What style of tanks are there?
So, you’re thinking about getting into the magical world of reefing? But where do you start? Well, with a tank of course! Choosing the right tank can be a monumental task, especially when there are so many awesome options on the market. What is manageable for some may be overbearing for others, and the last thing that you would want to do is spend the money on an aquarium system only to become overwhelmed, unhappy, or even worse, with a dead tank. And what could have been your new favorite hobby. Do your research first and find out what tank will be best for you, as this may very well become your favorite hobby and passion!
There are two common styles of tanks, rimmed and rimless. Rimmed tanks often have a black “rim” or brace that surrounds the top and bottom of the tank. The rim strengthens the structure of the tank. Rimmed tanks can also have center bracing (known as a eurobrace) that runs beneath the tank to support the bottom load. A benefit to a rimmed setup is that the waterline of your tank can be hidden. Rimmed tanks are very common in tanks above 300 gallons as they have generally had a stronger structural integrity than rimless tanks. Aesthetically, rimmed tanks can look amazing, but are not as sleek and bewitching as a rimless tank.
Rimless tanks do not have a “rim” that surrounds the top and bottom and are often just glass or acrylic. These tanks have a more modern look and are altogether more visually stunning. The structural integrity comes from only glass and silicone, instead of center bracing, meaning there is nothing visible beside the glass and the contents inside the tank. Rimless tanks are perfect for Nano or Cube build as they do not block any of the precious space that you need when working with such a small structure. In larger tank applications, rimless tanks are absolutely stunning and provide ultimate captivation. The only downside is that above 300 gallons rimless tanks become impractical due to the thickness of the glass required and the cost of the materials. Cleaning can also be a bit more tedious, as salt creep is more noticeable on a rimless tank versus a rimmed tank.
Although it’s easy to imagine an aquarium as just a clear box with water and fish, it is much more complex than that! Once you have decided between a rimmed or rimless tank, you will also need to decide between with either a glass or acrylic tank. Glass is the more traditional, while acrylic is less common. Acrylic is a hard plastic that can come in a multitude of colors if that is your preference, but for most, a clear aquarium is the best choice. The main difference comes down to ease of maintenance, for most consumers. Glass is much more forgiving to clean and does not scratch under most circumstances, while acrylic easily scratches and requires specialized scrubbers to keep the algae off. A scratch can happen as easily as a passerby rubs up against it, or even by your inhabitants with sharp teeth, claws, etc. Outer acrylic scratches can be polished easier than glass, but inside scratches must be left alone as the cleaners are often toxic to your inhabitants. Acrylic can also yellow over time, while glass will never lose its clarity. In most cases, acrylic tanks are more expensive due to shipping costs and other factors. However, if you were planning on building your own tank, acrylic may be the best way to go as it is cheaper to buy in its unconstructed state and is easier to mold into strange shapes if that is something that you are interested in.
The next thing you need to consider when looking at tanks is the overall weight that will be introduced to your household and what will be required to support the tank you choose. Stand selection can be just as big of a task as tank selection. There are many different types that are available whether it be a DIY homemade stand, a prebuilt stand, or a cabinet. DIY stands are popular amongst hobbyists that have specific goals or needs for their tanks. Prebuilt stands and cabinets often come with high-end tanks and are a great option as they often are designed to include built-in storage and places for systems. If you are going with a small or nano tank you have the option of placing the tank on any sturdy piece of furniture. Always consider how water resistant your tank’s resting surface is going to be to prevent future heartache, as spills will undoubtedly happen down the line.
Lastly, choosing the size of your tank is often the hardest overall factor. Most want to start small to be sure that this hobby is right for them, but this could potentially lead to disaster! Smaller tanks have less room for error and less room to experiment. The chemistry of your tank’s water can be thrown off balance easily by your aquarium’s inhabitants which can cause many issues over time. Generally, larger tanks are easier to care for. For a beginner, the best option is to choose a tank larger than 10 gallons, as smaller than that requires more daily maintenance. This can potentially stress your inhabitants as daily maintenance is a great disruption and causes a lot of stress.
Overall, when shopping for a tank always take into consideration the information we just mentioned: rimmed or rimless, acrylic or glass, tank location, and aquarium size. Every choice you make will affect not only the amount of maintenance that is required to keep your aquarium thriving and healthy but also the overall enjoyment you will get out of this hobby. We hope you choose Triquatics for all of your aquarium needs!