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Ep.4 – How much does a dream saltwater reef tank cost to set up? | BRS360


– It’s BRS 360 Thursday, episode 4 and it’s time to talk cost. How much does all this cost? is likely the number one
question people ask me. Reef tanks are expensive but today we’re going to hone in on
what expensive even means at this scale. Maybe even more interesting, why would any sane person
make an investment like this and in today’s talk in 360, speaking with David Hammontree, the founder of Reef2Reef and what he put into his dream tank, all that’s coming up. (upbeat music) Hey I’m Ryan, your host at BRStv. BRStv’s all about fun, successful past at and reef tanks you can be proud of. This is the BRS360 a
full circle journey of taking everything that
we’ve learned about reefing, transforming those experiences
into a 360 gallon reef tank. One of the biggest challenges
with equipment intensive hobbies is the seemingly
bottomless pit of cash that can be dumped into them. Reefing can be an even
bigger challenge because soon as you get all this equipment things down, there’s no end to the
amount of cash to be spent on corals and fish. No point in beating around the bush, over the next few years
this build is likely going to cost tens of thousands of dollars, hopefully producing a really awesome tank that’s fun to watch progress together. Today we’re going to see how
a bill like that can be racked up with an aquarium, why an
sane person would do this, and how I’m going to manage
a budget for this tank. Not only that, but achieve
a dream tank for the tenth of the cost as well. As to why any sane person would
do this I can’t claim to be 100% sane, nor can I speak for anyone else but reef tanks simply
fulfill my own personal need for innovation, creativity and change in a manner that pets
and other hobbies don’t. A place to put productive energy, watch it flourish in creations
that I’m proud to share with those in my life. While I didn’t understand it in real time, the investments I’ve made
in my tanks have really been investments in what I call personal joy. And why those that care about
me have always been supportive about, what from the outside
looks like a pretty darn expensive hobby and
frankly is, but worth it. Because once I identify the
passions which bring joy into my life I’m willing to invest in them. People invest in joy
in all kinds of areas, fancier cars, bigger houses, boats and even other 20 year pets. Reef tanks and pet ownership
in general is rarely a financial decision, it’s
a decision of passion for the animal and you just make
it work as time goes on. For instance, almost no
one would add this up but the AKC estimates
that the lifetime cost of dog ownership is fifteen-grand
with the first year approaching two-grand. Pets in general are just not
the cheapest things we bring into our homes and families, but they bring all kinds
of different value. Hopefully that provides
a bit of vision into why I love reef tanks and
willing to invest in them, I wouldn’t be surprised
if many of you find yourselves on similar paths. Outside that simple passion for creation, knowledge, challenges and successes, I’ve spoken to thousands
of reefers where reef tanks have done anything from
helping them kick addictions, like alcohol or even heroin. A young kid who made
it through recovery of a lung transplant planning his tank. Teachers who share chemistry
or biology with their class through reef tanks, people who treat anxiety. All kinds of different
value into people’s lives. But if I had to describe
it as one single word, I’d say joy. At this point you’re either
nodding your head and saying I’m with him, or saying this guy’s crazy it’s just a fish tank. Where you fall on that spectrum
probably dictates the budget you have for the hobby and
how much you’re willing to invest in it when you
inevitably go grossly over budget. In close relation to that,
where you fall on that spectrum has a direct causation
to the size of the dream and related budget for achieving it. So all that said, it doesn’t
have to be a 360 gallon tank or cost a fortune to be a dream tank, I’ve been realizing my dream
since my very first tank 15 years ago. Basically every tank I’ve
set up since then has been a dream at the time. The nature of dreams is they evolve. People invest in success
and often have more flexible resources as time goes on. When I set that first
90 gallon tank at age 27 it actually exceeded my
dreams and ended up being way cooler than I anticipated. And even though it was actually smaller, the same could be said of
the 70 gallon reef 70 tank that came years later. And where form started to match
function, where the outside of the tank itself started to
match the inside of the tank. The clown-harem tank
community of a single species watching them grow up together,
develop a natural hierarchy within the tank packed with bubble tips was something that I dreamed about. Obviously the BRS160
was a dream where form matched function again. And even three different
coral themed tanks independent but run next
to each other in my office was something that I’ve
been dreaming about since I saw something similar
with three huge coral type specific tanks lining the
walls of a local club member’s basement, which was his dream. So there will be a big investment
in the 360 I think it’s valuable to note that my first
dream tank budget was less one tenth of that with two-grand. That said I didn’t keep
an exact tab on this but I would expect that
I spent somewhere between two to three times that
in the first two years. Just to give you context,
I was 27 years old and had a good job as a career
server at a local steakhouse but a two-grand budget was
not a trivial amount of money. Having it double, or triple
that budget was not planned for but again I believe we all
invest in things that bring us joy, fun challenges or accomplishments that we can be proud of. Okay so before I get to how I’m
actually going to fund this, which I think many of you
actually may identify with, what’s gonna make this cost so much. I think I’ll break this
up into infrastructure. Equipment, and livestock, and fish, or coral and pets themselves. So this isn’t my first
rodeo I’m not in a hurry and some of this I’m just
going to try to do right from the the beginning this time. This time I’m going to
take out the carpet around the tank and replace it with tile. Spills are inevitable for me, I’m just going to own
it from the beginning. This means the fish room
plumbing, the floor drain, as well as coating the
cement to protect the cement. Also means power solutions,
meaning having an electrician put in enough circuits to
power a large tank like this. Related to that the tank also
needs a power outage solution. I’m also going to have to do
some structural work to the wall as well as move some
HVAC around to accommodate where the tank is going. There’s probably going to
be a slew of other surprises as well just getting the area ready. There’s also of course the tank itself, stand, hood, lighting, sump,
pumps, heater, rock works, skimmer, flow and other
elements of filtration. And lastly this is a big
tank and there will be a lot of coral and fish. This time I’m going to take
it a bit slower and treat the tank more like a
collection of coral and fish. I mean I don’t need an
insta-tank, I’m looking forward to collecting the right
corals the peak my interest over many years. They don’t have to be expensive, just the things that I’m
excited about caring for and watching grow over many years. So how’s a tank like
this going to be funded? Well I think some of you
might find this interesting, many of the tanks you’ve
watched here were actually funded by BRS. However in this case the
tank is going in my home and while I know that he
wouldn’t have an issue with it, I don’t think it’s fair to
have my business partner pay for a dream tank and infrastructure that’s going into my house. So it’s gonna come out
of my family’s pocket. As you might expect that’s
not what my wife would call good news because I tend to
get carried away with things when I have no predetermined boundaries. In the end I came up with
a compromise which is the tank can be funded
with my side hustle, something I think is
both fair for our family, keeps me in check a bit, and honestly something I’m excited about because that’s how almost
all the tanks in my house were funded from the beginning. Side hustles in reefing are pretty common and that may mean growing
out coral and trading them so you don’t have to buy them, selling coral frags to a
local fish store, on Ebay, or forums like Reef2Reef. This is a hobby that after
a while can fund itself. In my case making homemade
fish food for the local club was a big part of what funded
that first 90 gallon tank. Ultimately you expanded
to Ebay and what would become Reef Chili. If you watched last week
shortly after that I spent thousands of dollars building
out a series of coral and fish propagation systems in my
basement just a couple years after starting my first tank. It amounted to half a year’s
salary for me and not something I just had laying around,
it was completely funded by the success of the
various side hustles. You can call it a side hustle
but really those things were just fun extensions
of the hobby and ways to interact with the larger
reefing community for me. So I’m gonna stick to my
roots and agreed with my wife to live within that box
of the constraints of what funded my very first tank,
is also what’s gonna be funds my dream tank 15 years
later with Reef Chili. This is a good time to
thank everyone whose been using Reef Chili for the last decade plus, Reef Chili is not just
something that I’m proud to offer the community all these years but also obviously an
intrical component in my reefing journey in so many ways. That side gig combined
with hopefully some timely donations from various
vendors will hopefully allow me to put together something really cool for all of you to follow along with. So that leads us right into what’s next and in just a few
minutes David Hammontree, aka The Rev, or founder
of the best reefing forum out there with Reef2Reef will be with us. I invited him because recently
he set up his dream tank, I thought it would be great
to hear about his dream, some insight into what it cost him, and how he managed those costs as well. So that’s coming up
here in just 30 minutes at 12:30 central today. So click this link here
to join us for that live, raw, in-depth conversation
if you want to see what inspires a leader of
one of the most influential communities in reefing
this is your chance. Click this link and we’ll see you there.

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Comments
  • MORE of this week's BRS360!

    ➡ Talking BRS360 Dream Tank $$ w/ David Hammontree – : https://youtu.be/dHQ5J0Xl6ZA

    ➡ All BRS360 episodes HERE! : https://brs.li/BRS360_Series_Playlist

    ➡ Today's video discussion Reef2Reef : https://brs.li/R2R_BRS360_Ep4

  • Couldn’t agree more on the unforeseen benefits the hobby has provided. Without getting too personal its provided joy in times that otherwise could have been very dark. Cant put a price on that IMO!

  • My setup
    Red Sea Reefer 525 XL $2700
    2 x Radion g4 pros $1700
    Vortech pumps $1000
    Varios return pump $300
    skimmer $200
    GHL doser $400
    Power strips/control $300
    Cable management $100
     
    Total $6700

    Add acro frags, fish, water, salt mix, rock, and test kits
     +miscellaneous items like zip ties and hanging kits
    New total $9,000

  • Would like to comment to thank Ryan, Randy, Ryan and everyone else at BRS. You don’t have to do this, but you do and the quality of content is beyond measure. Saw you guys at reefapalooza NY 2019 and got star struck a bit (walked away to chase down some corals! lol) but would like to take this time to say thank you all.

  • Too bad you don’t own some sort of supply business that you can get a better price on stuff. I can’t wait till the next video! Keep up the awesome work

  • No matter how often you say it , it is not an investment…. That said that doesn't mean you shouldnt buy an aquarium 😉

  • Honestly, I work in a jail and it's an environment where it's negative 24/7. My tank help me relax and enjoy the rest of my day. Takes my mind off a lot.

  • My cheapest tank is a 10 gal tank which i got for $10 at petco, and altogether, i spent about $80-$100 on all decor including substrates, live rock, sands, salt, algae plants etc then i spent about $80 on chemicals a test kits, including planktons and amino acids, reef starters, clacium etc. Then, i spent about $110 at liveaquaria.com to stock it with both coral, snails and fish 😁 the tank has been stocked for months, and the only death was a single nassarius snail, while the other nassarius snails have survived fine. Also, due to my small tank size i spent $45 on an LED system and its even taken care of my LPS corals nicely! So, for $300-$350 youd definitely be able to set up a pretty nice 10-20 gallon reef from scratch, as long as you have good locations to purchase from. Of course, you will spend money over time on restocking salt, food, chems, tests etc, but those things are expected costs for any pet or even plant, and only cost me about $20ish a month, seems pretty worth it to me when i get to have my own pieces of the ocean in my room!

  • My solution to power outages??? Get a Tesla Powerwall. I installed one 3 years ago when a power outage wiped out 60% of my tank. Since installing the Powerwall, we have breezed through at least 8 major and probably a dozen minor outages with zero loss of power to the tank; the additional upside is that the house continues to run as well.

  • I've been trying to do this as cheap as i can all the way and still it's endlessly expensive. i try to save where i can tho

  • Well I"m just going to be honest here, I doubt Ryan is paying MAP prices that the rest of us slobs are paying on equipment. And while wholesale is still going to be pricy all those little hundreds of dollars here and there will add up. Plus he's made connections throughout the hobby and I've seen plenty of Youtube reef "celebs" get free stuff from vendors just to show case what they're using. And I'm not a tax guy, but I wouldn't be surprised if because he's doing the video via his store he could call it a business expense and write it off 😀 Now do I sound jealous? Yeah maybe a little, but Ryan seems like a cool enough guy and I wish nothing but the best for him and his new dream tank.

  • You have to have a passion to do this it has to be enjoyable even the painful parts of the learning curve. I have been through 2 crashes already and I keep chugging along because I love what I am learning and marine biology is what I always wanted for a career. I never think about the money because if you do you will not get very far 63 gallon tank has cost me over 5000 dollars in equipment, food and so on not to mention all the corals I just lost they were not cheap. With this is lessons learned in my mind because you know where most of the times you made a mistake even when you are still trying to be carefull they both were on me. Reef tanks are too beautiful for me to give up on and I think reefing is important stuff to know as a person because our world is mostly ocean and if you can learn from it and learn how not to hurt it then we have gained something positive in this life. I love my fish and animals and do my best to care for them I don't care about the money it's what I work for as long as my kids have their needs met family is good I will be caring for animals aquatic plants and anything I can learn to care for that I or science deems important. I love doing this too much to walk away over money there is a limit though.

  • Starting a 29 gallon reef tank in my bedroom has changed my life. I wasn't taking care of myself. Caring for the coral and fish became my focus. Then slowly I cleaned up my myself. Disabled veteran

  • I had to bail out after getting a 150 gallon tank. Spent every spare moment for 3 weeks researching and Designed every part of it then bailed due to price of rock/sand among other things and worry about total weight.

  • I've been kinda out of the loop on the community side of reefing for about 10 years. Back then, ReefCentral was the hub. Now I hear Reef2Reef mentioned as the goto forum. That's almost as surprising as coming back and finding everyone had moved from Facebook to Google+. Feels like there's a story there. Can someone fill me in on the migration?

  • Hey why don’t you just let those guys from “tanked” build it… j/k please don’t let those losers near your house

  • 6 feet tank setup would cost me more than 15k dollar in my area. You guys are lucky with prices and resources in north america.

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