Where are y'all getting your money from?

vertigo01

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I am just now getting back after my system crashing.
However, I would bet that alot more people are financing their set up than care to admit.
We are a dual income household with no children.
We save for what we want and buy when it goes on sale or is discontinued due to newer model.
 
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Demogorgon

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Hello, I am new to this forum. This is my first post and I am dwelling in McLeansville, NC. I am of the generation that learned to save for I want and build what i can with my own hands. The picture is of the aquarium stand I am in the process of building for the 96 x 30 x 29 acrylic tank I will also hopefully build successfully (still deciding). RO/DI unit still in the box in the man-cave I purchased a month ago. "All things great come to those who wait", or at least are patient is how i've succeded in financing my hobbies.
 

cancun

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Interesting topic! I am in the lower six figure bracket between my husband and myself. We have no kids, unless you count my German Shepherd...lol...

Anyway my Aquarium is my hobby not my husband's, so he keeps a close eye on the Aquarium budget. I started with a 29 gallon Biocube years ago, saved and upgraded to a Innovative Marine 80 gallon, saved again and fast forward several more years to present time and upgraded to a Red Sea 750XXL. I have no used equipment, and prefer Echotech lights and power heads, and Reef Octopus return pump and skimmer. I did sell each old Aquarium and that money went into the new one.

Also... don't laugh but my parents insist on still exchanging Christmas gifts, so they always give me money....they call it their investment in my tank...lol! So I save and be patient, I don't buy designer corals, I don't feel I have to impress anyone but me when it comes to my tank.

Keep in mind it is an enjoyable hobby, as long as YOU enjoy it just do what you can afford. Don't go into debt over it. It is first and foremost supposed to be fun and rewarding! :D
 

Rob.bucek

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I’ll tell you a big difference from when I started reefing. There is very little DIY anymore. There were virtually no commercial calcium reactors. I made my own. Buy a toilet flange with the knockout still installed, some 3” acrylic tube, a flange for the top, some egg crate for a media platform... Drill some holes for hose barb fittings, epoxy them in and voila. Instant media reactor. There were no premade acrylic sumps. If you had one, you made it. Most of us used storage totes as sumps. And they work just as well, for 1/10 the cost. So there are lots of lost ways to go about reefing on the cheap, without compromising functionality. Most of my equipment is home made, except for my skimmer, and it all works very well.
It's what I did my first round. Storage tote sumps work. All light fixtures retro diy. Round two, different story. I saved for a long time
 

ElussssvReefSD

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Good job, low cost of living (FL), dual income household, car is paid off, minimal credit card debt and no kids. Have always worked hard, but recognize my luck and am thankful every day that I have the opportunities I have.

Also, have been saving for 5+ years. Not enough to pay cash for everything all at once mind you, but able to take big chunk out on the front end, and scoop up the rest with low apr home improvement loan over a few years.
 

ImaFlippinDolphin

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15 years ago when I first got into the hobby I stopped counting when my 55gl mixed reef hit 10k...15 years ago...this hobby isn't for the feint of heart, the casual perusion, or in all reality someone who has the income that can't support the animals they have. While I will say I aint rich and I'm sure by most of our calculations most here aren't, but like anything if you want it you find a way. I think any one of us can say money doesn't buy happiness but it sure makes us smile, at the end of the day it isn't how much you make its what what you make out of it
 

RonS

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A dollar spent on a car is a dollar wasted in my book. 14 year old Prius doing just fine, no car payments for 12+ years.
 

scott11106

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I personally had some disposable income to do automation and buy some products and i know how blessed i am to be able to do that but i saved multiple years and planned for several years before starting, but I still plumbed, wired, fix and do day to day things as that is what this hobby is all about in my eyes. anyone can do what i did and even opt to DYI a lot of it and save a ton of money with the same or close to the same outcome. I am so proud of what i built that most of the time i show people the back of my tank in the fish room before showing the front (display). not that i would admit this out loud but i look for reasons to make my system work better or more efficient to the point i will cause myself issues tearing apart things and sometimes causes more harm than good but no matter what i learn and have fun doing it. as you can see in picture i need to redo all of my wiring....huge task that i keep avoiding
4B48A211-4C6C-474E-A9D4-47B9B5D42A0E_1_105_c.jpeg
 

damselindistress

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Ok, I get it. Be a doctor/lawyer/engineer/software engineer, and make the big bucks to be able to send your kids to Ivy Leagues, have a nice car, AND get an awesome fish tank or 10 out of it.

But for the all of the 5 figure and under people (let's say the cutoff is 85K), how are you doing it? Do you just like...not have kids or something? Is there a trick to all the splurging you're able to do? Are there a bunch of low cost of living areas that I'm just not aware of/don't want to move to?

I keep seeing "I just bought this 200/300/1600 gallon [RedSea/Waterbox/expensive brand] aquarium and what do I do with it" posts, and I'm just...confused...do you just have this money lying around??

I guess I'm mostly just asking because my estimated yearly earnings is currently somewhere at around 40K in a high cost of living area once the job hiring starts again. Which means very little disposable income (bye bye avocado toast, I'll miss you, but aquariums gotta aquarium).
Aquariums gotta aquarium thats funny lol.

I definitely feel you as I grew up in a household where there never seemed to be enough cash, sometimes even for just the basics needs. I still, 35 yrs later, feel a certain level of class betrayal for dropping $$$ on a pricey tank bauble and always have some degree of inner conflict such as "there are kids in this county going to bed with an empty stomach tonight".

I'm blessed to live in an area with a SUPER LOW cost of living (east Tenn), so much so that we've become quite the retirement destination for a lot of....elites. I'll leave that alone lol. Anyway, low cost of living, I have worked (hard) in the same field for 25 yrs so, again, I am blessed that I've reached a point where I'm able to now enjoy some of the fruits of those years of labor.

My son is grown, through college, has a good job and is successfully adulting on his own, so I do not have those expenses anymore. Kid used to go through three gallons of milk a week ha.

Lastly, my husband and I are low key, we live in an updated brick rancher by choice because neither of us wants a big mortgage. We don't really travel much, we just don't have an extravagant life style to maintain. My reef tank is really my only expensive habit/hobby. Oh and purses. :)
 

damselindistress

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Hello, I am new to this forum. This is my first post and I am dwelling in McLeansville, NC. I am of the generation that learned to save for I want and build what i can with my own hands. The picture is of the aquarium stand I am in the process of building for the 96 x 30 x 29 acrylic tank I will also hopefully build successfully (still deciding). RO/DI unit still in the box in the man-cave I purchased a month ago. "All things great come to those who wait", or at least are patient is how i've succeded in financing my hobbies.
Welcome to Reef2Reef!
 

lotekfish

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Interesting thread. I've been keeping reef tanks for over 12 years and I've never had anything larger than a 30 gallon tank. Currently I have 20g and 10g IM Nuvo AIO tanks. I actually enjoy the challenges of small tanks. I'm an architectural designer so I always appreciate craft and creative use of space, especially when it's done well with inexpensive materials. I've seen absolutely jaw-dropping beautiful pico tanks with HOB filters and maybe $50 in macro algae and soft corals. True masters of the art of aquarium design when you can pull that off. Conversely, I've seen obscenely expensive builds that looked like a pile of rocks with skittles poured on top. If the owner is happy with it, cool, but having more money to throw at something doesn't always produce better results.

My suggestion if you are low on cash- focus on doing small things exceptionally well. Look at the nano tank forum more and the monster tank forum less. I spend a lot of time studying planted tank design even though I don't keep freshwater aquariums. Some of those planted tank people are amazing at creating space, depth, and intrigue with maybe three pieces of rock and a few plants. It's all about proportion and balance. The design and mastery of aquariums is what keeps me going in this hobby. I'm more interested in one day having the "perfect" 20 gallon tank than I am in accumulating more stuff.

Think bonsai.
 
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Reefinmike

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I save where I can and spend money where it counts.

-My alkalinity supplement is arm&hammer baking soda, 50¢/lb
-I cut frozen flat packs of food into cubes instead of buying blister packs
-I use Instant Ocean salt
-I stopped following the latest fad from brs
-My dosing containers are 5g buckets
-I build my own stands, canopies and retrofit lighting
-I buy “commodity” level tanks- marineland, aquaeon etc but ALWAYS new. Who cares if it has plastic trim? I hide it with the stand and canopy.
-I use glass lids to trap heat and minimize household co2’s effect. Saves me ~$225 a year in electricity.
-I don’t buy coral. I’m happy with what I have and if I ever want more, fellow reefers will give me frags as I always give away coral

When it comes to equipment, i’ll never buy used electronics unless I know the seller & know they care for their gear. I buy the right thing from the start. Piecing out automation ends up being way more expensive than an apex.

I also consider the sustainability of an item and long term costs. The tronc initially costs more than the trident but Diy reagent is only $40 a year. Assuming 6 tests a day for 5 years and excluding maintenance costs; the trident is $2100. The alkatronic is $1100.

I’m pretty happy with my reef, 10 months old

BC617177-91D3-45A7-803D-4C75EE69C583.jpeg ABD021AA-0D2F-40B6-8514-38DF3613CC30.jpeg
 

Fishingandreefing

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Hi! High school student here. Lost my job due to cut backs from the pandemic so I’ve started selling coral as my main job. My tank has never looked better since I started hyperfocusing on it with my spare time. For instance, I grew an absurd amount of purple tip hammer. I chopped it up into 5 head colonies and traded it in at 4 different LFS for other corals. I turned around, fragged that, sold half, and kept the other half to regrow and sell again. Using this method I was able to afford to buy another tank (used of course) and a CSB (Traded some stuff and it was an absurdly good price to begin with)
How fast can you grow the purple tips? Double in a year? That’s crazy some barely keep them alive some actually can grow them out.
 

footgal

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How fast can you grow the purple tips? Double in a year? That’s crazy some barely keep them alive some actually can grow them out.
They grow super fast, I bought a colony of 4 heads, multiplied to 20ish in about 4-5 months, broke it down back to 3-4 heads (sold the others) now its back to about 14 heads. My other branching hammers are also doing well but nowhere near as quickly as the purple tip
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

Fishingandreefing

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They grow super fast, I bought a colony of 4 heads, multiplied to 20ish in about 4-5 months, broke it down back to 3-4 heads (sold the others) now its back to about 14 heads. My other branching hammers are also doing well but nowhere near as quickly as the purple tip
Oh wow whatever you do or dose, keep it up.
 

musicreef

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I'm sure that there are many doctors, lawyers and engineers that have big beautiful tanks. I would bet they also have maintenance contracts. To me half the pleasure of owning a reef tank is building it up and watching it grow and thrive, you don't need a huge budget for that.
Build it gradually, save for what you want and buy during sales.
Try not to buy on credit, what you save on finance charges can go to purchase what you really need. We all need to have charge cards even if we pay them off at the end of the month, get a rewards card that gives you cash back, you'll be surprised how quickly that can add up.
I recently read, "social comparison is the thief of happiness. You could spend a lifetime worrying about what others have, but it wouldn't get you anything". Make whatever you have beautiful for you.
 

TAP WATER FOR YOUR REEF TANK

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