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Old 08-19-2013, 09:40 AM   #1
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Equipment brands

Hi everyone

I'm starting my FIRST fish tank (50 gallon saltwater fowlr) and was wondering what brands you would recommend of equipment and the total cost.
I'm planning on getting:

Heater
Lighting and hood
2 powerheads
Protien skimmer
Air pump
Sump( what would you put in a sump?)

Also, do you recommend any other equipment?

Thanks!
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:24 AM   #2
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Hello there. Welcome to AA. I'm new to the saltwater world myself, but have gained a bit of experience in the FW world. I've also done a lot of research to get my SW put together. Here are my recommendations.

For a 50 gallon tank, your biggest hit will probably come from live rock and your skimmer. You will need 60 to 80 pounds of live rock. At about $7 to $9 dollars per pound, this is going to be the big one! However, if you are patient, you can get "dry" rock instead. It is less expensive, but it takes more time and may create an odor as it cures.

Heater - Eheim (Maybe $50)
Lighting and hood - If you aren't doing coral, then whatever you can find in your budget will work. I use T5s on both our tanks, but am leaning toward LED
2 powerheads- Hydor was highly recommended to me. These aren't too terribly expensive, but you should do some research as to how many and how powerful you need for that tank.
Protien skimmer - This will probably be one of your big ticket items for sure! I recommend Reef Octopus or Eshopps ($300... maybe more)
Air pump - Do you mean water pump? I got a "Quiet One" for about $60, but the price depends on the pump. How far will your water be traveling from your sump to your tank? That is something to consider.
Sump( what would you put in a sump?) I just used a 10 gallon tank I had for my sump. It is split into 3 sections. The first section has my skimmer, the second is full of live sand, live rock, and rubble. The 3rd section has my pump to move water back to the display.

Also, do you recommend any other equipment? I am assuming you have a drilled tank, but if not I would recommend getting it drilled. Otherwise, you will need an overflow box.

Check Amazon for some of this equimpent. You can save a ton of money on aquarium equipment there.
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:35 AM   #3
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Check Craigslist for deals. Also see if there is a reef/saltwater club in your area. Often members have used and sometimes new stuff lying around that you can get a good deal on.
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:55 AM   #4
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Check Craigslist for deals. Also see if there is a reef/saltwater club in your area. Often members have used and sometimes new stuff lying around that you can get a good deal on.
That's true. I had a friend offer me a nice skimmer, it just wouldn't fit in my sump. He has about a 300 gallon tank... should've known better .
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:42 PM   #5
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So what do you think would be the total cost?
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:45 PM   #6
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Better question. What is your budget?
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:49 PM   #7
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So what do you think would be the total cost?
Assuming you only have the tank, you would be looking at as muck as $700 to $900 more dollars. Half of that is rock and sand, though. Do you have a stand, too?

Don't be discouraged by that number... It can be done cheaper... Can be done for more. But that's a good expectation to have, I think.

A couple of tips.... You can get by without a skimmer for a while. Some folks don't use them at all. Also, don't over-complicate your sump. I would recommend a 25 to 40 gallon tank as your sump. I have a friend using a rubber made container!
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:55 PM   #8
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I think you can do it for under $500.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:00 PM   #9
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I think you can do it for under $500.
How? Won't the live rock and sand alone be nearly that much? I'm not saying you're wrong... Please don't misunderstand. I could use the help myself.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:18 PM   #10
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I would never use live rock. Most live rock is just dead rock that is wet. I have started 2 tanks with dry base rock and Dr Tims one and Only Nitrifying bacteria. That alone will save you hundreds of dollars and guarantee no pest. You can buy lights on ebay that would work just fine. Buy 2 hydor powerheads at least 1050 gph. Make your own sump for less then $30. Buy a heater and return pump a few pieces of plumping material and your good. Reefrocks.net has #50 of dry rock for $85 shipped and you can get dead sand there too. I believe you would be under $500 total
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:55 PM   #11
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I would never use live rock. Most live rock is just dead rock that is wet. I have started 2 tanks with dry base rock and Dr Tims one and Only Nitrifying bacteria. That alone will save you hundreds of dollars and guarantee no pest. You can buy lights on ebay that would work just fine. Buy 2 hydor powerheads at least 1050 gph. Make your own sump for less then $30. Buy a heater and return pump a few pieces of plumping material and your good. Reefrocks.net has #50 of dry rock for $85 shipped and you can get dead sand there too. I believe you would be under $500 total
There are a lot of interesting life forms on live rock. When I bought mine I spent hours watching the tank for new things to emerge.

Live rock is expensive but dry rock can be bought for $2 - $4 a pound which is as good a deal as you can find.


Breakdown of basics for the tank:
Dry rock - 55lbs - $165
Caribsea Aragonite substrate - 60lbs - $80 ish
Ehein Jager heater - $20 (My personal fav. heater to date)
Hydor Koralia Evolution 850 x2 - $60
ro/di system - 162
API Salt master test kit - $16
Lights - ??
Total: 503
That's the absolute basic essentials for running a salt water tank. The light can run as low as $50 and go much much much higher.

If you want a refugium / sump you can expect to pay at minimum $100

A protein skimmer is also highly recommended and will probably run in the range of $150 - $200

None of this is taking into consideration any shipping costs from buying it online but there are usually bulk purchase deals that give free shipping.

All equipment was found at either Bulk Reef Supply or Big Als Pets
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:58 PM   #12
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I set up my 55 for about $1500 (including the tank) I loved buying all live (cured) rock, even though it was more expensive. It came covered with coralline, loads of fun little hitchhikers and little to no cycle. Each to their own tho, it comes down to personal taste (and budget) of course you can do it cheaper, pick up second hand deals etc.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:04 PM   #13
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I set up my 55 for about $1500 (including the tank) I loved buying all live (cured) rock, even though it was more expensive. It came covered with coralline, loads of fun little hitchhikers and little to no cycle. Each to their own tho, it comes down to personal taste (and budget) of course you can do it cheaper, pick up second hand deals etc.
Agreed. I tried to find deals on new items and I built my own stand. Amazon really is a good place for new equipment at good prices. I agree about the rock. I liked getting the LR, but I trusted the LFS, too.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:06 PM   #14
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Everyone has there own way of doing it. It's whatever works for each. I just want to point out that you can go multiple routes. And if you listen to most people on here they would have you buying Radion lights and Vortec pumps ($1500) which a PC or T5 lights and some Hydor pumps ($150) would do the same. To each his own.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:08 PM   #15
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Everyone has there own way of doing it. It's whatever works for each. I just want to point out that you can go multiple routes. And if you listen to most people on here they would have you buying Radion lights and Vortec pumps ($1500) which a PC or T5 lights and some Hydor pumps ($150) would do the same. To each his own.
True. I'm new to SW, but have found very quickly there are a lot of ways to do it "right." It's pretty amazing.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:49 AM   #16
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And if you listen to most people on here they would have you buying Radion lights and Vortec pumps ($1500) which a PC or T5 lights and some Hydor pumps ($150) would do the same. To each his own.
Why would you even bother saying this? You act as though theres hardcore members that do nothing but suggest the top notch, first class products.... A quick look by anybody with Google can see that vortechs and radion are companies associated with dedicated hobbyists with the extra mpney to spend on their tanks. Just about every time ive asked for input on equipment on AA, ive gotten straightforward, affordable options... Not these highly-priced convenience items
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:30 PM   #17
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You said it correctly "just about". There is more good information then bad on here i agree. I've seen post all over the place when asked the simple question "What is the best skimmer for my tank" and you get the wide range of answers. For someone that is thinking about starting the hobby they may easily be scared away. As I pointed out in my earlier post on the thread you can do things cheaper.
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