Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Quacketj 02-22-2008 10:02 AM

Questions on Buying a Used Aquarium
Hello all,

I have just joined this forum, so thanks for all the help in the near future!

I am looking for some advice on a 125 gallon all glass aquarium I am really considering buying. The seller is posting the item for a price of $400 dollars, and claims the price is firm. The tank comes with all the necessary equipment. The stand/cover/lights/filters/heater/gravel/dťcor and would include the fish. The seller claims the tank is about two years old, has no leaks, and no major problems. The reason behind getting rid of the tank is that he is moving out of state, which sounds like a legitimate reason, not just ditching a tank because itís falling apart. The tank is up and running and I plan on checking it out very soon and giving it a detailed inspection.

Some of the more pertinent information regarding the overall value of this tank is the equipment it comes with. The seller says there are two HOB dual bio-wheel filters, from the description they sound like the Penguin 350. These retail for about $30 dollars on the internet, but Iím not sure that I will stick with these filters to run this tank. I think with a tank this size I should be looking at a canister filter, but that is something to discuss later. The seller also said the piece of drift wood itself was purchased for $60 dollars. I know for a fact that a tank/stand of this combination should retail well over $400 dollars new, but in all reality these are used, so the price must be adjusted. This isnít one of those really nice stands made of oak with a nice canopy. This is a simple black stand with the black plastic on the tank and the basic black lighting on top.

My question to anyone out there who reads this is simple; do you feel like this is a good deal, and if so, what should I seriously consider checking on the tank when I go to take a look at it? Also, what are the major parts that I should check on the tank beyond leaks and visible damage when I go to take a look at it? The bottom line is I have read that aquariums and their equipment should retail at about half the price used, and I feel that this is a little less which makes me happy.


okiemavis 02-22-2008 11:15 AM

Well, I think if you hold out you can find a better deal. Certainly this tank isn't stocked with top of the line equipment. It's basically impossible to tell the value of a used tank though, so if you feel that it's worth it, than it is. Also, lighting is definitely something to look at. It's freaking expensive! I got a 6 foot, 85 gallon tank on CL for $250 with a Magnum 350 filter. Then I ended up spending $400 on lighting. My tank did come with a gorgeous stand though, and some really nice extras (like a python).

As for the filter, I highly recommend canister. They are so quiet! I've got a penguin on my 10 gallon QT tank, and it's louder than my Magnum 350! Also, it's a lot cheaper in the long run, as the upkeep is lower. Most power filters don't allow for removal of carbon, which you have to keep paying to replace. I've got purely mechanical and biological filtration going in my tank and I love it.

Basically, the tank is always going to be a ripoff and a deal. Certainly it's way cheaper than the store, but you're going to end up spending a lot of money customizing it to how you want it. This sounds like one of those out-of-the-box setups, which probably means you'll need new lights and a new filter. You can keep waiting or just go for it!

fish_4_all 02-22-2008 11:45 AM

Well depending on where you are and what stores are around the price may be good or it may be way too high.

My LFS for instance would charge $600 for the stand and tank with just a hood for a 125 gallon. In petsmart, the tank would be $125-250 and a stand from Ikea might be $80.

The fish alone might make it wortht the cost. I would be asking what kind of fish. If he has rare plecos, ancient fish or something else then it may be worth it just for that.

Check for scratches and dings in the corners of the tanks and in the main glass. Tiny scratches that can hardly be felt are ok. Any knicks in the edges is a bad sign if they have any kind of streak from them. Also, look for discoloring in the silicone to see if it is still good. Not on the surface but inbetween the silicone and the glass. If there is a lot then the silicone might have to be replaced. If there is any discoloring between the points where the panes of glass touch I wouldn't even consider buying it.

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