Price advice - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-08-2014, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Price advice

Would anyone be willing to offer his / her perspective on prices for basic equipment, new and used?
I'm thinking of aquariums in the 55-90 gal range, and accompanying stands, both new and used, as well as any basic equipment.
Or maybe you know of a good web site with consistently low prices, or a good way to compare different sites?
With stores and online, I feel like I'm always comparing apples to oranges. . . I don't need anything fancy or cutting-edge, just solid basics at an affordable price.
Any advice or suggestions appreciated!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-08-2014, 11:54 PM
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Craigslist will always be your best bet for used equipment. Depending on how long you wait and stalk the site you can usually find tank/stand/filter combinations for around $100-200 for tanks 55-90 gallons. Depending on quality of these things, New prices could range anywhere from 300 up to who knows? An awesome filter for a 90 gallon could cost 300 on its own.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 12:04 AM
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There is a lot of equipment and supplies available on line, but you must factor in shipping. There may or may not be good stores near you. Often there are stores SOMEwhere, but it means a longer trip. Obviously, shopping around by phone, then planning a trip that covers several stores, and knocks out a big part of the shopping list would play a big part in finding reasonable prices.
Acronym for this: FAFS= Far Away Fish Store: So good it is worth the trip.

I have purchased things from Drs Foster and Smith, Big Als, and have found both places to have reasonable pricing and prompt shipping. I have bought things as big as a canister filter from them. (Don't remember which). Shopping at Amazon or E-Bay may be more of a risk, but if you know the make and model number, and what it is supposed to come with, you might find some really good deals.

For fish food:
Best prices for most foods, fast shipping, nice guy to do business with.

For fertilizer: www,

For heavier things, though, I shop locally.

Around here used products are half or less of their original price. Depends on the quality. If you are looking at used tanks, make sure the seller is willing to fill it so you can see that it does not leak. Electrical things (filter, power head, heater, light) should be proven to work. Lights will be assumed to have old bulbs unless the seller can prove it. NIB (New, In Box) is a good thing, but even here, the price is usually less than in the store, though not by much.
I have bought things off Craig's List.

Here is how I compare different on-line stores:
1) Make a list of what I need, including sizes, for example quarter pound of fish food, not 2 pounds. Have some notes about priority and urgency.
2) Make 2 (or more) columns after that list, and make notes about each store. Price per pound for food (what is the difference between the 4 oz package and the 5 ounce? Both are close enough to the 'quarter pound' that is my target), price per dose or per gallon treated for water treatment products and any other way that you have to compare apples to apples.

If one store has a pint of dechlor that treats 900 gallons for 15.00 and another has a pint of dechlor that treats 8000 gallons for 15.00, then I would want to buy the second one. This sort of thing would be a deal killer: There is no way I would pay 10 times what I need to for dechlor. I would only shop where I could buy the cheaper product.
But if dechlor is low on my list (I may still have enough to last) and some other thing is more important I might end up shopping at the other store.

3) Actually start putting things in the cart.
4) Go to the shipping section. I find several sites have a button for 'estimate shipping', so I will use that.
5) DO NOT give them credit info until you know the bottom line. If that will not work, do not shop there.

Heavy equipment is so costly to ship that I will look around locally, a lot, before committing to on line shopping for something so expensive. At some point I say, 'It will cost me more in gas to take my truck to... (Wherever) so I might as well order it on line.'

Then you need to worry about who will be home to receive the package, if things are perishable, and similar concerns.

I have not found on-line coupons to be very helpful.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 12:07 AM
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actually givin that your in Ohio, you should be able to pick up a half decent 55 gal. with stand and who knows what all you get (depending on what the person used it for) you should be able to pick up alot (if your patient and look with the thought you can get better if you wait) for about $200 to 300 and that should have a decent canister filter with it. I live on the east side of Pa. but I do look on craigs list alot and all over the states nearest me. It seems like the 55 gal. always sell the cheapest as far as a larger tank goes and usually you get your hands on some good equipment so your not breaking the bank. Also try looking on evil bay as you can come across some good buys with-in a reasonable distance to pick-up. Check with your local pet stores (the mom and pops), some times they have or know of a good buy on stuff and usually are willing to pitch in (if you use them, make sure you give them business in return).

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 09:30 PM
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As far as stands go, if DIY is at all an option, I'd strongly suggest building your own. Even if you don't have a lot of skills/practice, all it takes is some time, the tools, and the understanding you might waste a couple 2x4s.

You can fairly easily make a stand that suits your needs, is incredibly strong, and costs much less then what's commercially available.

For bigger tanks, it's definitely worth looking into some of the alternative substrates, like SafeTSorb, Turface, blasting grit, pool filter sand, etc.

Also look and see if there are any sorts of aquarium clubs/societies in your area - sometimes they have auctions and such, and you can get hardware and livestock for much less then what it costs new/retail.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-10-2014, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, everyone, for the helpful replies! I always like reading about what others are thinking. . .
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 12:53 AM
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I feel used tanks are fair market from 25 to 50 cents per gallon. Up to 55g then 75 cents to a $1 per gallon to 135 all depending on condition. If you don't or can not see it filled walk away.

Used equipment seldom is a good idea unless it's free.
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