View Full Version : Newbie-Buyers remorse?


gamecock
02-27-2007, 1:02 PM
I have recently joined this DB and will soon join the Reef Club. Thank you for letting me be a part of the group! I am getting back into salt water aquaria after a twenty year hiatus. I tried salt water with mixed results when I was in college. With the upgrades in technology since 1984 (skimmers, wet/dry, live rock,etc) I feel my chances for success have improved. Back then fish only was a challenge and reefing was for the pros.

I am a mortgage loan officer http://www.opteum.com/araye , 43 years old, married with three children. I want my children to share the enjoyment I have gotten from aquariums and nature. When not working or spending time with my family I enjoy motorcycles.

I am not able to walk into a store and write a check for a system. I have to be creative and buy used when possible and support the LFS when not (or for livestock).

I took the plunge this last weekend and bought this tank, stand, and light.

http://216.77.188.54/coDataImages/p/Groups/186/186050/folders/131791/2110898NewImage.JPG

It is a 3-year old 120g (48" x 24" x 24") Glass Tank with wood stand.

Complete Stand-Alone Metal Canopy with integrated with 2 x 400W MH Blueline Electronic Ballasts & 2 x 110W VHOs. Bulbs are about 3 months old.

The stand is a very strong homemade stand with a somewhat beaten cherry finish.

The light set is very powerful and should allow me to do any kind of setup.

It also came with a wooden canopy with no lights. The previous owner did not use it. He was an accomplished keeper of exotic corals but was getting out of the hobby.

I paid $550 for the above. :huh:


My question to the jury is this:

I am having remorse because I see some nice complete setups for sale here and on the national boards. Great systems such as Ray had in Ball Ground and the one Kevin Holder is selling. Should I sell what I bought now and start looking for a complete system that someone is getting rid of? I would hope to be able to get my money out of it.

Outfitting what I bought will easily exceed what I can buy an entire system for used perhaps several times over.

I know it is not an easy question for you all to answer but I respect the opinions on this board.

Andy

Tonester_man
02-27-2007, 1:09 PM
Welcome back! I would say it looks like a great tank! Sometimes you are able to find full systems at a great price, but they don't come around that often. Looks like it would be a good setup for you to get back into the fun hobby and I'm sure your children will enjoy it too!

Hope to see you at some of the meetings.
Tony

Cameron
02-27-2007, 1:28 PM
There is no right answer here. Buying a complete system is almost always going to be cheaper. Live rock alone makes a lot of those systems worth purchasing in many cases. However if you build your own system, you can go slower and spread the cost out over a few months. Plus you won't get in over your head too fast like I did (former "buy a full setup" guy here). The other benefit is YOU get to pick what is in your tank. I have a tank full of acropora (and I do mean full). For some guys this is what they love. Personally, I tend to like the softies but I can't just get any softie because they might not interact well with my acros. Had I built my own, I would have gotten a few different fish and probably a completely different aquascape. I love my tank, but there is something to be said for growing your own. I can certainly imagine with kids letting them pick there own fish would be a wonderful moment for you.

I think as long as you are patient and take your time, you are going to find good deals to complete your system for a great price. You certainly didn't overpay for your tank so I think either way you decide to go you shouldn't have any remorse. Be patient and enjoy the system you have.

Broreefr
02-27-2007, 1:31 PM
I was reading the other day that it was actually better NOT to start out buying a complete system and to start probably as you are doing.

Buying a new system complete, then trying to hook it up at breakneck speed to get the kivestock into a tank that is going to cycle and bring on all associated problems of a new tank. In the meantime your livestock suffers, your wife asks that bright questions like "dear why is he swimming upside down,." And the kids are crying cause the new fish they just named, is being flushed. And then the wife asks that other questions that cuts to the bone. "how much did you say you spent for this, and why did the other guy sell it again.

you are better taking it slow


BTW welcome back

Cameron
02-27-2007, 1:34 PM
To add to Bro's post if you do buy a full system, hire a professional to help you move it. I hired Stevhan from ItsFishyBusiness and got more than my monies worth. He made the process much smoother than it would have been had I done it myself. Nothing died in transit of any consequence. Virtually everything made it including the fish, inverts, coral etc. and the tank move was about 2 hours away with another 5 hours of packing and probably another 3 hours of unpacking.

gamecock
02-27-2007, 1:39 PM
Buying a new system complete, then trying to hook it up at breakneck speed to get the kivestock into a tank that is going to cycle and bring on all associated problems of a new tank. In the meantime your livestock suffers, your wife asks that bright questions like "dear why is he swimming upside down,." And the kids are crying cause the new fish they just named, is being flushed. And then the wife asks that other questions that cuts to the bone. "how much did you say you spent for this, and why did the other guy sell it again.

you are better taking it slow

I have been concerned about that aspect. When livestock is in bags, tubs, and buckets, the clock is ticking.

Look at the picture above again. The previous owner had the lights resting on wooden blocks just above the open topped tank. Should the lights be exposed to water like that? Should the tank have a lid? Are 400 watts too big?:unsure: I am keeping this in a finished basement where the temperature is cool and constant but I dont want to have to buy a chiller.

Amici
02-27-2007, 2:15 PM
I wouldnt have it on wooden blocks....last time i checked heat and wood lead to fire but ill google to make sure....yup still makes fire. The lights are fine being exposed to water like that, all retrofit kits are just open to the water, a lid is bad because it cuts down on amount of light that gets in but also helps with evap BUT ALSO heats up the tank. The two 400w MH are fine and you at 8.5 watts per gallon so you should be ok...some would say this is a little high but your ok IF you can regulate your heat. Heat will probably be an issue. My chiller was very expensive....$30 tower fan from wal-mart with the stand taken off of it and blowing directly at that water. I actually had to go buy a smaller one because it cooled it too much. This does increase evap but its cheaper than a chiller. There is a powerbuy on chillers......I dont think its ended for memeber this month if you decide to go that route. Hope this helps.

-Charlie

Amici
02-27-2007, 2:16 PM
Just to clarify, mounting it to wood is ok but if by some fluke the bulbs were to touch the wood it could then create a fire.

kappaknight
02-27-2007, 2:24 PM
Your tank looks great and in time, I'm sure you'll be able to fill it up with tons of awesome corals. I honestly would forget about the other tanks and focus on yours. By having a blank tank and focusing more on what you need rather than buying everything you want, you will learn a lot more about the hobby than you would buying a complete setup.

Also, there are deals going on all the time. People are constantly getting in and out of the hobby, selling, trading and giving away stuff on here. I'm sure you'll be able to fill up your system for somewhat cheaper than you'd think if you have the patience to wait for these deals while learning in the process.

Xyzpdq0121
02-27-2007, 2:45 PM
Hey Andy, Welcome back to the hobby!! Second, on a personal note, how long you been with Opteum? I have been an appraiser for them since back before the name change. Good company!

Ok on to the more important part. As someone who took 5 years off from this hobby, i would like to briefly share some of my insight. ALOT has changes since years ago. The technology out now is better, the way of setting up and running tanks is easier and more efficient. Heck, people now have it easy compared to the things we had to deal with back then! (Uphill both ways in the snow type of thing!) You did the right thing. Start off slow and "relearn" about the hobby. You will have more success down the line because of it and less headache. Deals like you saw in Ballground were AWSOME but do not come along very often. I would say, you got a good deal on your tank. By no means is it set up, but setting it up is part of the fun. That is the learning experience for you and your kids. That is where most of the chemestry and magic happens. When you are waiting for the tank to cycle and you notice the liverock start to come to life is amazing. You see the pods start to eat bacteria on the glass. It teaches you that the tank is not just the fish and the corals that you put into the tank. It is a world that you are creating. My favorite part of the hobby to tell you the truth. Don't cheat yourself, or your kids, out of that.

Once you get everything (or alot more( down about this hobby and you ever do look to upgrade a tank, then would be the time to look for that deal on a tank someone is getting out of the hobby with. For now, just enjoy the process and experience of that tank you have brought. In the meantime, check out what other people are selling on here because there are some good deals and we like to help eachother out. You can run any big decisions about stock or equipment past us here and, believe me, atleast ONE of us will have an opinion!

On a side note, If you ever need any advice or just someone to come and help you set it up, I am right around the corner from you in Lawrenceville.

Again, welcome back to the hobby!

Broreefr
02-27-2007, 3:03 PM
These guys are so right, you got a nice setup and a clean slate, just take it slow cause it is a big learning process.

Looking back on what I knew two years ago as opposed to what I know now makes me feel like a scientist. :thumbs:

Looking at what I NEED to know to be good in this hobby I would consider myself 3rd, maybe 4th grade. :confused:

Thats why the club is here, just hang in there with em ~ I am hoping with SWU III this year that I might actually get promoted to junior high

dough
02-27-2007, 3:57 PM
My thought is that by piecing it together you learn and build what you want. I guess my question to you is what is your ultimate goal? Is it just keeping fish, fish and corals and the really hard questions is what kind of corals. A basic fish and soft corals would be realitive inexpensive vs say SPS corals.

By joining the club and attending the meetings you should be able to stock up some nice easy to keep corals a fraction of the costs of a LFS. But these are typically small frags hence the lower cost of a larger coral piece. So you get to enjoy them by watching them grow.

I have a very simple system that works for me.

As far as 400 watt lights, you can pretty much keep just about any type of coral in the tank.

You will find a lot of support from the members as well.

I am like you, married, will turn 43 in May and have three children. I'll say this, I get to do all the work on the tank. Interest from them comes and goes, I guess it depends on their ages.

Cameron
02-27-2007, 5:48 PM
Looking back on what I knew two years ago as opposed to what I know now makes me feel like a scientist. :thumbs:

Looking at what I NEED to know to be good in this hobby I would consider myself 3rd, maybe 4th grade. :confused:

Thats why the club is here, just hang in there with em ~ I am hoping with SWU III this year that I might actually get promoted to junior highI am still riding the short yellow bus.

jhutto
02-27-2007, 6:14 PM
What I would do is read, read, read, read,,, and listen to what these guys say on this board. I have posed questions and gotten opinions that really made sense. Its a slow process but its all about building the knowledge base. For me its about the journey not about the end result, although its a beautiful thing to watch the corals flowing and the fish swimming.

Books like the Consicious Marine Aquarist...and many others are top notch.
I started back after 25 years of keeping fishy only and got into a 12 gal Nano about a year ago and just moved to a 90 gal I got from Cameron. He helped me with some ideas and advice. Just be patient, watch, read and learn. Its a beautiful thing! :thumbs:

Joe

gamecock
02-27-2007, 6:28 PM
Hey Andy, Welcome back to the hobby!! Second, on a personal note, how long you been with Opteum? I have been an appraiser for them since back before the name change. Good company!

On a side note, If you ever need any advice or just someone to come and help you set it up, I am right around the corner from you in Lawrenceville.

Again, welcome back to the hobby!
I was recruited recently to Opteum from Lenox Financial, where I was a mortgage broker. This gives me a chance to get back into outside sales.

Thanks for the offer to help. I wish I had you in Virginia Saturday AM when it was 23 degrees and windy and me and the previous owner were carrying the tank across his snowy icy yard!:wow2: That thing must weigh 300 pounds! The tank fit nicely in my Jetta wagon and the stand went on top:eek:. I looked like the Beverly Hillbillies going down I-81 and I-77! This was me when I got back to the ATL. I could have borrowed a truck, but I can run my Jetta Diesel on free veggie oil. I took 20 gallons with me. Went there and back (1300 miles) and didnt spend a dime on fuel.

http://216.77.188.54/coDataImages/p/Groups/328/328057/folders/253144/2110991Jetta.JPG

My chiller was very expensive....$30 tower fan from wal-mart with the stand taken off of it and blowing directly at that water. I actually had to go buy a smaller one because it cooled it too much. This does increase evap but its cheaper than a chiller.
The previous owner said he would use a clip on fan on the corner blowing across the water on occasion. He liked the idea that I was also going to put the tank in a finished basement since it is the coolest part of my house. That is where he had it in his house.

I guess my question to you is what is your ultimate goal?
Probably reef with anemone and some corals. May try to add a small lionfish if the other fish are big enough. I had one in college and always liked them even though I know they are considered aggressive.

Dakota
03-09-2007, 5:04 AM
I think you got a great deal! That tank alone goes for about $480 new and building you own stand is a real pain. Actually, that's my dream setup.

You have a lot of room to grow with a system like that. Just remember to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.