I am at the same spot that u are in.... I bought a 29 gal
eclipse tank thinking i could just replace the lights in the hood to have a reef tank.. errr wrong answer... The main reason i bought the 29 gal
is cause i got it along witht hte hood and some LR
and other stuff for like 90 bucks on ebay.. I am glad i choose the 29 gal
over the 60 gal
i was going to get.. Thje supplies for a 60 gal
would almost triple the price from the 29 gal
i currently have.. Here's how i went... (I am still in the process of building it up.. 4 months running now)
Because i was limited in price i have done lots of research and found the cheapest.. best way to get a nice reef tank going... I will outline it below..
Livesand- I bought 40 lbs of aragonite sugar fine sand.. and then bought 5 lbs of live sand to "seed" the rest of the sand.. Making sure that i place the live sand in the tank last so that it rest on top
LiveRock- I have bought 30 lbs of live Fiji Rock.... 5 lbs of Tonga Branch.. and 10 lbs of the more expensive marshall island rock.. u could also use lace rock for the lower levels and then just place the liverock so that the lace rock doesn't show
Filtration- I was running the filter that came with the eclipse hood but have decided to upgrade.. I took one of my old 10 gal
tanks and turned it into a refugium to place under my tank.. All it took was like 10 bucks for the acrylic.. and 4 bucks for the silicone caulk glue to make it.. the refugium includes- a 30w (90 watt output) light.. 1 100watt ebo-jager heater.... 10 lbs of sugar fine sand... 3 red-legged hermit crabs.. 5 astrea snails... 10 bucks of caulpera algea(a handfull).. like 4 lbs of liverock.. and a 500 gph
pump..(email me for info on building your own overflow box and/or sump)
Lighting- there are two way u can go on this.. u can get a ABS.. but they cost well over 200 bucks (for good ones).. or u can go retrofit kit and make your own hood.. I would reccomend the second choice... you'd get a hood with two PC
55watt bulbs.. one white bulb and the other a acinic blue bulb..
Cleanup Crew- 1 brittle star (some might argue that u don't need it.. but i got it because i like the way it looks...).. 10 astrea snails... 10 red legged hermit crabs
there are some things that i have not mentioned.. like sea salt mixes... calcium supplements.. Protein Skimmer.. salt hydrometer.... test kits... wavemaker.. powerheads.. but those are all subject to whatever way u want to go..
for a total price on everything it would take to run a 29 gal
similar to mine.. (excluding the tank, fish or corals) probably around 500-600 bucks....
So yeah reef tanks are very expensive.. and you better save you money and plan well ahead first... Good luck.. I hope i am not too late and you haven't bought the 55 gal
email me @ email@example.com
personally i prefer the retrofit kit (with a DIY
hood).. and the refugium(the more water the more stable it will be).... because u can hide everything that u don't want people to see when they look at your tank.. (i.e. electrical chords.. heaters... maybe ugly lights.... protein skimmer hanging out of the back... etc...
here is a link to a sight that helped me out when i first started... It's an awesome sight for either a 55 gal
or a 29 gal
... check it out http://www.melevsreef.com/