If you are thinking about setting up your first Cichlid aquarium, or you’ve already made the decision to move to a perfect middle of the road sized tank, then a 55-gallon fish tank is your best bet.
Compared to other standard aquarium sizes, these tanks are economical and offer endless possibilities for stocking different levels of fish.
But before you head to the nearest pet store, there are several things that you need to take into account. Among them, the dimensions and weight are crucial to keeping your aquarium safe and making your daily chores a little bit easier.
In this article, I will explain the advantages and disadvantages of a 55-gallon fish tank due to its dimensions and weight. Also, I will enclose two comparisons – one with a popular 40-gallon breeder tank and the other with a 75-gallon aquarium, as well as three top picks.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Fish Tank Facts
There are many good reasons why 55 gallons fish tanks are so popular among hobbyists. Let’s start with the standard information sheet.
|Tank Size:||55 Gallons|
|Dimensions:||48″ (L) x 13″ (W) x 21″(H)|
|Empty Weight:||78 lbs.|
|Filled Weight:||625 lbs.|
55 Gallon Fish Tank Dimensions
The standard dimensions of a 55-gallon fish tank are 48″ (L) x 13″ (W) x 21″ (H) (122 cm x 33 cm x 53 cm) – making it a perfect size for small rooms or apartments.
The charts below show the dimensions of the most standard aquarium sizes.
|Tank Size||Dimensions (L x W x H)|
|20-gallon (high)||24″ x 12″ x 16″|
|25-gallon||24″ x 12″ x 20″|
|29-gallon||30″ x 12″ x 18″|
|30-gallon (breeder)||36″ x 18″ x 12″|
|40-gallon (breeder)||36″ x 18″ x 16″|
|40-gallon (long)||48″ x 12″ x 16″|
|50-gallon||36″ x 18″ x 19″|
|55-gallon||48″ x 13″ x 21″|
|75 gallon||48″ x 18″ x 21″|
|90-gallon||48″ x 18″ x 24″|
How Much Does a 55-gallon Fish Tank Weigh?
An empty 55-gallon aquarium weighs about 78 lbs (35.3 kg), while the full setup with water can go up to 625 lbs (283.5 kg).
To give you a better idea, I’ve put together a table with the weight of some popular fish tanks.
|Tank Size||Empty Weight||Filled Weight|
|20-gallon (high)||25 lbs.||225 lbs.|
|25-gallon||32 lbs.||282 lbs.|
|29-gallon||40 lbs.||330 lbs.|
|30-gallon (breeder)||48 lbs.||348 lbs.|
|40-gallon (breeder)||58 lbs.||458 lbs.|
|40-gallon (long)||55 lbs.||455 lbs.|
|50-gallon||100 lbs.||600 lbs.|
|55-gallon||78 lbs.||625 lbs.|
|75 gallon||140 lbs.||850 lbs.|
|90-gallon||160 lbs.||1050 lbs.|
Pros and Cons of a 55 Gallon Aquarium
Yes, there are many advantages to a 55 gallons fish tank because of its overall dimensions and weight, such as its ability to house a large number of small fish, and it’s very easy and cheap to set up. But, admittedly, it also has its limitations, such as the inability to stock bigger fish and aquatic plants.
Here, I have outlined the key advantages and disadvantages of a 55 gallons fish tank in the following points:
|Cheap & easy to set up||Limited depth|
|Save you money in the long run||Limited locations|
|Handle a nice stock of fish||Need power filters|
|A perfect starter tank||More maintenance work|
Advantages of 55-gallon Aquarium
Cheap & Easy to Set up
Among all the benefits, the most important thing is that a 55-gallon aquarium is a truly standard size. In fact, it’s the smallest aquarium kit you can buy on the market. This means you can find all the equipment you need for around one hundred fifty dollars during Petco’s dollar per gallon sale.
Quite often, used 55-gallon fish tanks are available on Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook market for even cheaper.
Save You Money in the Long Run
On the other hand, the ongoing costs of running a 55-gallon aquarium are relatively low in terms of length and width.
Maybe you have already noticed from the table above that a 55-gallon aquarium is the same length and width as putting two 20-gallons tanks.
So, from the perspective of an aquarist, the equipment such as lid, lighting, and stand needed for a 55-gallon fish tank can be relatively easy to find and build. If you’re a DIY person, you’ll definitely save a lot of money.
Handle a Nice Stock of Fish
There’s no doubt that the larger footprint of a fish tank provides, the more stocking options you have. You can take advantage of the four feet length of the 55-gallon fish tank to build your own underwater scenes with different levels of fish.
The best practice is to keep a large number of medium to small active fish due to the limited depth (13″) of a 55 gallons fish tank.
How about a big colony of colorful Mbunas or a mixed specie community tank?
This way, its narrow front-to-back will be the best spot for watching and photographing your fish.
A Perfect Starter Tank
If this is your first time setting up an aquarium, you might be thinking that why should not go for smaller fish tanks (aquariums up to 15 gallons) that will cut down the cost and are much easier to maintain. What’s more, they don’t take up that much space in your home, right?
Well, there is some truth to it. A large aquarium (50 gallons or larger) can be expensive and needs a spot that can safely hold it, but large tanks are easier to maintain and are far more forgiving. That is simply because they have a large water volume to support the stable water chemistry. The less water, the more easily the parameters fluctuate, resulting in much more regular maintenance work.
I think you’ll agree with me. Then how about these medium aquariums that range from 20 gallons to 40 gallons? They have a sufficient volume that can maintain stability and yet are still easy to move around.
On the negative side, these tanks are excellent options for beginners due to their manageable sizes, especially for new aquarists who find that performing maintenance on a regular basis becomes overwhelming. Sooner or later, they will throw in the towel and give up after only a few weeks.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with having a smaller or medium aquarium if you have the time to dedicate to it and you understand the implications. But if you are looking for an aquarium that will last you for years and be easy to take care of, then you will be glad that you have made the decision to go with a 55-gallon fish tank from the get-go.
In my opinion, 55-gallon fish tanks come with the best of both worlds. Not only they’re a “happy medium” size that provides the stability that is essential for a healthy aquarium environment, but they offer more stocking options than smaller aquariums. After all, every hobbyist gravitates to one or two stunning Cichlids over time, which we will explore in greater detail in our fish stocking guides.
Disadvantages of 55-gallon Aquarium
The disadvantage here is clear: limited depth means the limitation of the aquascape. Also, as we mentioned earlier, a 55-gallon fish tank is not a good option if you want to keep predatory fish that require extra room to thrive.
You will be better off with a 75-gallon aquarium (48″ L x 18″ W x 21″ H) if you have your heart set on a large central piece with plenty of free swimming space around it.
Do not forget about the filled weight (625 lbs) of a 55-gallon fish tank! This is one reason that makes it difficult to find the perfect location for your aquarium. The other one is the size, of course.
The location of your fish tank is all about safety. When deciding on your next aquarium purchase, be sure to take this fact into consideration: a gallon of tap water at 70°F weighed 8.329 pounds, so you need to ensure that your floor or dedicated stand will be able to handle the weight of a full fish tank.
Need Powerful Filtration
To avoid algae problems and keep your fish tank in top condition, I recommend using two sponge filters running on both sides unless you have a stronger canister filter.
Of course, this will add some cost to your setup, but it is a necessary expense if you want a clean and healthy aquarium.
More Maintenance Work
Here’s the hard reality: the taller your aquarium, the harder it is to maintain.
It’s true a 55-gallon fish tank has the same height (21″) as a 75-gallon tank, it’s not impossible to keep them clean and clear, but you will have to put in more work than you would with a 40-gallon breeder tank (36″ L x 18″ W x 16″ H).
The height matters when it comes to aquarium maintenance – you will spend more time catching fish out of the tank, doing water changes, and cleaning the filter media.
Other than that, it’s difficult to grow plants in a higher fish tank because the light doesn’t reach the bottom of the tank.
Best 55 Gallon Aquarium Fish Tanks
Now that you have a better understanding of the 55 gallons fish tanks and the advantages they bring, it’s time to move on and take a look at the best 55-gallon aquarium fish tanks on the market.
Aqueon is a trusted name in the aquarium world for good reasons. Their products are reliable and well-made, and the Aqueon Standard 55 Gallons Aquarium is no exception.
This aquarium is a great choice for anyone looking for a mid-sized option that won’t break the bank. The glass is thick and sturdy, and the construction is top-notch. This tank is also equipped with clean silicone edges, giving it a clean, finished look.
Unlike these aquarium kits, it does not come with equipment, so you’ll need to purchase them separately.
As an added bonus, this tank is also covered by Petco’s Dollar Per Gallon Sale. This means you will only be paying $1 per gallon for this aquarium, an amazing deal you don’t want to miss out on.
- LARGE ENVIRONMENT: Larger environments can house more fish or a greater variety of fish. Maintains water...
- KIT INCLUDES: one 55 gallon tank, EasyBalance Plus, TetraMin, AquaSafe, 6” fish net, 200W heater, WPF...
- LED LIGHTING: Included lighting adds the natural daylight effect to your aquarium, giving you illuminated...
- ACTUAL TANK DIMENSIONS: 48.25" L x 12.80" W x 20.90" H
- WEIGHT: This aquarium tank weighs approximately 79 lb by itself. With water, total tank weight can reach...
The Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit is one of the most popular kits on the market. It has everything you need to get started, including a filter, heater, and a lid. The only thing you need to add is water and fish!
The kit also includes energy-efficient lighting LED lights under each lid, which is perfect for creating a beautiful underwater scene. The filter is reliable and easy to use, and an automatic heater keeps the water at a comfortable temperature for your fish.
The Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit is an excellent option for anyone who wants a low-maintenance setup. Yes, it’s convenient. But if you have the tools and knowledge on how to set up an aquarium, you can save some money by choosing a tank-only option like the Aqueon Standard 55 Gallons Aquarium.
In addition, it’s more fun and satisfying to set up your 55-gallon fish tank from scratch. This way, you can choose your own equipment and decorate it exactly the way you want.
Another staple in the world of 55 gallons fish tanks, this product by Top Fin simply takes care of business. Like the Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit, it comes with a variety of components to get you started.
However, Aqueon heaters have a reputation for being more reliable. So if you live in an area with a colder climate, this may not be the best option for you.
Other than that, the Top Fin® Essentials Aquarium Starter Kit is a superb alternative if you can’t find the Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit in stock.
Are They Worth It?
So are 55 gallons fish tanks worth it for your next aquarium purchase?
The answer is… it depends. Every situation is different.
If you are a beginner looking for an all-around cheap aquarium kit that is good for building a community of medium to small fish, then I would say, “go for it.”
However, if you want a spectacular big fish that requires a lot of space (I’m looking at you, Oscar!), then 55 gallons might not be enough, and you might want to consider a 75-gallon aquarium instead.
If you’re having trouble deciding and need more help, please check our other articles where we explore 55-gallon fish tank setup in more detail. As always, any feedback or questions are more than welcome in the comments section below.