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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been looking for an article or post on the internet that gives an estimate of the upfront & monthly upkeep costs of a planted aquarium. Haven't been able to find any yet.

I'm looking into a 30 gallon for my next tank, and was hoping to do as low tech (cheap) as possible. I realize planted aquariums vary widely in cost, but I was hoping someone out there kept track of their total & monthly expenses.

Any help would be appreciated.

Steven.
 

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Welcome to TPT!

If you read through some journals in the Journal forum, some people keep track of that info in there... (I did for my 90gal).

Of course, the initial startup is the biggest cost... until you decide to upgrade this, that or the other down the line. :biggrin:

I'm setting up a low tech 29gal right now, and so far my expenses are along these lines:

$20 used tank
$90 stand (new)
$100 Hagen Glo 1x24 watt T5HO (new)
$20 used Flourite black substrate
$100 used Eheim Ecco 2234 filter
$50 filter media, Purigen, thermometer, Prime, other misc supplies

And probably another $300 to plant and stock it.

Maintenance costs are minimal, mostly just fish food and Prime when I run low. Electricity is probably the most expensive monthly cost... but running T5/T5HO fixtures makes the most efficient use of wattage.

Unless I get the bug to change something... or something breaks and needs replacing...
 

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I have a 40 gallon cube tank with stand. I used gambling winnings to buy it, so that negates it. But it depends on how much you get your tank for. I'll skip that and go to Equipment, so I am oh so very cheap. This is what I remember so it may be inaccurate.

3 LED strip lights - $100
Standard Strip light that takes CFL light bulbs - $20 with bulbs
Sand and Gravel, loose from pet store - $15
Rena X2 - $90 on ebay
Ceramic CO2 diffuser - $10 ebay
Plants and decorations - about $100 I'd say of what I currently have. Swap and Shop here helped tremendously in this aspect.
Standard heater - $15?

You could probably go even more low tech with a different filter, I just heard lots of great things about the Rena, and I think its great. I built my own sump, but ditched it when I started CO2, but that was a great lil project.

Depending how low tech you want to go, you can save a lot by using basic lights. I have been using leftover food and ferts that I bought or others have barely used. The LED lights however are working great for my Tall tank, so I've been growing plants pretty well, with the help of DIY CO2 and Flourish twice a week.

Agreed that electricity overall is probably the most expensive thing. I got the LEDs to try to save on wattage, as well as penetration. But thats harder to calculate. Not sure how much heaters suck up power, but my apt is pretty cold during the winter, so I try to keep my tank covered as much as possible. They have "Kill-a-watt" gauges that monitor ur power usage, but I havent cared enough to spend the money to buy one.
 

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I think it'd be much cheaper here in my town. I frequently check craigslist for fish related deals. Sometimes I'll see a 75G + Stand + (Insert good canister filter here) + tons of accessories for 250 - 300. The thing these CL tanks are usually missing are 1) good lights, 2) good substrate.

You can find a used T5 lighting system on the swap and shop, or other various fish forums.

As for substrate, Mineralized Top Soil (MTS) is extremely cheap and one of the best substrates available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Craigslist...

Never thought to check craigslist... that's a good suggestion. Saving shipping costs doesn't hurt either. In my mind I was expecting to pay for a New tank/stand, but surely I can find some decent deals on used items.

Thanks for the suggestions and feedback.
 

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I only caution against used tanks, because you never know what was in them before. For example for SW you don't want any traces of copper because it affect inverts right? Besides, i find the most expensive part of a setup to be the stand. I try not to take any risks with the actual Tank.
 

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Craigslist is great for tanks! Check the 'for sale' section and the 'pets' section. Also garage sales are good - and the 'local' section on this forum. The best tip I can give you to be the most frugal is be patient. Watch CL, store sales, and garage sales until you find a deal you can't pass up. I got a 29g with all the fixins (gravel, heaters, nets, stand, etc.) for $65. I got a 20g with stand at a garage sale for $20. Of course it really helps if you aren't very picky...

Shop 'n Swap is great for plants. Usually you can get a good start with $20.
 
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