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Old 11-05-2003, 08:37 PM   #1
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What does it cost to set up a sw tank?

I took a look at this site:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/ar...id=266&aid=419

I added up the total of all of those items, except the Custom Sea life PC 36" hood, including an ultra daylight and actinic lamp (which would be $100's more) and it came to about $1900. That's without shipping, assuming I could get most if not all of those items at my lfs. I definitely cannot afford that much money, or even half of it right now. However my lfs is having a sale where everything in the store is going to be 25% off. I am thinking about buying a 55g acrylic. I've never had acrylic before but I thought that I could use it for fw now and sw down the line. Maybe some of you could glace at that list and let me know if that list and those prices are reasonable? Would I need even more supplies/equipment than that? Is some not necessary? I'd like to get a good idea at what I'll be looking at so that I can plan my dreams a little better :]
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Old 11-05-2003, 08:51 PM   #2
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As a jumping off point, my setup ran as follows, for startup:

55 gallon glass aquarium w/ stand: $225.00
48" Custom Sealife PC w/ moonlight: $250.00
2 Glass Covers 2 x 18: $36.00
Sea Clone Protein Skimmer: $89.00
Skilter (now used for mechanical
and water movement) $52.00
2 PowerHeads: $50.00
Salt: $28.00
Heaters: $30.00
_________________________________________

Before LR/LS and livestock: $760.00

Add in:

40 lbs Base Rock : $80.00
25 lbs Live Rock: $175.00
40 lbs Live Sand: $64.00
40 lbs Marine Black Sand: $40.00
_______________________________________________

Grand Total minus Fish and other livestock $1119.00

So Really if you add up mistakes, things I bought I don't need, and fishies and coral, $1900 is in my opinion a pretty low estimate.

Not to scare ya off though. The great thing about saltwater is it can be done in stages. If your patient, it can be done. Money is required, but can be spread out pretty well.

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Old 11-05-2003, 08:55 PM   #3
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whats a skilit all i can say is acrylic is alot more then glass and ur looking at 1500+ for anything 55 and up in gal i would say and thats doing it right you dont wanna fudge something here and there it will bite you in the *** just my 2 cents
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START DATE OCT. 11th 03
90 Gal AGA tank
Oceanic SUMP 2 bio balls, 3 filter pads,&Crbn
Magdrive 9.5 pump
triple 48inch strip light (3 48inch 50/50 6000K/ actinic bulbs 36 watts)
110 lbs live rock Fiji,Caribian, Keys rock
40lbs live sand 100lbs araganite
15lbs black reg.sand
Berlin Classic with turbo upgrade
2 Maxi JEt Power head 1200
1 Rio 2100 for??
___live stock___
1 Ylw Tang
1 Chocolate Starfish
2 Green Damsels
1 horse conch snail
1 cleaner shrimp
7 Turbo snails the Cone shaped
13 Trochus Snails
23 Red leg cortez hermits
7 Scarlet hermits
3 Halloween hermits
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Old 11-05-2003, 08:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
46 Gallon Bowfront System II Aquarium (includes built-in filtration)
Definitely nix this. Yikes, that is pricey. You don't want a built in filtration system, because you don't want mechanical filtration. The flourescent hood is pretty much useless (unless for a simple FO with no corals, and no LR). I'd go for a basic glass tank.

Save the $$ on the tank, and invest it in lighting. But shop around. I'm not too familiar with PC's, but that looks pretty expensive.

Buy regular aragonite playsand, and supplement with about 10% true live sand. I haven't heard great things about the black sand.

Shop around for LR. Many members here can give you a number of selections on where to get LR from.

Buy the best skimmer you can afford.

Once the tank is cyled, shop around for a cleaner crew. Their suggested pack contains too many crabs (IMO), and a poor variety of snails.

I'm assuming you didn't get into the fish/coral choices. Those, and additives, are several posts in and of themselves.

For a 50g tank, for a *reef* tank, to set it up right, you're looking at somewhere in the vicinity of $1,500.00 - $3,000.00.
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Old 11-05-2003, 09:15 PM   #5
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They do instruct to buy corals so I assumed that this tank would, in fact, support coral. I did pick out some fish they suggested just to get an idea. These are the prices I noted from their site:

Week 1: Assemble the Aquarium and Cure the Live Rock $ 994.91
You will need:
• 46" Bowfront Stand $ 129.99
• 46 Gallon Bowfront System II Aquarium (includes built-in filtration) $ 599.99
• Custom Sea life PC 36" hood, including an ultra daylight and actinic lamp ?
• 100W Visitherm heater $ 15.99
• Grasslin timer $ 9.99
• Two-20# bags of Indo Pacific Black Sand $ 14.99 x 2 ($ 29.98)
• 50 gal mix of Tropic Marin salt $ 18.99
• 36# of Select Lalo live rock $ 109.99
• 22# of Select Premium Fiji live rock $ 79.99


Week 4: Add your First Inhabitants and a Protein Skimmer $ 159.98 ($ 1154.89)
You will need:
• Prizm Skimmer, $ 89.99
• 30 gallon Deluxe Algae Attack Pack (various snails and crabs) $ 68.99


Week 6: Add your First Corals $117.98 ($ 1272.87)
You will need:
• 50 gal mix of Tropic Marin salt $ 18.99
• Beginner Coral Pack (Contains Button Polyp, Yellow Colony Polyp, Hairy Mushroom Coral, and Bullseye Mushroom Coral) $ 98.99


Week 8: Add Aquacultured Corals $341.91 ($ 1614.78)
You will need:
• Silver Branch Pumping Xenia $ 44.99
• Regular Pumping Xenia $ 39.99
• White Starburst Polyps $ 33.99
• Colony polyps $ 18.99
• Cauliflower Colt Coral, $ 39.99
• Kenya Tree Coral $ 39.99
• Toadstool Mushroom Leather Coral, $ 39.99
• Spaghetti Finger Leather Coral, $ 49.99
• Green Starburst Polyp $ 33.99


Weeks 10 and 12: Add Fish $ 217.87 ($ 1832.65)
Add 2 Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp $ 15.99 x 2 ($ 31.98), 3 Hawaii Feather Dusters and $ 11.99 x 3 ($ 35.97), and a total of 6 fish. Choose from: $ 67.95
• Ocellaris Clownfish (Multiples ok), $ 11.99 x 2 ($ 23.98)
• Fridmani Pseudochromis (Only 1), $ 39.99
• Six-line Wrasse (Only 1), $ 15.99
• Green Chromis (Multiples ok), $ 3.99
• Kaudern's Cardinalfish (Multiples ok), $ 18.99 $ 102.94

6. Follow steps 1 - 3 above and then add your choice of 2 of the following fish:
o Carpenter Wrasse (Only 1),
o Flame Hawk (Only 1), $ 26.99
o Coral Beauty (Only 1 - Small), $ 19.99 $ 46.98
o Yellow Tang (Only 1 - Small),
o Sailfin Algae Blenny (Only 1 - Small)

Maintaining your New Ecosystem $ 60.22 ($ 1892.87)
1. Perform 25% water changes, at least monthly.
2. Feed a variety of foods to your fish such as: Mysis shrimp $ 3.99, Ocean Plankton $ 2.69, Mega Marine Algae $ 3.49, Tetra Marine Granules $ 6.49, and Sea Veggies $ 4.99. $ 21.65
3. Add the following to maintain healthy corals:
o Phytoplankton (for feather duster) $ 11.99
o Iodine $ 6.99
o Calcium $ 4.99
o Buffer $ 5.29
o Strontium/Molybdenum $ 9.29 $ 38.55
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Old 11-05-2003, 09:30 PM   #6
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Teri, I'm reading your webpage and it's a great site! I love all the DIY sections. I'm big on building, repairing, creating things so that appeals to me a lot :]
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Old 11-05-2003, 09:54 PM   #7
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Okay ... I'm going to try to not be my usual long-winded self here. What I would suggest is this. Ask a bunch of people what they would recommend as the *basics* for a reef tank. Not inverts, corals, or fish, just equipment, LR, and substrate. Once you have a number of different suggestions, sift through them, do some research, and make your choices. If you look at 20 different tanks here, you're goiing to see 20 different setups. You need to make an informed/educated decision.

IMO - and please take this as well intentioned, it is meant in this manner.... I do not at all like this idea of the "reef in a can" idea that they are promoting. A reef is like a garden - it is thought out and planned to be beauty in the eye of the beholder, not because someone else said "this is what a nice reef tank should look like". Make your own coral, fish, and invert choices -- long after you have decided on the basics, purchased, set up, and cycled the tank.

Just a few thoughts on their list (mostly my opinions which I should likely keep to myself) ...

Quote:
They do instruct to buy corals so I assumed that this tank would, in fact, support coral.
- It will, with the recommended PC hood, not the standard lighting that comes with the tank/hood. Again, I'd shop around for lighting.

Quote:
46 Gallon Bowfront System II Aquarium (includes built-in filtration) $ 599.99
IMO, very expensive, and you're purchasing things (built in wet-dry), that you absolutely do not want as part of a reef tank set up.

Quote:
Week 4: Add your First Inhabitants and a Protein Skimmer $ 159.98
There is no "timetable" for adding inhabitants. You would add them once the tank is fully cycled (not necessarily at the end of week #4). The skimmer sounds woefully inadequate for a reef tank. Hopefully someone can shed some additional light here - ours is a DIY, so I'm not overly familiar with brands.

Quote:
30 gallon Deluxe Algae Attack Pack (various snails and crabs) $ 68.99
IMO, this pack is an extremely poor choice of a cleaner crew.

Quote:
Week 6: Add your First Corals $117.98
This is almost funny, if it weren't sad. First, no mention of testing calcium, alk, pH before adding corals? Corals should NOT be added to a new tank - the tank should be matured and stable (stable salinity, temp, pH, ca & alk) for at least 3 months before adding corals.

Secondly, their prices are .... wow.

Quote:
Beginner Coral Pack (Contains Button Polyp, Yellow Colony Polyp, Hairy Mushroom Coral, and Bullseye Mushroom Coral) $ 98.99
Does that include shipping? If so, I guess it isn't too bad. If shipping is separate, which I believe it is? Yikes. Yep, I just walked through checkout, and they add another $25.00 for shipping, so $124.00 . Tell ya what. Set up the tank. I'll send you a medium button polyp, a couple red mushrooms, a hairy mushroom, a huge Colt coral frag, a large brown finger leather frag, some green star polyps, and I'll toss in two zoanthid frags for $125.00 shipped. Who's got the better deal?

Now on to their fish selections. Keep in mind that the oft-suggested 'guideline' for fish in a reef tank is 1" of fully-grown fish (not including tail) per 5g of water. This rule can bend somewhat, but is usually better bent/broken by experienced aquarists. In any case, they're suggesting approximately 20" of fish be added? I'm assuming that this is not a 100g+ tank?

I think it was a 50g - which means you're looking at a maximum of 10" - 15" (inches) of fish total, and no Tangs.

Quote:
Add the following to maintain healthy corals:
o Phytoplankton (for feather duster) $ 11.99
o Iodine $ 6.99
o Calcium $ 4.99
o Buffer $ 5.29
o Strontium/Molybdenum $ 9.29 $ 38.55
Don't get me started. Find a good way to maintain calcium & alk levels. (Kalkwasser or a good 2-part supplement such as B-Ionic). Phytoplankton is a good food addition if used/monitored correctly.
Iodine is replaced with water changes, strontium is not recommended that you supplement this at all - can actually be toxic/harmful. Buffer should not be needed if tank is maintained correctly.

Take it slowly, research, be an informed consumer, and enjoy it. Don't let a commercial site dicate your wants and needs.

Quote:
Teri, I'm reading your webpage and it's a great site! I love all the DIY sections. I'm big on building, repairing, creating things so that appeals to me a lot :]
Glad you're enjoying it. If we can help at all, drop me an email anytime.

Oops - didn't quite succeed with that non-long-winded goal, now did I?
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Old 11-05-2003, 10:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ReefLady

Glad you're enjoying it. If we can help at all, drop me an email anytime.

Oops - didn't quite succeed with that non-long-winded goal, now did I? ;-)
I bookmarked your site so I just might do that :]

And as far as being long-winded I am glad you are! I appreciate the time and thought you put into your response. I wasn't going to just blindly go with what that site says. I know I have to do my research. My BF drives me crazy when I tell him about things I've spent time asking and reading about and then he says "Well let's ask the experts at the lfs".. I'm like "They're not necessarily experts and they're trying to sell you stuff!" Anyhow, I thought it would be a good starting ground to begin the discussion from. I don't think I'll do sw for at least another year probably. I would still like to get a tank at that sale though ;]
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Old 11-05-2003, 11:44 PM   #9
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I am just starting to research SW too. I read this article in the DrsFosterSmith catalog last night! I wondered why they said put a tang in a 46 gallon tank. Based on the posts here, I thought tangs were only recommended in at least a 90 gallon tank. In the back of the catalog, in the LiveAquaria section, they say the minimum size tank for a tang is 100 gallons, but in their tank example, they're putting the tang into a 46 gallon tank!!
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Old 11-06-2003, 12:22 AM   #10
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Everything I have read here just says that tangs need at least 48" of tank length. I plan to get a yellow tang for my 75 gal.

As for cost, for FO, it can be done cheap to an extent. I have ran a HOB filter on a 38 gal for 9 years. No LR, LS or skimmer. I only had 2 fish though. Depends on what you want to do.

I am doing a 75 gal with sump, skimmer, LR and LS now. Ain't as cheap
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