor, on a concrete slab, so ultimately weight isn't an issue once it is placed.
- I intend for this tank to stay put for 10 years or more, so I want to "get it right" the first time…
 

Blue Spot Octopus

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I would check into SCA for the 5" x 30" x 22", Euro Bracing is used to they can use thinner glass on the viewing panels. Crystal Dynamic also makes custom tanks.
 

JoshH

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You can totally go rimless with a 180 or so but you are looking at atleast 3/4"glass and it will be heavy. But in all honesty, you're not getting away with a light tank at those sizes anyway. Even my 60" x 30" x 17" was 410+ pounds. You could always do a 1 piece Eurobracing but this would mean a custom tank.

And honestly, if this will be your long term permanent tank, you might as well go custom and invest a little more money to get exactly what you want. :)

Tons of manufacturers out there Tankme USA, Planet Aquariums, Crystal dynamics, Miracles, Reef Savvy just to name a few of the more popular choices.
 

Antics

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Ultimately you need to decide if you have the 64" of space or 84" of space. I'd recommend constructing a faux aquarium out of cardboard or some 1x1's and place it in the ideal location you're thinking. Once you have an actual representation for the size of the aquarium spend some time walking around it, approaching it from each side, go through the motions of doing maintenance etc. This will give you a rough idea for how feasible each footprint will be.

Once you've decided on whether or not you want a 5 foot or a 6 foot tank, I'd then take a look at the width. I personally think 30" tall tank looks beautiful, but I'd never want to stick my hand in one every week doing maintenance. I'd much prefer a 24" or shorter tank and instead adding depth front to back. Regardless, the dimensions are important for you because you're going to consider the lighting and flow needs for the new aquarium. You might have an existing T5 or LED fixture etc that you're planning on using for the new tank -- is it going to be compatible and/or worth using on the new tank? For example - its a lot cheaper to buy one ATI 60" T5 fixture than it is two 36" fixtures. Keep scaling equipment costs in mind when choosing the aquarium.

Finally -- reach out to multiple builders once you've decided on the size in mind. They will ultimately give the best input and advice on what type of bracing is necessary and what the glass thickness should be. I personally wouldn't worry about bracing type or thickness at all until you're squared away all the other decisions being made when it comes to the new aquarium. Added dry weight (to me) is the least of my concerns because at this footprint and gallons its going to be insignificant in the long run one way or the other. Once you get back a handful of quotes you can decide for yourself if any builder stands out for you because of bracing type, pricing, other upgrades/options, etc.
 
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SkiCatTX

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I would check into SCA for the 5" x 30" x 22", Euro Bracing is used to they can use thinner glass on the viewing panels. Crystal Dynamic also makes custom tanks.
I didn't see those measurements on their web page, I will check into it. Also, aren't they the ones that use plastic or acrylic bottoms? Not sure if I'm completely sold on that idea. I'm not completely against it, just seems noone else is doing it.

You can totally go rimless with a 180 or so but you are looking at at least 3/4"glass and it will be heavy. But in all honesty, you're not getting away with a light tank at those sizes anyway. Even my 60" x 30" x 17" was 410+ pounds. You could always do a 1 piece Eurobracing but this would mean a custom tank.

And honestly, if this will be your long term permanent tank, you might as well go custom and invest a little more money to get exactly what you want. :)

Tons of manufacturers out there Tankme USA, Planet Aquariums, Crystal dynamics, Miracles, Reef Savvy just to name a few of the more popular choices.
I probably will end up going custom, but if I could find someone that actually makes one of these sizes already, it would be cheaper. I agree though, I would prefer to pay a bit more for quality, or exactly what I needed, but if I could get both... :)

And great lists, I'll check these out.
 
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SkiCatTX

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Ultimately you need to decide if you have the 64" of space or 84" of space. I'd recommend constructing a faux aquarium out of cardboard or some 1x1's and place it in the ideal location you're thinking. Once you have an actual representation for the size of the aquarium spend some time walking around it, approaching it from each side, go through the motions of doing maintenance etc. This will give you a rough idea for how feasible each footprint will be.
Thanks for the detailed response!

Hadn't thought of building a faux tank, but I'll consider it. This is for my office, and I technically have a 12 foot wall to work with, 2 feet on the left side for the door swing and a built-in shelf space, so technically 10 feet I guess. The measurements are to fit it in with the existing cabinets, but they are reasonably cheap, and likely within the lifespan of the tank I will want to replace them...so...I am realizing that I probably shouldn't even consider them to determine the tank size.

Once you've decided on whether or not you want a 5 foot or a 6 foot tank, I'd then take a look at the width. I personally think 30" tall tank looks beautiful, but I'd never want to stick my hand in one every week doing maintenance. I'd much prefer a 24" or shorter tank and instead adding depth front to back. Regardless, the dimensions are important for you because you're going to consider the lighting and flow needs for the new aquarium. You might have an existing T5 or LED fixture etc that you're planning on using for the new tank -- is it going to be compatible and/or worth using on the new tank? For example - its a lot cheaper to buy one ATI 60" T5 fixture than it is two 36" fixtures. Keep scaling equipment costs in mind when choosing the aquarium.
I agree that the tall tanks look nice, but at the thought of either always using grappling hooks, or going swimming any time I need to maintenance the bottom, keeps me back at 24" or maybe 27" at the most.

As for lights, I plan on at least 3 Radion XR30s's and more recently considering a T5 fixture in addition, though I'm only just looking into that. Almost nothing from my current tanks will move over. If I have to go with another XR30, then the 72" tank starts to get more expensive in other ways...

Finally -- reach out to multiple builders once you've decided on the size in mind. They will ultimately give the best input and advice on what type of bracing is necessary and what the glass thickness should be. I personally wouldn't worry about bracing type or thickness at all until you're squared away all the other decisions being made when it comes to the new aquarium. Added dry weight (to me) is the least of my concerns because at this footprint and gallons its going to be insignificant in the long run one way or the other. Once you get back a handful of quotes you can decide for yourself if any builder stands out for you because of bracing type, pricing, other upgrades/options, etc.
Yeah, the thought of setting it up and needing lots of people has me concerned. However, I guess that's just a one time thing (hopefully) that I have to deal with, then not think about it again...

All of the LFS in Houston seem to only deal with Planet Aquariums, so it's either that, or have any of the others ship it to me directly. Of the Planet tanks I have seen to far, they look pretty good, so there's that. Might be that the tax difference makes up for the shipping too...
 

Antics

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Thanks for the detailed response!

Hadn't thought of building a faux tank, but I'll consider it. This is for my office, and I technically have a 12 foot wall to work with, 2 feet on the left side for the door swing and a built-in shelf space, so technically 10 feet I guess. The measurements are to fit it in with the existing cabinets, but they are reasonably cheap, and likely within the lifespan of the tank I will want to replace them...so...I am realizing that I probably shouldn't even consider them to determine the tank size.



I agree that the tall tanks look nice, but at the thought of either always using grappling hooks, or going swimming any time I need to maintenance the bottom, keeps me back at 24" or maybe 27" at the most.

As for lights, I plan on at least 3 Radion XR30s's and more recently considering a T5 fixture in addition, though I'm only just looking into that. Almost nothing from my current tanks will move over. If I have to go with another XR30, then the 72" tank starts to get more expensive in other ways...



Yeah, the thought of setting it up and needing lots of people has me concerned. However, I guess that's just a one time thing (hopefully) that I have to deal with, then not think about it again...

All of the LFS in Houston seem to only deal with Planet Aquariums, so it's either that, or have any of the others ship it to me directly. Of the Planet tanks I have seen to far, they look pretty good, so there's that. Might be that the tax difference makes up for the shipping too...
I'd look into SCA and CustomAquariums for sure. From the builds I've seen the tanks look like good quality for the price. More premium builders are definitely around but I'm not sure how to view the trade off of cost and quality for most of them.
 

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"I didn't see those measurements on their web page, I will check into it. Also, aren't they the ones that use plastic or acrylic bottoms? Not sure if I'm completely sold on that idea. I'm not completely against it, just seems noone else is doing it." quote

My friend had a 5 x 3 x 2 tank built by SCA so yes it is custom and the price was great. I would just call them, they are very responsive, there are several clubs threads from SCA just google it. I believe that AGE offers the Acrylic bottoms, Crystal Dynamic offers a acrylic insert on top of the glass inbetween the glass euro bracing on the bottom of the tank.

If you want a mack daddy tank make sure it can be installed in the house, that be could be a big oops. Stairs, turn in stairs low ceiling height, narrow door ways, nothing but weak friends. A friend of mine had about 15 people to help move a current tank to the a new wall and then brought in the 6' x 30'' x 24'' flat ground through garage to the spot maybe 40 feet, one problem going through a door way only people on the ends. High quality suction cups.
 

TX_Punisher

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Bigger the better. Or just get a Red Sea reefer 750 xxl like I did and call it a day. 72” x 25.5” x 24”.

Suction cups from an aquarium shop (borrowed) are a must.
 
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SkiCatTX

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I'd look into SCA and CustomAquariums for sure. From the builds I've seen the tanks look like good quality for the price. More premium builders are definitely around but I'm not sure how to view the trade off of cost and quality for most of them.
SCA definitely, though I have been watching Custom Aquariums in Dallas, however, of the tanks I have seen so far I have not been impressed with the silicone work, and I am not a fan of their sumps and overflow. They also tend not to put too much effort in drilling for other overflows, though they will do it, reluctantly.
 
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SkiCatTX

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My friend had a 5 x 3 x 2 tank built by SCA so yes it is custom and the price was great. I would just call them, they are very responsive, there are several clubs threads from SCA just google it. I believe that AGE offers the Acrylic bottoms, Crystal Dynamic offers a acrylic insert on top of the glass inbetween the glass euro bracing on the bottom of the tank.
Ah, OK. You are right on AGE, there are so many they are blurring together.

If you want a mack daddy tank make sure it can be installed in the house, that be could be a big oops. Stairs, turn in stairs low ceiling height, narrow door ways, nothing but weak friends. A friend of mine had about 15 people to help move a current tank to the a new wall and then brought in the 6' x 30'' x 24'' flat ground through garage to the spot maybe 40 feet, one problem going through a door way only people on the ends. High quality suction cups.
Yeah, that's what worries me. I should have no problem fitting it into the space, either through the double french doors in the back, or just the front door, which is right next to the office. However, I might have trouble gathering 5 (capable) people let alone 15, I'll probably have to hire some, or work with an LFS or one of the local custom installers to get it in place...which again adds to the cost.
 
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SkiCatTX

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Bigger the better. Or just get a Red Sea reefer 750 xxl like I did and call it a day. 72” x 25.5” x 24”.

Suction cups from an aquarium shop (borrowed) are a must.
Yes, that's an option. I do like their tanks. I had discounted them initially because they don't have a 60" tank, but without that limitation it is again interesting. And, it is only 4" less than 30"...but to me that does make a difference...that's the 4" of space behind the rock for flow...;Sour
 

TX_Punisher

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Yes, that's an option. I do like their tanks. I had discounted them initially because they don't have a 60" tank, but without that limitation it is again interesting. And, it is only 4" less than 30"...but to me that does make a difference...that's the 4" of space behind the rock for flow...;Sour
Agree. Turn key is nice, though! Comes down to pricing. Compare the custom to the RS don’t forget the custom sump and overflow for the custom tank. Good luck
 
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Agree. Turn key is nice, though! Comes down to pricing. Compare the custom to the RS don’t forget the custom sump and overflow for the custom tank. Good luck
Yeah, the RS are expensive, but for what you get it is definitely comparable to custom once you add all the required extras.
 
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SkiCatTX

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We did a custom 72 wide, 22 deep and 30 high. No bracing and no rim, and glass is 3/4-inch. Took 6 men to bring it into the house!
That's pretty much what I'm thinking, just swap the H/W, so probably comparable. It's going to be heavy no matter what...And I'm glad you were able to get without the bracing. So you like it, and the glass is plenty strong enough? What about clarity? Did you get the extra clear glass?
 

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I haven’t decided yet. The current plan is to decide it the next couple months in order to get it set up by the end of the year.
I’m considering the same dimensions.
72-60” long x 30-36” wide x 20-24” tall.
I haven’t narrowed it down yet but I’m still in the planning stages
 

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