The first step in selecting a tank is choosing the location where it will be placed. Obviously you’ll want to put in somewhere you can enjoy it, but you also want to select a location that has easy access to electrical outlets. Another important factor in choosing location is the placement of heating and air conditioning vents as well as vicinity of windows. Fish require stable water temperatures and any of these can have a dramatic impact on the temperature of your tank. Excessive sunlight can also result in algae growth, requiring more frequent cleaning and water changes. The final and possibly most important factor to consider when choosing your tank location is the surface on which it will be placed. A gallon of water weighs approximately 10 pounds, and this can quickly add up when talking about a larger tank such as 75 gallons. As a result, it is important to choose a location that can safely support the weight of your aquarium.
Once you’ve determined the location in which you will place your aquarium, you will next need to decide on what size of tank you want. Generally, the larger the aquarium, the healthier your inhabitants will be. A larger water volume results in more gradual water chemistry changes, allowing you more time to correct toxic situations. A larger aquarium, will also allow you to have a great number of fish. A good rule of thumb is 1” inch of fish per gallon of expected growth for freshwater, and 1.5-2” inches per gallon for saltwater. However, many first time aquarists start with a small tank, and then upgrade as their interest and experience levels grow.
There are many styles of tanks and they range from the traditional rectangular, in sizes from 2.5 to 220 gallon, to an array of bow front tanks. Most bow fronts that are currently available in smaller sizes are usually made of acrylic, rather than glass. Nano tanks are another style that is becoming very popular and they range in size from 2 to 29 gallons. Some are sold as complete kits and can be used for reef set-ups as they include high end lighting. There are also several non-typical tank styles to choose from such as columns, pentagons, and large deep square tanks. All of these styles make really nice setups but they are often more expensive than their more traditional counterparts. Some of the larger 3ftx3ft tanks are made of sapphire glass, which is close to perfect clarity, and are very expensive but also very durable.
Another factor to consider when choosing a tank is whether you will be setting up a freshwater or a saltwater aquarium. Pre-drilled tanks are a very common choice when setting up a saltwater tank. With all of your connections hidden in a corner flow, the tank is able to maintain a constant water level. Pre-drilled tanks require you to have a sump of some type to hold a certain amount of water so it can be circulated back to the tank. This method allows proteins and/or debris to move from the water surface to the corner flow where they are carried to the sump and then to a protein skimmer if one is installed.
This tank has a Corner-Flo system in the left rear corner