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Old 07-21-2006, 04:34 PM   #1
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cost of a 55 gal sw convert

i was thinking climbing over the wall to the sw world (every fw keepers fantasy)

how much would it cost to convert my 55 gal tank to freshwater and maintain it (or even the cost of a 20 gal sw)

replacing sw every pwc would seem like a costly pain, but it would be rewarding. right?

although i know sw fish are a bit more costly, i dont recall how much they usually start at

anything you guys could throw at me would be appreciated
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Old 07-21-2006, 04:46 PM   #2
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Welcome to the SW side...possibly!!!

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how much would it cost to convert my 55 gal tank to freshwater and maintain it (or even the cost of a 20 gal sw)
THis all depends on what you can use from your FW set up, like filter, some lights, PHs, heater. In SW it is best to not skimp and go slow, helps to budget money and saves costly mistakes. Plus, it will depend on if you want FOWLR or reef....

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replacing sw every pwc would seem like a costly pain, but it would be rewarding. right?
It's not a pain, in my crazy head, I kind of like it. I pre mix mine anywhere from 12-48 hours. I like the beauty of SW fish, that color and personalities.

I would think a good guestimate could range from $500-1200, easily (again, this depends on what you would like to do). I have found it is best to purchase stuff online and look for the stores that will price match. Of course some of that cost is LR, which i bought over time. I think a few folks have a much better break down of prices and will be more than happy to help.
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Old 07-21-2006, 05:41 PM   #3
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Join a local reef club and you can get things used at a much cheaper cost. I have a 55 as well and I just stopped adding up how much I have spent.
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Old 07-21-2006, 05:43 PM   #4
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I just stopped adding up how much I have spent.
LOL! Me too!
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Old 07-21-2006, 05:49 PM   #5
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Wish we had a club in my area..
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Old 07-21-2006, 06:01 PM   #6
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Saltwater expenses are considerably more then freshwater. It cannot be done successfully without spending a good bit of money. That is not to say there isnt ways to cut costs and be conservative, but even at that, you will spend alot more.
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Old 07-21-2006, 06:44 PM   #7
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I sold a kidney and my middle child to help pay for my 100 gal.
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7 month old 100 gallon. Hopefully on my way to a great reef tank. A few small fish and a few small soft corals. T5 HO Lights and ro/di unit.
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Old 07-21-2006, 07:12 PM   #8
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I don't know where you live but I saved alot going online. Everything I needed especially the LR was much more at the LFS in Boston. I seperated everything into two orders. I got the first order yesterday and I am ordering the other in a week or so. The key is to do as much as you can at once to save on shipping. To give you a rough estimate I have bought everything for up to a 55 gal Here is my breakdown from Dr Foster and Smith without shipping for a LR, skimmer, PH setup. P.S keep in mind livestolk/salt/and electricity for basic and monthly maint. costs. I am trying to buy all very quality stuff and it all comes to roughly $750 without the tank and stand that I already have. This is all my startup equip.

Coralife 65 gal. skimmer $71
refractometer $40
Two AC 30 PH $37.98
Argamax sand $21.99
5 in 1 test kit $29
light timer $19
instant ocean salt 160 g. $31.99
2 digital thermometers $13.99
Lighting will vary but a half decent fixture that will grow most corals with the exception of SPS and other high light is going to run from $180-$300.If you wanted halide it will be your most expensive item--$400-$600
Coralife Fixture $199
Live Rock 1 1/2 lb per gal. At live aquaria.com 45lb of Fiji Select is Roughly $220 w/o shipping

QT tank. Already had 15 gal. tank. 1 AC PH, 1 Bio Wheel....$45

5 gal. buckets $10
Rough Shipping for all $30

This is just what I did and I am a saltie newbie. I bought everything new when I could have saved money with used. There are also setups without LR, this is just what I wanted. There are alot of people selling equip. on AA's classifieds and look through Craigslist...I hope this gives you a good idea!
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Old 07-21-2006, 07:16 PM   #9
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Take a look at my gallery. I started my 55gal as a freshwater tank, then 4 years ago I converted it to a reef tank. I did it one step at a time, buying everything really cheap online. In my gallery you can see that I started with nothing and kept on going. It's 4 years old and I still need a lot more for it. I probably have over $900 invested over 4 years (tank was free).

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Old 07-21-2006, 07:19 PM   #10
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Oh, one word of caution too...DONT skimp out and buy the cheap stuff thinking you'll save money. Because you'll always learn more and realize that the cheaper model you bought needs replacing and you'll spend more money for it. Buy the right things the first time and you'll save money in the long run.
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