Let me just say that straight up front. Yep, I’ll say it. I’ve had a 75 gallon aquarium set up in my small 2 bedroom apartment for about 3 years now and it pretty much is a very crappy experience. But I still enjoy it!
Why would I say such contradictory things? Let me put it this way – I love having my aquarium setup and it’s a great hobby. But, I find that having this big aquarium in my little apartment makes a lot of things very tricky. Mostly in regards to maintenance.
The space restrictions are the worst part of it all. When I’m cleaning needing to gain access to the back of the tank, I have a hard time reaching certain parts because of the small room constraints and not being able to put more space around the aquarium itself.
When I’m needing running water (as in, a faucet and counter space) to clean filters and such, I have a small counter top that has pretty much no room for anything else other than what is already on it. The sink is always full of dish-washing related stuff. I always have to clear the area and clean up soaps and other stuff to get a clean aquarium maintenance area set up.
Water changes and topping off water also sucks. I have no place to really store large vats of water, so I basically just fill up 3 buckets of water the day before a water change. I will let them sit overnight, with salt mixed in, to prep them for water changing the next day. I have to leave these buckets sitting pretty much right in front of the aquarium, not too much fun.
Then there’s the storage space for all my supplies. I have basically had to resort to allotting the closet to aquarium supplies only. The closet is right next to the left side of the aquarium, and I have installed extra shelving to give me chest-level access to most of my common items. The buckets are all stacked and stored underneath the low shelf, easy to get at when needed.
As far as aquarium hardware goes, I just have a canister filter, skimmer (hang-on-tank), reactor (hang-on-tank), some power heads and timers and power supplies underneath. Pretty lightweight, no sump or anything like that.
All in all the aquarium is pretty solid, but if I didn’t dedicate the entire closet to the left for maintenance, maintaining this aquarium would very intimidating.
No construction possibilities
I am renting this place. I can’t install electronics into the wall or tear a wall down. I can’t modify the construction of this place in any way. If I could, I could install some things that would make maintenance a whole lot easier, but for now I’ll have to hold off and wait until I secure an owned household as my living quarters.
I have become convinced that operation of a large aquarium requires a basement or maintenance room of some sort. I need a place with big counter tops, sinks, drainage, water storage vats, quarantine tanks and all kinds of other good stuff. I’m not going to have room for that stuff in my little closet.
I envision a system where my display tank and some controller electronics are the only thing upstairs on the main floor of the house, with all the supporting elements in the basement directly underneath. I could run water pipes up from the basement to automate water changes and top-offs. I could automate and control things so much more easily.
For now I need to just sit tight and hold out with this setup.
It’s efficient for the most part, due to my constant effort to make things as easy to maintain as possible. It’s been working so far so I just need to keep it up and persevere until I have more space to work with. Then I’ll enjoy the space all that much more!