Buying a fully established setup?

GARRIGA

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Much easier starting from scratch and built as wanted unless you can find something that heavily appeals. Kind of like buying a used car vs custom ordering.
 

VintageReefer

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I don't know the antidote for hydrogen sulfide, or whatever other evil spirits are in there. A priest maybe

So true. It’s taken out a reef on me many years ago. Ticking time bomb.

Get all the livestock and rock out before disturbing the sand

You can keep a few cups of the top layer of sand if you want

Then when setting up use new rinsed sand and add the couple cups back on top
 

luis angel

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The truth is, I am very pleased with mine, as @kevgib67 says. The previous owner had the tank for 1 and a half years, even though I already had the tank in my house, corals that were on the rocks came out that my friend thought he had lost. One day I would like to have a tank from the beginning to have that experience. But if with what I have learned in this time they tell me of another opportunity like the one I had, believe me I would do it again. Another important point for me about an established tank is that it gives a little margin for error and that is something important for when someone is starting out
 

Kodock

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How would you recommend moving the sand to prevent an ammonia spike? Is it worth cleaning it or is it better to leave it undisturbed?
In my opinion, it’s not worth rinsing the old sand, but everyone is different. Personally, I would just have a smallish container and put like 2-3 ice machine scoops sized worth of the old sand, submerged in water and the lid sealed to just seed the tank.. and have all new sand washed and ready at the house. Put your old sand scoops in the tank first and the new sand on top of it.

In the breakdown, I would scoop out as much as I could with a plastic cup or container, that won’t scratch or affect the glass. You won’t be able to scoop all of the existing tank’s sand out, just as get much as you can.

It’s easier to have new sand rinsed and ready for when you get the tank home, otherwise you’ll have to spend more time rinsing the old sand and putting the livestock under arguably more unnecessary stress. You can use some addictives to prevent an ammonia spike, the new water should do a solid job of saturating it.
 

DrMMI

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Hello all!
I’m curious if anyone has any advice or experience on buying used aquariums that are already fully established from the previous owner. I am interested in buying a used reef tank and numerous listings I’ve found include fully established setups with liverock, coral, refugiums, anemones, etc.. One listing in particular includes all of this and the tank is fully operational with no signs of sick livestock or corals. I’m curious if anyone has had any experience or recommendations for a situation like this. I know biosecurity could be an issue but since everything appears healthy (can’t know for sure) there is less of risk than sourcing from multiple vendors. I greatly appreciate anyone’s insight!

- Patrick
I got my first reef tank that way. It's a great way to get an insta-tank and now have to deal with any of the uglies or staring at bare rock for months while the tank gets established enough to add livestock. I hired a company to move the tank and livestock for me. One word of advice is I would definitely put in new sand. I ended up crashing my other tank by reusing the sand when I bought a new house.
 

Serpentman2024

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There positives and negatives to buying a turnkey established setup. Obviously the biggest positive is you can hit the ground running. Downside to me is you are buying someone else's set up so there are things like equipment choices, etc that you may or may not want to change. Personally, I find starting from scratch teaches you the nuances of your system which may or may not, benefit you down the road. With that being said, I don't think I will ever start another tank with dry rock. In spite of potential hitchhikers, I find its sooo much smoother with established rock.
 
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Stinson Beach Aquatics

Stinson Beach Aquatics

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Thank you all so much for the insight! It is great to hear of people’s experiences. If I pursue this, since the tank would be recreated in a similar way to before purchase (with the exception of mostly new sand), would it still have to be cycled like a new tank with waiting, testing, no lights, slow stock introduction, etc or would that be unnecessary?
 

Solo McReefer

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My concern would be moving everything alive to your house

Without flooding the other person's house or yours

Not the landscape, "People on Reef2Reef won't respect me if I use the guys same aquascape", is something that would never enter my mind

Watching the yellow tang flop out onto the asphalt, and one of my "helpers" steps on it, that's real

Buy lots and lots of buckets and towels

Have at least the systems volumes in fresh saltwater already made at home, then add 10% more

And tie down straps, and bungee cords. Moving blankets

And if you end up with an ugly 12 year old beige huge Chalice. Don't put it on ebay and try and send it across the country
 

Serpentman2024

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Thank you all so much for the insight! It is great to hear of people’s experiences. If I pursue this, since the tank would be recreated in a similar way to before purchase (with the exception of mostly new sand), would it still have to be cycled like a new tank with waiting, testing, no lights, slow stock introduction, etc or would that be unnecessary?
You may have a mini cycle after moving as there may be a little die off in the move. But assuming you start with new sand and use existing live rock, you should hit the ground running and be able to move the current inhabitants as well. Keeping the live rock completely submerged in saltwater will help avoid die off. Technically it just needs to be wet but to keep the bacteria alive but little critters will benefit from keeping it in water.
 
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Stinson Beach Aquatics

Stinson Beach Aquatics

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Thank you all so much for the great info! I really appreciate it. All the insight means a lot for a newbie to saltwater. We shall see what happen… :)
 

ARE YOU KEEPING NON-REEF SAFE FISH IN A MIXED REEF? (SHARE YOUR TIPS IN THE COMMENTS!)

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