On a Budget?

White Hair

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As some of you might know i’m on s/s and just getting started, starting to freak out a little. If some of you are on a budget or have been, how do you or how did you handle improving your tank. I’m just getting started and have several hundred invested and a long way to go. How did you handle it, need a little input thanks.
 
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mattzang

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what kind of tank do you have? i'm on a budget too, mostly because i'm cheap hehe

i'd say if you want to keep things on the cheaper side, stick to soft corals, maybe some easy lps. then you don't have to spend tons of money on lights and wavemakers and dosing and all that jazz. my mistake was venturing into sps
 
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White Hair

White Hair

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what kind of tank do you have? i'm on a budget too, mostly because i'm cheap hehe

i'd say if you want to keep things on the cheaper side, stick to soft corals, maybe some easy lps. then you don't have to spend tons of money on lights and wavemakers and dosing and all that jazz. my mistake was venturing into sps
30 gal, nothing in it yet
 
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White Hair

White Hair

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What is the size of your tank? What kind of equipment do you have? And what livestock do do have in it?
30 gal, got a 30” t5 coming, aqua clear 70, not much else just getting started, and that’s part of the problem no livestock, not till next week.
 

mattzang

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i'd also go on youtube and check out inappropriate reefer's budget build series, that tank he has is really quite affordable

saltwateraquarium has a series going that's based on budget tanks too that's probably worth checking out.

and black friday is coming where you can get stuff for a decent discount. like others said i'd maybe think about returning the T5 and going with one or two of those nano LEDs. get some cheap dry rock, a powerhead of some sort, and probably an auto top off.

livestock wise there are a few lfs around me that do sales from time to time, they'll get in a ton of clownfish varieties and do a sale on those. royal gramma would be nice and is cheap, then maybe a tailspot blenny or something is really cheap. for corals, look into craigslist/offerup i find people on there just basically giving stuff away frequently.
 
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BeejReef

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Used quality equipment IMHO.
Also, patience... so much of what we pay huge $ for can be had for free, or nearly free, if you're in no hurry to get it.

Watch local FB groups. People often are shutting down a tank and just want a home for their fish.. maybe a small "adoption fee." Silly little things like the red sea titration handle. The test kit is $50, but the refill is $20. Use two hands, or be on the lookout for one of those little handles in someone pile of "fish stuff, has to go today."

A local reefer friend can save u a ton too. Why both have 7 different medicines on hand that will expire before they're used? DIY and corrugated plastic are your friends :)

If you end up with a more advanced tank, RandyHolmesFarley's DIY section can save you 70% easy on dosing stuff... vinegar and sugar instead of brand name carbon dosing... Nitrate and Phosphate dosing solutions that will make gallons of additives for the price of a 12oz bottle of additive online.

The big expenses jump up when you've screwed up and are faced with spending x amount of money to try to rectify a mistake or watching all you've already spent die. Spending some up front on good testing and good water source WILL save you way more down the line.

System design too.. There are so many ways to skin a cat. Like Lynyrd Skynyrd said, "Run a Simple Kind of Tank."
 

Tiger Brown

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I think @mattzang (Ron Swanson) gave you stellar advice. I would not venture into the sps realm on a fixed income. Cutting out all the dosing and testing and lighting will save you a fortune. You can have a gorgeous tank with just fish and some of the cheaper but still cool inverts like BTA, shrimps, starfish, etc. If you insist on coral start with softies.
 

briandeeds13

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I have a 20 gallon and and in the middle of getting stuff for an upgrade. If on a fixed income stay with softys, zoas and maybe a few lps like a normal green hammer or some frogspawn. I did that for about 2 years until I could afford some other stuff. Another thing with a small tank like that is to check out the dollar store. $1 buckets and containers which are good for water changes and keeping saltwater or rodi water on sale. I also only keep 2 fish and a shrimp in my tank so food is not expensive but yet still provides a little movement. Jebao pumps are nice for small tanks and can be bought cheaply used and have can be controlled which is nicer on the wallet that say an mp10 or gyre.
 

S2G

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Very manageable tank. Fowler and softy would be the cheapest.

Aquaclear 70 is good . If you want some more flow grab a cheap sunsun jvp powerhead $20, sand is like $5 for a tank that size, krylon spray paint for the back, find some used rock locally (bleach it and dry it out), scrap the t5's and go with some energy efficient LEDs ($30-$100), price match an eheim Jagger at Petco $20, and you should be good to go for now. Eventually grab a decent hob skimmer and a hob chaeto reactor.

Rodi might be tricky depending on your home water tds, etc. If you have decent water an rodi can be had for $110-$150. Instant ocean salt is $45 a bucket and should last awhile on a 30.

If you want to do lps there's plenty of diy 2 part recipes. You can make your own kalkwaser. You can also use vinegar if you need to carbon dose once you get a good skimmer or diy nopox.
 

Reesj

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PEople get this hobby 2 expensive to show off and to get mostly blingy stuff! Its like buying everysingle Apple thing. If Apple sold a water bottle for $20 people would buy that also.

Few TIPS to save up.
1. You don't need a protein skimmer. Build you own hang on the glass Algae scrubber. Check the DIY King Build in youtube.
2. You don't need facy lights. If you can get a bit of electrical knowledge, Buy soem LEDs and set them up for like $20-30.
3. You don't need RODI water. Tap water will do mroe than fine. Get a chemical to to clean like a declorinator to treat the water from the tap and run a bag of active carbon.
 

mia relis

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PEople get this hobby 2 expensive to show off and to get mostly blingy stuff! Its like buying everysingle Apple thing. If Apple sold a water bottle for $20 people would buy that also.

Few TIPS to save up.
1. You don't need a protein skimmer. Build you own hang on the glass Algae scrubber. Check the DIY King Build in youtube.
2. You don't need facy lights. If you can get a bit of electrical knowledge, Buy soem LEDs and set them up for like $20-30.
3. You don't need RODI water. Tap water will do mroe than fine. Get a chemical to to clean like a declorinator to treat the water from the tap and run a bag of active carbon.
Unless you have pristine jesus blessed tap water that's horrible advice.
I agree.
The LEDS can be done for cheap, if you have the knowledge.
a skimmer is a nice thing to have, but if you do lots of water changes, you can do without.
RODI is a must. Unless Jesus himself came and purified your water, tap water is horrible for SW tanks. Lots of contaminants.
 

TheShrimpNibbler

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Unless you have pristine jesus blessed tap water that's horrible advice.
I agree entirely. I have a large blob of Chaeto, no skimmer, and use tap water. Keeping parameters in check is hard. I’ve never seen a moment where I’m not having an algae bloom. If I don’t qt my fish, they ALWAYS get a parasite of some type. You will end up much worse off than if you just bite the bullet and get an RODI.
 
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