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Old 03-04-2014, 09:41 PM   #1
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Used Tank and Equipment, what to look for?

I've recently rescaped my aquarium and I'm interested in doing a ground-up build on a larger size. I've also been helping maintain a 75 gallon at my place of work and I love it.

My current one is a 30 gallon that I found in the trash 8 years ago (along with the solid wood stand), which I'll probably sell off after my new one is up and running.

The plan is around 75 gallon limited to 48" length, soil substrate with sand cap, live low-light plants (no CO2), canister filtered, going for a very natural freshwater river look. My project timeline is "whenever" so I have time to slowly gather what I can find off Craigslist. Are there any other used equipment websites that I can try out?

I'll build my own cabinet and top enclosure for it. I have not used canister filters before, are they very quiet compared to top power filters? My plans include a sectioned sound-proof enclosure in the cabinet but maybe that's not even necessary? Or do they run hot enough I would need a fan in there (similar to desktop tower cooling setups)?

Is there anything I should look for when inspecting a used tank? Besides the obvious cracks, etc? I'm not opposed to resealing if I can get a great deal. Is there any state to which a tank is no longer worth fixing?

Used filter and other equipment, should I bother, or just buy new retail? Or wait out for a package someone is selling with the filter I want plus tank?

Going to have fun with this!
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Current: 50 gal freshwater. Soil substrate, sand/gravel cap, live planted tank, Super HW-302 filter. 2 blue line rasbora, 3 red serpae tetra, 1 black molly, 2 koi angelfish, 1 plecostomus, 2 blue dwarf gourami, 1 common musk turtle named Leo.
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:42 AM   #2
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You will be surprised how many people are out of touch with reality on Craigslist. Sometimes it's cheaper to buy new at a pet store or online, or at the worst just a few bucks more. That said, you can definitely find a deal on Craigsilt.
As far as what to be on a look out for…some people like me will have a hospital tank and use all kinds of medication in it that could be harmful to some fish and invertebrates. That is usually done to treat sick fish without exposing your entire fish tank inhabitants to medication. I would definitely give a used fish tank a good clean to remove any residual there could still be left from fish medication. So that's one thing I would be on a look out for.
When I was fish tank shopping I noticed that new 75 gallon glass aquariums were going for $185 and above while a new 60 gallon tank was going for $70. 75 gallon tank requires more glass and increases the price of the tank. However, a 60 gallon will also give you 48 inches of space and save some money in the process. Even a 55 gallon aquarium would be ok as it is 4ft long and you can always pick one up at Petco when they have a $1 per gallon sale. So a 55 gallon tank for $55…new. Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:45 AM   #3
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Marina- you mean you wouldn't pay $85, for a TOP of the Line 10 gallon set-up with common plecos and 15 goldfish?
Lol, +1 on being careful with craigslist. However, there are some folks that do list decent set-ups for realistic used prices. It takes a little time and some interesting replys to your inquiries, but you can find some deals on good equip!! I just picked up a 46 gallon bow front, stand, heater, 1 160gph cannister and 2 100gph Hob filters for $150!

Things that I asked about when responding to the ads were:
Why are you getting rid of the tank?
Is anything wrong with the tank(scratches, cracks, etc.)?
What is included in "Lots of supplies"?
Where did you get the tank?
Is there any livestock that come with?
Is the tank running? What are your current water parameters?

This was seen as ridiculous, to a few of the sellers, and they let me know! I deleted the response and moved on. If they aren't willing to reply with info. It wasn't worth my time or the health of my fish to take a chance on that tank. The guy I ended up buying from, actually passed on another buyer because he liked that I asked those questions(In a friendly way). When I went to pick it up, he showed me his newly set-up 120g(WOW!) and took some time showing me the ins and outs of my newly acquired tank! In the end I got the tank I wanted for a good price, and found another hobbyist I could turn to for help, questions and feedback!

As far as canister filters, they are actually less noisy than HOB's mainly because they dont have the surface agitation when the water is returned back to the tank, that the waterfall style filters do. No sound proofing needed(maybe for the air pump if that bugs you!).
Second Hand equipment- again caution. I wouldn't pay more than 1/2 price of new, based on amazon.com pricing not msrp. There are a lot of variables involved but it never hurts to check an item out. It could save you $, or you might buy a smelly water filled paperweight... Be sure and look it over really well, and don't be afraid to tell them your gonna pass, if its not what you were expecting.
I like that your taking your time, this gives you a good chance to watch the going prices, and gain some insight on what you do and do not want. Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:41 PM   #4
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Top fin has a 75 gallon for 229. I also saw a 60 gallon with stand for 250. I guess that's a good starting point. Probably wouldn't spend more than 100-125 on a used 75 gal.

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Old 03-06-2014, 11:10 AM   #5
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That's the key -- know how much you should expect to pay and don't be afraid to ask questions. You are on the right track. Evasive sellers are liars, simple as that.

The only thing I'd add is to check if there are any local aquarium enthusiast groups. Many tanks change hands there, used equipment too, tank-bred fish are available, folks divide plants... I found such a group advertised on Craigslist that has a Facebook profile. Lots of stuff available that is offered there first and then CL only if it doesn't sell. The sellers there are more realistic in pricing and there is opportunity for bartering, too.
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:08 PM   #6
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Apparently aquariums are a hot item here! Between 55 gallon and 75 gallon I've hit 8 potentials and they are literally being sold the day of the listings, for $100-$150. It's almost the cost of a brand new tank, as Marina pointed out.

On the up side, I shouldn't have a problem selling my old tank!
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Current: 50 gal freshwater. Soil substrate, sand/gravel cap, live planted tank, Super HW-302 filter. 2 blue line rasbora, 3 red serpae tetra, 1 black molly, 2 koi angelfish, 1 plecostomus, 2 blue dwarf gourami, 1 common musk turtle named Leo.
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:01 PM   #7
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#9 was the ticket, got a used 55 gallon for $70 with a 24" light and a 48" light. Only damage is the crossbeam. I have some acrylic so I'm going to cut a long piece and glue along the entire length at the bottom, maybe nylon screws if I can find them at HD. Based on what I've found used and Amazon pricing I'm just going to buy all the other equipment new.
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Current: 50 gal freshwater. Soil substrate, sand/gravel cap, live planted tank, Super HW-302 filter. 2 blue line rasbora, 3 red serpae tetra, 1 black molly, 2 koi angelfish, 1 plecostomus, 2 blue dwarf gourami, 1 common musk turtle named Leo.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:33 PM   #8
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Congrats! I can't speak firsthand, but seems to be a lot of info out there on repair/replacing the cross beams.

As far as buying the rest of your stuff new, yeah that's probably best. It could be tough to piece it all together second hand from multiple places...
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:12 PM   #9
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Seems like a common issue. 3 of the 8 other tanks I inquired about had broken/repaired crossbeams.
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Current: 50 gal freshwater. Soil substrate, sand/gravel cap, live planted tank, Super HW-302 filter. 2 blue line rasbora, 3 red serpae tetra, 1 black molly, 2 koi angelfish, 1 plecostomus, 2 blue dwarf gourami, 1 common musk turtle named Leo.
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