Skip to main content

Small aquarium versus Large aquarium.

We all want a stupidly big reef tank after starting reef keeping but what are the advantages and disadvantages of small and large reef tanks?


The most obvious is cost, The larger tanks are more expensive and hobbyist have even gone to the extreme of Home extensions with a fish room full of equipment. If you have got it then go for it! many have not. Small reef tanks are reasonably priced and newcomers can come in at all levels.


A small reef tank doesn't need all the fancy equipment and can be run easily provided good housekeeping is practised. But that said with fancy computers, reactors and sump. Everything can be run with very little fuss, in autopilot if you like, with weekly checks to make sure everything is running smoothly.


Here is where larger reef tanks win. parameters are more stable and swings in water changes are minimum and happen in a much longer time. A slight problem with a small reef can send readings high really quickly.

Stocking levels.

If you want to stock really big and fancy specimens you are going to need a big Aquarium. It's not fair to stock a Yellow tang or similar type of fish in a 100 litre tank. The same applies for many types of fish all in one tank.


If you have a little space in your living room and don't know what to do with it then a Aquarium is a great addition, But don't plan on a huge aquarium it will be just too much impact.

Moving house

This is very important, what would be the point of creating a beautiful built in fish tank if you plan on moving, it will be costly, very time consuming and may even result in the loss of a sale of your property. Not everyone wants to buy and house with a aquarium the cant do nothing with.

Small tanks can be moved relatively easy but it is a timely job. I moved last year and it took me a day to move a simple 125 litre tank and livestock. It was very tiring but can be simply be done through planning and a little organisation. This could take weeks maybe a month are so with a really big Aquarium.

Viewing pleasure

A Small reef tank cant even compete with this. How nice would it be to have a six foot fish tank in your living room full of fish corals and invertebrate's? We all want the WOW factor.


Will it fit through your front door, garden gate, can it be easily transported? you wont have these problems with a small aquarium.

There is nothing stopping you implementing all the technologies in a small reef tank as you progress. At least this way you will have it for the large Aquarium you are planning for the future.


chris said…
Good points. We certainly underestimated the cost of a large aquarium
Fish Tanks said…
Great article, like Chris said he underestimated the cost and maintenance required for a tank. This article will definitely give people an idea of the dedication it takes to make an aquarium thrive.

Popular posts from this blog

Understanding evaporation and top up

Many new Reef Keepers get confused and stuck when it comes to topping up water in their Reef Aquarium. It is really simple and easy to understand. It doesn't need to get confusing.

Evaporation happens continuously, many new hobbyists start by adding Freshly mixed saltwater then end up with a really high salinity. You have to think of your water as two elements, in fact it is. Salt and Reverse osmosis water. Salt cannot evaporate because it is a solid and solids don't evaporate. Therefore as the water evaporates, the salt remains in the Aquarium, which in turn increases your salinity. From this you should have worked out that Top up/RO water should be added.

If your Aquarium is left for a few days or more the salinity will rise rapidly, which is why it is important to top up daily if possible.

When carrying out a water change, because you are removing the mixed salt water your are removing both elements, salt and RO water. All that is required now is a fresh saltwater mix that…

The Reef Aquarium With Low Magnesium - What Can Happen?

Hopefully you will understand that keeping corals is a huge responsibility and can become very expensive to yourself and the environment. Corals are very interesting animals and unless you are willing to nurture them properly, you should find another hobby.

After checking the usual, Salinity, Nitrate and Phosphates. You should be checking Magnesium, Alkalinity and Calcium. These three parameters are very important when keeping short polyp stony,and long polyp stony hard corals, SPS and LPS respectively.

So what effects will low magnesium have on your reef aquarium?

You will find it very difficult to maintain high alkalinity and calcium levels if magnesium is low.

Corals will slow in growth and will cause some corals such as Duncans and torch corals to recede, and in some cases die. You may as many other reefers do, think you have something unseen and/or unheard of eating your corals, because branching heads or receding one by one. Don't get fooled by this, it more likely be the cas…

New V2 Auto top up from TMC

After needing an auto top up unit for some time, with quite high costs for a unit that function seems very minimal. I have always been put off until now. Whilst reading ultra marine I saw a review and advertisements for the TMC V2 auto top up and more surprising is it's very affordable price tag. After further investigation it seems to have really good reviews on forums and blogs. I have to say it is a real good, easy to set up and cheap unit that functions perfectly. This should give me more stability and time to enjoy the aquarium.I will in a few weeks report back any improvements that it will hopefully make.