Many people would love to own a pet fish but taking care of a fish aquarium is an expensive and tedious hobby. It is usually reserved for the patient and meticulous enthusiasts. Once you get hooked though, you will soon realize how satisfying it is to take care of your own fish.

One of the most common problems that many hobbyists face when starting out is the initial expense. When you begin to consider fishkeeping as a hobby, you need to be prepared for the equipment and maintenance cost. Luckily, there are still ways to setup a tank for cheap. I’ve listed below the best tips that you can use to own a fish tank without having to spend a ton.

Buy Used Equipment

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Just like many things on the market, you can buy used aquarium equipment quite easily. Unlike some items where the price drop is not that noticeable, the price of used aquarium drops pretty fast because of the lack of demand. Buying used aquarium will save you around 70% off the original value which is a great deal, especially if you are just a beginner.

The reason for the huge price difference between used and brand new is the fact that around 70% of people quit this hobby within a year. For a hobby, this is abnormally high. For these failed hobbyists, selling the items that they won’t ever use again for cheap is better than getting nothing. These used equipment may come in dirty and stained but it’s nothing that a good washing won’t remove. Overall, buying used aquarium is a wise choice. I definitely recommend it to any beginners wanting to own their first aquarium.

Compare Prices Online

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This one here is a no-brainer. Unless you’ve been living inside a cave, you probably know of a thing called internet shopping. You can now buy anything off the internet and this means that you can compare prices just as easily.

Comparing prices today is easier than ever thanks to the emergence of online shopping. What would take a whole day decades ago, only takes a maximum of 2 hours today. Use the internet wisely and you can even see some deals worth checking out online. Try ebay, craigslist, amazon, and other online stores and you may find what you’re searching for.

Be Cheap (but not too cheap)

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Everybody wants to save money. Yes, even the rich ones. That being said, saving money should not be your one and only concern when buying aquarium equipment. If saving money is your only concern, your decision is clouded and you’re only going to consider the cheapest option which can backfire down the line.

I’m sure you know of the saying “what you get is what you pay for.” Well, that applies here. Sure, there are deals where you can save a lot of money but there are deals that will only save you money initially. If an item sells for significantly lower than its market value, something must be off. Many products sacrifice quality to meet certain price point and this is true for aquarium equipment. While you ended up with savings initially, the item may wear a lot faster and this would cost you more money in the future.

If you feel like you have found a very cheap option but is doubtful about its quality, maybe read some reviews or feedback for that particular product before making a decision. Another choice would be to opt for the next best option and while you won’t save a lot of money, you can still save some – and that’s great too.

Don’t Buy All Fancy Equipment

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Do not make the mistake of buying several items just because some ‘expert’ tells you to. Remember that you are a beginner. As such, you are not expected to build elaborate and complex aquarium setup. Instead, opt for the most basic and simplest aquarium setup. Build your knowledge off of that then work your way up to the more complex setups. For basic aquarium tutorial, you can check out my other articles here.

Prior to buying your aquarium equipment online, make sure to have a guideline first. Have a list of equipment you need before going inside a pet store. Most salesperson would gladly help a beginner but they may recommend items that you don’t really need. This is why you need to have a list along with some research to at least have an idea of what you’re looking for. Do not get overwhelmed inside the store because a salesperson may see this and offer you things that you don’t actually need.

Do Your Maintenance Duties

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Saving on equipment cost is not the only way to save money in this fishkeeping hobby. You can save a lot of money if you are mindful about your maintenance duties. If you neglect doing maintenance duties for your aquarium, your fish’s health would suffer. Additionally, improper maintenance for your aquarium would lead to malfunction on the aquarium equipment such as filters, temperature settings, ammonia and nitrite levels, and many more.

Ignoring your maintenance duties will make your aquarium condition very bad for your fish. Once the damage is done to your aquarium, you will need many procedures to fix these damages – and they would cost a ton. Still, the best way to minimize your maintenance expenses is to do them properly. Read guidelines of what to and what not to do to your aquarium. Follow this guideline carefully. If you are confused about certain topics, you can easily search for advice online. You can also ask around pet stores to help you take care of your aquarium. As with all the hobbies, learning takes time.

Final Advice For Beginners

For beginners, you don’t have to shell out serious cash to build your own aquarium. Embrace that you are new to the hobby and only spend on essential things instead of buying every equipment you deem is worthy. Buy more expensive and complex setup when you feel like you are ready to go serious into this hobby. Not to be a downer but this hobby isn’t for everyone. If you end up spending a lot of money on equipment then later realize that you don’t like this hobby, you’ll just end up with useless equipment. So again, be mindful of your spending especially if you are just starting out on this hobby.