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El Fab's Pico Reef: 2007–2010


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#1
el fabuloso

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A couple months ago I got bit by the reef bug and decided to take the plunge. I searched around and liked a lot of the AIO's I saw but was really intrigued by what a lot of people have done with a 3 gal. pico. So after lurking around this site and reading everything I can, I went and got a JBJ Picotope. I've kept saltwater tanks before but that was about ten years ago so I had a lot of learning (and unlearning) to do. But I've done a good job at doing my homework, I think.

I really like the simplicity of the Picotope and want to keept it as minimalist as possible. That means no fuge, no skimmers, no bundles of equipment dangling everywhere. With that, I completely understand my limitations as far as what I can keep. I plan on keeping mushrooms, polyps, zoanthids, a ricordea would be nice, and eventually some sexy shrimps. And maybe two perculas, an anemone and a mandarinfish? Ha! I'm kidding. No fish or anemone. :D Should I need/want anything more than that (which is now a growing possibility), I know I'll be better off with a Nano Cube or comparable setup.

My tank is now at Day 10 and so far things are looking good:

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View from the left:

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From the right:

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From the top:

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Now for the juicy details...

I used 3 lbs. of CaribSea live sand and 6 lbs. of cured Fiji live rock from a new favorite LFS that I completely found by accident after a long hunt. I may have gotten too happy with the rocks and I think I have one rock too many. The nice thing is I can always take out that top rock if I need the space. But for now it's staying in.

Everything's stock and I plan on keeping it that way. For now I'm using the filter pads and carbon that came with the filter though I plan on eventually putting filter floss and Purigen in there. The only thing I've added so far is a 50W Hydor heater that I keep at 80° and a Rio 50 pump for added circulation so it now has a total of 100 gph.

I use Oceanic Natural Sea Salt Mix along with store-bought RO/DI water both for saltwater mix and top-offs. I'll be doing weekly 10% water changes. My tests are done with a Red Sea Marine Lab (sketchy at best) and an API Reef Master Kit. So far my parameters are as follows:

- Temp: 80° F
- sG: 1.023 ppt
- pH: 8.3
- Alk: 2.7 meq/L (10° dKH according to API)
- Ammonia: < 0.25 ppm
- Nitrite: 0 ppm
- Nitrate: 2.5 ppm (0 ppm according to API)
- Calcium: 500 mg/L
- Phosphate: 0

So far the tank has been looking good and some interesting hitch hikers have cropped up: a blue leg hermit, a mystery snail that looks a great deal like this one, bristle worms and tube worms and lots of copepods everywhere. Right now I'm waiting patiently for my cycle to get done so I can add my clean up crew.

I'm hooked on this thing and I can't get enough! It probably won't be long before I set up a larger tank, and I'm only ten days into my cycle! lol I'll definitely keep this thread posted as I go along.

Last (but not least) I want to thank all the great people on this site for all your valuable information and inspiration. Thanks! :)

--aaron

Edited by el fabuloso, 30 December 2010 - 04:17 PM.


#2
Knuckles

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Welcome :welcome: \
This place is great, and has tons of info.

Very nice rockwork!
Im interested to see how it goes using the stock light and filter.
Ill be sure to keep up with this thread.

#3
el fabuloso

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Welcome :welcome: \
This place is great, and has tons of info.

Very nice rockwork!
Im interested to see how it goes using the stock light and filter.
Ill be sure to keep up with this thread.


Thanks for the warm welcome! :)

#4
seahorsejl

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Looks like you are off to a good start.

I like the rock layout ... will be interesting to see how your tank develops over time.

(And welcome!)

Current: 75 Gallon Tank, Old: 24 Gallon Aquapod


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#5
el fabuloso

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Day 17

I've finally added a CUC now that my ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels are consistently down to zero. Since I already have a blue leg hermit (hitch hiker), I decided I'd get two more. Can't really see them but here they are...

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Got three nassarius snails as well. Here's one of them:

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I also picked up some chaeto to help keep algae away. Since I won't have a fuge, I tucked it in the back corner of my tank where it's hidden away but still receives plenty of light and good water flow.

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Notice from the top how this spot is conveniently concealed:

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Everything's looking good and my parameters have been steady. I've also replaced the stock activated carbon with Purigen and has done a tremendous job at keeping the water crystal clear. A couple more weeks and I think I'm ready for my first coral. :)

#6
el fabuloso

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1+ Month

It's been a little over a month so I thought I'd update this thing. Nothing too exciting though but some progress nonetheless. My parameters have been really stable the past few weeks so I finally threw in some corals in the tank.

Got my hands on purple mushrooms and some "blue zoanthids." Forty bucks for both which I guess isn't bad.

Purple mushrooms:
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"Blue zoas:"
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The zoanthid rock came with a bunch of crap. Mostly worms, a couple of feather dusters, brittle stars and I think some aiptasia too. One of the nassarius snails died so I'm now down to two. Not sure what happened though I did see another snail wrestling with it before I found its empty shell. In any case one of my hermits moved into it so he might've killed the snail himself.

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Other than that, I seem to be getting some good coralliine growth.

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#7
reefdan

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i like your setup. i want to set up a pico so bad!!!

i am sure you're crab ate the snail. i like nass but my hermits kill them all the time.

it looks like that powerhead creates a lot of turbulance. have you considered adding one of those flippers to disperse the flow?

#8
el_santo

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good looking pico! that zoa rock will look pretty cool once it grows in more. :)
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my dearly departed picotope ...
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#9
phases

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Looking really nice. A perfect example of what a well planned pico can be.
2.5 Pico Assimilated
10 Gal Prop Tank
Biocube 8
75 Gallon

It's nice to see people trying to think critically, but you need to stop, because you're wrong.


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#10
xmen0075

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Beautiful setup! I'm looking forward to future pics!

Are you dosing the tank? :D

#11
starcat

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What kind of light are you using? I do not know what comes stock with this tank.

#12
TheUnfocusedOne

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What kind of light are you using? I do not know what comes stock with this tank.


9w pc
its not bad, not great though
you can keep sofies under it n what not

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#13
el fabuloso

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Thanks for all the compliments! B)

it looks like that powerhead creates a lot of turbulance. have you considered adding one of those flippers to disperse the flow?

The turbulence from the powerhead actually isn't as bad as it looks. Plus it creates these crests on the sand where the nassarius snails like to hang out and "surf" (climb up the little mound and then roll themselves down; they do this for hours).

Are you dosing the tank? :D

Nope and I don't inted to. With a tank this small I'm afraid to put anything that could throw the levels out of whack. Just regular weekly water changes. I thought about using Purple Up but it seems like the coralline's spreading out fine all on its own.

What kind of light are you using? I do not know what comes stock with this tank.

Stock 9 watt compact fluorescent, trying to keep it simple. I don't plan on stocking the tank with any high-maintenance corals, just softies and shrooms. So I think I should be fine.

#14
pico-man

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Thanks for all the compliments! B)
The turbulence from the powerhead actually isn't as bad as it looks. Plus it creates these crests on the sand where the nassarius snails like to hang out and "surf" (climb up the little mound and then roll themselves down; they do this for hours).
Nope and I don't inted to. With a tank this small I'm afraid to put anything that could throw the levels out of whack. Just regular weekly water changes. I thought about using Purple Up but it seems like the coralline's spreading out fine all on its own.
Stock 9 watt compact fluorescent, trying to keep it simple. I don't plan on stocking the tank with any high-maintenance corals, just softies and shrooms. So I think I should be fine.


Excellent tank. The biggest problem with my pico was the lack of water flow which I could never completely resolve. I had a microjet but I could never set it so that it affected the water's surface. I also had a Cascade 80 filter that provided some flow, but it looks like your Rio 50 is the answer. Great thread, I'm hooked.

#15
H20

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Nice tank. I am about to start a Pico myself.

#16
Toomin

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dude, out of topic here, how about removing abit more sand?
i think that one inch deep of sand is just nice haha.

#17
el fabuloso

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Excellent tank. The biggest problem with my pico was the lack of water flow which I could never completely resolve. I had a microjet but I could never set it so that it affected the water's surface. I also had a Cascade 80 filter that provided some flow, but it looks like your Rio 50 is the answer. Great thread, I'm hooked.

The Rio 50 really does a good job of breaking the water's surface. I saw a couple of people on here use it in their pico though they have their flowrate turned down a little. I wasn't sure if I'd run into problems running it full blast but so far it's been good.

dude, out of topic here, how about removing abit more sand?
i think that one inch deep of sand is just nice haha.

Hmmm... never thought of that. Do you think I have too much sand?

#18
BSDaemon

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Picos are so awesome :D

#19
el fabuloso

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Week 9

It's been nine weeks and things are looking good. My parameters have been stable and every thing's growing in nicely. Everyday has been a constant battle to keep coralline algae off the glass but I guess that's a good thing.

My three blue leg hermits have gotten bigger so I'll have to get more shells for them to grow into. The nassarius trio are down to one and with my algae in check I don't intend on adding more anytime soon. Hitchhikers everywhere—brittle stars, mystery snails, chitons, all sorts of worms, hydroids and lots of pods. I discover something new almost everyday.

I got my hands on an orange ricordea and more zoas. I'm starting to grow an addiction for zoas. At first I was a little worried about putting them in my tank since I got them from a shallow tank with halides but they seem to have adjusted to my tank just fine. On to the pictures...

The front
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From the left
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From the right
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The blue zoas showing some growth.
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Purple mushrooms
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Orange ricordea. The feather duster below it came with the rock. There's also a smaller ricordea on the top that gets indirect lighting through a hole in the rock.
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I found this branching coral covered with green/orange zoas and I couldn't resist. Plus it's the perfect size for my tank.
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Top-down view (sorta):
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View from afar:
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#20
Matty1124

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thats not just any ricordia thats a ricordia yuma, and a very nice orange and blue one at that... tank is looking great... i couldnt keep my pico stable

#21
constantocean

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very nice. i love your rockwork. i really like the full look in these smaller tanks.
i'm hoping in time to have mine look something like this:
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(a photo i found at picoreefs.com), bad site, i just happened to stumble upon it by accident.
I think that tank is 5.5 glass, but you get the essential idea, almost looks like a chunk of the reef just naturally fell into the tank.

#22
el fabuloso

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thats not just any ricordia thats a ricordia yuma, and a very nice orange and blue one at that... tank is looking great... i couldnt keep my pico stable

Is it a yuma? That's what I thought it was but the guy at the LFS insisted that it was a R. florida, just orange. How do you tell the difference between R. florida and R. yuma?

#23
el fabuloso

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very nice. i love your rockwork. i really like the full look in these smaller tanks.
i'm hoping in time to have mine look something like this:
Posted Image
(a photo i found at picoreefs.com), bad site, i just happened to stumble upon it by accident.
I think that tank is 5.5 glass, but you get the essential idea, almost looks like a chunk of the reef just naturally fell into the tank.

Wow, that tank is a rock pile! I personally don't like that look and prefer tanks that are clean and simple. How are you going to fix all the dead spots in a tank that crowded?

#24
Matty1124

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yumas have little bumps on their mouth and flordias are smooth

#25
el fabuloso

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yumas have little bumps on their mouth and flordias are smooth

Ahh... see, that's what I thought. Silly LFS man! :D