What’s Up with Tank Height?

When someone requests a quote on a custom aquarium, they almost always want something that is “really tall”. 

There’s a few things to consider, though, before quoting that tower tank.  Taller is not always better.

As tank height increases, downward water pressure increases.  As downward water pressure increases, wall thickness increases.  As wall thickness increases, price increases.

For example, an average acrylic aquarium that is 30” tall x 8’ long x 2’ wide will have a wall thickness of ½”.  Increase to 36” tall and the thickness goes to ¾”.  A 48” tall tank will have a wall thickness of 1”.

A quick Google search show that the prices on those tanks are:

300g – 96″L x 24″W x 30″H – $4,582.74

360g – 96″L x 24″W x 36 H – $6,222.18

500g – 96″L x 24″W x 48″H – $8,036.32

Even small footprint tanks that are tall will have thick walls because of downward water pressure.

On the flip side, if you adjust the length and width of that tank up or down, the wall thickness will change little if any at all.  Downward water pressure only changes with height.

Another issue for tall tanks is there are not a lot of decorations on the market made for them.  It can sometimes look weird to have regular decorations in the lower section of the tank with nothing above.

Last, it is more difficult to clean tall tanks.  As the wall thickness increases, the less effective magnetic algae scrapers are and the harder it is to reach down into them.

In my business, I always try to keep the tanks at 30” – 36” or below if possible for cost and cleaning.