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My next tank should be....?


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Years ago I used to have an aquarium. Time, work, moving, kept me away. I wanted to get back into it, but didn't want the problems that come with it. Now that we bought our own place my wife found a few tanks for free. As you might imagine the hobby tends to....grow, in about every way. 

I started with the free 20 tall. I prefer wider shorter tanks (and don't trust a used tank in my office) so I got a new 20 long. I added a lid and light (Aquasky...great light). The plastic plants are gone and now have a few species from the Co-op that are doing well. 

Now I'm looking at a larger tank. Not huge, I don't have the space. My office is just 12x12. I also want to keep cost reasonable. I'm also worried about leaks and the problems 40+ gallons of water can do on the second floor!

What do I like, not like, look for, avoid?

  • I like natural looking: real rock, wood, leaves (maybe), live plants
  • natural looking fish that are on the smaller side
  • schooling fish
  • maybe one or two bigger 'centerpiece' fish
  • low maintenance
  • no heater? I currently do not use a heater (blacknose dace from the creek and white cloud minnows). I will probably get a heater some day so I can expand my fish options
  • quiet...I currently have a Aqueon quietflow but have a Tidal 55 on the way
  • reliable and looks good for a long time, I'll spend more for the right stuff.
  • definitely do not like tanks that lead or go *pop* leaking water everywhere :)

I prefer shorter longer tanks, but if a taller tank allows for more natural looking habitat with fish and plants that occupy different zones, I could go for that. 

I was thinking a 29/30 gallon would be easy. I could use the same stand, cover, light, and filter (Tidal 55). But would I wish I had gotten a 40? 55!?

What questions should I be asking myself? Any suggestions based on your journey?

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A 29 is the leading option because it is the same LxW as my 20L and I could use the same lid, stand, and light. A 33 long or 40 long does look nice, but creates some issues with space.

I'm also curious about the 40 breeder for the greater width (Depth as you look at it). I like giving some foreground to background perspective. Though at 40g I start getting nervous about that much water and weight. Such vigilance is helpful for engineers and IT professionals like me, but not good for hobbies like this!

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