I'm curious as to what the rough start-up cost for you was to get your aquarium going.
I have found so many options out there and of course the price ranges are incredible.
So........ what did you spend most of your money on? I have looked at kits but am not sure that I need all that they have.. so, I am also pricing things separately. It's not that I want to do this cheap, I just want to be sure I'm spending as wisely as I can :)
speaking of tank size and price i was wondering if you know anywhere that sales cheap stands and ten gallon tanks. my mom refuses to buy anything unless it's really cheap and i feel so sorry for my brother's cramped angelfish in a 2 gallon!
Wal-mart sells a 10g starter kit for $30. It comes with the tank, a decent filter, a hood with crappy incandescent bulbs, and a few other things. The hood is actually kind of nice, because you can replace the bulbs with compact flourescents and end up with 26 watts of 6700K lighting over 10 gallons of water. You'll need to add a heater.
I got my 20g tanks from a LFS that was going out of business. All well-used stuff but very high quality and cheap. Good deals in general.
I got my 29g from Craigslist. No stand, but had is a Marineland starter kit with top, light strip, heater, penguin filter, UGF, air pump and decorations. I ditched most of the decorations and am not using the UGF, but still a good deal.
I recently donated some old clothes to Salvation Army and looked around the store. I got a never-used 5.5 tank with Tetra filter and heater, and a hood with lighting for $6.
This is something I have just run into myself as I have just bought my first aquarium. Pricing things out in Petsmart resulted in a final cost of about $180 before fish. That included a 20 gallon tank, a Penguin 150 filter, a 100 watt heater, 20 lbs. of ridiculously overpriced gravel, an air pump, tubing, air stone, bucket, gravel vac, fish net, dechlorinator, decorations, literally everything but fish.
Being more than my wallet could stomach I found a used 55 gallon set up with everything, including stand, but plants and fish for $75 on craigslist. That plus a few odds and ends have brought my start up total minus fish to right at $125 for a 55 gallon tank.
I can't recommend craigslist enough. I live in a larger city, Orlando, and there are always at least one or two tanks a day coming up. Not all of them are outstanding values but if you catch someone in a moment of desperation you can get a heck of a set up for a song.
Last year, I found a great 10 gallon kit with filter, hood, florescent light & adustable 50-watt heater for $55 at Petco. I gradually collected the plants and gravel so I could spread the cost out. I couldn't find a 5 gallon kit (or the individual parts) for less than $75-85. Outrageous! I was frustrated so I recently went back to Petco and got another 10 gallon kit. I divided the tanks so each betta has 5 gallons.