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How much $$ does your tank cost in electricity?

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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Lightbulb How much $$ does your tank cost in electricity?

    Here is a very simple simple way to figure it out.
    For instance my tank consists of the following.

    300W heater
    60watt 1300gph return pump
    216watt T5 lights
    aquaclear 50 powerhead 12watts
    some small air pump (idk maybe .5watt)<<neglidgeable

    First things first, you need to know your energy supplier, mine is NYSEG and it costs me roughly 10cents per Kilowatt Hour DELIVERED. It is important to add the delivery and supply fee together.

    Moving on we need all our units in SI and time related. They have to match the energy supplier which is kWh.

    To do this you need to first move all your units from watts to kilowatts, this is just a factor of 1000. We now have


    You then need these time related, mult all these numbers by 1hr.

    We now have

    This means if we take our heater, and run it for 1 hour continous it will use .3kw, which would cost us .3kWh X $0.10 per kWh (the kWh cancel out since it is in the numerator and denominator) and your left with $$$$, which is only 3cents to run that heater for 1hr on that day. If it costs you 3 cents per day, obviously mult by an avg of 30days and that is what it costs per month 90cents month.

    For my tank i estimate and know the following
    .3kWh my heater is prob on for 3 hrs combined out of the 24hrs in a day
    .060kWh my pump runs for 24hrs day everyday
    .216kWh my lights are on for 6hrs a day
    .012kWh my power head is on for 24hrs a day everyday

    Calculating my tank costs from the heater being estimated i now have

    .3kWh x 3 x .10 cents = $0.090
    .060kWh x 24 x .10cents = $0.144
    .216kWh x 6 x .10cents= $0.1296
    .012kWh x 24 x .10cents= $0.0288
    total= $0.3924 a day for my tank

    $0.392 x 30 days = $11.70 month for my fish tank.

    I never really watched my heater so that could be on more or less then i think.

    The people with these chillers, A/C window units in summer, skimmers, huge pumps...etc better sit down

  2. #2
    graphixx - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    First Name


    man I dont even want to know what mine runs me. I know with 4x400 watt MH that is enough right there. then add the pumps, heaters the actinic lighting if my wife knew how much just the tank costs in power she would hang me
    fulltankshot 1 - How much $$ does your tank cost in electricity?

  3. #3


    All things can be cured by salt water, whether by sweat, tears or going to sea.

    ~Isak Dinesen

  4. #4
    shovelhead91701 - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    durant oklahoma
    First Name


    While I appreciate the knowledge gained using this formula I will never figure my expense up....... If I was concerned about the money my tank costs me I would have never gotten into this hobby. LOL Out of all the hobbies I have had through the years this has been both the most rewarding and the most frustrating one of all! Not to mention one of the most expensive cumulatively. I feel like if you place a price tag on every facet of your tank you are doing it and yourself an injustice. Like fine art a well-kept reef brings more value in peace and joy than it can ever cost you in dollars and cents. (And that is my two cents worth LOL)
    The days are long and the work is difficult but every night I sleep as a man who has achieved his goals.

  5. #5


    I did some math a while back, and there is a spreadsheet webpage out there that you enter the data and it spits out the scary answer.

    Last I recall, my tank cost me about $80 a month, but in the summer when I run my window unit to cool the fish room, it is more like $125.

    It might be less, it might be more. And my KWH rate is .14

    Visit Melev's Reef

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    i guess that mine is not to bad then.
    Shovelhead, I wasnt putting a price tag on the hobby, but if the $$ for me was astronomical i would not give up the hobby, just find ways to reduce the cost. So far the fish tank costs me more $$ then a hot tub that sits outside at 104deg in the north east weather even through the winter. The winter only costs me about $15month, summer is about half that

  7. #7
    dakar - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    First Name


    It can be rather humorous watching the 'lectric meter *spool up* when all the halides power up...

    Another option would be to add a Kill-a-Watt meter to areas of your tank if you are concerned about power consumption, or more importantly how much power you are drawing from a given circuit. No sense overloading a circuit as that generates heat (the wrong kind) in bad places.
    Every electronic device is manufactured with smoke stored deep inside... only a true genius can find a way to set it free.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by TomL View Post

    $0.392 x 30 days = $11.70 month for my fish tank.

    I live in California...My cell phone charger uses that much...
    If I added it up...I'd probably sell everything and collect stamps.:thumbdown:

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