Buying an Aquarium on Craigslist

Craigslist Aquarium

Buying a used saltwater aquarium and stand is one of the easiest way to reduce the start up cost of a saltwater aquarium. Always buy a name brand name aquarium. All-Glass/Aqueon, Oceanic and Perfecto are the most widely available brands. A poorly manufactured aquarium can lead to cracks and leaks.Determine how old the aquarium is and how long it has been in use. Most glass aquariums have a lifespan of 5-10 years before the silicone seams needs to be replaced. Check to see if there are any areas where the silicone has peeled away or is missing. Repairing or replacing the silicone yourself is not an easy job. Know where the aquarium was stored. An older aquarium is more likely to leak and crack if it was stored outside or in a garage.

Ideally, you’re looking for someone who is in the process of taking down their aquarium. Before you buy, carefully look over the used saltwater aquarium for any large scratches. Minor scratches will be filled in by water and will hardly be visible. Large vertical scratches will be less visible than large horizontal scratches when the aquarium is filled with water. Small scratches in acrylic tanks can be buffed out by using a Acrylic Scratch Removal Kit. Find out if the aquarium was used for freshwater or saltwater. If you plan on keeping a reef aquarium, never buy an aquarium that was previously used as freshwater because the average hobbyist will not recall if they used copper based medication. Ask if there were any medications used in the aquarium. Some Copper Medications will stain the silicone blue or green.

Buying an Aquarium on Craigslist

These medications are harmful to marine invertebrates like corals, snails, crabs, shrimp and starfish. Know how much the aquarium is worth. Call a few local pet stores to get an idea of the retail price of the aquarium. Search the phonebook or internet for the largest freshwater fish store, as they will the largest aquarium account and will offer the largest discount. New aquariums in classified ads should sell for 80 to 95% of their retail value. Used aquariums should sell for 50 to 60% of their retail value. If you are looking for an aquarium over 75 gallons, consider purchasing a Reef Ready or drilled aquarium. This will allow for the easy installation of a sump where equipment, like filters and heaters can operate out of sight. Do not buy a Hang on the Back Overflow Box. At some point in its operation, the siphon will break and all of the water in your sump will flood onto to your floor. The preferred sizes for aquariums are 20H, 40B, 75RR, 120RR, 125RR and 180RR (RR – Reef Ready). These aquariums have greater depth, making them easier to aquascape. Remember, tanks over 24″ tall are more difficult for the average height person to clean and maintain. Clean the aquarium with warm water and vinegar before use. Rinse until the vinegar odor is no longer present. Do not use soap or bleach.

Used Aquarium Equipment

The following equipment is useful and should be considered in the final purchase price: Protein Skimmer, Pumps, Powerheads, Reverse Osmosis Unit and a Refugium or Sump. The following equipment may be useful, but should not be considered in the final purchase price: UV Sterilizer (the bulb will need to be replaced, but the UV sterilizer will be beneficial), aquarium substrate like Live Sand or Crushed Coral (waste in the substrate will pollute your new setup, always purchase new live sand) and Standard Fluorescent Lighting (most reef aquariums require more intense light, but is suitable for Fish Only aquariums).

Most new hobbyists find it advantageous to purchase only the aquarium and aquarium stand. Most of the equipment sold on classified ads is outdated and will need to replaced or upgraded. Remember, most people are getting out of the hobby because the aquarium was too difficult to maintain, usually due to poor quality equipment. Always purchase new nets, buckets, filter pads, salt etc.

Live Rock For Sale

The retail rate for cured live rock is about $10 per pound and uncured Live Rock about $8 per pound. Expect to pay $2 to $6 per pound for Live Rock on classified ads. Avoid Live Rock from Florida as it is often filled with pests like Mantis Shrimp and Gorilla Crabs. Avoid Live Rock covered in aiptasia, algae and flatworms, as it will become your problem.

Transporting a Craigslist Aquarium

Bring along blankets, towels or foam board to help prevent the aquarium from being scratched or damaged. Strap down the aquarium, so it doesn’t move or slide. Remove all objects from inside the aquarium. Store these in a separate container or bucket. Always lift from the bottom of the aquarium. Lifting on the top or center brace can cause the aquarium to crack. Make sure you have enough help. Ask if the seller will help you load the aquarium into your vehicle. Make sure you have a large enough vehicle. Aquariums up to 75 gallons (48″x18″x20″) will usually fit in the back seat of most cars, but anything larger will require a van, truck or SUV.