New! Illustrated Setup Instructions
for "PRO" and "Super PRO" Setups
We always have, and always will, put together "custom" setups - with exactly the tank and equipment the customer wants. But after a few years in business, it became clear to us that many hobbyists, especially newer ones, didn't know where to start when it came to choosing from the vast array of tanks, filters, heaters, and so on that are needed for a complete setup. As we went through the various options item by item, one question seemed to pop up again and again:
"What would you buy?"
And that's the idea behind our "PRO" Setups - we've put together packages that we ourselves might take home. The equipment included isn't cheap, high-markup junk, nor is it the latest overpriced high-tech rage, but it's all dependable, well-built, and low maintainence - designed to keep an aquarium clean and healthy with a minimum of work. And unlike some of the pre-packaged setups available, we're able to choose the best products from a number of different manufacturers.
As time went on, we've found several benefits in offering standardized setups, not the least of which is that it allows customers to realistically compare prices on complete setups of various sizes and shapes. In addition, the "PRO" Setups are a good starting point for more custom packages: we can make additions or substitutions to personalize each package to meet the needs and desires of the customer. Finally, selling good quality equipment to beginners has helped us establish a large base of successful hobbyists.
"PRO" Setups have evolved over the years to take advantage of new and improved products and better values. Here's what they currently include:
- Aquarium by All Glass Aquariumtm - these are some of the finest aquariums in the country, at affordable prices - and made right here in the Milwaukee area! Available in many sizes with black, oak or walnut colored trims.
- Fluorescent Deluxe Full Hood - also from All Glass Aquariumtm, these full plastic hoods fit the tanks precisely, and have knockouts along the back to accommodate filters, heaters and so forth.
- Penn Plaxtm Deluxe Aquarium Heater - a very good mid-priced heater that installs simply.
- Digital Thermometer - a liquid crystal model from Petcresttm;, accurate and easy to read.
- Penguintm Power Filter from Marinelandtm - good mechanical, chemical and biological filtration - all in one unit and sized to fit the tank. Includes filter cartridge.
- Challengertm Air Pump from Tetra / Second Nature. Quiet enough for the living room, with enough power to operate the sponge filter and airstone(s). May be upgraded to even quieter or larger Whispertm air pump for a small difference in price.
- Whispertm Check Valve(s) - prevents water from siphoning down airline tubing into pump in the event of a power outage. This is an important safety accessory that should be utilized in every setup.
- Airline Tubing - for connecting the air pump to the various aeration devices.
- Undergravel Sponge Bio-Filter from Petcresttm - provides biological filtration like an undergravel filter, without the risks and is a good temporary backup in case main filter fails. Also helps in clearing up cloudy water caused by particles too fine for standard filters to catch.
- Airstone(s) - provides good aeration and circulation and can be strategically placed to add water current to "dead" spots.
- Plastic Gang Valve from Penn Plax Plasticstm - divides air flow to aerating devices and allows adjustment of flow rate to each item.
- Start Righttm Water Conditioner from Jungle Products - removes chlorine and chloramine and adds electrolytes, instantly "conditions" new water to be safe for fish.
- Aquarium Salt - for freshwater tanks (please see our article "SALT in a FRESHwater Tank?" for further information.
(Gravel, background, decorations and stand are not included in "PRO" Setup price)
For Saltwater Setups
Saltwater setups include all of the above (except the "freshwater" salt), plus:
Copyright © 2001 James M. Kostich
- Instant Oceantm saltwater mix - still the standard to which all other salt mixes are compared.
- Seatesttm hydrometer - measures how much salt is dissolved in your water. Unlike the old "bobber" style, these hydrometers are easy to read and hard to break.
- Crushed Coral gravel - helps maintain a stable pH and covers the aquarium bottom.
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