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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was recently going to build a 29gal viv, but then.....I wrote a list of all the supplies/ plants/ materials that I would need, along with the cost of each item, and it came out to be about $396:eek:

I was just wondering how much it costs you guys to build your vivs on average since many of you on the forum have a lot! Please specify tank size(Gallons) and price if you can:)

PS. I still can't decide if i should just save up until I can do the 29Gal, or if I should just start a 10gal right now(seems kinda small to me=/) Any recommendations?
 

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I honestly can't tell you how much on average the Vivs cost, but I can say as you get more, they do cost less because you already have some left over supplies and you just take cutting from your tanks to plant them.
 

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I agree that they get less expensive the more you have, both due to left over supplies and more experience.
Most of mine are very simple and functional- they aren't bad looking, but most of mine don't have more elaborate things like water features, automated misting, rare orchids, etc.
I would say the average cost for a new tank for me would be around $60 for a 20 gallon (the tank, lid, light, false bottom, substrate and a few easy plants).
However, I can probably make the same tank with leftover supplies for about $30... Check to see if any local people have spare supplies like eggcrate, glass, sphagnum moss/ orchid bark, plant cuttings, leaf litter, etc. These things are usually very available and most people would probably be able to give you some at little or no cost.
Bryan
 

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I would say I spent around (the equivalent of) 300$ a pop for my 18x18x24" Exo terras, maybe a little more.
It almost always costs more than you first estimate, it's all the small things that ads up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah I realize I'm going to have a lot of materials after I'm done. just went to PETCO and bought a 29gal, its probably going to be a slow build, but it'll be worth it I guess:)

Would any of you remember how much it costs to set up your first viv? Without any left over materials? Or well in my case, since its my first ever build, and don't have any materials at all, does $400 seem reasonable for a 29gal or does it seem a bit too expensive?
 

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I just set up my 29 gallon tank. Here are the costs.

29 gallon tank - 29
glass top - 22
finnex 30 inch planted+ - 85
false bottom - 12
background supplies - 10
driftwood - 22
leaf litter - 15
abg substrate - 20
broms - 40
plants - 40

so I've spent around 300 dollars
 

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I'm actually really enjoying how comparitevly inexpensive this hobby is compared to the average cost of setting up a reef. After everything excluding frogs thus far, my 40B has only run me around $400, including an external canister filter for a water feature, internal circulation fans, and an LED fixture. I have enough materials to set up another tank this size as well, which I am really considering (I don't even own my first frogs yet...)

My point being, it could be worse, if that's any conciliation.
 

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Mine is just plants and couple of orchids (phals). Roughly a bit over $200. I already have the tank (40g 36x16x18) from my lived plants, fish keeping days. I already have the light strips, 4 t8 light strips from Lowes. My background isn't that elaborated with foam sprays and fake rocks. I just sloped the back of the tank higher and to cover the back with driftwood and mounting my orchids way up and to the back. I have a pretty large plant selections since I try to cover every inch of the substrate with plants. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here's my list:


  • 29 gal tank-$29 (Already bought)
    NEHERP jungle dawn lighting kit-$108
    Gallon size bag of cork-$8
    Ghostwood x2-$34
    ABG Mix 2 Gallons-$14
    15Lb gravel-$15
    Pump-$15
    Tubing-$7
    Eggcrate-$13 (Already bought)
    Touch n' foam-$20
    GE Silicone II x5-$35
    Peat Moss 3 Cubic Ft.-$12
    Glass-$15
    Screen Frame Corners-$3 (Already bought)
    Screen kit(Fiberglass screen , Screen Spline and roller)-$8 (Already bought)
    Screen Frame-$5 (Already bought)
    B Grade Broms x6-$27
    Tillandsia x6-$8
    Creeping fig x4-$8
    Dischidia Ruscifolia x4-$5
    Peperomia NOID vine x4-$8
    NEHERP Moss 12"x12" x2-$24
    Java moss-$5

Total=$408

Probably still going to add more plants too haha. I have a cool piece of Mopani wood from a few years back, but don't know how I should incorporate it. Maybe in the pond?

I attached a picture of what I want to make minus the foam background(seems hard to draw)

So how can I cut back on cost???
 

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Here's my list:


  • 29 gal tank-$29 (Already bought)
    NEHERP jungle dawn lighting kit-$108
    Gallon size bag of cork-$8
    Ghostwood x2-$34
    ABG Mix 2 Gallons-$14
    15Lb gravel-$15
    Pump-$15
    Tubing-$7
    Eggcrate-$13 (Already bought)
    Touch n' foam-$20
    GE Silicone II x5-$35
    Peat Moss 3 Cubic Ft.-$12
    Glass-$15
    Screen Frame Corners-$3 (Already bought)
    Screen kit(Fiberglass screen , Screen Spline and roller)-$8 (Already bought)
    Screen Frame-$5 (Already bought)
    B Grade Broms x6-$27
    Tillandsia x6-$8
    Creeping fig x4-$8
    Dischidia Ruscifolia x4-$5
    Peperomia NOID vine x4-$8
    NEHERP Moss 12"x12" x2-$24
    Java moss-$5

So how can I cut back on cost???
You may not like this, but the easiest way would just be to simplify the build and skip some of those things in your list (water feature, background, some of the plants, etc)
I bolded things in your list that you could (if you wanted to, not saying you should or have to...) skip or cut back with cheaper substitutes on to really cut down on the cost. Of course, you can spend more and have a potentially much nicer tank, but for some people the cost-benefit tradeoff is at a lower price point.

Bryan
 

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  • 29 gal tank-$29 (Already bought)
    NEHERP jungle dawn lighting kit-$108 - You can cut this down to $35 by using a 30 inch beams work 0.5W x 3 rows, better spread, looks better and cheaper its a strait up win on almost all fronts.
    Gallon size bag of cork-$8
    Ghostwood x2-$34
    ABG Mix 2 Gallons-$14 - I think you will actually need more of this.
    15Lb gravel-$15 - $6 or so for a bag of rocks at a landscape place
    Pump-$15 - you aren't going to have a ton of room for a water feature.
    Tubing-$7 - same as above
    Eggcrate-$13 (Already bought)
    Touch n' foam-$20 - Is this great stuff? - if you plan well I think 1 $4 can of great stuff can do a whole 29 gallon.
    GE Silicone II x5-$35 - DAP has 100% silicone cheaper
    Peat Moss 3 Cubic Ft.-$12
    Glass-$15
    Screen Frame Corners-$3 (Already bought)
    Screen kit(Fiberglass screen , Screen Spline and roller)-$8 (Already bought)
    Screen Frame-$5 (Already bought)
    B Grade Broms x6-$27 - you can use less if you want more they will grow if conditions are right, if conditions aren't right you will probably kill them all.
    Tillandsia x6-$8 - same as above but even less useful, 2 would be plenty for a 29 gallon. If you are new skip them till you get the airflow right.
    Creeping fig x4-$8 - this will grow like a weed get 1 max and it should be cheap at any place. I wouldn't pay more than $4 for a full rooted plant.
    Dischidia Ruscifolia x4-$5
    Peperomia NOID vine x4-$8
    NEHERP Moss 12"x12" x2-$24 this is a lot of moss what are you doing with it? That's enough to coat the entire bottom of the tank and not have any room for leaf litter.
    Java moss-$5


Personally I would focus on the background first and things that will be fixed to it. Those would be harder to add later. Then once the tank is up and running you can slowly add plants as you can afford them or come across them. The number 1 mistake people make with plants is they try to buy enough to fill the vivarium right away. You don't want to do this because the plants will grow and then look really congested. 3 neoregelias would fill the upper level of that tank and the cheap ones usually come small like a couple inches across but will grow to 8" across 8x3 = 24 the whole length of your 30" long tank is filled. Java moss will grow like a weed and coat the whole tank too if you let it. No need for the sheets of moss.


Another trick that works to keep cost down is to front load costs. Something such as ABG mix are just very useful across the board. So if you buy 5+ gallons you can cut like $2 off / gallon.
 
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