Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Aquarium Fish

Aquarium Components: Tanks, Stand, Cover

Tank Capacity By Tank Size
Tank Dimensions
Length x Width x Height in Inches
Tank Capacity
20 x 10 x 12 10
24 x 12 x 12 15
24 x 10 x 18 15 High
24 x 12 x 16 20 High
30 x 12 x 12 20 Long
30 x 12 x 18 29
36 x 12 x 16 30
48 x 13 x 20 55
48 x 18 x 20 75
48 x 18 x 24 90
72 x 18 x 22 125
72 x 18 x 28 150
72 x 24 x 24 180

Tank: The selection of a tank requires careful consideration of several factors including the biology (particularly size and territory requirements) of the species of fish that will be housed, space available for displaying the tank, maintenance and budget. Most tanks today are all glass, although lighter-weight acrylic tanks are also available. Glass tanks are durable, safe for all species of fish and types of systems, and easily cleaned without scratching or clouding. Acrylic tanks are available in a variety of shapes, but greater care must be taken to prevent scratching and clouding.

For tank size, the phrase "bigger is better" holds true. Ideally, an aquarist should choose the largest tank that is affordable and practical for the available space. A larger tank for the same amount of fish will result in less rapidly degrading water quality, and therefore less required maintenance.

Tank shapes vary from rectangular to octagonal to novelty shapes. Irregularly shaped, themed or custom tanks are attractive. They also require special equipment such as tank stands, covers, lighting and some types of filtration, and can also be difficult to clean. Good planning will ensure that money is not spent on a tank that cannot be properly turned into an aquarium system.

The relationship of length and width of the tank (i.e., surface area) to the depth of the tank should also be considered before making a purchase. A larger surface area facilitates the introduction of oxygen from the atmosphere into the tank and carbon dioxide from the tank back out to the atmosphere. Additionally, light may have difficulty penetrating very deep tanks, which is of particular concern for planted tanks. However, always consider the inhabitants' requirements because some fish, such as the deep-bodied discus and angelfish, prefer greater depth than surface area.

Aquarium Stand: Because an aquarium will generally weigh at least 10 to 12 pounds per gallon when full of water and substrate (water alone weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon), a sturdy stand is crucial for supporting the tank. The stand should be water resistant and should distribute the aquarium's weight evenly. Both iron stands and wood stands are available.

Aquarium Cover: A cover for an aquarium is important not only for keeping fish in the tank but also for keeping foreign objects out, including airborne particles such as dust. A well-fitted cover is extremely important for reducing evaporation, which concentrates wastes and requires regular addition of make-up water. Many aquarium covers/hoods also incorporate a waterproof lighting fixture. The cover should be able to be easily opened or removed for feeding and maintenance.

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