Planning on getting a 75 Gal tank

I would just like an estimate on the cost of rock/supplies not livestock I already have the tank and stand.
I plan on having a FOWLR then slowly integrating corals along with the lights I know I need for corals

So a breakdown is I want the cost of FOWLR- (minus)the cost of live stock and tank

Breakdown of cost of adding the supplies to be able to keep corals


Active Member
1) Live Rock is generally between $5-$7 per lb if you don't want to chance stuff that has been in someone else's tank and you generally want 1-1.5lbs of live rock per gallon of tank. You can buy a bunch of dry rock with minimal live to keep costs down but it takes much longer to cycle to the tank, so be prepared to spend a long time cycling. With all live rock it generally takes 4-6 weeks to cycle (possibly more)
2) You will probably want live sand as well, once again about 1lb for every gallon of tank. It generally runs about $1 per pound
3) You will need a tank heater that fits your size tank and specifically mentions it is for marine setups. Figure $40-$50 for your size tank.
4) You will need a couple of power heads for your size of tank and they will probably need to be in the 1950 gallon per hour range if you want to keep things well circulated and give your corals good flow. These will run $70-$80 each if you go with the Hydor Koralia line (probably the best bang for buck power heads out there). You will also want to use them during the cycling process.
5) With corals there is a ton of variation in the needs and requirements. Some are as simple as putting coral glue on them and attaching them to the top of your live rock in an area where they will get plenty of light and current flow from your powerhead. Others actually need some kind of vitamin type supplements and very specific lighting and water quality requirements. Personally for me there is no coral on the planet cool enough for me to have to spend more time on than my fish. If it isn't a super easy to deal with coral, I don't want it in my tank.
6) Filtration. There are generally 3 types of conventional filtration: HOB (Hang On Back), Canister Filtration, Sump. A Sump is generally made from a secondary smaller fish tank or even a rubbermaid container depending on what size you want to go with and then you would put your filtration equipment in there and can have live rock in there as well. If you can do it yourself you can make a good size one for $100-$150 plus the cost of adding a filter. A Canister filter for your tank would generally be in the $200-$300 range and honestly for saltwater tanks are THE WORST OPTION. They are very prone to nitrate build up, leaking and are a pain to clean. HOB or Hang On Back Filters are very cost effective. You could get a Fluval 110 for $80 or less from petsmart and it should work fine for your tank provided you ditch all but the stock carbon filter bag and go with the likes of a Chemipure media bag. That said, you won't use the Chemipure until after cycling the tank and it might be wise to just get some form of basic carbon power filter to use during cycling.
7) Saltwater. You can get your own RO or RODI system to produce your own and then mix the likes of Instant Ocean salt in it or you can get a bunch of 5 gallon jugs and buy premix from your local saltwater fish store. With saltwater fish especially, I cannot stress enough that even de-chlorinated tap water is not fit for saltwater fish and will give you incessant algae problems at best. It is generally more expensive in the long run to buy it from the fish store, but the advantage is that you don't have to go through the hassle of running the system yourself or getting the salt mix wrong. Generally 1.025 is considered the best balance between fish and corals, so most stores will run at that. A decent RODI system will run you $150 and you will need to have a rolling garbage can to keep the RODI water and even the best system will produce 3-4 gallons of waste water for every good gallon of RODI water, so you will need to figure out what you want to do with the waste water. Local Fish Stores usually sell the premix for about 75 cents to $1 per gallon.

Obviously there is more equipment you will need before you can add fish and corals (ie Protein Skimmer), but the above should get the tank cycling.


Staff member
I would go with both live sand and dry sand. Place the dry on bottom and then the live. Its not "necessary" but it is beneficial. Also, if you plant to slowly add in corals go with less LR rather than building a large wall rock in your tank. It doesn't take long for corals to grow given the right conditions and they need an environment to do that.


Active Member
Wait what about the lights?
Lights aren't necessary when cycling the tank until about the 3rd week (trying to get that brown algae bloom going). Given your size of tank, I honestly wouldn't know what to recommend since I don't have any experience with lighting a tank of that size, the other folks here can probably do a better job answering that for you. On my 36 gallon I have a 30 inch Aqueon Modular LED fixture that is running both a white LED and a Blue Max bulb. Seems to work pretty well for my tank and most of my corals seem to do just fine with it (keep in mind though that my corals are the super easy varieties though). I do want to add in one other thing for the cycling that often isn't mentioned. The Cycle is NOT DONE until you get the brown algae bloom and don't do a water change until it's done. I was fooled by my tank being 0 on Nitrate, Ammonia, and Nitrites and ended up doing a water change about 3 weeks in and that jump started the cycling process in my tank again. I had a poor toadstool mushroom coral and some snails and crabs that had to endure a saltwater tank version of a nuclear holocaust with ammonia, nitrite and nitrate spikes. With the help of some prime, all but one crab made it through the cycle, but I definitely wouldn't recommend it.


Well-Known Member
All depends on you. A reef will need better lights then fowlr. If you want to get set up for a reef down the road alot of folks are using leds now. I use orbit marine pro lights


Well-Known Member
by starting the tank with an in tank refugium with macro algae:

egg crate $12 (4'x2')
2 2 tube utility shop light fixtures behind tank. ~40 with 6500k tubes.

something to hold the lights behind the tank. ~$20 or so.

play sand 2 50# bags from building supply places $7

limestone rocks from local quarry. $20/Ton.

Power heads for circulation $100 or so.

then go from there.

my .02