Compare shop. Take a list of all the components you want/need and have the local pet stores duke it out for your business.
i wanted a 125gal all glass megaflow with stand, tank, pump, pc
I did that with 4 stores in my area, they all came back with outrageous numbers, some even over a thousand dollars apart from the next. One store even quoted me $2,500 and told me i had 2 hours to decide or the "great deal" was off. I laughed and walked away.
In the end, i paid $1,500 tax included for the exact setup i wanted. A few days later, because that overpriced store(will remain nameless, unless someone begs me
) really bugged me, i brought over my receipt to that store manager and showed him what i paid at his competition's place. he told me i was lying and i must've known someone at the store i bought my stuff from, which i don't, and they rigged the receipt for me.
Needless to say, i don't frequent that store anymore.
PS: the good store is called Barrier Reef in Boca Raton, Fla