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Old 12-18-2005, 11:06 PM   #1
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Cost of a marine tank

Hi all,

I have been poking around here and there and am considering starting a marine tank at some point in time (I currently have two freshwater tanks, a 60 gallon and a 45, but like most people, am interested in trying something different). My question is this: for a reasonably sized tank, say, a 55 gallon, what are the costs associated with keeping a marine tank? Obviously, there is the initial cost of live rock/sand if one chooses that avenue, as well as the cost of a protein skimmer and the somewhat higher cost of marine fish over freshwater. However, what are the ongoing maintenance costs, such as salt, that one must contend with over the long term? As I've stated, I'm interested in a marine tank, but don't want to jump in and later find out that I'm not financially capable of caring for it because I didn't do my homework. Thanks in advance to all who respond.

Luke
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Old 12-19-2005, 12:13 AM   #2
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I think once the tank is started the costs are very low. You can guy a pretty good amount of salt for about 20-30 bucks. It will last you a good while. Other than that you need bubls every like 8 months but thats the same for a FW tank. Only extra cost I can really think of is test kits, refractometer and salt.

If you can setup the tank then you can maintain it. Setting it up and stocking it is what cost so much **** money lol.
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Old 12-19-2005, 01:34 AM   #3
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depend on wat you are going after, if just going to be Fish only, then i belive it cost almost as the same as fresh water. Even FOWLR just need the extra money for rock. If u are going for coral keeping tank. the price can range from few hundred to few thousands. IMO try buy the best equipment u can afford. It will really save u a bunch.For eg. if u just wanna go for fish only now, u probly spend 100$ for a NO light, but few months later u found out u love hobby so much wanna get invvle more, then u might need to upgrade ur lighting to PC ,VHO, or even MH.At that time, your NO light became useless unless u decide to set up a seperate tank wich adds more money on top of it.(even refugium).Same as the size of the tank, filtration system and every single equipment u gonna buy.Try buy the best u can afford, and do some reaserch before u start buying.
Good luck.
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Old 12-19-2005, 08:45 AM   #4
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To do it right it is not cheap to get things going, but once up and running the only thing you need to buy on a regular basis is salt mix. Depending on what size and kind you buy will determine the $$$ needed. I use Oceanic salt and buy the 200 gallon mix and it runs from $40- 70 depending on where I get it.
Corals need some additives so this would be another expense. i use B-Ionic and that runs $25 for the 2 gallon mix, this lasts me a few months.
A ro/di unit would be a good investment also.
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Old 12-19-2005, 11:14 AM   #5
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Well the expense of your tank is really relative to what you are doing. If you are planning on setting up a full blast reef aquarium then plan on spending some serious money, if you are looking at a fish only tank than the cost can be very resonable, and even a FOWLR tank can be somewhat affordable. Do remember though that filter cartridges, water chemicals, and electricity bills add up when owning an aquarium.

If you do a fish only with live rock tank, perhaps buy a 2nd hand tank that is in good shape, stick with NO or Compact Flo. lighting, standard HOB filtration so on and so forth without fish I can see spending between $300-$500 for initial set-up and regular maintenance costs being low. Shopping online and being a "smart" consumer can really help.

Fish costs can be high but make sure you properly cycle your aquarium and test the nutrient levels before adding fish to keep these costs down. If you are looking at setting up a reef tank you will be well, well over $1,000 in set-up and maintenance costs can get nice and high. What I always advise people to do is start with a FOWLR than possibly add fish that are not harmful to inverts, get some shrimp, crabs, low light corals and anemones and gradually move up to reef keeping. Either way marine aquariums are an expense but if done right a managable and rewarding one.
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Old 12-19-2005, 12:23 PM   #6
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my 55 reef has cost about 1200 so far and its not done, on the other hand my 29 has only been about 400..
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Old 12-19-2005, 04:17 PM   #7
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it is hard to say "my tank is done and finished"Since u might always want to add or improve might be even expand the tank size later on when u got deeper into it.As i said the best bet for now is go for the best u can afford so it will give u some space and time before u start thinking about making/improving to newer and better equipments.
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Old 12-19-2005, 05:20 PM   #8
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maintenance costs: salt mix - RO for top offs and water changes (so either a few $ a week, or the cost of a small RO/DI system)

buy quality equipment (like maxi jet powerheads, ebo jager heaters) and you won't have to replace equipment.
make smart choices...like the right skimmer the first time (instead of thinking you can get by with a cheap one, only to have to replace it after 2 months because it's a poorly designed one)
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Old 12-19-2005, 09:09 PM   #9
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My 65gal has cost me quite a penny so far but I find if you save up in periods, the costs dont seem all too bad. The general rule I give is, if you have $1000 you wish to spend, then go for a marine tank lol ... Not implying it will cost that initially; but over time, likely much more.
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Old 12-19-2005, 10:20 PM   #10
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Hi all,

Thanks for the advice; it's greatly appreciated. This is exactly what I was looking for; I'd much rather know what I'm getting into and do it right the first time. If anyone else has input, by all means, feel free.

Luke
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