PDA

View Full Version : Estimate for automated 600 gallon reef


ClarkiiGriswald
05/31/2017, 06:31 PM
Hey everyone,

This is my first post under this username. I want to have a large reef tank that's LPS dominant with softies and Ricordia. My initial goal is 600 gallon display and then I thought maybe I could house these fish in a smaller volume and still have them feel comfortable, so the goal of this thread is to gain a rough estimate of the setup investment and monthly investment to maintain such a tank that would be capable of comfortably housing the fish below all together. I understand the investment can change depending on equipment so I'm more looking for an estimate to the nearest $10,000. I'm interested in a 6-8 ft penninsula display about 30-36" wide. My goal is to have the fish that I've always wanted to have in this system with proper lighting, filtration, a refugium, automated dosing, probes for [pH, Calcium, Magnesium, Alkalinity, salinity]. Additionally, I would plan to have the Genesis automatic water change system and auto top off system. Another aim for this system is to have an efficient refugium and frequent water changes so that I can reduce the total volume of water used to do water changes on a weekly basis. I will greatly appreciate the help to gain an estimate. Here are the fish I want:

Regal Tang
5 Yellow tangs
Desjardini Tang
Naso Tang
Marine Betta
Black and White Ocellaris pair
Clarkii Clownfish
Tomato Clownfish
Royal Gramma
7 Ignitus Anthias

Here are the coral I want
Torch coral
Lobophyllia
Wellso folded brain
Branching Hammer
Duncan coral
Many different Ricordia Florida anemones
Devil's hand leather
Green toadstool leather
Rastafarian zoanthids

-Phil

marleesan
05/31/2017, 06:43 PM
For dimensions, I would recommend 10' x3' to make more room for all those fish

skanderson
05/31/2017, 09:45 PM
i have a 700 and have about 3 times the fish load you are considering for a 600. fwiw I agree that a 10x3 tank would be great but you will have a hard time getting all the equiptment for a tank of that size for the price you listed. you would have plenty of space for your listed fish and then for the fish you then decide you really want to add to them.

ycnibrc
05/31/2017, 09:56 PM
For 10k budget u need to buy most of your tank N equipment used. It's do able but take time. Big tank cost more money to build and maintain make sure u have the fund to continued. I have a 8'x3'x2' and it cost me easily 500$ a month to run it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Darthv247
05/31/2017, 11:23 PM
think the budget was not said. just needs a number to the nearest 10k no?

Socaltoaz
06/01/2017, 12:41 AM
Done right- 50k

Vanpire
06/01/2017, 01:28 AM
You can do a lot of things for less than $10,000 if you plan and take your time and buy used equipment. A lot of my costs were from a previous build but I added them here to show what I actually paid for them. Sometimes you get lucky and get things really cheap.

I have a 8' x 2.5' (w) x 2' (H) only 300 gallons and these are my costs, you can use this to get an idea on how to build a tank for cheap.

Monthly:
$40 IO salt for water change (50 gallons a week)
$20 for test kits
$60 for electricity. I light my tank at night when electricity is really cheap in AZ.

Annually:
$45/year for medium for calcium reactor
$50/year for CO2
$270/9 months for Radium bulb replacement (90 x 3 bulbs)
$75 RO/DI filter replacements
$30 Activated Carbon as need

Set-up:

$1000 - Tank 1" thick acrylic (needed a lot of work) + steel stand (had to drive 500 miles to pick it up)
$100 - sand paper and polishing compounds
$800 - Wood for stand and hood + 5 x unfinished doors from cabinetsnow.com
$100 - paint for stand and hood
$80 - used sump (bought used for a previous build)
$350 - MP60Wes used (bought used for a previous build)
$500 - MP60QD used
$225 - Lumen bright reflectors x 3 (bought used for previous build)
$150 - MH Ice Cap eBallasts x 3 (bought used for a previous build)
$100 - plumbing parts
$25 - silicon sealers
$100 - 1262 Eheim return pump (bought used for a previous build)
$100 - 200 lbs of dry rock from local reefer (super lucky)
$0 - sand from local reefers
$60 - bleach, lanthium chloride, and muratic acid to clean rock
$250 - 3 Magnets (2 x great white, 1 x magnavore 8 (all used of course)
$450 - Vertex Alpha 200 skimmer (bought used for a previous build)
$200 - MRC dual chamber CA Rx - older model but works great
$300 - Aquariumplants.com CO2 doser
$60 - Ph probe
$225 - APEX Lite (bought used for a previous build)
$50 - CA Rx Medium to fill both chambers (1x extra coarse and 1 x fine ARM media)
$30 ebay grow light for Chaeto
$500 Misc stuff

I had a lot of power tools and equipment I used to refinish the tank and skin the stand around the house so I did not included their cost here.

PS bought a ~600 gallon (5' x 5' x 3') for $1,000 and the skimmer for it for $500 bucks. Next build.

I think I can do it for less than $10K. Biggest cost will be lighting - will need to go with LED for extra depth or maybe 4 x 400W MH. Will need two more MP60s from what I have today. Bigger return pump and bigger sump. Of course, bigger stand and heavy duty steel stand.


Hope that helps you.

RonMidtownStomp
06/06/2017, 12:30 AM
You've received good answers so far. A lot of the budget comes down to your choices in equipment. I put together an old Geo skimmer for about $150 for my system. You could easily spend $3k on a skimmer for a 600 gallon system, or find something used on the dry good forum that would work just fine for $400.

600 gallons is a very large system and you could easily meet your requirements for much less money on a 300 gallon system. If you want bigger, then 600 gallons is a 96x48x30 aquarium. That's really, really big. A 96x36x24 aquarium is also really big at 360 gallons. The build cost would probably be about 30-50% the price for the 360. Even a 96x30x24 would be plenty of size for the fish that you want.

It's 8 LED fixtures, and again it's a question of whether you want to go with Ocean Revives at $160/each or Radions at $800 each. The difference is $4600. Will the Radions look better? A little bit. Is it worth $4600? I don't know. Is $4600 a lot of money to you?

If you are going to go with a 600 gallon tank and there is any way that you can do it as an island with center overflows like Socaltoaz' tank and mine, I can't recommend it enough. Being able to walk all of the way around a tank is a much different experience. If you want high end, look at Socaltoaz' build thread. He went with incredible equipment and did an awesome build. If you want budget, used equipment, pieced together .. look at mine!

Note that your coral list is pretty hardy and all what I consider beginner corals. They are going to be really forgiving and if you're going to spend the money to have a high end system, you could easily expand that coral list.

reefwiser
06/06/2017, 06:06 AM
You would do best working with a maintenance company that deals with large install's as they will know what would be best. You don't say what part of the country you are from?
I know quite a few maintenance company's that deal in this size of system.

ClarkiiGriswald
06/07/2017, 09:35 AM
Thanks guys for the feedback. All this information is great! The price of $10,000 is to be interpreted as if the total price is $45,600 then round up to the nearest $10,000, so $50,000. I want to have these fish living comfortably so if I could do it with a smaller volume then that would be great and please suggest display volumes! The corals I've chosen are the first corals I want. There might be more. More focused on LPS, polyps, and anemones. Fish load may increase by adding smaller fish.

As far as equipment goes, I would get quality first that can withstand the needs of the system and if used equipment can do that then that's great!

The first thing I'm focused on is what animals and corals do I want, then comes the display size, and then the equipment to maintain the system as easily as possible to reduce the amount of time I will have to spend maintaining it and while maintaining quality of health of the inhabitants and life of the equipment. Please make as many suggestions and recommendations as possible. Thanks!

ClarkiiGriswald
06/07/2017, 09:37 AM
Please include annual and monthly expenses too

SPS_77493
06/07/2017, 09:42 AM
For 10k budget u need to buy most of your tank N equipment used. It's do able but take time. Big tank cost more money to build and maintain make sure u have the fund to continued. I have a 8'x3'x2' and it cost me easily 500$ a month to run it.

How does it cost you $500 per month? Give us a breakdown.

anbosu
06/07/2017, 10:36 AM
Please include annual and monthly expenses too

Setting it up yourself and ignoring livestock and any secondhand deals I think $30k is likely. Depending on tank height the tank alone might be $10k.

If you don't want to do any of the work yourself and are going to have a remote equipment room, high end equipment, etc. the $50k socaltoaz mentioned is a better benchmark.

RonMidtownStomp
06/07/2017, 02:27 PM
I double down on my recommendation of 96x36x24 or 96x36x30. My tank is 48x48x24 and if it were 3 yellow tangs instead of 5, that would be about the max of what I would consider right for my system. 96x30x24 would work just fine and is a stock size from "Glass Cages" at $3296 brand new.

Have you read many of the tank of the month articles to get an idea of what people are doing at different sizes? I would really recommend seeing some large tanks in person and really get an idea of what size you are excited about.

As far as monthly expenses mine are:

Food $30-40
GFO $25-40
Electricity $40-50
Salt $50
Water testing $35
CO2 for CaRx ~$10

So on the high end about $250. If you're going to go really big, then $500/month is probably conservative.

I would think you could spec out 96x30 or 36x24 or 30 built for you with high end equipment for $25k.

If you don't want to maintain it yourself, there are great maintenance people out there and you could probably have it maintained for $250-300/month. I agree with the person above who said that it would be well worth it to have a professional consultant who can show you high end systems that they've set up locally, at least in pictures. It doesn't sound like you've done this before, and I promise that hiring good help will save you a LOT of money in the end.

Subculture14
06/07/2017, 04:28 PM
I am going through the process right now on a 1000g. I inherited a fish only tank with a complete elaborate insert. We gutted the tank, replumbed everything and added new sumps, a skimmer, phosphate reactor, apex controllers & dosers, and radion pro lights. New substrate and live rock too.

It can be done for much much less. Granted I did not have to purchase a tank or stand but I did have it emptied, buffed, cleaned, and had as much of the insert removed as possible to add 250lbs of live rock. So far I'm in for around $9000. Although I wish I had more time to maintain it myself I hired a company to do bi weekly maintenance. It runs around $275/month plus materials. The last 2 months have both been around $550 for complete maintenance. Electricity and RODI top off run another $50-70/month.

ca1ore
06/09/2017, 06:24 PM
Cost also depends a lot on whether you will do it yourself or have a local LFS do it for you. Something like a good stand can cost you $1,500 bought, but $300 if you can make it yourself. I'm in the process of upgrading from a 265 to a 450. Tank is the biggest expense nominally $4,000, but I have most of the equipment I will need already.

ClarkiiGriswald
06/10/2017, 11:41 AM
As far as maintenance goes for an LPS/softies tank on this scale, how much water do you feel would need to be changed keeping in mind that I will have an automatic water change system, Calcium dosing and refugium. Let's say the total system volume is 600-700 Gallons.

Also, how many hours would you estimate for maintenance doing it myself?

WillisT
06/10/2017, 07:19 PM
What can I build for $300.lol.

ClarkiiGriswald
06/11/2017, 01:49 AM
FYI, I'm in Atlanta, Georgia.

RonMidtownStomp
06/11/2017, 02:04 AM
I don't think many of us like to think about it in terms of the number of hours. There's always something that needs to be done. And your fish should be fed a couple of times a day. Do you have a dog? I have cats and the reef tank hobby is maybe 20 times the amount of effort.

ca1ore
06/11/2017, 10:24 AM
Maintenance efforts are quite variable, and time spent is a function of ease of design. I do a 50 gal water change on my system every two weeks and periodic maintenance ...... well, periodically. Regular stuff is feeding, cleaning the glass, pruning corals and trying to work out what is triggering an apex alarm. Maybe 3 hours a week for routine stuff.

Mike Hart
06/11/2017, 07:04 PM
I spent an easy 50k... in my sunroom..

new floor, beam for support, 4K

Glass tank and sump..10K
8 Led light Ecotech Pro... 6K
Plumbing..2k
return pumps..1K
Mixing station 3 - 90 gal with pump...1K
custom cabinetry..7k
custom canopy lift..and frame...3k
chiller, UV, zevit system..skimmer..2k

and on and on...LOL

Mike Hart
06/11/2017, 07:05 PM
and I did the entire installation myself...took months

Mike Hart
06/11/2017, 07:09 PM
oh....and a 10K whole house generator..lol,,,to keep the huge investment safe from power outages.

ArmanS
06/11/2017, 10:29 PM
I have a 540g Display with all top of the line equipment for my setup.

Royal Exclusiv Dream Box, 3x Red Dragon Pumps, DaStaCo CARx, Gen Renew, etc and I will have ~30K invested prior to livestock. That includes getting my tank and steel stand used.

My tank alone new with 1" acrylic would be cost ~10K.

I always tell people that you should estimate between $20/gallon - $50/gallon for a reef setup. $20/gallon would be if you did bought some used equipment to save money and then up to $50/gallon if you bought only top of the line and all new equipment.

andywar
06/15/2017, 12:46 PM
I just setup a 90 gal. buying everything new, brands included Red Sea, Ecotech, etc...
Spent $7K including livestock, and took advantage of "good" deals on-line.

this is me
06/15/2017, 01:47 PM
50K easily.
For a tank this big. 10K will be spent on HVAC to keep the humidity down and as a temperature control.

Mishri
06/15/2017, 04:58 PM
depends on where he lives.. here I could get away with a vent with a fan in it.. my basement doesn't get above 68 degrees even in the summer here (which is where my tank is).. I don't even have AC... dry climate also helps. backup generator for the whole house is between 2-4k (without installation cost). Also, cost of installation changes depending on region, even if I went with an over sized commercial grade AC it wouldn't cost 10k, about 5k here. centrail air conditioning here only costs 2k including install.

Hal
06/16/2017, 01:53 PM
Having set up my 250g tank not too long ago for about $12K, I'd say you're looking at about $25K for a 600g. That assumes decent equipment bought new and that no HVAC changes are needed. Buy as much as you can on the 15% off sales that happen several times a year. If you have a online vendor that you like, call them up and negotiate a deal for everything.

I'd skip the Genesis Renu and spend that money on an Apex controller and DOS doser for automatic water changes. Same cost and you get a controller and waterchanger.

You're looking at a huge skimmer for a tank that size, and lots of lighting. I'd use 2-3 MP60's for in-tank circulation. I also recommend looking into algae scrubbers. There's two great threads stickied in the Advanced Topics section. It's a little expensive up front, but you eliminate the need to run GFO, which is expensive.

You didn't say what you're doing for location of your sump. If possible, do yourself a HUGE favor and put your equipment in the basement. You will thank me later.

I assume you're going to build a water mixing station. There's a great thread on those too.

ClarkiiGriswald
06/17/2017, 08:58 PM
You've received good answers so far. A lot of the budget comes down to your choices in equipment. I put together an old Geo skimmer for about $150 for my system. You could easily spend $3k on a skimmer for a 600 gallon system, or find something used on the dry good forum that would work just fine for $400.

600 gallons is a very large system and you could easily meet your requirements for much less money on a 300 gallon system. If you want bigger, then 600 gallons is a 96x48x30 aquarium. That's really, really big. A 96x36x24 aquarium is also really big at 360 gallons. The build cost would probably be about 30-50% the price for the 360. Even a 96x30x24 would be plenty of size for the fish that you want.

It's 8 LED fixtures, and again it's a question of whether you want to go with Ocean Revives at $160/each or Radions at $800 each. The difference is $4600. Will the Radions look better? A little bit. Is it worth $4600? I don't know. Is $4600 a lot of money to you?

If you are going to go with a 600 gallon tank and there is any way that you can do it as an island with center overflows like Socaltoaz' tank and mine, I can't recommend it enough. Being able to walk all of the way around a tank is a much different experience. If you want high end, look at Socaltoaz' build thread. He went with incredible equipment and did an awesome build. If you want budget, used equipment, pieced together .. look at mine!

Note that your coral list is pretty hardy and all what I consider beginner corals. They are going to be really forgiving and if you're going to spend the money to have a high end system, you could easily expand that coral list.

What I'm most interested in is having a stable system that is large enough to allow these fish to comfortably live and grow properly. What length of 300 gallon would you recommend?

mike810
06/17/2017, 09:16 PM
I highly suggest you take the time to do research yourself. Building a tank this big takes a lot of planning. I spent several months researching tank builders, sumps and equipment. I just setup a 8x3x2 tank and will have some of the fishes you listed but plenty more and I am sure they will be comfortable.

i automated everything for this tank so I can spend more time enjoying it rather then working on it. All top notch brand new equipment. I easily spent more than 30k. The tank and stand alone was 11k. Royal exclusive sump, skimmer, pumps, media reactors, ato container and dosing containers, another 7k.

It is more satisfying to research and build your own tank so you know all the ins and outs rather then Relying on a lfs to spec and build a tank for you. I just want to clarify that I don't actually mean you build your own glass tank. Just take the time to spec things the way you want with the equipment you want.

jccaclimber
06/17/2017, 10:20 PM
I just got water in my 600 today, although the tank is not ready by any means. We were talking about what we would charge to put this up for someone else and estimated between $60k and $100k. I'm doing it all myself and will be under 10k, possibly under 5k. That said, the tank was free (needed a repair), I made the stand, I'm doing all the work myself (with free help from fish friends), most of the rock was bought locally (under $1/pound average), and the fuge will be lit with sunlight. I don't have the "making the stand pretty" cost accounted for yet as I'm not sure how I want to do that/who I want to hire/exactly what I want it to look like). This does not include livestock.

Fortunately most of my equipment came used, but had it not been I'd be down $8k just in lights for the display.

Some things to keep in mind, and research/decide for yourself.
1) Do you want an acrylic or glass tank? This is a big decision. If it's acrylic you will deal with looking at or removing scratches at some point and you can't just razor blade off the coraline. If you move glass, you don't just pick it up and move it.

2) Moving a tank of that size may not be a trivial task. I've moved my 300 on to a stand with one other person (96x24x30, 3/4 acrylic). On the other hand, I had 14 people, 12 of whom are full time roofers, try to move my 600 20 feet across the yard and we couldn't get it off the ground. Of course it's 3/4 glass and has permanent rockwork on 3 sides.

3) Maintenance can go two ways. If you are the sort that changes 25% of the water twice monthly you could easily be spending $400+ per month just on water. No lids and yes, evaporation will be huge. On the other hand, you could have a huge sump with macro to suck out the nutrients, maybe use a denitrator, dose, and change 0 gallons per month. Of course that equipment has a different set of short and long term costs. Put lids on all of that and not only are you cutting down on top off water but your A/C bill will thank you.

4) Account for food in your bills. I used to feed pellets and was quite happy. I added a tang (170 gallon) and so I added nori (I get this at H-Mart). I started experimenting with frozen foods in place of pellets and have discovered that I'm much happier with how my fish look on the frozen diet, but it means with my fish load I could easily spend $50/month on food.

Fish are:
1) Desjardini, 6" tall
2) Flame angel
3-4) Pair of ocellaris clowns
5) Mandarin (lives off of pods in the tank)
6) Pink spotted watchman
7-10) Four blue chromis

RonMidtownStomp
06/18/2017, 12:33 AM
Dimensions are such a personal choice.. I would like 8x3x2 but you might prefer 8x2x3. You really have to see tanks and decide what you like.

reefzone123
06/25/2017, 09:25 PM
love the fish and coral list. should come together brilliantly.

reefzone123
06/25/2017, 09:26 PM
I say just go for it. GL