# What's the Cost of Keeping a Marine Aquarium

## Table of Contents

**Calculating the cost **

**Calculating the cost of running a marine aquarium** can be an interesting topic for a novice hobbyist. In this article I will explain how to do it.

The final cost of running a marine aquarium depends on many aspects. The basic parameters will be the size of the aquarium, and what kind of corals we’ll keep. The larger the aquarium, the higher the maintenance cost.

There are three types of corals. Soft corals are the least demanding, and their maintenance is the least expensive. Slightly more expensive will be maintaining LPS corals, and the most expensive SPS corals. Of course, we are talking about a simplified view, because in reality it depends on many additional aspects.

For the purpose of this article, I will carry out an analysis of the cost of maintaining two sizes of aquariums with fairly easy coral populations (soft, LPS and possibly simple SPS in small numbers), where the method of maintaining mineral levels will be based only on water changes. I am not able at the level of this article to calculate all the variants of aquariums and other ways of maintaining corals but I hope these information will give you an overview.

**For the purpose of this calculation, we will consider two basic types of costs as the cost of maintaining the tank:**

- cost of electricity
- cost of water changes and feeding

In order to calculate the cost of electricity consumption each time, we will need to list all the appliances, and their electricity consumption, and also estimate the operating time of the heater, so as to calculate how much energy it consumes. In general, at this point I can hint that when it comes to electricity consumption, two appliances consume the most: the first is the heater, and the second is lamps. In the case of the heater, we don’t have much choice when it comes to saving money. We can program the control device for 24-25 degrees C / 75-77 degrees F, which will give real savings compared to maintaining higher temperatures. As for lamps, it’s worth choosing energy-saving new-type lamps, such as the Reef Flare Pro Blue, which can save up to 30-50% of energy compared to competing led lamps, and up to 70% of power consumption compared to fluorescent lamps. Let’s get back to our calculations.

**Example 1 **

[aquarium 49 L / 12 US gal]

[aquarium 49 L / 12 US gal]

Nano akwarium 35x35x40 cm / 13x13x15 inch | |||

Equipment | Power (wat) | Daily working time(H) | Total |

Light | 10 | 10 | 0.1 KW |

Heater | 25 | 10 | 0.25 KW |

Filter | 9.8 | 24 | 0.235 KW |

Daily energy consumption | 0,585 KW | ||

Monthly energy consumption (30 days) | 17.55 KW (a) | ||

Price of 1 KW | 0.6€/$* (b) | ||

Monthly cost of electricity | 10.5 €/$ |

*put in your own electricity price (and curency) and multiply element a x element b and you will get your electricity cost

On top of the electricity costs we will need to add the cost of RO water and salt water changes as well as feeding the fish and corals. For a single change we need 5L of water. The cost of salt water in the most expensive version (if we buy it in a shop instead of mixing the salt ourselves) is about 2.5€/$. We perform 4 water changes per month which costs us 10 €/$, food per month about 8 €/$.

Our simulation shows that, in a simplified form, the cost of maintaining this nano tank is about 28,5 €/$ per month.

**Example 2 **

[180 L/ 47 US gal aquarium]

[180 L/ 47 US gal aquarium]

Aquarium 60x60x50 cm / 23x23x23 inch | |||

Equipment | Power (wat) | Daily working time (H) | Total |

Light | 65 | 10 | 0.65 KW |

Heater | 100 | 10 | 1 KW |

Skimmer | 8 | 24 | 0.19 KW |

Base pump | 25 | 24 | 0.6 KW |

Wavemakers | 24 | 24 | 0.57 KW |

Daily energy consumption | 3.01 KW | ||

Monthly energy consumption (30 days) | 90,3 KW (a) | ||

Price of 1 KW | 0.6€/$* (b) | ||

Monthly cost of electricity | 54,18 €/$* |

*put in your own electricity price and multiply element a x element b and you will get your electricity cost

On top of the electricity costs we will add the cost of RO water and salt water changes and feeding the fish and corals. For a single change we need 18L of water. The cost of salt water if we mix salt with RO water will be about 9 €/$* (we do 4 water changes a month, this gives a cost of 36 €/$*). Food per month is about 10 €/$*. This gives us a maintenance cost: 54,18 €/$* + 36 €/$* + 10 €/$* = 100,18 €/$* per month.

Our simulation shows that, in a simplified form, the maintenance cost of this tank is about 100,18 €/$* per month.

**Example 3 **

[320 L aquarium / 84 US gal]

[320 L aquarium / 84 US gal]

Aquarium 90x65x55 cm / 35x25x21 inch | |||

Equipment | Power (wat) | Daily working time (H) | Total |

Light | 130 | 10 | 1.3 KW |

Heater | 150 | 10 | 1,5 KW |

Skimmer | 18 | 24 | 0.432 KW |

Base pump | 40 | 24 | 0.96 KW |

Wavemakers | 24 | 24 | 0.57 KW |

Daily energy consumption | 4,76 KW | ||

Monthly energy consumption (30 days) | 142,8 KW (a) | ||

Price of 1 KW | 0.6€/$* (b) | ||

Monthly cost of electricity | 85,68 €/$* |

*put in your own electricity price and multiply element a x element b and you will get your electricity cost

On top of the electricity costs, we will add the cost of RO water and salt water changes, as well as feeding the fish and corals. For a single change we need 32 L of water. The cost of salt water if we mix salt with RO water will be about 16 €/$ (doing 4 water changes a month gives a cost of 64 €/$). Food per month is about 12 €/$. This gives us a maintenance cost of 85,68 €/$ + 64 €/$. + 12 €/$. = 161,68 €/$ per month.

Our simulation shows that in a simplified form the maintenance cost of this tank is about 161,68 €/$ per month.

**Please remember to confirm the prices in your local store.**

**Example 4 **

[430 L aquarium / 113 US gal]

[430 L aquarium / 113 US gal]

Aquarium 120x65x55 cm / 47x25x21 inch | |||

Equipment | Power (wat) | Daily working time (H) | Total |

Light | 190 | 10 | 1.9 KW |

Heater | 250 | 10 | 2.5 KW |

Skimmer | 18 | 24 | 0.432 KW |

Base pump | 50 | 24 | 1.2 KW |

Wavemakers | 46 | 24 | 1.1 KW |

Daily energy consumption | 7,132 KW | ||

Monthly energy consumption (30 days) | 213,9 KW (a) | ||

Price of 1 KW | 0.6€/$* (b) | ||

Monthly cost of electricity | 85,68 €/$ |

*put in your own electricity price and multiply element a x element b and you will get your electricity cost

On top of the electricity costs we will add the cost of RO water and salt water changes and feeding the fish and corals. For a single change we need 43 L of water. The cost of this salt water if we mix it with RO water will be about 21,5 €/$** ** (we do 4 water changes a month, this gives a cost of 86 €/$). Food and other additives cost about 20 €/$. This gives us a maintenance cost of 85,68 €/$ + 86 €/$ + 20 €/$ = 191,68 €/$ per month.

Our simulation shows that in a simplified form the cost of maintaining this tank is about 191,68 €/$ per month.

**It’s only examples. Please remember to confirm the prices in your local store.**

**Summary**

In the article I demonstrated how to calculate the cost of maintaining a marine tank. Of course, it is clear that the cost of maintaining a particular aquarium in a particular country will vary. Probably with some devices, it is still possible to reduce the amount of electricity consumed by replacing them with more energy-efficient ones. For calculations in examples 2,3 and 4, I have assumed good quality lights, which are suitable even for tanks with SPS corals. Please take into account that the article is to show the principle of calculating maintenance costs, more than to give the total cost of maintaining a marine aquarium. I hope that the cost I have presented for the different variants is enough for a beginner to have a picture of how much it will cost per month to maintain an aquarium of a given size, using the method with water changes.

### About the author

### Marek Protasewicz

Reefkeeping has been my passion for over 10 years now. I love learning. The hobby has taught me many valuable lessons, patience being the best example. Combining work and passion is my path. I run Crazy Coral, a marine aquarium shop, for a number of years. Building this business from the scratch I learnt from my own mistakes at a heavy cost.

Later I managed a project aimed at development of methods for quick growth of Corals in non-natural conditions. The project was carried out by Get Sales, Poland. Presently, I am responsible for distribution strategy at Reef Factory, of which I am a co-founder. The company produces smart devices for marine aquaristics. The last projects I have been involved in are Social Reef and ReefPedia.