I managed to get my hands on a bit of a bargain 250 litre tank and stand with light, heater, internal filters, canister filter and air pump. Since then I've been trying to set up the tank on a budget and I must say, having a lot of fun doing so.
I managed to get 5 med/large pieces of bogwood for £10 and luckily plants and livestock have come from my other tank.
I did splash out £52 on sand but apart from that its been a pretty cheap set up and made me realise that I don't have to spend a fortune every time I go to my LFS.
I was just wondering if anyone else has set up a tank on a budget and if so maybe you could post photos, I've attached one I took, not the best of photos but should give you some idea.
All up I've spent about £175 (excluding fish and plants)
Many congratulations on your efforts to achieve a tank set-up on a budget and for sharing this with us - it looks absolutely wonderful! [A lot of folk start out with garish decor and plastic plants, then spend a lot more as they transition over to what you have, so that's great that you've started out with a more natural look.]
As for additional expenses incurred with fishkeeping:
Although I tend to be careful with my spending, admittedly I've had a lot of regret purchases over my years in fishkeeping irrespective of cost (especially siphons and filters, some of which have come with unforeseen problems that I could never have anticipated), bought items that seemed useful but were an erroneous or unnecessary purchase (algae magnet cleaner that has left deep scratch marks on the glass, phosphate test kit that hasn't really been necessary once I established that my tap water has high phosphates), and repeat purchases that have never fared very well (live plants).
Liquid-based water test kits are crucial (at least for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate), and some medications in case required at short notice, but each an additional expense. These, and fishfood, tend to have a short shelf-life, especially once opened, and I find it a shame that medications and fishfood don't come in smaller pack sizes to reduce wastage for those of us with small tanks. An ideal 'solution' would be to buy more fish (and a larger tank to accommodate them!) to justify the cost of these but unfortunately space doesn't permit in my own case.
The most recent setup I've done is a 32-inch bare tank I was given for nothing filtered by an Eheim 2213 I had for free from an online friend. The tank just needed a good clean and the filter needed a new impeller. I bought a heater and a Nicrew LED light, made a top from a piece of greenhouse polycarbonate that was lying around. I had the remains of a bag of sand already and a nice piece of bogwood so I just bought a couple of Anubias nana and glued them on to it. Total cost was £45 (£10 for the impeller, £8 for the heater, £21 for the light and £6 for the plants). It's now home to my Green Laser cories (who've just spawned in there) and Adolfoi cories.
I've been lucky and out of the 9 tanks I have running, 5 were given to me for free and I've been given a couple of decent filters and various oddments, fish and plants, etc., along the way
Standard superglue - any that's just cyanoacrylate is good and safe for fish. I prefer the gel formulation to the liquid as it's easier to control how much you use and where it goes as it turns white when in water so you really want it to stay under the plant roots where it won't be seen. I waited 5 minutes before popping the bogwood back in.