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Old 05-11-2004, 10:30 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Tampa FL
Posts: 4
Used Equipment

I have been looking in the paper lately and there are usually a couple of larger tanks (90 to 125 gallon) for sale. Often they come with equipment and livestock. It seems like a good way to get in cheaper than starting new.

Is there anything I should be aware of when purchasing a complete tank setup? 8O Any recommendations on moving a tank and livestock across town?

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Old 05-11-2004, 01:11 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Coopersburg, PA
Posts: 82

I too have been looking for a used set-up myself and have come to the following conclusions:
1. If the tank has been broken down, it's typically sitting in the garage/basement and will be available for about 25 cents on the dollar (someone just wants it out of there). If it's up and running, 50 cents or less seems to be a typical asking price.
2. The equipment is generally not recent vintage, but functional.
3. Stands tend to be trashed, but usually can be refinished quite nicely, especially if solid oak/pine.
4. Sellers tend to balk at proving there are no leaks since this would entail a few hours and plenty of water. Sadly, I would not take anyone's word that a tank does not leak.
5. Reef ready tanks seem to be a rare find.
6. Ask for dimensions before even taking a look. Many seem to be designs that would be difficult to maintain or won't fit in the area you have available. I've seen two 90 gallon tanks that were over 36 inches in height. My arms aren't quite that long.
7. It's a good idea to plan/budget based on the assumption that you may have to replace some of the equipment soon (heater, skimmer, pumps, etc.). Maybe you'll get lucky, maybe not.

All of the above said, you can find some GREAT deals from people "forced" to quit the hobby due to relocation, family addition, expense, etc. I'll defer to others and articles regarding the difficulty in moving a running set-up, but plan on a full day (more including prep time), bring a few friends, and reward them with plenty of food and beer afterwards. Good luck.

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Old 05-11-2004, 02:25 PM   #3
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If at all possible request to see the tank. If your getting a complete setup ask how long its been setup. Ask the history of teh tank. Find out the husbandry skills of the current owner and how they treated illnesses if the fish had any, etc. If the tank is a fish only system find out if they ever used copper in the tank for medication.

By seeing the tank you will have a good idea for the tanks quality. Find out how old the lights are. If the bulbs are older than 6months plan on getting new bulbs for the lights anyway.

If your looking at getting a tank thats been taken down and put into storage ask if they can fill it with water prior to your arrival so you can verify it does not leak. Look for cracks or serious damage to the corner and bottom seals. Look for scratches on the glass or acylic.

For moving the tank look at our articles area. There is a good article on moving a FW tank. The basics will hold for SW aswell. Never try to carry more than 5 gal of water at once. Drain the display tank as much as possible before attempting to move it. Use rubbermaid trashcans on a box truck or pickup truck to transport the water. FIll them about 1/2- 2/3ed full and make sure they are securtly strapped to the sides of the truck. Going around a turn and having a couple hundred pounds of water shifting can cause control issues.
Remember dont tap the glass, your fish will think you're an idiot -Anonymous mother

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