Jake, thanks for the rundown. I'm definitely gonna go for the 45-P if/when I follow through with this. As far as stocking costs I'm not looking at that right now as I should have plenty of shrimp, all I would need to get would be about 10-12 neons or similar schooling fish.
This tank is going to be good looking (externally and scape wise, at least. I don't care about what I don't see
) or I'm not going to do this at all. That's one thing I've learned in the hobby, that there is almost always a happy medium. Like between AGA and ADA you can get a Mr. Aqua tank. And between DIY CO2 and a full setup there is paintball CO2, etc. But some things you can't skimp on if you want a really nice, clean looking tank. And in my case I think that the tank itself and the lighting, and substrate too, are the, if you will, un-skimp-able parts.
Also, could you post me some pics of your 45-P? To get some ideas? It'd be much appreciated.
On the note of substrate, what are you talking about with the 160 dollars? Aelyssa said that I would be able to get away with a 3L bag, which confused me too, but now I'm even more confused...
To Jeff: I saw that on AFAs site, but I thought for some reason you said $60 shipped? Maybe I misread.
And to everyone -- what is the general WPG measurement "required" to grow HC quickly, healthily, and shallow/flat?
Originally Posted by somewhatshocked
I'm with A Hill on the price front. You can do it for $300 but realistically, it's probably a good idea to save more. Even if you don't spend it all at once? You'll eventually have to sink it into the tank.
45P, I think, has a bit more depth and it's easier to go the Iwagumi route than with a Mini L.
You can definitely get a great Eheim for cheap. I picked one up on Fleabay (2213) for about $40 shipped. It'd been used for about a year but works perfectly. You can occasionally find them here in the SnS for $75ish shipped. That is, if you're willing to wait a bit until you have all the right stuff. If you go the SunSun route, consider snatching up one with a built-in UV filter or included in-line UV filter. You may never use the UV but it's a nice feature to have.
Archea fixtures are terrific for ADA tanks. They look as nice as they perform, in my experience. But if you truly want to go the budget route, consider standard clamp-style shop lights from your local hardware store and 6500K CFLs. $5-$7 per fixture (you can even remove the clamp and suspend them from above for a nice look) and $4-$5 per bulb. ZooMed also makes nice, deep, black dual-bulb fixtures that you can pick up for $30-$40. No where near as attractive as the Archea fixture, though. And less cost efficient than the clamp lamps.
When it comes to paintball CO2, I recommend finding someone on the SnS to sell a standard regulator to you for cheap. I've picked them up for $20-$40 on a number of occasions. Just another $15 for a paintball adapter so you can use the regulator. Also consider spending the $40-$50 for a solenoid kit. Makes life way less complicated and safer. Maybe also consider having a couple extra paintball tanks filled and ready to go so you always have a backup, as well.
When I did my last 45P in the office, here's my price breakdown (not that you'd spend the same, just what we spent):
$87 for the tank
$40 for 2213
$30ish for a glass cover + stainless steel holders/clips/thingies to hold the glass in place
$20 on rock
$20 for plants
$60 on shrimp + snails + other stock
$100 for lighting
$50 for lily pipes
$132 for substrate and such (ADA)
$30 for an in-line CO2 diffuser
$130ish total for a full paintball setup with regulator, solenoid and two paintball canisters
$30 for electrical & timers
On edit - forgot a couple things:
$50 for in-line heater
$10 for clear filter hoses from hardware store (get them - especially if you're using lily pipes, it's worth the cost)
Was in no way cutting costs but I hope that makes it a bit easier for you to see realistic prices. Without trying, we sank a ton of money into it. Lots of wiggle room, though, and you can easily do it for cheaper.