Originally Posted by Trueerfan
I would never use live rock. Most live rock is just dead rock that is wet. I have started 2 tanks with dry base rock and Dr Tims one and Only Nitrifying bacteria. That alone will save you hundreds of dollars and guarantee no pest. You can buy lights on ebay that would work just fine. Buy 2 hydor powerheads at least 1050 gph
. Make your own sump for less then $30. Buy a heater and return pump a few pieces of plumping material and your good. Reefrocks.net has #50 of dry rock for $85 shipped and you can get dead sand there too. I believe you would be under $500 total
There are a lot of interesting life forms on live rock. When I bought mine I spent hours watching the tank for new things to emerge.
Live rock is expensive but dry rock can be bought for $2 - $4 a pound which is as good a deal as you can find.
Breakdown of basics for the tank:
Dry rock - 55lbs - $165
Caribsea Aragonite substrate - 60lbs - $80 ish
Ehein Jager heater - $20 (My personal fav. heater to date)
Hydor Koralia Evolution 850 x2 - $60
system - 162
API Salt master test kit - $16
Lights - ??
That's the absolute basic essentials for running a salt water tank. The light can run as low as $50 and go much much much higher.
If you want a refugium / sump you can expect to pay at minimum $100
A protein skimmer is also highly recommended and will probably run in the range of $150 - $200
None of this is taking into consideration any shipping costs from buying it online but there are usually bulk purchase deals that give free shipping.
All equipment was found at either Bulk Reef Supply or Big Als Pets