View Full Version : Impossible mission

09/29/2017, 10:50 AM
It seems to me the impossible dream, set up a saltwater aquarium in my budget. I want sps reef and long term equipment. But price always scared me to death. When i already plan equipment list, i always get other theory, opinion that ruin all the plan budget. When i consider equipment list i want the best long term equipment. Vectra s1 feed gfo/carbon/chiller 2x tunze 6095 nanostream for circulation reefer 250 3152 ATO when it became to reality budget, the equipment below that is what that can i affordable, but people alaways buy bigger skimmer, stronger pumps, bigger ATO and the list goes on and on..... I want a long term equipment, and dont want smaller aquarium what do you guys think???

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09/29/2017, 11:41 AM
You can definitely have a saltwater tank on a budget. But if you want a reef tank (especially with sps) and high quality long lasting equipment, it won't come cheap. You can save as much as 50% by buying used equipment, but that can still be quite expensive. I would suggest setting up a savings account and a goal, and then save up before you jump in.

09/29/2017, 01:51 PM
You can get cheaper pumps than a Vectra that will last decades - look at Laguna or Fluval. You don't need GFO/GAC reactor. You don't need a chiller, even if you use MH if you are smart and plan ahead - you don't need one for sure if you are using other types of lights. You don't need an ATO - I have never used one in 20+ years.

I love my Tunze for longevity, but AquaMedic Ecodrift are reasonable and in the middle of Chinese garbage and Tunze. You might want to give them a look.

Used, solid equipment is a good way to go. Some of the older stuff is just as good as the new - skimmers in particular where I would put my older ER, ASM or RO up against any new skimmer under $500-750. I use Ranco Temp Controller and a few Ehiem Heaters, Fluval Return Pump, Skimmer (EuroReef on one tank and both ASM&Older RO on another), Halides with 24 month bulb replacement, Tunze Pumps and CaRx (not necessary). That is it. No controller, ATO or chillers.

Save money for real live rock. It is cheaper in the long run and worth every penny.

09/29/2017, 04:09 PM
get a better job? :p

09/29/2017, 05:02 PM
Used equipment can certainly be a way in .... though be mindful of buying somebody else's junk. Avoid boondoggles like live sand and expensive sumps.

This post will self destruct in one minute ......

09/29/2017, 05:07 PM
Its absolutely possible to do on a budget. Buy used but good equipment. I would say you need tank + sump of your choice, a good quality skimmer, return pump, sirk pumps and light. Your filtration should consist of a powerfull skimmer and large refugium filled with chaeto algea. And use a lot of live rock both in the sump and in the display

09/29/2017, 07:09 PM
reefing on a budget,hmmm, i got a bridge for sale

09/29/2017, 08:26 PM
Do lots of research and buy your equipment once. I'm sure there's a few people here including myself that sometimes buy something and soon decide to upgrade, and end up taking a loss on the original piece of equipment. It isn't cheap by any means, but you can still set up something that you will be able to enjoy for quite some time. Don't think of it as a 1000 or 2000 dollar purchase, but rather a purchase that will last a long time if done right, and that cost split up over X amount of months is probably less you than spend on things you don't even realize.

09/29/2017, 08:29 PM
all said and done anywhere from $30-$50 per gallon

09/30/2017, 02:26 AM
Sounds like you have champagne taste on a beer budget

09/30/2017, 05:58 PM
equipment list i want the best long term equipment. Vectra s1 feed gfo/carbon/chiller 2x tunze 6095 for circulation reefer 250 3152 ATO

You can defiantly do it on a budget. You can buy 2 good pumps new for less then a Vectra. A ATS will work better then a GFO reactor and can be made for less then $30 with a grow light, carbon works fine in a mesh bag in the sump. Fans are way more economical then a chiller. Used Tunze pumps can be real bargains.

10/01/2017, 01:57 PM
Just plan your build smartly and don't over complicate it. A simple set up with some good power heads (used vortechs or tunzes), a sump (skimmer, heater, ATO and return pump), a decent controller for your lights and heater (Reef Keeper, ~$120), and some good lights (used helps) will keep just about everything you want alive. Your first few weeks or months will be running a tank with just rock and sand, so you can plan your shopping accordingly. You can buy a powerhead or light a month until you're ready to add SPS to the tank (several months later). Just get the core equipment (sump stuff, rock, sand) and build upon that for the first few months to avoid credit card build up.

I got by with just a fan on my sump, no chiller, when I ran MH lighting. It was hooked to my Reef Keeper lite and was completely automatic. I've never bothered with GFO, carbon or auto dosers. I did dose my 120g when I got it full of SPS, but I did it manually and used BRS chemicals.

You can save money if you plan your build carefully, and avoid the hype of having all the gear available. Simplicity is key in my opinion.

10/01/2017, 05:02 PM
A perfect to start is to start asking questions like you did.= build thread count so you can buy used and most importantly you can gain knowledge.

Follow as many build threads that you can. = You find out what you like and don't like.

Determine what size and dimension tank you want. Everything falls in place at point.

You say I have this size tank L x W x H what type return pump should I get?
What size heater and controller?
Do I make my own stand or buy one?
Every step of the way you have a goal in mind.

This way takes a long time sometimes but you will have less missteps and re-do's.

10/01/2017, 05:04 PM
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2647843 Here is something entertaining to read.

Ron Reefman
10/02/2017, 05:03 AM
What you are describing is kind of like saying you want to start driving a car but you want a new BMW i8 and a 2 car heated garage with a lift, a full set of mechanic's tools, A/C, running water and a big compressor.

Salt water aquariums aren't cheap. The bigger you go the more they cost. Corals, especially sps are expensive to buy and keep.

IMHO you need to start smaller and buy cheaper equipment and take your time.

10/02/2017, 05:56 AM
The other thing you could do is to simply get the bare minimum to get water flowing. Then just enjoy the water movement while you save and plan you next add. Go bare bottom if you want to save in sand (or don't). Just enjoy the water movement for a while. Take your time and don't rush anything. Especially in reef tanks.

Tank/Stand/Sump + Pump

10/02/2017, 06:11 AM
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2647843 Here is something entertaining to read.

I'll be posting FTS's soon.

Albeit it's still mostly frags but 556wife has been playing with her cellphone camera and is doing a panorama of all 3 sides, that's 14' of tank.

Anyways, I'm still under my $1k budget.... but not by much.

And OP, all the hardware is long term stuff. I think the key is have cash on hand, have a plan and be patient for the bargains on what you are planning.

It took me 6 weeks to go from planning to full of frags.

It also helps that this isn't my first rodeo, I have had several large SPS tanks in the past.