Kessil

Opinions on a 55 gal tank upgrade

WAR5150

Supporting Member
Hey everyone,

My dad has a well established 55 gallon in his office. This is a simple tank, just the aquarium on a random aquarium stand, hang on the back filtration, etc. He has had this running the last several years and is looking a retiring and when he does that, he wants to move the aquarium back home. With the nature of everything, he's looking to upgrade his setup. For reference, he likes my Reefer 350 but wants to stay in the 55 gallon realm and he asked me to do some research for him. I've looked at the Reefer 250 as an obvious choice and a little bit at their Max E-260, but need to do more research on that. He keeps saying "55 long" whenever we talk, so I found Waterbox Frag 85.3 and thought he may like that, since it has a couple inch wider dimensions and a bit shorter than the RedSea counterparts but I don't have any experience with waterbox or know anybody who does.

Anybody have some experience with these systems who have anything interesting to share? Or new suggestions. Basically all I have to go off of at this point is he wants a cleaner looking aquarium as far as the aesthetics go.

Right now that's how I'm starting this research off, the aquarium itself. After that I'll go to looking into skimmers, return pumps etc. I do know he won't be able to use the lid/lights he currently has and doesn't want anything app controlled, he's old school like that. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it though.

Anyways, thanks for sticking with me through the rambling, interested to hear any thoughts.
 

Coral reefer

BOD
Staff member
You could always just get a cheap 55 gal from petco or whatever and drill it for an external overflow box. I think 55 long means 4 ft.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Ask him what he wants for size, the 55 long is a 48" tank, and tends to be very slender, 12-13" with a 20+" height. It's what I think of when I think standard LFS fish display. Now me personally I'd pull my hair out with only 13" of width, but it's him who needs to be happy not me :). Also try to get clarification on the "realm" of 55 gallons, I mean my wife would give me the "there's something wrong with you people" talk if I said 73 gallons was in the same realm as 55. Also talk to him about where he would like to have the tank at home, often when people see how much space they really have to work with when they aren't shoehorned into a what they think they need, even let him know that if he wants to stay in the 55g realm, and and wants the long (4') tank, he's basically going to get the exact same tank as there are no "cleaner" commercial versions of a 4' long tank that's 55g ish, they all are going to be 36" long and if he wants 48" he's going to need to go bigger.

That said, is this just fish? or corals too? if it's just fish the lighting isn't a problem get some of those cheaply LED strips like those made by Coralife (or other brands) won't grow coral for nothing but it's good enough for fish, and with a simple timer you can have them come on/off however he wants.

But yeah, first advice, get him to think about where he wants it, and let him know what commercial options are available. Or as Mike said, Aqueon makes a cheap 55 "long" and they go on sale all the time at Petco, so get one of those, drill it with an overflow, and do a lot of work you probably don't want to do :D
 

nly04

Supporting Member
I have a couple 55gal long (48inch) with overflow that you can just swap the tank and convert to sump then it will look clean.
 

WAR5150

Supporting Member
I really appreciate everyone’s input so far. I finally got the dimensions from him, and his current is 48”x12.5” and 21” high he says. He has corals and fish and has a ton of success. Despite this tank only being 6-9 years old or so, and having a long break, he’s definitely not new to the hobby. The impression I get as the main limfac in moving the tank from office to home is that my mom wants everything to look clean, meaning an enclosed stand with sump rather than hang-on fixtures. He is also in Michigan, so I think just buying something from a reputable company is going to be my best option. I also found out his retirement is the end of August, so I’ve got about a month to figure out a whole setup for him, as I’m planning this to be a retirement gift, whether my mom pitches in or not haha

Once I can figure out the tank, I’m sure lights and whatnot will be easier after that.


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sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
You're doing this as a gift, but he's ok with you doing this right? Kind of put it into the "buying someone a puppy" type of gifting ... it could go good or really bad :D
 

WAR5150

Supporting Member
You're doing this as a gift, but he's ok with you doing this right? Kind of put it into the "buying someone a puppy" type of gifting ... it could go good or really bad :D
“Gifting some a puppy” is a pretty good way of looking at it haha My mom and I have been discussing it and as much as she doesn’t like the current tank (again, only really because it looks “yucky” with the hang on equipment and open stand) she would hate to see him have to sell everything off and decommission the tank, knowing how much he cares about it. He never had the tank running since before I was born until after I went to college and I’ve already told her I think it would make an excellent retirement gift. It’ll give him something to concentrate on rather than driving her nuts every day. I’m opening dialogue with her again regarding this specifically and I plan to tell her I want to do it once I’ve settled on a final decision, whether she contributes or not. She’s already agreed with me once about it.

Edit: looking at your post again you said “he”. My dad was texting me tonight about the research I’ve come up with so far. I just don’t want him to do anything, I’d rather make it a retirement gift than him buy a bunch of new equipment; he’s on board with it.


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xcaret

Guest
Show your mom some of the tanks members have here posted pictures of so she can get an idea that how hidden everything can be.
If I was in your shoes, I’d get him a nice tank with a deeper dimension front to back and try to keep it at the 21-something height as reaching in to clean/move things aroind would make it easy
A commonly found sytem, 48x24 ~21 high would be about 100g
A tank with an external overflow box allows for better planning of the aquascape BUT makes the tank/cabinet protrude a bit more from the wall
 
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