Originally Posted by obscurereef
I don't agree. You can make your own LED
lights for really cheap, own stand, own skimmer, sump, etc. There are many who are trying to find the cheapest way to keep a reef tank and it's all in the maintenance and water quality really. Lighting is key, protein skimmers are not (but they are very helpful). Frequent water changes will keep parameters in check and it's all up to the husbandry..the equipment just helps with the upkeep. Not that I was alive, but not too long ago the technology wasn't as advanced as it is today so there were other methods to keep reefs looking great. Go with base rock instead of live and you'll save a bunch of money. Other wise you could be looking at $400-600 just on rock!
Yea I will agree a skimmer is not a necessity I just added it in since they seemed like they wanted to include one and LED
lights can still cost a pretty penny for a large tank, atleast around me.
Base rock is nice but including Live rock will still help. And yes the equipment isn't the key, like you've said the husbandry and maintenance are key. Yet, the lighting is going to play a huge role in coral growth with many corals being photosynthetic and relying on the lighting to survive.
I posted up a DIY skimmer btw but it mostly works best on nano tanks. I also have a DIY sump out of a 20g long tank which saved a ton of money but still consider the cost of your return pump, plumbing, lighting, and any filtration.