New/used tank opinion ?

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algeaverse

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As i posted in my introduction thread i'm rejoining the fish keeping community. My plan is to purchase either a new 55 or 75 gal aquarium as they both have a similar foot print, however after some research I now understand that a stable cycled is imperative for a successful fish community.
So recently ive found a complete used ( 7 years old ) 90 gallon set up. It's a planted tank with a few dozen plants of different varieties, with a few dozen live bearing & clean up fish & approximately 120lbs of substrate. Much of the equipment (filters & lighting ) has been updated with some spares.
My question to the experienced community is .... any advantages /disadvantages with a 90/ 75 gal ?... would it be beneficial start off with a used cycled & stabilized tank or start fresh with a new set up from my local fish store ?
FYI financially it makes no real difference to me, tho everyone like to save a few $$

thanks in advance
 
Advantages of a used/ secondhand aquarium.
They are normally cheaper than new.

They usually has everything you need but not always, and sometimes you have a heap of extra stuff that isn't needed.

pro & con - usually has a community of fishes that may or may not get along with each other.
The fish might not be suited to your water.

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Drawbacks to a secondhand aquarium.

The silicon (glue that holds the glass together) could be failing. To check this look for cream or white silicon, or air bubbles in the silicon. If you touch the silicon with your finger, it should be firm but slightly squishy. If the silicon is hard and not squishy at all (and or it's brittle) then it's stuffed and needs replacing.

The glass could be scratched, chipped or cracked.

The stand could be falling apart. This is more common with stands bought as part of a kit and they are usually made of laminated chipboard (particle board) or MDF. These types of wood swell up and fall apart when they get wet and most don't last more than 5 years.

If the stand was built by someone and is made from decent timber or steel, then it should be ok but check for rot (soft damp wood, quite often it will be black in colour). Check the stand to see if it wobbles and whether it has screws, nails, staples or bolts holding it together. Nails and staples aren't the best thing to hold timber together, bolts or screws are better.

If the stand is metal, check it for rust and check the welds, assuming they haven't been painted over.

The fish could have a disease that is killing them and the owner has had enough. Diseases can also come from pet shops so it just luck of the draw. Normally if the tank has been set up for a while and no new fish have been added in the last month, they should be relatively free of diseases. However, fish can carry things like intestinal worms, gill flukes or Fish TB and not show any signs for a very long time (this also applies to fish from a pet shop).

There might be fish that are not suited to aquariums. The larger species of sucker mouth catfish are regularly bought as small algae eaters but end up growing 18 inches long or more.

Secondhand tanks that are set up, have to be drained, cleaned and moved. this means you have to have the fish in buckets for hours while you take the tank apart, clean it, move it and set it back up. If the owner of the tank does a complete gravel clean and water change a day or two before you get it, that does help, as does cleaning the filter a few days before you pick it up. But most people don't do this and you simply get the dirty gravel along with a dirty filter and tank, and have to deal with it all in one day. It's a lot more work but can be done.

If you are getting a new or secondhand aquarium, try to get something that is long and wide and not necessarily really high.
eg: 4 foot long x 18 inches wide x 18 inches high
4ft long x 24 inches wide x 24 inch high

Try to avoid aquariums that are taller (higher) than 2 feet (eg 30 inches high). These require much thicker glass and weigh a lot more, and are more difficult to clean.
 
I agree with Colin. It's going to be heavily dependent on what the setup actually looks like, what livestock is in the tank, the history of the fish and tank itself, any potential diseases, etc. You want to investigate why the person is selling their tank.

What species of fish are included in this setup? Do you have any pictures of the fish and/or tank that you could share with us?

Most importantly, are these fish ones that you would want to keep? If they're species that are appropriate for the tank size and you really like them, then that's one thing, but there's a reason that there aren't many serious hobbyists who buy tanks that are already set up and fully stocked. Most people are more attached to tanks that they've set up themselves. Especially if you're just starting out, I imagine you'd want to do some of your own research, find species you like, and come up with your own tank plan. Fish aside, you may end up deciding that you really hate the filter, or light, or heater, or any other piece of equipment and will want to replace them. Or you decide you'd prefer a different substrate or plants. Instead of making big changes to an existing tank, it's most likely going to be easier, cheaper, and more rewarding to set everything up yourself.

I would recommend looking for JUST a tank. Empty, no plants, no substrate, no fish. Just the tank. If you're lucky, you can find people selling them in good condition for very cheap. I've been able to find basically new tanks—still with the stickers on and everything—for $1/gallon (USD). As Colin mentioned, just make sure to check the silicone seals. Ask the seller the last time it was filled with water, or if it has ever been filled. Some people will sell aquariums that they used for reptiles or rodents, so they often have no idea if it even holds water. Make sure it's not a terrarium. Actual aquariums (not terrariums) that were used for reptiles are generally okay if they're cleaned really well, but rodents often chew the silicone.
 
All I can offer is that you are looking at larger tanks, so you have to be certain of quality. I have a lot of 20 gallons over 20 years old, but when a 55 or up ages, I watch it more closely.

90 or 75? It depends on your goals. A 90 and 75 with the same footprint will obviously have depth differences. How deep you want the tank depends on how long your arms are for reaching the bottom. I have long ape arms that are bad for buying shirts but great for deeper aquariums. It matters.

Plus buying a tank with fish is very limiting. You buy the tank for fish. What would be perfect for one species or community can be useless for another. Some fish need shallow water, some don't. So aquarium shape goes hand in hand with interests.

I've known a lot of Toronto aquarists and they've all complained about their hard water. That may give you info...
 
Thanks to all for your comments, they were enlightening to say the least as are many aspects of the process i did not consider .
So I've decided to proceed with a new aquarium & accessories.

So now comes the decision of 75 or 90 gallon tank ...as i'm sure your aware both are 4 foot tanks with the 90 gallon being 3 inches taller over the 75 ... pros / cons ?

also to my knowledge my local tank choices are as follows .. Aqueon, Top Fin & Marineland .. any manufactures I should stay away from ? ... or all basically similar

thanks again

mike
 
What are the tank dimensions (length x width x height)?

Topfin do crappy filters.
Fluval, Eheim and AquaClear do good filters.

Rena did good heaters years ago but not sure what heaters are good nowadays.

Fluval 3.0 LED plant light is the best light unit for aquatic plants.

Go to a few pet shops and make a list of fish you like. Post it here and we can go from there. Some fish like lots of water movement and can have a bigger filter, others prefer less water movement and a small filter is better for them.

--------------------

What is the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website (Water Analysis Report) or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

Depending on what the GH of your water is, will determine what fish you should keep.

Angelfish, discus, most tetras, most barbs, Bettas, gouramis, rasbora, Corydoras and small species of suckermouth catfish all occur in soft water (GH below 150ppm) and a pH below 7.0.

Livebearers (guppies, platies, swordtails, mollies), rainbowfish and goldfish occur in medium hard water with a GH around 200-250ppm and a pH above 7.0.

If you have very hard water (GH above 300ppm) then look at African Rift Lake cichlids, or use distilled or reverse osmosis water to reduce the GH and keep fishes from softer water.
 
You can save yourself a ton of money buying used as far as tanks and stands go. I would hesitate to buy anything new because the money you save on a tank and stand can be used to buy the rest of your equipment. You may have to go and see a few different used tanks before you finally settle on one because pics can be misleading..

90 gallon like Colin said in most cases is gonna be more of a show tank. Taller and more difficult to reach the bottom when doing maintenance, planting, grabbing miscellaneous items etc etc. Long set of quality tweezers and a longer tube on the end of your siphon can help accommodate most issues relatively easy though. I personally like show tanks for a main display piece because you can create more of a diverse fish universe, top/mid/bottom dwellers. More gallons also makes it easier to maintain water parameters.

Many solid options for filtration, sponges/hob/cannister/bio-media reactors etc etc..I also like what Colin listed for hob's but I'd like to also add the Tidal series by seachem. The removable tray makes cleaning a breeze, sicce pump is super nice and it comes with matrix in the box. You can add anything you like to use for filtration as well and the water flow is adjustable. They're really nice

Heaters are also something to be taken seriously. Ever come home to dinner that you didn't mean to cook? It sucks. Last few years I've been using Fluval E-Series heaters and they've performed well. Haven't had one fail yet. I just replaced 6 of them about a month ago. I've been told by numerous fish friends that rule of thumb on heaters nowadays is to replace them once a year. These heaters I've been replacing every 2 years without a problem so far fingers crossed. I use the older ones to heat my RO water tanks. Only complaint I've seen on these heaters are they don't work because of user error. These heaters need to be leaned at a 45º angle with water flow passing around it to work optimally. I have a certified temp gauge and the temp is always within 1 degree of accuracy.

Don't skimp on an airpump either they're not all created equal.
 
I agree with Colin. It's going to be heavily dependent on what the setup actually looks like, what livestock is in the tank, the history of the fish and tank itself, any potential diseases, etc. You want to investigate why the person is selling their tank.

What species of fish are included in this setup? Do you have any pictures of the fish and/or tank that you could share with us?
i'll do my best to answer all questions

here is the link to the used tank set-up i was considering .....

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1681002082

as for what fish i'm interested in keeping , i'm really not 100% sure at this time , however I find myself constantly viewing & reading about Lake Tanganyika Cichlids, so they're definitely on the list along with the mischievous clown loach.. lol

I recently purchased a GH/KH test kit... after following the directions I obtained these results as per the API chart : 107.4 ppm/KH & 179ppm/GH .. I performed each test twice consecutively with identical results. according the API chart i'll need to lower the KH&GH levels for cichlids -> any pro tips on achieving lower levels ?

For filtration I'm leaning heavily towards the Tidal 75 or 110 tank dependant because of the simple design and having the pump inside the aquarium would provide a more reliable restart after a power failure as my wife & I often do weekend trips throughout the summer months

For heating my tank my local shop has several lines of heaters available, Eheim heaters seem to be in the forfront & they have two models available for each wattage rating, i'm not sure what the differences are yet.

as for an air pump, I really wasn't considering adding bubbles to the tank, rather going with an agressive filtration & a wave maker .. thoughts ?

cheers

mike



 
Lake Tanganyika is a Rift lake in Africa and the water in it has a GH around 350-450ppm and a pH around 8.5. Some of the fish from there are stunning and people often keep them as a freshwater version of a marine tank because the colours and rock are similar. If the GH of your water is 180ppm you will need to add a Rift Lake water conditioner to increase the GH, KH and pH of the water to make it suitable for Lake Tanganyikan cichlids.

The water is fine for central American cichlids and a bit hard for South American cichlids, however if they are captive bred it's not too bad for them. But wild caught South American cichlids do best in water with a GH below 100ppm and many need it below 50ppm.

If you want to make it softer, you simply mix rain water, distilled water or reverse osmosis water with the tap water to lower the GH, KH and pH. However, a GH of 180ppm is not bad for a lot of fishes. It is at the higher end for tetras, barbs, rasboras, angelfish, Corydoras and loaches, but still ok for them. It's at the bottom end for common livebearers like guppies, platies and swordtails. Mollies need harder water (GH around 250ppm+).

-----------

Clown loaches get big and can reach 12 inches long. They live in groups (minimum number is 6 and 10+ is better) and need huge tanks (8 foot plus in length). Clown loaches are not a good aquarium fish when mature, although they are slow growing but you still need a huge tank for them.

-----------

You don't need a wave maker in a freshwater tank.

Filter wise you need to work out what sort of fish you want and get the filter to suit them. If you buy a huge filter it will be fine for Rift Lake cichlids, barbs, rainbowfish and most loaches, but it won't be good for tetras, rasboras, angelfish and various other fishes that like calm water.

-----------

The tank in the link has an AquaClear HOB filter, which is one of the better filters around. My concern with the tank is the silicon, it appears white and that is a bad sign. I can't be 100% certain due to the pictures and would need better pictures and to feel the silicon, but it appears to be white and that is never good. If you could get more pictures of the tank and have them show the silicon on all sides, that would provide a lot more information.
 
Lake Tanganyika is a Rift lake in Africa and the water in it has a GH around 350-450ppm and a pH around 8.5. Some of the fish from there are stunning and people often keep them as a freshwater version of a marine tank because the colours and rock are similar. If the GH of your water is 180ppm you will need to add a Rift Lake water conditioner to increase the GH, KH and pH of the water to make it suitable for Lake Tanganyikan cichlids.

The water is fine for central American cichlids and a bit hard for South American cichlids, however if they are captive bred it's not too bad for them. But wild caught South American cichlids do best in water with a GH below 100ppm and many need it below 50ppm.

If you want to make it softer, you simply mix rain water, distilled water or reverse osmosis water with the tap water to lower the GH, KH and pH. However, a GH of 180ppm is not bad for a lot of fishes. It is at the higher end for tetras, barbs, rasboras, angelfish, Corydoras and loaches, but still ok for them. It's at the bottom end for common livebearers like guppies, platies and swordtails. Mollies need harder water (GH around 250ppm+).

-----------

Clown loaches get big and can reach 12 inches long. They live in groups (minimum number is 6 and 10+ is better) and need huge tanks (8 foot plus in length). Clown loaches are not a good aquarium fish when mature, although they are slow growing but you still need a huge tank for them.

-----------

You don't need a wave maker in a freshwater tank.

Filter wise you need to work out what sort of fish you want and get the filter to suit them. If you buy a huge filter it will be fine for Rift Lake cichlids, barbs, rainbowfish and most loaches, but it won't be good for tetras, rasboras, angelfish and various other fishes that like calm water.

-----------

The tank in the link has an AquaClear HOB filter, which is one of the better filters around. My concern with the tank is the silicon, it appears white and that is a bad sign. I can't be 100% certain due to the pictures and would need better pictures and to feel the silicon, but it appears to be white and that is never good. If you could get more pictures of the tank and have them show the silicon on all sides, that would provide a lot more information.
WOW !
so much insight, thank you Colin T. ...haha this is starting to get complicated, however i do like a challenge

I picked up materials to construct a stand for 75gal & most likely get at it sometime this week, will provide a couple of pics as I progress

cheers

mike
 
For completion, one thing Colin didn't mention about cichlids. He covered central and south American cichlids and African Rift Lake cichlids but not other African cichlids. It's only cichlids form the east African lakes (Malawi and Tanganyika in the hobby) which have hard water. Cichlids from rivers and other lakes need soft water. So fish such as kribs need soft water.

When talking cichlids we need to know where they originated.
 
I see you're from Toronto... if you are looking for Tanganyikans, there's a store near the airport that gives good advice and has really good fish. They really impressed me, though the hard Toronto water meant their fish didn't interest me as ones to buy. I think it may have been on Dixon road, if that exists, and may have been called Finatics. I'm a 15 hour drive from there, so I didn't invest much attention in them except to be impressed with that they had, and what they could get.
I used live closer and would sometimes drop off boxes at GTA stores for a wholesaler friend, when I was visiting for other reasons. For Cichlids, that one was world class.
 
I see you're from Toronto... if you are looking for Tanganyikans, there's a store near the airport that gives good advice and has really good fish. They really impressed me, though the hard Toronto water meant their fish didn't interest me as ones to buy. I think it may have been on Dixon road, if that exists, and may have been called Finatics. I'm a 15 hour drive from there, so I didn't invest much attention in them except to be impressed with that they had, and what they could get.
I used live closer and would sometimes drop off boxes at GTA stores for a wholesaler friend, when I was visiting for other reasons. For Cichlids, that one was world class.

Hey thanks for the heads up ! ... i googled Finatics Aquarium and they're on Dixie rd which is close to Pearson International airport, they're website looks amazing, i will definitely check them out soon, i'll post a brief review afterwards.

cheers
 
The tanks I have are used and new. I really don't mind to use used tanks. But I will always check the tank first on any leakages. For you can never be too sure with used tanks.
 
Hi all,
new tank is sitting on its stand, ( should I post a pic ? ) i'll be adding the substrate, water, heater(s), filter & etc I have a couple of questions.

1)- the tank is 48x18x24, should i be considering using 1 or 2 heaters & appropriate wattage ? ... 4-5 watts per gallon ?

2)- ive read some people using "pool filer sand" as the substrate, is there an advantage ?

3)- since i'm considering Cichlids, should i use crushed coral as my substrate ?

4)- our water here has both chlorine and chloramine in it, my local fish shop has recommended a couple of dechlorinator products, will a dechlorinator remove the benaficial bacterie ?

5)- for cycling process , i'm planning to start with Dr Tims Ammonium Chloride to get the process started, reviews on line are pretty good, thoughts - opinions ?

cheers

mike
 

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