Is it a Good Idea to Get a Cheap Fish Tank?

Just like any hobby, getting started with a new pet can be expensive.  Most people might think that cats and dogs are the most common pets, and that is probably a fairly accurate statement, but other pets, such as fish, can be just as expensive.

But like many other endeavors, there have to be areas you can cut corners on to save money, right?  Newcomers to the aquarium hobby might not know where money could be saved and where corners should not be cut.  How can you tell the difference?

Let’s take a look at some aquarium related expenses and find out.

To have an idea of the actual cost to setup your very own aquarium tank, check out this post – Setting Up Your New Aquarium

Budgetary Concerns


Before starting down the road on any new hobby, one of the first questions you must ask yourself is do you have a big enough budget to cover everything.  You would not want to become a golfer if you could not afford a set of golf clubs and likewise, you would not want to start setting up an aquarium if you could not afford the tank itself.

There are many components to setting up an aquarium, some more costly than others.  Some of the expensive parts to an aquarium include the tank itself, fish, filters, pumps, heaters, lighting, decorations, food, and the electricity to power the whole setup.

While not all of these items are completely necessary to every aquarium, most will require some mixture of those items which will require some money.  Make sure you have the budget to cover the amount of the entire aquarium setup you want before you begin purchasing any items.

Fish Food for Thought

Fish price

Fish come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  They also come in a variety of price points.  One way to reduce costs would be to select a smaller number of more expensive fish or a larger number of less expensive fish.  Of course, you could always reduce both the number and the cost of the fish you will stock your tank with.

Decorating on a Dime

Another area that can be expensive is decorating.  Real plants are typically preferable, but may end up being more expensive.  One way to stretch your budget is with artificial plants.  Pet stores are filled with other decorations for aquariums, such as little buildings, statues, and other such items.  Of course, you could always save money by making your own fish tank decorations.

Here’s a link to a video of DIY decoration:
Aquarium Decoration Tutorial

Saving the Best for Last

At the end of the day, the biggest expense will likely end up being the aquarium itself.  This can be a troubling notion, but remember that we talked about planning out the budget before making any purchasing decisions previously.  You should allocate a significant portion of your budget toward the fish tank itself.  Glass tanks are a nice choice, but are typically heavier and more expensive.  Coupled with the fact that they typically are only available in rectangular shapes, they may not be the perfect choice for everyone.  Glass tanks are heavier than acrylic tanks, but can be cracked or broken, rendering them useless.

Acrylic tanks are another option; they are molded like plastic and can therefore be inexpensively formed into almost any imaginable shape or size.  Acrylic tanks are much more durable than glass tanks, but are quite susceptible to scratches.  In fact, almost any contact with them will leave a scratch behind.

Plastic tanks are another option, though they should be avoided at all costs.  They are typically sold as kits in toy stores, not at actual pet stores.  They are also usually hard, if not impossible, to clean, meaning the fish usually end up suffering through dirty water.

To Sum it Up

After all is said and done, my best advice would be to not skimp on the fish tank.  You can have the nicest fish and decorations in the world, but if they are not kept in an equally gorgeous tank it will all be for naught.  It is definitely not a good idea to opt for a cheap fish tank!

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