Warnings You Should Know About This Great Tank-- Petco Bookshelf Aquarium
Written: Jul 26, 2012 (Updated Jul 26, 2012)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Fits In Bookcases, Lots of swimming room, Decent price
Cons:Filter not good, suction cups mar sides
The Bottom Line: This tank is a fantastic shape, pleasant to use, and easy to fit into slim places. Just be aware of some warnings first and it can be a wonderful experience!
It all started with my fascination with duochrome iridescence. I have been caring for betta fish for about 10 years now, and have learned a lot about caring for fish. I saw neons in the store, and contrary to what several people tried to tell me, I wanted to raise them despite being known to be very difficult to raise.
We don't have much room in our house so finding a place for an aquarium was quite the challenge. I really really wanted to raise neons, so I looked and looked and finally discovered the Petco Bookshelf Fish Aquarium Kit.
WHAT IS THE PETCO BOOKSHELF FISH AQUARIUM LIKE?
The Petco Bookshelf Fish Aquarium is an acrylic aquarium that has black frames on the bottom and the top for stability. The aquarium is made all in one piece with no seams on the edges, but they are rounded.
The top frame has a ridge on it which allows a see through top made from plastic to rest on top of it. There are punch outs on the back for a filter, heater, and one other area for a small item.
In the front area, there is a place for the accompanying light to rest upon. The light comes with a T8 red toned florescent bulb in the kit too. The light has a push button- not a turn switch.
Also with this kit is a filter with one set of filters in it. There is not a heater in the kit.
The aquarium itself measures 23 long, 11 inches deep (once you put an Aquaclear filter on it), and 12 inches high (which includes the light that sits on top). The water capacity is 6.6 gallons.
The front of the aquarium is bowed so that you can see the fish more easily. The top also has a flip up feeding lid.
HOW DOES THE PETCO BOOKSHELF AQUARIUM PERFORM?
The Petco Bookshelf Aquarium was a great deal on sale at $34 which is how much I paid for the kit. The kit is fantastic, but there are some things that you should be made aware of.
First of all, do not use the filter that comes with this unit. I started to lose all of my fish and nothing would live in this aquarium until I replaced the filter that came with it. I purchased an Aquaclear 30 for this aquarium and like magic, the fish stopped dying.
If you persist on wanting to use the filter included, the replacement filters are not only expensive, but do not fit like the one that comes with it. That is also frustrating.
The light that came with mine is red and rather faint. It is a 18 inch light florescent in the T8 format. It works fine for now although it is rather dim and I plan to replace the bulb with a full spectrum soon. The one thing is that the plastic lid on the tank keeps the bulbs from rusting and water damage, but it also can get pretty hot. Not having it on more than 7 hours a day is key.
The lid is not overly strong, but I have found that if I treat it carefully, it lasts just fine. The feed door is just big enough to put in flake food or pellets. To do anything else, the entire top must be removed. Still not that big of a problem.
Because this is made from acrylic, the sides do not do well with suction cups. They will stick fine at first, but then leave permanent marks and uneven texture after a while so you need to move the suction cup.
This might not be a problem with the heater in the back, but my favorite form of thermometer is suction cup and that makes for some pretty frustrating marks on the front window of the aquarium.
Cleaning is also tricky- you can NOT use scrubbing or rough instruments with this tank. To wipe off algae, you need to use a paper towel or something that will not scratch the surface- just about everyone else will. A plain sponge might not clean that well, but it won't scratch.
This does not come with a heater. I have used two heaters, my favorite being the new Aqueon Pro 50. It just fits if I dig it down into the gravel, although you can also use it horizontally if you like.
OTHER INFORMATION THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU
I have my aquarium successfully stocked with 3 neons, 2 corys, and 2 guppies. I do 1 gallon water changes once a week to keep the tank healthy and use Prime in the water from SEachem Labs. I also use Purigen 100ml bags which are fantastic for keeping the tank in great shape.
I do not use carbon, since Purigen does a better job without removing the trace minerals that the fish need to be healthy.
This tank is fantastic because it gives a lot of swimming room from side to side and it is not as deep so bettas especially do well in it. Fish are very easy to see and I find the dimensions to be the best tank I have seen yet.
My fish are doing beautifully in this tank. It is not quite a year old, so I can not comment on long term usage, but if you take care of this tank you can easily get several years or more out of it.
The key is to not use the filter that comes with the kit- it might be more investment, but in the long run you will still have fish to look at instead of tons of bloated dead bodies sucked up into the unit.
You can only get this aquarium at Petco stores or online at PEtco.com or Amazon.com which is another outlet for Petco.
SIDE NOTE ABOUT SUCCESSFULLY KEEPING NEON TETRAS
I had been told by many people that raising neons was very difficult. Once in a while I would meet someone that would tell me they had no problems, but it was not the usual response.
After losing a LOT of neons, I began to research to find out if something might work. I tried EVERYTHING. Then I came upon an old trick that pet stores always used to do when I was a kid- pennies in the fish tank.
I had just lost most of the school of neons I had tried to raise again when I stuck some 1970s pennies in the gravel- 2 to be exact.
Instantly the neons stopped dying and I have not lost one since.
I brought this up to someone I know who works in a pet store and she said that makes perfect sense. She worked in a store that had no copper in the water, and the neons always die. She moved to a new store where they have lots of copper in the water, and the neons do great but they lose quite a few other fish.
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