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View Full Version : thinking of starting a nano- costs?


jess128
02-16-2011, 10:56 PM
Hi everyone!
I haven't been on here in ages! I had a 65 gallon reef a few years ago but I was only in high school and it was just too expensive for me to do properly, so I sold everything. Now I'm in university and still don't have much money, but I've been dying to get another tank going for a while now, and I think a freshwater just won't do.
So I'm thinking about going smaller scale and having a nano. I'm wondering if you guys could give me an estimate of the start-up costs (live rock, filters, lighting, etc) and the maintenance costs as well. If I do this I want to do it right, so if it is too expensive I may have to settle for a freshwater tank and do a reef when I graduate.
Thanks for any input!

cale262
02-16-2011, 11:54 PM
I think you could do a very nice little 20/30gal system for well under $200 (tank, stand, LR & sand, hob filter T5 lights etc.) if you spend the time searching and acquiring the components used...

On the other side of the coin, I did a quick cost spread sheet out of curiousity for a small 24" cube that I have, conclusion, I have sunk more than $4800 into this system before livestock or corals...I guess it all depends on your definition of "do it right"...?

ScubaSteve
02-17-2011, 01:20 AM
I think you could do a very nice little 20/30gal system for well under $200 (tank, stand, LR & sand, hob filter T5 lights etc.) if you spend the time searching and acquiring the components used...

On the other side of the coin, I did a quick cost spread sheet out of curiousity for a small 24" cube that I have, conclusion, I have sunk more than $4800 into this system before livestock or corals...I guess it all depends on your definition of "do it right"...?

Ya, look for parting out systems. I'd probably bump the number up to about $500 minimum as there is a lot of hidden costs such as salt, hydrometers, test kits, etc.

I think I'm up somewhere about $2k on my 24" cube... just guessing but I don't think I actually want to know.

jess128
02-17-2011, 02:02 AM
Yikes! Long term costs do add up (I have a horse and will never total how much I spend in board every year). I think it's more of the initial costs. Guess I'll do some research, thanks for your help!

bkelly
02-17-2011, 03:01 AM
you could think about doing a pico - 5 gallon tank, less of everything, easy water changes no skimmer, no powerhead, no ato , simple hob filter put a couple t5s on it, small heater, my tank has worked that way for over 6 years . My 5 gallon hasnt required much, while my other tank a 22 gallon has ATO/skimmer/powerheads/refugium/dosing...$$$.

ponokareefer
02-17-2011, 06:19 AM
If you have a lighter stocked 20-30 gallon with easier to keep corals, it can be very cheap. Tanks are cheap, heaters are cheap, you won't need an expensive light, you could just go with a simple hang on the back filter for mechanical filtration, a couple of cheaper powerheads, buy a little used sand, buy some used live rock and/or buy dry rock, pick up cheap frags to grow out and less expensive fish, buy cheap salt, hydrometer, scraper for the glass, some type of stand to put the tank on and you are done. You could probably find a cheap fresh water setup on kijiji and just add of couple of things and be set. If you don't put a lot of stock in a setup on a smaller tank, you can easily get away with no skimmer.
Here is a set up for $50.
http://alberta.kijiji.ca/c-pets-accessories-22-GALLON-AQUARIUM-with-Stand-W0QQAdIdZ261147119
A light set up would probably run you $100 used. You would want 20 pounds of rock around, so that would be between $40 to $60, a hydrometer is $10, sand would probably be maximum $20 used, a couple of powerheads used would be around $40, salt would be around $45 and a scraper would be around $10. That's $325 to get started.
For maintenance, you want to do 10% water change a week or 20% every other week. For a 20 gallon tank, that's 104 gallons/year. A bucket of Instant Ocean is around $45 and that does 160 gallons, so will last you more than a year. Your other weekly fee would be food, but you can pick up a container of it for $10-$15, and some frozen for around $10, and that will last you a long time. Your electrical bill will go up, but not very much on a simple set up. You will need to change out bulbs every 6 months to 1 year, depending on the type of bulb.
The other major maintenance costs are additives to get your water very similar to ocean water for harder to keep corals. If you keep it simple, I wouldn't even bother making sure your water is perfect.

gobytron
02-17-2011, 02:52 PM
Keep you eyes peeled for an aquapod or biocube used on this site or kijiji/craigslist...
They sell often for under 300$ with everything you need for a complete nano reef.

sphelps
02-17-2011, 03:38 PM
I managed to setup a fluval edge nano on low budget:

Fluval edge used of Kijiji: $60
6 LED retro from RapidLED: $80
Aluminum ” x 8” flat bar for heat sink: Free from friend
Acrylic Shield and aluminum screen bracket to mount acrylic shield over lights (HD): $30
Maxi Jet 1200 for return: $30
Recycling bin from HD used for sump: $8
Broken used fluval 304 modified and used inline with sump: Free from local reefer
10 lbs of rock and rubble: Free from local reefers
Substrate: $20
Heater: $25
Top of vase from IKEA: $20
Humidifier float for top off from HD: $8
Misc Plumbing Parts: $20
Custom stand: $400 LOL

Sean
02-17-2011, 11:33 PM
I agree with going for a pico, I purchased a Nano Cube because I thought it would of been a cheaper alternative to a huge setup, after buying a bunch of add-ons like skimmers pumps and chillers I end up with a system that still required constant water changes and wasn't much cheaper. For my pico I love how my water change time is mainly making sure the levels are correct and not filling or draining buckets. The down fall is you are very limited on what you can put in there.. but then on the other hand that means you are going to spend less money on making your tank look full.

jess128
02-19-2011, 06:25 PM
Thanks for all the advice, I really appreciate it. I'll look into a pico. I think I might want to upgrade it fairly quickly though so I'm leaning towards a 10 or 15 gallon cube. I've also done some research and am finding that a skimmer might not be necessary with enough LR, but that's a whole other thread topic ;)
Thanks ponokareefer for all the info, that definitely helps too

ponokareefer
02-19-2011, 07:33 PM
Your welcome. Good luck with starting out.

ligiahag7902
04-20-2011, 02:28 AM
I think you could do a very nice little 20/30gal system for well under $200 (tank, stand, LR & sand, hob filter T5 lights etc.) if you spend the time searching and acquiring the components used...

On the other side of the coin, I did a quick cost spread sheet out of curiousity for a small 24" cube that I have, conclusion, I have sunk more than $4800 into this system before livestock or corals...I guess it all depends on your definition of "do it right"...?

I also think so.

ALang
04-20-2011, 02:31 AM
Check Felix's Red Sea Max 130 for sale.
It's an all-in-one self contained unit that he's selling.
I've seen it. It's probably what you're looking for.

brianlow
05-07-2011, 06:56 PM
Some options:

EcoPico 5g rimless:
http://www.3reef.com/forums/show-off-your-fish-tanks/ecopico-saltwater-build-108540-7.html

ADA Mini-M 5g rimless
http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=132143&view=findpost&p=2579503

Fluval Edge 6g:
http://www.reefnews.eu/?p=2706&lang=en