OK so first of all, let's just get this off my chest: I'm new to the aquarium scene, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.
In my attempts at beginning my first ever aquarium I searched high and low for a setup that I could easily assemble and maintain. I knew that a big tank would be too complicated for a beginner, so I set my sights on 10 gallons max. After comparing a few different stores (Petco, Wal-Mart, and a few locals) I found an Aqua Culture Starter 10 Aquarium kit at Wal-Mart.
OK, now let's also take into consideration that I've had the tank for 3 weeks. (Knock on wood.)
The total of the kit was under $30 retail. Not on sale. Which was fine by me. Box listed contents as:
Size 10 Glass Aquarium
Full Incandescent Light Hood (bulbs included)
AQUA-Tech 5-15 Power Filter with EZ-Change Filter Cartridge
Premium Tropical Fish Food and Goldfish Food
Fishkeeping Guide and Easy Set-up Instructions
The aquarium and hood were Regent. The H20 conditioner was AquaSafe (a Tetra brand), which was okay, but I was told to use AquaPlus. The Foods were all TetraMin (once again, fine by me).
I had never set up a tank before. Ever. Yeah, I'd had bettas in the past, woopty-doo... Complete set up took maybe about 15 minutes, and, considering it was my first ever and I did it all by myself, it was relatively easy. I've had nothing but smooth sailing with this kit and I would recommend it to any beginner. It's relatively inexpensive and easy to set up, and can be found at just about any Wal-Mart. And let's face it, every town now has it's own Wally World just about.
I've been pondering on whether or not I want to buy the 55 gallon kit by the same manufacturer, comes complete with the stand and all... but I think I'll wait a while and get some feedback from others before I make the purchase.
So, final verdict? The Aqua Culture Starter 10 kit is easy to assemble, easy to maintain, inexpensive, and a good size for a beginner. I would definitely recommend it to a beginner.
Added By: mr. sanders I have bought the Aqua culture deluxe 10 and is a great product. good for every beginner (like me)
Added By: AiWen Yes, I have this tank too, and I too got it for $30 USD. Hmm... Everything this aquarium kit has is good, except for the lighting. 2 weeks after I got it, the lighting broke and I had to get another hood and lighting for $29. There should be a deluxe 10 gallon tank by Aqua Culture too. I think that is the one that has better lighting. But yeah, it is great for beginners.
Name: Ian Comments: Welcome to the hobby, if you are anything like my wife and I, you will soon have a tank in every room.
I would like to correct a common misconception that you described regarding tank size. It is actually easier to keep a larger tank than a smaller one. Your tank is it's own little ecosystem, and a small ecosystem can be upset by even the slightest contamination. If you have a larger tank there is a higher dilution effect for contaminants introduced, and more resistance to changing conditions.
Name: terri Comments: Actually, as an aquarist, I have to say for the record starting out with a 10 gallon tank is the hardest of all for a beginner. Mainly because too many things can go wrong. I actually bought this particular tank, I was lucky with the fish I chose to start the tank and cycle with. However finding the filters for the Aqua-tech is a *itch. Just fyi.
Name: Zac Mazza Comments: The deluxe kit is definitely worth the extra 20 dollars. It comes with a heater as well as upgraded single tube lighting fixture. Much better than the screw in bulbs and gives you more opportunity to upgrade. The AquaTech kit is definitely a great, economical purchase to get you started!
Name: Brian Abrigana Comments: It's pretty good. It was easy to setup. The biofiber sucks though. Since the filters are made by marineland though, you can actually buy a biowheel, biowheel bracket and biowheel bearings and put it on the filters. You ask, how do I know it's made by Marineland? It says on the back of the biofiber in big letters MARINELAND thats how I know and I've done it before. You'll have to figure out the size that you need though. Just ask on a fish forum. You will also have to cut the lid. The directions are on kokosgoldfish.com just register and ask.