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Discussion Starter #1
My daughter wants a tank in her room. I want to build a nano reef. Long story short, my daughter is going to get a nano reef in her room.

I understand that buying cheap equipment up front leads to regret, rebuying, and an overall increased expense. That said, I'm looking to construct a reef on the cheap. I'm not looking for difficult or expensive corals or a wide array of life. Just some basic, pretty colors and maybe a single fish with a small clean-up crew.

Here are my basic thoughts:

A standard 10 gallon tank with a handmade acrylic "coast to coast" overflow in the back. A powerhead in the overflow with a pvc splitter sending out 2 srteams back to the tank. I think it should produce enough flow and with frequent water changes I won't need a skimmer or filter. I'll pull some chaeto from another tank to add to the overflow.

I've got quite a bit of manmade rock that has been in my other tank for about 6 months. I'll add some of that to the new nano. to get things started. I will probably go barebottom, but am not opposed to some argonite substrate. I may add a little "Garf Grunge" to get a little extra life in the tank.

My big concern is lights. What would you suggest for cheap lighting? With the cheap lights and basic setup what livestock would you recommend? Pictures of your recommendations would be appreciated. I don't really have my heart set on anything and I'm very open to suggestions.

If you are currently running a budget build like this I'd be very interested in seeing pictures.

Thanks for your input.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I was looking on Aquatraders.com and found some decent looking PC's for $25. With shipping it would cost me about $42. Then I saw the 150 Watt Odyssea Metal Halide Pendant with 2 14 W T5 High Output Actinic Blue bulbs for $99 and free shipping. It looks like a decent unit and the price seemed about half of what I thought it would be so I made the impulse buy.

Now I'm thinking this will be a little extreme for a sumpless 10 gallon. The legs on the light extend to 24 inches so I'll go with a 20 gallon High or 25 Gallon. Since I'm going bigger I might as well drill it and add a sump and skimmer.

I'll build my own stand and use a walmart ten gallon for the sump. I've got a bunch of lumber, plywood, acrylic and silicone on hand already so I think the whole setup will cost well under $300 including the light. More than I wanted to spend, but I think we'll be happier with the whole project.

Do you think my wife will notice it's over the $100 I said I would spend?
 

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On craigslist you can find 10g setups for sale below 100$.
a custom acrylic tank isnt saving you money. Im setting up a 20gH filterless nano, and im just using 2 power heads.
You can get compact flourescents for around 50-70 for a 10 gal. That will be good enough for soft corals.
Id suggest a 8gal. biocube for value
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I ended up going with a 20 gallon tall with a 150W MH, a K1 powerhead and a small hang on back filter for carbon. I'm under $200 total for the setup. Everything is new.
 
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