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How much aquascaping really cost

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by ghostsword, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    To Catch up the discussion from the "Aqueous Art Movement" Thread

    Only remark is the price mentioned that a tank cost to setup, I feel that the prices are overinflated, and that may scare some people of starting up. Some tank setups are shown on the magazine as over £800 to setup.

    My wife looked at the magazine and in shock asked me if that was how much my tanks are costing me. :) Obviously not.

    If one goes with ADA kit, then the price steps up, but on a tank the most expensive piece of kit would be the CO2 paraphernalia, and this if not purchased on ebay. A nice looking tank can be setup with under £200.

    But credit given where it is due, the guys are really at the forefront of the planted "scene" in the UK, the results are visible, from articles on newspapers, to having more than a few pages on PFK.

    Good job!
     

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  2. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    Luis,
    imo it is not possible to set up a nice "high tech" planted tank under 200 GBP, if not using DIY and second hand stuff from ebay.
    Purchasing everything from online shops you´ll end with approximately 450-500EUR not including hardscape + flora + fauna. This is a low budget calculation for 60cm high tech tank. If you go for lilypipes and optiwhite and cabinet + hardscape,flora,fauna you´ll easily end with 800EUR or GBP ( I believe UK market is slightly expansive than Europe).

    Full ADA tanks cost far more than 800GBP thought
     
  3. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    :) I wrote:
    "A nice looking tank can be setup with under £200."

    If someone is coming to the hobby and seeing tanks that costs upwards of £800 to start, then they will be wary of it, I would.

    A cheap tank with lights is about £80:
    Fish Box 40cm Tank by Interpet (Available In Store Only) | Pets at Home

    A 2215 eheim filter will go about £60:
    Eheim Classic External Filter: amazing values at zooplus

    Get a heater for about £20, Tropica plant substrate for about £20 and top up with gravel. Add some rocks and wood, get some low tech plants, such as crypts or ferns, or even fake plants and one can have a nice looking tank for close to £200.

    A good looking tank does not have to be necessarily a high tech setup, and for beginners into planted systems to just show the high priced systems is misleading.

    Would be like saying to a new car driver that the only cars on offer to buy are high powered cars.




    There is a lot of pressure on new people to go straight into high tech, but I believe that for newbies it is better to have a easy way in, spend as little as possible and see a good tank develop, then take it to the next level.

    That was how I started. :)
     
  4. Mojojojo

    Mojojojo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I can agree with ghostsword here. I am new to the hobby and to be honest, the prices and complexity of just getting something half decent going is quite a turn off. It's something I really want and it will be worth it in the end so I'm sticking to it though :)

    At least with a site like this, information is always at hand and there is always someone willing to offer advice and help, which makes the whole process alot easier.
     
  5. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    I have seen the new TMC acrylic tank, it is a 15L, and it comes ready with a LED and filter for £99.

    New From TMC Microhabitat 15 from Aquatics Warehouse.

    How many fantastic looking nanos have you all seen? :)

    What do you think, does money make the difference between having a great looking tank, or not? Can the results be achieved with around £250?

    My nano, named Backwater, it was less than £100 to setup.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    Luis,
    most beginners mostly get into hobby after they see one of those awesome Amano scapes and they want exactly the same. So the truth for them is 800€
    But for somebody who already had been fishkeeping and simply wants to start with planted tanks and learn one step after each other - your answer is right.

    The Tank you have linked is not suitable for real aquascaping, we know that, but it is ok for doing first steps with keeping plants alive.
    The problem is, a beginner who wants the ready out of the box Amano scape is not willing to learn step by step, he wants it know and if doesn't get the results he expected, he´ll probably quit.

    edit: the nano you have posted is a good example that it might be possible but not for a beginner. how many beginners do you know who have achieved that good looking low tech setups? IMO proper low tech is more complicated than high tech
     
  7. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    :) If the beginner does not learn step by step what he will have is a tank full of algae, dying plants and will feel that he was ripped off when he purchased the expensive kit.

    Going to a shop and buying a ADA tank, a powerfull light, CO2 and ferts is not enough to have a display like most we see here. It is not as easy as it looks. :D

    Maybe the issue is people wanting the same as the highly rated aquascapes without taking the time to understand what really is happening or how it works.

    I started with aquariums in the 80's, but only with plants about 2 years ago and moved to CO2 and hightech a year ago. I am still learning, and trying new things, and my tanks are still a far cry from the great aquascapes we all want to emulate.

    Aquascaping should be available to all, and then as people start to learn they can then invest on more expensive kit.

    I started with a Clearseal tank, cost me £50, then bought a Juwel and now I am orderning a ADA 60F and a ADA 75P. The family understand the beauty of the tanks and see them as piece of furniture, something that complements the house.

    Now imagine coming home and asking the wife, on these hard times, that I wanted to spend £800 on tanks, not knowing that I could keep them in good situation. :)
     
  8. Mojojojo

    Mojojojo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I started off with a 20G tank, purely for keeping fish. Since then I have had to upgrade the substrate,soil,lighting and Co2. Yes,crypts and ferns are cool, but they dont come close to a nice carpet in my humble opinion. Thats just the hardware and doesnt include plants/rocks/fish/shrimp etc. The other thing is that having all this cool new stuff doesnt guarantee and nice scape anyway as it has been rightly mentioned that this whole hobby is about constantly learning and experimenting. I am under no illusion that my first scape will either be based on "dead plant arrangement" or "Algae heaven". Live and learn..but at substabtial £££ cost.
     
  9. J House

    J House Moderator Staff Member

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    There would be a wide range of costs to startup a tank depending on how particular one would be with how all the components look. If your viewing your scape as a piece of art in a home or office than yes it can easily be what was quoted even more so. I've setup some high end scapes in Manhattan, NY and you would not believe the costs of the custom tanks, cabinet and other components.

    Anything to do with the art movement I would think would lend itself to this since you can't have anything unsightly or not artistic associated with the setup. Think of Art Galleries and what everything looks like around the paintings, pictures, etc.

    What that being said, if someone just wants a 60cm rimless tank in their home with a nice t5 fixture, eheim filter, co2 kit. That could be had for under $500USD (385 Euro). Add another $100USD for lily pipes. What goes in the tank is really not much Moss Rock, Plants, Wood)
     
  10. timewalker03

    timewalker03 New Member

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    The cost of starting up is an interesting topic. Money spent also does not mean quality tank. When I first started out 3 years ago I sunk $1120(US) into my big tank setup. I bought a 55gallon tank and stand $400. Light $200. Filter and heater $200. Substrate and Hardscape $120. Flora and Fauna was in the range of $200 (Bought from online companies rather than fellow aquascapers). I went through 8 months of disastrous results trying to use DIY CO2 which near the end I finally figured out. As my frustrations grew my realization grew in that I should have started smaller and have gone low tech rather than doing it impulsively. Needless to say I am going to be starting over with a 29 gallon low tech setup and learning the right way on how to care for and enjoy a planted aquarium.
     
  11. George Farmer

    George Farmer Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Sure, you can set up a nice tank for cheap. I have done plenty myself.

    In my PFK features I often state how much stuff costs, as accurately as possible. Some set-ups have been less than £100, some over £3,000. I've had around a dozen or so different set-ups featured now, all with difference costings.

    I had similar comments regarding "over" pricing when I featured an aquascape on Sky1 TV. The set-up featured would retail at around £1,000, but I did state on TV that similar could be done for £200-£300.

    My aim is to let the reader/viewer make well-informed choices through accurate and realistic pricing, and I have featured budget set-ups, as well as the more premium systems.
     
  12. Mojojojo

    Mojojojo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I saw that SKY1 program. That's what made me decide to get in to it all :)
     
  13. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    I believe that the issue now is that Aquascaping can be seen as too expensive.

    For example, do you really need those lilly pipes? At £50 odd a pop, or more, do you need them? Get them in acrylic if you really want the transparent look, they are not that difficult to make. :)

    Obviously for a display tank on a shop, restaurant, or hotel, the best must be pursued, after all the client is paying for and deserves good quality stuff, but for a home display the situation may be different.

    Nothing wrong in having a full ADA tank, with the great looking stainless steel filters, but people should be made aware of the other options. On PFK for example, they are showing now just tanks that cost above £800.

    George did some time ago a couple of Biotopes for pfk, and they were really well priced.
    How to build a Great British aquascape | Features | Practical Fishkeeping
    How to set up a White Cloud biotope | Features | Practical Fishkeeping
    How to set up a Cambodia biotope aquarium | Features | Practical Fishkeeping

    The white cloud minow was just outstanding, I believe that it was one of his best creations. With that base it would not be hard to put some hairgrass on it, add some CO2 and see the tank develop.

    CO2 I believe is still the most expensive package, but low tech is a good start.
     
  14. Mojojojo

    Mojojojo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Co2 has definately been the biggest cost for me so far..or will be once I figure out what I need. I got a tank today, so now I need to find out what else I need and have a snoop about on the web. It seems patience and money (If you dont have the patience)is the key here.
     
  15. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    Luis,
    call it low light ;)

    even a low tech setup requires proper fertilization and a nutrient rich soil, good flow etc
     
  16. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    Thanks, will call it the proper name .. :)

    Low light is the correct term. It will mean, less growth, less need for ferts and less maintenance.

    Cannot avoid good substrate, that cannot be avoided, unless I use anubias or ferns.

    I am now trying crypts on wood, as I saw Graeme doing on the art show, then maybe I can do completely away with substrate.

    Will try to make a tank for under £200, something like a 60cm by 30cm by 30cm, maybe we can have a challenge on the forum for it? 8)
     
  17. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    if you help to organize it :)
     
  18. Mojojojo

    Mojojojo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    And then something awesome happens and someone gives you an empty oxygen tank and a regulator which can work for Co2...for free! *yay* Now I just need a solenoid and I'm ready to rock and roll :rock:
     
  19. Frosties

    Frosties New Member

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    I think I will join in this conversation - as I have a valid view on this both as a hobbyist, and also a retailer.

    When I started out - I went to a high street retailer who charged me well over £100 for a 35l tank, stand, light, heater and filter. I then purchased some ghastly looking gravel, loads of plants and a few danios... All in - nearly £200 and the fish died within 2 weeks... the plants within 4weeks...

    I persevered - and got another deal - simalar price - but a 60l tank.... then I found eBay. I managed to eventually (tank 3 coming up) purchase a juwel 240 tank, eheim 2026 filter, substrate, lighting, cabinet... all for £200... and so on...

    Now I purchase tanks (basic ones in glass) at trade for my business... so much cheaper and so are the add ons - I am sure any retailer will understand - we need to trial them therefore a legitimate business expense... for home use :D

    However - next week is my fathers birthday - his 60th... and he has just moved house and the step mom will not let him have a pond this time... So... here comes the relevance... I have decided to purchase him a new tank, some fish plus plants etc... but I am paying retail! The reason for this is that he lives some distance away from me and that way the local fish shop will honour the warranty should something go wrong.

    So here is the list so far...

    Tank - 65l Arcadia tank - includes lights, filter, heater, stand, some food, substrate (gravel) and a few plastic plants. - cost £60.00
    I have already purchased 1 tub Tetra substrate - £14.95
    6 danios... £5.00

    Total £79.95 - call it £80.00

    I am supplying the plants and also 2 x dupla ground substrates and 1 pack vukanit stix plus all the plants.
    Substrate and vukanit costs £17.98 retail and say 1 x 25 bunch deal £20.49

    The total spent is £118.42

    He also needs some ferts £4.00 and a dosing bottle £4.10

    I have also decided that he needs a co2 unit. I found one on ebay CO2-Complete System+magnetic valve+Reactor/500g bottle! on eBay (end time 09-Jan-11 18:02:36 GMT)
    This costs £130.90 plus P&P from Germany. It is a product which I have purchased in the past and it is ideal for a tank of this size but it is a nice to have as it makes the project too expensive... so for now he is getting a dupla Omega kit £37.75

    So the total for the setup will be in the region of £165.00 all in... not quite high tech - but high enough to get him hooked - then he can go out and buy a 800l tank himself...

    ##################

    One thing to stress here is that George came under a bucket load of flack about the Sky1 show... I saw it... and was horrified when the tank was detailed in excess of £1000.... infact the presenters even introduced it as the most expensive fish tank you will ever buy!

    I did hear George say that the same could be achieved on smaller budgets - but I also noticed that the producers also lowered the volume on that particular statement, and took the emphasis off George whilst he said it. This is subliminal programming... people will miss the latter comment as the producers wished to push the fact it was the most expensive fish tank ever...

    Prices are way way too high in some instances for equipment we buy (and sell). Plants for example - In the UK my shop is probably the cheapest around - ask anyone! And there are other shops who clearly have much higher prices.

    One shop that springs to mind however retails a completely different type or range of plants that I currently wish to eventually match in quality by retailing the same branded products... but not today. I am happy at the moment offering far eastern grown products at fair prices, not European cultivated plants at European prices - inflated for the UK market!

    One other issue to point out is overheads for the premises the retailers have - these vary massively across the UK and a shop in London compared to a shop in Hensall will have enormous overhead price differences. This affects cost.

    However it is up to YOU the customer to vote with your feet and / or fingers. Firstly get to know your retailers... build a level of trust with them so you know they will provide you good service.
    Know your products - then you can shop around...
    Buy cheaper... not necessarily online either! sometimes you will find better deals on the high street! All of the above items are purchased on the high street - or at high street prices.
    If you think it is too expensive - say so... don't moan about it AFTER you have purchased it... tell it to the retailer who will probably come to an agreement assuming you have the rapport with them...

    You can make a tank cheap... and buy new... but you can go to eBay and make it cheaper!
     
  20. Edis

    Edis Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi everyone, interesting discussion.
    I was always saying that there are ways to safe if you really want it, research and read a lot.
    Want to give an example...
    [​IMG]

    Here we go:

    Tank cost 30 (could be bought new clearseal from pets at home, plastic and brace removed and you have a braceless tank.
    Lighting hagen 2x24w t5 controler 30£ plus 2 cheap bulbs 10£
    CO2: mono reg from ebay for 15£ delivered, 2kg FE from car boot sale 5£, straight into the filter diffusment method.
    Filter second hand for around 35£ delivered
    Substrate: bag of akadama 9£
    Hardscape about 20£ for dragon stones
    Plants from other setups but could be obtained from the forum members for 12-15£
    Small bits like fert salts, co2 line, some moss peat and osmocote, drop checker add another 15£

    So total comes to around 180£ witch is around 240euro
    Not too bad i would say.

    As J House said another point is if you want artistic display with mi
    nimal look then the ways to safe are 'inside' the system.
    Have an example here as well but the list is too lond :)
    UKAPS members will be familiar with my office tank.
    Too make it short it cost me around 1500£ 120cm optiwhite with ada style cabinet and top of the range arcadia lighting with 2 metal halides.
    I saved as much as i could there :) The only new bit is the tank and cheap lilies :ruff:
    The same setup could cost you 4000-5000£ being hotheaded.

    To sum up. There are ways to safe. If you really want it so much and read a bit plus live in such a place whre you have amazing ebay :rock: thre is not a big difference in fish and planted tank. They could sell you for the same or even more money the fish sutable tank only.

    Its the way the seller approaches the client. Dont scary people with the big money and hobby will expand :)
     

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