Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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FreshWaterTanker 05-24-2009 07:13 AM

Beautiful Ensemble Tank, but Pricey?
When I was at the store yesterday, returning the 20 gal TopFin tank, I noticed another TopFin tank and although I swore off brand new retail price aquarium shopping, the tank really got my attention.

The tank itself was a squared aquarium, instead of the "bowed" or "bent" shaped" and it was a 56 gal.

When I looked at the retail shelf price I just about died. The sticker price was $299.99! Three hundred dollars for a 56 gallon tank? That was not right.

I must have been reading it wrong and sure enough a sales associate easily explained that this particular TopFin tank was called an "Ensemble" tank. The beautiful wooden (probably pressed plywood) stand was included with the tank.

Now that made a little more sense, but was it a good deal? $300.00 dollars, plus sales tax, for a 56 gallon tank and a wooden stand ensemble unit. That is basically $150.00 dollars a piece.

What do you think? Would you buy it?

willow 05-24-2009 07:33 AM

i'm probably not the best one to answer,as the thing for me is that
if i see it and i can afford it,i'll buy it.
perhaps have a brows around craigs list/ebay and see if there is anything
close to you of that size for less money,people here have picked up
some bargains.

Fishin Pole 05-24-2009 08:58 AM

to me it doesnt seem that out of line price wise..........IS is glass or acrylic?.......larger acrylic tanks are a little higher priced than their glass counterparts.................I know here in PA, Pet Smart sell a glass 55 for around $150 with nothing included, and its hard to find a stand for under a $100 so the tank you seen doesnt seem that high priced

aunt kymmie 05-24-2009 09:17 AM

To me that is pretty pricey when I compare it to my tank. I purchased a 100gl acrylic tank, complete with hood, canopy, lighting fixture, filters, the works, all for...$300.00. Craigslist is where I found it. The guy I purchased from was a discus breeder and his wife had finally had enough. :-)
That was nearly a year ago and he & I still e-mail each other. A few times I've had questions regarding the tank's filter and maintenance. He's johnny-on-the-spot as far as getting back to me. So, besides getting a great tank I made a friend too.
Check out craigslist. It took me three weeks to find my tank but it was worth waiting those three weeks. I would have paid $2500.00 retail for what I eventually ended up with.

FreshWaterTanker 05-24-2009 10:09 AM

Fishin Pole,

All TopFin aquariums are glass and double-sealed with high quality silicone.

aunt kymmie,

Yeah, I personally thought paying $150.00 dollars for a 56 gal was pretty pricey. Heck, I just returned a 20 gal TopFin tank and that one was $59.99 plus sales tax!

I do a lot of second-hand/thrift shopping for many different areas in my life, but I never thought about appling the same bargaining concept to aquatic supplies and/or equipment.

Now that I know some of the second-hand resources, I am bargaining all of the way.

Fishin Pole 05-24-2009 08:50 PM

you were askng about the price on a NEW tank................Yes, i agree Craigslsit is a great place to buy a used set-up......The 2 90's i own both came from Craigslsit and i didnt pay more than a $100 for either of them........I still say that price for a new setup isnt that far out of line for a NEW set-up.........The price you pay on Craigslist SHOULD be a bargain, buying something used should be cheaper no matter what it is......

redpaulhus 05-24-2009 09:52 PM

Top Fin tanks are usually made by Perfecto/Marineland, although I recently saw Aqueon/All-Glass brand tanks in Petsmart as well.

The 56 is a "column" tank - 30" long, 24", and about 30" tall (off of the top of my head) -- great for visual impact, not so great for carrying capacity, oxygen content, etc.

Like all "extra tall" tanks, it is best to stock these tanks at a lighter bioload than you would stock a long wide short tank of the same gallonage, and the price is higher (since the taller tank requires thicker glass due to the higher pressure on the glass caused by the deeper water).

I've been considering either the 47 or 56g column tank - I want a new tank in the corner of my living room, and the extra height will allow me to put in some really tall driftwood and make a display unlike any of the tanks in my fishroom. I'll be stocking the tank with about the same load I'd put in a 20g "long" or 29g tank.

In my opinion - the value of the 56g tank depends alot on what you want to keep in it.
I'm a firm believer in figuring out the general fish population first and then getting a tank to match - just like I would decide on hamsters, rats, or rabbits before buying a cage - for most common "community" fish (tetras, common livebearers, small barbs, cory cats, dwarf cichlids, and dwarf rainbowfishes) the tank would work nicely, also for the small central american and west african cichlids and smaller Lake Tang cichlids (shell-dwellers etc). Angelfish or Discus would look really good but should be stocked lightly.

I wouldn't recommend it for larger "back and forth" shoaling fishes - larger rainbowfishes, larger barbs, giant danios, "silver dollars" and other larger tetras, etc. Ditto most non-dwarf new world cichlids, as well as most Lake Malawi cichlids --- there's just not enough real estate, and you get get a better tank for those fishes for less $, even if you stay with new retail.

I also wouldn't try a really densely planted "garden" tank, unless you've got lots of cash for lighting - a tank that deep will need some serious wattage and there are not alot of "bang for the buck" options in the 30" size - I may end up lighting mine with a 175w metal halide pendant I've got collecting dust.

redpaulhus 05-24-2009 09:55 PM

ps - check and see if there are any reef-keeping clubs in your area. The reef side of the hobby has a fairly high dropout rate, and at least in my area, there's always somebody local selling off a tank cheap.

Fusion MK 05-25-2009 12:27 AM

That is cheap enough.

A 56-gallon? Where do you find those?

FreshWaterTanker 05-25-2009 12:54 AM


Originally Posted by Fishin Pole (Post 198519)
you were askng about the price on a NEW tank. I still say that price for a new setup isnt that far out of line for a NEW set-up.

Fishin Pole,

Yes, I did say that the 56 gal TopFin tank was a new tank.

Did not know what brand new retail tanks were going for these days. I have been out of the aquatic realm for several years and am just now getting back into the hobby again.

I still feel that $150.00 dollars for a new 56 gal is a bit rich, but I guess I am still pricing tanks from 10 years ago. Over the years, everything goes up in price, even aquariums. I was just shell/culture shocked at the shelf sticker price.

If I had the extra disposable income to simply "blow" on impulse shopping, I may not have even batted an eye at the price tag, afterall it is a very beautiful unit, and like redpaulhus typed the tank has an awesome visual impact...which is how the unit caught my attention is the first place.

Slowly getting my feet wet, but am having fun refamiliarizing myself with the rules of the game.

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