Is this a good deal?
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Is this a good deal?

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Old 03-22-2008, 01:03 PM   #1
 
Is this a good deal?

I've been looking for a saltwater setup for quite some time now, with little luck. I am going to have to buy one that's used, becuase I have a budget of about $500 to get started. And as everyone who has a saltwater tank knows... that's not very much. So I found a 65 gallon tank on craigslist, but I'm not sure if I need everything that comes with it, and I don't want to spend what little money I have on things that aren't necessary. I am starting with only fish and some inverts, and if I ever get the chance, and the money, I may add some corals and such. But for now, I don't want to buy everything I would need for corals, just the fish. Here's a list of the stuff that the tank comes with. What could I do without, and is there anything else I would need?

That is a 65 gallon glass aquarium with corner overflow with stand-$250 Marine life aquatics AWD 150 wet-dry undertank-$150
Natureef dosing pump with a 90% full bottle of chemicals to keep the calcium up-$175
dual 400 watt MH pfo ballast (HQI) with mogul socket, pendant, and bulb-$175
175 watt MH ballast with mogul socket and bulb-$90
4 pc lights-$35
22 gallon refugium-$35
2 mag drive pumps
and heater-$80.

The prices I listed are the prices she wants if she sells everything seperate. She'll take 20% off, which is $650, if someone wants the whole deal.

So I guess it doesn't come with a skimmer, and I would really like that...
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Old 03-22-2008, 02:56 PM   #2
 
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Re: Is this a good deal?

I'm going to go through your list and put answers in bold type for you so I don't miss anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by It'sJames
I've been looking for a saltwater setup for quite some time now, with little luck. I am going to have to buy one that's used, becuase I have a budget of about $500 to get started. And as everyone who has a saltwater tank knows... that's not very much. So I found a 65 gallon tank on craigslist, but I'm not sure if I need everything that comes with it, and I don't want to spend what little money I have on things that aren't necessary. I am starting with only fish and some inverts, and if I ever get the chance, and the money, I may add some corals and such. But for now, I don't want to buy everything I would need for corals, just the fish. Here's a list of the stuff that the tank comes with. What could I do without, and is there anything else I would need?

That is a 65 gallon glass aquarium with corner overflow with stand-$250
That is about average price for a new one. If this is a used tank/stand, I would say its not worth that much! Here's a link for the tank w/overflow brand new... and what kind of stand is she offering you? If it's metal you don't want it. Saltwater will rust a metal stand, causing the joints to give out over time, which means everything ends up on the floor.
http://www.petblvd.com/cgi-bin/pb/AG...?mv_pc=froogle


Marine life aquatics AWD 150 wet-dry undertank-$150
I wasn't able to find a price for this new online, but the value will depend on how elaborate of a set up it is. Can you find out the dimensions and what is all included with it? If it's an elaborate set up, yes, it could be worth $150 used, but if it's just a bare bones filtration unit, again, you'd be able to get a new one for about the same price.


Natureef dosing pump with a 90% full bottle of chemicals to keep the calcium up-$175
I call this a waste of money if you're on a budget. There is no way to know that your tank will need additives, and if so, what and how much... not until its set up and you find out where your water params are at. Every tank is different, will have different needs. Not every tank needs a calcium suppliment, and there are many other less expensive ways to do that if it is needed. If you're wanting something to help keep calcium up, you could spend about that same amount of money, get a calcium reactor and a bag of crushed coral. The crushed coral is broken down by the CO2 going into it, and over time you would simply add more crushed coral and eventually a new canister of CO2. Your expense long term would be much less than having to buy those bottles of chemicals, and the effect is the same if not better. With a calcium reactor you have the ability to adjust the flow much better than on a "dosing pump" which will usually have a specific manufacturer set regulator. Again, with all tanks being different... it's more fool proof to go with a reactor instead.

dual 400 watt MH pfo ballast (HQI) with mogul socket, pendant, and bulb-$175
If you're wanting to keep this inexpensive, MH is not the way to do it. In a 65 gallon tank, a T5 fixutre will run about the same price and give just as much light output for anything reef, and at the same time, save on your electric bills! MH is also going to produce a lot of heat that can cause issues. The heat can be enough to raise the water temp to an extreme, even with a pendant, which would then require a chiller to keep animals alive. The best way to say it is that MH for what you're describing you want would be overkill. T5 would be a much better and safer bet!
Also, HQI is not a mogul socket... its double ended.


175 watt MH ballast with mogul socket and bulb-$90

Again, overkill and not worth the money!

4 pc lights-$35

???? pc lights? For what?

22 gallon refugium-$35

Again, you can get a new 22 gallon tank for about that same price. The only difference would be if that 22 gallon tank is already drilled or not. Did she provide you with that information?

2 mag drive pumps
and heater-$80.

What size mag drive pumps? A heater can be purchased for about $25 - $30 and be suitable for a 65 gallon tank. Mag drive pumps come in many different sizes... and price will depend on the size. See if you can find out the model numbers on the pumps.

The prices I listed are the prices she wants if she sells everything seperate. She'll take 20% off, which is $650, if someone wants the whole deal.

It sounds to me like she is trying to get almost what she paid for it... and personally, I think you'd be better off piecing this stuff together yourself and work with new if you're going to spend that kind of money.
One thing a lot of people forget when buying a used tank for saltwater... unless it's up and running and already healthy, there is no way to know what someone else put in there. If, for example, they used a copper based medication which wiped out their tank... then sell the tank... it would be useless to anyone wanting to keep inverts in it from that time forward. I would suggest being very cautious if buying anything used that will eventually hold reef animals.


So I guess it doesn't come with a skimmer, and I would really like that...

A skimmer is giong to be very important. I would suggest searching for one of those, also.

All in all, I don't see this to be such a good deal. $500 budget for something like a 65 gallon saltwater tank set up isn't going to take you very far, used or otherwise, if you want it set up properly. The sand alone for that size of a tank is going to run you between $50 - $100, and live rock, which you have to have averages about $6 -$10/lb, and in 65 gallons you are looking at 65 - 80 lbs worth. This stuff will be needed for a fish only tank as much as for a reef situation. To properly set up a saltwater tank of that size, expect to need between $1500 - $2000 to do it right and not waste your money.

My suggestion would be to take your budget, buy one piece at a time, new and for sure what you need. Collect it over time as you have the money. Once you have it all and the budget for the salt, sand, rock, etc... then set it up. I also didn't notice any powerheads listed in that set up, something else that is a MUST. If you want us to help you sort out what you do need, and some good places to get each thing, let us know.

Hope this helps!
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Old 03-22-2008, 05:55 PM   #3
 
That's kind of what I was thinking about the tank and hardware. I know I will need a skimmer and powerheads also, so I'll either have to find a tank that's being sold with those things, or save money for them.

My budget is not going up, or at least not much. I might be able to get $600 if I'm lucky. I'm only in highschool, and I don't have a job, so my parents are paying for it. I've been keeping freshwater aquariums for some time, and I'm taking a marine biology course this year, so that's why I've finally decided to start a saltwater. I'm just looking for any size tank, not necessarily 65 gallons. Something over 30 would be best though, so I hope I can find something cheap. I definatly cannot buy it all new... I just think that my money would be gone long before I could get around to LR and fish. I don't mind saving up money over time and adding to the tank, but due to my lack of income, that might take me an eternity.

So I guess I'll continue searching....

My other option would be to turn my 28 gallon freshwater into a saltwater. It has pretty good lighting, but I would still need a skimmer and powerhead/s. It would save me money, but I don't know If I really want to get rid of my freshwater fish. I've been trying to get that tank planted for ever, and it's finally ready, so I don't think I want to quit on it now.
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Old 03-22-2008, 06:44 PM   #4
 
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As long as you are to this point, there are a few things that you should prepare for:

Once you have your hardware and tank, there will be other expenses that you and your parents should know about up front. Saltwater needs to be premixed, a good thing for this is a rubbermaid tub with 1 - 2 powerheads in it. Salt is not cheap, and depending on what you are keeping in the tank, weekly water changes may be needed. The cost of salt for this can add up fast, and there is no way around it.

Another thing to prep for would be additives... things like Iodine suppliments, calcium suppliments, etc. This will also require water tests. Relying on a LFS for water testing, especially in saltwater, is very dangerous. Add to your list of supplies: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and calcium test kits. You may find as things get set up that you may need a few others, too.

Don't forget a hydrometer or refractometer. You can't even start setting up until you have that. This will measure the amount of salt in the water, and again, something you can't get along without.

You'll also want to find a good supply of RO or DI water. Tap water contains phosphates and other chemicals added to make it safe for drinking. These things can cause a lot of harm in a saltwater tank. This is something again that will have to be supplied regularly. If you decide to try using tap water, things like phosphate remover, etc should be considered and added to your mixing vat with a filtration unit. Once that stuff gets into your tank.... it's very difficult to get it under control and very difficult to keep your tank healthy and thriving.

If you decide to work with a smaller tank, the first thing you should do is to start thinking about what animals you wish to keep. The smaller the tank the smaller the selection of possible inhabitants, including corals. If working with reef animals there will be special supplimental foods that they require, which also can get expensive.

There's a lot to think about here, so please... don't rush into anything. It is very likely that you won't be able to afford this tank until you have a job. Most parents, even generous ones, simply can't afford to foot the bill for not just the initial set-up and animals, but the maintenance this type of thing will require. You might want to share this thread with them so they are also better prepared on what to expect.

There is no cheap way to set up and maintain a saltwater tank... no matter what size it is.
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Old 03-22-2008, 07:02 PM   #5
 
They are prepared for maintenance cost. We're not at all rushing into it - we've been talking about it for 6 months or so by now. We're installing a RO system in the kitchen, will this function the same as one made for an aquarium? Even if it does, I would have to figure out some way to get water from the kitchen to the basement, which may be impossible. I've been working on a stock list for a while, but since I'm buying it used, I won't know what size tank I'll have to work with until I actually get it. I will be getting a job soon, hopefully this summer, so that will help.

What's the average monthly maintenance cost for a 30, 55, and 75 gallon saltwater tank with fish and inverts only? Any ideas??
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:51 PM   #6
 
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Because every tank is different, unique in its own right, there is no way to accurately estimate mainteance costs ahead of time.

You could set up 3 tanks of the same size, same contents, same equip, everything about them identical, and they're all going to be different. They will cycle at their own pace, they will need water changes at different rates, and the water params will differ. This is one of the unique things about keeping an aquarium.
The best you can do is price the "expected" items and work with a rough estimate from there. Salt, additives such as I mentioned (liquid calcium, iodine, trace elements, etc) water, water conditioner, etc. It could cost less to run a 55 than a 30... it will all be dependent on the animals and the environment itself and how well it balances once you put it all together.

Like I said before, to work with a saltwater tank of 30 - 75 gallons or more, a good estimated cost to start out with will be $1500 - $2000 by the time everything is said and done, (the bigger the tank the higher the cost) and this won't include the animals. Chances are slim it can be done for less unless you are getting some of your equipment & supplies for free.
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