See what our amazing customers have to say about our Tempe Saltwater Fish Store and compare our aquarium pet shop.
Best Aquarium Shop in AZ
Our reviews speak for themselves and we love that our customers come back to our fish store for the best deals in the Phoenix area.
See what our amazing customers have to say about our Tempe Saltwater Fish Store and compare our aquarium pet shop.
“I’ve been doing business with Chris now for about 11/2 years now. I’ve always received great advice, both about my fish & corals and I’ve never had any problems with any thing that I’ve bought from him. All the live stock I have purchased has been great, and what is better are the prices!!! You just can’t beat his prices I’ve always been up front with Chris and it pays. Because you just can’t get the advice or price at your local fish stores. They are in it for the money, and not the hobby. So if you go to Chris you’re going to get what you need. If he doesn’t have it, I’m sure he will point you in the right direction. Like I said, he’s a no bull kind of guy.”Fish Store Customer
I started back in the hobby after being out of it for about 10 years. I don’t like big box stores especially big box pet stores and searched for a aquarium shop similar to those back east. I found that in Discount Aquarium! Friendly knowledgeable staff, that aren’t trying to suck every dollar from you. Used and discounted items, as well as a healthy stock of new stuff. They seem to carry discount brands as well and have stuck by anything I’ve bought from them. IMO You can tell that serious fish keepers go there just by the vibe. I would recommend them to anyone.RB Dwobeng
I have been doing business with Chris (at Discount Reef and Aquarium) for over 6 years. I started with a 24 gallon reef tank and now I am up to a 90 gallon bowfrount. Chris has been supplying me with ALL my tanks through the years.
As well as a lot of livestock in my tank. His knowledge is vast and he backs up everything he sells. I have relied on him for advice and equipment. He makes reefkeeping affordable.
My only regret is that they moved way out from their original north Phoenix location! But I am more than willing to drive to Tempe for the excellent service.
Chris has always been very good to me. I started going to this shop when they were in central Phoenix. Chris is knowledgeable on saltwater fish and care and keeps it simple for you. Won’t scare you into needing a degree in chemistry to have a saltwater tank. Prices are always pretty low compared to other shops in the valley.
He ordered my mp40 for me and beat everyone elses price so I would make the drive from the west valley. Chris also has the best selection of used stuff. Just a heads up, that his shop has stuff everywhere and appears cluttered. The guy is non stop busy helping people and on phone when in store as well but he patient because it’s worth the trip. Because of that you get an honest, not sugar coated or expensive solution to your reefing problem or question. Chris will only sell you what you need. Would recommend 1000%. Wished I was closer.Tommy Trekce
CAleb AkullianI wouldn’t be in this hobby still if it weren’t for Chris. He has saved my tanks several times due to unforeseen issues over the years. You can ask him anything about marine or freshwater related and guaranteed he will know the answer. Prices CANNOT be beat which is amazing in this competitive business. If he doesn’t have something in stock he will order and have it within the next or day after and some cases SAME day depending on time of placed order. He somehow was able to get me a new Red Sea Reefer 250v3 when no one else had it in the valley! That’s what you call service!
Doesn’t matter your budget or desired aquarium size. Chris will help you along the way to see it through and then some. Highly recommend Discount Reef.Charles Kopf
I stopped by today to get a light and some stuff I needed to do a sump on a 40g ( I know I’m weird )
Got everything I needed and then some
The hob overflow had a crack so I had to fix it ( not a huge deal)
Everything else worked great
I even found a coral ( frag .. looks like a kenya tree) in the cheato
Good prices , good inventory .. one of my favorite shops
About 2 months or so ago, my wife and I decided to research about saltwater aquariums for our sons 3rd birthday. We read a lot and went to a few different stores. Knowing that this hobby is a little pricey starting out and not ever having any experience with aquariums we were a little apprehensive to say the least. That was until we decided to try out discount aquariums. We have been down to the store atleast 5-6 times the last month and every time we went there we felt less and less apprehensive. We started out with a budget and after reading reviews of people being up sold on stuff, I have to say, we were never once up sold. In fact we actually up sold ourselves by going with the Aquatop Recife Eco 40 gal all in one system. After discussing our options with Austin, even though he isn’t the biggest fan of all in one systems, we decided it was the best for two newbies to start with. We absolutely love it.
I can not stress this next point enough, THE STAFF IS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL AND PATIENT. Never once did we feel uncomfortable or rushed in this entire process with the staff and owner at Discount Aquariums. We usually have our almost 3 yr old son with us when we go and the staff is amazing with him. We asked a ton of questions and never once felt as though we were being a nuisance. The knowledge and wealth of information from the staff is incredible. They really helped us feel at ease with this whole process and our family, especially my son, is absolutely in love with our new family members, 2 clownfish we named Nemo and Dory. Yeah we aren’t too original but that’s what our son picked out for names?.
Thank you so much Discount aquariums, especially Austin. You guys have been extremely helpful and have made this process a lot more fun and exciting for our family. We can not be more thankful and we can not wait to continue our journey in this hobby with you guys!!!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I set up and maintain a Quarantine Tank?
A QT tank must be large enough for the fish that are to be quarantined. Since it will be running copper, it does not need live rock and will be a sterile system. It does need mechanical filterization from a hang on back filter or canister and will need weekly water changes to keep the nitrates in check.
With water changes will come the need to add more copper to maintain a proper therapeutic dose. I prefer to use complexed copper because it is less stressful on fish. Provided fish do not show signs of disease, I believe it is sufficient to quarantine new fish for two weeks, but there are many people who believe in a 5 week quarantine.
What type of substrate should I use in my salt tank?
I like to use Aragonite Sand. It is available in many grain sizes and has natural buffering qualities that are good for saltwater and Cichlid tanks. I believe it is fine to buy used sand or crushed coral when available for swim tanks only.
Consider the inhabitance that you will be putting in the tank before selecting the size grain of the substrate. Many sand sifting fish like gobies and sand divers like some wrasses need to have fine sand to be happy as do stingrays and sharks.
If a tank has been treated with copper, much of that copper can be contained in the sand and this should not be used in a reef tank. Only use bagged sand for reef tanks to be sure it is not loaded with copper. If you buy unwashed sand from an existing tank, take about ½ gallon of it and leave it as is and rinse the rest well.
There is too much anaerobic bacteria and other things that have been disturbed by moving the sand and if you start with this you are likely to crash your tank. The same goes for if you move your tank and disturb the substrate.
How do I install a UV sterilizer on my tank?
UVs just need to have water pumping through them. You can hook them up so your return from any pump or filter sends water through them and then back to the tank. For non-drilled aquariums or ones without a canister there are hang on models available.
If the return pumps over 300GPH the UV will do fine for water clarification, but will not have a good kill rate for protozoan which helps with disease control. You also don’t need as large a UV if you are just using one for water clarification. On tanks with a sump you can just use a small submersible pump in the sump to pump water through the UV and Back to the sump.
In this case the UV can sit on top of the sump or be mounted behind it on the back or side of the stand. Bulbs should be replaced every 9-12 months even if they are still burning.
How do I know when to change my RODI cartridges?
It will depend on how much water has gone through the unit and the quality of the water going through the unit. Cartridges last longer if water goes through a softener first. Some RODI units have a pressure gage on the inlet to give some indication of when the cartridges are needing to be changed based on the pressure it takes to push water through them.
The best way to know is to get a TDS meter and test the water coming out of the unit. Some of these are hand held and others go inline and both types are fairly inexpensive. When the TDS gets over 10 PPM then it is time to change cartridges. Change the carbon and sediment filters at the same time.
Change the DI every other time you change the sediment and carbon and change the RO membrane every other time you change the DI.
I have an RO filter that was used for drinking water. Can I use this for my saltwater aquarium?
First you will want to replace the RO membrane and the carbon and sediment filters if the RO has been in use for some time. Next you will want to ad what is called a “piggyback” DI to your RO.
The DI housing and cartridge have an inlet and outlet and you just connect the outlet from your RO into the inlet so that water passes through the DI after leaving the RO.
Is it best to have as large a sump as you can?
When you put an overflow on a tank with a sump, the tank no longer loses any water because the water is kept at the overflow level by the return pump. The sump however loses water as the tank and sump evaporate. For salt water tanks, one chamber of the sump is reserved for the protein skimmer and maintains constant water level.
This leaves 2/3 of the sump, the refugium section and return pump section, for an evaporation reservoir. If the sump is small and does not have an auto top off float connected to a water source, then the sump will need to be topped off often, possibly too often.
A larger sump also allows for a larger refugium section to act as a bio filter with a deep sand bed and macro algae.
I bought a used saltwater aquarium. Should I use the old substrate or buy new?
There are a few things to consider. If the old crushed substrate is more than three years old it would be best to replace it with new aragonite substrate. You can get this in different grain sizes.
The new substrate will have better PH buffering abilities for several years. In selecting grain size you need to consider what type of fish or inverts you will have. Many people with reef tanks prefer finer grains because many of the smaller fish and some inverts are sand sifters or burrowers and do better with fine substrate.
I like to go with special grade reef sand, rather than sugar sand because the very find sand tends not to settle as well when agitated by water movement or livestock. Some people like to use black sand, but in most cases it will make the tank look dark even with powerful lighting.
If you will be starting a reef tank, you will also need to consider if the old substrate was in a tank treated with copper. If it was in a reef tank, then it was not treated with copper, but if it was in a fish only tank then you cannot know for sure.
My aquarium is up and running and I want to install a sump. How do I determine what size sump to get?
You will need to determine what shape sump you think you can get through the doors. I would suggest cutting a piece of cardboard, to various sizes until you find one that tells you what size tank you can fit in the stand.
One reason people often want a large sump is because when you set a tank up with an overflow the tank will always stay full to the level of the fins on the overflow box.
As water evaporates from the system, only the sumps water level goes down. The larger the sump the longer you have before needing to ad water. With wet/dry filters that are often used for fresh water, there is generally even less evaporation time because the water level is left much lower to keep the bio balls out of sitting water.
There are two ways to solve this problem. The first requires a water source. A 1/4″ piece of RO filter tubing is connected to the water source (hose bib, sink pluming etc.) and in some cases an RODI filter and then it is connected to a float valve in the sump that keeps the sump at the proper level all the time.
The second way works very well when there is no water source near by. A second tank or container is put under the stand as a water reservoir and a device called an auto top off unit is installed. This device consists of a very small pump that goes in the bottom of the water reservoir, a float that goes in the sump and a device that controls the water level.
The ATO devise gets plugged into the power source and the small pump gets plugged into the device. When the float drops a certain amount the device is triggered to turn on the pump which fills the sump to the proper level.
I have been doing water changes since I set up my tank and the water in my tank is still cloudy. How do I fix it?
If you only have a course sponge in your sump or filter, put some fine bonded filter medium in so the water is forced to go through it after the sponge. In addition to the benefits of reducing nitrates and phosphates, adding Chemipure to your filter will help to give you crystal clear water.
Sometimes there are water born algae in tanks that you cannot see, but that makes the water a bit cloudy. If your tank has just been set up recently give it a couple more weeks then if needed you can put a small UV Sterilizer on the return line from your filter or pump. This will help clear the water
Can you tell me what type of salt I should us in my tank? Also, what advise can you give me if I want to use tap water in my tank?
Let’s start with the second part of this question. First it is best to use RODI filtered water, but if for one reason or another you want to use tap water then there are a few things you should do to lesson the negative impacts.
Use a water conditioner like Amquel Plus when you do large tops offs or water changes. Use Chemi Pure and consider a phosphate reactor. For swim tanks I recommend using Instant Ocean Salt because it is a low cost quality salt.
This can be used for Reef tanks, but you will need to dose more calcium and trace elements than if you use a better reef salt like Red Sea Reef pro which I recommend.
I am moving my saltwater tank. How should I deal with moving the substrate?
It is very easy to crash a tank by reusing substrate if not done properly. Many people buy used substrate or transfer substrate when moving an aquarium.
First off if buying used substrate, if you are not certain that it came from a reef tank and you are doing a reef tank you need to use a copper removal media to remove the copper before adding coral or inverts to the tank. If you buy used substrate that has not been washed you need to rinse it clean and this is the same case if you transfer substrate.
The reason is that too much of the anaerobic bacteria have died off when the substrate is mixed up exposing it to oxygen in the water or air. A few cups of the substrate can be set aside and used to seed the tank, but I recommend using a bacteria starter product like API Quick Start instead.
To rinse the substrate just fill five gallon buckets half way and run a garden hose up and down in the substrate letting the dirty water spill over the top. The best way to take substrate out of a tank is with a wet dry vacuumed which is a great tool for any aquarist to have.
I just got a drilled tank and I am told I need bulkheads to plum it out. What are bulkheads and how do I know what size to get?
Bulkheads are a pluming fixture that goes in the holes in a drilled tank so that it can be plumed for a closed loop system, overflow, or both. Bulkheads come in two pressure ratings, schedule 40 and schedule 80.
Schedule 40 is sufficient for most aquarium applications, but some people prefer schedule 80. Because the hole size is slightly different for each of these, if you have a tank that is already drilled then that may dictate which one you need to use. The first step is to measure the diameter of the hole you need a bulkhead for.
What is a bit confusing is that this does not tell you which size bulkhead you need. The bulkhead size is based on the size pipe or threaded fitting that can go into bulkhead. For a 1”schedule 40 bulkhead you need a 1¾” hole. For a 1” schedule 80 bulkhead you need a 1 7/8” hole.
Once you know the hole size you need bulkheads for you can search on Google for “Bulkhead Hole Size” and find the ones you need. Bulkheads come either threaded or slip on the inside and outside so you need to order the correct combination of thread/thread, slip/slip, thread/slip or slip/thread for your application.
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