Tall or Wide? Comparing Aquarium Shapes

Choosing which aquarium to purchase is the first step in bringing home new pet fish. Pet stores and aquarium specialty shops have a wide selection of glass and acrylic fish tanks. The classic 1:2 ratio rectangular tank is still popular, but the number of unusual tank shapes are increasing. The basic decision still comes down to choosing a wide or a tall tank. This article explains the pros and cons of both aquarium shapes.

Wide Aquarium Shapes – The Pros

Wide aquarium shapes are those whose bases are larger than the aquarium is tall. This is the classic shape of most fish tanks: a long, low rectangle best suited for display against a wall. Most fish tank stands are built for these types of aquariums.

Besides being easy to find, these wide aquariums also provide more swimming area for many types of fish. They can be decorated in such a way as to provide more territories for the animals that live within.

Wide aquariums also create a greater surface area where the gasses can mix in and out of the water. This in important for releasing carbon dioxide from the water and soaking in oxygen.

Wide Aquarium Shapes – The Cons

The main negative about wide aquariums is the space they take up in your home. This style of fish tank looks best against a wall. In smaller homes, these areas are usually taken up by couches, beds, and tables.

Tall Aquarium Shapes – The Pros

Tall aquariums have a smaller base size, allowing them to fit more neatly into your home decor. There are even corner models. These aquariums can provide swimming space for many different types of fish who enjoy different levels of the fish tank.

Tall Aquarium Shapes – The Cons

While many different fish do swim at varying water levels, a tall aquarium cannot support as many fish as a long or wide one. The surface area is smaller, which means that less gas is exchanged. Also, if the tank is very tall, you are less likely to be able to find fish that will fill in all the levels. These tanks are best for specimen fish with a high body shape, such as angel fish or discus.

Choosing between wide and tall shaped aquariums is mostly a matter of personal taste, space available, and the type and number of fish you want to keep. No matter what type you decide to buy, you can still have a healthy and beautiful aquarium full of fish at home.

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