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Old 08-24-2011, 11:23 PM   #1 
fishcurl's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Opinions on Aqueon Mini Bow series?

I love Marineland Eclipse tanks but they're so hard to find in my town. The next best thing seems to be the Mini Bows.

Here's some linkies if anyone is wondering what I'm talking about.

Mini Bow 2.5
Mini Bow 5.0

Does anyone have experience with these tanks? I've read reviews but like to hear from my forum friends what they think. I.e., how well the filter works, if the light is good for plants, is it a pain to clean, anything like that.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can offer :)
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:55 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Northern Kentucky
I had the Betta Bow 2.5 for about a week and a half, then took it back to the store and got a Top Fin 10 gallon glass aquarium kit (with heater) for like $15 more. Most heaters will cost $15 anyway, so to me it was a justified expense. I purchased both from PetSmart. The primary reason I took it back was scratches/hazing from cleaning the tank only a couple times.

The filter wasn't too bad, but creates a current across the entire feeding area so you would either need to unplug it while feeding or baffle the filter. The price of the cartridges was rather high and supply locally was scarce. I suppose you could just use a sponge in place of the cartridge, and that would be sufficient filter and baffling.

The tiny door on the hood was also a pain to feed from. The button for the light switch would startle the fish every time I pressed it. The light also produced a significant source of heat. Great if your ambient temp is not already close to 78-80 degrees. I tried to use this instead of a heater, but quickly hit 80+ degrees and I would shut it off so I didn't cook my fish. The smaller water volume really did cause difficulty keeping the tank a consistent temperature. I purchased a heater for the tank, but it would shut off before reaching the desired temp due to lack of water circulation. Something to keep in mind with the 2.5, the 5.0 probably wont be as big of an issue. A small heater is a big ornament in that size tank as well.

Overall, for the space a 2.5 or 5.0 wouldn't be a bad tank. Just be cautious when placing decorations or cleaning the sides as the tank will scratch easily. I used a very minimally abrasive pad to clean the tank and it hazed badly. It was a sponge designed for acrylic.

Last edited by marauder; 08-25-2011 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:01 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Florida
I have a love/hate review for the minibow.
I love that it is small and fits into small spaces.It is perfect for a single betta.This tank has a lighted hood and can easily be planted with live plants nicely. It is a bowfront and looks really nice.
I dislike having to clean the minibow 2.5. The filter takes up 1/3 if not more of the surface space..

so it kinda sucks moving things around during water change. Or moving around the gravel vacuum.(unless you completely unhook the filter from the side) I also dislike the open top filter. The light sits right on top of the filter, leaving issues with algae if you don't make a lid or cover for the filter.Also, it only holds right at 2 gallons...there is no .5.

Besides that it is a really nice tank. I have one, but I am not sure I would buy another...I am not so sure it is worth the price I paid for mine.

Last edited by Littlebittyfish; 08-25-2011 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:13 AM   #4 
Betta Newbie22
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Indiana
Personally I liked Mine when I had it. It was small enough to fit on my bedside table Didnt take up much room at all and it came in different colors. Mine matched my fish haha. it was a pain to keep up the tank though thats the only dislike I had with mine. that and the fact that the Light came apart from the hood and about fried my fish.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:53 AM   #5 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Mixed reviews, lol.

Seems the mini bows all come with different filters depending on where you get it from. One of my mini bows came with a Tetra Whisper 10i filter. The only issue I had with it was the space it took up inside (internal power filter). I had another minibow come with a Tetra Whisper 3i, which wasn't a whole lot better. I ended up purchasing a separate filter for it, the Red Sea Nano filter, which is a mini HOB. I had a veil tail in there for years who had no problem with the flow.

The other issue I had was with the hood. The incandescent bulb was horrendous looking and as all incandescents do, got too hot; so I replaced it with a mini fluorescent. Still a safe wattage for the fixture, and didn't heat up my water. That worked really well. :)

All the fine tuning I did aside I liked the tank itself. I felt the hood offered nice cover, and once I had the filter I wanted and the light I wanted I was quite happy with it. But for all the extra crap I ended up buying to make it the way I wanted it probably wasn't all that cost effective.
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:47 PM   #6 
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Thank you everyone for your indepth replies, this was exactly what I was hoping for - you're the best!

It's interesting about the pros and cons. I hadn't considered just how much the filter would take up in the tank. Is it any better in the 5 gallon?

The light is also a biggie for me - good to know that it has incandescent and that it can be replaced with something better.

I guess I was hoping this would be the wonder tank. Convenient size, no HOB filters, feeding door, etc.

Perhaps I'll stick with the Eclipse Hex, then - there's less to modify and they're about the same price. I just wish they still made the series in smaller sizes like the 3 gallon.

Thanks again, everyone! I really appreciate your help ^_^
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:06 AM   #7 
Join Date: Feb 2011
The kit I've been most happy with is a 5 gallon glass, doesn't really matter who you buy it from but for $25.00 from walmart with everything but heater... hard to beat. I upgraded to an AquaClear 20 on it just so I could control the flow better.
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