What purchases do you regret making or not making?

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Hydrored

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What did you end up with, if you don't mind me asking?

Ended up with 4 ATI Stratons and I love them, I actually never look at the lighting and say I wish I could change them or I need more.
 
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KryptonsLast

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I say start by determining the essentials. A LOT of the equipment out there is nice to have, but NOT essential to have a successful reef tank. Think quality Water (RODI system, reliable test kits, etc.), flow (this is also needed for fish health), surface area for beneficial bacteria (minimalist, sand or bare bottom, etc.).

My list of essentials would be (in no particular order):

1. RODI system
2. test kits
3. Wave makers
4. Lights
5. Rocks and Substrate - this may include Marinepure or Brightwell XPort bricks in the sump
6. Patience

Meet these essential and you can have a successful reef. Down the road you can add things like an ATO, Skimmer, reactors, UV sterilizers, etc. I would also say, purchase with the end goal in mind, i.e. you need flow in the tank so don't buy some cheap powerhead to provide flow for the fish when you are planning to add SPS in the future.
I have your entire initial list except I have ATO in the first phase and wavemaker closer to when I would add corals. I've read fish don't need super strong flow but I learn and unlearn things every day so I'm open to other experiences.
 

Gtinnel

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I initial bought cheap black box LEDs off of ebay that gave me major algae issues
I have been one of those people that seem to always go the cheap route, and although fairly new to corals I think I've been relatively successful with my ViparSpectra leds. So when someone says that they saw a big difference by swapping to high end lights it makes me wonder if I would see a big difference in my tank. The problem is I worry that I'm going to spend $1,200 to upgrade and then not see a noticeable difference. There should be a test loaner program for high end equipment for us cheapskates, lol.
 

lpsouth1978

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I have been one of those people that seem to always go the cheap route, and although fairly new to corals I think I've been relatively successful with my ViparSpectra leds. So when someone says that they saw a big difference by swapping to high end lights it makes me wonder if I would see a big difference in my tank. The problem is I worry that I'm going to spend $1,200 to upgrade and then not see a noticeable difference. There should be a test loaner program for high end equipment for us cheapskates, lol.
While I have never used the likes of Radion or Orphek lights, I can say that there was a significant difference going from my Black Box light to AI Hydra's. My corals and Nems responded very well, colors were better, less dicoball (all but none with diffusers). All around improvement. If I was to do it again, I might consider something with control options, like Kessil or Red Sea ReefLED.
 
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Reab

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I regret purchasing ceramic media. They have all broken down and polluted my tanks. I also regret purchasing unnecessary equipment, having the sump area look like the control room at nasa made it difficult to do maintenance. Finally, I will never purchase a square sump again, having the pump in a back chamber that is impossible to access is a nightmare.

my top must haves would be:
1. Rodi unit and FLOAT VALVES!!!!
2. Ato
3. A good skimmer
4. Saltwater mixing station

I can not stress the importance of float valves with the rodi unit. I don’t know how many hours I have spent cleaning up rodi water because I forgot it was running. I would set timers, have others remind me, etc but in the end it would never fail to overflow.

I list an ato second because, in my opinion, the rest of the equipment is luxury. Do you need a $300 light or will the $50 t5 grow just as well? Do you need a skimmer or any other filter action if you keep up with water changes? The water chemistry here is the bloodline of the tank, everyone will tell you to keep an eye on the alkalinity or the nutrients but if you let the water volume fall, all of this becomes compounded and can swing just as bad as dosing too much of an additive.
 

blasterman

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I have been one of those people that seem to always go the cheap route, and although fairly new to corals I think I've been relatively successful with my ViparSpectra leds. So when someone says that they saw a big difference by swapping to high end lights it makes me wonder if I would see a big difference in my tank. The problem is I worry that I'm going to spend $1,200 to upgrade and then not see a noticeable difference. There should be a test loaner program for high end equipment for us cheapskates, lol.
You are better off not listening to people who claim LED types grow more algae than others. Claiming black boxes grow algae because they are made with Chinese LEDs is pretty ridiculous. Anybody making claims like this likely can't find china on a map.

Worst purchase I made was a Remora C skimmer. These were a fad in the mid 2000s and were basically a down draft injection skimmer. All it did was make green wet skimmate.
 

footgal

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I would absolutely try to buy everything used.

Since you’re looking at the water box AIO that’s 33 gallons, I’m just going to compare it to my IM AOI 25 gallons. I got that tank (tank and stand + filtration stuff) for $300. Then bought the equipment (name brands) lightly used off R2R and eBay for 1/2 price new.

Eshopps nano skimmer (fits the AIO compartment perfectly and works AMAZING!) $50
radion g4 with arm $200
Tuner nano ATO $30
AI Nero powerhead $30

I totally agree that you cannot skimp on equipment, and name brands are something you really need here. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay full price :). Lots of people out there get out of the hobby, upgrade their tank, get new equipment, etc and that’s your gain too! I highly recommend this, it leaves more money in your budget for corals and fish later!
 

Gtinnel

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You are better off not listening to people who claim LED types grow more algae than others. Claiming black boxes grow algae because they are made with Chinese LEDs is pretty ridiculous.
I don't know about the algea but I do suspect that certain lights will have wavelengths of light that corals prefer causing better growth and coloration. I've had success with my ViparSpectra lights so I am probably not going to upgrade anytime soon. When and if I do it'll just be buying one light here or there slowly not all at once.
I will say over my years I've used t5, 400w MH, and now led and I don't see any negative effect from the cheap leds I have, versus either of the other 2.
 
Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED lighting

Tmtdvm

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I regret buying a Paxbellum. Intensity and heat fried the Chaeto every time. I tried turning down the hours and increasing flow but neither of those worked
 

Kclizzy

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I can tell you that I have wasted more money on buying cheaper items that either has not met my expectations or just broke. When I did my tank upgrade in May I saved to where I could afford what was best.

Biggest loss I’ve taken is lighting-

5 G4 XR15’s
4 G5 XR15’s
5 ReeFi’s duo extremes
5 G5 XR30 blues
2 Orphek bars
2 Reefbrite bars
AI primes
48” T5

and now I’ve settled on 4 different lights than all of those and couldn’t be happier. I took a hit on selling them just to finally find the lights I always wanted and met my expectations
Also what were you're issues with the radions and reefbrites?
Again, if you don't mind.
 

Hydrored

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Also what were you're issues with the radions and reefbrites?
Again, if you don't mind.
Radions I was an early adopter and would have the lights come on in the middle of the night, or full blast, fan noise I found to be unacceptable, and again mobius with having 11 devices connected the pumps and lights would get an unsupported error.

I down graded all of the firmware on the vortechs and went back to wxm running them and not one issue since. Left mobius and will never look back.

Reefbrites nothing at all, I still have the xho blues and bluetooth controller sitting in my closet that I have to sell. Just no need for them with the coverage I have now
 
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Joe31415

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I can not stress the importance of float valves with the rodi unit.
Without getting into too much detail in this thread. I put have a water valve with a timer on my RODI system. In short, once a day or so I glance at my ATO bucket and hit the appropriate button (15 minutes or 30 minutes or 2 hours or whatever it needs). It turns on the water to the RODI system and after the set amount of time it closes the valve. As long as I make sure to be conservative with the time (ie could use an 'hour' of water..so I'll set it for 15 or 30 minutes) I haven't had any issues.

Of course it's helpful that this is in my basement on a concrete floor. So if it overflows it's not a huge deal. An inconvience, sure, but it's not going to do any real damage.
 

Sabellafella

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You know what. It got me to thinking, I can definitely toss In a few. I don't really seem to care on saving money because don't get me wrong I do like all the gadgets. But the salinity probe and orp were both without a doubt a dumb purchase. Those probes are insanely sensitive to things like temperature and stray current. Almost never look at it or used it as a failsafe. Thats if they even work properly

Then probably all the little products we got for coral color. At the end of your day, if you feed your fish, do frequent water changes your tanks in the best of paths one can take.

Then for equipment products, the ecotech versa had to have been the biggest disappointment for me. I had 3 all fail during the same week 3 months in, because they decided to use regular airline tubing instead of surgical. Basically went flat from the rollers squishing them down causing all 3 of the ones I used to not pull any solution. Then, the iceing on the cake - they want to charge for a fix kit with different tubing and different Orings because they would even leak prior to the upgrade! Witch was a completely different issue then what I was having. Superbotched product, not the proper customer support to tend to their issue.

I just about owned every mainstream powerhead. Even different generations of them. The gyre 350s are also a disappointment. I can't quite figure it out but they loose their punch just a few days maybe weeks after cleaning. I also had two motors strip on me already on two different units. If I could get a 280 again I would but they're just to darn big. Without a doubt the best pump I've ever owned, unfortunately I had traded it for 2 350s witch I regret

As for " not making" there's plenty of purchases I regret not having made sooner. It's just the typical role of this hobby
 
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Jonas Bergkvist

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I’m first and current is a 55 gallon display. I am looking at between 150-200 for the next. For fish selection reasons. I want a blue tang so looking like a 200 gallon.
My current tank is 150 gallon but now i wish i had gotten a 200 i dont regeet anything. But you have good thinking here, in a 200 i think you could have most of the popular tangs
 

reefviper101

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I regret going cheap on my initial equipment. Everybody wants to aim for best value, and I get that, but for example, I initial bought cheap black box LEDs off of ebay that gave me major algae issues, and later I upgraded to radions. I could've saved myself the money on the black boxes AND all the headache of the algae issues if I'd bought quality lighting to start with. So, I'd say buy based on research to start with and avoid buying with an intent to "replace later" whenever possible.
Amen brother it took me five tries to find the light that works thank god i was useing amazon so i could return them and get a different one
 
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