New Aquarium

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Gman

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I haven't had an aquarium in several years and would like to set one up again. In looking at aquariums on line I noticed the Seaclear System II model with built in filtration system. Is this type of system desirable or would a basic aquarium with an external filter be a better investment? I understand the built in filter system makes for a neater installation by eliminating hoses but am wondering if it is effective and the way to go.
 

Luniyn

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Personally I'm not a fan of acrylic due to how easy it scratches and discolors. I prefer an all glass aquarium. You really can't go wrong with a glass aquarium, bio-wheel filter, heater, and hood with light. Can't get much more straight forward then that and the parts aren't that all expensive separately. And from the looks of it, the Seaclear's I'm looking at on PetSmart's site all say the parts are sold separately anyway? The truth is though that any system can be made to work, it's just a matter of how much effort you are willing to continually put into it.
 

susitna-flower

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Welcome to fishlore, Gman. As you decide on just which aquarium to get, a bit of advice. Get the biggest aquarium to start out that you can afford, and will fit in your living space. This is the #1 issue with choosing a tank, not what type of filter setup to get. The size dictates what fish you will be able to keep, also the ease of maintaining the tank. Larger tanks need less water changes, hold heat easier, and provide space for a much larger % of available fish. Read all the articles in the link at the bottom of this page entitled Fish Tank Beginners Guides. The nitrogen cycle is a must for understanding how to keep your tank healthy. Good Luck and feel free to ask questions. Folks here just love helping.

Fish in the Frozen North 8)
 

kalika

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If I were you, I would also read up on the kind of fish you want to get before buying the tank. Some shapes of tanks aren't good with some types of fish. Tall show tanks also hold a lot less fish than some tanks that may have less gallons but more surface area like long low tanks. I had made that mistake about 4 years ago. I got a tall tank that was not only hard to clean but couldn't successfully hold the fish I wanted. Things such as how high a stand the tank is on and how tall the tank is can factor into the tank being fun or a pain in the butt to maintain. I wish I had known this before. I had to stand on a chair and stick my arm in my tank to clean it and vacuum the gravel. It was a tall and wide 45g hex. I now have a 33 gallon Long and it is soooo much easier. I couldn't even see what I was doing in the tank because I had to look down through the water and so seeing fish and placing plants etc was really hard. I ended up selling the tank (had a cherry wood stand too) and stopping the hobby for a few years before trying again with something easier to clean. I too had fish years ago and was also amazed at things like nitrogen cycle etc. My LFS years ago said to change out 10% of the water once a month and to float the bag with new fish in the tank for 10 minutes and then dump it out. Amazing what 20 years can do to a hobby like this. I can't believe any of my fish lived before in the conditions I kept them in based on what the store was telling me to do. This was a mom and pop store too. Not some pet co.
 

Terry

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Hi Gman. I was recently also looking at the Seaclear tanks - the 40 and 50 gallon ones. I prefer acrylic over glass as it's stronger, supposedly clearer, 1/2 the weight of glass, etc. Most of my tanks are acrylic just because I've heard of too many cases where the easily breakable glass ones have caused minor disasters in cases where they break. I don't need the chance of 40, 50 100 or more gallons of water on my floor. Acrylics are often the choice on the west coast in earthquake areas, for obvious reasons. But, the acrylics do scratch easily, inside & out, if you're not careful with cleaning them. Even paper towels can scratch the outside, and Windex type cleaners should never be used on the outside - I'm not sure why, but I've heard that many times - it must do something to the acrylic. And the large acrylics can at times bow out with time from the water weight/pressure in the tank pushing against the sides (still better to me than glass cracking though).

Anyway, there are pros & cons for both glass & acrylic. Concerning the Seaclear System II tanks, check out some of the photos at Petsmart/Petco - that built in filter system in the back takes up a good amount of the actual tank space - one thing I didn't care for. Also - the top of the tanks is covered, with opening for the light hood and filter access. Here's a diagram of the top of the 40 gallon tank that I got from SeaClear - the access areas are the slots where the hood fits, and there is access to that back area for filter maintenance (you can get an idea of how much tank space the filter section uses):

32.jpg


As you can see, there's limited access to the top of the tank. To clean it you have to remove the light hood and go into the tank through that slot in the middle. What bothered me is that it would seem to be a bit difficult and awkward to get into all areas of the tank to clean it, either for gravel vacuuming or removing algae from the sides & corners, especially on the top cover, which is bonded to the sides.

All else said, I probably would have tried one, but I decided to go into saltwater next with a totally different type of tank - a 34 gallon nano tank by Red Sea Max (glass by the way).

I'm not sure how big a tank you want, but Marineland has some acrylic Eclipse tanks that are nice - up to 11 gallons only. I have a few of those and like them. There are some bigger acrylics, up to 20 or 30 gallon acrylics that are compatible with Eclipse hoods (biowheel filters) but the tanks aren't made by Marineland so the hood and tanks have to be purchased separately.

It seems like the SeaClear tanks (regular and System II) are all that's commonly available in the bigger size tanks, without going to one of the customer manufacturers, at higher prices of course.

I've talked to one person that has a System II and is very happy with it, but he did admit that the tank maintenance is a bit more of a hassle than with tanks having an open top. You might be very happy with one of the Seaclear tanks - just realize that in both the regular (no filter section in back) and the System II you'll have to work in the tank through that opening on the top.
 
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Gman

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Thank you all for the replies.

I too am leery of the acrylic because of the custom top and the inability to use standard hoods and accessories. I'm going to try and find some glass aquariums and stay with standard accessories and a full access top. I'm looking for a 50 or 55 gal tank and not sure what is available. I'm going to start looking locally tomorrow.
 

kalika

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Have fun shoppping for it! I have seen here in Minnesota that you can sometimes get a cheaper tank by getting one that isn't a normal stock size like long breeder tanks (like 50 gallon Long) and since they aren't common or popular sizes (most people want taller shoew tanks) they can be cheaper if they have them. Good luck!
 

COBettaCouple

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We've got both glass & acrylic tanks and find the acrylic does scratch easier but have the lower weight advantage. They also seem to hold heat in much more efficiently than the glass tanks. I think our next tank will be acrylic, either a hex or bowfront depending on how big we want it to be.

I definitely prefer external filters.. we use whisper power filters in our tanks and there are other good quiet ones available. Good luck with the tank setup that you get.
 

susitna-flower

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 I have shared this before on this forum, and gotten some good ideas and leads on where to look for good used equipment.   When I first started looking, I was checking out our local newspaper.  It serves the largest populated part of Alaska, that is Anchorage and vicinity.   Nothing!    So I started looking in the other direction, north to Fairbanks, also a good sized town, but there is a really big nice fish store, and two military bases, lots of folks moving in and out.   Just in the past 2 months now I have picked up two good buys on tanks up there.   The last one is a 125 gal tank with oak cabinet and top, with lights for a reef tank, all for $750.  The first one was a 50 gal for $50.   For me e-bay isn't an option, as shipping just wouldn't make it cost effective.    

I guess what I am saying, is keep an eye out in the paper, garage sales, always ask in the fish store if they have any slightly damaged tanks, and there are always friends and family that have that old tank stored away.   I think your sticking with more standard sizes will make buying accessories easier.   Best of Luck  

I have whisper filter on my 55 gal, and it doesn't hold enough filter media to handle the bio load. I would definitely get a canaster filter. Be sure it is rated for 10 X the gallons of the tank, per hour flow rate, though from what I understand this is not quite as important with a canaster filter as it is a hang on the back kind.

Fish in the Frozen North  8)
 

kalika

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I have two Marineland bio wheel filters on my 33 gallon L tank both rated at 200g/hr. More than enough for either of them to handle the tank alone but this way I have two filter cartridges to change out on a rotating basis without upseting the biofilter at all. I also put an extra plain filter mat in them behind the filter cartridges just to give the bacteria more surface to grow on without acting like a mechanical filter. Good luck with everything you do! I wish I had stumbled on this forum before stting up my smaller tank, I think I would have been less troubled by rookie mistakes and less worried at what was going on in the tank had I had the support here.
 
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