Can you ever have too big of a tank?

SquiddyBiscuit

Larval Mass
Registered
#1
I'm probably a couple of years away from trying to get myself either a cuttlefish or octopus, but I am doing my best researching the best way of taking care of cephalopods so that I am ready when the day come.
One thing I am wondering is if you can ever have too big of a tank?
Is there a general answer to this question or is it something that vary from species to species?
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#2
If you only kept one O. mercatoris dwarf in 200 gallon tank, the animal would not suffer but you would not likely see it. However, if you tried housing 5 or 6 in the tank, it could be very interesting (or in my actual case 3 in a 45).

Outside the rather inactive (but I definitely saw more activity with multiples than with singles in any sized tank I used) mercatoris, and possibly other dwarf species, I don't think you would preclude seeing interesting activity because of an overly large tank. Water quality would only improve but cleaning an overly large tank (particularly a deep one) might well make you want to give up the hobby or go for smaller tanks and leave the large one mostly empty (as is our case with the 145 that is 3' tall). IMO, more important than oversized is the ease of maintenance. So shape and set up are more important than volume once you meet minimum requirements. If you wanted to be able to house almost any octopus that we see, something close to 200 gallons would still not be oversized for anything other than a single dwarf (that actually stayed dwarf sized, unlike Little Bit :grin:).

As you are planning though, consider that MTS can go viral (I'll let you look that up on google - try: MTS aquarium :wink:). As you grow in your interest in the marine world you will find that many things cannot be housed together, not just octopuses. We have found that keeping a variety of sizes with a good basic bio design has been more flexible and rewarding than the large dream tank that sits in my dining room. :twocents:
 

Cuddlycuttlefsh

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#3
A recommendation, Square tanks are the way to go,

they allow more gas exchange on the surface
more room for beneficial bacteria
more room for tank inhabitants
much easier to siphon the tank because the water level isn't too high
doesn't make the inhabits feel squash
metel halide bulbs are not required because it doesn't have to have it's light to penetrate the water from a depth
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#4
I think you can have too big a tank. A small animal in a large tank tends to get lost, though you can do it. Tank size is an interesting idea with cephs because they so radically change size through their lives. I prefer a small tank when the animals are young so I can make sure they are eating and to be able to do health checks. Besides that, it def varies by species.


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Please forgive the line by line, but it feels important to address all these. If I am missing something please let me know.

Cuddlycuttlefsh;184145 said:
A recommendation, Square tanks are the way to go,

they allow more gas exchange on the surface
Surface area is surface area regardless of shape. Also gas exchange is mostly a function of breaking the surface tension which seems to have no relation to shape.

more room for beneficial bacteria
Again, surface area is surface area, but more importantly, room for beneficial bacteria has much more to do with the substrate provided for those bacteria rather than the shape of the container.

more room for tank inhabitants
I am not sure how square equals more room. 100 gallons is 100 gallons (excluding extreme shapes).

much easier to siphon the tank because the water level isn't too high
Unless the tank is a cube. Most commercially available tanks are not 'too high', and most of them are rectangular.

doesn't make the inhabits feel squash
Depends on the animal, and the argument can me made that a longer tank give the animal more space to stretch out and swim (its why most swimming pools are longer in one direction). I am also not sure how we can measure how the animals feel.

metel halide bulbs are not required because it doesn't have to have it's light to penetrate the water from a depth
I am not sure how the shape of the tank has anything to do with light penetration - its more the depth of the water which seems to have little to do with shape. More importantly, it depends on the animals in the tank. If you are doing just cephs, MH lamps are not needed regardless of the depth of the tank.

Square tanks are fine, but they seem to be more of an aesthetic choice rather than a husbandry choice.
 

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Moderator
#5
I agree with Thales. Very large tanks for very small animals can be a problem. There are ways around it, however. You can plumb satellite tanks off of the main or you can use caging.

Roy
 

Cuddlycuttlefsh

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#6
Thales, please forgive me, I now know I was wrong about some of the stuff. And I have no scientific evidence about the effect of surface area on the amount of beneficial bacterial capacity (though there are so many other variables that could effect the outcome).


But..

Thales;184148 said:
I am not sure how square equals more room. 100 gallons is 100 gallons (excluding extreme shapes).
By room, I'm talking about once again area for the organism to move (for me because I want to have my tanks to be as humanly to the inhabitants as possible). Just to clear all the confusion of what I mean, think of a cube tank from a bird's eye view. Then look at a rectangular tank with considerable length sacrificed at the width of the tank to make the tank taller. Sure they both have the same water capacity, but the area for the inhabitants to move especially like benthic octopuses for example is very limited. With square shaped tanks all dimensions are equal as well as height equalized as well, the outcome is that the area will increase allowing the organism(s) to move more freely. Octopuses are not fish of course, and unlike fish octopuses don't normally go in one direction. As I mentioned earlier, since some octopuses are benthic...some would benefit from more area on bottom.








Edit: Whoops, sorry the caption didn't turn out right but you can get the idea. After all a picture is worth a thousand words
 

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Cuddlycuttlefsh

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#7
Thales;184148 said:
I am not sure how the shape of the tank has anything to do with light penetration - its more the depth of the water which seems to have little to do with shape. More importantly, it depends on the animals in the tank. If you are doing just cephs, MH lamps are not needed regardless of the depth of the tank.
Lol, I didn't write that correctly either too whoops:oops:.

The tank shape does have to do with the shape in some cases like a tall aquarium with a more height than width and length ratio. The depth, how far this side is to this side in my opinion has totally to do with the shape of the tank. Not that I have a bias, I'm just saying...so no hard feelings
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#8
No worries, that was discussion forums are for. I love being wrong because it makes me think.

I think part of the issue is that there are many different sizes of tanks, and that in general, rectangular tanks usually aren't going for height. I think a dash of real world stuff might be helpful:
http://oldtownaquarium.com/?q=aquarium-shapes-and-sizes

I think if we are going to make a comparison we need to know what the similarities are. Most people go with volume, and you are interested in surface area so lets look at that.

A 24x24x24 cube gives approx 59.8 gallons and 576 square inches of surface area.
A 36x18x20 rectangular tank gives approx 56.1 gallons and 648 square inches of surface area.

The rectangular tank actually gives more surface area for less gallons, it's just that that surface area is shaped differently. The question seems to be is there a better shape? I don't think there is, I think there are different shapes and each may be applicable to different situations.

Octopuses swim all the time, even benthic ones, and in shorter tanks they tend to bump into the walls. It may be the case that a longer tank allows for more swimming room as well as over all more surface area to explore. It may also be that a longer distance in one direction allows the octopus to move for a longer time in a single direction and that may be beneficial.

PS - I think your picture is misleading because it doesn't use actual dimensions. Its easy to make the picture look like it supports what you are saying, but I don't think it actually does. Whaddya think?
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#9
Cuddlycuttlefsh;184165 said:
Lol, I didn't write that correctly either too whoops:oops:.

The tank shape does have to do with the shape in some cases like a tall aquarium with a more height than width and length ratio. The depth, how far this side is to this side in my opinion has totally to do with the shape of the tank. Not that I have a bias, I'm just saying...so no hard feelings
I think tanks with more height than width and length are few and far between simply because they are less stable - the higher it goes the easier it is to tip over. You also seem to be saying that the shape of the tank has to do with the shape of the tank and I am not sure what that means. :grin:
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#10
I think tanks with more height than width and length are few and far between
Probably more common than you would think in the world of acrylic tanks and some of the lower end custom glass tank shops. Also probably not a good idea for hard coral (light depth) and some cephs but somewhat frequent and very desirable for larger seahorses (particulary for mating as the egg transfer takes place high in the water column).

I will admit that my anemone tank is unusual (4' tall and 13" dia hex), was not designed for saltwater and is inappropriate for a ceph but it was and still is commercially available and not a custom design (purchased before 2005 and, although new and unused, it was an old tank even then). With creative thinking and DIY, it is stable both chemically and physically but critter choice is important because of the limited lateral mobility and light depth.
 

Thales

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#11
I don't think so D, check the like above and this one for acrylic: http://www.truvuaquariums.com/55galto100gal2.html

Tall tanks are fine, and do exist, but they do have their own set of considerations.

I should add that this is for rectangular tanks, things like hexes and pentagons are sometimes tallish.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#12
LOL, we cross posted. If we are talking strickly rectangular :roll: you win but you can't include the very popular pentagons (edit: oops you mentioned those), half circles or bow fronts either :wink:

Owning a couple of tall tanks (none rectangular), OK is a matter of symantics because they are a royal pain to clean. They just look so nice when you are finished you keep cleaning them and muttering under your breath wondering if you have Tourette Syndrome :wink:
 

Cuddlycuttlefsh

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#13
Thales;184168 said:
You also seem to be saying that the shape of the tank has to do with the shape of the tank and I am not sure what that means. :grin:
UUUUrgh!!!!:mad: I guess words do not corporate with me!!!! I didn't say that right either, ill show you.

----The tank shape does have to do with the shape in some cases like a tall aquarium with a more height than width and length ratio---(This was what I wrote on #7)

By the tank shape does have to do with the shape I men't the shape of the water, so if you think about it. When you make a custom tank your actually sculpting the water to meet the needs of the tank inhabitants.
 

Cuddlycuttlefsh

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#14
Thales;184167 said:
PS - I think your picture is misleading because it doesn't use actual dimensions. Its easy to make the picture look like it supports what you are saying, but I don't think it actually does. Whaddya think?
Yeah, that too. Sorry I was too lazy to do the math, it would be nice though if I could get my hands on 2 tanks that have the same water capacity and see which one has more surface area myself:tongue:.
 

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