Where are y'all getting your money from?

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cpschult

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I’ve been through a few iterations of tanks. I’ve always bought used tanks and equipment. I have a decent tank but with two kids minimal reef budget. I just picked up a Red Sea Reefer 525 with gear for a song. I wasn’t looking at going this big but the person getting out had all the nice equipment and the price was right.

I think the trick is to budget. Everyone has some disposable income, just need to figure out what you can cut. And if you can’t cut something reefing probably isn’t the right hobby right now!
 

pseudorand

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Buy as much as possible 2nd/3rd hand.
2+. My 120g DT is a craigslist special. And I built the stand and hood myself.

This hobby is hard and frustrating and expensive. People get out of it every day. And they all want the garage space where their old tanks and equipment are stored back.
 

IAReefer

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From work. Really think about what you want to do in life, go to school if you need to, and jump at the opportunity when it happens. You’ll never do something GREAT unless you have a passion for it. To make GREAT money, that’s the ticket. When you eat sleep breathe something, it’s hard not to be successful at it.
 
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ARAJEA

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I grew up without a garage. You know what's in my garage? My cars. I find it hilarious people that have a garage full of randomness. Why?
 

Eagle_Steve

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So I was not going to chime in on this, but what the heck. I have been at the both ends of the spectrum, so may as well lol. From a kid,
to a newly enlisted Marine, to being considered in the 2% and possibly the 1% at times. The reef journey has been part of all of it.

I started this hobby 40 years ago with my dad. Back then we built everything. We were loving the Kenya trees, Curley que nems, Atlantic blue tangs, Florida keys zoas, rocks from Fiji that I ordered from an lfs after mowing yards all summer and our awesome 5’ pvc skimmer that made my mom about puke every time we emptied it lol. Budget was minimal, as dad was a Marine Colonel with a previous record of poor financial decisions before he met my mom. But he loved the sea and the critters in it, so we had to have something.

Turn the clock and I was 18, a jar head with no money, and a “travel tank”. It would go with me if it could, or I would give it to a fellow marine with the same interests and pray it lived. Diy everything, but the tank most of the time. Always cheap corals and stuff, but I was happy. Had my own slice of the sea if I could. Kept small travel tanks until I was medically discharged. All of the tanks I kept thrived with proper care. Some even had high dollar corals due to trading gsp and pulsing Xenia with the local lfs in whatever area I was in. Starter corals are always in demand.

Turn the clock some more. In my 40s I got back into the hobby heavy. The little DIY tank needed to be upgraded at this point. I had an awesome paying job, wife had an awesome paying job, sold off some stocks purchased with my enlistment bonus and all that banked deployment pay. So I was in a very good place financially with 0 debt. I then saw all this new stuff and lost my mind. Kept asking myself, was it really needed? Then decided sure it is, this is the best there is. Has to be better than the old crap we used to make.

And to continue, as I am not ashamed of being an idiot at one point. Well I may still be one, the argument is out on that. Well with my wife anyways, it is. lol

So, I was “that guy” for a bit, but not blasting it everywhere for the world to see my new purchases. Bought all super expensive name brand equipment, set it all up, automated everything, stuffed the tank full of named corals and it did not help anymore than what I was already doing previously. In a way it made it worse. Corals died as what I thought was live rock was just dry thrown into a tub at an lfs for a week or so. (Helps to actually research things lol)
Tank was not mature at all and I thought all these new gadgets were there to counteract the newness. Then my controller went nuts and caused all kinds of problems. Doser kept dosing and well, that is never good when alk goes off the charts due to 3 gallons of concentrate going in continuously until the jug emptied. In short, I got comfortable with not performing my typical husbandry and checks, as I should have. I about gave up. Sold all of it, except the 20 long that was doing great.

I then decided I want larger tanks and was gonna try it again. Took my time, learned from my bout of idiocy, did a lot of diy stuff, bought used, and went back to my roots, as I figured if it fails again, at least I am not out 15k again. This worked for me and is still working. Sure I could go buy all of this new fancy stuff, and get the same results now that my head is on straight, but why?

I personally would not spend a fortune on a tank setup again and regret ever doing it. I may be one of the weird guys due to the above mentioned item, but I can accept that. Although, I do respect people who do it and succeed. I also respect people who do it with less. There is more than one road to a successful and satisfying reef.

I guess the point I am trying to make is, “one does not need much to be successful”. Set expectations accordingly, save up for that “awesome coral” (more than likely the price will drop some by then), grow starter coral in a cheap 10 gallon tank with a crap light and trade to the lfs if possible, search selling websites/apps, join a reef club and focus more on stability and husbandry. The deals to be had from someone moving, getting divorced, or just giving up on the hobby are always there. Reef clubs usually have raffles or door prizes at meets, but the most important thing is the knowledge given in person. Remember, cheap stuff grows stuff just as well as the expensive stuff. Tons of cheap builds on here that have been running for a long time and are doing great. Personally, I find it more rewarding to do more with less also. Plus DIY is fun for me

Also,
As @Flippers4pups said “K.I.S.S“ is one of the best things in this hobby.

Well, that and patience lol.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

Nigel35

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Don't rush. Be patient. Think things out. Get educated. Figure ways to do things that can fit your budget. Way to many reefers jump in thinking they need to buy a ton of stuff (they don't need).Knowing what your doing and going to do will save you lots of stress time and money.
 

stevenliu9

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Personally I think a lot of research and DIY to cut corners where it is safe and reasonable. Then drop the money on absolutely necessary and state of the art equipments (skimmer, pump, etc). And honestly, outside of the aquarium hobby I don't really spend a lot of money- driving an older car that's already paid off, no drinking no smoking no carbonated drinks and such.
 

Deaf clown

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I make about the same, I live in Iowa so cost of living isn’t stupid like any metropolitan. I also have a family but she does make a little more than I do-I have that “advantage” of a double income home. For me now the idea is having little debt as possible and putting more in the bank and a little “play” money aside for whatever.

I think about the other things I could buy or the money I could have in the bank if I didn’t have a stupid $500 car payment. So I’ve doubled the payments and it’ll be paid off in 9 months!
 

CtrlAltDelete

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As a fellow "poor" reefer:

1) I don't go high-end brand names. My aquarium is Marineland, most of my equipment is knock off brands and my lights are black box. Red Sea, etc is too much for me.

2) I go slow. Parts for my system were bought month by month over time. Trades, used stuff and a bit of wheeling and dealing helped.

3) I keep my system simple, so that maintenance is cheap. Filtration is mostly export-based (skimmer and refugium) so that I don't have to buy lots of filter media.

4) I have one reef tank, rather than multiples.
Could you elaborate on the light you use please?
 

TAP WATER FOR YOUR REEF TANK

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