Rated 3 out of 5 by sduck71 OK tank, but maybe questionable value
I found this kit in the store on sale at a considerable discount. It seemed like a great deal for the price, considering it came with a filter, heater, lid, and LED light. But now that I've had time to set everything up, I'm really dubious about whether it's such a great value. Here are the pros and cons, and you can decide:
The filter that comes with it is not an expensive filter, but it's functional, and I think I had this identical filter on one of my tanks years ago. Replacement filter cartridges for it aren't expensive, and it has a slot that allows you to add extra filtration media if you want. It's a HOB (hang on back) filter, which means it's a bit ugly and obtrusive. And unfortunately, because of the way the lid is designed to fit around it, there's only one spot where you can hang it. Not a deal-breaker, but the other issue is that the filter is very loud compared to some of the newer designs out there. Within 2 days, I found the noise - combined with the unattractiveness of it - annoying enough that I replaced it.
The kit also comes with a heater. On the positive side, its 100 watts were powerful enough to heat the 65 degree water from my tap to 75 degrees within a few hours. Also, it has an adjustable thermostat. Many cheaper heaters don't, so you can't heat your water to be a specific temperature. On the negative side, you still can't set it to a specific temperature and walk away, because there are no numbers on the dial. You have to fiddle around and experiment with it for a day or two, until you find the setting that will keep your water at the temperature you want. But honestly, that's pretty typical with all heaters. Even ones with numbers often don't heat accurately and require experimentation. Fortunately, the kit comes with a little stick-on thermometer so you can easily check temperature at a glance. Again, not an expensive accessory, but it's nice to not have to purchase separately.
The bigger negative with the heater is that it's not fully submersible. The top of the heater has to stick out almost 2 inches above the water line. That means that if you fill your aquarium high enough so that the water line is hidden by the frame, the lid won't close properly. You have to leave a couple of inches of space at the top of the tank. That might not be a problem for a lot of people, but I think it's unsightly, so I had to purchase a submersible heater.
The canopy (lid) and light are just okay, depending on what you want to put in the tank. The light fixture has both a daylight and twilight setting, which is nice. And it fits into an indentation in the top, so it has a nice, built-in look. If you plan to have live plants, you will need to limit yourself to plant types that don't require a lot of light, because the light is not powerful enough for a heavily planted tank, and it mostly only covers the center of the tank, leaving the edges a bit dim. Unfortunately, because of the way it's designed to fit into the canopy, it's not easily upgradable to a better light unless you replace the whole canopy as well.
So for me personally, this purchase wasn't a great decision. Before too long, I'll end up replacing everything except the tank itself, and basic glass tanks are much cheaper than what I paid for this kit.
But maybe because I've had aquariums before, I'm a bit pickier than the average person starting out with their first tank. This kit was intended as a beginner's kit for people who want all the essentials in one package and are intimidated by the thought of having to pick out each piece separately. And it works for that. But in truth, you're paying a bit of a premium for that convenience.
Once you've had this tank up and running for even a short while, you're probably going to want to upgrade some of the components. Better filters, heaters, and light fixtures are available for a price comparable to what you pay to get these ones as part of a kit. A little bit of online research, or a conversation with a knowledgeable salesperson, can really help you get a setup you'll be happier with, and still stay within your budget. It just depends on whether you want to put in a little bit of extra time and effort.
January 21, 2016
Rated 4 out of 5 by Bettanana Great small aquarium. Good shape for viewing fish.
I started with a 3 gallon kit for my betta and 2 small Cory cats last year. I received the 5 gallon kit as a Christmas present. I like the shape, but it makes it a little more difficult to put a background on it. The filter that came with the kit was broken, but Petsmart replaced it with a comparable (better actually) filter. I'm sure I will enjoy the new tank as much as the old one and my fish seem to enjoy the extra room. The only thing that might make the kit better would be to include a heater.
January 2, 2016
Rated 1 out of 5 by eminis Don't buy this brand of aquarium
We bought a 37 gallon brand new marineland fish tank. We set everything up and had the tank running for about 5 days. After a week of getting the tank we come home to a huge mess and damage to our house. The whole tank emptied out due to a bad seal. I'm not happy and will not be buying this brand again!!!! Our stand is destroyed too from all the water soaking on it and all our fish dead! Not to mention a broken hearted 6 year old. This was her Christmas gift. Extremely disappointing.
December 31, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5 by DeeeCeee Some Things to be Aware Of
Purchased this system yesterday and it is not set up yet. That being said, I want to point out a few things. Number one, if you buy this, OPEN THE BOX AND CHECK THE PARTS before you leave the area. I got home, took everything out of the box and found that the clear plastic piece that protects the lights was cracked. The way the hood is packed in the carton has lots of room for improvement. It's just in a plastic bag. I've bought $5 tchatchkas that were packed with custom cut styrofoam to protect them - this hood is just loose in a plastic bag. I've heard that Marineland is very cooperative and I will call them to have them send a replacement part. If there's a problem, I will certainly mention it in a review. The next concern is that I had expected that the filter would be enclosed within the hood, similar to the old Eclipse systems. This is not the case. They don't show it in the photo on the box (probably for aesthetic reasons) but the filter sticks up several inches above the hood. Also, the cut-out in the hood for the filter leaves a largish area uncovered. I doubt any fish could jump out that way, but it is a way for dust to get in the tank and will speed up evaporation more than if the entire tank was covered by the hood. As long as you're aware of these points and they're not a problem, this should be a fine aquarium system.
December 20, 2015