04-23-2009, 01:01 PM
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Used tanks are a great way to go. I have three tanks, only one of which was new. I bought my Eclipse 6 system new primarily for aesthetic reasons, I wanted a complete sleek package rather than the conventional box with gear all over the place. My other two tanks, a 55 gallon and a 48 corner tank are both used. I got both of them for a song The 55 for $75, including a hood, light, heater, filter, and stand. The 48 for $20 with hood, light, and filter. You can't beat that. They both cleaned up nicely and have never leaked even a little.
Fish keeping is the kind of hobby that leaves you with a lot of gear with no other use. People are always selling old fish keeping gear on places like Craigslist. I honestly don't even really consider buying new when I go looking for a new tank. I can find anything I want from 5 gallons up to 200+ on craigslist usually for dirt cheap.
Just be careful, ask for a leak test before you ever hand over any money. If they won't leak test it for you in front of you then walk away. Also if the tank is chiped or cracked don't even think of buying it. Also be highly critical of scratches. Trust me, the scratch might look minor and no big deal but once you decorate the tank and fill it the scratch will stand out like a becon. Also, your most prized fish will spend all its time in front of it. Some tanks you can turn around to face another way if one side is too scratched but still be wary. Also, ask if the tank has been treated for ich or with copper based meds. It's possible for the meds to get into the silicone of the tank's joints and leech out later, possibly killing any invertebrates you want to keep.
If you want to do salt water I'd be much more wary buying used gear. If copper based meds were used I'd never consider buying a tank for salt water. Honestly, in the grand scheme of things your tank is gonna cost maybe 10% of the start up costs of a reef tank. I don't think its worth chancing it with salt water to try and save a few bucks on the tank. Get a nice new one for saltwater.