"Aqua Culture" tank Vs. LPS?
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:06 PM   #1
BladeX
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"Aqua Culture" tank Vs. LPS?


Hey everyone!

I've been reading this website and forum for awhile now but haven't had a need to post a question until now. I used to have a tank setup but had to get rid of it for a variety of reasons. Anyway, I'm getting the itch again and want to start really small with one at my desk at work. Do to desk space availability I'm limited to a 5 gallon (so I'm thinking: low light, no CO2 and giving a betta a better home then one of those lousy cups they live in at the store) which finally gets to my dilemma.

As you all know this hobby can be quite expensive. This is compounded by the fact that I live in a smaller city in Ontario, Canada with One local fish store which is the only place that sells plants ($14.99 for an Anubias!) and other pet stores which at least have clean tanks. I'm also really strapped for cash right now. So looking at tanks to get quickly setup I have the following options:

Wal-Mart:

They have a 5 gallon glass kit called an "Aqua Culture" that comes with filter, hood, light, etc. for 34 bucks.

Pros:
-Inexpensive
-All the reviews say the tank is sturdy and doesn't leak
-The filter is a HOB apparently made by Marineland (although not a biowheel)
-The filter apparently can be rigged to run as a Bio-wheel (see cons).
-The amount I save can go to substrate, plants, etc.

Cons:
-The light canopy in the hood seems to get mixed reviews and I need this due again to the cramped space, I can't start hanging lights or my boss will kill me!
-The filter also gets mixed reviews. Some say it does a great job, others say it sucks. Others say it's fine but it does a horrible bio-filtering job so to rig it as a bio-wheel since it's incredibly easy to do.
-IF the filter does suck then I have to buy another one which negates the cost advantage.

Local Pet Store:

One of the local pet stores near me caries starter kits as well. 5 Gallon glass kit comes in at 59 dollars.

PROS:
-The tank is either an All-Glass Aquarium or Hagen, I can't recall.
-The filter is an AquaClear 20.
-The hood seems to be better constructed then the Wal-Mart one.

CONS:
-As stated in the Wal-Mart section, the extra cash for this tank could be used to get other things for the tank

I'm currently following the rule of "you get what you pay for" and leaning towards the more expensive kit as they're all brands I recognize and I'm going to have to buy a heater (none included in either kit from what I saw) and replace the lightbulb in both kits anyway.

So my question to you: Would you save the money and go with the Wal-Mart kit? OR Do you think I should go with my gut as the cheaper cost now will probably result in further trouble/costs down the road?

If anyone actually has any experience with the Wal-Mart tank and wishes to chime in, go ahead!

EDIT: I've also checked for local used products and there isn't anything for the size I'm looking for.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:22 PM   #2
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Personally I'd find a bare 5g AGA or Hagen as you speak of and buy the filter (an AC 20 as mentioned would be good) separately.
You could de-rim the tank, clean up the silicone and use a desk lamp with a spiral fluorescent bulb or similar for lighting.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:29 PM   #3
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@jinx: That is another good option and the pet store has a bare 5 gallon. The tank, filter and lamp would probably equal the cost of the Wal-Mart setup. If I were to go with a betta would I not need a glass hood at the very least? I've read they can be quite the jumpers.

Now that I think about it I think the kits are AGA and the bare tanks are Hagen.. Which doesn't make much sense to me since Aqueon makes their own filter and kits including their own filter, yet the kits come with an AquaClear.

Last edited by Gatekeeper; 02-23-2009 at 05:13 PM.. Reason: Removed comment
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:41 PM   #4
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How interested are you in this being a project? I think you have the kits pretty much nailed down. They are fine, but nothing great. If you stay with the hobby, you will end up replacing each piece of that kit.

But I would skip the kit altogether. Get a 5 gallon tank, a heater, an airpump, and a sponge filter. I'd get a glass lid if you can swing it too. Put it near a window to get some sunlight.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:00 PM   #5
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Well this was just going to be a small project for my desk at work which is unfortunately nowhere near a window and is such a small space that even if I'm tempted to upgrade I wouldn't have the space to do so! I figured a small planted tank at my desk would look much nicer then one of those silly little betta tanks that shouldn't have a fish in it to begin with.

At home I'm planning on getting a nicer setup as I miss the tank we got rid of due to a combination of not having the time to look after the tank (new/first baby, bought a house and all the work that needed to be done with it), not having the money/time to build or buy a better stand as it was on a cheap metal stand that due to the age of the house if you walked within a 10 foot radius would cause strong vibrations which stressed the fish.

I just figured this cheap setup would keep me happy until I can afford to get what I want at home!

Thanks for the help so far guys!
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:00 PM   #6
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Something like this, http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...0&pcatid=18990, would be what I think I would want. You should be able to run this tank as a low light, non-CO2 tank, and have it look very good, with a good-for-aquascaping footprint too. If your office temperature stays constant 24 hours a day you might want to consider lower temperature fish - white cloud mountain fish, for example - and no ugly heater in the tank. Peppered cory catfish could be the clean-up crew.
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:47 PM   #7
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That would look nice on my desk! Unfortunately nowhere around here has that model, so I'd have to contact the website to see how much shipping would be. Closest I've found around here would be an Eclipse 6 @ $89.99. At that rate I might as well go for the glass aquarium kit.

The temperature is constant except in the summer time. It gets hot and humid here so they have the AC running in the summer and it's freezing! I would agree that the heater would look ugly in the tank, I just don't know with the AC if the water temp would fluctuate.
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:49 AM   #8
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My wife has one of these:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...48&pcatid=3848
on her desk with a 50W stealth heater next to the intake of the filter. It works pretty good for some low light plants and a betta with no additional upgrades.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:05 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the help! I think I'll end up with the five gallon LPS kit as it seems the most bang for my buck. I found the nice looking tetra tank but it is more then the five gallon kit and the Eclipse 3 is as much as the Tetra 5 around here.
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