Advice on buying my first aquarium - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 22 Old 12-28-2009, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Advice on buying my first aquarium

I'm very much a novice with this hobby... right now all I have is a tiny starter aquarium that I got for my 3 year old daughter, who isn't very interested in it. But I want to get a decent size aquarium for myself, and in searching the web I came across this...

Top Fin® 29 Gallon Aquarium Hood Combo - Large Aquariums - Aquariums - PetSmart

and this...

Aqua Clear Power Filters by Hagen - Filtration & Circulation - Fish - PetSmart

Now, even with being as much of a novice as I am, I don't plan on buying the actual fish from petsmart... there's a nice lfs that actually takes good care of their fish they sell not too far from where I live, but the aquariums they sell seem way overpriced. The price of this aquarium and filter fit my budget nicely. Just wondering if the Top Fin "made exclusively for Petsmart" aquarium was anywhere close to a halfway decent aquarium. Or if anyone had other suggestions on how to go about purchasing a decent tank that won't break the bank.
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post #2 of 22 Old 12-28-2009, 02:49 PM
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If you're asking whether it is a "good" or "bad" aquarium, I cannot really say. If the glass doesn't crack, and the seals don't start to leak I would say its a good one hah. The hood is just that, a hood. What type of bulb does it come with? Doesnt seem to specify the watts. It's better to have at least 1 watt/gallon if you ever plan on keeping live plants. As for the filter, I have no experience with that one but the majority here recommends Eheim filters.... But as long as it creates water movement and traps the physical debris, it should be fine (which I'm sure it does). See if you can find some reviews on those products, see what people that actually have it or tried it have to say. Also, if you go to buy it, you'd rather ask here first what else you will need, the employees will usually try to sell you half the shelf claiming you NEED that stuff.
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post #3 of 22 Old 12-28-2009, 02:54 PM
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I use the AquaClear 110 on my 55 gallon and I love it if you're choosing a HOB filter. There is really no expense with it. If you get it, you just rinse the sponge filter in the drained aquarium water during water changes. Same thing with the biomax. There is no need for the carbon insert unless you're removing meds. Overall, I'm very happy with the filter.
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post #4 of 22 Old 12-28-2009, 03:10 PM
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As for the tank and hood, I can't say if this brand is or isn't well made, but it seems a nice unit. The light is fine, although if you do want plants the tube that comes with it may or may not be adequate, but the tube can always be replaced.

With respect to filters, the choice of filter should always depend upon the fish and aquascape you would like in the aquarium. Some fish require more filtration, some require more water movement, while other fish will not be healthy with that much water movement. And plants do not appreciate water flow that is anything but minimal. The Hagen filter you link creates a fair bit of water movement, and I would personally not use this filter on a planted tank, nor one with quiet-water fish (tetras, gouramis, rasbora...) which all come from quieter jungle ponds, streams and flooded forest habitats. For these fish, and in a planted tank, a simple sponge filter unit would be adequate on a 20g. I have one on my 33g and it is more than sufficient.

Hope this helps some.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #5 of 22 Old 12-28-2009, 04:35 PM
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If you're talking Budget....had you considered buying a used one? That would allow you to buy a larger tank for the same price if not cheaper !? Just a thought...
Personally I don't like the sound of the hang on back filtration and use internal filters in smaller tank, such as this one Cascade Internal Filters, Internal Filters | Pet Solutions
Has no sounds and works wonderful for me.

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
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post #6 of 22 Old 12-28-2009, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
As for the tank and hood, I can't say if this brand is or isn't well made, but it seems a nice unit. The light is fine, although if you do want plants the tube that comes with it may or may not be adequate, but the tube can always be replaced.
I don't plan on getting live plants anytime soon. If I ever do, I'll be sure to change to an adequate light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
If you're talking Budget....had you considered buying a used one? That would allow you to buy a larger tank for the same price if not cheaper !? Just a thought...
Personally I don't like the sound of the hang on back filtration and use internal filters in smaller tank, such as this one Cascade Internal Filters, Internal Filters | Pet Solutions
Has no sounds and works wonderful for me.
I've thought about looking for a used tank... I'm just a little skittish about buying something like this used, because I've been burned on buying defective used electronics from private sellers/yard sales. As far as getting a larger tank... the tank I posted the link to is about as big of a tank as I have room for right now. I will, eventually... like in a few years, have room in my finished basement for a 125g aquarium. But again, thats way down the road.

How exactly does a internal filter work? The only aquarium I've ever had (a 10g starter kit like 15 or more years ago) had a HOB filter... so thats all I've ever used, other than the undergravel filter in my daughters 3g tank.

Anyway... thanks everyone for the replies/advice.
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post #7 of 22 Old 12-28-2009, 05:07 PM
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Its an option, but if you don't feel comfi don't do it. I bought a bunch used just after the move and was very happy that way, I check the glass and all seals when I buy it, fill them up 1x outside the house and all been well since

They work much like a canister filter (which is not needed for your tank size) you have various different filter media from harsh to fine in the "bucket" and a filter "top" which closes it off. So its a fully enclosed lil system within the tank. I simply/ honestly love them cause they produce no sounds.
I once had a HOB on a 10g in my office - one time & one time only LOL now all small tanks have sponge filters and the mediums have internal filters and the big one's canisters As far as doing their job, HOB sure does, thou I didn't like how it washed away the sand under the outlet and the noise was just my killer really....but some folks like the waterfall sound in the house...

If you click on my aquariums on the left here under my 45g tank the 3rd picture you see the filter 'hiding' behind some driftwood. I can take you a better up close shot tonight if that's of any help?

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
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post #8 of 22 Old 12-28-2009, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
Its an option, but if you don't feel comfi don't do it. I bought a bunch used just after the move and was very happy that way, I check the glass and all seals when I buy it, fill them up 1x outside the house and all been well since

They work much like a canister filter (which is not needed for your tank size) you have various different filter media from harsh to fine in the "bucket" and a filter "top" which closes it off. So its a fully enclosed lil system within the tank. I simply/ honestly love them cause they produce no sounds.
I once had a HOB on a 10g in my office - one time & one time only LOL now all small tanks have sponge filters and the mediums have internal filters and the big one's canisters As far as doing their job, HOB sure does, thou I didn't like how it washed away the sand under the outlet and the noise was just my killer really....but some folks like the waterfall sound in the house...

If you click on my aquariums on the left here under my 45g tank the 3rd picture you see the filter 'hiding' behind some driftwood. I can take you a better up close shot tonight if that's of any help?
I looked up more info on the internal filter and understand how it works better now. I'll probably just go with a HOB filter for now... it's what I used to (although my knowledge is still very limited), and I actually enjoy the waterfall sound they make. The tank will be in my bedroom, and I think it will be peaceful to listen to as I fall asleep.

But thanks for all your info, in this thread and others. I've been reading this forum all day, and there has been alot of info/advice you've posted in other threads that have really helped me learn more about the hobby I'm about to take on.
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post #9 of 22 Old 12-28-2009, 06:19 PM
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You're very welcome. And yes there's a ton of info to be found on here and plenty of folks to help / learn from...any questions, just ask any time

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
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post #10 of 22 Old 12-28-2009, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
You're very welcome. And yes there's a ton of info to be found on here and plenty of folks to help / learn from...any questions, just ask any time
Oh, I'm sure I'll have pleanty of questions once I actually get the tank up and running, lol.
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