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Old 07-31-2005, 07:31 PM   #1
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sw setup maintenance costs

I just got a 75 gal that was previously sw. I'd like to use the fact that it still has sand in it as an excuse to venture into the world of sw. I'm not going to get it set up for a while b/c I need to save up for all the equipment (it sucks being a broke college student), but what I'm worried about is maintenance costs.
I'd really, really, really like a reef setup so I know that I'll need strong lighting. Does it significantly increase energy consumption? I would be lighting the tank and a refugium (20 gal).
Also, would I need to purchase an RO unit or would it be cheaper to buy RO water? Does petsmart sell RO water? My LFS used to but it closed...
I need money to grow on trees. Life would be so much easier... lol
TIA
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Old 08-01-2005, 05:12 AM   #2
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Maintenance costs all depend on how much ur willing to do yourself..

If you dont wanna do a thing you'll spend lots of money..

If you wanna do it all urself you should be pretty fine..

Cleaning the tank = $0..
I buy my water premade = $1.50 per 10L, RO = $3 per 10L
Filter wool for change every month - $10

I do "maintenance" every month, and i clean the tank weekly with water changes every 2 weeks..

It doesnt cost much to maintain, just to set up..

As far as energy consumption I believe MH would increase an electric bill by 20% or so.. so i've been told..
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Old 08-01-2005, 08:26 AM   #3
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I buy RO water from walmart or lfs at .33 and .50 cents per gallon, mix my own salt. I do weekly 10% water changes. I go through about 9 gallons every two weeks. Setup is the most expensive and then there are the additional items that you must have or just plain want (i.e. testing supplies, food, salt or saltwater, water and of course new tank inhabitants). What parts do you have and what is your budget?
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Old 08-01-2005, 02:16 PM   #4
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Yikes! A 20% increase in electricity bills from MH lighting?!? Someone please tell me this is not correct. I am thinking of changing from FOWLR to reef, and I definitely didnt think the increase would be that much!
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Old 08-01-2005, 03:35 PM   #5
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20% seems like quite a lot just from one light. I guess it all relative to what your normal bill is though.
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Old 08-01-2005, 06:02 PM   #6
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I think stripes meant 20% increase over current aquarium lighting bill, but I do not believe that either. A 75 gallon tank with 2- 175MH lights would support any coral you wanted. With additional circulation pumps, lights, and skimmer it may cost you $10 a month increase in your power bill (worst case). I have MH on my tank and like them a lot.
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Old 08-01-2005, 11:56 PM   #7
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was just an educated guess.. i think it would up your bill 10-15 dollars. according to the guy who owns the tank on oregonreef.com says his tank contributes $300 to his power bill..
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Old 08-02-2005, 01:39 AM   #8
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ok $10-$15 isn't too bad. I thought it was going to be worse. I just found a cost calculator on the site, so I'll have to check it out. Thanks again, everyone!
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Old 08-02-2005, 11:44 AM   #9
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Probably more like $20-$25....as I recall, electricity is expensive in California. still not that terrible.
Buy your salt in a large, 5gallon bucket. Cheaper and lasts a long time.
it really is teh setup, not the maintenance, that's a shock to the bank account
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Old 08-02-2005, 12:24 PM   #10
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Yeah I agree on the setup part. I bought my 55 gallon setup for 230 with stand. Not that bad of a deal. HOB Penguin/150 Sub Heater.


Then I decided.. hey... I want saltwater fish rather than cichlids.

So I bought:
Live Sand - 20LB - $35
Regular Sand - 30LB - $35
Live Rock - 30 LBS - $120
Misc Decoration - $20
Salt for 60 Gallons - $35
Hydrometer - $10

$275 to make my 55 gallon fw into salt. Some of that stuff wasn't necessary but it makes it easier. LR seems to be my best investment. It was all purchased at the LFS so it was a good investment to help them keep business.

I overheard a lady say she had to get rid of her 30 gallon tank/stand to the LFS because the people who own the housing said she had to pay a $200 fee for animals. That tank was given to her as she explained. I bet she didn't get much from the LFS for it tho. I shoulda swooped in and offered to buy it but I didn't have that kind of cash laying around.


I'm just using tap water with conditioner. I have pretty good water here.
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