Week 52: Planning a reef tank upgrade, plus a look back at the BRS160 | 52 Weeks of Reefing #BRS160

September 8th, 2016
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Well, it's finally (and reluctantly here) the final week in 52 Weeks of Reefing. This week we are going in depth on planning and executing a tank upgrade. Plus, we'll show you the progression of the BRS160, some changes we would implement if we were to do it all over, some successes, and finish with a montage highlighting some key moments of the BRS160 over the past year.

Upgrading is the natural progression of any hobby whether it is because you want something bigger, badder, a different type, fix mistakes of the past, what a stand and tank that looks nicer in your room, you moved or you have simply outgrown your current tank.

Today we are going to talk about some considerations including size, shape, what to do with old livestock, new livestock, rock and sand. We spent an entire episode on selecting the right type of tank for you in week two so I won’t spend a tremendous amount of time on this. I am just going to share my standards favorite tank sizes and why.

The number one rule of thumb for me is a reef tank should not be taller than it is deep unless you have a very specific look or aquascape you are looking for. The way the water refracts light already gives the illusion that it is about a third less deep then it really is, making the tank taller than it is deep makes that effect even more pronounced. Tanks like this are just a lot harder to aquascape as well.

So that said anyone of these can be considered an upgrade even if it isn't significantly larger than what you have now. Other than a Nano or Pico tank for my desk the smallest tank I would even consider is a 40 gallon breeder which is just slightly deeper than it is tall which makes for an awesome dimension for a reef tank. Because of that the 40 gallon broader is easily one of the most popular reef tank sizes out there

After that I personally jump all the way up to a 120 gallon tank. There are a whole slew of sizes of tanks between the 40 breeder and a 120 however they are significantly taller than they are deep and I’d rather go slightly smaller or slightly larger to get the right dimensional proportions. If I had to select one in the middle it would be a 75 because is only 3 inch taller than it is deep and 4 feet wide is a reasonable width for most people.

In general if I had to recommend one size tank above all others for newer to intermediate reefers who are looking for some advice it would be the 120. The 4 foot x 2 foot x 2 foot dimensions leaves room for an awesome easy to build aquascape, the volume of water is larger enough that it buffers the mistakes common to newer or intermediate reefers make and while the tank itself might cost more the equipment isn't drastically different. The most expensive components like lighting might even be the exact same as some of the smaller tank sizes.

End of the day if this hobby is something you and your family enjoy the 120 will also be drastically less expensive and less work than buying everything for and setting up a smaller tank and later upgrading which causes you to re-buy slightly larger everything. A lesson every single reefer has experienced at some point.

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