What is it going to cost? Setting up a saltwater tank or slice of coral reef in your living room.

– Today in the Five-Minute
Saltwater Aquarium Guide, we answer is setting
up a saltwater aquarium or reef tank expensive. (upbeat music) Hey, I’m Ryan your host of BRStv. The goal of the five-minute guide is providing a solid recipe and technique that produces reproducible,
high percentage path to a successful reef tank
that you can be proud of. This is episode two, today
we’re answering the question are saltwater tanks and
reef tank expensive. This is a pretty hotly debated topic, but I believe this can be done cheaply. Representing saltwater aquariums
or reefing, in general, is cheap is a disservice
to anyone considering it. It’s much more helpful to
know what you’re getting into. I think it’s safe to say
that a majority of reefers are gonna spend more than
$1,000 in the first year. I look at it this way, I about to create an artificial environment
in Minnesota for animals that normally live under
water in Indonesia, Australia, Fiji, and other places that cannot be any more different than my living room in Minnesota. That’s also what makes
it so cool and rare. You’ll likely be one of the
only people you know doing this. This isn’t a goldfish bowl so
it’s probably more productive to not kid yourself that’ll
it’ll be the cheapest pet that you’ve ever had,
but it also doesn’t have to completely break the bank. The best thing I can say
is start with something that’s reasonable to
you and go from there. The reality is if we all
invest in things that bring joy to our lives the more
joy you get from the tank the more you’ll naturally
want to put into it. So in more definitive terms, what is this actually going to cost? The correct answer, but I also think the least helpful answer, is it’s gonna be cheap or as
expensive as you want it to be, but I’ll give some clear
guidance in a moment. In terms that most of us
would probably understand, this is like asking if a dog is expensive. There are ways to get puppies
and certainly adult dogs for free and after that it
could be as cheap as food and water from there. However, it could also be
a purebred $2,000 puppy, natural raw food diet,
yearly vet bills, flea, tick, and heartworm meds, dog
beds, toys, treats, training, maybe even infrastructure
like installing a fence. There’s no correct answer
to is a dog expensive, but I’ll give some clear
or direct expectations. I think there are two paths. The second of which can be really cheap, but the first path most
people will probably spend 500 to 1,000 bucks setting up the tank, and then over the next year,
double that with fish, corals, and new equipment. I think it’s a pretty
helpful window to consider for a new pet or hobby. Keep in mind this is a
hobby and fun to explore. As I mentioned earlier,
people invest in things that bring them joy so don’t be surprised if the tank upgrade bug
catches ya in a couple years. If you wanna go big right of the bat because you really are into this and had a dream of saltwater
tanks for a long time something like 120 gallons, which is the size most
people’s second tank, I’d expect it cost double
the cost of a smaller tank. On the second path, if keeping cost down is the primary goal
rehoming an existing tank is absolutely the lowest
cost way to do this. You need to check out
Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or REEF2REEF sale, and local club forums, maybe even make a post
that you’re looking. Buying used almost always
saves 50 to 70% or more and a great way to enter the hobby. Used equipment doesn’t
last as long as new, but in terms of just
getting your feet wet, that might not be a priority. Best advise I can give
when shopping for used gear it’s clean, it’s anonymous
with well-cared-for, and I’d pay way more for
gear that was well-cared-for and clean before storage
and significantly less for dirty and close to
nothing for anything that shows signs of
rust, leaks, or damage. The next obvious question is
what size reef tank makes sense for someone just getting started. The entire Saltwater Aquarium
Guide is always available here in this playlist for binge watching, but some size tanks are
just way better than others for a first tank so click this link to see what size tank is right for you.

19 thoughts on “What is it going to cost? Setting up a saltwater tank or slice of coral reef in your living room.

  1. What's it going to cost? Depends upon a few factors outside of the obvious "size" of the tank. First and foremost is how much are you willing to do yourself? As an example compare the "return on investment" of LED lighting, they all revolve around you buying brand name fixtures of other types of lighting, some of the more expensive bulbs, and a replacement time that is arguably a bit too soon. Now take this a step further if you did T5 lights and you bought reflectors, bulbs and ballasts yourself and decided to put it inside of a canopy you're going to save so much money versus buying a brand name T5 fixture that yeah looks real sleek but if it's inside of a canopy who cares, and then any argument of "LEDs are cheaper in the long run" are literally not true anymore. And even if you don't have a canopy, you can make it all look nice maybe not as compact and sleek as the brand name, but also not an ugly tangle of wires and parts either. But are you the guy who needs to buy that new iPhone because it's a half millimeter thinner even though your old one works perfectly fine? It's just how much are you comfortable with doing yourself.

    The next big factor is how much you're willing to not be swayed by "shiny" in your purchases. As the saying goes "setting up a reef tank isn't expensive, stocking it, now that's expensive!", but again it really doesn't have to be. You want a tang in your tank, gotta get that Purple or Achilles because they "look so cool!?" What's wrong with that Kole, or Yellow? Oooh that Borbonius anthias looks good… but Lyretail will save you money and staying away from anthias all together which require many smaller feedings through the day will ultimately be cheaper. Is that Orange or Green digitata good enough for you? Or do you need the one with some guys name in front of it, that's been cooked under nothing buy blue lights to cause a color shift and takes real great pictures under that light if you know how to properly balance your photos? Now obviously what's available to you is going to differ greatly based on your location, but if you have a LFS that has a $10 frag tank or something you can start your journey into the reef relatively cheap, and if there are local clubs where members can help out newbies (because everyone eventually needs to clean up a tank by fragging overgrowing corals) then even better, but YMMV.

  2. I was hoping you would stop dancing around the subject and provide real numbers. For tank size you made several recommendations. Take each one of these and get real numbers from people who have set them up. I am setting up a cheap reef using a 20 gallon high from the Petco sale and guarantee by the time I have stocked it I will be approaching the $1000 you mentioned. For every person who upgrades their first tank I bet there are several who get bored or have a tank crash and never start another. Do everyone a favor and provide real numbers for a minimal size and cost tank that is likely to be successful. Finding out what brings you joy is out of your price range when you have already spent hundred or thousands of dollars sucks.

  3. Not cheap plain and simple. I have a 13.5 gallon nano reef and it had $1200 into it before any coral or fish were put in and that is without an auto doser, skimmer, refuge.

    And ofcourse, it is addicting so I am already in the planning phase for a 200 gallon tank.

  4. I think that the cost is justified when you consider that the tank acts as a pet, a hobby, and a decoration/furniture for a room.

  5. Ive had tanks made from 6 bulb T5s from amazon for 140$ play sand and man made/DIY rock all successful over the years only as expensive as u made it

  6. I am going to get the nuvo 40 next month I already got one AI prime HD so is it enough with one or should I get a second one ??

  7. Nice topic. Question. Im trying to start up another reef tank do to loosing my first reef tank to a house fire I have got a 100g corner over flow. any people on here that have used equipment free or really cheap I can pay for shipping please and thank u

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