46g bowfront sumpless mixed reef

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adittam

adittam

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Posting a comprehensive equipment list here, along with the exact prices I paid in 2021 for everything, at the suggestion of @Fish Think Pink so others can see it's possible to build a nice reef system on a much tighter budget than most people do here.

The more you want things to be automated, the more it’s going to cost you. If you want to save money, it can be done though; just take a look at the following example of ways to save a bunch of money.

This doesn’t include livestock or consumable supplies such as salt, medications, food, etc, but here’s my equipment list and what it cost me this year:

Equipmentcost ($)
Used 46 gallon bowfront, stand and T5 36” two bulb light fixture
100​
Current USA LED lights with two light bars (friend was upgrading, free)
0​
New glass lid
60​
2x hydor koralia 850 powerheads
80​
2x aqueon preset 200w heaters
38​
Inkbird temp controller
28​
Fluval 407 canister filter
158​
Spray bar for canister filter output
25​
Maxspect nano-tech bio-sphere media
46​
50lb dry rock
95​
40lb live sand
28​
Green killing machine 24w UV
71​
RO Buddie RO/DI system
63​
Refractometer
27​
tds meter
14​
Cheapo powerhead for mixing saltwater
21​
menards 5 gallon bucket and lid
5​
7 gallon water storage carboy
16​
Salifert test kits (calcium, alk, pH, nitrate, mag, copper, phos)
90​
eheim autofeeder
20​
turkey baster
5​
dog toothbrushes
7​
10 gallon tank and HOB filter with 50w heater and ammonia badge for QT
57​
TOTAL
1054​

None of these things are the best equipment out there. But they do the job. The prices I have listed are often less than retail by comparing prices on eBay, facebook marketplace, craigslist, Amazon, or sales and coupons at Petco. The lights that I got for free as a hand me down from a friend are growing softies, zoas, frogspawn and hammers just fine even though lots of people here scoff at them and insist they are garbage. The powerheads aren’t programmable, but by aiming them at each other and using a spray bar on my filter output, my flow is pretty random. My RO/DI system is slow, I have to mix saltwater in 5 gallon buckets, and I top off my system with RO water by hand every other day. But it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than an ATO system and bigger mixing station. My canister filter needs to be cleaned every other weekend or it’s a nutrient factory, but I researched which canister filter is easiest to clean, so that’s no big deal.

This hobby isn’t cheap, but you don’t have to spend a fortune like lots of people here do.
 
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adittam

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Jedi1199

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HAHA I love that you included the turkey baster!!

That is a very well written post. I had a 48" Orbit on my 55 and, while I loved the controllability, the intensity was more than disappointing. I ended up replacing that after only a couple months. Since you got it free.. can't beat that... lol
 

dedragon

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HAHA I love that you included the turkey baster!!

That is a very well written post. I had a 48" Orbit on my 55 and, while I loved the controllability, the intensity was more than disappointing. I ended up replacing that after only a couple months. Since you got it free.. can't beat that... lol
agreed on that, par is probably a bit low but can add more light with an led strip like reefbrite or Orphek or3
 
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adittam

adittam

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HAHA I love that you included the turkey baster!!

That is a very well written post. I had a 48" Orbit on my 55 and, while I loved the controllability, the intensity was more than disappointing. I ended up replacing that after only a couple months. Since you got it free.. can't beat that... lol

Thank you! I think having 2 light bars instead of 1 helps quite a bit, as it's working pretty well for me, and I feel like it would for others who choose to grow corals with similar (lower) light demands also.
 
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adittam

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agreed on that, par is probably a bit low but can add more light with an led strip like reefbrite or Orphek or3
I used my 2-bulb T5 with it for a while, but am currently trying it without the T5 for a while to see if that helps cut down on algae growth a bit.
 
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