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Old 07-24-2005, 11:28 PM   #41
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hirocks.com has cheap "base rock" which will become live rock in time.

Be sure to read the threads here to find the RIGHT playsand. "southdown" is one name commonly tossed around

Be sure to TAKE YOUR TIME. I made probably $250 in purchases that I wouldn't have, had I known what I do now.

SW is very expensive. If you can budget maybe 50/mo on top of what you have, you should be OK. some of that will go to salt, some to food, some to the occasional new fish. You can add LR a bit at a time, and add a good skimmer as soon as you can. Just don't go too small on the tank (55 is ok) or everything else will suffer. Take your tap water in to a LFS to be tested. you may need a RODI sooner than you think ($85-130 on ebay)

54g all-glass bowfront corner planted FW

Red tiger lilly, Rotala Indica, Sagittaria Subulata, Micro Sword, Cardinal Plant
Fluorite Black sand and gravel
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Old 07-25-2005, 10:54 AM   #42
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You don't actually need any live rock to start. "Live" rock and "live" sand, filtration wise, are nothing special. They are just rocks and sand that are heavily populated with bacteria that breaks ammonia into nitrite, nitrite into nitrate, and nitrate into free nitrogen (biological filtration, learn it and love it ). Putting sand and rock into the water with an initial source of waste (dead coctail shrimp are perfect) will give you a tank full of live rock and sand once the tank is finished cycling.

The "live rock" people generally refer to in the hobby not only is populated the bacteria, but also has all sorts of ocean life growing on it. Coraline algae, sponge, and if you're lucky, live coral. It may also contain beneficial fauna like isopods, copepods, starfish, crabs... and sometimes not so beneficial life. It's a crapshoot in that department. The nice thing about live rock is it only takes 1 piece to seed an entire tank. The coraline algae will spread, as will anything else that came in on the rock. My lfs sells LR priced by size. Pieces about the size of 2 fists put together are around $12-$25 depending on what's growing on them.

Budget wise, buy the 5 gallon bucket of salt instead of the bag. It is more up front, but is less per pound. And you'll need more salt for water changes and you might as well have it handy.

Sand. Old castle and southdown are prefered by many. It's mainly aragonite sand, which can buffer your tank if you have really low PH. It's also oolithic (probably spelled wrong), meaning the grains are more rounded. If your hardware store carries it, it generally isn't much more than other brands of sand. If you can't find it, any brand of playsand is fine. It doesn't exist in my part of the country, even at chains that carry it in other locations. So I shop for color and texture when I do a new tank. I am lucky tho' my replacement water when mixed with salt comes out to perfect PH without needing any buffer. So I can't really comment on the capabilities of the aragonite sand.

Total price wise, I don't think you can/should expect to get much lower unless you get some presents. Save money as you go and make improvements/additions (sump,skimmer,lights) and in the end you'll be set, and have a lot of pride knowing the work was yours and not some company's.

And of course the best advice of all. Have patience. A lot of it. Remember that nothing good ever happens fast in an aquarium. But you can nuke your whole system in a second

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Old 07-25-2005, 12:00 PM   #43
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Hey indy, I've read some bad reviews from forums regarding the prizm skimmer. But I have one and it is great! It's less than $60 at ebay and it works perfectly. How's yours?

I spent hundreds on live sand and aragonite too, when I set up. Did I see anything moving in the sand? Nothing. It's just sand with bacteria. I could've gotten regular play sand and placed a small piece of live rock to seed it. Saved me a lot of money probably!

I spent in excess of $300 in live rock so far and I stopped. I bought it in a span of 3-4 months. But I would've gotten base rocks and placed a couple of good chunks of live rock in it...same stuff! I don't have any wiggling things in those live rocks right now. The rocks are covered with green long hair algae. There aren't any corals that could live there because I don't have the lighting. So after the die-off and curing, it's just rocks.

Those little things too, with much resourcefulness, can save you big bucks.
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Old 07-25-2005, 02:13 PM   #44
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Ok now for my tank set up
55 gallon tank, stand, and n.o. lights used ($25)
2 bags of play sand (araganite based) ($5 each)
Emperor 400 filter ($60)
sea clone skimmer ($80)
2 ph ($40)
salt ($6)
20 lbs base rock at 3.99 ($80)
5 lbs lr at 5.99 ($30)
hydrometer ($8)
test kit ($20)
total of $359
This would give you a good start, I know a little above your limit. But well worth it to me. You could hold off on the rock while your tank cycles and get it as you can afford it. And if you go agressive tank you may only need about 30 lbs anyways.

This can be done I did it myself for about $250 to start and have upgraded since then. Some purist believe do it right the forst time. I say do what you can afford and upgrade as you can. I know have pc lights, 3 power heads, 60 lbs of rock, and my fish are very happy and thriving. I also have added an anemone and corals along the way.

Your tank preference will likely change as you mature in the hobby. Going from wanting big pretty fish that require little effort, to wanting a reef system that takes all your time and money.

The choice is your to make I have both fresh and salt and find the salt to be much more enjoyable.

Don't listen to those who say you can't do it or should only do it if you can do it RIGHT the first time. Research and have fun
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Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.
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Old 07-25-2005, 02:43 PM   #45
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wow great advice MYTY1705. U got the tank and stand for so cheap! I am currently looking, we will see if anything comes up!
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Old 07-25-2005, 05:27 PM   #46
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Why do people get bent out of shape over the cost of a tank?
When I started my tank I went with the idea of doing everything in excess. I did not want to take the plunge and cut corners only to get frustrated because nothing is going right and then want out. So far I have been very happy with my system. Granted how you do it is your choice just like everything else and there is not a cut and dry wrong and right way. I have a small FW tank also but personally do not see how it can compete with SW then again just my preference. As I said before I went to extremes building my system. I have around $14k invested before adding any livestock. I did not plan to spend that much it just kind of happened so SW=$ plan on it.
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Old 07-25-2005, 07:02 PM   #47
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so SW=$ plan on it.

not true, not everyone needs a 525 gallon tank, not everyone needs the most expensive things they cant get ahold of, you spend according to tank size, you dont and will never need a 150 dollar super skimmer on a 29 gallon tank, a 40 dollar seaclone works just fine,(speaking from personal expierence)
you dont need a 250 dollar sump/ refugium, a ten or 20 gallon tank for 20 bucks max used or new and a lil diy can make the same thing(and its not even necessary), and it will work the same,
saltwater only costs a fortune if you dont wanna take the time to shop around for deals and DIY some things, It can be done, it just takes a diligent shopper and a dedicated diy-er .
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Old 07-25-2005, 07:56 PM   #48
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Shopping around for deals and cutting corners just to get something done without doing it right are 2 different subjects. You missed the point.
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Old 07-25-2005, 07:57 PM   #49
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Why do people get bent out of shape over the cost of a tank?
I don'tknow...ask my wife
The point Brenden is trying to make that almost everyone underestimates the cost of tank when they begin to plan. I know I sure did. It does not matter if you have a 10gal or a 1000gal tank, it will cost more then you think.
Some people are like slinkies...they serve no real purpose yet can still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs!:p
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Old 07-25-2005, 10:05 PM   #50
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Actually, come to think of it, once my livestock and my water parameters equalized (if you permit me to use that word), it's like this plateau of No SPENDING. To tell you the truth, after just that=$900, I'm done. I only buy a bag of Instant Ocean once every 2 months, that costs $9.99 good for 55 Gallons of Saltwater. Then my frozen brime shrimp in bulk (not the cubed one). That lasts for at least a month and a half. Then the frozen mysis (also not the cubed one) that would last a month. I think it's that San Francisco company that produces those products.

Anyhow, that $900 plus included setup, equipment, ornaments, live rocks, all sorts of livestock, and even an upgraded fluorescent bulb. But I didn't spend $900 at once. I spent $500 on the setup, then spent about a good $100 a month for the next 4 months. Then I only spend, at most, $28.00 every month and a half after that. That's a lousy $5 a week or something. Not to be arrogant at the $5 a week, it does cost something, but you are spending that small amount for a really rewarding hobby.

The setup for a FOWLR is a bit pricey. But once you reach your preference to your tank, you barely shell out.

Kinda like the FW tank that I have. I haven't spent crap on this thing for 4 months now. I used to buy all sorts of stuff here. Now, nothing. Not even cichlid salt or test kits or anything. I barely change the filter bags of my HOB Filter.

Unless you're setting up a reef tank, a FOWLR isn't expensive. You shell out in a span of 5-6 months after you setup the tank. But after that, boom, you just end up buying food.
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