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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2011
RE-EDIT:
As of November 2013, the unit is still amazing. LED's going strong, pumps still works and tank is not leaking. Would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a pico tank...

EDIT:
I purchased this tank a little over 3 months ago, and I now have to edit my review.
Unfortunately, one LED in the light started to flicker just 2 and a half months in, and went out completely at 3 months. I contacted the company and they say they will send me a new one when they get them in again, but they couldn't tell me when that might be. I'm not sure if they were serious or if I was given a brush-off. Now several bulbs are completely out or are flickering. At this rate, within the year, the light will no longer function - please see the video review I uploaded (trying to anyway) to see what the lights are doing.
RE-EDIT:
Fluval did indeed send replacement a light, and a year and a half later and it is still going strong. Fluval acknowledged that they received a shipment of bad lights, and are doing their best to remedy the situation. And I can attest that there is enough light to grow live plants in this tank. I have 2 species of Java Fern and both are growing crazily.

I will update this review again to let the public know how the company finally handled it...

ORIGINAL REVIEW:
I had originally bought a "GloFish" 3.5 gallon tank for my Betta. Couldn't get one that didn't have a scratched tank, so I did some more research and found this little gem and I couldn't be more tickled with it.

It is sort of small - has a footprint about the size of an IPad and claims to hold 2 gallons. The glass on the back compartment is frosted, so you can not see the equipment, a very nice feature, IMO. The glass (real glass - NOT acrylic!) is of a slightly thinner thickness than a larger tank might have, but I could detect no flex or bow, so it is probably thick enough for the job and I even found a forum thread where a child had pulled a setup one down off of a night stand and the tank did not break and did not leak when it was setup again - talk about tough! And I sort of like the brushed aluminum molding that hides the glass seams - seams are tacky and these look very stylish and protect the edges well. They finished off the bottom with a THICK, polished acrylic band - like the black band on most aquariums, but this one is thicker, polished and looks sweet - not cheap looking like most.

Setup is a no-brainer. It is a little difficult to get the pump into the compartment as the electrical cord does need to be bent sharply where it enters the pump body to get it to fit in, and then a little pressure will push it down to the bottom. I've taken mine in and out a couple of times now and never got it stuck as one reviewer had happen. Plenty of room in the back for a mini-heater and Co2/o2.

The pump is rated for 40GPH, but has a built-in "throttle" that cuts it back by probably half of that. I found it to still be just a little too much flow for my Betta, so used a mini valve in-line (from an old marineland canister) to dampen the flow even more, but you could use this too: Two Little Fishies Ball Valve w/ Hose Barbs for 1/2? (12.7 mm) I.D. Tubing - (1 Per Pack) Now it is perfect for the Betta. And the system runs silently - a bonus if you want this in your bedroom. The filtration is way overkill - like what you might find in a large reef setup. But I don't think there is such a thing as too much filtration, so this isn't a complaint, just acknowledgment.

Ok - the LED's. When I bought this tank, my main requirement was that it have good LED lighting that I could use on a timer. The "GloFish" tank has a weird switch that allowed you to cycle through the different light "schemes", but it would not work with a timer at all. The LED light that comes with the SPEC is fully timer compatible and is WAY bright. I have multimeter for garden use, that has a little light intensity meter (not sure what it is testing specifically), and these LED lights peak at about 750 (on a scale of 100-2000) - my 4ft florescent grow lights only peak at 500 and sunlight on an overcast day comes up as 350. So these get the job done. I was worried about the clip-on aspect of the light and that it might throw glare or otherwise get obnoxious, but it does not - angle it just right and even if you are lower than the level of the light, you don't have it getting into your eyes. I am concerned about longevity, as many LED lights have a tendency to burn out quickly, but Fluval has a pretty good rep for customer service and the system has a 2 year warranty, so hopefully if there are any issues, Fluval will remedy it with a new light.

The only things I do not like are the black back wall, and that is just an aesthetic thing, and the clear acrylic top. Personally, I think they should have carried over the frosted glass idea to the back wall, and used frosted acrylic, but others might not have liked that. Not sure how they could have improved the top, but it seems sort of cheap (compared with the quality of the tank itself) and like it was more of an afterthought. I can see this top getting all scratched up with little provocation, lol.

So all in all, this is an amazing little tank, crafted with care, and mostly of quality materials. And only a bit more pricey than any acrylic counterparts.
If you are looking for a tiny tank, this one rocks!
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2011
I was initially keeping my betta in a wall-mounted bowl with no filtration, light, etc. That lasted about a week, and I started looking for something more roomy and easy to maintain. I found this tank at my local pet store on sale. I read some reviews online and went ahead. In my reading, the most common complaint was that the four corners each have a band of metal where the glass joins are. This isn't a problem for me, as I typically only view this tank from one angle (from where I'm sitting now). I could see if you were used to a tank with very clean or invisible joins, this might be a drawback.

My single betta loves the extra space (people tend not to give bettas much room), and I love that there's built in filtration! I don't run it all the time, as it tends to be a bit strong for his liking, but I do run it about one hour a day. This keeps most crud out of my betta's living space. The light that comes with the tank throws a fairly harsh white light, but I suspect you could switch this out for another tank-mounted light if you wanted to.

To give you an idea, the tank is big enough that I have a single 8" plant (plastic), a 2.5" diameter moss ball (real), and a single structure for my betta to hide in. Beneath all this, I have about 1.5" of substrate to which I'll be adding mini clams next week!

Very good tank for beginners (me!) or for small spaces.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2013
This nano tank is basically without flaw, unless it is expected to function as something it isn't. It really isn't a good "beginner" tank, small tanks require more knowledge and care to maintain, not less. I think that accounts for the majority of poor reviews, especially when the tank itself is accused of "killing" a purchasers fish!
First, this is not a goldfish, livebearer, or community tank. It is too small. If you try to use it for any of those and they die it isn't the tank's fault. Two gallons is too small for the majority of commonly kept species. The one exception of course is a Betta, which some would also object to, but that's another story. Please note however, the Fluval Spec is not marketed specifically as a Betta tank. It makes a fine one with some simple adjustments however. It also makes a lovely plant only tank. With refinements, it could be a very pretty ornamental shrimp, dwarf crayfish, or dwarf frog aquarium.
For a Betta you generally need to quell the turbulence generated by the filtration system. This is easily accomplished by fitting a piece of sponge OVER the exhaust nozzle, not stuffing it inside it as others suggest. A one inch square piece can be cut from the filter block, and a small slit cut partway in it so it slips tightly over the nozzle for the purpose. It's black sponge and nearly invisible in the tank. The sponge will diffuse the flow without reducing it the way an airstone breaks up large roiling bubbles into small gentle ones. You retain the filtration rate but your Betta doesn't feel like he's living in the washing machine.
The filter seems to be the most misunderstood part of the kit, but it's a major strong point. Yes, the pump is a snug fit and requires a net handle or similar to seat it, but it will stay put. The flow rate is strong, but is easily subdued and good turnover is rarely a bad thing in an aquarium. One reviewer even stated there was no way for the water to get through the filter so they were returning it. I guess they have lost faith in gravity.
The large sponge for mechanical and bio-filtration is an efficient design. Fluval has chosen function over profits by not designing it to require frequent replacement "cartridges" which are inferior. Kudos to them for that. The bag of carbon isn't normally needed, you can simply add more sponge. Even the ceramic rings are unnecessary and certainly don't require regular replacement as per the instructions. The large sponge block provides more than adequate bio and mechanical filtration- the rings are redundant. I do cut about the top third of the sponge block so it can be removed and cleaned of debris without pulling out the whole thing since the bottom 2/3 needs rinsing very infrequently.
This is a fine and classy looking little tank. Like any small system it requires extra care to keep it stable and upsets are magnified exponentially. That makes it not an ideal first tank or childs tank, but a well made, well designed, aquarist's nano tank.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Wish I could give a 4.5 star review, because I would give this tank an "A", but not a 100% "A+". Instead I give a 4, although a "B" is a bit low.

The imperfect rating is mostly because the instructions fall short in providing certain info, but once I figured out a few things on my own this tank is just great! It is beautiful on my shelf, with a nice bright LED light. The light is great for showing off my betta fish's brilliant color and nourishing the plants I placed in the tank. The pump and filter make the tank easy-peasy to care for, esp. since I only have one betta fish (and a few sneaky snails). The black wall between the filter/pump and the living area of the tank very nicely hides the guts and mechanics of the tank and allows a minimalist, uncluttered, and (depending how you decorate) natural appearance to the tank. I really recommend this tank for a betta/siamese fighting fish especially; its just the right size!

Two important things to note!:

1) The instructions didn't seem to match the parts precisely. There may be a variance in product but its most likely that the illustrations simply do not depict the power cord attached to the pump for some reason (which is silly, where else would it get its power, batteries?). When installing the pump, part of the power cord must be submerged along with the pump, and it requires a bit of "wedging" to get the pump and its cord down in its slot. It didn't look quite right to me, especially because the illustrated instructions didn't depict the pump as having a cord at all, but I shoved it down and it works fine. Feels weird running a cord through water, but it is perfectly water safe. The tube of the pump required the slightest bit of bending/twisting to fit into place, but the water moves through it fine.

2) !!!!IMPORTANT!!!! Be attentive when setting the spout for the water pump. Pay attention when feeding your fish, making sure the current of the water doesn't immediately sweep the food into the filter. Because it is such a small tank and most fish food floats (for a while) it is easy for the flow of the pump to push the food directly into the filter, which will quickly clog up the filter and leave your fish hungry. I point mine upwards and towards the middle, and it seems to swirl the food and then push it downwards instead. Take some time to fine tune this when you first set up the tank!! I didn't notice this at first and was careless; the next day I found the filter covered in food pellets and my fish seemed very hungry, poking around the gravel to no avail, poor fella. Good thing it only took me a day to notice! (He's ok now). Another thing, notice that the pump flow is adjustable. You can make the flow from the pump less intense if current is too strong.

My personal suggestion: with a light, filter, and pump, this kit includes ALMOST every (basic) thing you need for a simple aquarium setup--EXCEPT A HEATER. This may be because the tank is so small that the heat running off the pump could possibly be enough to heat the whole thing. But if you, like me, live in a drafty place that gets under 70 degrees (esp. at night), I recommend the Fluval 25 Watt heater to keep the tank at a cozy 78 degrees. I recommend the Fluval heater simply because aesthetically, its design matches the tank quite well (being made by the same company of course) but any 25-watt heater will do! You could always stick it behind the handy wall with the pump and not have to look at it, afterall!

One last note: another review of this tank speaks of issues with the tiny LED bulbs burning out. This hasn't happened to me but I've only had the tank for a brief time so I can't confirm or dispel this reviewer's complaint. I will say that this was a cause of concern for me when purchasing the aquarium because it doesn't seem the bulbs can be replaced and I would be very disappointed if the light stopped working! It's odd because LED lights should have a 25,000-100,000 hour lifespan, so I wouldn't think that they would just burn out. I'll update this review if I experience a similar issue.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2011
I did a lot of research before buying this tank, and I strongly considered a Fluval Ebi as well, but I will be keeping this tank at work, and I don't have a lot of room for a tank. This pint-sized all-in-one tank fit the bill for me. The built-in filter system takes up 1/4 of the entire tank volume! That's quite large. It should help a lot with keeping the water parameters stable in such a small tank.

In my particular case, I built the Spec to be a planted freshwater dwarf shrimp tank. I've been debating putting some Bororas in there, but I really don't think it's enough room for them to swim around comfortably. Since the shrimp generally don't swim around much, they should be quite at home in such a small tank as they go about their daily lives keeping the tank clean and algae free. And to be quite honest, the shrimp are much more fun to watch than most fish.

The tank only took minutes to assemble. Keep in mind that unlike some of the other tanks by Fluval, this one does not come with any substrate/gravel/sand. This makes sense as this tank also seems quite popular with the salt water pico-tank crowd. Just remember to order appropriate substrate when you order your tank.

The pump is very powerful, and right away, I had to turn it down to it's minimum setting.

It's been up and running for about a week now, and the pump is pretty quiet. Not silent, but I can't hear it next to my 8 gallon nano-tank with it's filter running. I have yet to add a heater to the tank, but will be looking for a small heater that will fit in the back of the tank in the filter/pump compartment.

Overall quality of construction is very good. I'm considering getting another one of these, but I'm not sure where I'd put it at the moment. I think it would be hard to go wrong with this one if you want a tiny tank to keep on your desk.

Pros: Inexpensive, well built, attractive design, huge filter, everything built-in, it's made of real glass.

Cons: I can't imagine keeping fish in this little thing. I think dwarf shrimp are your best bet.

UPDATE: Both of my Specs have been doing great. My freshwater planted dwarf shrimp tank is doing well and my heavily modified Saltwater Pico Reef is nothing short of amazing. I had a problem with the stock LED light on my freshwater tank and Fluval replaced it right away. Great customer service.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2012
This little tank is absolutely perfect for my Betta. As it's only 2-gal, I wouldn't recommend putting much of anything else in there, but for one betta it's great. Though like others have mentioned, there are some things to be aware of. First off, yes the pump is a pain to get into its little channel. Slight design flaw there, but it DOES fit with a bit of effort. I had to use the handle of kitchen knife to help force it down. Also, SET YOUR PUMP BEFORE YOU INSTALL IT!!! Once it's down there, it's almost as hard to get it back out to adjust. Honestly, I would recommend setting on the absolute lowest end it will go. This still provides far more circulation that just my little betta needs. I noticed others have mentioned that their fish got stuck against the filter intake. This is because they have their filters cranked up to max. I had mine fairly high the first time I plugged it in too, as I didn't notice the adjument slider at first to turn it down. It took me a whooping 2 seconds before I yanked it back out and fixed it as it was obviously too much flow (fortunately no Mr. Fishy in the tank at the time so no harm). The current is now fairly gentle, and poses no threat to my betta. He likes to chill in the corner next to the filter intake, and even his long fins don't get pulled against the grill. After reading other reviews, I did watch this very closely for the first couple of days just to make sure it would not cause him any problems. I would recommend you do the same just to be safe, but mine seems to be perfect for him.

Also, the pump discharge back into the tank takes some tweaking as well. At first I had it pointed straight out across the surface. This created such a strong surface current that I had a hard time feeding my betta. I had to turn the filter off every time I dropped his pellets in. I now have it aimed downward along the right side of the tank. It seems to only generate the current on that one side, and the rest of the tank is fairly calm. However, the water is still circulating and filtering very well since the intake is on the other side of the tank. My betta treats the discharge like his own little water park. He likes to go play in the jet stream every now and then. It's enough to push him around that side, but not do any damage. He has no trouble getting away from it when he wants, and since he keeps going back, I can only assume he likes it for some reason. Odd little bugger.

As it's starting to get colder at night, I recently had to install a heater. This turned out to be a bit tricker than anticipated. Because of the design of the tank, it's really difficult to find a heater that will actually fit with the lid on. I finally settled on the Marina C10, 10-Watt submersible aqarium heater. I picked it up from a local pet store (same place I bought my tank)for about $18. The reason I picked this on is because it has a very slim profile and nothing but the cord that sticks up above the water. I installed it on the side wall about an inch in front my pump discharge, and ran the cord out the back by the light. This served a few purposes. It helps buffer the current caused by the pump discharge making the waters gentler. And by pushing the current right over the heater, it helps keep the tank at a more uniform temperature. It seems to be working great. I also installed a good internal thermometer, and even though my house dropped to about 60 last night, my tank was still a perfect 78 degrees, and I have one very happy fish. Note: This particular heater has very poor reviews on Amazon. I was quite surprised by this. At the moment mine is working perfectly for my tank. If this changes, I will be sure to update this review.

As far as the overall design. It really is a beautiful piece of work. The glass is crysal clear and of an obviously higher quality than the other desktop tank models that were offered. And since I was lucky to find this item on sale, it was only a few bucks more than the cheap plastic tanks. The filter system is also a bit more advanced than those other models and absolutely silent. The LED light is just a beautiful cherry on top. It really brings the tank to life. There is a simple switch on the back of the light to turn it off at night, or if you want to make it even simpler, put the light on a timer switch. All in all, a fabulous investment and I couldn't be happier. Neither could my betta.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2011
I bought this tank because the spot I put the tank I originally got for my betta didn't get enough light and I couldn't see him. Some reviewers complain that the lights are too bright, but they're perfect for me. Also reviewers complain about the corner edges in the front. My boyfriend thought they got in the way of him seeing the fish, but I don't have a problem with it because I'm usually looking at it from the side. Also, at night he says it's not a problem, just when it's bright out. The filter motor is a pain to put in - I had to use a ruler to shove it down. Then when it was in, the tube was twisted and I had to really yank the power cord to get it out and fix it. Thought I was going to break it. But it came out ok. The filter motor is a little strong even at the low setting, but I took one reviewer's suggestion and only run it an hour or so a day and that works great. I did buy the Two Little Fishies Ball Valve, but haven't put it in yet (don't want to have to yank the motor out again) and don't think I really need it. I also put a Hydor mini heater in with the motor and it works great. I keep my house around 68 in the winter, and so far it has been keeping his temp in the upper seventies when it's cold out. My Crowntail betta is very happy in this tank. He's very active and building bubble nests :)
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2011
Wonderful product for the price. The footprint for this tank isnt much bigger than my phone. Quality materials, high tech look. I like the fact that all the filtration equipment is behind a black panel on the back wall. The LED light is very bright. Anyone that passes my desk stops to look and ask questions..
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2011
I have a betta and this tank is great. The flow is too strong for a betta though. To fix this I removed the nozzle piece from the return water connector. I then took a piece of air hose and stuck the air hose into and down the return tube. I then ran the hose to the bottom of the tank. This pushes up the debris from the gravel and also allows the betta to not be pushed around as much.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The Betta cannot tollerate the flow of this system. My poor thing was stuck on the intake vents everytime the system is plugged in. I like the extra room and beauty. I moved my Betta up into this tank because of the filter and the Betta with all the bubbles at the top, thought the filter was a good idea. I have read the Betta need slow moving flow systems. The box wasn't marked for any specific fish type, so I'm just cautioning that this is what's going to happen if you put a Betta in this tank.

I like the idea the first poster said to run the filter one hour a day. I'm going to try that. Otherwise, great looking solid tank.
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