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Old 10-06-2020, 10:28 AM   #1
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Looking for ways to save money on an aquarium

Hey everyone,
Recently, I came to realize that fishkeeping is a pretty expensive deal. I've spent over $400 on my aquarium - the general setup.
I plan to buy a new aquarium for my kids, and I wonder what could be efficient ways to save some money. I want the tank to look good and look professional, although money is a big deal for me. Any tips?

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Old 10-06-2020, 10:44 AM   #2
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I almost always use pea gravel from Lowe's or home depot. Just wash it good. If you want some color in it, just add a bag or 2 of your desired preference and mix it in by hand. I add it last. You can make it as colorful or subdued as you like. I also have 1 tank with pool filter sand, and 2 more with sand blasting black sand from tractor supply store. Substrate is expensive
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Old 10-06-2020, 10:45 AM   #3
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Look on Craigslist for a used led light, someone is always upgrading
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Old 10-06-2020, 10:47 AM   #4
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And I shop online, like chewy, etc, and find the best prices for filters and air pumps. My petco price matches identical products from Walmart, petco online, chewy, Amazon and petsmart on line. My petsmart matches their online price and chewy also, which they own
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Old 10-06-2020, 10:48 AM   #5
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Plants too, whether real or artificial
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Old 10-06-2020, 10:49 AM   #6
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I bought a bag of white river rock at Lowe's, used it in several tanks. Along with sandstone/ flag stone I got cheap at a garden supply store
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Old 10-06-2020, 12:15 PM   #7
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Alot of ppl use scrubber pads and untreated household sponges in their filters. I buy a 6' roll of filter material and it lasts a long time. Prob only saves a few cents for a filter change, but every bit adds up. I also use regular ol' poly fill material from wal mart, it's good for water polishing and is cheap. Just get the untreated one, not the mildew resistant kind
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Old 10-06-2020, 12:18 PM   #8
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And for a long time I had a led rope light on a 4' tank. Just taped it up under the frame on the outside with black electric tape and put it on a cheap timer. Didn't have the cool blue night light effect, but it made the tank look pretty good
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Old 10-06-2020, 12:41 PM   #9
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Ignore manufacturers' recommendations for replacing filter pads. They often want you to drop ridiculous amounts of money per month on maintenance. Just rinse your old filter material in water you've removed from the tank during a water change, and put it back in.

Some commercial filter pads, like for the Marineland line of filters, have become flimsier and now disintegrate over time, probably to encourage people to buy more. A lot of people adapt filters by filling them instead with sponge material that lasts indefinitely.

All my substrate is always sand from a hardware or pool filter supply store. I have play sand now but miss the pool filter sand I had previously, because this stuff compacts too much. All my rocks and wood/driftwood are collected from outside.

I have gotten tremendous deals on beautiful, healthy plants from forums like this and local aquarium clubs. There is no comparison with the stores. Goatnad on this site sent me the nicest group of plants I've ever received, for the lowest cost I've ever paid.

Use dry fertilizers for plants and mix them yourself instead of buying the expensive liquid type. I haven't done this yet because I am lazy, but I plan to next time.

Always question any recommended chemicals or additives to address aquarium problems like algae and many illnesses. Many early problems can be solved by making sure you have clean water and the right lighting schedule. Treat ich with heat if you can.

Monitor your local classifieds/Craigslist for free stuff or great deals. There are always people giving up the hobby or moving, and lots of fish being rehomed and supplies being given away or sold cheaply. I have purchased nice, used filters off Craigslist and Ebay, but you do have to be careful and read the descriptions carefully. I purchased what I thought was an Aquaclear 110, but it turned out that it was an Aquaclear 20, listed in the headline as "Aquaclear 110v," meaning 110 volts. No mention of the 20 in the ad. I couldn't ask for justice, because I was the one who misread.
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Old 10-06-2020, 12:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearlessfisch View Post
Ignore manufacturers' recommendations for replacing filter pads. They often want you to drop ridiculous amounts of money per month on maintenance. Just rinse your old filter material in water you've removed from the tank during a water change, and put it back in.

Some commercial filter pads, like for the Marineland line of filters, have become flimsier and now disintegrate over time, probably to encourage people to buy more. A lot of people adapt filters by filling them instead with sponge material that lasts indefinitely.

All my substrate is always sand from a hardware or pool filter supply store. I have play sand now but miss the pool filter sand I had previously, because this stuff compacts too much. All my rocks and wood/driftwood are collected from outside.

I have gotten tremendous deals on beautiful, healthy plants from forums like this and local aquarium clubs. There is no comparison with the stores. Goatnad on this site sent me the nicest group of plants I've ever received, for the lowest cost I've ever paid.

Use dry fertilizers for plants and mix them yourself instead of buying the expensive liquid type. I haven't done this yet because I am lazy, but I plan to next time.

Always question any recommended chemicals or additives to address aquarium problems like algae and many illnesses. Many early problems can be solved by making sure you have clean water and the right lighting schedule. Treat ich with heat if you can.

Monitor your local classifieds/Craigslist for free stuff or great deals. There are always people giving up the hobby or moving, and lots of fish being rehomed and supplies being given away or sold cheaply. I have purchased nice, used filters off Craigslist and Ebay, but you do have to be careful and read the descriptions carefully. I purchased what I thought was an Aquaclear 110, but it turned out that it was an Aquaclear 20, listed in the headline as 110v, meaning 110 volts. No mention of the 20 in the ad. I couldn't ask for justice, because I was the one who misread.
Good points! Unless you have tons of money to blow, I think a good aquarist is always on the look out for a deal and ways to save money. If you did everything according to the way the manufacturer wants, it def would be an expensive hobby
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Old 10-07-2020, 01:13 PM   #11
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Some really cool advice here! Would love to hear more ideas!!
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Old 10-07-2020, 02:12 PM   #12
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Play sand, blasting sand, gravel from lawn and garden store, kitty litter ( must be a certain type) for substrates

Lights can be as cheap as a daylight house bulb.

Fake plants you can use whats at a local craft store.

Rocks and logs you can get outside or a local stream
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Old 10-07-2020, 10:10 PM   #13
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And you'll see too, that when you Google a product to see if ppl use it in aquariums, there will always be some guy bashing using it (no matter how many have used it successfully) because it gives fish lupus or ptsd or something. I always tell myself, if multiple ppl used it and it was safe, then it's good enough for my fish lol
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Old 10-07-2020, 10:11 PM   #14
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*the basher always recommends you spend the extra money and get the product made by fluval or eheim or Bentley
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Old 10-07-2020, 10:47 PM   #15
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U can save money on everything in this hobby, but u cant go cheap on the aquarium itself and the fish.
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Old 10-08-2020, 03:12 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishingBuds View Post
U can save money on everything in this hobby, but u cant go cheap on the aquarium itself and the fish.
I disagree a little. We have 18 tanks, I only bought 1 new. I've picked the rest up super cheap on buying/ selling apps or Craigslist. Alot of them are older, big Oceanic tanks. Heavy and well built with starfire front glass. I've had to reseal a bunch, but that doesn't take long and a tube of silicone 1 is cheap.
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Old 10-08-2020, 03:19 AM   #17
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We have 2 65g's, 2 75g's, 90g, 100g, 105g, 125g, a 215g, a 25g hex, a 20g, 30g, 45g and a 36 and 46g bow front that we bought used and didn't pay more than $200 for any of them. Almost all came with led lighting, stands, lids, some with canister filters, air pumps, etc. Some really cheap; ppl getting out of the hobby
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Old 10-08-2020, 04:24 AM   #18
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All of my tanks except my ten-gallon quarantine tank are second-hand. One of my 30 gallons I found on the curb with its stand, on trash day. Brought it home and filled it up, and it's been perfect.
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Old 10-08-2020, 04:25 AM   #19
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18 tanks?! I wonder if you are at the median for this community!
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Old 10-08-2020, 05:54 AM   #20
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Haha! Probably at the median. No kids at home, so we have a dedicated fish room. That's the only way we'd have room. 11 are in there. That's too cool about the 30. My mil gave us a perfectly good oceanic 30 too. But no stand. Its one of my favorite looking aquariums. I think some tanks just have a really clean looking symmetry
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