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Old 12-06-2011, 09:55 AM   #1
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Flipping a Tank?

So I am thinking about setting up my first salt water tank next year. I completed my first DIY cichlid build just the other week and I loved it. I am considering buying a 75g-125gal and setting it up in the garage. I'd like to build this from scratch again and buy everything else I need used for the most part. I want to set this up in my garage to make working on it and water changes / mixes easier and more convenient.

I'm online everyday looking at equipment and stock that people are unloading due to moves, time or money. There are lots of great deals. I also see full setups for sale as well. Some of the complete setups (a lot surprisingly) are $500-$1000 and there seems to be a decent amount of them each month.

My question is, how many of these setups do you think sell? If I can build a decent SW setup for <$500 to learn on over the next year, what are my chances of selling it to break even and cover the cost of that learning curve.?I would think that I have the best chance of covering the food and chemical costs at the end of the year if I can get a large tank for $100 or less and again, build all the plumbing and filters myself. I have seen some people selling fish as well but not as much.

Just curious.... it's not going to stop me from trying next year but I was just wondering how many people look for complete setups. It seems like most people (on here anyway) are doing this because of the whole process and the continuing enjoyment of caring for the fish/reefs etc. vs. just buying it and having it.
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:06 AM   #2
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This lot has really got me ready to jump: Aquarium and equipment I was thinking about trying to offer $140 for everything.
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:09 AM   #3
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I've been trying to flip my 55g setup for over 3 months. :-( It's hard to sell sometimes. In the same time frame I sold my pico(got my investment back) and a 20g fw community tank (also got mymoney back).

I think alot depends on the area you are in. have you tried seeing how long those setups last on cl? Its one thing to post one it's another to actually sell it for the price listed.
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:21 AM   #4
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oh I totally follow you and agree! I live in a very transient area with the military here in Hampton Roads. Like my brother in-law in Hawaii, I always find good deals due to people relocating every 2 years. I'm trying to track how long some of these completes are sitting around. My 1 thought was that maybe guys are relocating here and have unloaded in the past and want to have a setup again while they are here.

I also think it's about size, timing and the like. 1 thing I have noticed being at the LFS so much this year is that people are still spending money on pets regardless of the economy it seems. I'm surprised at the types of people dropping $100 on a fish or a bird etc when I go there. I'm not trying to judge a book by it's cover, but when you're wearing camo cut offs and have dreads I doubt you're a dentist looking to stock the office foyer tank.
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Old 12-07-2011, 11:55 AM   #5
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I am in hampton road too. Im going to sell off my 75 setup as soon as my big tank is ready. If your interested let me know I'll give you a good price.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:19 PM   #6
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Cool, yeah I'd be interested in chatting. It won't be until next year sometime... Feb maybe? Depends on the deal I'm really looking to get some old stuff though. The things like dirty tanks form a storage unit that just need to be cleaned out and people just want it gone. I'd really like to piece it together and then make $100 - $200 or so on it to help cover setup and some mistakes. I'm planning on making a crude and bare bones stand for it in the garage. It's just to learn on oer the next year or so before I do a nicer one in the house.
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:24 AM   #7
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Here is another great deal 125 Gallon Aquarium I think. OB you could probably get this for $75 or $80
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:12 PM   #8
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Probably but I don't like how it's sitting on it's side like that.
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:37 AM   #9
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Don't know how the market is in your area but very little sells lately where I live. I believe freshwater aquariums and equipment sell better because people that pick up stuff at a yard sale or something know LFS prices for new and think they are getting a great deal when they pay half price for used. Saltwater is generally more expensive and people in the market for used stuff know you can pick stuff up for 20-30 percent of the new price. We tend to be almost ruthless when it comes to parting with our cash.

What happens here when a complete set up becomes available is the person posts a price for everything and people reply to "let me know if you decide to part it out, I’m interested in X, Y and Z”. When the person finally figures out it won’t sell as a complete set up and posts individual prices the vultures start circling. Livestock must go before they sell the tank so top notch corals that would be $40 at an LFS can be had for $10 at a frag swap are now worth $5 because they are breaking down the tank. Less than top notch corals will not sell at all and if they are lucky one of their friends from the local club will take them for free. Really nice live rock sells in this area for $2 a pound, maybe $3 if you are buying less than all that is in the tank. If your rock has any pest anemones or pest algae you may as well toss it in the back yard for a while then scrub it up to sell as dry base rock for $1 or less. Sand is expensive new but no one wants it due to possible pests. I have been given hundreds of pounds of live sand when I bought a tank because no one else wanted it.

Used equipment is always suspect by the buyer and difficult to get much for unless it is new in the box. You can’t tell by looking at a powerhead or pump if it is almost new or several years old, worn out and only pumping half as much as it should. Reef light bulbs are very expensive to replace and you can’t tell how old they are by looking at them when they come on. When bulbs are too old they only grow nuisance algae, not corals. Top grade skimmers will sell if the person buying can see it in operation and the price is low enough. Skimmers that were cheap junk when new will not sell at all. I own three very nice DIY skimmers that people gave me because I bought some other things from them when they would not sell.

Tanks and stands sell the least and usually sit around in the garages for months or forever after everything else is gone. I know of about a dozen tanks in this area that have never sold after the owner broke everything down and got out of the hobby. If you are looking to buy the market is great. My best deal was an 8 foot tank with all the extras available from the manufacturer including being reef ready drilled with dual overflows (that had glass covers with snail guards), custom stand and hood. New from the manufacturer was $2000 and I paid $400 for it used. Generally if I get a really cheap price on an aquarium the stand is thrown in for free.

“The only way to make a small fortune out of a reef tank is to start with a large fortune."
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:21 PM   #10
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Good deal for $175 maybe? Wet dry sump filter aquarium
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