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Old 11-10-2010, 10:18 PM   #1
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Experience with Tetra aquarium kits?

I'm still hunting for a tank for my daughter for Christmas. Does anybody have any experience with the Tetra aquarium kits?

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Old 11-11-2010, 12:53 AM   #2
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The kits usually have pretty poor equipment. You'd be better off piecing it together. Here's a basic list you could start with:

20g-40g aquarium - Don't get a smaller aquarium. It's easier to take care of a bigger tank and it puts fewer limits on your fish selection.

AquaClear HOB power filter - Get one rated for twice your tank volume. AquaClear is a little more expensive than the competition, but they're the best.

Marineland or Fluval heater - You get what you pay for with heaters. These two brands are pretty reliable. Get one rated for your tank for best operation.

Glass canopy - There are several brands. Glass canopies keep fish in the tank, limit water evaporation, and are pretty cheap.

Lights - If you're just keeping fish, just about any light will do. If you think you might be interested in plants, get a decent light fixture so you don't have to upgrade later.

API Freshwater Master test kit - Lets you know what's going on in your tank. It's key to figuring out problems. Strips aren't worth beans. The API kits lasts forever and is more accurate than strips.

Decorations - Don't limit yourself to what you find at the LFS. The substrate in all my tanks came from Home Depot and Menards. Just do your research to make sure it's safe.

Thermometer - Don't trust what the heater knob says. They're usually not right.

Net - A couple different sizes are nice, but a green, coarse mesh net in a medium size is good to start.

Gravel vacuum or python - You'll need this to clean your tank and do PWCs.

An aquarium-only bucket - You need a bucket that you know isn't contaminated.

I'm sure I'm missing something, but that list is a good start.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:00 AM   #3
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+1 for putting it together yourself, and everything in BigJim's post. Kits make it look easy, but pretty much set you up to fail. An underpowered filter is NEVER a good way to start. And then, if you do decide to continue with the hobby (and many people give up after struggling with the inadaquate equipment in a kit) you have to upgrade everything, and spend even more.
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:09 AM   #4
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It's all very easy to put together yourself I find, *except* for hoods and lighting, which are all extremely confusing. Having navigated this recently myself and now have it sorted and in place I still find there is a complete lack of information on websites etc. It seems if you're buying a hood it's expected that you already know what you are doing, which isn't easy when you don't know what you're doing!

I'd still like a glass good for my 18"x10" tank but can't find anywhere that sells them! Doesn't help of course that the majority of searches bring back US based websites, which are no good to me!
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Old 11-20-2010, 01:32 PM   #5
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How about buying a system from someone else (classifieds)? You typically get better equipment for a fraction of the cost.
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:34 PM   #6
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What country do you live in?
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