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Saving money in this hobby


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#1 MPG

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 08:45 PM

If you keep large aquariums or multiple aquariums, you know that keeping them can prove to be costly. From filter pads, electrical usage, and water, it could really add up over time. I think we should compile ways to save money so everyone has somewhere to get ideas.

Some things I do:

Filter Floss. (100% polyester pillow filling) Before this, I was spending $20 a month to keep both my tanks up with filter pads. I paid $16 for a bag as big as I am. A year in and I am only through 1/4 of a bag. I wish someone could have filled me in when I started this hobby.

Water changes in the late evening. It may not work for some people, but in the city I live in the cost of water usage after 7PM is significantly less then earlier in the day.

Cheap Substrate. Filling a tank with Flourite/Eco-Complete or any other brand name substrate will be in the 100s. Using Play Sand, Turface, or White Filter Sand will significantly reduce your costs.

Use a timer. I just recently picked one up for my lighting to make sure I only run my lights a certain amount of the day. Don't scoff at this, 2 extra hours a day adds up at the end of the year!

DIY! Buying from a retailer is severely marked up and if you have a little bit of shop class in you, you can probably DIY anything you need in the aquarium hobby. From stands, to overflows, to complete sumps, there is always a DIY way when it comes to aquariums.

Buy used. Filters are great when it comes to buying used. I bought my eheim 2217 with media for $50 and it has been running smoothly for years. Tanks are a good option but you may have to be willing to reseal it.

Feel free to add some wisdom.
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#2 Pirambeba

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:22 PM

I'm all up for DIY, I personally love taking up projects; especially those that pertain to this hobby! :)
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#3 lethal101

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:25 PM

Great advice
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#4 eatfood

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 11:40 AM

Great thread - has the potential to be one of the most useful around.

-One diy project that I feel is important is building your own sump. take measurements and get a glass shop to cut you some pieces if you are afraid to do it yourself, (or you could use plexi - glass is better though). aquarium, some 100% silicone, masking tape, ruler and a dry erase marker is all you need to build your own sump to the exact specifications you want instead of buying something in the $200 and up range.

-glassholes.com - stuff to help you drill/build overflows or whatever you might need a hole for.

-Talking about saving money I think saving time doing maintenance is also important. water changer - not hauling buckets around is saving me so much time.

-One last remark I have is research - the best way to save money is to not waste it. know exactly what you want for the long run and how to care for it.

#5 White Rhom

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:04 PM

I save on waterchanges when using a python.
Rather then having the water running/wasting water to get suction, I just take the end to the bath tub or toilet, gravity gives you the same if not more suction especially if you are able to take the hose down to a lower level of your place.

I have even heard of some people hanging the end out the window for greater suction.
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#6 Sacrifice

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:39 PM

I save on waterchanges when using a python.
Rather then having the water running/wasting water to get suction, I just take the end to the bath tub or toilet, gravity gives you the same if not more suction especially if you are able to take the hose down to a lower level of your place.

I have even heard of some people hanging the end out the window for greater suction.


I do the exact same thing, after a few times of listening to my money going down the drain along with my tank water I realized hey dummy, just shove it in the toilet. Of course I use the nozzle hooked to the sink to get the hose started then just unhook and toss it in the toilet, heck you can even sandwich it between the toilet sett and the lid, keeps it in place :)

One thing to add may be that you can put lids on your tanks to help with evaporation, that can cut down on the amount of water lost each week, but that's not always a bad thing.

#7 Trav

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:05 PM

I use a good portion of water change water for my indoor plants rest either goes down the drain or out to the garden.

If you're serious about the hobby, best advice I can give is to buy the right equipment the first time, cheaping out on equipment to save a few pennies only leads to more costs down the road.

#8 Alf36

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:28 PM

as far as substrate diamond black blasting sand...50lbs for like 11dollars at tractor supply
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#9 cdub

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:18 PM

I save on waterchanges when using a python.
Rather then having the water running/wasting water to get suction, I just take the end to the bath tub or toilet, gravity gives you the same if not more suction especially if you are able to take the hose down to a lower level of your place.

I have even heard of some people hanging the end out the window for greater suction.

i used to drain out the window to water plants an the yard. rather then using the hose and using more water. and a 50 gal cooler to store water for indoor plants.

you can save even more making your own water changer. i dug up reciepts an it cost me 17.57 to make a water changers with 45' of hose...i love diy best money saving tip.

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#10 MPG

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:29 PM

as far as substrate diamond black blasting sand...50lbs for like 11dollars at tractor supply


Interesting.. Gonna check it out tomorrow.
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#11 MPG

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:53 PM

Well I found black sand blasting sand for $5. Bought 2 bags. (100lbs)

I am going to use mineralized top soil and try to cap it with this sand. First need to buy my new lighting but until then I am gonna prepare the topsoil. If it goes as planned, I will have black planting media for a grand total of $13..saving me hundreds.
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#12 Alf36

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 07:14 PM

petsolutions.com
kensfish.com

They both had some real good prices
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#13 Nzac

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 07:26 PM

there is always DIY gutter compact fluorescent lighting, a strip of white plastic gutter(looks a lot like the shape of normal tank lights), pair of endcaps, enough double screw in light fixtures to cover length of tank, some wire and wire nuts, a power cord, a can of black spray paint for outside of light. By using the different wattages of the screw in fluorescent bulbs you can effectively go from low to mid to high light just like that.

I have done similar with old tube fixtures that fried, gutted them sprayed the inside gloss white, installed double screw in light sockets.
WARNING* play with electricity at your own risk.

Edited by Nzac, 19 April 2012 - 07:30 PM.

I've got several scaley and a couple scaleless creatures living in glass houses full of water in the other room.

#14 Pirambeba

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:37 PM

there is always DIY gutter compact fluorescent lighting, a strip of white plastic gutter(looks a lot like the shape of normal tank lights), pair of endcaps, enough double screw in light fixtures to cover length of tank, some wire and wire nuts, a power cord, a can of black spray paint for outside of light. By using the different wattages of the screw in fluorescent bulbs you can effectively go from low to mid to high light just like that.

I have done similar with old tube fixtures that fried, gutted them sprayed the inside gloss white, installed double screw in light sockets.
WARNING* play with electricity at your own risk.


What a great idea!! I'm now going to take this up as a consideration for my 125g setup; I can't find the right size/wattage shop lights that I want. Going to have to find a tutorial, or something that details the wiring bit though, don't want to burn down my house, lol.
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#15 jp80911

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:12 PM

Filter Floss. (100% polyester pillow filling) Before this, I was spending $20 a month to keep both my tanks up with filter pads. I paid $16 for a bag as big as I am. A year in and I am only through 1/4 of a bag. I wish someone could have filled me in when I started this hobby.


Where do you buy the polyester pillow filling?

My town charge water usage by the 1000gallon so doesn't matter when I do wc.
DIY help save a lot, also covering the sump/tank helps on water evaporation and temperature loss.

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#16 MPG

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:20 PM

Where do you buy the polyester pillow filling?

My town charge water usage by the 1000gallon so doesn't matter when I do wc.
DIY help save a lot, also covering the sump/tank helps on water evaporation and temperature loss.


Wal-mart. Comes in a big bag. Just make sure its 100% polyester.
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#17 XiDiS

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:23 PM

Yah i got a massive bag from walmart too. Works GREAT!!
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#18 Markus

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:09 AM

Been using pillow stuffing aswell from wal-mart, works better then the stuff sold at the LFS.

I think this thread should be pinned! Nothing wrong with saving money in this hobby, more money for beer :)

#19 MPG

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 12:01 PM

Its widely known, but if you don't, scrubbies are a great biomedia.

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Can be bought 6 for a dollar at the dollar store.
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#20 XiDiS

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:40 PM

^^^ some of them come with metal rings on them.... you should take those off before you use them.
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