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Old 04-20-2006, 08:03 PM   #11
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yeah, i guess i did miss that sticky. sorry. *feels stupid*

well, i've done a little reading on what to get and so far from what i've read and what was mentioned here, i think i can stay on my budget to at least get it up and running.

live rock ($150 or less since LFS knows me and gives me discount)
filter (already have - $0)
light ($0 - not doing reef and have flourescent light already)
sand ($10? $20?)
protein skimmer (will get once cycle is complete and fish are ready to be added)
fish (they come a lot later)
test kit (i could swear i've seen master liquid reagent kits for like $50)
salt mix ($30)
water (will buy from grocery store $3 for 5 gallons of distilled)

i'm used to doing things the cheap way, and breaking costs up into smaller pieces... but if i'm totally off-base with this estimate of $300 or less just to get it full and cycling, please tell me so i can set it up and just do some easy FW stuff for my mother...

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Old 04-20-2006, 08:21 PM   #12
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I'm gonna end up looking like the bad guy probably, but I think SW tanks and budgets go together like oil and vinegar.

My advice would be to spend ALOT of time researching and buying great products when you save enough money to do so. I don't recommend deciding to do a SW tank and starting the cycle 2 weeks later. That spells disaster IMO. Take your time and read everything you can get your mitts on.

wait til you have more money to jump in. that will be gone in a flash and you'll be left needing more.

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Old 04-20-2006, 08:31 PM   #13
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I agree. YOu are not goign to get away with doing it for $300. Trust me.

THe skimmer itself is goign to run you $150-200 and you will need it in order to ever have fish in the tank.
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:36 PM   #14
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Well I will be the bad guy with ryguy. $300 will not cut it. What type skimmer are you looking at? What about water circulation?
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:47 PM   #15
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im on a budget and i have something to add.... as long as you RESEARCH and i do mean research and check out the costs of things online, and know exactly what you are after, then it is possible. after the intial cost of setup, (research, then cycle, as cycling save for other equipment, such as test kit (this 1st), refractometer, skimmer, etc... you have over 2 months to do so) the maintence is the biggest key. partial water changes are like car insurance for your tank and if you purchase an ro/di unit, it REALLY keeps costs down... i can tell you from experience that a quality skimmer, ro/di, and live rock are your best friends.... those are the things that cost the most. buying "the pretty stuff" comes last, but by then youll have everything and can enjoy the tank!
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Old 04-21-2006, 12:27 AM   #16
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Just a quick question for you. Are you going to be staying with the 20 or have you decided to upgrade? The reason why i ask is because you said that you are projecting $150 for lr. I know you said OR less, but you might want to check out online because they have some awesome deals that could drop your costs a lot. Check ebay out. They have some for about $3.00lb and less. Just letting you know!
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Old 04-21-2006, 08:29 AM   #17
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Being an accountant IME a budget is good for any application. I’ve spent over $2K on my 55 gal. My monthly budget is aside from the “upfront” costs which were easily $1500 just to start with the cost of base/lr, skimmer, and PC lighting. Once you get that out of the way having a monthly budget helps with buying any additional equipment or fish/inverts without having to explain to the spouse why you “need” to spend $50 for two or three Salifert tests, $50 for one coral or fish, ect…

Of course my spouse has a budget as well so she doesn’t have to explain why she “needs” another $500 purse to add to the 8+ she already has. Those without spouses can spend till you break the bank

Starting with $300-$500 is doable IMO for a FOWLR tank but as Brenden said you will need a couple of ph to aerate the water for good oxygen exchange.

Best advice is to not skimp on the skimmer. Research skimmers carefully and ask before buying for recommendations. I would buy a skimmer that is rated for a larger tank in case you want to upgrade in the future.

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Old 04-21-2006, 08:44 AM   #18
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I agree with tecwzrd. Although, its been a while since I worked with SW, I am no stranger to expensive hobbies. I set budget only implies a plan and can vary based on your particular economics. However, it is wise to set aside a realistic amount each month whether your tank needs it or not. Therefore, when you need to upgrade, etc, you will have the money. Otherwise, it is too stressful having to scrounge $$ for every little thing which quickly will sap the fun from the hobby. Plus, you will be forced to cut corners when it counts and could lose valuable livestock.
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Old 04-22-2006, 11:42 PM   #19
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thanks for the replies guys.... i've been researching a little bit for a couple months, and once i get out of school, i'll be obsessive about it... and i'll have at least a month to keep researching while the tank's cycling.

i don't plan on upgrading, at least not for some time. i have somewhat limited space as i'm still in college and living with my parents so i have to keep all my aquatic stuff in one room (as well as my chinchilla cage, chameleon cage, rat cages and the other necessities of living) i put the estimates high, at $5/pound for 30 pounds... it'll probably only cost me $100 for the LR.

sorry if it was unclear... i don't expect to get away with only spending $300 on the tank total. lol. no, not even close. i know that. but i think i CAN get it running and cycling on that much. while it's cycling i'll get a skimmer and save up for fish.

speaking of fish.... any suggestions? (please don't say clowns...)

and i do have a pet budget. i need one with all the stuff i have to take care of... and if need be, once it's cycled i can keep dosing ammonia to maintain the cycle if i don't have all the equipment i need... or i can do what i usually do and drain the savings account a little more. money isn't THAT huge of an issue, but i'm not willing to drop $1000 upfront. (over time it's unavoidable, but not right at the beginning)
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Old 04-23-2006, 12:45 AM   #20
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You can get away with that type of budget if you are just looking to keep fish. Ive had my 29 gallon SW aquarium for 3 years now with the basic powerfilter, florescent lamp (20 watts), powerhead, and heater, and all my fish have lived healthy happy lives. I originally had coral gravel as my substrate and dead base rock inplace of live rock. Since then ive gradually upgraded to live sand, some live rock, and 130 watt lighting due to my budget (student). Dont get bummed out if everyone tells you that you HAVE to set this up a certian expensive way if your just looking to create an aquarium that will make you happy with a few fish, not a huge tank full of corals with a large bio mass. Those guys do know what they are talking about and have helped me out a lot along the way and still do. They just need to take it into consideration that we are into this hobby for our pleasure, not to have a big expensive aquarium we cant afford! lol!

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