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i have just got something i have wanted for a while now, a 125 gallon tank, i currently have 45 gallon saltwater tank that has crushed coral substrate about 20-25 lbs live rock, some little anenomies two big dark red urchins, and a couple tube worm things, i had three fish that i caught, just pin fish, but i recently let them go. for my new tank (which i dont want to set up til i buy a house) i would like a reef tank with maybe eventually a couple fish, but first just start to biuld a reef, the only fish i definatly want is a mandarin dragonette, however i do realize i need to have a good tank for atleast a year before i get the fish with a self sustaining pod population. i also realize that this undertaking will not be cheap, however i am looking for the best way to minimize my set up costs, for lighting and such, but still want products that will work for me long term, i have probably about a year or so to plan, as i want this to go as smoothly as possible my first tank was all trial and error and has been running now for about a year, so my question is what are the best suggestions for filter, reef lighting, canopy, substrate (i want something fine, aragonite or sand) trying to estimate costs so i can start saving, i want to do it right from the begining, any help is great.
Danni
 

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I am in the exact same boat as you, except I'm just a few steps ahead. I have been planning mine for a year, also. But I have a 72 Gallon bow front.

How much have you been reading and do you have any books. There are really great if you find the ones for you.

Buy used if you can, you have plenty of time so pass any buy that you don't think is a deal, you will eventually get one. I bought everything off eBay, right now I'm saving money for live rock before I can get going any further.

I paid 225 for my bow front and it came with digital pH meter, Magnum 350 and a bunch of extra goodies not listed in the auction. So my good deal ended becoming a great deal.

Patience and research.

Is your tank 4ft or 6ft long? That info will help with the pricing other advice.
 
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