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· Happy Clam
947 Posts
Up and running is very difficult in my opinion because you have to take it down and get it set back back up fast, typically, unless you have a holding tank...which it doesn't sound like you do. Starting from scratch allows you to take your time, do it the way you want to do it, and when you want to do it. And it is more fulfilling.

I had the opportunity to buy a perfectly good Red Sea Max 250 with expensive fish and corals for $1500. If I bought these things new, all the included stuff would have been twice that. I passed on it because I would have to rush rush rush to get it up and going...otherwise, the corals and fish would have been living in buckets. Just wasn't right for me. Plus, part of the fun is picking out the things that you like.

But, on the other hand, a deal is a deal, and if you're willing to be inconvenienced slightly, then buy an up and running tank. Just make sure you have a plan for the livestock until you get the tank up and going and realize it could easily take at least a week, if you're lucky, to get the tank going and cycled...and yes, you will still have a cycle.
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