$400 on Tank Setup - Page 3 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #21 of 25 Old 04-02-2009, 05:39 PM
conger's Avatar
the only real measure of "powerful" when it comes to RODI, is the gallons per day it produces. Any given unit should have a GPD rating. The only thing that matters there is how long do you want to wait to make water?

For example, my unit has a pump (to help push the water through the filter, since my tap pressure isn't great and I run it from my kitchen sink), and the unit + pump is rated at 50 GPD. I haven't bothered to do the calculation to see what I'm actually getting from it, but I will say that I can get about 4 gallons of water in an hour and a half or so. In other words, it takes me a little over three hours to "fill" two 5-gallon buckets (note that I don't fill them to the rim, I don't want to spill it everywhere when I move it!). I guess doing the calculations, I get more like about 60 gallons per day, if I were to run it all day. Needless to say, when I fill up my 30 gallon brute trash can in preparation for a water change, I have to run it for most of the day.

So, unless you've got high water pressure in your home, I'd recommend getting one with a pump, as it speeds up the process. Most units are rated at either 50 GPD or 100 GPD, and I think a 50 GPD unit with a pump would be fine for you.

You'll also note that you can find 2-stage, 3-stage, and 4-stage RODI units. The 2- and 3-stage units are probably RO only (no deionization canister), so I'd recommend getting a 4-stage, 50 GPD unit with a built-in pump. My unit is a Coralife, and I've got no complaints about it. Anyways, the various stages typically include a 1- or 5-micron filter, a carbon stage, the RO membrane itself, and a deionization stage. They are all useful, to ensure that you get maximally-filtered water to use for your precious tank!

"To an optimist, the glass is half-full;
to a pessimist, the glass is half-empty;
to an engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

Last edited by conger; 04-02-2009 at 05:45 PM.
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post #22 of 25 Old 09-21-2009, 05:09 AM
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I'd recommend starting a fresh water tank just to learn the ropes. Then upgrade to a second salt tank down the line. Here's what I'd get to set up a beginner's fresh water tank in Canadian dollars.

30 Gallon glass tank with canopy and fluorescent light. $110.
40lbs Substrate sand/gravel $40
Power bar with electronic timers for lighting $25
External Canister Filter $120
Python Vacuum $40
RO/DI filter $300
Plants/decorations $50
Air pump $30
Tubing/air stones/manifold $30
electronic PH and TDS meter $80
food $10
Activated Carbon and refillable bag for the canister filter $30
Heater is included with the tank kit.

Total $865. Not including fish.

Now imagine going salt water. You'll want a bigger tank which is more money. A sump. Protein skimmer, uv sterilizer, etc.... The live rock, corals, fish are all more expensive. You can see how quickly you pass the $1000 mark. So starting with a small fresh water tank is a good way to learn the ropes. You'll slowly want to get your own Reverse Osmosis/Deionizing filtration unit, high tech electronic meters for PH, TDS, and temp instead of drops. You'll look at electronic timers for lighting and moonlighting. Get a big air pump capable of feeding several tanks. You may change substrates several times going from gravel to sand for diggers like cory's and horsefaced loaches. You'll have all the chemicals like RO right, PH buffers, biological bacteria. You'll be getting into diggerent foods like algae, flake, shrimp, worms, freeze dried, frozen. You'll switch from sucking on a tube to getting a python. You learn how to acclimate a fish and quarantine them. You'll upgrade from a hang on filter with a bio wheel to an easy to use canister filter with bulk carbon instead of expensive pre made filters.

As you can see form above there is much you will learn and evolve from owning a fresh water tank. But by then you have the know how and all the equipment which make getting into the salt water that much easier. But by then it's still very expensive and will still cost tons of money for the larger tank, protein skimmer, sump, all the live rock and coral, etc.... Building a 55 gallon reef aquarium with no knowledge and $400 seems impossible to me.
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post #23 of 25 Old 09-30-2009, 03:18 PM
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Since you are going with a 55gal tank there are two things you cannot skimp on in saltwater, skimmer and live rock. Live Rock is what provides the filtration in saltwater tanks and you need at the very minimum 1lb of rock per gallon. Now there are two types of live rock, cured and cured. The difference is that with cured live rock you will not see a cycle but with uncured the cycle can take up to 3 months depending on the rock you get. Since you look like you can be impatient I would go for cured live rock. Now 50lbs at the minimum of cured live rock is going to cost you $9 or so a lb so most of your initial budged will go towards that. Now if you think you can muster the 2-3 month wait you can go with uncured live rock and just cure it yourself.

Also for the sump you are going to need a good return pump, skimmer, and something to grow on your fuge like cheato. Then you will need another light for the cheato to grow along with your main lights in the tank. Also if you plan on having corals in the tank you are going to have to upgrade your lighting. For that tank you are going to spend at least $300 on some lights so you are already over budget.

Also you are going to need an RO/DI unit unless you want to haul massive amounts of water from your LFS and a good one is going to run you at least $200 but it's better to spend a little more and get one with a built-in TDS meter. I have read good things about this RO/DI unit that is priced pretty well.

Aqua FX Barracuda 4-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Purifiers
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post #24 of 25 Old 10-01-2009, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Cody View Post
You are no where near ready. You know nothing about this. You need to research for at least 5 more months.

You do realize that $400 will be enough for lights alone? I spent twice that on my 10G reef. I can't imagine what this is.
I started out 5 years ago not knowing much either. I bought a tank and some books and asked a lot of online questions. He's got as good of a chance at success at this hobby as I do. Nothing wrong with starting out buying equipment BUT I WANT TO SPARE YOU 1 MISTAKE I MADE!!!! Do yourself a big favor and forget the 55 gal. tank unless you are going to have fish only. If you put the min. 55 to 60 lbs. of live rock that you should have for a mixed reef tank, you will find it impossible to clean the front glass without breaking corals, trust me. If you have a 4 ft area for your tank then get a 75 gal. It gives you 6 more inches of depth and makes the cleaning so much easier. If you are going with T-5s or MH lighting then you can get a 90 gal. but remember that you have a much better chance of needing a chiller with MHs.It is possible to find deals on used equipment. My friend just sold his entire 75 gal. setup with MH lighting, skimmer, sump, everything that I have and more for only $500.00. He just didn't have the desire.Good luck and don't be afraid to ask questions. Everyone here has.

Last edited by briang; 10-01-2009 at 09:50 PM.
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post #25 of 25 Old 10-07-2009, 03:59 PM
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I've always been interested in running a saltwater setup, and while I could go down and buy everything I needed today and rush into it, I choose to wait it out and read. Seriously man, take the time to actually go through this forum and read some of the posts made here by these guys. I have a large freshwater setup, but all the knowledge I know from that is basically going out the window, and I am humbly a troll here soaking up everything I can right now. I wouldn't want to go out and piece half a set up and spend money on it knowing I don't have the other essintial tools. Just words of advice from one noob to another. Save your money up until your have enough cash, and knowledge...otherwise I think you would be just tossing stuff down the drain.

To everyone else here...thanks for all the posts and pictures...my wife hates you all, but she will learn!
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