Startup costs for reef tank


Reefing newb
So I'm starting to look into the possibility of build a reef aquarium, and one of the first things I'm trying to do is get a good idea of the range of startup costs I should expect to face and am hoping that you guys can help me out.

Here are my constraints:

1) The stand does not need to be factored into the cost
2) Everything that goes inside the tank (fish, substrate, coral, etc) does not need to be factored in
2) I would likely look to start with a tank in the range of 60-90 gallons.
3) I am looking for what the cost range is for all of the basic mechanical and test equipment (tank, skimmers, lighting, etc) to get a tank functioning, with the assumption that I will be buying quality equipment (not necessarily top of the line, but not the cheapest garbage either).

In a separate estimate, I would also like to know what the average monthly cost is of maintaining a tank of the size mentioned above (electricity, food, etc) that some of you have experienced

These can be very ballpark - I'm not looking to know down to the hundreds of dollars what I should expect to spend. Is it going to be 2-3k? 4-5k? etc.

Hopefully this is enough detail. If there is a good documented resource on this, I would be happy to read it. I've begun my own research as well, but there is so much information to digest that I'm trying to get as much info as I can in parallel.

Thanks in advance!
2 to 3 for a 36g.

Now that's high end stock and equipment.
I have 6 to 7 in mine.

This is for sump, overflow, lights, skimmer, rocks, fish and high end sps.

Now all this is variable and you can find good deals out there.
Here's some of them.
Join a local club, people come and go all the time.
Check ebay, but be careful on what you're buying by research the product. Ie, I bought an 730 dollar skimmer 3 months old for 200 bucks. ( way over sized)
Check adds, black Friday deals and you're in for a win.
Don't go on reef2reef and expect to find a deal, make friends locally.
Thanks for your reply. I checked out your showcase and you have a beautiful tank - is that the 36g tank that you are referencing? What are the dimenions of your tank? One of my next steps is to go to a pet store and actually look at tanks in person to get an idea of the size.

2-3 seems pretty reasonable to me, if that includes stock as well. Any idea what % of what you spent is on coral and fish?

My estimate would be a little cheaper than Mario's. Although you can certainly spend as much as you want in this hobby.
I bought a 90g fully stocked for $550 which was a great deal. If you had to buy everything new and livestock you can definitely get into 2-3k pretty quick.
Look on Craigslist every day for key word "aquarium". In my area some amazing deals come up.
Fish and corals are all over the spectrum as far as cost. Just depends on what you want. SPS like Mario keeps can get pretty expensive. Rarity, size, and color are all contributing factors of cost.
The tank in the picture is a 72g.

If you look into high end corals (the ones you can make money off of) then you are making the money back.

Let's face facts, if it's not high end coral... you have a tank full of coral you have to give away. Chalice, ultra acans, millis, and acro are what's paying.

I have no over head in my tank. It paid for itself twice over. I by far am no expert, I just get lucky on the corals I pick...
Yes. That is correct.

My tank maintains itself. I do a 10g change 1x per week and scrape the algae every 3 days.

There's different progresses, the build stage and the maintain stage. I can't fit anymore coral or fish. Once that happens, there is no more math.
The year mark is the biggest. Once a system is ran properly for a year, you'll see the corals grow 2 fold.
How much are your monthly maintenance costs (electricty, food, etc) ? Also, how long does it take to change the water? Not long I'm assuming, with a sump anyways.
I spend about an hour a week. I sift the sandbed with w/c's.

I would guess I spend about 40 bucks a month including food and electricity. Hard telling because everything ramps up and down depending the time of day.
This is a hard question. I've but 2-3k in my 55g alone. Really it depends how advanced of equipment you're getting. My lights alone were $500 a piece.
If your asking about "startup costs" it's realy in the equipment and live rock you buy, if you are cycling your LR then your start up cost is a tank, refractometer, test kit, salt, heater, water pump, and LR. No need for a light and skimmer for a few weeks. And cost will depend on tank size and amount of rock

Now if you want to know how much we've all invested in our tanks, well let's just say my wife reads this board and I don't remember what I told her I spent. :cautious:
My 70 gallon cost about 2k to set up. Are you planning on a sump? This will also factor in the initial set up cost. I was fortunate that a friend of mine builds tanks and sumps and my cousin is a cabinet maker so I just had to supply the material. For equipment your bigger costs will be skimmer, lights, return pump and rock. (not equipment but necessary for tank start up)

Must haves for start up other than tank and stand:
Return pump
Skimmer (not required for initial start up but a necessary piece of equipment and should be factored in start up costs)
TDS Meter
RO/DI Unit (or buy RO water)
Test Kits (Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite and PH)

For monthly costs its hard to say I am in Canada so my power consumption differs from season to season. Monthly costs will be different depending on size of tank and frequency of water changes. (cost of RO/DI water and salt) My advice is to invest in an RO/DI unit as part of your start up cost.

Lights are not necessary for start up but will definitely will be a factor depending on what type of tank you want to set up. Keep your eyes on the classifieds for deals. I was fortunate enough to save a lot of money on my tank, sump and stand which let me buy additional equipment like tank controller, dual reactor and good LED lights. Buy the best you can afford for your set up. The better your initial setup the better it will be for your tank inhabitants. Good luck have fun and do a ton of research.