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Items you can get for free or cheap for your aquarium

Updated on June 26, 2012

Introduction

In this Hub I’d like to present some items/ideas to you that will either cost you very little to nothing. Some of these items may not be readily available in the area where you live and you probably will not be able to find these items very cheap depending on where you live. However, at the very least I hope these can give you ideas for your aquarium.

I have provided some images from my own 110 gallon aquarium with some of the items I have suggested being used in the tank. Before using any of these items, please rinse them with very hot water very thoroughly. *Please note that this hub mostly applies to the American audience*

PVC pipe

What is a PVC pipe? A polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe is made from a plastic and vinyl combination material. PVC pipes used for water systems. They are durable and last for a long time which makes them ideal for hiding spots in aquariums! The last time I used one was many years ago in a fifty gallon community aquarium. I had two differente algae eaters; the Indian Algae eater and the more popular, Plecostomus. They made it their territory very quickly! Of course it does not have to be used for just for bottom feeders, any fish can use it especially if they are more shy species.

Home Depot, along with most hardware stores carry PVC pipes. Home Depot sells different sizes ranging in prices from a few cents to a few dollares depending on the size you get.


Flower pots

Flower pots like I've stated in my other Hub about Platy fry survival make excellent hiding and breeding spots. You can get these for rather cheap even free depending on who you know and where you live. Out here in The States, I was about to buy small flower puts, four for a dollar at dollar store out here. They are big enough for small to medium size fish to hide. A good place to look if you want to spend any money is Craigslist. Sometimes people throw out items for people to pick up.

Home Depot and other hardware stores have flower pots of all different sizes. The size depends on the size your tank and whether or not you want to use them as hiding spots or breeding places or both. I went to a dollar store recently and I saw an ornament, a vase, with a rock like surface. It was positioned on it's side which instantly gave me the idea of using it for the aquarium! It cost a dollar and nine cents. I liked the fact it had small opening to it which is perfect for small fish like Cichlids.

Gravel

I found a busted ten gallon tank some weeks ago with an ornament and gravel in it....lucky me! Browse Craiglist to see if people are getting rid of gravel for free or for cheap. Sometimes when they sell aquariums, they include the gravel with it. If you live near a river or lake, you could possibly use that gravel. Be sure to wash the gravel with hot water twice to get any dirt and bacteria off it. I always wash things off with very hot water in a bucket before using it. If it has been soaked in a chemical or oil, I would not use it whatsoever.

Air stones, fish nets, therometers etc, etc

First bet would most likely be Craigslist or any classified ads website. I bought an Aqua Clear power filter for up to 70 gallon tanks off someone used for $25usd that actually goes for average about anywhere, $49.99 to $59.99usd. Check out local garage sales where you live, you could find aquarium items for cheap. The Only 99 cents store where I live, sells the round air stones 3 for a dollar which is a good deal since a lot of stores may sell each of those for a dollar instead. I also found some fish nets and therometers there also a dollar each.


Take my poll

How much a month on average do you spend on your aquarium?

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    • american13 profile imageAUTHOR

      american13 

      5 years ago

      Of course saltwater tanks will cost you more money. No one has to have a big tank just to enjoy fish. If I had my own apartment, I would be content with a 20 gallon aquarium.

    • Insane Mundane profile image

      Insane Mundane 

      5 years ago from Earth

      I don't have cable TV, but I still have seen a few episodes of the show called "Tanked." You should check out a few flicks of this, then tell me about what it is like to invest money into an aquarium. Check it out, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjDeI1hmvUo

    • american13 profile imageAUTHOR

      american13 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Insane :) I think depending on where you live, it can be somewhat costly and of course it depends on many other factors.

      I have a fairly large aquarium, and I haven't spend much money on it in the past year. What's ironic is, I want to invest more into it!

    • Insane Mundane profile image

      Insane Mundane 

      5 years ago from Earth

      I used to be fairly big into the aquarium hobby, and did so for several years. However, it is rather expensive to maintain albeit I never chose these free aquarium additives you mentioned since, percentage wise, it doesn't even come close to the amount you spend on food, water supplies and the ongoing needs of the filtration system, etc.

      Either way, thanks for sharing those ideas for free and cheap items, as many of us need to be living more frugal nowadays; cheers!

    • Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

      Emmanuel Kariuki 

      6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Well, its always easier to buy, Richard, but believe me one day you will make your own ornaments and derive a lot of pleasure. I have tried everything from making my own tanks, light boxes to ornaments. At one time a turned the whole thing into a business. I will write a hub soon on the ornaments and with pictures.

    • american13 profile imageAUTHOR

      american13 

      6 years ago

      Hi Emmanuel

      I have it running it through my veins as well! Ive sort of thought about making my own aquarium ornaments but I feel it would be easier to just get some for free or cheap.

    • Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

      Emmanuel Kariuki 

      6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi american13,

      I have currently turned to writing more than fish keeping, but the hobby runs in my veins.

      I'd like to add that making your own driftwood would require some patience. All woods have a dye which will only disappear after the wood has been submerged for a long time. Hasty use of your DIY driftwood could tint the water in your tank.

    • american13 profile imageAUTHOR

      american13 

      6 years ago

      Excellent suggestion Emmanuel! I totally forgot about driftwood! I see driftwood all the time out in nature but have no room for it at the moment. Thanks for reading and following! -Richard

    • Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

      Emmanuel Kariuki 

      6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      These are very good tips for aquarists who want to enjoy the hobby without raiding a bank.

      I would like to suggest driftwood too. If you live near a river or lake, you can pick some interesting shapes of driftwood. If you don't but can find a place with termites, drop some pieces of wood so the termites can create interesting natural designs for you. Hardwoods are best. You will then need to submerge the wood in water for weeks, maybe even a month to make it waterlogged so that when you put it in the aquarium, it will sink and stay down. You don't want it floating around.

      Before you put any driftwood in the aquarium, wash thoroughly with hot water to ensure that uninvited guests are not introduced in the aquarium.

      I will be following you for more tips - shared

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