My Big Beautiful Budget Breeder Build

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Well maybe not so big... :D

My goal is to set up the best reef possible for the least amount of money and effort, I want something that will be easy to maintain and that checks all my boxes while staying within my budget, I’ll be sourcing the cheapest possible equipment while simultaneously not completely sacrificing quality or functionality and I will also try to incorporate some of the newer technologies where possible and I’ll also be doing a few DIY components as well..


I have been planning this build for over a year and have considered every possible tank, stand, filtration system, lighting and other potential equipment choices, their cost and how everything would work together.. because of limited budget and room I decided on a tank somewhere around 50 gallons and after much thought I’m going with a 40 breeder because of its perfect dimensions and super low cost, for lighting I’m Going with a t5 / LED hybrid, I have been very happy with my nano box LED’s on my current tanks but I miss my old t5’s so I decided this tank will have the best of both worlds in lighting and for filtration I’m going with a simple Berlin style sump, skimmer ..


Some of my methods or outdated equipment choices may raise some eye brows but for the most part my choices will revolve around cost, ease of set up and maintenance or because it’s just what I have become comfortable with over the last 35 years of reefing..


One of the great benefits of extended planning is that I’ve been catching sales and discounts on equipment and in some cases I have been able to substantially upgrade from my original plans, so far just about everything I have purchased has been on sale or discounted, some of it ridiculously!


Tank 40 gallon breeder < petco sale $50

Steel im Stand < sale price $49

eshopps rs-75 sump < sale price $138

eshopps pf-300 overflow < sale price $48

Coral Box d300 dc skimmer < sale price $135 + they sent me the new upgraded $250 plus model :)

aquatic life 36” t5 fixture with Coral Box LED supplement < sale price of everything including bulbs $480

Power strip < $20

wave makers 2 Jebao ow-25’s < discounted price $110

AUQA Gadget MightyJet 538 gph DC Return pump < $99

ATO.. Hydrofill Ti < sale price $48 = $21 off $69 retail!

150W ehiem heater $27

Used Reef Keeper Lite controller < $200 total with new probes, float switch’s and mounting system.

DIY 12v dc cooling fan < $6

DIY ATO container < $8

Black Paint for back wall of tank and black silicon for sealing stand. < $10

Substrate < $15

Plumbing supplies < sale price $20

Dosing container < sale price $45

DIY Control center components < $25


APPROXIMATE TOTAL COST (not including livestock) $1,523

**** current tank photo August 2019 ****

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Phelipe's Ocean

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Everything sounds really good im following along the build. I know you didnt ask for any advice but skip the RW8’s, they lose power extremly fast after the 6 month mark they slow down by almost half and by the 1 year mark you can start looking for new pumps. Their new series, OW has been amazing for me. They are super small, efficient, and their new motors are dead silent noise wise it is even less than vortechs I cant hear a thing. They also hold up well, mine have not lost any power over time.
 
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I must say for the price I’m very happy with this Aqueon Breeder.. the seams are just about perfect on all four corners with no visible air pockets and everything is aligned and straight..

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Everything sounds really good im following along the build. I know you didnt ask for any advice but skip the RW8’s, they lose power extremly fast after the 6 month mark they slow down by almost half and by the 1 year mark you can start looking for new pumps. Their new series, OW has been amazing for me. They are super small, efficient, and their new motors are dead silent noise wise it is even less than vortechs I cant hear a thing. They also hold up well, mine have not lost any power over time.
Thanks... I’m familiar with RW’s I have been running them for a couple years on other tanks and I have been completely satisfied with them for the price, yes they do slow down over time but I’m thinking two 8’s may be overkill on the breeder so if they do slow down I should still have enough water movement.
 

Octane13

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I just went through my build sheet for a friend who is just starting out and our totals are within $30. I did drill mine with a cheap amazon kit and I went with sicce return pump. I do have a set of PP4's and I have not noticed any drop in performance running 7ish months (i did clean them about a month ago). Personally I don't think their programmed modes are all that fantastic but for the price eh, also one of my light sensors was not all that responsive out of the box.
 
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I made a little more progress on the tank today, mostly because the better half was yelling at me to get all the stuff off the floor :D.. stand came out perfectly level on the first try which is great because the leveling feet don’t appear to be the best quality so I feel better with them screwed all the way in flush with the frame..

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Perfectly level right out of the box:D
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Just got back from picking up my substrate, hope it’s enough I only want to just cover the glass I may need to pick up a extra 5 LB bag before it’s over.. I’m sticking with what has worked for me CaribSea Aragonite.

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Eshopps RS-75 sump.. with a retail price of around $200 I’m super impressed with this sump, I snagged mine for $138 on sale and I couldn’t be happier! The only thing that bugs me is the limited access to chamber #1 for cleaning but the quality and features your getting with this sump for the price are incredible!


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I’m not sure how these are manufactured but the joints and seams are pure perfection!

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Love the little details like the flow through eshopps logo..

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Eshopps pf-300 HOB overflow.. this thing is beautiful and built like a tank, my only complaint would be the single nylon screw holding the overflow box in place but to be honest it’s not a load bearing piece and it does greatly simplify removal for cleaning so it’s not a big deal, the other issue for my particular set up is the down flow hose @ 3 feet is to long so I’ll need the 2 foot version for my application.. These retail for around $70 but I was able to use a coupon at dr.fosters&smith and snagged this one for $48 delivered.

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CoralBox D300 plus skimmer.. if this thing works as good as it looks I’ll be all set, 10 speed DCA pump, 4 feed modes, additive mode, 3D diffuser, gate value and auto shut off if collection cup over fills. These retail for $245 I found someone on eBay with the standard 300 model on sale for $169 I was able to apply a coupon that took another $34 off and to make a sweet deal even better they sent me the new upgraded 300 plus model. I absolutely stole this thing at $135 :D There was a 10 dollar shipping charge but I can live with that...

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Following. I wanna do something like this with a frag tank soon.
Frag tank is next on my list.. I have a couple smaller tanks I need to tear down after I get the 40 Breeder up and running, one is going to be converted into a quarantine tank and the other I’m thinking about making a frag tank out of it.
 
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Have been given the green light by the better half to just hang my t5’s from the ceiling, this is going to save me a lot of time, effort and money vs the DIY structural pipe hanging system that I had initially planned to build, it also fits nicely into my cheap and easy build theme :D
 
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Mighty jet 538 GPH DC pump.. taking a chance with this new pump, it’s one of the few affordable DC pumps that would work with my system, limited sump space and the desire for all DC operated equipment where driving factors in my choice.. being color coordinated with my sump is a nice bonus.

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