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I've had aquariums for the past 15 years and have been heavily invested in saltwater reefs for the last 5 years. I've never had a serious planted tank and am considering an office nano. One thing I've learned is buy the right thing FIRST (or what you really want) even if you have to wait and save a little longer.

I'm looking at the ADA nanos and damn they look great but are pricey. What am I really paying for? Quality? Style? Brand Name? All of the above? I'm sold on the tanks but lights and lily pipes are amazingly expensive. Are there any alternative brands that look as good?

Bottom line: Is ADA worth it?
 

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ADA tanks have super clear glass, as well as beveled edges that give it a nice look and feel. So basically you're paying for that...and the ADA sticker:hihi: You can find other lights and filter pipes for a fraction of ADA prices, just look around:)

If you're looking for ADA-style tanks, Green Leaf Aquariums will be selling rimless tanks in the near future for considerably less than ADA ones.
 

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I'm looking at the ADA nanos and damn they look great but are pricey. What am I really paying for? Quality? Style? Brand Name? All of the above? I'm sold on the tanks but lights and lily pipes are amazingly expensive. Are there any alternative brands that look as good?

Bottom line: Is ADA worth it?
All of the above is what you're paying for. Quality, Style, Name Brand, great silicone work.

I would say if you're setting up a nano that you plan on having a nice aquascape in they're worth it. Personally I haven't bought any new tanks in recent years but when I do buy a nano for college or whatever it will be ADA.

Options for lilly pipes and lighting are numerous though. Lots of groups make similar styles.

-Andrew
 

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Part of the price is for the brand name, but the quality really is different from your standard AGA tanks. Honestly, I will agree that most everything else IS overpriced, but not by much more than other products that would be close in quality. If you don't want to spend the money for pipes and the lights, you could check out Cal Aqua pipes (available at GreenLeafAquariums.com). Many people use those alongside their ADA tanks, and they work well together. As far as lights for a nano, nothings going to mesh as well with a Mini-S or Mini-M as their respective Solar Mini, but a pair of Ott-Lites (search Google I don't know where these are carried) will do the job well, along with looking pretty nice. Another suggestion is the much used 27W Hampton Bay Desk Lamp, which has also been called the "Nano Light" or my favorite, the "Robocop Light". IMO it doesn't go as well with the tank as the others, but its only $22 and is available at Home Depot (it's not listed on their website)
As far as all the other aspects of the tank I'd say defiantly get Aquasoil as your substrate, IMO its the best out there. The ADA Co2 is a little overkill, you can put together a great system with a larger cylinder for around $150, maybe even less if you find the right deals.

To sum it up, there are alternatives, like Cal Aqua and Ott-Lite for the really pricey stuff, Aquasoil will be the best bang for your buck, and building your own Co2 will probably be the cheapest route with the best results. But nothing beats a full ADA setup as far as looks go.
 

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I have a mixture of ADA/Cal-Aqua products. I have the ADA tank and had an ADA diffuser but ended up trading it in for a Cal-Aqua one that met my needs better. I also have Cal-Aqua pipes and they seem pretty high quality, at least to me. I like the mix and match approach myself as some things just aren't worth the extra cost just to have the ADA name of them.
 

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You're paying for the ADA sticker.

My ADA lily pipes actually broke after 1 cleaning.. I've been buying AquaMagic or whatever off brand lily pipes because it seems they break everytime I clean them..
There's a guy on here that makes plastic ones also.. been trying to get him to make me a spray bar GRR\
I have 2 ADA tanks with ADA equip and 3 other similar style tanks.. they all look good.. It's the style that makes them attractive!! but you're generally paying for the sticker
 
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