Eclipse System Aquarium Kit: Product Review


Eclipse 3 Gallon
Originally uploaded by -Glimpse-.

The Eclipse Aquarium System by Marineland

I have been meaning to get to a product review for some time and figured now is as good a time as any, especially as people head out to buy gifts for the holidays. For our first equipment review, I am going to start with the Eclipse Aquarium System, an all-in-one aquarium kit perfect for beginners or aquarists who don’t want to spend the money or the time researching each piece of individual equipment. Marineland manufactures three sizes of Eclipse systems, the three gallon System Three, the six gallon System Six and the twelve gallon System Twelve. I personally have the System Six at home and have used it for years in both my office and my home.

Here is a little about what is included in this aquarium kit.

Acrylic Aquarium,
Fluorescent Lamp,
Rite-Size filter with Filter Cartridge,
BIO-Blend™ Tropical Fish Food,
BIO-Safe™ Tap Water Conditioner,
BIO-Coat™ Stress Defense

Acrylic aquarium construction has increased in popularity over the years and in some ways is superior to glass, though optically I still prefer a glass tank. They are lighter weight then glass, equally strong but don’t have seams that can leak or any sharp edges. Acrylic tanks are more apt to scratch then their glass counterparts but acrylic buffing kits are available to maintain a pristine view. I personally have had my Eclipse on my desk at work and in my home and haven’t managed to scratch it yet. It even survived a 400 mile trip half full with fish in the back of a UHaul without incident. (Hmm, I wonder if this negates my warranty.)

Aesthetically, the Eclipse tanks are simple and attractive. They have a black plastic hood and a bow front that gives it the look of a more expensive aquarium. The acrylic, being formed from a single piece, is clear on all five sides including the bottom and has a slight reveal along the lower edge giving it a sense of floating. The hood itself is simple with smooth lines and the hatch sits flush within the hood maintaining a clean appearance. (Hey, I’m a designer in my day job… I notice these things.) The only complaints I have are that the hatch is a little too small to do anything other then sprinkle food in and is so lightweight that it tends to flop closed when you have it open for feeding. Anything that requires you to get your hands in the tank (water changes, aquascaping, removing debris) will necessitate the removal of the hood altogether. This is simple as it just lifts out of its groove, leaving the open tank behind. The hood contains internal fluorescent lighting behind a plastic water barrier and a simple rubber push button light activator that sits flush on the top of the hood. The fluorescents are minimal and intended to provide only an overall ambience and will not provide enough light for aquarium plants outside of the low light varieties. The rear of the hood contains plastic pop-out accessory port cover that allows a place for heater cords or air stone tubing to exit the tank. The hole is more then adequately sized and I decided to tape over the opening and cords to keep any jumping species from exiting through the rear.

The filter assemblies increase in size according to the model with a 35 gph filtration for the Eclipse Three, 75 gph for the Eclipse Six and 150 gph for the Eclipse Twelve. The pump filter itself is located under the hood and behind the hatch so the only way to access it is to remove the hood entirely. Again, this is fairly straight forward and hassle free. The filter is made from a simple plastic construction and the nearly silent motor is housed in an epoxy coated enclosure. One of the most useful features is the addition of a bio-wheel, which can be overlooked in low end models but hasn’t been here. This provides added surface area for beneficial nitrifying bacteria to live, creating the most complete and accurate ecosystem possible. The pump can be temperamental if the water level falls too low. I have had trouble restarting it after water changes but have managed to kick it into gear by filling the water level all the way up and splashing a little water into the filter reservoir. I do suggest following the manufacturers directions for maintenance by cleaning the filter intake and impeller blades with some regularity. The filter cartridges are made to fit the Eclipse System specifically but are easy to find at most local fish stores, especially large chains like PetCo and PetSmart.

Overall, the tank is a good buy and decently priced at a range of $35 – $90. Deals can be found during sales events and by shopping around online. Keep in mind, however, that the kit does not include an aquarium heater, thermometer, substrate, decor or net. Sample sizes of water conditioner and food are included but replacements will need to be purchased almost immediately. The Eclipse Aquarium Systems make a nice gift and are more then suitable for someone new to the hobby or anyone who wants a simple and attractive aquarium.

Here’s a few shopping links if you are considering buying an Eclipse System online…

The System 3 on Shopping.com
The System 6 on Petsmart.com
The System 12 on Amazon.com

Written by

Christie F is a Betta splendens hobbyist that enjoys spending time caring for her fish and helping new betta keepers learn the ropes. More posts by:

7 Comments for this entry

  1. Laurel Krahn says:

    Any thoughts about the amount of current in these and how bettas fare with it? I think it can overwhelm ‘em if you don’t have a way of breaking it up.

    Another model of the Eclipse is a 5 gallon corner tank– I have one and like it a lot. Similar to the others, nice for fitting in a corner space.

  2. Christie says:

    That’s a good point and I can only speak personally for the 6 gallon, though I know from others that the Eclipse 3 is a popular choice among Betta enthusiasts. I found that the current generated was pretty mild, though it would be nicer if it had a flow control like some of the Whisper filters. The various males I have kept in it didn’t seem to have any obvious difficulty with the filter but did generally favor the 75% of the tank that was not directly affected by the current. My Eclipse system has gone through many aquascaping iterations from very heavily planted to sparse. As expected, the more plants you have, the less obtrusive the current becomes.

    Laurel, how did you feel the current was in the 5 gal corner? I know it’s shaped a litte different. Still good for bettas?

  3. this blog is a blog says:

    Hi.

    Yeah our betta seems pretty happy in it for the most part. But there are two issues:

    1) no Bubblenests. I guess the surface isn’t still enough, but when we used to keep him in a still tank, he’d make nests, but no more.

    2) His fin gets caught in the filter nose from time to time. Most of the time he pauses for a sec, and then wiggles off, but occasionally i notice a tear or two in his dorsal fins… One day we came home to find his tail fin half the size and cut straight, almost like someone took a pair of scissors to it. (it grew back) This almost happened once, so I don’t know if he wised up or some other factor was involved, but our chief suspect was the filter. These days, we leave a clump of christmas moss build up on the nose, which I used to clean off, and everyone seems fine! The filter still cleans.

    Nice blog, thanks!

    • This is a good comment. I have a Whisper filter that I attached a higher powered pump too (for 10-20 gallon tanks) and will use that instead of the built in filter. I understand that I may need to drill some holes into the hood for the air hose but that shouldn’t be too difficult. I’m concerned about my betta getting caught by that filter nose too – mine loves to squeeze into small spaces (like most) and will squeeze around the Whisper whihch doesn’t really have the edges likely to cut his tail.

  4. Sister Ariadne says:

    My betta, Max – yes, that’s right Betta Max – is in an Eclipse Corner 5 and he does make bubble nests, but only if I let the water level get at least 1/8 inch below the bottom edge of the black frame. This makes the filter flow into a bit of a waterfall and decreases the surface current in the corners. The filtration still works fine and everyone is happy.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I got the Eclipse three for my betta this christmas and everything seems to be okay with it with the exception of him swimming a little harder on the first day he was put into it. The only concer i have is that once the filter was instanlled and i filled the tank up to the bottom of the black rim like the instructions said I noticed that the box part of the filter that the tube connects to (which I suspect contains the motor) is sitting about half an inch or so in the water. Is this supposed to do this and/or is it safe for my betta?

  6. Anonymous says:

    The motors are supposed to sit below the water to make it quieter.

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