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Monday, November 28, 2016

What are the Pros and Cons of Buying Fluval Aquariums Over Cheap Tetra Tanks?

This is a question I get a lot: "what makes Fluval tanks so expensive?" Or better yet: "why should I buy any other tank other than a Fluval aquarium?" The two are related because the Fluval brand is one of the most expensive on the market. Usually more than one hundred dollars for a modest 10 gallon or less tank. Whereas for less than $50 you could go to your local market and get a 50 gallon tank for under $50.

Here's what you should consider before buying a Fluval tank and why I think they might be the right fit for you.

First of all, I have upgraded all of my tanks to Fluval. That's the full disclosure. I know the pros and cons and can live with them.

Fluval Tanks are a Pain in the Butt to Clean

And just to be honest, here's the biggest con associated with the Fluval brand: they are really hard to clean. The attractive square design and the look of an infinity pool at the top leaves little space for the dilligent fish keeper to clean. If you are like me you prefer to get in there with a brush or even a magnet algae cleaner on a regular basis, often a few times a month.

What I have learned from this is to be really diligent about filling the tank with what I want, cleaning it prior and introducing the right living material in the tank so as not to make it a real pain in the butt when I absolutely have to clean.

For starters, anything you put in the tank has to come from a great source. If you are going to your local pond or lake and pulling pond scum, plants, frogs and turtles, Fluval is not for you. Go for Tetra. You will need to diligently clean the tank and you will need to constantly rearrange the space to accommodate the needs of the living species in there as they adapt to their new environment.

Don't buy fish at just any big box store. If you are buying a Fluval tank order your fish from a specialist. This might be in town, probably not anymore though. Online orders are actually a great idea. Choose same or next day shipping.

Finally fill the tank with the right species to keep it clean. I choose live plants that are not going to be constantly falling apart or decomposing in the aquarium that I have to fish them out. If you don't get an algae-eater fish, go for snails. In my Fluval's I have two snails for each, sometimes many more when they reproduce. This is a necessity even in a five gallon tank.

Fluval Tanks are Sexy

That chic square design that feels like something out of Europe or better yet, IKEA is pretty slick. It actually looks really sexy in a modern home design. Even in a cozy, shabby chic home Fluval tanks look like they belong.

You might be thinking this is no big deal but it really is the biggest deal. How long are you planning on keeping a fish tank in the house? Realistically, it's not going to sit there for a year or less. Most people buy a tank, fill it up, and forget about it except for a couple of times a year over the next decade or two. If your tank is going to be in your house for 10+ why not get something that's going to look great?

Because of the square and elevated designs of the Fluval tanks viewing is much easier. This can be a huge advantage for someone who really appreciates showing off their tank and species within it. I like to enjoy the shrimp crawling over and out of the mosses that I have attached to driftwood. It is relaxing and totally therapeutic.

Overall everything just looks natural. The lack of plastic barriers between the sides of the glass gives the impression that the tank is just part of the landscape of the house. You almost forget the fish are in a tank.

Bottom Line: You're going to have a tank for a long time. Decide what you want. Tetra tanks are much easier to manually clean and are significantly cheaper. Fluval tanks are gorgeous looking, but difficult to manually clean and a lot more expensive. What fits your lifestyle?

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