I've never been very big on writing anything resembling an in-depth review, but this thing really impressed me.
I spent the better part of the day not working while at work. I was looking at reviews for every nano sized tank I could find that would fit on my desk at home and had decided on the Marineland Contour 3 gallon. The store I went to was sold out of it, but they did have the Petco preferred branded Cubic 3.7g. This tank is not listed on their website so I was a bit surprised when I saw it sitting on the self. It looks like a great little tank. The price was only $50. They had two in stock. I brain-farted and didn't open the box while in the store and when I got home I discovered the entire bottom piece of glass was shattered. But after a quick trip back to the store I was able to exchange it with no problem.
It is all glass. The front and side panels are one piece of curved glass. The glass is 3/16" thick. All of the joints are sealed with black silicone. Overall, the tank is 9 7/8" x 9 7/8" x 9 7/8". The actual usable tank area is 7 1/2" x 9 3/8" x 9 1/2. It sits on a plastic pedestal that is glued to the bottom of the tank. It does come with a glass lid. The instruction leaflet that was in the box showed plastic hinges for the glass lid, but they were not in the box which I honestly dont care about since I probably wouldn't use them anyway. There is enough of a gap with the lid in place in the back for power cords for the pump and a heater and also an air line.
It has a 3 watt Led light that has blue and white leds. It is plastic and does not feel like it is built to last. It can swivel to either side and also be tilted up. It does have an interesting way of turning it on and off. It is not an actual button or switch, but instead a spot on the top of the light that each time you touch and it will cycle through off, blue, blue + white, or white. It does seem to remember where it was if the power supply is unplugged so I'm guessing a no frills wall outlet plug-in timer should work. I am also willing to bet that the circuitry for the touch button (for lack of a better term) is extremely cheaply designed and will fail.
The light is to say the least, not bright. I'm sure it would be just fine if the only thing alive in the tank were fish, but for plants...not so much. I did notice that the power supply is rated for 12 volts, 1.0 amp so I'm thinking there is at least some room for modifying it by replacing the leds with higher output ones.
The back of the tank has what looks like a very well designed filter/pump compartment. They seem to have done a good job to make sure the water flows through evenly. There is a piece of black plastic glued in place separating it from the main part of the tank. It has three compartments for filter cartridges, a black plastic sponge, and a removable (replaceable) pump. They are all 2 1/2" wide, and then 3 1/2", 2 7/8", and 3 3/8" long. The filter cartridges sit one behind the other. The compartment that houses the pump is plenty big enough to add a heater. The picture shows an extra Aqueon 100 watt heater I have. I'm not planning on using it, it's just there to help show how much room there is. I though it was odd that even though they used a piece plastic to separate the main tank area from the filter area, they used glass to separate the three filter compartments. It seems like that would have been a golden opportunity to cheap-out and just use more plastic.
The water enters through two places (green in the picture). The primary area is a series of slots that are at top at the water line. There is also a single small slot towards the bottom at the substrate level. The slots are about 1/8" wide, so I'm thinking they are probably not very shrimp or fry friendly.
It has two filter cartridges, one with carbon and the other little ceramic balls. It also has a pretty good sized plastic sponge. I think I will probably just ditched both of the cartridges and replace them with a single bag of ceramic rings.
The sticker on the pump says it is rated for 40 gallons per hour and the flow rate is adjustable. It also has four little suction cups on the bottom of it to hold it in place. I filled the tank up to see if it leaked and clean it out and to make sure everything worked correctly. Once the pump was pluged in, it did a really good job of circulating all cardboard box lint they included for free. That was definitely the one thing they seemed to have spared no expense on. I think they put extra lint in the box just for me. I was really impressed that even though there it did not have what I would call a strong current in the tank, everything was moving around quite well. There didn't appear to be any dead spots either in the main tank area or the filter area. The stuff that was floating on the surface was also being drawn into the filter area quite well. The pump is small, 1 5/8" x 1 1/4" x 1 3/4". But, I'm not quite sure if I would label it as quite. I definitely would not say it's loud or noisy. It just seems like something that size shouldn't be as audible as it is. I don't know, maybe it just needs a break in period.
Even though I have not had it long enough to keep anything alive in it yet, I would say this was a good purchase for me. In spite of the black piece of piece of plastic they used to separate the two areas of the tank and the filter cartridges that I'm not going to use, would end up costing way to much for replacements, it appears to be very well made. The glass is not low iron, but it is very clear. There are no cracks or chips [or gaping holes in this one]. It also looks like somebody who actually likes their job and wasn't in a hurry applied the silicone. It is in the joints evenly, and ONLY in the joints. For only $50 I think this is a good deal.
Like I said at the beginning, I've never been very big on writing anything resembling an in-depth review, so that's all I have to say about it.