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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there!

I currently have a 90 gallon planted freshwater tank. Pressurized C02, the whole nine yards.

I have been pondering about either SWITCHING to saltwater or adding another tank altogether. I've worked hard for my freshwater, so I don't want to just sell it.

However, can anyone shed some light on what the cost might be of:

a) Adding a complete separate REEF setup (About 120-140 gallons)
b) The upkeep it would cost to keep both these tanks

I know if I switch, I'm not going to get half as much as what I paid, and I'd rather have a 120-140 gallon saltwater tank than just plumbing my 90, So I'd be selling the whole thing. I just don't know what saltwater is like upkeep wise. I know my upkeep with ferts, foods, water, hydro can already be a bit much.

I was looking at the Red Sea Max 250....but it really isn't big enough for what I would want to do, and it doesn't leave much to creativity.

The other issue is space...and convincing the wife to be. But I can deal with that :)
 

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Used, a 120-140g sw setup with RR tank, stand, sump, skimmer, return pump will run probably $700 to $1000 (depending on the quality & age of the equipment). Lighting for a fish only would be cheap, anything really would do. But for a reef tank, you're looking at $350 to $600 used (assuming its a 4' not 6' system).

Live rock from a hobbyist will average $4/lb and you'll need roughly 1 lb per gallon.

On the other hand, if you totally luck out & someone sells you their system at rockbottom prices, you could end up paying only a few hundred for everything.

Unfortunately, fish stuff, especially sw, on the Island is far higher than in the Lower Mainland.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks SeaHorse Fanatic!

With reef tanks, I understand MH lighting is needed. I have no idea how that will effect my hyrdo bill.

$4/lb for live rock? Jeez, everywhere here it's at LEAST $8! Why is it so much more expensive here on the island? And why is it 1lb/gallon?

My problem...is that I have a hard time buying used gear. I like buying new - warranties, and I'm not buying someone else's problems (I've had bad experiences in the past). Of course, this ups the price dramatically.

I don't know much about salt...but I understand that weekly maintenance isn't as bad as say a planted discus tank. But you have to put salt back in, then there's all the other additives (which I don't know anything about).
 

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Thanks SeaHorse Fanatic!

With reef tanks, I understand MH lighting is needed. I have no idea how that will effect my hyrdo bill.

$4/lb for live rock? Jeez, everywhere here it's at LEAST $8! Why is it so much more expensive here on the island? And why is it 1lb/gallon?

My problem...is that I have a hard time buying used gear. I like buying new - warranties, and I'm not buying someone else's problems (I've had bad experiences in the past). Of course, this ups the price dramatically.

I don't know much about salt...but I understand that weekly maintenance isn't as bad as say a planted discus tank. But you have to put salt back in, then there's all the other additives (which I don't know anything about).
It's $4/lb "used" from another hobbyist. You should never pay full retail for live rock because stuff from another hobbyist is as good or even better than LFS live rock. There is no warranty for live rock.

Please see my sticky at the top of the marine forum to get an idea on cost and upkeep. A simple FOWLR (fish only with live rock) or even simple low light reef is no more trouble than any FW tank and certainly less demanding than a discus or many planted tanks. You do NOT need metal halide lighting for a reef tank. Nowadays, you can keep anything under T5HO provided you have enough tubes and you can keep a good 75% of corals commonly available in the hobby under PCs.
 

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Agreed with what was said. The initial startup is expensive. Depending on what you want for and in your tank will determine your upkeep costs. I for example am doing a macro algae tank (lots of controversy because nitrates are a must) So for something like my tank upkeep costs are very low. I have T5HO because im going to have a few corals. If you are more interested in fish then your lighting isint as important but upkeep may be higher due to the fact you will need to change the water very often depending on your stocking levels. Skimmers help with that though. If you are more interested in corals then upkeep is medium in my opinion depending on the corals. Also, the larger the tank the less the cost... so ive been told. Smaller tanks are high matinance because they foul faster whereas large tanks, depending on stocking levels have a higher water volume to dilute more of the nastyness so you can go a bit longer on WC's.
Theres a lot to look into, lots of variables. You need to look at what you would want first. Make a plan, do research on the inhabitants you would want. Check out some of the othe reef forums and look at similar tanks you would want to do and get close to those people who have those tanks.
Theres a lot out there just remember to look around... and dont stop because things are forever changing.
 

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Since your on the island I would look for used complete set-ups. If you want to go all new like you said you will be spending a lot more money. I think you should look around the local buy sells for the next two months and see what comes up. A lot of the time people sell sets that are fairly new. I found my salt set-up for only $500. The person wanted $1000 originally but then I told them would they take $700 they told me no. A week later I came back with a $500 offer b/c I saw the add was still up, they took it. This was for a 175g full running set-up.
I would suggest doing a FOWLR tank. It's easy to take care of one and once you get the hang of things switch over to a full blown reef tank. Keeping all those corals etc.. etc.. alive would be more hard than just keeping fish and rock alive. Cost would be way less also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What I would love to do it have soft corals, anemonies...but I also would love to have certain fish. Some fish, which I have read that unfortunately don't work well with reef setups - lionfish, triggers, snowflake eel etc. So I'll probably stick with tangs and some angels, some smaller fish and then some nice softer corals (I'm under the assumption that softer corals don't need as much light - correct me if I'm wrong). I'd love to have seahorses, but they're in a league of their own I guess. My thing is if I wanted to start a fish tank, I'd get the fish I want, and then I'd hate to sell them to start a reef.

120-140 gallon. Sump. T5HO lighting. Probably won't need a chiller? Then all those other gizmos - calcium reactor, skimmer, etc.

Thank you to everyone for your advice! I WILL look into used gear - it's how I started with fresh, and I have seen some good deals. I just gotta be consumer conscious in not getting a bum deal :)

Thanks again! - and awesome link upster!
 

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I will be tearing down my 120g 4'x2'x2' reef-ready setup in the next month or so in order to make space for an upgrade (7':D).

If you're interested, come on over to the Lower Mainland & I can show you the system and go over the whole thing with you, including maintenance & such. It's setup as a fish only with soft corals right now, but has a 4' 2x150w Metal Halide system over it, so turning it into a full-blown reef would be easy.

This footprint is the most efficient in the hobby I have found since it only takes up 4' but gives you a lot of volume to play with (I have a 90g seahorse tank/refugium/sump underneath that I'm probably keeping). As is, I have 210g in a 4' x 2' footprint (should please the wife to be);) Could easily custom build you a 4' 75+g sump for the system if you're interested.

Could even set you up with some live rock and soft corals if you want.

Just putting it out there. PM me if you're interested or even if you just want to hop the ferry & come over. I could arrange a tank tour to let you meet & talk to some local reefers to get more ideas.

Fish I have in there are:

Porcupine puffer
Purple tang
Yellow tang
Blue tang
Ebili dwarf angel
Emperor angel (juv.)
Hawkfish
Damsels
Marine betta
Blacksailfin blenny

These fish are staying with me, but just to give you an idea of what can happily live in this system.

Anthony
 
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