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Largest tank possible for $600-700 USD


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I have a budget of about 600-700 dollars USD to set up my future coral reef tank, that I cant wait to start!!! I was planning on doing a 20 gallon long, and my LFS owner suggested a list of stuff with and end cost of about $400 (This was ONLY for lighting,salt, hydrometer, L/S or aragonite, LR,powerhead, and a skilter ( I probably wouldnt use a skilter, instead get a filter and a skimmer seperate.)


I was really hoping to do a tank bigger than 20 gallons though, at least 30 or so. I was wondering if anyone out there has any good ideas, or is familair with there own setups that are at least 30 gallons or larger that they got for about $650 or less, (including only equipment, LR and some type of LS or aragonite, no fish or corals.) If you could list a set up with the tank size and equipemt that would be SOOO appreciated!!! :)


I was also wondering what exacty a sump is, and what exactly does a refugurium (spelling?? :P) do, and above what size tank are they recomended?


Thanks so much to anyone who helps me :D;)B)

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here's a link to my 30g set-up: 30g acrylic + 20g glass sump/refugium


I think maybe you could do it for that price range if you toss out the refugium/sump. you could always add it later...just be sure to get your 30g tank drilled for holes anyways so you won't have to deal w/ the hassle of doing that later when you have more funds to add a refugium/sump. Just get them drilled for bulkheads and cap/plug the bulkheads so no water will get out until you can add the refugium/sump. Of course you could drill them in other places and have different kinds of overflows (ways to get the water from the main display to the sump/refugium) so you don't have to do it my way. just one option.


In the most simplest terms...sump and refugium are basically the same thing...they are the same in that they add an extra container of water to your tank so you get the benefits of having extra volume (i.e. more stable water quality, stable temperature, option to add more fish than w/o, etc).


Also you can place all your equipment (filters, heater, thermometer, etc) in the sump/refugium so your main tank is free of clutter. So the holes drilled in your main tank will have water exiting to the sump/refugium...then a water pump in the refugium/sump will return the water back to your main tank so it's all one complete system.


But a refugium unlike sump is a refuge for beneficial pods and other critters and usually have live sand (usually some sort of deeper sand bed w/ fine sand), live rock, and some sort of macro algae which will help stabilize your water parameters too (like chaetomorpha algae). These pods and stuff can also be a great food source to your fish in the main tank.


Sorry for the very basic description...wasn't sure how little or how much you already knew so I just put everything out there in basic terms.


As for pricing...i can try to calculate how much my set-up would be w/o refugium...but I have to add my new coral to my tank first...so i'll put that up later.

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i will say it once again;


you do not HAVE to get everything at once! you can use ordinary shop lights for at least the first three months while your tanks is settling in. your heater could be 200w instead of 100w. in other words, a 50 is not that much more than a 20. the main cost difference is in live rock, which would be about 200 bucks instead of 80 bucks on the 20. the rest, filters, heaters, test kits, lighting would not be all that much more. get the tank you like and want. get the heater, filter, and rock for that tank. then, while the rock is curing, decide on the lighting. doing it that way not even a 50g would be 600 dollars.




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Thank you so much! that information helped a lot more than you think!! :) I habe so many options i dont know where to begin:blink:


Anyone else with setups under 700 bucks? :)


thanks again guys!

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Yeah...there's gonna be so many "best ways" of doing things...and in the end, just pick the option that "vibes" the most w/ you and your given resources.

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Ok, your right nalbar, thanks! :)

I will probably be running around to a couple reef stores tomarrow looknig at equipent and all my options I want to consider.


thanks again :)

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my 80g;


tank ...90 bucks, bought used already drilled/with bulkheads.

sump...free. sitting in back yard (would be 30 new)

plumbing...20 bucks

return pump..65 bucks

heater..20 bucks

sand...45 bucks

powerhead...15 bucks

160 pounds of premium fiji live rock,uncured...400 bucks.

home depot 4' flourescent shop light for set up...10 bucks



MH lights bought 2 months after set up....300 bucks




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nalbars setup is ubercheep and much came from stuff he had already had and was just around....10$ shoplight from HD, ok, that is a fire waiting to happen due to the crappy endcaps and exposed wire over water. Dont take the chance, buy good gear that is safe and if you are saving money, do a smaller tank.



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How is that? A flourescent setup for ten bucks? Do you have waterproof endcaps? They cost 10 to 12 bucks a pair. You say in your post that your sump came from your back yard for free, ive seen many back yards and most dont have free sumps in them.

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You are rather jumpy arent you boy? I was telling him what I thought about what advice you gave him. If you set up your tank so cheeply, very fine, he most likely will not be able to do it as cheeply. Your word is not alpha and omega so stow the crap.

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So It is known, nalbar pulled three or four posts from this thread in which he said "you dont know what you are talking about" and "what a jerk" (hence the right back at you boy). Pretty weak. This site is about reef tanks right? Why are there so many hot posts...the egos of site old timers....perhaps?

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This is too much, this is the second thread tonight that I have tried to simply talk and give advice about reef tanks and this is the second time I got slamed off track, ive been called ALI-G for GODS LOVE! This site is just a little too rife with geeks and the ilk, ok, i see, but this is too much! I say its a bad idea to keep a blue tang in a thirty gallon tank and my typing is attacked, I say a reef may be expensive and some nerd pulls his posts and makes me sound crazy...its about aquaria...right?

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I think that you can dao and size tank on a buget even $600 to start it just takes a lot longer to get up and going. The home depto lights will work just have a glass top. A sump can be added later. buy a used tank for you sump and main tank. buy LR on line and only buy a little at a time yu can cue in a rubermade before you add more. buy all you drfy stuff then your wet stuff.you dont need 50 lb of LS for a 50g you can seed the cheep stuff and the same goes for LR. that is just my 2 cents.



Oh ya I haved done a 77 on a $400 a month income. it took me a year to get it up. it in FOWLR right now but I am geting my MH soon.

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