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Peter's petite pair of picos


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#1
castiel

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I'll start by saying that yes, I do know what I am getting myself into in doing a pico reef =0)

So while shopping around aquariums recently (was actually trying to find some sterbai cories, but failed) we spotted the new Dymax IQ5 tanks at a local store. They had one on the counter set up as a mini reef, which I thought was awesome. And my wife is getting a small bonus from work next week, so said she would buy me one as a present!

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So off we trotted to go back and get one, only for the wife to decide she wanted one too! So we ended up with matching (purple was the only colour they had left) IQ5 nano tanks! I left her at the counter to pay while I had a nose around, only to come up to find she had also bought the Dymax heaters and lids to go with it! Which isn't a bad thing, though I had figured I would get heaters later and probably cheaper ones.

July 27, with the 'base rock' we originally bought.
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July 30, after changing the base rock for uncured live rock
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August 7, after my tank completely crashed. Replaced the live rock with the base rock again, including a few small 'seed' pieces from next door.
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Edited by castiel, 27 May 2012 - 01:49 AM.

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#2
snowflake ell

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1) you can keep the rock in the tank and seed it with live rock or you can driy it off and save it for latter on
Did the tank cycel ?

#3
Lorenz725

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Congrats on the new tanks.
1) Ok the rock you bought still might be live rock. Just because it does not have algae and stuff growing all over it does not mean it is not live. If you like the rock and want to give it some time it will work fine for you. If you dont want to keep it and get some with more life on it you can dry out the rock and keep it. If you ever wanted to use it again you would have to cure it again.

2) Ok the deal with the bioballs is a lot of people think they are nitrates traps (including me). In my 5.5 I just added some rock and cheto in my chamber and I have not had any problems with nitrates.

3) I do not have a powerhead in my 5.5 I just have a pump that is split to spread out the flow. I dont see why you wouldn't be able to build one in your sump area so it will hide it.

I am by no means a expert but this is just what has worked for me in my pico. It looks like you have a good start just make sure you go slow and enjoy.

#4
.Newman.

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what i would do there is ditch the individual lights after they burned out and setup one big MH over both tanks (it doesnt even have to be 150W, 70W can work). you get the best lighting for every type of coral you may want, and you dont have to worry about two plugs/two individual lights.

Edited by .Newman., 27 July 2011 - 10:29 AM.

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#5
castiel

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Thanks for the feedback!

Rock - we haven't seen a cycle at all so don't think it is live. I might keep some pieces (my tank is made up for 4 smaller pieces), and store the rest for potential use later. We'll definitely buy some more 'live' looking rock this weekend which hopefully will start the cycling properly.

Bioballs - the IQ5 comes with this media pack:
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Looks like I should remove the bioballs, and include some small pieces of LR and maybe some Chaeto in the back chamber (would this be okay in the middle section with the heater?). Should I keep the white wool, carbon pouch, and filter sponge? Though if I put the pump in the left chamber, where the filter media is, think I would need to remove the sponge anyway).

Lights - if we decide to keep the tanks together then yeah, I already thought about one light spanning both. We thought about putting them separately at some point, but we'll see.

Thanks again for hte advice, I will be sure to update with pics of the tanks this weekend after a visit to a marine specialist store =0)

Edited by castiel, 27 July 2011 - 06:38 PM.

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#6
castiel

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Off to the LFS tomorrow to stock up! Live rock, testing kits, RO & SW, cheapo heater for water changes ... then should be good to go with the cycling.

I know once there I will be tempted by the frags ... but will resist until cycling is complete!

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#7
castiel

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Went to the LFS today and got some very live LR! Yet again over-estimated the size of these little tanks so had to break it up a bit, which led to us discovering all sorts including worms, tiny little crabs and an unfortunately beheaded shrimp (which I probably did when breaking the rock). Also there was a very cool, purple coloured crab about 1.5cm across! Didn't manage to grab a pic before he hid away ... I just hope he didn't get crushed while I was rearranging.

FTSs:
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'Hers'
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'His'
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The guy at the LFS advised us to buy some carbon and wool, said that the rock might cause a bit of a stink as it goes through the cycle! To change the wool every day almost, and the carbon media weekly, to keep the smell down. He also advised to ditch the bioballs before we get to the nitrate stage and replace with LR, so we decided to do that now while we have spare rubble.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to add a couple of photos of the back of the tank.

This shows the three compartments, left is the drip tray and media, middle is where we put the heater, right is the pump. We ditched the bioballs and added in some live rock fragments in the left chamber, currently sitting between the sponge and the carbon, with wool on top.
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One concern I have is the heater placement and utility. It is set to 27C and shows 27C (it has a digital thermometer built in), but the thermometer we just put on the tank (the stick on outside strip kind) shows just 21C. Is the warm water from teh chamber not flowing through the tank sufficiently? Or do we just work out what the thermometer temp should be so the outer tank is at 27/28C? Ie it might need to be set to 34C.

Edited by castiel, 30 July 2011 - 12:11 AM.

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#8
castiel

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Life! But not as we know it ...

Tubular worm thing with green end much greener than shows up in this pic):
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Black and white duster?
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=0D

Edited by castiel, 30 July 2011 - 02:53 AM.

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#9
cody6766

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The heaters built in t-stat is often wrong by a decent margin. I'd attempt to calibrate the thermometer in your display side and then rely on that. You can get a reading w/in a couple of degrees by making a very dense ice bath and checking its temp. Crush up some ice and add just enough water to fill the gaps. Let it sit for a few mins, remove water and add ice as required to keep the water to ice ratio where you need it, drop the thermometer in and let the temp settle. It should be right at 0*C after a short while. Take the difference between 0 and your thermometer reading and you'll know about how far the thermometer is off.

the carbon and wool are fine, but you need to be sure to change them regularly. The schedule your LFS guy prescribed will be just fine. I like having little filters like that on my little tanks. It seems to help combat detritus buildup more in small tanks vs larger ones.
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#10
castiel

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I knew this moment would come ... but wtf?

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Update - looks like it's a baby clam/scallop of some kind!

Edited by castiel, 30 July 2011 - 04:33 PM.

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#11
.Newman.

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yes likely a scallop.
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#12
castiel

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Cool, I will get some phytoplankton to feed it with then =0)

Two more updates - first water test. Bit tricky as I have the freshwater API kit and it doesn't include the saltwater colour chart, so going from my screen (based on this site: http://www.americana.../Downloads.html )

pH - seems really low, somewhere around 7.4, maybe 7.8
Amm - definitely there which is great, aroud 0.5-1ppm
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 20ppm

So both Ammonia and Nitrates - does that make sense?


Second are a couple of further IDs, though I a guessing some kind of bristle worms?

In the middle below the flash (had to use the flash as it was in a dark recess:
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On the point of the rock, white colour:
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Edited by castiel, 30 July 2011 - 11:30 PM.

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#13
yoshii

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Ooh cool HH scallop!

For your most recent pics; the first looks like some sort of bristleworm, like you said. and the second looks like a harmless sponge :)

btw, cool username

55gal: Reef - 10g: Leaffish Macro-Algae Tank - 3g: Pico Reef - 1.6g: Mini Macro Tank

I swear yoshii you turn every thread into a chat box lol!!!

Lack of research is the biggest down fall of people in this hobby.

 


#14
castiel

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Pretty sure the second is a worm too, maybe the pic doesn't show it well enough.

And thanks! It's not my usual screen name actually (chimaera), but it's what we named our Betta, which came from Supernatural =0)

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#15
brandon429

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since you have life rock life you don't want to die or be stressed you need to do a full water change on both systems. Any detectable ammonia is very hard on the life imported with your live rock. A full water change will not hurt the system, it will help it, because that live rock was already cycled per the animals on it.

This is the stage to start preparing against algae wars as well, leaving unoxidized and oxidized nitrogen in the system is the first step to seeding the tank and live rock with diatoms and algae, something not part of the cycle in a pico reef. If you have looked up 2 gallon tanks on this site you'll see they don't go much past a year without having to be taken down and reset up again to avoid algae crashing...doing things opposite now of that standard is the way to take your tanks to 3 years and beyond!

to be different of similar tanks that had to be taken apart and redone:
-do full water changes instead of partial ones unless you have a GFO filter
-manually remove all algae as soon as you see it, don't rely on water changes to do so

these two changes alone are the best things you can do to your tank based on past threads of a short lifespan tank. These twins are awesome, hate to see them get treated the same way we already know will not work long term. At no point should ammonia be in the system, the water should be fully changed to be sure its not. In nearly all ammonia detection cases in new tanks using cycled rock, the test or the interpretation is off and there's not any. The big water change is just a safe zone activity, that no one does.

so no one has a three year old 2 gallon tank to show us. Maybe this is the one (or two)!

one very old pico

 


#16
yoshii

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Pretty sure the second is a worm too, maybe the pic doesn't show it well enough.

And thanks! It's not my usual screen name actually (chimaera), but it's what we named our Betta, which came from Supernatural =0)

Oh, does it move? I thought it was sessile

Haha nice! Cas is my favorite character :D


btw, listen to whatever brandon tells you, he's a genius

55gal: Reef - 10g: Leaffish Macro-Algae Tank - 3g: Pico Reef - 1.6g: Mini Macro Tank

I swear yoshii you turn every thread into a chat box lol!!!

Lack of research is the biggest down fall of people in this hobby.

 


#17
castiel

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since you have life rock life you don't want to die or be stressed you need to do a full water change on both systems. Any detectable ammonia is very hard on the life imported with your live rock. A full water change will not hurt the system, it will help it, because that live rock was already cycled per the animals on it.

This is the stage to start preparing against algae wars as well, leaving unoxidized and oxidized nitrogen in the system is the first step to seeding the tank and live rock with diatoms and algae, something not part of the cycle in a pico reef. If you have looked up 2 gallon tanks on this site you'll see they don't go much past a year without having to be taken down and reset up again to avoid algae crashing...doing things opposite now of that standard is the way to take your tanks to 3 years and beyond!

to be different of similar tanks that had to be taken apart and redone:
-do full water changes instead of partial ones unless you have a GFO filter
-manually remove all algae as soon as you see it, don't rely on water changes to do so

these two changes alone are the best things you can do to your tank based on past threads of a short lifespan tank. These twins are awesome, hate to see them get treated the same way we already know will not work long term. At no point should ammonia be in the system, the water should be fully changed to be sure its not. In nearly all ammonia detection cases in new tanks using cycled rock, the test or the interpretation is off and there's not any. The big water change is just a safe zone activity, that no one does.

so no one has a three year old 2 gallon tank to show us. Maybe this is the one (or two)!

Wow, thanks for the advice! I really thought it was best to leave the tanks alone for a few weeks once the LR is put in, but sounds like that's a different situation for smaller tanks?

Do the full water changes apply even once corals and livestock are in there? Doesn't that stress the hell out of them?

I looked up what GFO stands for, but can you give some examples of the filter you mean?

Thanks

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#18
castiel

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In other news, there are random clicking noises coming from the tanks sometimes! Doing a search, could be a pistol shrimp? Can't see anything at all, nevermind near the glass.

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#19
.Newman.

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could be pistol or mantis or something. they may be a more transparent, species that can't be spotted easily or they might be just very tiny so you cant spot them. in the sand or rock.
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#20
castiel

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I'll keep an eye out =0)

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#21
brandon429

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and the second most likely clicker is the cerith snail. do you have any?
they flick their shells up against glass commonly, has woke me up at night before as a tiny little click/click


gfo is granular ferric oxide, a media you can put in a filter compartment to absorb the phosphate we know to be the primary source of algae fuel even above nitrate measures

some people choose not to have alot of filters and peroxide and or using fire from a lighter to burn out pests is one quick way that makes for perfect tank running, we aren't relying on anything to do the job we can do by hand.

the large water changes do not hurt the tank, they refresh it. but the refill portion is slow, don't kick up alot of sandbed waste, pour over the high point of the rock structure and let it run down.

I do one or two full drains on my tank a week for years, because Im making a showpiece out of it this overdrives it. you don't have to push it that hard, its just a model of tolerance for pico reefs in showing that you can if you want to. until you get fish, feeding once a week with cyclopeeze frozen bar and a full water change will run it for a very long time with no other measures other than topoff as needed.

the rule is the water change vessel you use to change water typically just needs to be filled up more to change out most of the water vs some of it, its not really adding work. What it will do for the life of your tank is undoubted compared to changing only a percent of the water as the bulk of 2 gallon reefkeepers do.

Below three gallons, I guarantee a pico reef will live longer on full water changes than it will on partials, unless you plumb in some technical filters and agree to keep those cleaned regularly as well. Doing the large water changes cheats the need for dosing to some extent, it cheats the need for filtration, and its the fastest way to make the reef last a decade or better my models show.

if you dig around the web for 2 gallon tanks of the month, 2 gallon long term tanks etc and watch the threads, algae or cyanobacteria becomes a factor in the latter portions for a reason. They were all keeping fish on partial water changes and not doing instant manual removal when algae was seen.

If you just change out all the water at water change time as a habit, and remove all algae the instant you see it, these tanks can run indefinately. Adding c balance doser in a specific timing can give them the ability to go into turbo mode after the initial tune is set for each system. just the water changes and manual algae removal for now can get you like 8 months of consistent running, guaranteed. past that, all you have to do is dose a little bit of C balance in the mornings before the lights come on and it will grow any sps you can fit inside.

Edited by brandon429, 31 July 2011 - 05:13 PM.

one very old pico

 


#22
castiel

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Nope, no cerith snails, unless they were hikers too.

Okay, so I am going to give the full water changes a try. Plus C Balance dosing.

I expect my wife won't want to do this with her tank, so we might end up with a nice little side-by-side comparison, but we'll see!

Is this the kind of GFO you mean?
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Do I need a 'reactor', or can I simply bag this and put it in the filter chamber?

Thanks =0)

Edited by castiel, 31 July 2011 - 05:42 PM.

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#23
brandon429

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yep they pretty much just rinse it and exchange it as needed, the exhaustion rates should be listed on the package. a side by side is a really great idea this is neat.

So if you are going to c balance dose it from the start, its 1/4 capfull each doser on mon/wed/fri mornings only never after lights on. each doser is slowly dripped into the tank in a high flow area, and they must be 25 mins apart never closer. for this dosing the specific gravity must .023 as the norm, not higher. the water is changed weekly minimum, a partial change on wednesdays if you want to add a little feed to keep the clean nutrient balance in the tank strong (selects for great pod growth and fanworm growth) the point is always pair each feeding with some kind of water change vs letting it all rot in the bowl for two weeks.

temp range is 78-80 or 81 as the absolute max, 80 is the best max and 78 is the best consistent temp to control the metabolism in the tank. If you can't use reefcrystals, which has a consistent calcium and alk range for this dosing technique, then we'll need some initial tests of calcium and alk before the dosing starts. Until corals are added I don't see much of a need for dosing at all. so ur going to make these bad boys side by side tests, how cool is that. Under one light? what did you decide I need to go back and re read. metal halide was a great call, its worth the extra topoff work I say. a big power compact setup meant for a larger tank would really do it well as a cheaper alternative~

Edited by brandon429, 31 July 2011 - 06:19 PM.

one very old pico

 


#24
brandon429

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some of the predictable difference among the two tanks between dosing and not dosing should be coralline algae growth. If one is started on c balance early, using some live rock from a tank that had coralline growing, the first coralline spot appears on the glass usually by the 4th week after startup if the amounts were correct. other than some coralline boosting, the tank not using the dosing will run just fine its all relative to the amount of detritus allowed to accumulate in the system. On two gallon tanks, we might see some differences in algae work in the tank by month 6, the dosed tank will have less algae to deal with predictably.


Yoshis 3 gallon tank thread is an ideal example of success, that's a really long lived tank and it has what I consider to be hallmark coralline and she's only doing water changes for that kind of purple, its really a good sign of how being consistent can work without having to dose anything. there are many ways that will run a pico reef, I just became more extreme in proactive care the more old tanks I lost after years of following partial water change/no dosing models.

its tragic when tank keepers maintain diligence in weekly work and then hardware issues bring down the system. one good ac outage on a hot day and I'll be in the same boat...

I believe El fab's tank and many others using the 50% change weekly method would still be around were it not for unpredictable events...even if we downscale my super aggressive total water change practice we are still left with doing some amount of work on a small pico weekly vs biweekly, and I am sure that's the right way regardless of the amount of water changed. You have the longest lived reefs using it. the shortest lived reefs comparatively were waiting beyond a week to do maintenance, just because the reef allowed it in the early phases of running.

one very old pico

 


#25
castiel

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Okay, I'll purchase some Phosban and put it in a bag in the media chamber, and some C Balance but wait until we add corals to dose this.

Just to be clear on other media, at the moment I have (from bottom):
1) Live Rock fragments
2) Carbon bag
3) Floss

Does it matter where the Phosban goes in the order?


On the water changes, I am going to try full weekly (on a weekend) changes. I assume an inch or two at the bottom is okay? Particularly thinking about how it works once a goby is added.


And finally, I plan on buying some Phytoplex to feed the current life in the tank, particularly the clam/scallop thing.

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