Why are the "perfect planted setups" so expensive?! Check out my next possible build budget...

Fishstery

I've had really good success with my first go around with a pond style aquarium using a UNS 45s (5gal) shallow. I've fallen head over heels for the pond style setups and found emersed plants to be even easier and more rewarding than aquatic plants. I'm now daydreaming of setting up another pond tank, but instead using the UNS 60s which is the same shallow depth as the 45s but is 10 gallons and much wider and longer. I've really fallen for all the beautiful UNS wood stands I've been seeing on Instagram as well as the hanging titan lights, however MY GOD do these people have tons of money they must be dumping into these setups. You don't realize when you look at pictures of those "professional" planted tanks that the build probably cost that person upwards of $3000 for equipment costs.

I current have 5 tanks, two of which I decided I will be tearing down once my fish pass. One is a 10 gal that has my 2.5 year old gardneri killies that I bred in it. The other is my 12 gal long honey gourami tank. Once that happens (probably another year or so) I want to set up the 60s. I thought I could keep the setup cost below $1000, but after doing the math I definitely choked a bit. This is just an initial estimate, most of my builds end up being slightly more expensive than I calculate from the beginning when I need to make adjustments.

So does any one else have builds that seriously broke the bank? I can't believe a 10 gallon setup could cost this much. Here's a picture of my pond tank (so basically the same setup but twice the size)

20210330_203918.jpg

A screen shot of my dream build details and costs

Screenshot_20210410-121254_Samsung Notes.jpg

And a picture of the exact tank/stand combo I want **NOT MY TANK OR PICTURE**

Screenshot_20210410-121556_Chrome.jpg
 

Pfrozen

I have to admit, if I spent 1500 dollars on a tank setup and it looked like that after I wouldn't feel bad about it That is pretty prohibitive for most people though. I personally don't care too much about the stands, but having a quality tank with low iron glass is definitely attractive, same with a good quality light. I save a good amount of money on the stuff inside the tank by using calcium montmorillonite as my substrate and finding wood and plants from local groups

Forgot to answer the question! my 20g blackwater cost a good amount but not I went with cheaper options where I could. My estimate is somewhere in the 600 range for everything I've bought, put in, taken out, etc
 

Fishstery

I have to admit, if I spent 1500 dollars on a tank setup and it looked like that after I wouldn't feel bad about it That is pretty prohibitive for most people though. I personally don't care too much about the stands, but having a quality tank with low iron glass is definitely attractive, same with a good quality light. I save a good amount of money on the stuff inside the tank by using calcium montmorillonite as my substrate and finding wood and plants from local groups
I can naturally source my rocks but would definitely rather buy my wood so it's already blasted and ready do go. I could lower the costs by going with the lomine lights I currently have, which would cut the cost by about $250 but then I would lose the look of the hanging lights which would suck. The most expensive part of this build would be the lights and the stand, but a quality stand also helps keeps the longevity of the setup so I know that the stand was built to withstand the weight of the tank. My 12 long is on an entertainment center (finding a stand was hard since it's a 3ft long tank) and I noticed after 2 years the stand is starting to bow so that the weight of the tank is on both sides of the tank and the middle there is a 1/8 inch gap between the bottom of the tank and the stand. So I worry if it sits there for a few more years the tank will eventually leak from all that pressure pushing on either side of the tank. Also, have you seen the UNS stands?! The wood would look perfect in my cabin style house and I love that they thought to put cutouts on either side so I wouldn't have to route the canister tubes around the bottom of the stand. I looked online for some other stands but truthfully at that size the UNS isn't too much more expensive.
 

Pfrozen

I can naturally source my rocks but would definitely rather buy my wood so it's already blasted and ready do go. I could lower the costs by going with the lomine lights I currently have, which would cut the cost by about $250 but then I would lose the look of the hanging lights which would suck. The most expensive part of this build would be the lights and the stand, but a quality stand also helps keeps the longevity of the setup so I know that the stand was built to withstand the weight of the tank. My 12 long is on an entertainment center (finding a stand was hard since it's a 3ft long tank) and I noticed after 2 years the stand is starting to bow so that the weight of the tank is on both sides of the tank and the middle there is a 1/8 inch gap between the bottom of the tank and the stand. So I worry if it sits there for a few more years the tank will eventually leak from all that pressure pushing on either side of the tank. Also, have you seen the UNS stands?! The wood would look perfect in my cabin style house and I love that they thought to put cutouts on either side so I wouldn't have to route the canister tubes around the bottom of the stand. I looked online for some other stands but truthfully at that size the UNS isn't too much more expensive.

The UNS line is definitely gorgeous. The overall design is nice for sure. Its funny you mention the 12g long, I was looking at that same tank. Good to know that the weight distribution is important. I couldn't find any reviews on it

I got into fishkeeping as a pandemic hobby but I just returned to work so I'll probably join you and blow a ton of money on a nice setup soon lol.

I also love the look of the hanging light, currently I use Chihiros which are fantastic quality for the price imo but there are definitely more aesthetic options out there. In terms of performance I'm perfectly happy with the Chihiros though
 

Fishstery

The UNS line is definitely gorgeous. The overall design is nice for sure. Its funny you mention the 12g long, I was looking at that same tank. Good to know that the weight distribution is important. I couldn't find any reviews on it

I got into fishkeeping as a pandemic hobby but I just returned to work so I'll probably join you and blow a ton of money on a nice setup soon lol.

I also love the look of the hanging light, currently I use Chihiros which are fantastic quality for the price imo but there are definitely more aesthetic options out there. In terms of performance I'm perfectly happy with the Chihiros though
I was looking at the chihiros over the uns titan because the titan isn't dimmable and with a shallow tank lighting can easily become overkill. I noticed they redesigned the RGB hanger light and am really intrigued by the vast programmable options they have! I have the mr. Aqua 12 long and I've had this tank running for about 3-4 years now. I actually really love this tank, the only issues I've had with it were trying to get proper circulation since the tank is so long and narrow, trying to find a stand, and trying to figure out the lighting situation since the tank is so shallow. I solved the lighting issue by propping up the light with two 4 inch pieces of 2in×2in wood, and thought my walmart entertainment center would be able to hold the weight but I have the tank off to the left side of the stand instead of the middle to allow for my canister to sit on the ground and yeah, after 2 years of this it's going to need to be taken off in the near future. I also stupidly lost the leveling mat when i moved into this house and put the tank on this entertainment center, so that also greatly reduces the integrity of the tank seals. ALWAYS use the leveling mats with rimless tanks for sure. I'd like to get the tank down before it leaks, so I can keep the tank around for future projects but my honey gouramis are so happy and healthy who knows how long they will be alive and well. It used to be a beautiful tank but I've since neglected the scape and it's pretty much just a grown out jungle that I toss unwanted plants from other scapes in. Not too aesthically pleasing but the gouramis love it lol.
Here's a pic of the 12 long in its glory days lol

20190907_141259.jpg
 

Pfrozen

I was looking at the chihiros over the uns titan because the titan isn't dimmable and with a shallow tank lighting can easily become overkill. I noticed they redesigned the RGB hanger light and am really intrigued by the vast programmable options they have! I have the mr. Aqua 12 long and I've had this tank running for about 3-4 years now. I actually really love this tank, the only issues I've had with it were trying to get proper circulation since the tank is so long and narrow, trying to find a stand, and trying to figure out the lighting situation since the tank is so shallow. I solved the lighting issue by propping up the light with two 4 inch pieces of 2in×2in wood, and thought my walmart entertainment center would be able to hold the weight but I have the tank off to the left side of the stand instead of the middle to allow for my canister to sit on the ground and yeah, after 2 years of this it's going to need to be taken off in the near future. I also stupidly lost the leveling mat when i moved into this house and put the tank on this entertainment center, so that also greatly reduces the integrity of the tank seals. ALWAYS use the leveling mats with rimless tanks for sure. I'd like to get the tank down before it leaks, so I can keep the tank around for future projects but my honey gouramis are so happy and healthy who knows how long they will be alive and well. It used to be a beautiful tank but I've since neglected the scape and it's pretty much just a grown out jungle that I toss unwanted plants from other scapes in. Not too aesthically pleasing but the gouramis love it lol.
Here's a pic of the 12 long in its glory days lol

20190907_141259.jpg

Nice, yup the Mr. Aqua is the exact one I was looking at beautiful scape by the way. I would have trusted it on that stand too, it looks totally fine to me. I think it probably has a lot to do with the levelling mat like you mentioned. The Chirhiros are definitely convenient, I just use the basic dimmer so its isn't programmable but since I'm using it for a blackwater it works out perfectly. I just adjust the light based on how much tannins I have in the water, how much algae I need for my stock, etc. The programmable timer does seem like a good option though. Chihiros also makes some really solid quality aquascaping tools for a fraction of what the ADA ones cost

Here's my 20g blackwater:


tank new.jpg
 

BlackOsprey

Not yet, but if I'm still in this hobby when I get a serious full-time job, that's prolly where my excess money will go.
 

Pfrozen

Not yet, but if I'm still in this hobby when I get a serious full-time job, that's prolly where my excess money will go.

Yup. Once you get the bug its hard to stop lol
 

Fishstery

I'm so glad I'm not the only one LOL. The 45s build was about $500 when it was all said and done....shh don't tell my boyfriend!! I thought members would think I was off my rocker for considering a $1500 10 gal build. The chihiros RGB vivid 2 actually is 100% programmable on your phone, so you can customize the color saturation (ex turn down a specific color, and intensify others like red or green). Seems to be worth the $350 since you get all the features of the UNS titan except you can actually dim and program it and it's also $25-$50 cheaper. Now that i looked through old pics of my 12 gal scape, I literally just ordered a replacement leveling mat for it a minute ago and decided I'm going to commit a day to completely tearing the tank down cleaning it out, doing a major trim, and putting the scape back together the way it was in the picture. I just did this on my 29 gal puffer tank and although it took me 3 hours the tank looks freaking awesome now and was so worth it. Ill probably upgrade the canister for it while I already have it pulled apart.....I need to go to rehab because I have a problem LOL
 

BlackOsprey

Yup. Once you get the bug its hard to stop lol
Especially when your family is less inclined to tell you no because beautiful planted tanks are far more pleasant than most pet enclosures. Wire cages and smelly bedding can be a hard sell. A glass box with a miniature nature documentary inside that doesn't stink? Heck, why not.
 

Fishstery

Pfrozen here's what I mean about the entertainment center. Where I drew in red is literally what's happening with the stand. The stand has sagged down in the middle so the red area is literally an 1/8 gap where the tank isn't even touching the stand anymore. The bottom of the tank is only touching the stand on the left and right sides....the middle of it is pretty much floating there. The leveling mat should put a band-aid on the issue long enough to let it stay there another year or two before it needs taken off. So I suppose I'll invest another 3 hours into overhauling another tank to appease my bloodlust and hold me off of investing into a new setup for a while hahahaha.
20190907_141253.jpg
 

Pfrozen

I'm so glad I'm not the only one LOL. The 45s build was about $500 when it was all said and done....shh don't tell my boyfriend!! I thought members would think I was off my rocker for considering a $1500 10 gal build. The chihiros RGB vivid 2 actually is 100% programmable on your phone, so you can customize the color saturation (ex turn down a specific color, and intensify others like red or green). Seems to be worth the $350 since you get all the features of the UNS titan except you can actually dim and program it and it's also $25-$50 cheaper. Now that i looked through old pics of my 12 gal scape, I literally just ordered a replacement leveling mat for it a minute ago and decided I'm going to commit a day to completely tearing the tank down cleaning it out, doing a major trim, and putting the scape back together the way it was in the picture. I just did this on my 29 gal puffer tank and although it took me 3 hours the tank looks freaking awesome now and was so worth it. Ill probably upgrade the canister for it while I already have it pulled apart.....I need to go to rehab because I have a problem LOL

LOL, awesome, definitely post a picture of the rescape!! But nah, if you can afford to treat yourself why not right. I love how my blackwater turned out but it would look so much nicer on a nice stand and a rimless tank lol. Oh well.

Yea, the 350 is definitely worth it. I paid 250 or so for my Chihiros WRGB 60 and I feel like the price point was very reasonable. The RGB vivid 2 is even more value considering the improvements. Even those lomine lights, while functional, are still over 100 on Amazon in Canada
Pfrozen here's what I mean about the entertainment center. Where I drew in red is literally what's happening with the stand. The stand has sagged down in the middle so the red area is literally an 1/8 gap where the tank isn't even touching the stand anymore. The bottom of the tank is only touching the stand on the left and right sides....the middle of it is pretty much floating there. The leveling mat should put a band-aid on the issue long enough to let it stay there another year or two before it needs taken off. So I suppose I'll invest another 3 hours into overhauling another tank to appease my bloodlust and hold me off of investing into a new setup for a while hahahaha.
20190907_141253.jpg

Huh, odd that its bowing upwards in the spot where most of the weight is. I think the levelling mat is probably required, it should help a lot. A small gap like that is normal with framed tanks but I'm not so sure its okay for the rimless ones lol
 

Fishstery

LOL, awesome, definitely post a picture of the rescape!! But nah, if you can afford to treat yourself why not right. I love how my blackwater turned out but it would look so much nicer on a nice stand and a rimless tank lol. Oh well.

Yea, the 350 is definitely worth it. I paid 250 or so for my Chihiros WRGB 60 and I feel like the price point was very reasonable. The RGB vivid 2 is even more value considering the improvements. Even those lomine lights, while functional, are still over 100 on Amazon in Canada
I have two koi and goldfish ponds outside (1200 gal and 300 gal) that need some serious investment in rehabbing so setting up a new and expensive build is long off in the future, at least until I pay someone to come in and redo my ponds and let some of my fish live out the rest of their time with me so I can tear down the tanks and put them away. I want to downsize the number of tanks I have in the future from 5 to 3. But I decided after this little chat that I will dump $100 or so into rehabbing the 12 long since it is in our formal living room and is in a main area of the house. I bought the lomine Asta 40 for the 45s which I really like because it was like $60 and the gooseneck was long enough for emersed plants. I was going back and forth between the 40 and the Asta 120, but it's so hard to light a shallow tank without hanging lights because you need high light on one corner of the tank but the Submerged areas will get horrible algae from the light being too close. At least with the Asta I can direct the light all into one corner, but a hanging light would have been more ideal. I'm satisfied with it though for the price, and don't think I needed to spend the extra $80 for the Asta 120 in the end anyways. This lights been growing my HG and hydrocotyle like crazy and it's only been running for about 5 weeks.

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Pfrozen

I have two koi and goldfish ponds outside (1200 gal and 300 gal) that need some serious investment in rehabbing so setting up a new and expensive build is long off in the future, at least until I pay someone to come in and redo my ponds and let some of my fish live out the rest of their time with me so I can tear down the tanks and put them away. I want to downsize the number of tanks I have in the future from 5 to 3. But I decided after this little chat that I will dump $100 or so into rehabbing the 12 long since it is in our formal living room and is in a main area of the house. I bought the lomine Asta 40 for the 45s which I really like because it was like $60 and the gooseneck was long enough for emersed plants. I was going back and forth between the 40 and the Asta 120, but it's so hard to light a shallow tank without hanging lights because you need high light on one corner of the tank but the Submerged areas will get horrible algae from the light being too close. At least with the Asta I can direct the light all into one corner, but a hanging light would have been more ideal. I'm satisfied with it though for the price, and don't think I needed to spend the extra $80 for the Asta 120 in the end anyways. This lights been growing my HG and hydrocotyle like crazy and it's only been running for about 5 weeks.

20210403_134522.jpg
20210403_134502.jpg
20210403_134456.jpg

Wow, fantastic growth for sure!! very nice
 

Cherryshrimp420

I've had really good success with my first go around with a pond style aquarium using a UNS 45s (5gal) shallow. I've fallen head over heels for the pond style setups and found emersed plants to be even easier and more rewarding than aquatic plants. I'm now daydreaming of setting up another pond tank, but instead using the UNS 60s which is the same shallow depth as the 45s but is 10 gallons and much wider and longer. I've really fallen for all the beautiful UNS wood stands I've been seeing on Instagram as well as the hanging titan lights, however MY GOD do these people have tons of money they must be dumping into these setups. You don't realize when you look at pictures of those "professional" planted tanks that the build probably cost that person upwards of $3000 for equipment costs.

I current have 5 tanks, two of which I decided I will be tearing down once my fish pass. One is a 10 gal that has my 2.5 year old gardneri killies that I bred in it. The other is my 12 gal long honey gourami tank. Once that happens (probably another year or so) I want to set up the 60s. I thought I could keep the setup cost below $1000, but after doing the math I definitely choked a bit. This is just an initial estimate, most of my builds end up being slightly more expensive than I calculate from the beginning when I need to make adjustments.

So does any one else have builds that seriously broke the bank? I can't believe a 10 gallon setup could cost this much. Here's a picture of my pond tank (so basically the same setup but twice the size)

20210330_203918.jpg

A screen shot of my dream build details and costs

Screenshot_20210410-121254_Samsung Notes.jpg

And a picture of the exact tank/stand combo I want **NOT MY TANK OR PICTURE**

Screenshot_20210410-121556_Chrome.jpg


Hmm you don't need to spend on most of the things in the list.

Tank - Stand - Light are the 3 most expensive things.

After that, pool filter sand is like $5 and decor can be cheap or expensive depending on what you want. The plants just buy 1 of each and let them grow out. No need for anything else.

After that, just buy the dry ferts from Nilocg which is like $70 for the complete set which will last that tank a lifetime.
 

Fishstery

Pfrozen you wanted rescape pics so here it is after fedex pushed back the setup by losing my new stand in transit, I finally got everything moved and set up. Had a few bumps in the road which is why I'm posting this at 2am, but I'm super happy with how it turned out and the water line is finally completely level with the new stand and leveling mat so I don't have to worry about leaks anymore. I also got some cool and uncommon plant species including anubias jalapeño, bucephalandra belindae which is turning a lovely shade of pink, java fern needle leaf, and Brazilian pennywort "variegated" which had already breached the surface of the water! Now I just need to hide those pesky wires...

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20210425_010059.jpg
 

Pfrozen

Pfrozen you wanted rescape pics so here it is after fedex pushed back the setup by losing my new stand in transit, I finally got everything moved and set up. Had a few bumps in the road which is why I'm posting this at 2am, but I'm super happy with how it turned out and the water line is finally completely level with the new stand and leveling mat so I don't have to worry about leaks anymore. I also got some cool and uncommon plant species including anubias jalapeño, bucephalandra belindae which is turning a lovely shade of pink, java fern needle leaf, and Brazilian pennywort "variegated" which had already breached the surface of the water! Now I just need to hide those pesky wires...

20210425_010126.jpg
20210425_010117.jpg
20210425_010106.jpg
20210425_010053.jpg
20210425_010045.jpg
20210425_010035.jpg
20210425_010059.jpg

Gorgeous!! I love those plant choices, those are going to look super cool once they grow out a bit more. I love that dwarf lily too, I tried one in my blackwater and it turned out to be the best plant purchase I ever made. The placement of it is going to work out awesome :D

Pretty jelly about that pink buce too, not gonna lie
 

Fishstery

Gorgeous!! I love those plant choices, those are going to look super cool once they grow out a bit more. I love that dwarf lily too, I tried one in my blackwater and it turned out to be the best plant purchase I ever made. The placement of it is going to work out awesome :D

Pretty jelly about that pink buce too, not gonna lie
I actually have one on each side but the one on the left is just a bulb, it sprouted 2 little leaves so it will explode in the next few weeks as the nitrates rise back up since I had to do a 100% WC to move the tank. It will look super cool with 2 lotuses on either side to break up the green! I actually bought them both as tiger lotuses, but as it was growing new leaves it didn't start to get any purple speckles like my other lotus has, so I was starting to question whether I was sent a dwarf lily on accident. But it's super pink and my dwarf lilies are not nearly as bright, usually the dwarf lilies are more green with a tinge of pink depending on the angle whereas so im starting to think it actually is a lotus because of how bright it is. Im super happy with the buce, I didn't know when I bought it that it was pink, I just wanted a larger leaved buce for the scape and chose that one at random and im so glad I did! It was even buy 2 get 1 free so it's a win-win :)
 

Pfrozen

I actually have one on each side but the one on the left is just a bulb, it sprouted 2 little leaves so it will explode in the next few weeks as the nitrates rise back up since I had to do a 100% WC to move the tank. It will look super cool with 2 lotuses on either side to break up the green! I actually bought them both as tiger lotuses, but as it was growing new leaves it didn't start to get any purple speckles like my other lotus has, so I was starting to question whether I was sent a dwarf lily on accident. But it's super pink and my dwarf lilies are not nearly as bright, usually the dwarf lilies are more green with a tinge of pink depending on the angle whereas so im starting to think it actually is a lotus because of how bright it is. Im super happy with the buce, I didn't know when I bought it that it was pink, I just wanted a larger leaved buce for the scape and chose that one at random and im so glad I did! It was even buy 2 get 1 free so it's a win-win :)

Wow yea that tank is going to be packed :D Its probably a lotus if the leaves are pink. its interesting though, on rare occasions my dwarf lily will send out a green leaf and maybe 40% of the lily pads that show up are a bright green as opposed to red. I try to allow only 5 pads to exist at a time because the leaves start to die off but if I understand correctly most people have to trim the pads constantly so I think it likes my water.

If you're interested in running 0 nitrates feel free to DM me but you have a lot of harder plants in there so maybe not lol.

Oh and what are you stocking it with? :O
 

Fishstery

Wow yea that tank is going to be packed :D Its probably a lotus if the leaves are pink. its interesting though, on rare occasions my dwarf lily will send out a green leaf and maybe 40% of the lily pads that show up are a bright green as opposed to red. I try to allow only 5 pads to exist at a time because the leaves start to die off but if I understand correctly most people have to trim the pads constantly so I think it likes my water.

If you're interested in running 0 nitrates feel free to DM me but you have a lot of harder plants in there so maybe not lol.

Oh and what are you stocking it with? :O
Usually my lily will go through a week period here and there where it tries to send surface runners but I just trim those before they hit the surface and it "trains" the lily not to send them up. I like mine bushier, I have about 8-10 leaves on mine I only trim the ones where the leaf edges start to melt. It's not really red, but the leaves on mine are a pale green in the middle and then get a dark pink tinge around the leaf edges and undersides. They're actually kind of opalescent where at one angle they're more green but another angle and they throw a pink.
and funny you mention the nitrates I actually made a thread a few years ago about 0 nitrates in my planted tanks, back then people didn't always believe that 0 nitrates was attainable and that there was something wrong with the testing lol! All my tanks have less than 5ppm nitrates with the exception of this 12 gal which always had 0ppm even from my first scape in it which was about 4 years ago now but since adding the tiger lotus I dose thrive-c to feed it nitrates because they are pigs when it comes to nutrient requirements and if you feed them nitrates they explode. I'd imagine in a highly stocked tank they would be incredible. I already had this tank stocked and everything prior to the rescape, it has 10 cardinal tetras and one male wild type honey gourami in it!
 

Sauceboat


1619368066543.jpeg
My 37 cost a bit more than the other tanks ($300ish) given the size of it-- still growing in (only twoish months old). I save a lot by gathering wood and stone myself and using sand capped dirt and as opposed to aquasoil and scafolds built from corrugated plastic and home depot lava rock rather than more expensive ADA options. Also got my light for $30 from a brand on ebay I've had great success with and CO2 tank for free from a liquidating local restaurant which I just adapted to the tank. The CO2 is still fairly new so I have yet to see the effects hah.
 

Fishstery


1619368066543.jpeg
My 37 cost a bit more than the other tanks ($300ish) given the size of it-- still growing in (only twoish months old). I save a lot by gathering wood and stone myself and using sand capped dirt and as opposed to aquasoil and scafolds built from corrugated plastic and home depot lava rock rather than more expensive ADA options. Also got my light for $30 from a brand on ebay I've had great success with and CO2 tank for free from a liquidating local restaurant which I just adapted to the tank. The CO2 is still fairly new so I have yet to see the effects hah.
That's awesome! I found my own river stones for my 5gal build to save money but that was the first time I did that. Love the tank :) my 5gal was definitely the most expensive build up to this point, but for pretty much all my tanks I end up buying things here and there over time when i need or want something new so lord knows how much money I've dumped into my setups. Probably something best left unsaid LOL
 

YellowGuppy

My whole setup cost me like $160 CAD new, including livestock and plants.

20210310_205122.jpg
Since setting it up a little less than two years ago, I've sold around $1850 CAD worth of livestock and plants.

...I should probably get another tank.
 

Cawafuoshi

I'm so glad I'm not the only one LOL. The 45s build was about $500 when it was all said and done....shh don't tell my boyfriend!! I thought members would think I was off my rocker for considering a $1500 10 gal build. The chihiros RGB vivid 2 actually is 100% programmable on your phone, so you can customize the color saturation (ex turn down a specific color, and intensify others like red or green). Seems to be worth the $350 since you get all the features of the UNS titan except you can actually dim and program it and it's also $25-$50 cheaper. Now that i looked through old pics of my 12 gal scape, I literally just ordered a replacement leveling mat for it a minute ago and decided I'm going to commit a day to completely tearing the tank down cleaning it out, doing a major trim, and putting the scape back together the way it was in the picture. I just did this on my 29 gal puffer tank and although it took me 3 hours the tank looks freaking awesome now and was so worth it. Ill probably upgrade the canister for it while I already have it pulled apart.....I need to go to rehab because I have a problem LOL
How often would you have to replace the LEDs? The first time I experimented with a cheap one, after 2 1/2 years its was considerably dimmer to the point I needed to replace it. Now, the expensive LEDs might also be higher quality but probably suffer the same fate after several years of usage?
 

Fishstery

How often would you have to replace the LEDs? The first time I experimented with a cheap one, after 2 1/2 years its was considerably dimmer to the point I needed to replace it. Now, the expensive LEDs might also be higher quality but probably suffer the same fate after several years of usage?
I've had my 3 current satellite LEDs for around 2-4 years and haven't had any issues with them dimming. That's also after a few "whoopsies" where the light fell into the water and got soaked lol! They aren't the "plus" versions so pretty much their base model light and I paid between $45-60 for each depending on the length of the light so they aren't anywhere near the expensive high end lights available nowadays. LEDs are pretty much meant to last "forever" given they are somewhat good quality and not the cheapy strip LEDs.
 

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