im a newbie here but im looking to start a 29 gallon/30gallon community tank with tropical fish. the fish i have in mind are: bosemani rainbow, platy, zebra danio, and albino bristlenose.
im wanting to buy a tank, hood, and a stand in a package deal if possible and then buy the filter/heater and all separate so i can have good quality items. ive tried looking at some tanks like seaclear 30 gallon 3 eclipse and topfin 29 gallon tank w/hood. however i heard you can only use seaclear filters/heaters with their tank and they werent that great (?) and the topfin hood was flimsy (?).
id appreciate any recommendations for good quality and efficient equipment.
gravel vacuum cleaner?
any thing else i have missed would be appreciated....thanks!!
I've heard the Top Fin products (PetsMart's own brand, btw) are crappy too. I have a 3.5 Top Fin tank for my betta and it scratches easily.
Have a look at the sales at your local aquarium supply, and also decide by your budget. On the higher end, Fluval makes some gorgeous tank/hood combos, but some of them are pricey. Marineland kits are more economical, and better constructed than Top Fin.
I will recommend staying away from Tetra Whisper HOB filters as the media is an all-in-one unit, so you can't swap out the carbon and leave the pad. I don't know what they were thinking with that design! I regret buying mine.
Glass tanks are glass tanks unless you are looking to spend some boohoo bucks on one, so get one you like that is economical, I prefer glass tops as they are great at controlling evaporation. Unless you are looking to over stock, heavily stock you tank just go with a sponge filter / air pump combo as it is the most economical and does the job as long as you dont have fish that need a current. Heaters always seem like shots in the darks, I've seen people buy cheap heaters that go out / have problems about as much as I've seen people buy good heaters that have issues, of course the customer service response from the more expensive heaters should be better. The coralife digital thermometers are pretty good for being pretty cheap plus it makes it easier to gauge water temp from a faucet as you can use it there too, I believe the same thermometer is sold under a few different brands too. Lighting all depends on if you are going with live plants or not, if not just pick up a good deal on a single t-8 fixture, if you can't find a good deal and are in the DIY mood look into the rain gutter lighting. As for the gravel vac, skip the ones you drain in to a bucket and upgrade to the model that hooks to a faucet, you will never want to do a water change the bucket method ever again, it costs a little bit more up front but the time and effort it saves you is well worth it.
A few more musts for your aquarium:
Water conditioner/de-chlorinator (Seachem Prime is a good one)
Water test kit for ph, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate (API Freshwater Master Test kit is the best one)
Algae pad/scraper to wipe down inside tank walls during water changes
Happy shopping :)
I have brought a quite expensive tank kit from fluval (26 gallons bowfront). The tank itself is very well made, thick glass, beautiful silicone job, great looking and well-made hood. The included filter was good and the heater is one of the most expensive on the market. Cost was about 200. Even with all the qualities, I had to DIY two incadescent fixtures in the hood to have decent light for plants. I also changed the filter for a canister, the noise was driving me mad.
I also have a very cheap 20 gallons high tank. Paid 40$ for tank and hood. The silicone job on the tank is ugly, hood is flimsy, glass is thin. Except for that, it still holds water, maintenance is as easy as on the other tank, the hood already had incadescent fixtures so I could screw in some CFLs, and I had the bonus of being able to choose my filter and heater.
All in all, if I buy another tank, I would go with a cheap tank, the benefits far outweight the downsides for me.
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