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Old 07/12/2018, 06:10 PM   #1
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crimsontopper's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 61
Back in the saddle again - IM Fusion 10 Budget Build

So after a 3 year hiatus of tank keeping, I have decided to get back into the hobby. I kept a 29 gallon for about 10 years before giving that away to a friend. I was moving hundreds of miles away with two small children and starting grad school, so I did not believe I would have time to give it the attention it deserved. I was right.

But, now three years in, I feel like I can devote a little more time to a tank. With the children being a little bit older they can help out and get excited about it too, especially the older one.

I have not been able to get away from surfing these boards, checking out YouTube videos, and keeping up with the latest gadgets for the hobby. I'm sure you can relate. It seems like I am a bit of a cliche in the hobby. As I previously mentioned, I am in grad school so, I'm poor. Therefore, I wanted to see what kind of a system I could get set up for not too much money. Also, I know I will be moving again in 2 year, so I don't want to deal with the hassle of moving a monster. I figure this little tank will let me feed my need, as well as start growing some coral that I would like to have in a larger tank when I have a bit more disposable income.

I knew I was not going to be able to get and maintain a monster tank like I dream about, but I knew I could get back into the game for not too much if I went with one of these AIO deals. I almost pulled the trigger on a Fluval 13.5, but it wasn't really what I wanted. So, I watched the facebook and the local reef group and I found someone getting rid of an almost brand new IM 10 for $50, so I snagged it last week. Here it is (cat for size reference)
tank and cat.jpg

I immediately hopped on the interwebz and ordered some salt (sorry, LFS. I tried to buy from you but, I'm poor and your salt was 100% more for the same thing, but I got my substrate and rock from you), test kit and light. I went with Red Sea for the salt. Previously, I used reef crystals, but I had read some posts that said IO RC had some consistency issues. Everyone seems to like Red Sea, so I figured I would give them a try.

I chose to go with a generic refractometer from amazon. The reviews were really good and it seems to be accurate. It was only $20 compared to the name brand one for $60 at the LFS. Once again, budget build. Hopefully, I am not shooting myself in the foot buying from amazon. My main concern is that the readings are consistent rather than 100% accurate. Based off the instructions on the salt bucket, it seems to be correct. I will just make sure to follow all acclimation procedures when getting animals.

After researching lighting and watching some vids on Marine Depot's site, I discovered the wave point blade. I checked out its reviews and such and it seems like a great deal. I got the larger one, though, and I think I may have over bought. It's pretty strong and there is quite a bit of light spillover. I want to keep softies and LPS, so I am afraid I might bleach them with this thing. If anyone has a reasonable opinions about this I would appreciate it.

So, the salt finally came in today and I've got it set up. I'm pretty happy with it. Here, it is filled

Filled with blue lights
tank 2.jpg

Filled with blue and white lights
tank 3.jpg

So how did I do on the budget build?
Tank = $50
Salt = $30
Rock = $22
Test kit = $24
Light = $60
Substrate = $25
Refractometer = $20
(I already had a heater)
Total cost = $231

Water will come from Walmart @ $.37 per gallon.

Overall, I am pretty happy with what I spent to get back into the hobby. I don't think I cheaped out too much on the light and refractometer. Coming from a major dealer and reading the reviews, it seems like the light was built for someone like me. (Maybe Santa will bring me a controllable one). I'll let you know how it works out.

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Old 07/12/2018, 06:17 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 19
Excited for your build! Just set up a nuvo 20 last week and started a thread as well. Smaller tanks are almost more enjoyable for me. That light should be fine for your tank just test it out with a couple of lower dollar corals to see what it puts out. Good luck with everything! And welcome back to the hobby

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Kyle42 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09/29/2018, 12:49 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 13
I love a good “frugal” tank. I’m interested to see how yours develops without all of the whiz-bang hardware others have.

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Old 09/29/2018, 12:10 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 61
I dont really update this thread anymore. I try to stay on top of it on that other forum. also, updates are on my insta at saltreefnano

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