Henry, you dont have to purchase your entire stock of rock as live rock. You can do perfectly fine with base rock which can be found for a buck a pound or less. Yes the hobby can be expensive but most of sayf's expense is already covered. He has a reef setup and wants to know how to do the rest. Also I dont see the harm in getting some of the base rock to start and adding more in a couple of weeks or longer especially if only a few fish are added when the tank is cycled to conserve money. 50 lbs worth of rock and a tank stocked as if it were a 50 gal
wouldn't harm anything... Just give a budding aquarist some extra water for small mistakes to be made.
A 200 gal
tank will save money using a ro
on nearly the first fill especially if you can get one off craigslist or ebay. There's a portable unit on purewaterclub.com which carey will hopefully be for us today which is like 60 bucks. That and a test kit will put the rest of your purchases (like fish) about a month out while the tank cycles. This time is also well spent planning the fish for your tank (make sure everything you want is compatible and generally finding out which fish interest you.)
There is a sticky in sw
reef aquaria section about cost of ro
for a yr so reading that may lead you on how to figure out what your water cost will be per yr. Since that is the min. cost you will have without adding fish or corals it would be a good factor in determining whether or not you can afford it.
After all that typing I would just like to say, if you're concerned about cost you may be able to trade for a fully setup smaller tank. I see deals like that on cl
all the time, so you could end up with a tank full of rock coral and fish then all you need is the ro
. Just a thought though.