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Starting a pico with leftover parts from larger tank


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#1
Ralgo

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Ever since I moved from my 29 Biocube to a 50g I have missed having a tank right next to my computer monitor on my desk (50g wouldn't fit... I tried). I have an old 5.5g laying around that I want to use to build a AIO pico tank. I have looked through some of the posts her and I got to say, very impressed. Following some of the designs I have seen, I plan to use some left over plexiglass to build two compartments in one side of the tank, an over flow and a return that I'll paint black. For lighting I have some leftover Bridgelux leds (6 royal blues and 6 cool whites plus all the other stuff I would need) from my 64 LED build I did for my 50g. Before I get started though I had a few questions and I hope you guys could shed some light on things for me.

1. Would 12 LEDs be too much, just enough or not enough light for the 5g? I plan to take a few frags out of my main display and I have a mixed reef with some hardy SPS (birdsnest) alot of LPS and Softies). I don't think I want to do SPS in the pico though. ( I haven't built the fixture yet so I could use as many or as few as are needed)

2. I have an old maxijet 1200 that I want to use as my return... would that be too much flow? I do have a plan to put a valve in the return to tone it down if needed ( the plan is to drill a small hole in the return before the valve to reduce the pressure that might build up if I turn the valve down). Also would I need any additional flow in the tank... like powerheads?

3. If lighting is sufficient, are there any other foreseeable issues with keeping anemones in a Pico. I would love to get one of those Neon Tube Anemones and other kinds as well. What other species focused setups could work in a pico?

4. I'd like to use black sand but the only places I have seen selling them only sell 20lb bags. Where could I get black reef safe sand in smaller amounts? I don't need live because I'll be using LR from my main display

5. I've mostly ruled out putting fish in the tank but... if I did which ones would you guys recommend... from your experiences?

6. Any other tips/tricks I should know about before I get going? Ive been reefing for over a year and I know the attention to detail that will be required for a tank this small.

Sorry for the long post guys and thanks in advance for any answers, comments, and suggestions.

#2
Ralgo

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Anyone?

#3
iball1804

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1. Yeah, without dimmers it'd be overkill. With dimmers, anything'll work. Put it in dimmable drivers and you're good to go.

2. I honestly don't know much about those. Maybe put a Hydor Flo on it?

3. As long as It stays put and secluded, I don't see why not.

4. My LFS doesn't sell 5 lbs of sand in bags, and I don't know of any places that do. <_< LAME. You'll probably just have to ask around.

5. IF you put an anemone, maybe a firefish or some nano goby's.

6. Just stay on top of the top-off and water changes. You need GOOD salt and GOOD water.

#4
Jrmiller

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pets mart by me sell 5lb bags

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#5
ReefersEdge

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Im building a 5.5 AIO right now, you should check out my build thread.

1. I agree with ball

2. My pump is right at 100gph and is giving my tank some great flow. You shouldnt need to add any power heads.

3. Dont over crowd your tank give your coral room to grow out.

4. I saw some 5lb bags at petsmart the other day, i dont think they had black though. You could prolly talk to mike at micro-reefs.com he may be able to get you some.

5. Small gobies if any fish.

6. Keep a close eye on your temp and top off. It doesnt take much evap to change your sal.

#6
Cintax

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1. Dimmable is the way to go. You will have plenty of light with that configuration.

2. That MJ1200 gives out 295 gph. That should be more than enough flow. Now, depending on your AIO design, a 1/2" loc-line splitter with two nozzles in the center would give you some wicked flow throughout the tank.

3. Tube anemones are NPS so you will have to feed it. They also grow super fast with regular feedings. You will need to figure out how much to feed it so it is kept healthy, but grow slowly. They also prefer a deep sand bed to cover their tube. Some people use a PVC pipe instead. Keep in mind larger ones can have a12" radius on their tentacles. If you were able to sustain one, it would likely be the only coral you could have. I don't even know if you can keep them in a pico though.

4. IDK about this. I have trouble finding regular sand under 15 lbs in my area. I bought a 15lb bag last week and all I needed was three solo cups worth. What a waste of money. :/

5. Trimma and Eviota gobies would be fine. You could do a small group of maybe three without a problem.

6. I would say an ATO is a requirement or at least daily top ups. you could put a lid on it and your evaporation will be pretty minimal. This will very likely effect O2 concentrations so perhaps just over the tank area. You can pretty much maintain this tank with weekly water changes (30-50%) and minimal daily maintenance. If you don't have fish, then you won't have as many issues with nutrients, nitrates, phosphor, etc. in the water. I really think you can do a lot with this tank.

Edited by Cintax, 30 March 2012 - 06:27 AM.


#7
Ralgo

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Thanks for the info guys. I cut the plexiglass yesterday and will be painting and siliconing this weekend. I'll try to do a build thread about it.

My livestock dreams got sidetracked yesterday. I went to a LFS and saw something quite awesome.

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Black and Blue Blubber Jellyfish

I'd love to have one in my pico but from my research they need special tank types in order to not damage their frail bodies.

Anyways back on topic

I will be setting up the lights with a dimmer so that's not a problem. I did see a tiny yellow watchman goby (about 1") at the LFS that looks like it would be great as the sole fish inhabitant. I also want to see if I can pair it with a pistol shrimp.

I 'll be covering the tank with two pieces of plexi. one for the display area and one for the back section. I'll be cutting slits in the back cover to facilitate gas exchange and will look into re-purposing a DIY ATO I built along time ago but never used.
I'll post pics this weekend of my setup

Tube Nems may be out of the picture. I read that they need a lot of room to spread their tentacles and that they may eat other inhabitants. It looks like they also need a deep sand bed to survive (although I did read about using a buried pvc pipe as their home). Still contemplating this one.
Are there any other exotic inhabitants that would be a good fit?

If anyone has any other suggestions I would highly appreciate it.

#8
iball1804

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I know that plexiglass doesn't stick together with silicone. Try Weld-on.

#9
Cintax

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The best you can get with silicone is something to hold the plexiglass in place. It doesn't have to be 100% water tight since it is just a divider. make sure you have a bead on both sides and it will be fine. Does weld-on work on glass?

#10
iball1804

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I don't think so. Weld-on literally melts the plexiglass together. Silicone is just a bridge.

#11
Cintax

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i think silicone would be fine in this application. The false wall isn't really structural and doesn't have to be water tight.

#12
iball1804

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Then there you go.

#13
Ralgo

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I know that silicone doesn't bond with plexi but I figured if I made it flush and continuous on either side of the divider that it would accomplish the same thing.

#14
iball1804

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I'm speaking from personal experience. Nothing more.

#15
Ralgo

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I'm speaking from personal experience. Nothing more.


No offense taken... I appreciate the advice.