Stacked 200 gallon and 55 gallon Aquarium Setup – Photos, Details, and Stock Lists

I came across these photos of an old Aquarium setup I had in my dining room at the time. It was pretty much the max I could fit in the space, an 8′ long 200 gallon with a 55 gallon sitting below it. There was also a 27 gallon plastic tote sump under the 200 gallon that served as the filter. It was a nice community setup during these photos with lots of various fish from all over the world. It certainly wasn’t a region specific biotope type setup but still looked good to me. I fed these fish mostly Hikari Massivore and raw shrimp with some sliced fish filet and random pellets and flakes as well. The top tank was Acrylic and the bottom was a standard glass tank.

200 gallon and 55 gallon stacked setup.

It was pretty much expected that people would gasp when they walked into the room with these setups. The 200 gallon was larger than most people had ever seen and the 55 gallon below it only made it seem that much bigger. I enjoyed having the Monster tanks but they really do take a lot of time and dedication as well as money. I have many hobbies and getting really into this one clamped down all of my play money for a long time so I had to give it up for now. I just couldn’t settle for a medium sized tank and eventually had a 400 gallon pond in the garage as well to hold my ever expanding collection. So if you wish to replicate setups like these remember they are not for weak, you’re going to get wet at times, you’re going to spend thousands more than you think and your room will eventually get flooded if you do it long enough.

The setups at the time were as follows.

200 Gallon Acrylic – 8′ x 2′ deep x 20″ tall on a basic wooden stand with foam top for the tank to rest on.

Filter setup – 27 Gallon plastic sump with dozens of scrubbies and other media. The tank was drilled with 3 overflows and I made a custom spray bar return to go with the dual returns the tank already had. It was powered by Via Aqua and Quiet One pumps. I used 2 x Via Aqua 1800′ and a Via Aqua 2600 along with a Quiet One 3000. They were switched out a few times when I added my pond, it only ever had 2 at once. They all flowed well, the 1800’s seemed to do about half what the 2600 and 3000 would do. The sump was fantastic, I had so much media I never really had to give it much bother. It kept the tank crystal clear.

Heating – The heaters were located inside the sump to keep the clutter out of the tank. This is the best way to do it if you ask me. I had a few Marineland Stealth heaters in there, numerous ones in case one dies. I had a couple of 200 watt models and a 250 watt model. The tank was kept around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lighting – At the time of these photos it had the maximum lighting I ever had on it. A single strip on side with a 15w bulb but a full canopy on the other with 4 x 40 watt bulbs. It really lit it up well.

Inside – It had some Mopani and Manzanita Driftwood along with some live plants. There were Amazon Swords some Java Moss and other stuff as well I forget the names of. It had a mix of play sand and Eco Complete substrate, the black/white contrast really looked nice to me.

Fish List (as best I can remember) 

  • Baby Silver Arowana
  • Huge Shoal of Clown Loaches 30+ strong ranging from 1″ – 6″
  • Chocolate Cichlid
  • Yoyo Loach
  • Loach species unknown
  • Lots of Cory Catfish of various species
  • Red Tailed Black Shark
  • Giraffe Catfish
  • Belly Crawler Pike Cichlid

55 Gallon Glass – Standard 4′ x 1′ deep x 20″ tall.

Filter setup – Hang on back filters. I used mostly the Marineland Bio Wheel filters on my smaller tanks. This one has two dual Bio Wheel filters as well as an air pump with sponge filter much of the time.

Heating – The heater was a Marineland Stealth heater and was kept around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a 200 watt model.

Lighting – 4′ strip light with 2 x 40 watt bulbs. 6,500k bulbs if I recall.

Inside – It had 2 large pieces of Mopani Driftwood along with some live plants. There were Amazon Swords some Java Moss in this tank also. It also had some sort of mat plant that grew on the exits of the filters. It had the same mix of play sand and Eco Complete substrate as the 200 gallon.

Fish List

  • Chocolate Cichlid
  • Female Betta
  • Red Tailed Black Shark
  • Leopard Frog Pleco
  • Gold Gourami

Closer look at the 55 gallon, click for larger view. You can also see the DIY sump there along with chemicals and food.

Giraffe Catfish with some Clown Loaches in the background. 

Some of the many Clown Loaches



Red Tailed Black shark in the 55 gallon

More of the Clown Loach Shoal

The Big Daddy Clown Loach, the Alpha of the group. 

Chocolate Cichlid

Chocolate Cichlid again but it’s a different one.

The Monster Clown Loach again.


Belly Crawler Pike Cichlid

Baby Silver Arowana with reflection on all sides, I like this picture.

Last photo of this set. The Arowana lurking in the floating Amazon Sword plant. I like this shot a lot too. Arowana are very photogenic fish. I wish we could have the Asian Arowana here in the US, it’s really too bad. There are plenty of legitimate fish exporters who farm them in house. I have seen Golden Red and Platinum Arowana in photos that are truly amazing. The Silver Arowana are great fish too, but the crazy colorful Malaysia and Japanese bred Asian Arowana are a sight to behold. 

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