Questions about buying a used saltwater set up?

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Happy Crabber
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Questions about buying a used saltwater set up?

Post by Happy Crabber » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:46 am

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/for/3206156864.html

I'm curious if any of you have ever bought a used saltwater set up. I see so many of these on Craigslist- and the one in the link above seems very reasonably priced. I know NOTHING about fish tanks, but I've always wanted a little coral reef since I was a kid. Given how many I see on CL, I've been thinking about it more seriously lately.

Here are some of my questions...
What are some of the things one should look for (or look out for) when buying a set up like this?

What are some of the costs involved in running a small SW tank?- I know they are expensive to get going, but once you have all the pieces is it still a big money drain?

How much time would one need to spend on maintenance per week for a small SW tank?

How do you move a tank with fish, coral and crabs still living in it?

Anything else I should consider?
Thanks to anyone who has the time to answer some of these questions. :)
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DrNecropolis
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Re: Questions about buying a used saltwater set up?

Post by DrNecropolis » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:00 pm

Mind if I look it over and give you my thoughts?


Dusty2R
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Re: Questions about buying a used saltwater set up?

Post by Dusty2R » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:05 pm

Not sure what the 50lbs of rock meant. I love my reef tank, 29 gal, and i spend about ten mins a day, and 45 mins every sunday on cleaning. A small tank with all the live rock already should not be tooexpensie to keep running. I must warn you that once you get into it, you will want a bigger tank.
As far as moving it, you will need a whole day I bet, and lots of buckets. Make sure you keep the water they have in the tank, as using new water would be like starting over. Also keep the sand and rock, it is already cycled.

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DrNecropolis
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Re: Questions about buying a used saltwater set up?

Post by DrNecropolis » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:23 pm

hermitmommy wrote:http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/for/3206156864.html

I'm curious if any of you have ever bought a used saltwater set up. I see so many of these on Craigslist- and the one in the link above seems very reasonably priced. I know NOTHING about fish tanks, but I've always wanted a little coral reef since I was a kid. Given how many I see on CL, I've been thinking about it more seriously lately.

Here are some of my questions...
What are some of the things one should look for (or look out for) when buying a set up like this?

What are some of the costs involved in running a small SW tank?- I know they are expensive to get going, but once you have all the pieces is it still a big money drain?

How much time would one need to spend on maintenance per week for a small SW tank?

How do you move a tank with fish, coral and crabs still living in it?

Anything else I should consider?
Thanks to anyone who has the time to answer some of these questions. :)
I'll address your questions before I get to the ad..

Looking for used stuff is always kinda a nightmare.. Craigslist is the absolute devil for saltwater stuff..
In your area you have several local reef clubs (I know a lot of members in that area, I was president of the largest LRC in the country a few years ago)

If you can hook up with some of these groups, you will find equipment is dirt cheap and most of those people are will to mentor you and help out..

Ongoing cost is mostly salt and food.. then you get into coral and its a major addiction.. I have paid over $2000 for a fragment of coral that was just a little bigger than a stamp..

Cost depends on what your long term goal is.. Fish Only? Reef? If so, what kinda reef?

Things like that..

Maintenance depends totally on the setup you have.. water changes are a must.. no one likes doing them and it sucks, so find a way to make it as easy as possible.. the first couple months require more hands on... as they mature, they even out and do some naturally..

Biggest thing to keep a tank clean (I swear.. ) a dang magic clean eraser. . Just one of the original ones.. no extra strength or stuff like that.. perfectly safe to use INSIDE a running tank..


Moving is a breeze.. just pump as much water as possible out, into buckets, rock into buckets, LEAVE THE SAND ALONE!! Stirred it creates a big problem.. but that tank doesn't have much sand at all.. kinda worries me..

Stuff to consider.. the smaller a tank, the harder it is to take care of... small changes are drastic in smaller tanks..


Now, to the ad..

ODYSSEA is known junk.. I have seen a few dozen of their lights catch on fire and crap like that.. just Google the name.. you will see..

All in one tanks are a pita.. they aren't really setup for saltwater tanks and require modifications most the time to function on a basic level.. for starting out, I would avoid it..

Those clown fish are a dime a dozen.. the coral they had (mushroom coral) I throw away.. they grow so dang fast, they can consume a tank.. its like ivy!

Power compact lighting is dead technology, and a hydrometer is about as accurate as tasting the water and guessing the salinity..

All those chemicals worry me.. those are mostly sold to make the live rock purple (which is very purple from the pics..) what they do is add tons of calcium.. for a reef tank to work there has to be a balance of Calcium, Magnesium and Alkalinity...
When one goes higher, other drop.. its a seesaw..

I would avoid it and do a lot of research before even buying a bucket of salt..

I have seen so many people jump in to the hobby blindly and leave shortly after.. a couple thousand dollars poorer..

Of course I will answer any question you have and help as best I can..

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wodesorel
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Re: Questions about buying a used saltwater set up?

Post by wodesorel » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:36 pm

The fact they don't have a full testing kit makes me wonder how stable their system is and if the animals are all brand new. They said they had it set-up for 6 months, not that they've had the critters for that long.

I also worry about the way the ad is written. Hate to say it, but it sounds like she's trying to get rid of it without her husband's knowledge. "I'll even throw in his" stuff. I would think that if he really did want to get rid of it he would be trying to get more money back back on the set-up! I'm thinking divorce or she's trying to get back at him. I've seen ads like it before. :roll:
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DrNecropolis
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Re: Questions about buying a used saltwater set up?

Post by DrNecropolis » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:37 pm

Some random pictures of my last build.. I'll try and note what they are..
Protein Skimmer.. removes waste from the tank..
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My buddy john being a goon.. was cleaning glass for me..
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The inlets and outlets for the closed loop (moves water in the tank without equipment being visible)
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75 gallon sump tank, the return pump is housed here and added water volume..
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Remember when I said to find a way to make water changes easy? This drain can drain about 50 gallons of water in a matter of 2 minutes..drains through the floor and out from under the house.. I then close the valve and flip a switch and pump clean water in..
Image

Plumbing and the feed pump for the Skimmer..
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A rough in when I was getting closer to finishing..
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Shortly after completion
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Topic author
Happy Crabber
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Location: SF Bay Area, CA

Re: Questions about buying a used saltwater set up?

Post by Happy Crabber » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:32 pm

Dr. N- That is amazing! I don't think I'd be able to handle anything that complicated. Thanks for all the info. I'm not going to jump into anything soon. I just find those reef tanks so beautiful. It will probably be a few years until I can even consider it. Never hurts to start researching early. Would you say buying used equipment/whole set up is a viable option? Assuming its quality stuff and a good price? Or do most people who buy used end up regretting it.

Wode- I was thinking the SAME thing!! She sounds sneaky.

Thanks for the advice! Let the research BEGIN!!
AKA: hermitmommy
PP: Scieny, Hermione, Hermasaurus Rex, Kitty, Cat, Twyla, Jupiter
E: Lilly McDiggington, Thunder, Lightening, Pocito Tito, Universe, Dawn
Mom to 2 great little kids, and wife to a very understanding hubby

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DrNecropolis
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Re: Questions about buying a used saltwater set up?

Post by DrNecropolis » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:40 pm

In all honesty.. used is the way to go.. pending you know what to look for..

The tank you see in the wall and the sump under it and pump for closed loop.. I payed $400 for it all.. even came with a stand and canopy I had no use for... (firewood)

That's to result of 15 years in the hobby and a couple years of planning..

A good place to research is www.reefcentral.com

A bit of warning about RC.. people there love to tear apart noobs...

So I would do a lot of searching, but not a lot of posting..

But like I said.. I am more than willing to help anyway I can..

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DrNecropolis
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Re: Questions about buying a used saltwater set up?

Post by DrNecropolis » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:45 pm

The best advice I can give you, decide what tank you want to end with.. then buy equipment... don't buy lights that will "get you by until you can get what you want" . Just save and piece it together with what you want the first time.. gear can be expensive.. no need to buy it more than once.. lighting is a major area of this..

The lights over than tank are about $80 each.. that's $240 every 10 months on bulbs.. not even the cost of the reflectors (few hundred bucks each) or ballasts (about $400 there)

So, figure my lights are around $1000 just for lights.. would have been insane to spend $200-300 on lights to scrape by with.. just save and buy the right stuff the first time..



Oh, and don't buy cheap test kits..

Its a lot easier to buy the $25 all in one API kit.. but those suck when it comes to real results when there is serious money and lives in the balance..

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wodesorel
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Re: Questions about buying a used saltwater set up?

Post by wodesorel » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:16 pm

Which tests do you recommend? All I ever see for sale around here are the API kits, but ordering online is an option. :)
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DrNecropolis
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Re: Questions about buying a used saltwater set up?

Post by DrNecropolis » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:33 pm

I've always used salifert or elos..

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