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View Full Version : Help on some hardware decisions


serratus
01-20-2009, 10:16 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm fairly new to these threads so please point out if I'm breaking any forum rules.

I've been doing research on tons of websites as to where to buy the cheapest supplies for a reef tank (canopy/lights, filter, powerheads, salt and sand, and live rock etc...). I realized that instead of wasting many hours on finding the cheapest place for every item, then calculating shipping, etc,... I could just ask you guys for help.

Is there a one stop store (physical store or online store) where you can get pretty much anything for very close to the best price? (For my hobby of photography, there is such a thing, so I'm hoping there's something like this for aquatics too).

Specifically, right now, i'm looking to buy these items right now:

36" 4x39W T5 HO light setup:
Current Nova seems to be the established brand here am I right? I also found on Ebay a brand called Odyssea that is way way cheaper. Are they any good?

Canister Filter:
Debating between Filstar XP2 or Fluval 305. Fluval is more expensive it seems but the 305 line seems to be newer than the XP line. Is there any newer technology that makes them better than the XP? I also just heard of a new comer JEBO 828/838. They are super cheap but I can find any retailers that will ship to Edmonton for cheap. Have you heard of a good place to get JEBO's?

This is for a 50gal tank and not looking to grow any SPS or LPS.

brizzo
01-20-2009, 11:18 PM
Hi serratus,

First of all, Welcome to CanReef!

In time with reef keeping you will learn that cheapest isn't always the best. You really, really do get what you pay for with reef equipment.

There is marine aquarium stores in your area, but I'll let someone else chime in on that :)

But, sometimes the best price you can get on good equipment is to buy used!

Check out my2rotties' post for a 6x39W T5 light :)

http://www.canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=48559

PoonTang
01-20-2009, 11:24 PM
I dont know about stores in your area but you dont need a canister filter. They are nitrate traps and you get all the filtering you need from your live rock and skimmer. Dont buy those lights from ebay, apparently there not CSA approved and can cause fires and your insurance wont cover it. Dont buy Jebo anything. Honestly, most of the stuff you need you can get from JL Aquatics or used from people here.

mark
01-21-2009, 12:01 AM
Checked the Buy and Sell forum here? If nothing there, OA and JL can be reasonable even with shipping.

Tom R
01-21-2009, 12:28 AM
Martym has these lights for sale.


http://www.canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=48400

serratus
01-21-2009, 02:16 AM
Thanks for the quick replies everyone!

"OA and JL can be reasonable even with shipping"
JL I assume is J&L Aquatics, but what is OA?

The two links that you've given me are both for TEK lights. How do TEK lights compare to Current Nova lights? Do TEK bulbs produce more light at the same power?, or are they quieter? Can you use TEK bulbs in NOVA fixtures?

24storm
01-21-2009, 02:22 AM
OA= ocean aquatics

JOEL
01-21-2009, 02:46 AM
Welcome to canreef

Just curious where do you buy your photography equipment at a good price?

PoonTang
01-21-2009, 03:38 AM
Thanks for the quick replies everyone!

"OA and JL can be reasonable even with shipping"
JL I assume is J&L Aquatics, but what is OA?

The two links that you've given me are both for TEK lights. How do TEK lights compare to Current Nova lights? Do TEK bulbs produce more light at the same power?, or are they quieter? Can you use TEK bulbs in NOVA fixtures?

TEK lights are way better than Nova lights if T5 lighting is the route you are going to take. They take the same bulbs.

Trigger Man
01-21-2009, 04:17 AM
I agree, I would say Tek lights then Hagen Glos then the nova fixtures. I have had a chance to see all three going side by side and for light output the Teks were the best then the glos (with a noticable difference between them and the Teks), then the Novas. Currently I've got the Teks and some glos as additional back lighting.

mseepman
01-21-2009, 05:42 AM
I would recommend both J&L and OA as excellent places to get items online. As for you "get what you pay for"...I agree to a point. Many of us DIY (Do It Yourself) which results in a low price and decent results. I think sometimes the Odyssea stuff can be a good starting point for a beginner but you must realize that this "Saltwater habit" is exactly that...a habit and an expensive one. We all end up wanting to go bigger and better so in the end we replace our cheaper equipment with better stuff.

I would stay away from a cannister filter...that's what I started out with and quickly found out what a mistake that was.

If you are looking at skimmers...Bubble Magus is a very low cost brand that has been given very good reviews. I have a nano version and I'm solidly impressed with it. Again...cheap with amazing results.

Make sure your tank has good flow and that you check here before you buy anything so that you can get some advice. The people here are amazing and have some of the most beautiful tanks around. Many of those tanks are in Edmonton so maybe you'll have a chance to see some of them sometime.

serratus
01-21-2009, 05:56 AM
Wow guys, I'm starting to consider getting TEK lights with 6 bulbs now haha. This almost doubles what I had originally intended to spend on lights :sad: Will a 6 bulb TEK be enough to start growing some hard corals? (50 Gallon with 18" tank depth). I can't believe that everyday I look at this stuff, the budget needs to get bumped up and yet I want the aquarium even more :twised:

To think, when I first approached someone at BigAl's they said my starup cost would be $1000!!!


"Just curious where do you buy your photography equipment at a good price?"

B&H Photo or Adorama are the best places and very very trustworthy. In the photography equipment business, there are lots of "bait and switch" tactics used by non-reputable dealers. You won't find any place with a price that's more than 5-10% lower than the mentioned 2 stores. Adorama's prices are slightly cheaper than B&H photo but shipping is slightly more so basically works out to the same. Prices almost always works out to be cheaper than buying from Canadian Retailers (except a few newer items where they set the Canadian price when the Canadian dollar was roughly on par with USD). The downside is that you don't have warranty.

serratus
01-21-2009, 06:00 AM
I would stay away from a cannister filter...that's what I started out with and quickly found out what a mistake that was.

Make sure your tank has good flow and that you check here before you buy anything so that you can get some advice. The people here are amazing and have some of the most beautiful tanks around. Many of those tanks are in Edmonton so maybe you'll have a chance to see some of them sometime.

Thanks! I'll check on here before I buy for sure now! What is the down side of cannister filters? My main problem is that it's for a space that's already built into the house so there isn't room for a sump design. There's barely enough room for cannister filters (gotta stay under 15" tall).

serratus
01-21-2009, 03:15 PM
So you guys got me looking into these TEK fixtures now :mrgreen:

I'm wondering why there is such a huge price discrepancy between the ones that are currently for sale:

1) $450:
http://canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=48559&highlight=TEK
2) $400:
http://canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=48400&highlight=TEK

versus these TEK lights:

3) $200
http://canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=47806&highlight=TEK
4) $280
http://canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=47835&highlight=TEK

Are (3) and (4) completely different light fixtures that are much cheaper to begin with? I cannot use them because they are 48" but I would have thought the 48" models are more expensive than the 36" ones. :question:

mseepman
01-21-2009, 05:26 PM
Could be a factor of new bulbs...or could be related to a change that TEK made in their reflectors (I think they call them TEK2 reflectors now)

If you are looking at a TEK Light...try OA here as they seem to be the cheapest:
http://oceanaquatics.com/store/product/1316/Tek--T-5-36%22-6-Bulb-Light/

Trigger Man
01-21-2009, 06:06 PM
So you guys got me looking into these TEK fixtures now :mrgreen:

I'm wondering why there is such a huge price discrepancy between the ones that are currently for sale:

1) $450:
http://canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=48559&highlight=TEK
2) $400:
http://canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=48400&highlight=TEK

versus these TEK lights:

3) $200
http://canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=47806&highlight=TEK
4) $280
http://canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=47835&highlight=TEK

Are (3) and (4) completely different light fixtures that are much cheaper to begin with? I cannot use them because they are 48" but I would have thought the 48" models are more expensive than the 36" ones. :question:

From clicking on the models it looks like the big price difference was based on age of the bulbs as well as the willingness to unload the unit. The units that sold for under 300 dollars were spoken for fairly quick as they were a great deal. The other 2 higher priced units are good deal and would save you money from purchasing new, but have been on here for a bit so you may have the ability to get the price down a bit (the bulb age on one is only 3 months-like new hence additional pricing- and I did not see the age on the other one).

Trigger Man
01-21-2009, 06:09 PM
It will be more then enough, Until a couple of months ago I was using the Tek 4x54 4 foot unit in my 5 foot 125ish g with plenty of sps frags and colonies and they are all growing.

Wow guys, I'm starting to consider getting TEK lights with 6 bulbs now haha. This almost doubles what I had originally intended to spend on lights :sad: Will a 6 bulb TEK be enough to start growing some hard corals? (50 Gallon with 18" tank depth). I can't believe that everyday I look at this stuff, the budget needs to get bumped up and yet I want the aquarium even more :twised:

To think, when I first approached someone at BigAl's they said my starup cost would be $1000!!!


"Just curious where do you buy your photography equipment at a good price?"

B&H Photo or Adorama are the best places and very very trustworthy. In the photography equipment business, there are lots of "bait and switch" tactics used by non-reputable dealers. You won't find any place with a price that's more than 5-10% lower than the mentioned 2 stores. Adorama's prices are slightly cheaper than B&H photo but shipping is slightly more so basically works out to the same. Prices almost always works out to be cheaper than buying from Canadian Retailers (except a few newer items where they set the Canadian price when the Canadian dollar was roughly on par with USD). The downside is that you don't have warranty.

serratus
01-21-2009, 06:57 PM
Okay, so I'm talking to someone about a 6 bulb fixture.

One thing that is kind of strange is that he is including the following 6 bulbs that he has been using:

Giesemann 2 pure actinic and 4 actinic+

No 10,000 or 12,000K bulbs! Is this a problem?

PoonTang
01-22-2009, 03:34 AM
Thanks! I'll check on here before I buy for sure now! What is the down side of cannister filters? My main problem is that it's for a space that's already built into the house so there isn't room for a sump design. There's barely enough room for cannister filters (gotta stay under 15" tall).

Like I said earlier, your filtration comes from your live rock, sand, and a skimmer.
Keep reading, and asking questions.

Joe52
01-23-2009, 06:28 AM
If This is a reef or marine set up of any kind dont do the cannister filter for biological use rock and sand bed and a good skimmer

serratus
01-23-2009, 04:12 PM
Thanks for all of your contributions everyone. I'm learning a lot. The most significant thing to learn is that the trend now seems to be stepping away from canister filters. That's interesting considering the stores I've been too (including aquarium specialty stores) all say to use cannister filters.

There are a few immediate implications to not using canister filters that I am unsure of (eg. without mechanical filtration, what's going to take away the dust and carpet fibers that inevitably lands in the tank?), but I'll start a thread about all of this in a few days when I've read through more of the guides that Canreef refers to.

digital-audiophile
01-23-2009, 07:00 PM
If not using a sump, were you planning on using a hang on skimmer? If you are worried about water polishing you could add a phosban reactor to run carbon in a forced manner.

Do you have any pictures of the spot you were planning on using the cannister? Could you have a small "ish" sump built to fit the space?