Cheap 20 gallon reef tank?

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N103

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Is it possible to have a cheap Reed tank that is 20 gallon? This includes RODI water system, lights, corals, fish, , etc. I have a 20 gallon tank with a rim and a penguin marineland filter that is currently running a freshwater tank, so my two questions are, can someone tell me if it is possible to make a cheap reef tank? If so what do I need to buy to make it cheap? (Budget is 300 dollars for everything). Second question is how do I transfer freshwater to saltwater? Do I have to recycle, etc. Pls help.
 
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vetteguy53081

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Is it possible to have a cheap Reed tank that is 20 gallon? This includes RODI water system, lights, corals, fish, , etc. I have a 20 gallon tank with a rim and a penguin marineland filter that is currently running a freshwater tank, so my two questions are, can someone tell me if it is possible to make a cheap reef tank? If so what do I need to buy to make it cheap? (Budget is 300 dollars for everything). Second question is how do I transfer freshwater to saltwater? Do I have to recycle, etc. Pls help.
Add a protein skimmer to the penguin
Icecap k-1 would be ideal
 

vetteguy53081

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Do you have any ideas for the other equipment, I'm thinking of just having zoanthid with a clownfish pair and cleaner shrimp, budget is 300
Assure they get proper lighting such as Ai prime or Kessil A-160
 

jamesdomini4

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You could use the tank, heater and filter you have. Get live rock and sand. Get a jebao SLW-10 power head. Aquaticlife RO buddie 4 stage RODI. That’s all you might be able to get in $300. You are left with light, salt mix, test kits, fish and coral now.

A cheap reef tank is a $1000 reef tank. The only way to bring the cost down is to have friends who are into reefing and will give you free stuff. You can be as handy as you can and buy used equipment, it will still hit $1000.
 

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Assure they get proper lighting such as Ai prime or Kessil A-160
Just a thought...
I’m reading along trying to learn, too... :)
So, I won’t attempt any real advice. I’m putting this thought out there to see if vetteguy agrees.
If his budget is $300, I know the kessil lights are pretty expensive.... would this work to buy time? Buy a cheap T5 grow light and purchase some good Ati/German bulbs. Until you could upgrade to a Kessil/tuna blue?
 
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nursebran

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Also... curious about using freshwater tank/filter, changing over to marine/reef. I’ve heard it’s not recommended, but I don’t know if this is correct or why? I’ve only had a reef/marine tanks.
 
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B21CC2B7-53AD-4AD9-A0FF-3A387E7973DC.jpeg

absolutely you can have reef with that budget! Here is my 20 tall. No sand, saves cost and I like it clean.
For light, look at T5s. Found mine for a steal at a plant shop. Just change the bulbs.
Skimmer is not needed, don’t have one.
 

Bribo12

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The lights gonna be your most expensive item on the tank most likely. You could probably find a Kessil or prime used for $150 or less. For a 20 gallon you don’t need a skimmer. I don’t and I’m growing acros just fine. Just keep up on waterchanges.

You’ll want to replace all the media in the penguin with new media. I’m assuming since you’re budgeting you don’t want a full blown sps reef right? I ran a 20 with an aquaclear on the back that had chemi pure in it. you’ll also need a powerhead.
 

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For a 20, there is also a bunch of LED out there now that are reasonable.

RODI, For awhile I just bought distilled water. Saved up for the RODI.

does your current tank have freshwater in it?

My tank above was freshwater at one time! I did replace the HOB and added power heads when I set it up for salt.
 

nursebran

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The lights gonna be your most expensive item on the tank most likely. You could probably find a Kessil or prime used for $150 or less. For a 20 gallon you don’t need a skimmer. I don’t and I’m growing acros just fine. Just keep up on waterchanges.

You’ll want to replace all the media in the penguin with new media. I’m assuming since you’re budgeting you don’t want a full blown sps reef right? I ran a 20 with an aquaclear on the back that had chemi pure in it. you’ll also need a powerhead.
Completely agree. The cheapest I found (when in hurry, to make do) when orphek went dim on me/wouldn’t work right... I got a grow light off Amazon/I’m guessing, it’s been a while ago... i think it was called hydrogrow (it was a T5 marketed for plants)... it was $100 bucks.. got it in 2 days... ordered ATI bulbs from BRS or marine depot (guessing) approximately $75-100. Worst case scenario... if it burns out or you want something more fancy/compact (later) you are only out $100... depending on age & size light, you could transfer your bulbs. Anyway, it worked for me. My corals have awesome coloration. Of course, I’m always wishing they would grow faster. I can’t say if it’s possible to get everything for $300 (what about your corals-lol???) Maybe, do what you can to get by, and add a little along over time... The size tank isn’t a problem, it would still hold a bunch of frags! No, really... that’s a tight budget for a reef tank... but, for coral you have to have a great light. It doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, but to get the amazing cubes that you see on here... the lights are usually more expensive than the cube itself. It might be big and bulky (old school T5) but, it gets the job done! Good luck!
 
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For a 20, there is also a bunch of LED out there now that are reasonable.

RODI, For awhile I just bought distilled water. Saved up for the RODI.

does your current tank have freshwater in it?

My tank above was freshwater at one time! I did replace the HOB and added power heads when I set it up for salt.
Yes, my tank is freshwater rn, I am still confused on how to change from fresh to salt...
 

Pkunk35

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100% yes, not sure if stocked for $300, but yes.

my advice is put the money in some kind of submerged live rock as this will help with everything rather than dry if you are just starting.

I would also put some sand in the tank.

buy used equipment. All of it imo for budget purposes. You’d be surprised what you will find on CL.

use instant ocean salt. It’s cheap and it works 100%.

skip the skimmer. I ran a 20 long without one for 5 years.

if you live near Chicago I would give you sand and salt for free.
GL and def do it!
 
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N103

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100% yes, not sure if stocked for $300, but yes.

my advice is put the money in some kind of submerged live rock as this will help with everything rather than dry if you are just starting.

I would also put some sand in the tank.

buy used equipment. All of it imo for budget purposes. You’d be surprised what you will find on CL.

use instant ocean salt. It’s cheap and it works 100%.

skip the skimmer. I ran a 20 long without one for 5 years.

if you live near Chicago I would give you sand and salt for free.
GL and def do it!
Which sand and live rock do you recommend, also what is the best way to change the filter from fresh to salt???
 

Aqua Man

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my tank is freshwater
Ok, is there fish in there too? Will need to re home those.

Drain and clean tank with vinegar. Clean and soak your filter with vinegar too. Tank is Ready to go reefing!

As mentioned, will need Rock that is suitable for a reef. Live or dry. Live is better.

Do you want sand? Freshwater gravel is not advisable.
 
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