What 20 gal starter kit is best? Aqueon/American Glass; Eclipse; or Tetra? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-09-2009, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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Question What 20 gal starter kit is best? Aqueon/American Glass; Eclipse; or Tetra?

Hello everyone,

I am an aquarium novice (maintained an aquarium throughout childhood, but haven't had one in fifteen years) who would like to purchase an approximately 20-gallon, freshwater aquarium system for my family and young daughter. The brand choices at my local stores are as follows: Tetra, Eclipse, and Aqueon/American Glass. Price and size are approximately equal and I have yet to decide on what type of fish, so that is not my concern. I am trying to find the best in terms of: performance, reliability, ease of use, and fish longevity/safety. I would appreciate any advice in this regard. Also, if anyone has a suggestion on fish appropriate for this type of system, especially those that would be entertaining for a two-year old and be compatible with each other, I would also appreciate that.

Thanks everyone and have a good day!

Charlie, a.k.a. Flounder
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-09-2009, 06:40 AM
I got a aqueon 20 Gallon Deluxe kit at my LFS, and it is great, my fish live happily and it runs like a charm, i havent needed to replace anything and the filter bags are very easy to switch out every month. It is also a very good value
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-09-2009, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice about the aquarium, Guppyluver. Do you have any advice about what type of fish do best in this environment?

Thanks again,

Charlie, a.k.a. Flounder
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-09-2009, 08:39 AM
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Hello and welcome to the forum!!!!

I would check out craigslist for amazing deals on a tank. For several reasons....

1.) The kit you get from a LFS(local fish store) will come with a filter which will work for your aquarium, but you're going to want a better one once you get into the hobby more....which costs more money......
2.) When you buy a tank at a LFS, you will to buy a stand for it.....more money....
3.) Craigslist will have up to 55G tanks, slightly used, most of the time with stands for cheaper than you'll buy a 20G kit for at Petco or something like that....which leaves you money for the better filter as mentioned above

If you are wanting to buy a brand new tank, by all means get a new one, I'm just offering the option of going bigger and spending relatively the same amount of money...because trust all of us.....one you have your 20G tank...you'll want bigger and wish had gone bigger from the beginning

As for fish, there are tons of options, it's all a matter of your personal preference. Are you thinking community fish? Again, welcome. Any more questions just ask away!!!! When you set-up your tank make sure you read about the nitrogen cycle which is crucial to fishes existence.

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post #5 of 8 Old 07-09-2009, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Johnny,

Thanks for the info! Based on your response, I am guessing there is nothing wrong with using a "second-hand" tank, as long as it comes with a good filter (what filters would you recommend?). So, with this option in mind, if you had to choose a make, Eclipse, Tetra, or Aqueon, which would you choose? Or, does the make not really matter, just the components, like filter or heater?

In response to another point, I would be most interested in community or schooling fish, as opposed to larger solitary fish. So, do you have a favorite? I imagine my daughter would like color and activity.

Thanks again,

Charlie, "Flounder"
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-09-2009, 10:34 AM
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i'm of the thinking that glass, is glass. The main things that control how well your aquarium functions and provides a healthy natural environment are indeed the filters and heaters, along with proper weekly maintenance. So to me, it doesn't really matter, I got one of my 55G's off of craigslist, with a stand, hood and lights for $75, needed a little scrubbing with a diluted bleach solution, but it is sparkling clean now. Some people don't like them, some people do, but there is nothing wrong with 2nd hand tanks. my brother took my 35G off of me and hasn't had a problem with it.

As far as filters, it depends on the size tank you are going. Obiviously the bigger the tank, the bigger(more powerful) filter you will need. If you are going with a 20G tank, I'm going to assume it's a 20 Long...you could go with something like a Marineland Bio-Wheel or Emperor....both are very popular choices amongst aquarists. I run a Marineland Bio-Wheel 200 on my 20G, it is more filtration than the tank needs, but that is always a goal too, is to get the next bigger size filter for your tank to improve filtration....

On my 55G I run two(2) marineland bio-wheel 350's....it's enough to filter a 125gallon tank.....but the extra filtration allows for a heavier stocking list.

Hope this helps, any more questions, keep asking!
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-09-2009, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks again Johnny,

In response to another point, I would be most interested in community or schooling fish, as opposed to larger solitary fish. So, do you have a favorite? I imagine my daughter would like color and activity.

Also, would you recommend live plants or artificial?

Are there some fish/shrimp/etc. that help act as natural cleaners and filters of an aquarium?

Charlie, "Flounder"
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-09-2009, 03:50 PM
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Hey Flounder, Whats up !! I am not very experienced in aquariums yet (lots of reading) but I just bought a 29 gallon setup and plan on getting it running sometime in the next 2 weeks, ( Im about to move and Im gonna wait and set it up after Im in the new place). I just wanted to tell you if your daughter likes colorful fish that are active then check out some Tiger Barbs . . . they are relatively small fish (only about 2 to 2.5 inches full grown) and are very active. They are a little aggressive so you will want to make sure if you do buy any other fish that they wont fight with the Tiger Barbs but they look real cool and are active and like being in schools of 5 or more. Im going to setup my 29 gallon and just do all tigers as I like them alot. They look like little tigers stuck in a fishies body ! Also Cichlids are colorful and nice to look at as well but they dont get along with the tiger barbs though if I remember correctly. Just hit your LFS and look around, you will know when you see your fish !! Also remember with a 20 gallon you are somewhat limited as you can only have about 20 inches of fish in a 20 gallon. 1 inch per gallon rule as it is called around here. That is just a rule of thumb but in my opinion and probably most here in the forum, you dont want to have it fully stocked as it will add some stress. If its a 20 gallon then put like 18 inches worth of fish in it and remember that you have to account for the fish in inches at full grown as when they get bigger if you didnt account for it you will need to go to a bigger tank or a second tank. Also make sure you cycle the tank properly or you will just waste alot of time and money so read up on the cycling process without a doubt ! I didnt know what I was doing a few years ago and ran a 10 galloon tank with 2 danios a pleco 2 clown loaches 2 tiger barbs 2 neon tetras and 2 sunburst platys and needless to say they all lasted about 2 weeks before they all died. . . except for those friggen danios, they just would NOT die !! Good Luck with it bro !!
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