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Old 01-25-2011, 03:07 PM   #1
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Is it possible to set up my 150 gallon tank as a FOWLR/Reef tank for under a grand?

I just got a stacked 150 gallon glass tank, stacked on a 50 gallon acryllic tank, with a ~30 gallon hex tank that was used as the sump with the stand, canopy, some lights, a heater, and a few power heads off of Craigslist for a steal of a deal $350 for it all.

I want to start a Saltwater/Reef tank, and my girlfriend wants to start a Discus tank so we've come to a compromise. The top tank will be a salt water/reef tank, and the bottom tank will be a freshwater. I've been tasked with redoing to the plumbing and getting it all set up. The 150 glass tank isn't drilled, but the 50 gallon acryllic tank on the bottom is.

I've kept freshwater fish before with pretty good success, but I've always wanted to try my hand at salt/reef. What do you guys think it would realistically cost to get the whole system up and running? Would it be possible to keep it under a grand?

You can check out some pictures of the setup here if you're interested.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:10 PM   #2
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Under a grand? FOWLR, yes. Reef, no.
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Old 01-25-2011, 05:06 PM   #3
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How much would you expect it to cost if I wanted to go reef?
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Old 01-25-2011, 05:22 PM   #4
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You can do a reef tank under a grand for sure.

Drill a hole costs $40, get an overflow box for $100.

Pick up a protein skimmer for $250 and a return pump for $100.

This is all new, if you go used even cheaper. That is all you need to get started plus a bucket of salt $80 and then LR 100lbs or so will cost $300-$400 new or go on kijiji and get it for $2 lbs.

LR will be your major expense.. one your tank is all drilled filled with water and sand and LR and is cycled, then you can worry about lights. Ligths will run you roughly $500-$800 for T5 HO. for a 150 you will need at least 48 inch 8 bulb fixture. You can order Tek light fixture online for $400 then get your bulbs.

So yes it will cost you roughly a grand but it will be well worth it. And you dont have to buy it all at once either.
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:14 AM   #5
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Is the $40 to drill a hole the cost of a bit to do it myself? or to take it somewhere and have them drill it?

Also is there a protein skimmer for around 250 that you would recommend?
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:25 AM   #6
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The lights you can get later and you can do FOWLR till you have some more money then get the lights and you have your reef.
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:27 AM   #7
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E-bay has drill bits from china... I drilled my tank and it turned out good... if I was more patient I wouldn't have chipped the glass... you can check it out on my thread if you want... with drilling your own holes you want to make sure you have it wet at all times otherwise it will heat up and cause problems, also the water helps to get the glass dust away.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:13 PM   #8
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To be realistic, I don't see this happening for under a grand.

Create a spreadsheet and list everything you need, add it up and see where you are. I did a 90 a while back and that was $2k even using a lot of secondhand parts and equipment.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:30 PM   #9
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i can see it happening for under a grand, a used tank then you redo trhe seals for 10 bucks for the cost of the silicone, youcan prob get a bit to drill the hole for the sump at homedepot as well as the silicone. the lighting is the most of the expense, to be honbest, and i would stay away from aquarium built lights and either do a retro conversion or build your own lighting, just got to an electrical supplier
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:33 PM   #10
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Also the newspaper classifieds and craigslist are your friend, just make sure you research what you are getting.
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