How to pick the right aquarium for you


At our store, Artistic Oceans in Las Vegas, we have learned quite a bit about what aquariums fit what people. Here are some helpful hints for picking out the best aquarium for you.

Livestock for Aquarium

One of the first questions we ask people when they are looking at aquariums, is what are you putting in it? You want seahorses? Just coral? Tangs? Predators? Mixed Reef? All of these tanks have different size and shape requirements.

Sharks for example need large tanks with rounded corners. Large fish like tangs need very long tanks with good water volume. Coral frag tanks do well with shallow tanks. So the first step is to decide what kind of tank you want.

Size of Aquarium

We sound like a broken record. We are the only dealers in Las Vegas of Red Sea and WaterBox Aquarium tanks. So we have lots of customers, and they all hear the same thing…. “bigger is better”. The larger the tank, the happier you will be and the easier it is.

The reasons are simple, water volume. The more water you have, the harder it is for drastic swings that kill animals. If you have a 100 gallon tank, it takes alot to get your water parameters deadly. If you have a 20 gallon… wiping the tank with windex could destroy it.

Another consideration is the kind of livestock you decided you want. The rule of thumb we tell people is 1″ of adult fish, per gallon. So if you’re putting a Naso Tang in your tank, it will eat up 10″ of real estate. You’re going to need a big tank.

Shape of Aquarium

The rule of thumb, is that long tanks are better than square or any other shape for fish. Shallow is good for coral. For mixed reef an ideal tank is about two feet deep and high, with as wide as you want.

Unique shapes like hexagons, drops on your tank, circles are not recommended unless you are experienced and know what you’re getting into. They are hard to clean, are not ideal for fish, and more expensive.

Brand of Aquarium

There are many brands, we tend to recommend more mainstream and mass produced tanks. The consistency, price savings and quality cannot be beat.

Two of the brands we carry and recommend often are Waterbox Aquariums and Red Sea. We are the only Waterbox Aquarium dealer in Las Vegas, and the only Aquarium dealer in Las Vegas that has both Red Sea and Waterbox Aquariums so you can compare them side by side.

We highly recommend that you see tanks you’re choosing in person so that you can see the quality and details up close.

Other Details

There are a few other things to keep in mind; where the overflow is, sump or all in one (AIO), thickness of glass etc.

Basically the higher quality aquariums all have thicker glass or acrylic and there isn’t much to worry about. If you are on a budget we suggest you stay to smaller aquariums. We know multiple people who have bought large, budget tanks that have broken causing immense damage to their home. Cheaper tanks usually sacrifice in key areas, like glass thickness. So the glass under weight will bend a little and eventually fails.

Overflow location dictates the orientation of your tank. The overflow is at the “back of the tank”. So if you have a rectangle and its on the long side, that would be a typical aquarium orientation. If you have it on the edge, that would be a peninsula which would stick out of the wall dividing rooms. There are other options like center overflow, dual overflows etc… Do your research for your ideal position in your room.

Also sumps vs all in one tanks is a choice to make. All in one is only for smaller tanks, usually up to about 60 gallons. All in ones have the convenience of less equipment, and a cheaper price. But you sacrifice having as much livestock and filtration as a sump system. With a sump you can get skimmers, reactors and extra water volume in your tank. It’s mainly a budget choice.


Basically the tank you choose sets the story for what animals and how many you can have. You should go into a local store with aquariums in stock and check out the different shapes and sizes to better visualize them in your home.

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