Originally Posted by miniflea84
... I guess what it boils down to is, are the things I listed above worth the approximatly $200 over the base price of the biocube itself?
In short... no.
The skimmer - it's most likely not the greatest in the world, and most folks that keep this size of tank don't go with a skimmer. With the smaller water capacity, frequent water changes are your best bet at keeping water parameters good.
The heater - you'll need one, but most likely it can be purchased for cheaper, AND you can get the brand YOU want and not just the one the LFS
is trying to get rid of.
Test kit - you'll need that, and API is a good one to start off with.
Water Conditioner - if you plan on using tap water, then you'll need a dechlorinator. But just as with the heater, you can probably do better. If you're going to use RO
water or pure water... you won't need it.
Buffering Chemicals - if you're not going reef, you don't need them. Even if you DO go reef, you may or may not need them, depending on your salt mix.
Hydrometer - you need something to measure salinity, but 99% of the folks (unscientific poll!) that buy hydrometers probably throw them out within 6 months and buy a refractometer in the end. Best to just start with a refractometer ($50) and not waste the money in the beginning.
Bag of salt - See comments on heater. Buy in bulk, and the brand you want.
Marine Flake food - frozen is best, but this is a minuscule piece of the puzzle. Say $3 for a thing of flake. Big deal.
So... you can spend $691 for a tank+stand and a bunch of stuff that you'll end up replacing within 6 months or never use, or spend $450 for a tank+stand and have $241 left over to buy the stuff YOU really want to go in the tank. You can definitely pick up the stuff listed for less than $241... even at a LFS
. Getting it online you can get it for even cheaper.
Just my opinion, of course. (If you haven't guessed, I'm not a real fan of "package deals.")