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Old 09-08-2009, 10:15 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Saint John, NB
Talking New tank setup, on a budget? Ideas please....

So, it's decided, I'm starting a sorority tank, or at least going to try.

I've always wanted a community tank of some sort, and today I was browsing the fish section of my LPS looking at dwarf frogs, and I noticed a whole tank of female bettas. I've been in there a thousand times and never noticed it before, so I'm not sure if I was blind, or they just started carrying them, BUT, anyway, it took all the willpower I have not to come home with at least one of them. Sooo, to reward myself for my strong willpower, I've decided to put together a sorority tank..

The first problem is, I don't have a spare tank, or any of the other necessities, so it's obviously going to take some time to get everything together..

The second problem is, I don't really have a whole lot of money, I'm on maternity leave from work, which gives me a rather limited income, so this tank setup is going to be on the tightest possible budget.

So, my questions to you, I know a lot of you are students, which I also know usually means limited income, so how do i set up a whole new tank in the cheapest way possible? Including the tank, substrate, decorations, plants, hiding places, etc?

Any input is appreciated!
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:34 AM   #2 
Join Date: Jan 2009
try craigslist, and if they don't have anything, get an emty 10g tank, some play sand ( you can get about 75lbs at home depot for $5) clean the sand, search craft stores for decor (its usually cheeper than at pet stores) and for a heater I would say your best bet is craigslist or freecycle or something like that. Tetra Whisper 3i In-Tank Filter - Filtration & Circulation - Fish - PetSmart < I know thats a filter for a 3g tank, but if you replace the air pump with a 10g pump it works really well!!! Thats what I have in my 10g!
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:09 AM   #3 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Vancouver, B.C. Canada
and you can use the leftover sand to make a sand box :)
Also decorations can be anything.
I may make a dinosaur tank and decorate with dinosaurs from the dollar store!
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:17 AM   #4 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Central Texas
A dinosaur tank sounds cool!
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:25 AM   #5 
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: malden, ma
I bought a new 20 gallon long from petco - on sale - for $35. - I turned mine into a planted tank - using a mix of 1 inch organic potting soil covered with 1.5 inches of large gravel.

I've tried sorority tanks both in the long and high version tanks and have to say that I have better results in the long version - (the larger percentage of 'top' space is wonderful for our bettas)

floating plants are essential for sorority happiness.

I used two already cycled duetto 100's on the tank - these are technically reptile style filters - meaning they have a control flow capacity - they work well on 'shorter' style tanks - not so much on high version tanks because lower circulation with this filter sucks... but, for a 12 inch tall tank - it's actually working wonderfully. And, these filters are cheap - and, if you want, you can use basic matrix stone in them instead of the carbon filters - (I've learned carbon for non-planted tanks, matrix rock for planted tanks.)

A small bottle of matrix rock goes a long way, and works wonders for growing bacteria on it. :)

I had to buy a hood for the tank, that was about 15? ... basic glass - but I had an old light that had come with my 30 G - that was the same inch size so I am using that for lighting... The plants aren't necessarily growing 'yet' - low light scenario - but nothing has died yet, either... so there's hope that the light will be sufficient for the plants I've put in there.

The ornament - a large colliseum with tons of windows - cost almost as much as the tank ($30?) - but the bettas love the large windows and some of them use it as a hide spot when they are feeling 'crowded' by the other bettas.

A bag of the larger gravel costs about $15. (Petco)

I think the whole tank (minus the fish and the 'used light' - cost me less than $100)
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:23 PM   #6 
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: In the middle of no where (PA)
Defiantly check craigslist!! I might be getting a 20 gallon tank with everything included for really cheap soon. :)
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:43 PM   #7 
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Ontario
My tank was was a spare my uncle had. And as veganchick suggested, sand is sooo much cheaper than petstore gravel (and it looks nicer imo). Terra cotta pots are also really nice in a tank, they're only like 80 cents at Walmart. You can buy rocks and other things from a Dollarstore...I got a bag of smooth river rocks from there.

And a dinosaur tank sounds AMAZING. I wish I'd have thought of that. I really loved dinosaurs as a kid.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:03 AM   #8 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Thanks, Im going to go there soon and see what kinda animals i can make up. Maybe ill do a split army tank on one side and dinosaurs on the other..

I also need to get some fake plants, but at the petstore they are really expensive for what you get.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:09 AM   #9 
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: USofA
Can you use silk plants that aren't for tanks? Like, just around the house silk plants? My dad had a lot of those, and they're up for grabs now.
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:20 AM   #10 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Vancouver, B.C. Canada
I think many people use silk plants, I just dont know how you would get it to stay in your aquarium
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