4 Spots to Fish for Bargain Aquariums
Buying an affordable aquarium can be a fun and exciting endeavor. Whether you set up a basic starter kit or go all out with plenty of embellishments, you can find a way to create an aquatic masterpiece on a budget.
Wait for Sales
Most pet stores have periodic sales and promotions, and waiting for those to come around can save you a lot of money. Some stores offer starter kits at a discount if this is your first tank. The included decorations and plants in these kits may be lower quality, but you can upgrade as you learn more. However, make sure you are actually saving money with these sales. Many pet stores have significantly higher prices than you can find elsewhere, so even their sale prices may be more expensive.
Online stores often have significantly lower overhead, so you can find much better deals. Some of these stores are specialty outlets with their own websites, while others use auction sites, such as eBay. Check reviews or seller feedback before spending a significant amount of money. Factor in shipping expenses when comparing prices because these can add a significant amount to the total cost.
Join an Aquarium Club
Buying used aquariums can save you a lot of money, and one of the best places to find good used tanks is through an aquarium club. These groups are usually a collection of serious hobbyists, and many of them regularly change and upgrade their tanks. Most welcome beginners and are happy to share knowledge. They can also direct you to people selling off unneeded equipment for a decent price. This is usually a safe way to buy used tanks, because the members of these clubs are invested in maintaining a good reputation.
Check the Classifieds
You may be able to find hidden gems in your local newspaper classifieds or on advertising sites such as Craigslist. These aquariums are often tanks that have been sitting in a garage or storage unit for years. Sometimes people are moving and need to sell a full setup quickly.
However, this method does have a few drawbacks. You may need to spend more time hunting through sale ads until you find a promising listing. It is also somewhat riskier, and you should check out the tank thoroughly before buying it. Tanks that are running are generally safer, or you may be able to fill smaller tanks on the premises to check for leaks. Look for chipping or hard water stains on the edges and corners of empty tanks.
Setting up a new aquarium is an exciting process, but it can come with steep costs. A basic freshwater setup can start at $200, and special additions or saltwater tanks can cost considerably more. However, savvy shoppers often find good deals to help keep the costs down. If you are in the market for a new aquarium, check out the following sources.