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$400 Octo set up is it possible?

evan484

Cuttlefish
Registered
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
19
#1
Hey,
The title says it all, im looking into the hobby but i have already put 1k into my 29 bio cube reef tank. I was wondering if i could set up a octopus tank for less then 400 bucks. I know its a stretch but does anyone think it could happen? if so can you give me the low down on the set up you would suggest?
Thanks,
Evan
 

L8 2 RISE

Haliphron Atlanticus
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Dec 14, 2007
Messages
656
#2
I think it could happen, but you'll have to do almost everything diy. IMO, for an octopus tank, the hardest part of keeping to that budget will be the skimmer. Octo tanks require a very powerful and efficient skimmer. Here's how I would do it:

Get a second hand 55 gal, but preferably 75 because the extra width is extremely helpful with aquascaping. Make sure that you are getting it from the original owner and that copper has never been used (even the smallest amount is 100% deadly to an octo).

Build the stand yourself (if you're not woried about appearance, use cinder blocks and plywood.)

Get sand from HD or lowes for 5 bucks a bag (you have to be careful about what type you use, someone with experie
nce here will hopefully chime in on what type to use) and then get about 1 pound of live sand and mix it in.

For live rock, do some research about making it out of agrocrete, or use something like texas holy rock or similar, just do research to make sure it's ok to use in an aquarium. Get a few medium sized pieces of real live rock and spread them out through the dead rock in the tank.

---note: if you do it this way with the rock and sand, you'll end up having to spend quite a while (at the very least, 3 months, if not 5-6) to let it all get populated.

As for the skimmer, see how much you have left in terms of money, maybe get a good used one or do some research on how to make one. You are going to want a skimmer rated for 100-150 gallons for an octopus in a 55 or 75 gallon tank.

You may want to do powerheads or closed loop, I personally prefer closed loop because it takes up less room, and IMO is easier to work with. Powerheads would probably be better though on this budget.

set up a 30 or so gallon tank underneath the stand as a sump/refugium and just use simple plumbing for it all. (find a used, cheap overflow box, or dyi for 20 bucks, or of course you could go new for a ridiculously overpriced $70-$80. Also, make sure to use flexible hosing to bring it back to the tank)

If you're planning on trying to do a cheap set up for $400, you'll probably end up spending more like $500-$600 from the "low cost" set ups I've seen...

Hope this helps.
 

evan484

Cuttlefish
Registered
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Jan 8, 2009
Messages
19
#4
L8 2 RISE;131189 said:
I think it could happen, but you'll have to do almost everything diy. IMO, for an octopus tank, the hardest part of keeping to that budget will be the skimmer. Octo tanks require a very powerful and efficient skimmer. Here's how I would do it:

Get a second hand 55 gal, but preferably 75 because the extra width is extremely helpful with aquascaping. Make sure that you are getting it from the original owner and that copper has never been used (even the smallest amount is 100% deadly to an octo).

Build the stand yourself (if you're not woried about appearance, use cinder blocks and plywood.)

Get sand from HD or lowes for 5 bucks a bag (you have to be careful about what type you use, someone with experie
nce here will hopefully chime in on what type to use) and then get about 1 pound of live sand and mix it in.

For live rock, do some research about making it out of agrocrete, or use something like texas holy rock or similar, just do research to make sure it's ok to use in an aquarium. Get a few medium sized pieces of real live rock and spread them out through the dead rock in the tank.

---note: if you do it this way with the rock and sand, you'll end up having to spend quite a while (at the very least, 3 months, if not 5-6) to let it all get populated.

As for the skimmer, see how much you have left in terms of money, maybe get a good used one or do some research on how to make one. You are going to want a skimmer rated for 100-150 gallons for an octopus in a 55 or 75 gallon tank.

You may want to do powerheads or closed loop, I personally prefer closed loop because it takes up less room, and IMO is easier to work with. Powerheads would probably be better though on this budget.

set up a 30 or so gallon tank underneath the stand as a sump/refugium and just use simple plumbing for it all. (find a used, cheap overflow box, or dyi for 20 bucks, or of course you could go new for a ridiculously overpriced $70-$80. Also, make sure to use flexible hosing to bring it back to the tank)

If you're planning on trying to do a cheap set up for $400, you'll probably end up spending more like $500-$600 from the "low cost" set ups I've seen...

Hope this helps.
Thanks that very helpful. Do you think that any of the dwarf or pygmy octopuses could require a cheaper set up? My thinking is that I could scale everything down like the tank size down to around a 30, use less sand, so on, but still get a real big skimmer. I have also heard though that they are more difficult to keep then larger species and arent as "intresting" as other species such as the bimac. To me any octopus is cool as long as I can see it enough to know that it is still alive. Since I am (hopefully) living at home for another year putting 600 bucks into a tank that will stay home is a bit scary. Any opinions are apreciated
Thanks!
 

robind

O. bimaculoides
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Nov 11, 2008
Messages
69
#5
Sorry to threadjack, but why is a skimmer the defacto filtration recommendation for an octopus? Are skimmers just way better with the salt water chemistry?

I have a 100g freshwater tank with a Red Ear Slider turtle, and my filter system for that is basically 500gph pump, plumbing, filter media, and 5g buckets. Would a similar setup for a ceph work, or is the skimmer just 'the way to go'? Because I'll totally make one of those too...I already have some of the parts, as it's been in the back of my head.
 

L8 2 RISE

Haliphron Atlanticus
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Dec 14, 2007
Messages
656
#6
robind;131194 said:
Sorry to threadjack, but why is a skimmer the defacto filtration recommendation for an octopus? Are skimmers just way better with the salt water chemistry?

I have a 100g freshwater tank with a Red Ear Slider turtle, and my filter system for that is basically 500gph pump, plumbing, filter media, and 5g buckets. Would a similar setup for a ceph work, or is the skimmer just 'the way to go'? Because I'll totally make one of those too...I already have some of the parts, as it's been in the back of my head.
I have never heard of, nor expect anyone would recommend running a ceph tank without a skimmer. I also know that you couldn't really compare fresh and salt water, unfortuneatly, otherwise salt water would be so much more straight forward :banghead:. Basically, yes, skimmers are IMO, and I believe many others, the best type of mechanical filters at maintaining salt water chemistry.

evan484;131191 said:
Thanks that very helpful. Do you think that any of the dwarf or pygmy octopuses could require a cheaper set up? My thinking is that I could scale everything down like the tank size down to around a 30, use less sand, so on, but still get a real big skimmer. I have also heard though that they are more difficult to keep then larger species and arent as "intresting" as other species such as the bimac. To me any octopus is cool as long as I can see it enough to know that it is still alive. Since I am (hopefully) living at home for another year putting 600 bucks into a tank that will stay home is a bit scary. Any opinions are apreciated
Thanks!
In my experience, and I have now kept 4 tanks from a 12 gallon to the 50 gallon temporary tank I have now while I wait to finish my 200 gallon ceph system, a smaller tank will not significantly reduce the overall price. For example, I didn't even have a skimmer on my 12 gallon, and have a used euroreef on my 50, and I spent more on the 12 gallon than I have so far on my 50. And in terms of pygmy's, I don't have any experience, but from what I've seen, you may, or you may not ever or often see the octopus and know that it's alive. You're way better off spending that little bit more and bumping it up to at least a 55 so that you can get the more interactive octo's.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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#7
Robind,

Having been there and done that (sort of and more in the reverse at one time), IMO the only thing similar between fresh and saltwater aquariums is that they are both vessels that hold water. After that the worlds are different (Colin might object a little here). I still have a 35 fresh active, do almost nothing to maintain it and my lone silver dollar fish continues to require I keep the tank running (year after year ...:roll:). I spend 90% of my Saturday's maintaining my other 7 saltwater aquariums. Where it is true that you can keep more sensitive freshwater fish than a silver dollar (I kept discus for a number of years) there is still no comparison to the water maintenance requirements. That being said, there are a couple of members that have been successful keeping an octopus in a tank with a large canister but the aquarium had been established for years, not months.
 

gholland

Haliphron Atlanticus
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#8
Our merc setup probably cost about $200... and half of that was the external cannister filter. It's a 20 gallon tank, fluorescent light, heater, crushed coral and liverock.
 

robind

O. bimaculoides
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#10
Okay then. I'm going to finish the sump filter that I started, build a stand for a tank, buy the 55g tank from my lfs (for $50!), and then let that cycle with whatever live rock/sand I can find/make on the cheap. Then a skimmer. I have an old seaclone body that I've fitted to make into a recirculating needle wheel skimmer.
 

evan484

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Jan 8, 2009
Messages
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#11
gholland;131199 said:
Our merc setup probably cost about $200... and half of that was the external cannister filter. It's a 20 gallon tank, fluorescent light, heater, crushed coral and liverock.
That sounds good, I see you have one. Is it fairly active? Does it ever come out from hiding? I heard many of the smaller species hide most of the time.
Thanks
Evan
 

zach jay

Larval Mass
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Feb 27, 2009
Messages
2
#12
robind;131214 said:
Okay then. I'm going to finish the sump filter that I started, build a stand for a tank, buy the 55g tank from my lfs (for $50!), and then let that cycle with whatever live rock/sand I can find/make on the cheap. Then a skimmer. I have an old seaclone body that I've fitted to make into a recirculating needle wheel skimmer.
i'd definitely recommend getting a 75 and spending the extra money. i have a 55 i bought a few years ago for a fowlr and i really wish i held out for the larger tank. i went reef about a year ago and eventually decided to take down the 55 and replace it with a 12g nano and a 20g. the extra depth will make aquascaping much more fun haha.

the 20 might get turned into a pygmy tank, which is why i'm here haha.
 

Mr Blobby

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Feb 25, 2009
Messages
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#13
I think it is possible to get a set-up completed for comparatively little money, IF you have patience. I too bought a 55 for $50, and a few days ago I bought a very nice hand-made stand from a person who was moving for $80. Having been keeping reef tanks for years I have a variety of misc equipment/lights to use, and I have bought a CPR cyclone CY194 with plumbing parts, off eBay for $80. It's used, but intact and works. I also have a few 10 gal tanks I am setting aside for octo-food growing purposes. So I have spent $215 so far. I have plenty of sand, all I need is a little live rock to seed with, a glass top w/clamps which I have already priced at $25 plus s/h, and the hardest part seems to be finding a descent source for a healthy, positively identified octo. So I would say, yes, it is POSSIBLE, especially if you have experience setting up saltwater tanks and have the patience to wait for and dig up the good deals. I think I will be quite close to the $400 mark, but I cannot advise anyone to go into any saltwater aquarium project expecting a miracle, and unable to put out the money if/when needed.
 

robind

O. bimaculoides
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#14
In continuation of the spirit of this thread, I've finished my DIY stand for my cheap second hand tank. It's a 66 gallon 'picture frame' aquarium. It's about 3' long by 3' deep by 15" wide. I made the stand using about $25 of lumber and a dozen carriage bolts I had laying around. It's about 1' longer than it needs to be to make room for food tanks.
The filter is a sump consisting of three 5 gallon buckets. The main tank will drain with an overflow box (that I also got second hand), and I'll drill the smaller food tanks to plumb everything together. The protein skimmer isn't finished yet. I estimate the materials so far at around $75, not including the pump. The glass tank was $60. The overflow box was $20. I bought two buckets of instant ocean on ebay for
 

L8 2 RISE

Haliphron Atlanticus
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#16
robind;134433 said:
In continuation of the spirit of this thread, I've finished my DIY stand for my cheap second hand tank. It's a 66 gallon 'picture frame' aquarium. It's about 3' long by 3' deep by 15" wide. I made the stand using about $25 of lumber and a dozen carriage bolts I had laying around. It's about 1' longer than it needs to be to make room for food tanks.
The filter is a sump consisting of three 5 gallon buckets. The main tank will drain with an overflow box (that I also got second hand), and I'll drill the smaller food tanks to plumb everything together. The protein skimmer isn't finished yet. I estimate the materials so far at around $75, not including the pump. The glass tank was $60. The overflow box was $20. I bought two buckets of instant ocean on ebay for
 

robind

O. bimaculoides
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#17
I have a box full of plumbing nick knacks and aquarium miscellanea, from previous/current aquariums. I'm pretty sure I have all that stuff covered. If anything, I won't need a heater but a chiller! That I don't have.

Concerning the live rock...I know many people consider it a necessity, but I have kept saltwater tanks before and I have never bought a lb of live rock. I simply substitute other media for the same purpose.
 

TITAN

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#18
Keep in mind that feeding your octo could cost like $60/week depending on what species you get and how big it is and how much you can get the prey for.
So, your food budget will be 7.2 ($3100) times greater than your startup budget if it lives a year.

Keeping an octo inexpensively is more about solving the food supply equation than the setup.
 

DWhatley

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#19
It is true that an octopus often needs live food when it is first place in an aquarium but all the octopuses I can remember have eventually accepted frozen shrimp for much of their diet. Other foods can also be purchased fresh from a seafood market (clams, an occassional crawfish, mussels) and are usually accepted. However, even feeding live fiddlers for the first week or three does not mandate $60/week. Raising new hatched cuttles CAN easily cost that much until they take something other than live mysis but the figure is excessive for a octo.
 

robind

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#20
My rather delayed response to the live food thing: thankfully I live in Santa Cruz, right on the pacific ocean. The baitshop at the wharf has a nice selection of live crustaceans. I'm going to try to get an octopus from them too...
 

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