Planted Aquarium Tank Dimensions
How to Determine Your Planted Aquarium Tank Dimensions
After choosing the ideal location of your aquarium at your home and the stand to be used, you have to determine your planted aquarium tank dimensions. You have to take measurements of the Length, Width, and Height (LxWxH) of the stand. Take into consideration where you will put your equipment, tools such as aquarium filter, aquascaping tools (straight tweezers, curved scissors), siphon, etc.
Table of Contents
It Depends on the Location and Chosen Stand
Standard Aquarium Dimensions (Rectangular)
Aquascaping Style and Faunas You Want to Keep
Standard Aquarium Dimensions (Cube)
It Depends on the Location and Chosen Stand
If you have a custom cabinet made for your aquarium, measure the dimensions at the top of your custom-made cabinet. That is the length and width of your aquarium. You have to decide now the tank’s height that you are comfortable with while doing aquascaping and maintenance. It shouldn’t be a stretch for you to reach the tank’s bottom using your hands and without using any stool or chair.
Custom-built cabinets will allow you to conceal all your equipment (canister filter, co2 tanks, fertilizers, fish food) by putting them inside the compartment/s.
If you have a hardwood table or waist-high flat-top furniture, remember your tank length may not necessarily span the length of the furniture. You can allow space on the sides to organize your tools for quick maintenance/trimming and then put your filter under the table if you have a canister filter.
Custom Made Cabinet – Client Tank – Aquascaped by Fritz Rabaya – Philippines
Custom Made Cabinet – Client Tank – Aquascaped by Jay-r Huelar – Philippines
Re-purposed Rack Stands – By Omar Krishnan Afuang – Philippines
Another consideration is cost. As the tank of choice gets larger, the aquascaping materials (substrate, rocks, and driftwood) cost needed for a nice scape will be proportionally higher. Sometimes, even higher than the tank costs itself plus the equipment (filter, lights, submersible pumps).
Some hobbyists bought a large tank and ended up with a half-bare scape because there is no budget anymore.
Aquascaping Materials Les Paul Villanueva Philippines
I recommend long-short tanks [they have more depth (width) front to back than height] as they are easy to aquascape with. 10, 15, or 20 gallons ‘long’ are good choices to start with.
Standard Aquarium Dimensions
Measured in inches (L x W x H):
10 gallon – 20″ x 10″ x 12″
15 gallon long – 24″ x 12″ x 12″
20 gallon long – 30″ x 12″ x 12″
Avoid tall tanks, as you may overexert yourself while doing the designing of your scape or while doing maintenance. Tall tanks also require you to use stronger lighting, which will add to the cost. Light waves decrease exponentially as it travels deeper in water.
There are many standard tanks sizes that you can choose from, or you can find custom tank makers that will build your tank based on your own specifications/dimensions.
Different Aquarium Tank Sizes
Tank Size (Rectangular)
L x W x H (inches)
Considering the Aquascaping Style and the Faunas You Want to Keep
The aquascaping style you have in mind also factors in when determining your tank’s dimensions. For example, you can do most aquascaping designs in a 15 – 20 gallon long tank and compliment with nano fish/es, shrimps, snails, etc.
There are aquascaping styles that can be done on cube tanks as well, like Nature, Iwagumi, Biotope, Walstad, Hardscape Diorama, etc. Below, we provide the standard cube tank sizes for those with limited spaces in their homes.
However, suppose you want to preserve the scale of a Jungle or Nature Style aquarium for big fish species like Arowana, Discus, etc. In that case, you need at least 50 gallons for a group of 6 Discus and at least 100 gallons for a single Arowana.
For the ideal tank sizes for each aquascaping style, go here. Choose the style that you want and see the “What Tank to Use” Section.
Tank Size (Cube)
L x W x H (inches)
You would be surprised by some amazing aquascape pictures on the internet that looks like it was done in a large tank, but in reality, they were just done in a 15-gallon or lower tank, like the image below. This was done in a 15-gallon long tank 24 x 12 x 12 by Fritz Rabaya – Philippines. The aquascaper can be called an illusionist. He/She can create a sense of depth, scale, and proportions in a small aquarium.
We can produce great results by focusing our efforts, time, and money on small to medium tanks.
Hardscape Diorama Style Aquascaped by Fritz Rabaya – Philippines
Also, the volatility/instability of small/nano aquariums are overblown across the whole internet. Small planted aquariums are cheap and easier to re-scape (as a beginner, you may/will be doing this a lot when experimenting with different layouts, or you commit a mistake). The problems you may encounter are easier to correct and less costly if you did an oversight, or if you are testing/experimenting with your ideas or theories and it didn’t work. It is much easier to do plant maintenance (trimming) and less water to change as well on small aquariums.
Unless you already did your research, and are very willing to learn, we still don’t recommend small/nano tanks for beginners. The water volume is so small that water parameters can simply go awry in an instant.
You should already have the keen observation and insights on what to do in a specific scenario/problem and should have done the necessary precautions for that problem not to happen in the first place (like overfeeding, overstocking, wrong combination of faunas, tank neglect, overdosing, wrong size filter, wrong lighting, etc.) – unless you are experimenting.
You will be able to grasp the intricacies of a planted aquarium quickly though when using small to nano tanks. Medium to large tanks simply just give you a certain buffer to get away with mistakes. Also, problems do not manifest quickly on medium to large tanks until you are not certain anymore what you had changed. Rectifying the problem is also the same story, results do not reveal immediately if it solves the issue or not.
No planted aquariums are the same. Not everyone’s experience is the same, regardless of the size of your tank. Do you have the motivation, determination, and dedication to keep a planted aquarium at home? Do you easily quit at the sight of algae infestation? Are you discouraged easily when your plants are not thriving, or your fishes are dying one by one? Are you willing to find out the cause of your problems and rectify them?
Let me tell you this, and this might come as a warning, the first few months might be a nightmare to a beginner if you didn’t do your research first. I am not saying everyone will, but the chances are great. Even for someone who did my research before undertaking this hobby, I still have many downs keeping my planted aquarium. But I love this hobby, and I didn’t quit, and I triumph on every burden that came along the way. Most importantly is that I learned a lot from these experiences.
You are in the right direction by finding this site, and we will help you on your journey with this hobby. We have your back!
Nano Tank – 2.5 Gallons – Aquascaped by Omar Krishnan Afuang – Philippines
Want to Explore More?
Yes, I said that this discussion about the Nitrogen Cycle in our aquariums is for beginners. Because it is easy for a beginner to get too excited to set up their first planted tank, set up the filter and lighting, begin aquascaping, planting, filling it with water, putting the fish in, etc., then meet the consequences.
The Iwagumi style is a sub-type of the Nature style we discussed earlier that incorporates the same core principles of Japanese gardening techniques. It is derived from the Japanese art of stone appreciation, Suiseki. Where small naturally occurring or shaped rocks are appreciated for their aesthetic and decorative value.
The thing is, as I always mentioned before, every planted aquarium is unique. There are no secret LED or T5 lighting specs, nothing set in stone. Even DIYs can work. There are many variables to consider when determining the proper lighting for your planted tank.
Hardness/softness is the measure of dissolved minerals in the water. But although pH and hardness are different water parameter measurements, they are closely linked to each other.
They are also called hang-on-back filters (HOB), and are designed to hang on the back of your aquarium, eing! Power filters are the most commonly used planted aquarium filter because they provide good to excellent mechanical and biological filtration simultaneously. They can also provide the needed water surface agitation for aerating your water.
Contrary to popular practice, some hobbyists will say that you cannot perform filter maintenance along with your water change schedule. That you may kill or wash away a significant amount of your beneficial bacteria when doing so. The only way for this to happen is by using chlorinated tap water or drying out your biological media, or your primary filter is just a sponge filter. Those are sure-fire ways to kill or wash away a lot of your good bacteria.
Your water source should be chlorine or chloramine-free at the most basic of things and should have very little unknowns in it. Remember, you cannot test everything in the water, so your water must be clean with little unknown substances. But to add to the confusion, very pure/clean water is also bad for your plants and faunas, which we will explain below.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have additional questions or want to share your experiences with how you determined your ideal tank dimensions, please leave a comment below.
Next, we will be discussing the types of aquariums and how it can help you with your decision if you want a Rimless Tank or a Braced Tank.