Starter Fish Tank Kits (29 Gallon Variety)

yinoma2001

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I've tried to search for answers on this and haven't been able to find it yet. Apologies if this has been answered previously.

I understand that the stock starter kits offered at Petco/PetSmart aren't the highest quality. And that most folks end up ditching various parts over time.

That being said, my initial mistake was to buy a 5.5 gallon tank (which is a pain to manage water quality wise) instead of a larger 20-29 gallon tank (relatively speaking).

I'm looking for sales on Black Friday, and any advice as to good starter aquariums (29 gallon) would be appreciated. I'm looking to spend in the $100 range (I know not much) but it's my true jump into a fish tank. I understand you can buy a 29 gallon tank for $29, but then you'd have to buy a hood/light, heater/filter separately, which would exceed my paltry $100 budget.

So, if you had to choose Top Fin 29 gallon starter or Aqueon (IIRC that's Petco's preferred brand) which would you start with?

Or can folks think of a way to get a better 29 gallon tank within my $100-ish beginner's budget? (I already have decorations, TSS, gravel, plants all ready to go).

Much thanks.
 

Guanchy

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I don't know if this is something that you are willing to do but sometimes in craigslist you can find great deal for used tanks! I bought a 10 gallon with filter, heater, etc... and a metal stand for only $25. and the tank was great! sometimes unexperienced people get a fish tank and fish die in a week and they are just dying to get rid of the tank, equipment etc.. and you can get it for really cheap. Of course if it looks really old I wouldnt buy it but you can always look at it before getting it.
 
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yinoma2001

yinoma2001

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Guanchy said:
I don't know if this is something that you are willing to do but sometimes in craigslist you can find great deal for used tanks! I bought a 10 gallon with filter, heater, etc... and a metal stand for only $25. and the tank was great! sometimes unexperienced people get a fish tank and fish die in a week and they are just dying to get rid of the tank, equipment etc.. and you can get it for really cheap. Of course if it looks really old I wouldnt buy it but you can always look at it before getting it.
Yeah, not looking to go through CL route. But thanks for the suggestion!
 

BrandonHasSomeFish

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I can only speqk for the Aqueon Brand. I have the Aqueon 20 Gallon Starter Kit. I'm pretty sure that the 29 is the same. If you are planning to buy it, you might want to think about getting another filter. The filter that comes in the kit isn't so good in my opinion. You would also need a water testing kit and a thermometer. There is a stick on glass thermometer that comes in the kit, but it isn't as good as a in tank thermometer.
 
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yinoma2001

yinoma2001

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BrandonHasSomeFish said:
I can only speqk for the Aqueon Brand. I have the Aqueon 20 Gallon Starter Kit. I'm pretty sure that the 29 is the same. If you are planning to buy it, you might want to think about getting another filter. The filter that comes in the kit isn't so good in my opinion. You would also need a water testing kit and a thermometer. There is a stick on glass thermometer that comes in the kit, but it isn't as good as a in tank thermometer.

Yeah I already have a Top Fin 5.5. gallon for the Betta and have the water testing stuff. How do you like Aqueon? Bear in mind, in 6 months I'll probably think about upgrading, but for now, just want to have a good chance to see if the family (6 and 8 year old) will be 100% into this with me before investing in more expensive stuff.
 

BrandonHasSomeFish

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I think Aqueon was a good choice when I was starting out. The only thing I didn't like was the filter. The filter for the 20 gal starter was meant for a 10 gal. I haven't had the 29 gal so I don't know if they will give you a smaller filter like in the 20 gal kit.
 

Islandvic

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You mentioned looking for black Friday deals... Petsmart has only released the 1st 4-pages of it's black Friday ad. The rest will prob be released in the next few days.

I was in my local store today, and walked toward the back where the pallet racks were lined along the back and side walls.

I noticed a ton of aquariums shrink wrapped on pallets on all the racks.

I'd wager they will have their aquariums 50% off. They had a ton of the Marineland 60 and 75 gallon tank/cabinet ensembles, TopFin Essentials Starter Kits (all sizes and a lot of 55g's surprisingly) and Marineland 38g bow front kits all on pallets in the racks, ready to go for Black Friday!

They also had a ton of TopFin aquarium stands of different sizes on pallets, and assorted Fluval canisters and cases of TopFin canisters also on pallets. I'm sure they had Marineland filters ready, but I couldn't read all the markings on the larger cardboard shipping boxes .

As far as quality goes for Top fin starter kits, I started off with their 20 gallon kit.

TopFin kits aren't bad really. Yes their filters are not matched to the tank size. I put the Top Fin 20 gallon filter on my 10 gallon and added to the reservoir a bag of bio-media and a filter pad cut to fit from a bulk roll. That little filter works great now on my 10g.

Most people upgrade their filters anyways, or add a 2nd one in conjunction with the stock filter.

For example, I originally used my TopFin 20 filter next to an Aquaclear 30 HOB. I'm not sure about the other size TopFin starter kits, but my 20 gallon had a section of lid that snaps out next to where the stock filter goes. When I removed it, the width off space for the HOB location doubled in size ! The size if HOB space in the hood is so wide, 2x AC30's side-by-side fit perfectly in the stock 20 gallon black plastic hood w/ no mods!

I'm still using the stock heater, lid and LED light on my 20g. Nothing wrong with them so far. The light on the 20 gallon hood is 2x rows of sealed tubes with LED strip inside. I can't comment on the other sizes, but the light output and color is great for my tropical community application.

If you find you're needing more light, Amazon sells waterproof submersible white LED tube/stripes from Mingdak. I bought their 18.5" for my 10 gallon for cheap. I also bought their blue submersible 8" light for my 10 gallon and prob will get another for my 20g. I run the TopFin 20 gallon stock LED's and Mingdak LEDs on the 10 gallon all on $5 amazon timers.

Something like that or Marineland's Hidden LED clip-on water proof lights could be used to supplement the lighting on TopFin's larger tank kits if desired, without having to replace the hood.


Try to get either a TopFin 29 gallon or 37g kit at a minimum. From what I remember, when their kits are 50% off, their 20 gallon would be about $47, their 29 gallon about $60, their 37g around $75 and the 55 gallon kit is $99.

If PetsMart has their filters on sale 50% off, try to get an upgraded one for whatever tank you get. They usually have Marineland and Fluval filters on sale. If you can get a Marineland Magniflow 220 or 360 Canister for 50% for your tank, that would be a great score.

Although not my favorite, Marineland Penguin 350's are $26 online everyday on Chewy, Amazon etc, and a good budget filter with high gph turnover. Easily DIY media mods in it's large dual sided reservoirs make it a great budget filter!

You mentioned buying a 29 gallon during $1/gallon sales, then having to piece together all the accessories, driving up the cost.

I agree 100%, sometimes that is not best way to go, unless you have all the spare pieces on hand already.

I learned that when I got a 10 gallon quarantine tank for $10, then had to buy a heater, light and glass hinged lid for it. I already had the filter from my TopFin 20, but it would have been more cost effective to buy a TopFin 10 gallon Essentials starter kit on sale.

My advice is to get the largest aquarium on sale that your budget and floor space allows. Consider the 37g if available, especially if it's around $60 on sale.

Or go big and get the Marineland 60 gallonensemble with hood/light/cabinet stand for $150. That is their door buster. Heater and filter sold separately.....
 

Crazycoryfishlady

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I got my 29 gallon kit at walmart for ~$80.
Best deal I could find.

I don't know if their whole store is black friday though, I tend to stay away from it.
 

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