View Full Version : 48" wide tank preference

10/21/2019, 02:57 PM

I am planning to purchase a 48" wide tank, preferably in the 90 G minimum size range. I was just looking, and although I want to keep cost reasonable, I was curious as to other reefers actual experience with tanks in that size range. I think a 70 G will be too shallow to get reasonable live rock and sculpting room. That is why I think a minimum 90G is my benchmark. However, I just started looking at some suppliers, and it seems there are some 48" wide options that are deeper (about 24") and or taller than a 90G that will fit in my available space in the 100G or 105G, and up.

I don't want this to turn into a thread about people and what size tank they dream about, but instead reefers who either purchased a 90G and the positive or negative conclusion they developed over time with experience, or perhaps reefers that went 100/105/ etc at 48" wide and any positive/negative experience they acquired over time.

My 48" wide dim is locked in, I can't fit a wider tank there. But the depth and height are negotiable, however it must be a rectangular tank, I can't go square.

My plan is to build a stand and canopy. W/Sump in the stand, still undecided on that size, likely 55- 75G.
For what it's worth, I've been in and out of the hobby for about 20 years, so I am not starting with zero experience, but I am definitely no expert. Over the years I have acquired rock, sand, and equipment (heaters, lights, skimmer, etc). Although my system won't be state of the art, latest and greatest, I should have enough equipment to successfully handle fish, soft corals, and even some hard corals if I want to.

Is there a reason why you liked or disliked your 90G/100G/etc 48" wide tank ? I'd be appreciative of any feedback from reefers who kept fish and/or soft corals, and/or hard corals in 48" wide tanks.

Vinny Kreyling
10/21/2019, 07:34 PM
You would like a 120 much more than a 90.
Width allows for easier aquscaping.

10/21/2019, 07:47 PM
120g (4x2x2) was one of my favorite tanks.

10/22/2019, 07:17 AM
I started with 18" deep tanks, once you go to 24" you will never go back to a 18".

10/22/2019, 09:51 AM
The standard rule for reef tank footprint length to depth ratios is 2:1 (at least that's what it is in Europe), and generally that gives you decent aqua-scping options.
But for the rather freestanding aqua-scapes of today I actually would want even more depth. The limiting factor is really just access and how far you can/need to reach.

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10/22/2019, 11:29 AM
I agree. The Deeper the better. First tank was 12 inches. Second tank was an 18. now have a 22. Depth changes the look of everything for the better.

10/22/2019, 02:31 PM
Great info! Seems there is positive feedback comparing 90G vs the deeper options such as 120G. Thanks for offering feedback. I will look at pricing and consider my options.

Michael Hoaster
10/23/2019, 10:14 AM
"My 48" wide dim is locked in, I can't fit a wider tank there."

If you can barely fit a 48 inch tank in the space, then that may be too big. Ideally, you'd have easy access to all four sides of your tank for maintenance. If you have limited access into your tank, maintenance will slip, and you'll end up with a box of algae.

When building up a new tank, it's very important to remember the most important species is YOU! All decisions should be focused on making every aspect of aquarium keeping easier. Many of us set up aquariums thinking of our 'best selves'. We should be thinking of our 'slackest selves', because that's more realistic for most of us.

Good luck with your build!

10/23/2019, 10:51 AM
I love my 48x30x20 tank. It comes out to about 120 gallons, but the increased front to back width makes it look bigger. I would’ve liked to go 24” tall, but the tank is rimless and the increased thickness of the glass needed for a 24” tall tank would’ve almost doubled the price.

10/23/2019, 03:00 PM
I have a 48wx30hx24d tank. the 30h is a little too tall to reach the bottom.

10/23/2019, 09:44 PM
I have a 48wx30hx24d tank. the 30h is a little too tall to reach the bottom.

Exactly. The 48x30x24h would be much more user friendly.

10/24/2019, 02:34 AM
I have a 48wx30hx24d tank. the 30h is a little too tall to reach the bottom.Taller tanks like that make sense if you need a 4 to 8 inches deep sand bed for inhabitants that build deep burrows like jawfish.
Otherwise I would avoid going taller than 24".
Generally you don't want to have a water column that is taller than the tank is deep.

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10/24/2019, 02:49 PM
Exactly. The 48x30x24h would be much more user friendly.

yes, this was something I was thinking about. I will have to determine how deep of a tank is reasonable for the reach of my arm. I wasn't planning a deep sand bed which means even 24" deep may be a problem for my reach by hand. I am not certain, but it's likely 1-2" of the top of the tank will not contain water, but that doesn't really matter regarding my arm reach. I measured, and I don't think I can get much more than 22" of arm reach. If my sand bed is 1-2", then I may have problems depending on sand movement, or reaching towards the back of the tank towards the bottom with my hand.
I know there are nets I can use for extension, so it's likely I don't have to worry too much, but it's been a while since I have had a tank up, and I don't recall how often I was reaching to the bottom of the tank with my arm without assistance.

10/24/2019, 02:57 PM
I suggest to use long stainless steel tweezers to reach things on the ground. They are pretty good for most tasks.
Even though I can reach the things on the grounds of most of my tanks, I try to limit putting my arm into the tanks as much as possible.

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Kevin Guthrie
10/26/2019, 04:34 PM
I have a 4' long x 2' high x 1.5' wide with access only in front. The left end is against a wall that has a utility room on the other side where my sump is. I absolutely love not having the sump under the tank.

If I were to do it again I would modify the left wall, continue the tank and stand thru it into the utility room, and put egg crate in the tank at the wall as a divider. Then my circ pumps and overflow would be out of sight behind the egg crate instead of visible in the tank.

A bigger tank is always better, go with the 120 if you can.

A Aaron
10/26/2019, 07:30 PM
I have a 48 wide and 24 deep and 20 tall 100 gallon. I think the 24 deep is the best thing you can get in that size range. I would stick with this size 100 or add the 4 more inches to the height and make it a 120g. Either way Iím very happy With this tank size.