Cheap 20 gallon reef tank?

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Rmckoy

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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?
There are many alternatives to lighting .
a cheap t5 is perfect and will grow the corals they want to keep
Over a 20 gal , a couple 24” bulbs will be sufficient .
The only other expense would be bulbs and bulb replacement
 

Rmckoy

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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.
Any small saltwater tanks I’ve set up I used a fw hang on filter but removed the freshwater media .
only used filter cloth
If media was needed such as chemi it could be added later

a skimmer isn’t needed but similar to running shoesyou don’t need them to win the race . But they will help .

later in time , you might find a cheap skimmer to help export and control adding oxygen to the water .
 

Alvaro_Spain

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All good options from everyone here. I have one you may like. When you do start, get some live sand and couple pieces of live rock, Mollies acclimate well to salt, start with them first they can handle the cycle better. I did this when I changed my 46 bow from fresh to salt, never had a cycle. But it may be different for you so start with mollies for a month. If the nitrate builds up and you have no ammonia then it is safe to add your clowns, when you do add new fish get more live rock to help with the extra bioload. Try GSP first and let them grow. You may just like what you see.

The first pic is my 46 when it was fresh, second is a year after changing to salt, the third is maybe 3 years later just before upgrading to 75. Good luck with yours, you will be fine, start slow. You do not need the light that I have on there just yet.
Very good advice and nice pics. In fact I use mollies in the cycle too.
 

Mono

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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.
Just a warning...INMHO there is no way to do a "cheap" reef as a first tank.

Perhaps an experienced reefer could pick their way through equipment choices and avoid most of the major mistakes. They would also be able to pick their way through coral and fish choices as well. There are a lot of reefers, including myself, who end up making some pretty dumb and sometimes expensive equipment or livestock choices as they are learning. Maybe there are some really smart guys out there who can avoid most of these mistakes but then BRS would go out of business.

I see on your profile you come from the planet earth. That is a wonderful place. I remember on my last visit I had a great time there. I would find someone on your planet in your local quadrant and buddy up with them - just avoid any Ferengis. First of all, they probably have a garage full of old equipment they can toss your way cheap. Second, they can probably toss you a bunch of free or low price frags. They can also help you avoid any major equipment or livestock mistakes.

Just my 2 cents.
 
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tamanning

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Add a protein skimmer to the penguin
Icecap k-1 would be ideal
Cheap lighting would be black box led system. there are several available and they work just fine. but the truth is cheap and reef tank do not belong in the same sentence. even if you diy everything your going to spend more than 300 even setting up 20 gallons. btw yes you will need to cycle.
 

jarviz

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Yea, this setup will be considered for the feature, I am keeping it fw rn but in 5 months I might go reefing, i am thinking of removing all the gravel then putting sand and live rock, so what sand and rock should I use???

You absolutely can do it. EASY. You don't need a hang on back filter either. I ran a 20 long around 20 years ago and kept soft corals, LPS and a clam and that setup today, not including the clam, was easily $300 or less.

I'm currently using a 20g for a frag tank and it's equipment would be $300 or less if I used a cheaper light.

You are going to have soft corals, so heavy flow isn't needed. One koralia nano 425 is probably fine or 2. Could do 2 koralia 240 instead. Back corners pointed forwards towards middle. $64

50w heater $20 - Eheim jager

Piece of live rock from your LFS to seed the tank $15 - find rest on craigslist. Or get 10 lbs from petsmart online $20


Aquatic life ro buddie 50g - $50

Light - find something used on craigslist. T5 great option. Should be able to find something for $50

Sand - caribsea arag alive special grade 20lb - $28 shipped

Total: $247

The only equipment above that I think is suspect is the aquatic life RO buddy. I've never used it and just found on Google. I ran a tank for years using tapwater filtered through a brita. So that RO should be better. :)
did you not have any mechanical or chemical filtration if you ddin't use a HOB filter?

Any ideas what your water parameters were after going thru the brita filter?
 

zalick

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did you not have any mechanical or chemical filtration if you ddin't use a HOB filter?

Any ideas what your water parameters were after going thru the brita filter?
No mechanical or chemical filtration. Lots of softies, lps, a clam and two clowns. No algae. Never really tested anything. Dosed two part a bit and a little iodine. Clam grew from about 1" to 6". Tank ended up crashing from an Australian sea apple that got sucked in a power head.
 
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