I don't know about everyone else but I am extremely taken away by aquariums and have been for some time now. However, there is apparently an overall chicness to planted tanks, aquascaping, and great plant growth that I was completely unaware of and am taken back by. One of the many things that I have learned over my years is that chic means money and usually lots of it. Ask Steve Jobs, he'll tell you all about it. While you're at it have him explain niche also.
Bottom line we have all spent more than what we would have thought needed for our aquariums at one time or another. I can't cite the name but someone on this form has a signature that says: "Something this expensive has to be illegal, any minute now I expect a federal agency to break down my door and confiscate my fish food." And I can't agree with him more. About the most expensive gear out there is ADA. Please don't think I am berating, flaming, or upset because I'm just stating an objective observation. Also, rightfully so that ADA is expensive because their equipment/products are good. I was cruzing their site tonight and I got to thinking... What if everything I bought came from ADA... so I decided to tally up what I spent and convert it over to all ADA comparable gear. This is what we have, enjoy.
Now, I have a 125 gallon "display tank" in my living room that can be seen here
and I have invested a lot of time, effort, training (in the form of learning), and last but not least money and this is exactly how much money:
Disclaimer: There are going to be some items that will not matter such as plants, fish, and odds and ends. But, the items that do match up I'll do a comparison to.
.. 670.00 (100.00 shipping)
.. 424.00 (roughly 25 bags over time)
2 X 10 lb pressurized co2 - traded a gaming tower on craigslist ~ 150.00
co2 diffuser - DIY old pump & gravel vacuum w/ venturi loop - free
glass drop checker... 9.00 ebay
My overall..... 1841.00
(not counting the countless fish and plants)
My ADA cost:
(closest by volume).... 1199.00
(Not the right one but closest)....349.00
Substrate (ADA sells by liters and not by lb so I hope my conversion on this is right....) 568.50
2 x 10 lb co2 .... (I had to add it together and the tanks alone are only 74 grams. I have a 20 lb co2 system this is going to get messy. 74g is ~ 2 oz so 8 of the ADA bottles make a lb. I need 20 lb worth, daymn) 2720.00
co2 diffuser.... 90.00
glass drop checker 42.00
My overall ADA..... 5867.50
So, the tiny co2 bottles made it a tad unrealistic but even subtracting the 2700 dollar cost I'm still up over 3K which is 1k more and I didn't even take into account that all of ADA would need to be shipped. I am going to put down an additional 1000 for shipping because that is a lot of substrate, the tank is heavy, and lighting is fragile.
So with all the co2, shipping all of the equipment, and most of all having an ADA stamp on everything.... 6867.50
. Now I know what you're thinking and your right this isn't down to a tee and there are some inaccuracies that can't be matched up and to be honest I can accept that.
The reason I did this is to show just how important I find sections of this site. The swap and shop will help you achieve all of your goals as far as gear and plants. Everything on there may not be the cadillac but it will get the job done for a fraction of the cost. Most importantly the real value of this entire site comes from the experience and knowledge. Every single post has tid bits of information that can be used to turn your planted tank into exactly what you want and trust me.... you usually have to pay for that kind of action.
Long live the planted tank and all of those that contribute to its knowledge and legacy.