What is the best 20g tank kit?
I loved my 10g so much I decided to get a 20g so I could keep more fish.
I have the aqueon deluxe kit 10 and it is a great kit. My only complaints is that the filter is not very good and a little noisy and that the lighting, while good for plants, is too strong for night viewing.
As an impulse buy I got the marineland led kit 20 thinking it was probably a better quality brand. I only decided to check the reviews after I got home. I love the bio wheel filter. I can change out the cartridges regularly for clean water but the bio wheel will still keep that beneficial bacteria. The cons are that it is a glass tank, so more fragile than acrylic so I can imagine it will be more prone to cracks and leaks, I even read some reviews of the glass warping if not leaking. I like the led lighting because it will make the tank look prettier and also has a night light function with low wattage blue light. The day light is low wattage as well, not very good for plants but also read reviews about how the glass in the hood isn't sealed so the led fixture would get wet and short circuit alot.
I had high hopes for the marineland led kit but the glass tank and bad reviews have me doubting now. I want to keep this purchase around $100 so I want to get a kit to save money. Can anyone recommend anything? I do want to do a medium planted tank. Has anyone had the marineland one and can stand by it or disavow it?
Glass is a con?? Probably 95% of tanks are glass. The itty bitty "tanks" are acrylic, and occasionally you find a real tank that's acrylic. Being concerned about the tank leaking is like being concerned about being eaten by a shark swimming in the ocean, or any other freak occurrence. Does it happen? Yes, but instances are far and few between when you consider ALLLLLL the people who don't have problems.
Most kits come with cheap parts. Cheap filter, cheap heater, standard lights. There is nothing wrong with glass, most tanks actually are. Glass only breaks if you hit it with something, or if it got damaged in shipping. Acrylic actually scratches really easy, so you have to be far more careful with it when cleaning. If the glass is too thin, it can bow out a bit, but usually that isn't a big concern.
For a 20g the best tanks are the ones in the long configuration. Tank length is more important than depth for most fish. I have a 20g tall, and really wish I had gotten the long instead.
For lighting, I don't know how that stock LED one will work for you. Little is known about LEDs and plants right now as it is a fairly new thing. People have had good results with the Marineland Double Bright LED fixtures though. I build my own LED fixture that seems to work okay but it is far brighter than what I've seen sold for fish tanks.
At night I would not use that blue light. Fish need periods of darkness to sleep just like humans do.
For a filter on a planted 20g tank, you can't go wrong with a sponge filter. They are usually pretty cheap but most big box pet stores do not carry them (they'd rather carry the more expensive filters with higher profit margins).
You can try the LEDs and just see how they work with some plants. Otherwise:
If this is a 20g tall, for lighting you can go with either a single T8 for low light, a single T5HO (if you can find one, most are dual light fixtures) is a good amount of light, or you can do dual T8 which would be on the high side of moderate lighting. Dual T5HO would be way too much light and you'd end up with an algae farm unless you did CO2 injection.
If it is a 20g long, a single T8 would work well.
Mostly ditto what Geo said. Kits are, generally, crap.... maybe that is a little harsh but not too far off the mark as they are aimed at selling at the lowest possible price point to get people into the hobby.
Best option is to buy a tank that suits, I agree with the tall versus long, I bought a 37gallon tall and would have done better with a long for a good number of reasons that I didn't realize until after having it for a while.
Glass cover rather than a hood. This allows you to use whatever lighting you want and the glass almost seals the tank completely in so far as it will not let moisture onto the fixture. It's probably easier to remove when doing major work in the tank as well... I like to play in the sand so my lid comes off often and I can put the lights back on without it to see to work on stuff.
With this setup you can use anything for lighting, a few hanging CFL bulbs, tube fixtures, aquarium specific fixtures or the really nice LED stuff (not cheap, particularly for plant friendly stuff)
20 Gallon can use a sponge filter with air drive or power head (pump) to move the water or a hang on back filter... sponge is cheaper and, depending on the drive, could be quieter.
Heater is a heater, some good some not so good but most will do the job.
Depending upon the lighting you could put that together for $100 perhaps.
Glass warping... in a 20 gallon?? Don't worry about it. The glass isn't what leaks, it's the seals on older tanks. If it's a concern do a leak test and if it leaks from new, take it back.
I have the marineland kit you're talking about. I was very happy with the setup except for the hood. The hood is very flimsy and my led light got moisture in it so it burnt out within a year. I ended up putting a glass hood and the marineland hidden led system on it. The filter and heater work fine though.
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