• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up

bigger tanks...harder?


12 Jan 2010
we have just planted a 412ltr and was wondering do i know what im getting myself into..
are larger tanks harder to get good scapes going?

what are your experiences?
Yes, there will be a lot more maintenance the main issue being much harder work if anything goes wrong. If you manage to get it mature and steady with low maintenance slow growing plants then it could be easy.
My biggest planted tank has been 1800l. Not in some ways it is more physically harder, having to get inside to aquasape it, but in others, the principles are the same.
With a big tank, you can really get stuck in and scrub around and it soon looks as if nothing has been touch, where as a nano, one leaf out of place looks colossal.

The thing with big tanks is the cost more than anything, more space means more plants, which means more lights, filters, fertilizers. Its costly, but I wouldnt say much more work, ide say its easier. Ive got from 8l to 1800l and back again, and the principles of scaping stayed the same, but the physics of getting it done had to change.

I run a 500 ltr tank and I have found that, like the others have said, the physical maintenence of a large tank is large. But also it pays to spend some time observing the tank and plan the maintanence ahead of time because there is so much more to take in. If an animal dies in there then you need to spot it quickly. You need to be aware of any debris build up in and around the plant bases which will all contribute to your bio-load.

Another thing to bare in mind is to not scrimp on water turnover. I found the hard way that the 10x+ rule appies in large tanks. I had dead spots from lack of water "force" around the tank as well as a lack of strong bio-filtration throughout the tank.
I think, 'yes', if you compare small vs. large when growing plants that are similar in their demands.

For instance setting up and maintaining an Iwagumi full of glosso in tank over 400 litres would be much tougher than in a nano.

In a nano a 50% water change takes minutes and 10x turnover is easily acheived, for example.

Whatever the size, I think regular maintenance is essential to keep a tank looking its best. In larger tanks this generally takes much longer for an 'equivalent' aquascape in a smaller tank.

For example, I set up an 8 foot (240cm) Iwagumi for a client a few months ago and due to neglect on their behalf I'm having to sort it out for them. It will take all day vs. a couple of hours in a much smaller set-up with the same plants.

My advice for inexperienced plant growers/aquascapers, especially in larger aquaria, is always to use the minimal light possible to acheive their aims along with low fish stocking. This offers a greater room for error with everything, from CO2 injection and nutrient-dosing, to circulation and bio-filtration.

All the best with the set-up! 😀
In my opinion the point that the larger tanks requiere more maintenance and work applies mostly to new scapers where an error could be done more easily thus resulting in something going wrong. When you are experianced in what you do and know how to notice, adjust or correct an issue fast then there shouldnt be to much difference in time spent.