how much does it total for saltwater
Ok I want a 55 gal
Corals and live rock
Plus fish (duh)
And all the other stuff needed to run a tank
how much would it be? thanks!
That is absolutley impossible to calculate. Everyone needs different things, that affect their likes and dislikes.
If I were to guess, I would say at the very least, $1,500. Thats with everything as the bare minimum.
Well, it might be a good idea to start your very first saltwater tank as a FOWLR tank (fish only with live rock). They're easier to take care of and less expensive, as you don't have to have nearly as powerful (i.e. expensive) lighting as you would for corals and you don't have to worry as much about other supplements corals need to survive.
As long as you chose fish that are all reef safe, you could eventually convert such a tank into a reef by upgrading the lighting and whatnot and purchasing corals. Plus, by that point, you will have mastered the basics of saltwater aquarium care, so you won't have to do things like struggle with salinity levels and stuff when you've also got corals to think about.
Re: how much does it total for saltwater
So now let's figure your cost to start a reef tank properly
Reef Ready Tank $200.00
Aragonite Sand $80.00
Live Rock $850.00
PC Lighting $300.00
Return Pump $100.00
Salt Mix $30.00
2 Food Safe Trash Cans for Storing R/O and mixing saltwater $80.00
RO/DI Filter $200.00
Plumbing supplies $100.00
Testing supplies $200.00
Misc Supplements $100.00
Unexpected Expenses $140.00
That brings us to $3000.00 thus far, and that is considering for all-glass tank and stand, coralife Lights and Skimmer. Now you can probably save substantially by finding used equipment and rock from a local reef club, and you can also plan on adding to that price if you look to go to high end equipment and lighting. But That's a pretty fair "middle of the road" cost estimate. You may find yourself needing much more, depending on the livestock you wish to keep.
You should also plan on doing a lot of research before you buy even the first piece of equipment. It will only serve to assist your future success. Too many people jump into Reefkeeping without doing a fair amount of research, only to fail and give up. It's a waste of money, time, effort, and most importantly, Life. I did about 14-16 months of research before I started my Reef, and it was well worth the time spent.
As an alternative, very simple beginner system...
You could build your own stand, use a standard 55 gallon tank, eliminate the sump and return pumps, and buy your RO water by the gallon from a good local LFS. This would save you about $700. You can also gradually add live rock, starting with about 30 lbs and growing from there as you add corals. This will save you another $500 or so initial set up costs. However, you will sink another $500 or more into the system over the course of the next year as you add more live rock.
The limit of such a system is the lack of a sump. Although you can do a small reef without a sump, say 75 gallons or less, most experienced hobbyists would generally not consider doing so. If you do not have a sump, be prepared for DAILY replacement of evaporated water, and make sure the aquarium is not in a living area. The noise of a hang on protein skimmer and pumps can be frustrating to many people, and the sump is very helpful in eliminating these noises.
For the record, i do not have a sump on my 38 gallon aquarium, and I am quite happy with it. However, I do not consider it a permanent system. I am in an apartment and wanted something to "play with" for the next year or 2 until I set up a permanent (much much larger) system. The total cost of my system would be about $1500 new retail. Most of my equipment and supplies were ordered from ebay or www.thatpetplace.com, and the overall cost was about $800. My tank started as a fish only with live rock, and grew to contain Xenia, Colt Coral, Leathers, Green Star Polyps, Yellow Polyps, Hammer Coral, and Button Polyps. I saved considerable money on my coral selection by buying clippings and propagated corals. In such a small tank, they have grown quickly to make a nice display.
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