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el fabuloso

El Fab's Pico Reef: 2007–2010

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el fabuloso
Amazing tank! Since your system was up for so long (I read most of the thread from page one) I was wondering if you ever changed your sand. It would be interesting to know if there is less now due to it slowly dissolving. Just curious!

:D

Thank you! I have the same sand that I started with and have never added or removed any of it. It does feel like I have less than before though I think this is mostly due to the sand shifting and resettling over time.

 

Great idea, i've been trying to figure out a good diy ato fro my nc6, this is perfect. Jealous i didn't think of it first. where'd you find the small float switch?

I ordered the float switch from Chicago Sensor. I wish I could take credit for this mod but I can't. I'm just trying to streamline it to make it better suited for a pico. :)

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gloves

it took me all day on friday at work to go through 14 pages. i am finally done and your tank is super cool. i am just starting but have a friend who has a 55g. i will be sure to read your M9 and pico simple guide.

 

thanks for the great read!

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el fabuloso

:welcome: and thanks for reading! Don't worry, the M9 thread isn't as long. lol

 

Are you thinking about starting a pico?

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gloves

probably not. i am looking at a 20g now. although maybe once i know what i am doing one would be nice in the bedroom!

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NAL

I love this tank so much. :) I hope my pico is this successful someday. :)

 

 

How is the yellowtail doing? I was thinking about going with a Damsel.

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el fabuloso
probably not. i am looking at a 20g now. although maybe once i know what i am doing one would be nice in the bedroom!

20g is a good size. There are some really good 20g tanks in the Members Aquariums section you should check them out to get some ideas. I think everybody should have a pico! They cool thing about them is that you can set them up anywhere. :)

 

I love this tank so much. :) I hope my pico is this successful someday. :)

 

 

How is the yellowtail doing? I was thinking about going with a Damsel.

Thanks! And when are you going to start that pico? Get on it already. :lol:

 

The damsel is doing great, I can't say anything but good things about him. Some recent pics of him:

 

CIMG6826.jpg

 

CIMG6831.jpg

 

CIMG6845.jpg

 

I would definitely recommend yellowtail damsels to any pico setup (with common sense of course). I think they're better than clown gobies in that they're not suicidal, they're easier to feed, more colorful and more active. Not to mention extremely peaceful and none destructive. I'm still surprise that he hasn't added much to my bioload.

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Formatsreef

Nice to hear :D que bueno que esta todo bien!

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el fabuloso

Genial, gracias! :)

 

Por cierto, me gusta mucho su nuevo avatar. ;)

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justdewitt

How high can my tank be before this doesn't work b/c of gravity? I'd love to build an ATO, but my tank is on a dresser in my room and the top of the tank is probably 6' from the ground.

 

I tried using one of my AC30 powerheads to pump water from a bucket into my tank and it didn't work, so I'm wondering if this would?

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el fabuloso

Height isn't so much a factor with this method. My tank is also on a dresser so I know exactly what you mean and I actually have the RO water and the air pump 4' below on the floor and it works just fine.

 

ato.jpg

 

You don't even need that big of an air pump because the whole thing works on pressure. Air is forced into the container and the air pump doesn't stop until it's shut off by the float switch once it reaches the desired water level.

 

Here's a simple diagram of how this thing works:

atodiagram.jpg

One important thing though is to make sure the exit line isn't submerged in water otherwise it will siphon water out of your tank when the air pump stops.

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NAL
Thanks! And when are you going to start that pico? Get on it already. :lol:

 

 

Oh, it's up :)

 

 

I do need to update the pics though

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el fabuloso

While I was doing my weekly maintenance earlier this evening I decided to move and rearrange a few things. One piece that's becoming really hard to accommodate in my tank is my Montipora cap. I've had to rotate it a few times to keep it from hitting the glass and a lot of times it gets knocked over by my emerald crab so tonight I decided to take it out completely so I can fix my rock work so that I can wedge it in securely. I've been watching this thing grow and have noted how well it's been doing but it wasn't until I held it in my hand that it blew me away just how much this thing has really grown!

 

CIMG7005.jpg

 

Aside from the size what also amazes me is the structure. I remember when I first got this frag a non-reefer friend asked me why I have a broken piece of terra cotta in my tank. :lol:

 

Eight months ago:

CIMG5470-1.jpg

 

It's amazing how a tiny little piece of coral can grow—seemingly without direction at first—into this beautiful complex structure and under PC lighting at that. Not to mention it has maintained its color very well. Although you can't tell from the picture it's actually now starting to cup and grow upwards so I don't have to worry about it extending straight out into the glass.

 

The success of this piece has inspired me to maybe try my hand at other types of SPS in my tank. Maybe I'm being a little too ambitious but it's fun to think about. :happy:

Edited by el fabuloso

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gloves

your monti is doing so well it is making me want one in my future tank...still in the design phase...long way till i get something like that...so nice

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Weetabix7

:o @ that Monti Cap!!!

Absolutely amazing.

I LOVE this tank!

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debbeach13

Great growth pictures I love to see that. Your pico is one of the best tanks ever.

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danktank

how exactly did you build that ATO i don't want to buy one for my 20L and i can just scale it up right?(wouldn't scale up the air pump too much) And where did you get the float switch from

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PSYS

OMG!! That Monti is amazing... B)

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el fabuloso

Thanks for all the kind words! Especially from you, Weetie. :blush:

 

your monti is doing so well it is making me want one in my future tank...still in the design phase...long way till i get something like that...so nice

They're amazing and they can add a lot of structural interest to your tank. Aquacultured varieties are definitely a lot more adaptable which is why mine has been growing so well under 36W PC in an overstocked tank.

 

how exactly did you build that ATO i don't want to buy one for my 20L and i can just scale it up right?(wouldn't scale up the air pump too much) And where did you get the float switch from

My ATO is extremely easy and cheap to make. The only reason I use the one gallon jug the RO water is in is so that I don't have to dump or pour water and just use the container itself. Other than that there's no reason why you can't scale it up as long as you have a good container with an airtight cap. I got the sensor from Chicago Sensor and got the smallest one they have. I cut up an old epoxy tube I have lying around to the right height and used it to house the float switch. Then the float switch is spliced (securely) into an extension cord where I have the air pump plugged into. That's it, it's pretty simple and straightforward.

 

It's been working smoothly for me and my only regret is not doing it sooner. Now I can go out and enjoy doing other activities instead of giving people lame excuses on why I have to leave early. lol

 

The only thing I haven't really figured out is fastening the float switch. I currently have it wedged between the AC70 and one of the mounting legs on my fixture and the tab on the endcap of the of the tube keeps it from slipping in so it's fairly secure but I can only imagine a bad scenario waiting to happen so I don't want to find a way to hold it down securely.

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justdewitt

Love your tank Fab! I was wondering if you could post an outline of your day-to-day, week-to-week routine for maintaining this tank? Like, when do you do water changes? When, what and how much do you feed? Any dosing/supplements? How much and how often? Etc.

 

Things like that. Would be nice for those of us starting up and looking for a starting point at the maintenance needed to keep these little tanks happy.

 

Thanks!

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DBTReefer

CIMG7005.jpg

that is so pretty! i want one when i upgrade :ninja:

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danktank

thanks for the details. ill prob start on it this or next week

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el fabuloso
Love your tank Fab! I was wondering if you could post an outline of your day-to-day, week-to-week routine for maintaining this tank? Like, when do you do water changes? When, what and how much do you feed? Any dosing/supplements? How much and how often? Etc.

I feed the whole tank once a week and feed the fish and inverts every other day. I do two water changes a week but dedicate one maintenance day out of the week. I use to top-off in the morning and top-off at night when I do a general inspection/head count and do a quick swipe around the tank with my Nimble Nano. But ever since I got my ATO up I haven't had to top-off manually but I do check the reservoir, the float switch and the water line to make sure everything is working properly and every now and then I'll check for salinity to make sure it's at the proper level (I keep mine at 35 ppt or ~1.025. Any lower and my Xenias start to melt and look unhappy).

 

This is pretty much how a week goes in my tank...

 

Monday

This is my big weekly maintenance day. It seems like an odd day to do maintenance to a tank but there's a very good reason why I do my maintenance on Mondays. Around 11pm, about an hour after lights are out, I blast my rocks with a turkey baster making sure to get into every nook and cranny and also blast the sandbed lightly. I take out 2 liters (which is roughly half a gallon of water so it's a little more than 10%). At this point I disconnect my ATO so it doesn't trip out but I leave the fuge running the entire time and also my powerhead is off at this time. If you don't know by now, my Rio 50 is plugged into a daylight socket so it only runs when the daylights are on and completely off during actinics and at night. I figure this gives my tank a little variety and gives some of the corals a break from having water blasting at them constantly.

 

I take out the filter floss, tear a small piece off of it and use it to scrub the corners of my tank and some of the tight areas that I can't get into with my magnet cleaner especially that spot right above the sandbed. But honestly this is only when I'm being diligent a lot of times I skip this step when I'm feeling lazy. lol

 

I take out my chaeto ball and swish it around the bucket to dislodge any debris that's stuck in it. If I feel that it's gotten a little big I'll rip out a chunk of it and turn it over when I put it back. I put in a new piece of floss, fill the tank up with new saltwater up to the water level. At this time I'll clean the area around the tank making sure to get all the salt creep out especially the splashguard under the light which can screen out light if it gets too dirty.

 

I put everything back and turn my ATO back on.

 

Tuesday

I feed the damsel a small pinch of Omega One Flake Food and spot feed the shrimps and crabs with some Omega One Shrimp Pellets. Sometimes I'll give my yuma and my plate coral a small piece of pellet. Then I add a couple of drops of Kent Marine MicroVert.

 

Wednesday

Just the typical daily maintenance and inspection and test for calcium and alk.

 

Thursday

I do a water change (2 liters) an hour after lights out. Sometimes I skip the water change if my calcium and alk readings from the night before are within range but usually calcium is mostly depleted at this time.

 

Friday

The same feeding routine as Tuesday.

 

Saturday

Just the typical daily maintenance and inspection.

 

Sunday

Feeding frenzy day. I prepare my broth early in the evening and store in the fridge as I wait for the daylights to go out.

 

My broth consists of the following:

  • 50 mL of tank water (or one full squirt of my baster)
  • A very tiny drop of Lugol's iodine (more like a small hint than an actual drop)
  • Half a capful of Seachem Reef Plus
  • A small pinch of ZoPlan by Two Little Fishies
  • A cube of either baby brine, cyclop-eeze or mysis shrimp
  • Finely chopped silversides with a couple of larger pieces

After the daylights go out I'll manually set the timer to keep the actinics on longer than it's automatically set at. I add a few shrimp pellets into my broth to soak up and stir. I add a small drop of the broth into the tank using a turkey baster and everybody in the tank instantly goes nuts! Polyps extend, feeder tentacles come out, worms and hithhikers crawl their way out of crevices and the inverts and the damsel come marching out.

 

The first ones I feed are the inverts: sexy shrimps, peppermint shrimp and the emerald crab with the shrimp pellets soaked in the broth. I use to feed them chopped up silversides and shrimp from the broth but found that this only encouraged them to steal food from corals so now they only get pellets and nothing else. I also feed them first so that they stay out of the way while I feed the corals.

 

I squirt more of the broth into the tank with bits of meat which the damsel instantly goes after. I'll give the plate coral and the yumas some of the larger bits of silversides which they instantly eat up. Sometimes the florida rics will take food but not always. The trumpets also get some of the larger pieces. I feed the smaller pieces of silversides to the blasto which has well over 60 heads so it can be a little tedious but fun to watch as I try to feed every single head.

 

After I target feed the corals I take the baster and squirt the broth in different places in the tank, often in areas that I feel could benefit from it like the Galaxea and the Monti and spots where I know some of the feather dusters are hiding.

 

Once everyone gets their fill it's lights out and I leave them alone to eat through the night. Anything that's left uneaten are cleaned up by the bristle worms and other hitchhikers. Most people would probably be appalled by the amount of stuff I threw into the tank and the mess I make but I don't feel bad knowing that it will all be cleaned up the next day when I do my maintenance. And that is why I do my weekly maintenance on Mondays. :)

 

Now that I've written it all out it sounds like a lot of work but I pretty much have it down to a science and a routine that it takes me no more than 30 minutes to do any of these things. Except for the weekly feeding which can take longer depending on how well everybody's behaving. :lol:

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PSYS

That was an awesome post. Very helpful and thorough. I learned a lot just from that post. :) A strict regimen is important and crucial to the success of a good pico! :happy:

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justdewitt

Wow! Thanks for the thorough write-up. Will definitely come in handy for me, and I'm sure for lots of other people as well.

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Sembarcj

simply best picoreef than has seen

thx

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