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Old 04-22-2012, 09:42 PM   #1
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Wanting to start a salt water tank, looking at cost

I have been reading the "planning to start a 10 gallon saltwater tank" thread and i realized that I have a 10 gallon tank that is empty. I want to know if any of the equipment I have will be sufficient for saltwater
I currently have:
10 gallon tank
Penguin 150 HOB filter
Small power head (can't remember brand, but it is something like 200 gph, not sure exactly)
An aqueon 150 heater

So as far as i know I need:
Good lighting ($100-150?)
Live rock and live sand (?$?)
Salt level device (can't remember the name but tells you the amount of salt in the water) ($10)
I would probably buy premixed saltwater from my lfs (I don't have an RO system) ($0.79 a gallon)

After cycling:
1-2 fish (probably a goby and something else) ($50?)
Coral ($100?)

Is this a reasonable dream or am I kidding myself? I know that I would benefit from starting saltwater with a larger tank but this is the biggest I can go. Any thought/ in site would be great!
Thanks!
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:47 PM   #2
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I'll give you my thoughts. I tried to set up a 10g with minimal money spent. It didn't last long. It just wasn't worth the effort for me. Between the limited life available, constant worry with salinity changing due to evap, etc etc I just decided I hated saltwater. Luckily, I decided to try it again with a 40 breeder and love it. Good luck to you if you decide to set it up, and hopefully you won't reach the same conclusion I did.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516
I'll give you my thoughts. I tried to set up a 10g with minimal money spent. It didn't last long. It just wasn't worth the effort for me. Between the limited life available, constant worry with salinity changing due to evap, etc etc I just decided I hated saltwater. Luckily, I decided to try it again with a 40 breeder and love it. Good luck to you if you decide to set it up, and hopefully you won't reach the same conclusion I did.
Well that isn't what I wanted to hear... but that is why I ask
Thanks for the input, saltwater will just have to wait.

Well I just had another thought, I have an empty 40 gallon high tank (it needs new trimming but that isn't that big of deal). I also have a 36 inch marineland reef capable LED fixture (not sure how reef capable it really is). Is this a more realistic dream?
I could turn the 10 gallon into a sump (that is what it previously was) I still have all the dividers and everything for the 10 gallon.
More hope? Or still a joke?
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishfanatic

Well that isn't what I wanted to hear... but that is why I ask
Thanks for the input, saltwater will just have to wait.

Well I just had another thought, I have an empty 40 gallon high tank (it needs new trimming but that isn't that big of deal). I also have a 36 inch marineland reef capable LED fixture (not sure how reef capable it really is). Is this a more realistic dream?
I could turn the 10 gallon into a sump (that is what it previously was) I still have all the dividers and everything for the 10 gallon.
More hope? Or still a joke?
There is always hope... Lol... But a 40g is a start. You will be very limited to what fish you can keep, but you will be able to enjoy a SW tank. As far as the LEDs, not real sure... But can always do fish only with live rock (fowlr)
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:08 PM   #5
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That dream sounds a lot better than the first one! I'd opt for a 20 long sump though (that's what I did), which you can pick up for $20 at petco next time they have their sale.

If you haven't seen it yet, check out my build thread. I think I asked just about every question possible (even before that, which is linked in my build thread where I did some initial planning). Finally - 40 Breeder Reef Journal/Build Thread

I really like my 40 breeder, and a 40 tall is about the same, only slightly narrower and a bit taller IIRC. Still plenty of options and would definitely get you started.

Here's what I'd look in to getting-

50lbs base rock - $85 from reefrocks.net
40lbs sand - It was $15 shipped from reefrocks.net with purchase of rock... not sure if that's still going on
Heater - $20-30?
Refractometer (measures salinity... much better than hydrometer) - $30
Powerheads - This can be as cheap or expensive as you like. Two koralia 750's (about $30 each?) will get you about where you need to be... or you could go with an MP10 (my favorite), and you can find those used online for $150+ used, or about $250 new.

If you're going to do a sump, I'd highly suggest drilling. For $79 (I think), you can get a 750gph overflow from glass-holes.com (make sure you put the dash... trust me). A much better method than an HOB overflow, and very simple to install. Add another $10-15 for plumbing parts, a good return pump (mag 7 is what I went with... another $80 or so), a skimmer (get in on a BRS group buy and get a bubble magus NAC 3 for about $120)... I think that about covers you. An RO/DI unit will save you some money though. BRS has a good 75gpd unit for just over $100 and then salt is about $50 a bucket and will last you quite a while (the initial bucket will go faster since you're making more water to fill it up).


As far as fish are concerned, you've got a ton more options than you would with a 10. There are a lot of fish you can put in a 40g, just make sure to do the research like you do in FW in terms of compatibility and tank size requirements.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:16 PM   #6
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Thank you mfdrookie! That is the info i was looking for! Is there any such thing as a coral only tank? (Without fish)
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:19 PM   #7
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Mine is just about a coral only tank. I've slowly dwindled to only a pink spotted watchman goby and a cleaner shrimp. Most frag tanks are coral only, and that certainly makes it easier to stay consistent with your parameters. Most people like the fish... I like the corals. Just remember that coral 'poops' too, so you still need to skim and everything just like you would wish fish... assuming you go that route.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:23 PM   #8
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I think at this point I am trying to 'skimp' on everything and the tank just won't have quality equipment. Maybe 10+ years down the road I will have one... thank you for your time and effort! I can't express how much I appreciate your time!
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:27 PM   #9
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Nothing wrong with that. I will tell you that between group buys on BRS and buying used off of the Classifieds here and on another forum, I saved a TON of money. I bought some things I regretted and later sold, and I got some things that looking back, I would have bought a different brand or something... but in the end, I am in love with my tank and honestly regret not switching from planted to reef sooner. I no longer have any planted tanks. I just have my reef and my 10g apisto fry tank. Once you go reef, it's really hard to find enjoyment in anything else IME

I hope you go for it... and make sure you start a build thread WHEN (not if) you do!
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:41 PM   #10
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One day... one day...... just think all this waiting will make it even better later on. Well I guess I don't want to turn this into a chatting form so thanks again, back to the Freshwater forms I go. Thanks again!
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