Gallon aquarium maintenanceA 75-gallon aquarium setup is truly an amazing addition to any serious fishkeeper’s home. Unlike the smaller tanks with 55 gallons of capacity and below, the 75-gallon aquarium has a commanding presence that cannot be ignored.

Add to that the depth, space, and stocking options that come with a 75-gallon tank and it isn’t hard to understand why this particular size is a dream come true for many hobbyists.

In this article, our experts share their take on this large aquarium setup. You’ll learn all about what to consider before purchasing a 75-gallon tank, how to set it up, and even ideas on aquascaping for freshwater, saltwater, and reef tank types.

Things To Consider Before Buying

Before you jump the gun and bring an actual 75-gallon tank home, you need to consider a few of its advantages, disadvantages, and requirements.

– The Larger the Tank, the More Serious the Commitment

It goes without saying that a larger tank is going to take up more of your time and require a lot more effort from you in terms of planning, cleaning, and caring. Hobbyists who are used to maintaining small to medium-sized tanks often underestimate just how large a 75-gallon aquarium is, and what that means when it comes to maintaining alongside the fish and plants that inhabit the tank.

If you are serious about the hobby and you’ve had more than a few months of experience caring for fish, cleaning tanks, and performing basic maintenance chores such as regular water changes, then you are probably ready to move up to a larger tank. If you love fishkeeping and you can see yourself caring for a huge tank years after the initial excitement fades, then go ahead and buy yourself a 75-gallon tank.

However, if you think that you won’t be able to devote more time and effort than you already do with your current aquarium setups, then you might want to rethink your idea of getting a bigger aquarium for your home.

– The Issue of Space

One of the things that most hobbyists overlook before getting a 75-gallon tank is the space it will require to be properly set up in their homes. Take a look at the dimensions of a standard 75-gallon tank as can usually be ordered from local fish stores.

Length 48 inches
Width 21 inches
Height 18 inches
Empty Weight 140 pounds
Filled Weight 850 pounds


Do note that these figures might vary slightly when you purchase an actual 75-gallon tank. However, this data should be enough to give you a good picture of the footprint that your new aquarium will take up.

You should also use these figures to find out where you can position your new aquarium when it arrives. Aside from the space requirement, you also need to consider the foot traffic, room light, and noise levels, as well as the strength of the floor or material you plan to hoist the aquarium on.

– The Cost of Going Big

Larger tanks inevitably lead to higher costs. Aside from the pricey tank itself, you’ll need to purchase more substrate, equipment, and other materials than you are used to when setting up a small or medium-sized aquarium.

The price range for a 75 gallon fish tank setup can quickly balloon from a relatively affordable $300 in total to a whopping $5000. The amount you will end up spending depends on where you source your materials, whether or not you buy brand new equipment, and the type of aquarium you want to set up.

Still, the cost for a 75-gallon tank and all of the materials necessary to turn it into a beautiful habitat for your fish is not something to be taken lightly. You should also consider that the expenses won’t stop there. Running a 75-gallon tank setup can easily cost you around $300 to $600 per year.

– Maintenance Matters

The last thing you should consider before getting a 75-gallon tank is the increased maintenance you will need to do, especially in the early days after you set up your aquarium. Whereas tanks in the 20 to 40-gallon range would do well with one filter and one water heater or cooler, a 75-gallon tank will likely require a larger, more powerful filter and temperature controller, if not two of each of these pieces of equipment.

This means that you will need to exert double the effort and time to clean the aquarium equipment, aside from the time you need to put in for maintaining the tank’s substrate, glass, flora, and fish population.

If you are not ready for this level of dedication towards fishkeeping, then you would do better with smaller tanks or perhaps a medium-sized tank with about a 50-gallon capacity. On the other hand, if you do not find these factors daunting and you firmly believe that you can put in the amount of time and care required for maintaining a large tank, then go ahead and buy that 75-gallon dream aquarium!

How To Setup a 75 Gallon Aquarium

Once you’ve determined where to place your 75-gallon tank and just how much you’re willing to spend to set it up and stock it with live fish, you can now focus on setting up your dream aquarium. In this section, we’ll cover the materials you need to achieve a good tank setup that you can later customize to accommodate freshwater, saltwater, or reef aquatic inhabitants.

Here’s a list of materials you will need and the steps you should be familiar with to successfully set up your first 75-gallon aquarium.

– Building Your Dream Aquarium Setup: Materials

Aquarium Stand It is an alternative to placing your tank on the floor. It can be purchased or built in your garage.
Hood Also called the tank lid, it is necessary for keeping fish inside the tank and unwanted substances or creatures out.
Lights While most tanks come with lights as part of the package, you will need to purchase an extra set of lights if you are planning on housing live plants in your aquarium. Consider purchasing LED lights for better longevity and quality.
Filter There are different types of filters available at your local fish store; choose one that suits the needs of your fish and goes well with your planned aquascape.
Heater or Cooler Depending on the kinds of fish and plants you want to house in your aquarium, you will need this device to maintain an ideal warm or cool water temperature.
Air Pump If you do not plan to include plants in your tank, then the air pump is a necessary tool to help in oxygenating the water for your fish.
Thermometer This is a relatively cheap instrument that will come in handy for monitoring water temperature.
Substrate There are many kinds of substrates that you can experiment with in a 75-gallon tank setup. Choose the one that best suits the needs of your planned fish and flora.

Of course, aside from the list above, you also need to buy your live plants (if you want to include them in your setup), as well as some decorative items for your aquarium.

– Building Your Dream Aquarium Setup: Step-by-Step Instructions

Once you have all of the materials you need on hand, you can proceed with actually setting up your aquarium. Here is a short step-by-step aquarium setup guide. along with helpful reminders from our experts on how to build your dream aquarium.

1. Clean Everything

After you purchase the necessary materials to set up your 75-gallon tank, be sure to give everything a thorough rinse. Doing this will help you inspect your purchased devices more closely for dirt and contaminants, as well as ensure your aquatic flora are clean and do not have visible algae or pests clinging to their surfaces.

Make sure to check your chosen substrate as well. A good idea is to run the substrate through an aquarium vacuum if you already have one, or just rinse and dry it before inspection.

2. Check the Positioning of Power Cords for Basic Electrical Safety

While your materials are drying, inspect the power cords, outlets, and other potential fire or electricity hazards in and around your tank’s area. Keep electrical cords well away from where water might splash onto them from your tank. Use duct tape to keep dangling power cords attached to walls for added safety, and insert power-safe plugs into unused electricity outlets.

This might seem like a trivial step, but ensuring that your tank’s area is safe from potential fire or electricity-related incidents will provide you peace of mind later on, when you are not home to monitor your tank or when you need someone else to do it for you.

3. Place Your Substrate, Plants, and Decor in the Tank

Spread at least two or three inches of substrate all over the floor of your aquarium. You can then proceed to position the plants and decor inside your tank.

Keep in mind that some plants are best placed in the foreground of your tank, while others do best in the middle or background of the aquarium. This is especially important when aquascaping a 75 gallon planted aquarium. Likewise, be sure not to overcrowd your tank with plants and decorations.

4. Begin the First Water Cycle

Introduce water into the tank by slowly streaming it in. You can use either a hose or small containers. Pouring the water slowly at this stage will help maintain the current aquascape and prevent the substrate from being disarranged.

Check for leaks in your tank. In particular, look at the seams or joints where the aquarium faces come together. Once you’ve filled the tank up to at least 80 percent, you can make last-minute changes in the aquascape.

Leave the water alone to mature for at least 48 hours. Afterward, use a water test kit to check the levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. If the tank contains ideal or normal levels of the aforementioned substances, you can then proceed to the last step of the set-up procedure. On the contrary, if you notice that some of the substance levels are too high or low, make the necessary adjustments by replacing 10 to 15% of the water or using aquarium additives.

5. Test the Lights and Other Devices

Once you are satisfied with the water quality in your aquarium, you can now turn on the lights and other attached devices such as the filter and heater. Allow these devices to run for at least 12 to 24 hours. Check them for any errors in operation or machine malfunctions.

If all is well after the initial setup and testing phases described above, you can slowly introduce the first fish species in your tank.

Designing Different 75-Gallon Tanks

Aquarium setupThere are infinite possibilities when it comes to designing 75-gallon tanks. The sheer size of this aquarium assures average fishkeepers that they can choose to stock more kinds of fish, plants, and other aquatic creatures without worrying too much about overcrowding and aggression issues.

In this section, we’ll cover some tips on how to set up a freshwater and saltwater 75-gallon aquarium. You’ll learn about the elements you need to take into account, plus find out some of our most recommended fish species to stock in such a big, beautiful space.

– Freshwater Aquarium Setup

Freshwater fish are known for their brilliantly colored scales and unique personalities. Most freshwater or tropical fish also thrive in planted tanks and love to use aquarium decor as hiding places or shelter during the day. Here are some tips you can use when setting up your large freshwater aquarium:

  1. Keep the temperature between 76 to 80 °F or 24 to 26 °C.
  2. Calm, steadily flowing water is best for this type of aquarium.
  3. Most freshwater fishes prefer dim to moderate light levels.
  4. Many freshwater fishes are also schooling fishes. Therefore, it would be best to keep them in schools of at least six per species.
  5. Since tropical fishes are usually housed in planted tanks, you must strike a balance between providing natural sunlight and preventing too much light exposure to avoid algae overgrowths.

Now, look at the list below to learn about our experts’ top-recommended fish for large freshwater tanks.

  • Oscar Cichlid
  • Angelfish
  • Peacock Cichlid
  • Clown Loach
  • Tinfoil Barb

– Saltwater Aquarium Setup

Saltwater aquariums generally require more attention and care when compared to freshwater setups. This is because most saltwater fish are more expensive, harder to source, and quite difficult to care for in a closed ecosystem like the aquarium. Here are our top tips for setting up a saltwater aquarium:

  1. Maintaining the water quality, especially the salinity, pH level, and hardness level in this type of tank is crucial to ensuring the health of your fish population.
  2. If you are setting up a 75 gallon reef tank, then your focus should be on getting live corals of the best quality.
  3. You need to put in a lot of research when it comes to suitable reef fishes and other creatures. These need to be able to live with or in the corals you choose to house in your tank.
  4. Proper water filtration and circulation are key to maintaining a healthy saltwater environment for all of your aquarium inhabitants. Make water cycling a habit and be sure to keep an eye on the water parameters of your tank.
  5. Both saltwater fish and live corals tend to be sensitive to high amounts of light. Keep this in mind when you buy and position the lights in your setup.

There are many saltwater or reef fish that can deserve the spotlight in a huge 75-gallon tank. Read the list below to get an idea of which fish to add to your new large aquarium.

  • Clownfish
  • Cardinalfish
  • Coral Beauty Angelfish
  • Copperband Butterfly
  • Yellow Tang


We covered a lot of topics regarding the 75-gallon aquarium. Here’s a quick rundown of the key points of our discussion:

  • Setting up a 75 gallon reef tank requires a lot of time and dedication.
  • These large aquariums can easily cost anywhere from a few hundred bucks to several thousands of dollars to set up and maintain throughout the year.
  • You need to secure the right kind of lights, filter, temperature control, and other such devices prior to setting up your 75-gallon aquarium.
  • It is important to cycle the water in your new tank and allow it to mature for at least 48 hours before introducing any fish.
  • You can use 75-gallon tanks to house either freshwater or saltwater fish; both kinds of setups take a lot of research and patience.

Big aquarium setupAs you now know, there are a lot of things to consider before setting up a 75-gallon tank, but once you do decide to commit to this large aquarium you will probably enjoy it so much that you’ll want to set up another!

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