Affordable 55 gallon setup recommendations

jdbelon0205

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Hi! I’m looking to get my first saltwater aquarium and I’m looking to get one around 55 gallons. My biggest setback is just the price of everything. I’ve done lots of research but I’m wondering if anyone has any super affordable recommendations for a setup. Thanks!
 

JC1977

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Hi! I’m looking to get my first saltwater aquarium and I’m looking to get one around 55 gallons. My biggest setback is just the price of everything. I’ve done lots of research but I’m wondering if anyone has any super affordable recommendations for a setup. Thanks!
If you’re looking at a standard 55 I would lean more towards a 40 breeder. Much better dimensions and still fairly cheap. I also like that a 40 breeder doesn’t have a center brace over the tank to affect lighting and easier to aqua scape and perform maintenance. Aside from that and depending on what you want to stock a simple HOB power filter a heater and a budget led light off Amazon will get you going. But be warned many of us started with the best of intentions to start and keep it simple and cheap and usually end up falling down the rabbit hole. And it’s slippery so be careful! Lol
 
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jdbelon0205

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Thank you so much for your suggestion! I’m super excited for this. I have looked into 40 gallon but I feel like I want a little more options for fish? Any recommendations for something around a 75?
 

fishywishy

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What’s your budget? If you want to go as cheap as possible and still have corals everything all together counting fish will probably be at least $600. I spent around $700 on my 55 gallon going the budget route. If you don’t want corals it can be way cheaper.
 
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jdbelon0205

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Anything under around 800 is totally fine. I plan to buy parts slowly and build it over time until it’s ready for fish. Corals aren’t a huge priority and I may get them later if they jack up the cost a bunch. Is it the corals themselves that are expensive or the lights and other things they require? Also any suggestions on where to get a tank and stand that doesn’t cost 500 dollars?
 

fishywishy

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Anything under around 800 is totally fine. I plan to buy parts slowly and build it over time until it’s ready for fish. Corals aren’t a huge priority and I may get them later if they jack up the cost a bunch. Is it the corals themselves that are expensive or the lights and other things they require? Also any suggestions on where to get a tank and stand that doesn’t cost 500 dollars?
it depends on what corals you get but they can get really expensive, but the most expensive thing is going to be lights for sure. I would get a tank from petco right now because they are on sale for 50% off, I got my stand and tank from petco for $200
 
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jdbelon0205

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it depends on what corals you get but they can get really expensive, but the most expensive thing is going to be lights for sure. I would get a tank from petco right now because they are on sale for 50% off, I got my stand and tank from petco for $200

it depends on what corals you get but they can get really expensive, but the most expensive thing is going to be lights for sure. I would get a tank from petco right now because they are on sale for 50% off, I got my stand and tank from petco for $200
Thanks for the suggestion! I just looked at petco right now but it seems that the the stands tend to be 250 or more alone. Which did you get and how big was it? Also is there a size similar to 75 that is typically easier to find or is that the best in that aproximate size?
 

fishywishy

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Thanks for the suggestion! I just looked at petco right now but it seems that the the stands tend to be 250 or more alone. Which did you get and how big was it? Also is there a size similar to 75 that is typically easier to find or is that the best in that aproximate size?
This is the stand I got for my 55 gallon at petco for $135

https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petco...m-brooklyn-55-gallon-metal-tank-stand-2572820

This is the one I got for my 75 gallon from Amazon for $105

Amazon product
 

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A 40 breeder would be better in the long run than a 55. A 55 is a strange long narrow foot print. I think it’s 12” deep. Not much room for fish to turn around or aqua scape. A 40 breeder reef in person can be a very nice tank. I kept one it’s very easy to work with

Plus 3 feet of tank is cheaper to light compared to 4 feet of tank

Yes the lights can be expensive but we can help you find ones in budget but expect the lights to be a few hundred.

Keep an eye out in the for sale section for used gear to save money
 

VintageReefer

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40b floor sq inch’s = 36 x 18 = 648
55 floor sq inch’s = 48 x 12 = 576

When you put in a 8” piece of base rock one layout gives fish 10” of space to swim by, and the other only gives 4”

If the rock is 1” from the back wall, subtract another inch. You can run out of space in a 55 fast once you aquascape and put in corals
 

ScottJ

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For a stand, you can always go the cement block and plywood rout. You can get creative to dress it up. Is it fancy? No. It it cheep? Yes.
 

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A budget build is possible.

As others have said, for saltwater and reef tanks in particular, a standard 55 gallon tank is not the most desirable tank just based on its dimensions. This tank is tall with a very narrow 13" width (the distance front to back when looking into the tank), which makes it very hard to aquascape and doesn't leave the most room for fish to swim. Arguably a better choice would be a 40 breeder, 65 tub, or standard 75 (or 90) gallon tank. These tanks are 18" front to back, which most here seem to prefer for reef tank setups.

Look for used equipment to help save some cash. Look on your local Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace page for used tanks, stands and other gear. You may find someone who is leaving the hobby and selling their entire setup cheap, which often includes not just the tank and stand, but lights, filters, and even nets and algae scrapers. In my experience, these can be a very good deal. Even if they had freshwater fish, this can still be a great deal for the tank and more, and you can resell whatever you don't need, like freshwater lights or decorations.

PetCo is currently running one of their 50% off most Aqueon brand glass tanks:

40 Breeder
75 Standard

Check out the marketplace here on R2R. Lot's of members sell their used or even brand-new, unused gear at great prices. I've found a lot of my equipment here over time:

https://www.reef2reef.com/forums/selling-forum-dry-goods.60/

For a stand, check on Amazon or Walmart.com for some inexpensive options, though you do get what you pay for with something like a stand. But check reviews, and see if you can find something inexpensive to get you going.

I am a big fan of DIY homemade stands. If you have even basic tools and some experience with woodworking, you can make your own stand easily. Lots of different directions to go here from cinderblocks with 2x4's laid across, or a stand built entirely from 2x4's or plywood or even metal if you have the tools and skills. Take a look at the DIY forum here on R2R, do an internet search, or check YouTube for DIY stand ideas. Ask friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers if they have tools and could help you if needed. Most big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot, and many smaller lumber yards, will cut material to size for you, so all you have to do is screw it together at home.

For a tank +/- 55 gallons in size, you'll probably want/need an RODI filter to make freshwater for your tank, so be on the lookout for one of those. You *can* get jugs of distilled water or buy fresh or mixed saltwater from your local fish store, but that's A LOT of hauling water around for a tank that size. An RODI system will save you money in the long run, and be a lot less work hauling buckets of water around.

When thinking about a budget, give some thought to ongoing costs such as salt mix, food for fish and corals, filter media like carbon, supplements, alkalinity buffers, electricity, etc. It seems to never end lol!

I hope that helps! Good luck with your build!
 
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jdbelon0205

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A budget build is possible.

As others have said, for saltwater and reef tanks in particular, a standard 55 gallon tank is not the most desirable tank just based on its dimensions. This tank is tall with a very narrow 13" width (the distance front to back when looking into the tank), which makes it very hard to aquascape and doesn't leave the most room for fish to swim. Arguably a better choice would be a 40 breeder, 65 tub, or standard 75 (or 90) gallon tank. These tanks are 18" front to back, which most here seem to prefer for reef tank setups.

Look for used equipment to help save some cash. Look on your local Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace page for used tanks, stands and other gear. You may find someone who is leaving the hobby and selling their entire setup cheap, which often includes not just the tank and stand, but lights, filters, and even nets and algae scrapers. In my experience, these can be a very good deal. Even if they had freshwater fish, this can still be a great deal for the tank and more, and you can resell whatever you don't need, like freshwater lights or decorations.

PetCo is currently running one of their 50% off most Aqueon brand glass tanks:

40 Breeder
75 Standard

Check out the marketplace here on R2R. Lot's of members sell their used or even brand-new, unused gear at great prices. I've found a lot of my equipment here over time:

https://www.reef2reef.com/forums/selling-forum-dry-goods.60/

For a stand, check on Amazon or Walmart.com for some inexpensive options, though you do get what you pay for with something like a stand. But check reviews, and see if you can find something inexpensive to get you going.

I am a big fan of DIY homemade stands. If you have even basic tools and some experience with woodworking, you can make your own stand easily. Lots of different directions to go here from cinderblocks with 2x4's laid across, or a stand built entirely from 2x4's or plywood or even metal if you have the tools and skills. Take a look at the DIY forum here on R2R, do an internet search, or check YouTube for DIY stand ideas. Ask friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers if they have tools and could help you if needed. Most big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot, and many smaller lumber yards, will cut material to size for you, so all you have to do is screw it together at home.

For a tank +/- 55 gallons in size, you'll probably want/need an RODI filter to make freshwater for your tank, so be on the lookout for one of those. You *can* get jugs of distilled water or buy fresh or mixed saltwater from your local fish store, but that's A LOT of hauling water around for a tank that size. An RODI system will save you money in the long run, and be a lot less work hauling buckets of water around.

When thinking about a budget, give some thought to ongoing costs such as salt mix, food for fish and corals, filter media like carbon, supplements, alkalinity buffers, electricity, etc. It seems to never end lol!

I hope that helps! Good luck with your build!
Wow thank you so much for all of that!
 

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