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Old 12-02-2003, 03:17 AM   #1
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Starting sw aquarium for under $200 (X-mas gift)

I am planning on beginning a sw aquarium for next school semester to experiment with.

I know my parents budget is about 200 for this present.

So my question is this; for this price, what are the most relevant items that I could purchase for a sw tank (including the nano-tank itself, regardless of size, something around 10 gal).

I do not mind only holding ls and lr for a while, along with a hermit or shrimp. I do wish to add a couple small fish though along the way.


btw, this is my first real post, and I love the site and amount of input, thanks all.
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Old 12-02-2003, 09:17 AM   #2
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So my question is this; for this price, what are the most relevant items that I could purchase for a sw tank
What type of tank are you envisioning? FOWLR? Reef? FO? This will determine what is most important.
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Old 12-02-2003, 09:59 AM   #3
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Well if you go with a 10 gal size and that might be the max you can do with the budget you have unless you can find someone who is getting out of the hobby and is giving away a larger tank your really going to be limted in the fish you can keep. Ideally we are talking 1 small fish max.

If your thinking of going Reef then your budget of 200 can quickly be blown just in lighting so for your budget amount I would say FO or FOWLR is your alternitives. If your fugle you could probably do it for very close to your budget amount but it would be good to plan out what your going to need so you dont have to buy things twice.

Things to put on yoru list.

Heater
Florecent light strip (2 bulb)
Hydromoter
Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate test kits
Salt mix (50gal bag)
Powerhead (1 or 2)
10lbs of live rock
3-4" of sand for sand bed (can be live or a mix of live and dead sand)
Tank
Stand
Couple buckets
Syphon hose
small heater and pump for salt mixing


Thats a list of things I can think of off the top of my head.
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Old 12-02-2003, 04:02 PM   #4
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you can always try looking for a used system. I can see you finding a use 30-55 gallon system for that price.
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Old 12-02-2003, 04:49 PM   #5
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My reasoning for wanting a smaller aquarium is because I will have it in my dorm here @ college. I would prefer keep a smaller tank, I have a spare 20 gal. at home I could use, but I figured it'd be better practicing on a smaller tank, this may be false though I have no idea. I imagined that a lesser volume tank would prove less hassle when a problem arises.

I wanted to start with a smaller tank and maybe one day turn my 55gal fw into a sw, so that by then I will have some experience.

I really don't mind having little or no fish, I just want to get down the basics of sw aquarium keeping, though it'd be nice to have a little fish in there and some cleaners. I have to admit, this site is proving more and more helpful each day.

So maybe I will just use my existing 20gal and use the 200 the buy the required components fishfreek listes.

Thanks again everyone, very much, I can't wait till I can contribute likewise.
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Old 12-02-2003, 04:59 PM   #6
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Definately use the 20. It is easier to maintain your levels, which is always good for new people.
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Old 12-04-2003, 05:58 PM   #7
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Best thing to do, IMO, is save the money. Before you holler out and yell in protest let me explain.

1. Books will be among your most important investment, among them The New Marine Aquarium by Michael Paletta and The Consciencist Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner. Buy used if you can but this $40 investment will save you a ton of money in the long run.

2. Research. What is it that you ultimately want? A FOWLR aquarium may be more satisfying but, if you are looking to spend all $200 now, know a FO is the way you will go. A reef aquarium can be extremely expensive. As an example, I spent $92.50 for 15 lbs of live rock and another $75 on the power compact lights. All that on a 10G tank that cost me $6. Hard to believe the tank itself can be among the least expensive things you buy for a saltwater aquarium setup.

3. Be patient as saltwater, especially reef, tanks never are quick and easy. Lots of patience is required but the end result will be worth it.

That all being said, for the 20 you have you will need: a hydrometer, some test kits, 3 powerheads (two for the tank), 2 heaters (one for the tank), the salt itself, 2 thermometers, 2 5G buckets, water, sand, lights, and siphon hose will run you roughly $185. May be able to pick up a damsel or two with what is left. This leaves you with a tank that has fish in it with a sandy bottom and no live rock. However, you will be able to do water changes. Forgot the surge protector that will run an extra $10.

Take your time and save the money until you finish reading the books (which were not included in the above initial costs). By far that will be the best thing you can do.
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