Trying to setup a Small cheap tank. What am I doing wrong?
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:05 PM   #1
Aben314
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Trying to setup a Small cheap tank. What am I doing wrong?


I've been lurking here and a couple other aquarium forums for a while. I'm in college and I'm hoping to setup a cheap planted cherry shrimp tank to put on my desk next year.

Here is my budget at the moment. Current budget is for a 10 gallon. I'm willing to go much smaller but when I tried pricing it out it wasn't significantly cheaper. I'm a complete noob, so help me please. What's wrong with my budget?


Code:
Cherry Shrimp    20  
AquaClear 20     22  
CaribSea TMS     20
Light timer       7
Dechlorniator     5
Light bulbsx2     12
Tank/hood combo   27
Mopani wood        8
Heater           10
Java Moss/fern       10
Misc items/decor     15

Total	        156

Some final notes. I'm open to all suggestions. This is just where my budget stands now. I have no problem downsizing to a smaller tank (it might even be preferable). When I was looking though I couldn't work out anything significantly cheaper.

P.S. Let me know if their is anything you think I might be overlooking in my budget. Also, I've been checking CL but there hasn't been hardly anything posted in my area. I'm in Evanston, IL without guaranteed access to a car.



TL;DR Is a budget of 150ish good for a new tank? How can I improve on this budget? Would downsizing to a smaller tank help me to spend less than $100?
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:50 PM   #2
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I recommend a Clamp Lamps and a 13 Watt Coil Bulb with at least 5000K. That is about $15 all together. You can also do Miracle Gro Organic Potting Soil with Play Sand or Petco Black Sand, which is about $15. That saves you about 20 to 30 dollars. More to go on plants or to go on the heater. :P

And being a shrimp only tank. You can get away with just a Sponge Filter. The Aquaclear might be to powerful.

The Substrate says for Reef and Marine Set ups.
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:51 PM   #3
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If you're going for a small, cheap, on your desk tank, why not look into a kit or all-in-one system. A fluval ebi can be had for $88.00 with free shipping from amazon. That comes with lights, filter, substrate, I believe water conditioner, and the tank itself, and was designed for shrimp. They're quite popular.

Instead of mopani would, you could always head out to the nearest creek, and pick your own driftwood.

And, particularly for cherries, a heater might not even be necessary assuming the room your keeping your tank on is fairly steadily held at somewhere in the 70's.
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:02 PM   #4
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What pooky said, just go with a kit tank, they included everything but water plants and fish or shrimp!
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:06 PM   #5
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TMS is just sand...dunno why they have that in the labeling. Ebi tanks are nice but I don't regret my 10g a bit. Can save on the sand by getting a 50lb bag of Black Diamond/PFS for around $8 vs $20. I'd go with item 302424 on Lowes for bulbs. Don't need dechlor unless you have city water. AC filters are nice...have you looked into the Marina Slims? They're quite nice as well but have the motor in-tank.
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheJadeShrimp View Post
I recommend a Clamp Lamps and a 13 Watt Coil Bulb with at least 5000K. That is about $15 all together. You can also do Miracle Gro Organic Potting Soil with Play Sand or Petco Black Sand, which is about $15....

And being a shrimp only tank. You can get away with just a Sponge Filter. The Aquaclear might be to powerful.
Thanks for the heads up on the potting soil. I didn't realize that stuff was aquarium-compatible. I'll look into that for sure.

I've been told to consider a sponge filter before, but considering I don't have airline tubing, an air pump, or the sponge filter which all together would be the same price as the AquaClear. Someone else suggested a Marina Slim, I think I'll go with that instead.

Quote:
Instead of mopani would, you could always head out to the nearest creek, and pick your own driftwood.
I'll be on the lookout for some nice driftwood in my area.

Quote:
And, particularly for cherries, a heater might not even be necessary assuming the room your keeping your tank on is fairly steadily held at somewhere in the 70's
A heater would probably be necessary for winter break when we wouldn't have the heat on as high. It can get cold in Evanston.

Quote:
Ebi tanks are nice but I don't regret my 10g a bit. Can save on the sand by getting a 50lb bag of Black Diamond/PFS for around $8 vs $20. I'd go with item 302424 on Lowes for bulbs. Don't need dechlor unless you have city water. AC filters are nice...have you looked into the Marina Slims? They're quite nice as well but have the motor in-tank.
Obtaining a 50lb bag of Black Diamond is hard without a car. There isn't a place nearby that I'd be able to get on either. If I could though is it shrimp safe? I've heard it can be too sharp.

I'm pretty sure I'd have city water? What other water would I have?

The marina slim looks awesome. I'll probably switch to that instead. Thanks for the suggestion. Also those light bulbs are exactly what I was looking for. Awesome!
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:30 PM   #7
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A small heater I prefer is the Marina c10. I've got one on my fluval spec and its been sittin at 79* with little to no fluctuation. As for water you can use water from your faucet or what others including myself use Reverse Osmosis (RO) water. Its water that's gone through a series of filters and is almost pure water.
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:35 PM   #8
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Where is evanston? If that is in Ohio you can go to Jack's aquarium and get a ten gallon with an aqueon filter for $14. You still need to buy the top and light though. Petsmart has ten gallon tanks with filter and hood for about $30. Lastly, look at Craigs list you might be able to find a complete setup for a fraction of the cost of all new equipment.

Any tank less than ten gallons costs more than a ten gallon, go figure lol. The breakage on 2.5 gallon tanks is horrible. I would recommend a 20 long as a first tank.

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Old 03-01-2012, 10:06 PM   #9
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If you are looking to go basic. You can get a 10g kit from Wal-Mart for 29.99 (tank, hood, light, filter). And replace the bulbs, with some mini daylight CFLs.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:14 PM   #10
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if your just going shrimp there are some amazing planted shrimp bowls on this site, in that case you could hit up a savers/thrift/goodwill/salvation army place, etc. for glass containers of various sizes. i use 1 gal vlasic pickle jars planted, and "filtered by an air stone to winter my paradise fish in (they spend the summer in a 65 gallon pond so i don't feel guilty). one 10 gal air pump(8.99), a gang valve(2bucks or so) air line tubing(2bucks) will run ten of them. aren't cherry shrimp hardy down to less then 60 degrees? either way there are mini heaters for like 8.99 good up to 5gals. also cvs pharmacies has these fake jellie fish tanks that the lids come off of are are like 2 to three gallon half moon tanks for ten bucks. also i'm pretty sure you could just light the thing by a desk lamp if you've got one(thrift store 5 to 10ish) lots of options for you if you think outside the glass box. lol
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klaus07 View Post
Where is evanston? If that is in Ohio you can go to Jack's aquarium and get a ten gallon with an aqueon filter for $14. You still need to buy the top and light though. Petsmart has ten gallon tanks with filter and hood for about $30. Lastly, look at Craigs list you might be able to find a complete setup for a fraction of the cost of all new equipment.

Any tank less than ten gallons costs more than a ten gallon, go figure lol. The breakage on 2.5 gallon tanks is horrible. I would recommend a 20 long as a first tank.

Klaus
Yeah I'm quickly discovering that going smaller than 10 gallons is bull because they're as expensive if not more. I won't have the space or budget for a 20 long. I wish I did though, I was looking at those at first before I realized it would cost way too much and be too big.

Evanston is in Illinois

Quote:
if your just going shrimp there are some amazing planted shrimp bowls on this site, in that case you could hit up a savers/thrift/goodwill/salvation army place, etc. for glass containers of various sizes. i use 1 gal vlasic pickle jars planted, and "filtered by an air stone to winter my paradise fish in (they spend the summer in a 65 gallon pond so i don't feel guilty). one 10 gal air pump(8.99), a gang valve(2bucks or so) air line tubing(2bucks) will run ten of them. aren't cherry shrimp hardy down to less then 60 degrees? either way there are mini heaters for like 8.99 good up to 5gals. also cvs pharmacies has these fake jellie fish tanks that the lids come off of are are like 2 to three gallon half moon tanks for ten bucks. also i'm pretty sure you could just light the thing by a desk lamp if you've got one(thrift store 5 to 10ish) lots of options for you if you think outside the glass box. lol
I'll definitely have to look at the shrimp bowls. The few I've seen do seem pretty cool. I'm wary of a smallish tanks though, they're supposedly harder to maintain.

Do you have any links to suggested air pumps and places where I can buy cheap accessories for one?
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:16 AM   #12
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your best bang for the buck would be to go the shrimp bowl route.

i just made one but it quicky became repurposed as a temp tank for new plants.

round bowl from t.j. maxx $7.99
left over EcoComplete
left over plant stems, java fern babies, water lettuce, java moss
1 bumble bee shrimp $3.00
florescent desk lamp $39 from amazon.
3 mts snails from fellow forum members

the bowl is so densely populated that i see the bumble bee shrimp walking through the maze of moss and plants every so often, grazing and what not.

There's no filtration, no heater and my bowl gets light from 8am-9pm (or until i go to bed)

20% water change every week. that's about it really. hope this helps in your decision. Its pretty cool seeing the single shrimp working through the tank and look forward to adding a few cherries eventually.

good luck!
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acitydweller View Post
your best bang for the buck would be to go the shrimp bowl route.

i just made one but it quicky became repurposed as a temp tank for new plants.

round bowl from t.j. maxx $7.99
left over EcoComplete
left over plant stems, java fern babies, water lettuce, java moss
1 bumble bee shrimp $3.00
florescent desk lamp $39 from amazon.
3 mts snails from fellow forum members

the bowl is so densely populated that i see the bumble bee shrimp walking through the maze of moss and plants every so often, grazing and what not.

There's no filtration, no heater and my bowl gets light from 8am-9pm (or until i go to bed)

20% water change every week. that's about it really. hope this helps in your decision. Its pretty cool seeing the single shrimp working through the tank and look forward to adding a few cherries eventually.

good luck!
Do you feed them anything?

how did you cycle that?
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:23 AM   #14
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buy your plants and shrimp from the swap and shop. you will get better quality stuff, and more for your money.
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:50 AM   #15
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Also if you do go the bowl route there are hydor heaters that are flat and ruber that can go under the substrate since winters do get cold in IL. (although not this year) they only run about $10 at petco. The organic soil and cheap black Petco sand $5 will be an awesome substrate for any plant you wish to grow.

10 gallon tanks are super cheap and kits make them even cheaper. Although maybe a little more expensive you can get fairly nice 2-3 gallon tanks at meier around here (expensive means $30-40) but they look a bit better than a 10 gallon tank and come with a cover and basic filter. Nice cube type size for a desk and no seams. So here is what you can shoot for:

Heater $10
Tank/filter $40
Sand $5
Soil $10 ask and maybe someone can donate the ziploc bag worth of it, I know I could spare it)
Dessk lamp $20 or less depending on source
Bulb $3-5

All in all under $100 and that is estimating on the high side. Also your desk lamp could double for your light so that is a little less on the budget and Ikea has some neat ones on a budget. I use floor lamps that were $15!!! At Ikea.

Timer you know, surge strip of some cheap kind... Hmmm all kinds of things to add but all in all very doable.

YMMV of course. Good luck!

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