Reef Tank Vs High Tech Planted

Discussion in 'Advanced Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by Culprit, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    So what do you guys think? Which one is easier, more expensive, harder to upkeep, ect? When I say reef tank I don't mean massive 5000 gallon super hard corals. I'm talking basic 40 breeder reef with soft corals.
  2. NartWell Known MemberMember

    Soft corals can get pretty expensive by itself.
    Like for a nice looking designer zoa, with just a few polyp can run anywhere $10-30 per heads. You will, however, sometimes find small colonies running for $60-100.
    BUT FOR SURE... FOR SURE... You will at least want to step into LPS corals too :p I can vouch for this. I said to wife when I first started the SW "Yeah, this will just be a very cheap set-up. I don't really care about corals, i'll just get some zoas and xenias, I really just want to keep clowns". And now? I'm drawn to my corals instantly when I look at the tank. I forget sometimes I have the clowns in there lol. Once you step into LPS, it will cost some more as well. You'll want better lights to support the corals growth and not to mention coral frags can get pretty expensive too. When I go to my LFS and I see $25 coral frags, I consider that cheap now for LPS corals lol. I remember when I was into the freshwater plants... $25 for plants was expensive. I average pretty much $100 at least every time I step into my LFS for just RODI water... it's only $5 in RODI water, the rest of the $95? Corals. haha.

    Are you still going back n forth between reef and high tech plants? Haha. There's no comparison when it comes to corals vs plants.
    Once that blue led light comes on at night in my coral tank, I can literally sit there for hours and stare at everything... step away for a few minutes to do something and I'm lured right back into it lol.

    My reef tank now is not hard to up-keep though. I will test mid-week to see if my alkalinity is down, if it is, I will dose a bit to get my KH up. 25% water change on Sunday. I feed my fishes and corals every other day. And that's about it. I have my water top off on the tank automated and lights automated.

    Come to the darkside Colin :)

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  3. SprogladiteValued MemberMember

    I agree with the above, SW is more expensive but so much better. I also started mine wanting marine fish but I'm a total coral convert now! Also very easy to maintain once it's established. Just more expensive because theres *always* space for new corals lol!

  4. CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    Oh I also want to add vs nano sw-10-20 gallon.

    I don't think I have quite the money to get into SW right now, espicially since I'm only starting high school next year.... Yeah, ponder that lol.

    I was just kind of putting it up for discussion, along with kind of deciding what I want to do in the future. I think corals are sooooo cool.

    How much would you all estimate it to cost per each type of tank? 40 reef, 10 reef, and 40 fresh high tech. Everyone says nanos are so much harder but from what I've heard the people who ACTUALLY have nanos say its about as easy, just easier to mess up on the smaller stuff.

  5. NartWell Known MemberMember

    @Sprogladite amen to that statement.... I always say "okay. I am done buying corals for now." Next week? "Yeah, this piece will fit perfectly into this spot." Sigh... haha.

    @Culprit Here's an idea, why not find a LFS to work at part-time :)
    Price break-down is really hard... some folks go with bare minimum stuff, I mean, nothing wrong with that, but you'll always go... "ehh I don't quite like how this performs, or my corals don't really look like the ones from the LFS"
    Lighting is everything. You can buy a coral that you see from your LFS and under like 5 different lighting the coral visually looks different. SO, unless you can DIY yourself some lights, you're like $250 down the hole in lights already lol. For example, my LED light set-up is $180 total... but I'm not quite happy with it, so now I'm wanting a kessil upgrade, the entire package is around $350.
    To give you an estimate for a solid 40 reef tank build. You are probably looking at $900 easy. This includes, tank, stand, all the way... to water, power-heads, corals, lights, rocks... everything.
    For a 10G reef tank build... You can probably get away with $500-600. It's really the lights.. and equipments that hikes the price up quickly.
    I have seen some people post youtube videos of their set-up and that you can start a SW tank for $100. Please don't listen to them lol.

    Nano tanks aren't hard in my opinion. If you do the proper due diligence of researching and be patient. It's easy peasy. But again, the proper set-up is everything.

    As for a ball-park price on a 40 freshwater high tech tank... i'll pass this to my buddy Brandon @Tanks and Plants to help ya out there lol.

    Here's a food for thought, just ask for those master visa gift cards for your bday, xmas, etc... save it up and boom. Saved up! ;)
  6. CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    Yeah! Ya know, I have actually thought about working at a LFS! I have an awesome friendly sw and fw small LFS 30 minutes away. They have tons of plants and a 1500 show reef tank! I think I will apply there as soon as I start driving! Then I can just set aside some of my paycheck and before I know it I would have enough to start my own reef tank.
  7. MaddieTaylahWell Known MemberMember

    Reef without a doubt is more expensive, but it is an awesome setup!
  8. CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    This is true! I think there is so much beauty in both sides though... I mean, look at some of those incredibly aquascaped planted tanks and its breathtaking. However, do the same with a well planted (i guess) well aquascaped reef tank and its so colorful and amazing.
  9. MaddieTaylahWell Known MemberMember

    Oh without a doubt, I think planted tanks are amazing too! I just mean that reef tanks are more expensive but they are worth it, just like planted tanks.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
  10. CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    Yes, totally!
  11. NartWell Known MemberMember

    By chance do you happen to know Jen Williams? she made an appearance in King of DIY's video when he attended one of the fish conventions and he was inspired by Jen's freshwater aquascaping? She is an amazing freshwater aquascaper. Like amazing...

    Here's that video:

    Anyways, I didn't know she was local until I met her recently. She has a nano 10Greef tank that no one really knows about. And I asked her, "Which one is your passion?" She said, "freshwater aquascaping hands down." So really... to each their own.
  12. CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    Wow you met her!? Thats really cool. Each to their own indeed! What a gorgeuos aquascape.
  13. NartWell Known MemberMember

    Yeah - she is a very cool gal. She invited me to a few of her club events, but I haven't had a chance to attend any of them.
    She's suppose to give me some of her corals that she doesn't want anymore! So I am waiting for those :D

    During the Big Fish Deal, she actually did a aquascaping class/demo. Very awesome to learn some tips and tricks from her.
  14. Tanks and PlantsWell Known MemberMember

    I don't know anything about SW, but from what I have seen and the prices I have seen for the equipment alone is way more expensive than FW. To me SW is the rich mans hobby. Yes I know you can get away with the bare minimum, BUT anyone in the hobby knows that once you get the bug the bare minimum isn't going to be good enough. Your going to want to upgrade this then upgrade that, it's going to be a never ending cycle.

    The perfect example is @Nart a good friend of mines. I swear that when he switched from FW to SW he said that he was going to do the "bare" minimum and the next thing I know he has this sick looking tank and now has all kinds of unreal looking corals and his setup is just plain awesome! Now that's considering that he is going by the "bare" minimum. :emoji_astonished:
  15. SprogladiteValued MemberMember

    Lol, that's exactly what happened to me too. I used to refer to my SW tank as "the money pit" haha!
  16. NartWell Known MemberMember

    Hey! Nart here. I changed my name to fit my youtube channel name.

    Yes yes. I did tell Brandon when I first started, that I was aiming for a bare minimum set-up. Hahaha... I think it's with anything though. If I get passionate about it, I will be 100% in. My set-up compared to some of these other nano set-ups though, it is really considered the bare minimum to keep a thriving tank. Like, I don't have protein skimmer, sump, media reactor, dosers, etc... the only thing I would consider quite advanced is the auto-top off system in my tank. But other then that, my LED lights are pretty basic, 1 pump, 1 power-head, and 1 heater. Done!

    By the way... I just dropped $130 on eBay coral biddings last night. $100 doesn't get you far in saltwater Colin :p
  17. CulpritFishlore VIPMember


    What are your LED lights? I have glanced at some and how do you know which grow corals? I guess you can have low and high light in a reef tank too?? heehee
  18. SprogladiteValued MemberMember

    I had LEDs on mine as well, corals did really well with them. This was my tank about 2 years after set up. The stupid bell was a temporary shelter for a firefish who was inexplicably attached to it, it was eventually replaced with some more acans.

  19. CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    What type of LEDS? It doesn't look like the classic blue lighting... are those ust regular leds?
  20. SprogladiteValued MemberMember

    They were blue and white, I could switch between them. I'll see if I can find which ones I bought. I ripped the original T5s out of this tank as my leather coral (my first coral) started melting under it and I knew I wanted more than just softies so did a lot of research. I'm away from PC right now but if I find the link I'll come back and post it for you :)

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