How I saved $100's setting up my aquarium

SmallFishBlueFish

Hey there,

I just wanted to share what I've noticed while setting up my 75-gallon aquarium and how it's saved me hundreds. I'm sure most of you seasoned veterans of the trade will find this post silly but maybe to a new-comer like me, this post will be able to save them some money. All it boils down to is shopping around and price matching.

Let's start with my Local Fish Store. When going there I was amazed at everything they had and thought they'd always steer me in the right direction. I was talking to an employee about substrate and they showed me the CaribSea Eco-Complete substrate that was $40 a bag. I thought that must have been a reasonable price, however I wasn't ready to purchase it. Then I looked on Amazon, PetSmart, and many other places and a bag is only $20, so I easily saved myself over $100 right there alone. After looking around I'd really only recommend your LFS for fish and plants to ensure the health of each item, buy all other items elsewhere. Another example is I got a 75-gallon aquarium and stand for $250, it was $700 for the exact same one at the LFS, albeit I got it on a Black Friday sale but even normal price it was only $500.

Now, for the big box stores. At least in the US they price match everything and the funny thing is their prices online are cheaper than in the store. I bought a heater that was listed as $50 in-store, I pulled up their website and it showed it for $20, I showed the lady at the cash register and she matched it. I did the same thing for my air pump (saved $20), filter (Marineland 350 was only $10 online so they price matched it, normally it's over $50!). Could I have just bought this online? Yes, but then you'd have to wait for delivery and sometimes it's just nicer to be instantly gratified . So next time you're in a store don't believe the price you see is the lowest it can be, take 3 minutes to pull out your phone. One more note here, even one of the guys who worked at the chain store pulled out their phone and showed me an app called "ShopSavvy", he scanned my item to double check that I had found the lowest price. Pretty awesome employee.

Lastly, online shopping. While you always want to use websites for best prices I'd say walking into your LFS or your big box stores and talking to an employee will grant you knowledge that you might not get online. Originally I made my entire setup after reading things online and ordered a decent amount of stuff. Then I made my way into stores and talked with employees and learned about different perspectives than the ones I read about on the forums or websites and even looking at products in person can make a difference. Also, when researching a heater online every one I found had at least one bad review of it exploding. Talking with people who are around aquariums all day and use a certain brand for a year or two without any issues gives me more valuable information than someone who said their heater blew up but left the part of them forgetting to unplug it before dropping water levels.

Hope this helps someone!
 

ryang85

Hey there,

I just wanted to share what I've noticed while setting up my 75-gallon aquarium and how it's saved me hundreds. I'm sure most of you seasoned veterans of the trade will find this post silly but maybe to a new-comer like me, this post will be able to save them some money. All it boils down to is shopping around and price matching.

Let's start with my Local Fish Store. When going there I was amazed at everything they had and thought they'd always steer me in the right direction. I was talking to an employee about substrate and they showed me the CaribSea Eco-Complete substrate that was $40 a bag. I thought that must have been a reasonable price, however I wasn't ready to purchase it. Then I looked on Amazon, PetSmart, and many other places and a bag is only $20, so I easily saved myself over $100 right there alone. After looking around I'd really only recommend your LFS for fish and plants to ensure the health of each item, buy all other items elsewhere. Another example is I got a 75-gallon aquarium and stand for $250, it was $700 for the exact same one at the LFS, albeit I got it on a Black Friday sale but even normal price it was only $500.

Now, for the big box stores. At least in the US they price match everything and the funny thing is their prices online are cheaper than in the store. I bought a heater that was listed as $50 in-store, I pulled up their website and it showed it for $20, I showed the lady at the cash register and she matched it. I did the same thing for my air pump (saved $20), filter (Marineland 350 was only $10 online so they price matched it, normally it's over $50!). Could I have just bought this online? Yes, but then you'd have to wait for delivery and sometimes it's just nicer to be instantly gratified . So next time you're in a store don't believe the price you see is the lowest it can be, take 3 minutes to pull out your phone. One more note here, even one of the guys who worked at the chain store pulled out their phone and showed me an app called "ShopSavvy", he scanned my item to double check that I had found the lowest price. Pretty awesome employee.

Lastly, online shopping. While you always want to use websites for best prices I'd say walking into your LFS or your big box stores and talking to an employee will grant you knowledge that you might not get online. Originally I made my entire setup after reading things online and ordered a decent amount of stuff. Then I made my way into stores and talked with employees and learned about different perspectives than the ones I read about on the forums or websites and even looking at products in person can make a difference. Also, when researching a heater online every one I found had at least one bad review of it exploding. Talking with people who are around aquariums all day and use a certain brand for a year or two without any issues gives me more valuable information than someone who said their heater blew up but left the part of them forgetting to unplug it before dropping water levels.

Hope this helps someone!
In this hobby I tend to find things way over priced if you were to walk into a store and buy it. For example you can purchase substrate for 20 dollars a bag at most stores or get blasting media or river pebbles for 8 dollars per 50 lb bag. I got a 75gal with stand+lights+all the extras for 150 dollars. I filled my sump in my 180 gallon tank with pot scrubbies for 9 dollars compared to hundreds for most bio media to fill a 40 gallon sump. I make all of my own buffers for my African cichlid tanks which cost about 10 dollars per year compared to probably $70 using pre made buffers. And the list goes on and on but my attempt is going to be making my own LED lights on my 6 foot tank. Which will save tons of money if it works out.
 

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