Jump to content
el fabuloso

El Fab's Simple Guide to Pico Tanks

Recommended Posts

Riley007

Hey Fab, excellent information. I did notice that the link to the 18W Current Satellite light fixture is reporting a 'Bad Request - Invalid URL'.

 

Here's a link to the Satellite:

http://www.marineandreef.com/Satellite_Sin..._p/rcu01001.htm

 

Also if you'd like to add some LED fixtures Aquarium Led Lighting in the UK has some excellent ones.

http://www.aquariumledlighting.co.uk/index.html

 

-r

Edited by Riley007

Share this post


Link to post
Lquiet

there's a couple different lights you can find if you look hard enough. try searching by dimensions as well....

 

coralife makes a silver 12" 1-18w light that can even be found on ebay, and then the one i currently use on my pico.....a silver 12" 1-18w cpr aquafuge light i picked up used from the store i work at. just a slight leg mod and it looks perfect!

 

good luck!

 

post-49017-1268383739_thumb.jpg

Edited by Lquiet

Share this post


Link to post
Reesea17

I don't know if anyone is watching this still but i was wondering if anyone could tell me what powerhead that is that is shown in the "Add powerhead" step.

 

Thanks,

 

Reese

Share this post


Link to post
.Newman.

A Rio50 if I am not mistaken...it looks like the one I use.

Share this post


Link to post
rw1298

thank you very much for this post. i am working on my 3.5 gallon truvue and i think i will be making a couple changes now. i am using a 10 wt cf by coralife it is a 50/50 and i heard 3 watt per gallon do you think this light is ok or should i upgrade to 2. i have no coral yet just 5lb of lr

Share this post


Link to post
brandon429

Hey ElFab can we get an updated FTS taken this week for this thread?> nothing shows the growth charting better than that man!

B

Share this post


Link to post
RedMan25xl
thank you very much for this post. i am working on my 3.5 gallon truvue and i think i will be making a couple changes now. i am using a 10 wt cf by coralife it is a 50/50 and i heard 3 watt per gallon do you think this light is ok or should i upgrade to 2. i have no coral yet just 5lb of lr

 

with little lighting like that you won't be able to keep many coral happy.. at least add another if not change lighting all together.. what type of corals do you plan to keep?

Share this post


Link to post
.Newman.

doesnt l Fab's tank low looks way different? just a bunch of SPS i think lol and a different scape alltogether.

Share this post


Link to post
brandon429

thats what I want to see but more than anything I am interested in his live rock growth communities, I know his corals are sharp and large for that sized tank...he does consistent partial water changes and Id give a lot of props to see how that has worked in detail over these years, to prevent algae, grow tubeworms etc, El Fab's pico is among the top three oldest continually running worldwide for that gallonage Im also pretty sure. gimme the pics man the beauty for me isn't the corals its what supports them!

 

The techniques that run the oldest tanks are the right ones for me, all else are trendy bs that lend moderate or below average lifespans. What the crusty old timers do is what you'll catch me doing lol and until a new setup attains 3-5 years old continually running, with pics, with no eutrophication, I don't believe in the new ways because there's never any proof of repeatability. el fabs tank has looked wonderful all this time so I milk for ideas and spread these around...

 

 

B

Edited by brandon429

Share this post


Link to post
.Newman.

I recognize that haha, but I just liked the old look with the red montipora a lot more xD

Share this post


Link to post
brandon429

hey you have seen pics I haven't...didn't seen them on his members thread

 

link please Sir

B

Share this post


Link to post
brandon429

YES!

 

His FTS March is just what I have been looking for.

 

Yes, its the best live rock culturing in a nano Ive ever seen. I had not seen that recent shot nor the huge thread, plus I was a little annoyed at having to click out to 67 pages wtf :)

 

Usually rock tends to thin out and become just purple or even bare in nano and pico tanks, or algae ridden, because people keep them too sterile or too nutrified ESPECIALLY for this length of time with fish in the equation. His substrate shows the age, undeniable. His live rock has organisms I've never even seen on our best local LR, and whether or not the rock started out with this benthic life, or developed later through his feeding, water change, refugium approach, its there and Im saying it looks better than a 10 year old 180 gallon reef tank at my LFS but then again they have UV on it to prevent algae (with about $20K in coral) so it only follows anything transmitting among surfaces through the water may be culled.

 

Well I guess this is the best nano Ive ever seen because you get to see the true array of life one can have in a 180 gallon tank-fish, plants, corals, inverts, and unidentifiable animals that alternate generations forever. It has the age and picture documentation in linear order so it commands full respect, like wine its only getting better as the years go by. This was the original live rock through the whole build right? rearranging of corals never bothered me and it certainly looked like the substrate has never been switched...

 

 

I have ran out of complements, good nite

B

Edited by brandon429

Share this post


Link to post
.Newman.

haha indeed

Share this post


Link to post
el fabuloso
His FTS March is just what I have been looking for.

 

Yes, its the best live rock culturing in a nano Ive ever seen. I had not seen that recent shot nor the huge thread, plus I was a little annoyed at having to click out to 67 pages wtf :)

Don't worry, even I get scared having to look up certain information on my own thread. And to think that some people actually read through the whole thing! God bless them. :rolleyes:

 

To answer some of your questions—the live rock in my tank are all the original ones. Same goes for the substrate. The tank will be hitting the three year mark in November and it's definitely showing its age though it's not showing any signs of slowing down. If anything it seems to be getting better with age in terms of stability.

 

I attribute my tank's longevity to using quality live rock and a refugium (no matter how small). I'm still surprised by the diversity of lifeforms that crop up in my tank even today and sometimes I find polyps and frags of corals that have not been in my tank for months or even years. Something you wouldn't expect in a tank this size.

 

The recent addition of my pistol shrimp/yasha goby pair is helping turn the sand over and keeping it fresh. Still working on doing the full SPS transition which has taken way longer than I had planned though at this point I'm not particularly in a hurry since my tank isn't going anywhere soon. :lol:

 

I'll see if I can take some pics of the tank this week though my current aquascape isn't nearly as exciting as it used to be.

Share this post


Link to post
brandon429

excellent man agreed totally.

 

You know none of us can count on more than one hand the pico reefs that are this old, verifiably like this, and with information out there solely written for large reefs we are usually stabbing in the dark as to why certain tanks run longer than others before algae crashing.

 

The single most important thing to me possibly in this thread (where your purple thumb is undebateable) is that live rock when seeded, aged, and covered with growth to seal off some of its channels does not rot inside from lack of flowthrough releasing leachates into the tank which would be evidenced by bad algae growth in the unskimmed reef. Someone is going to have to keep their picos going for like 8 and 10 years continually to really test it into a new dimension so don't take this down ever Fab!

 

 

I had toyed with the idea of taking my pico down and switching out the live sand just because if that's what it takes to keep them from going eutrophic I'm not above it, when you are dealing with a years-old pico reef. El Fab's thread is the reason I have not; his bioloading is much harder to deal with internally than what Ive kept out of my tank (in fear of overnutrifying it) so by seeing someone else with an old reef processing much more waste naturally it lets me put the guards down a bit. nice thread the million hits it will have by 2015 is justified

B

Edited by brandon429

Share this post


Link to post
.Newman.

Brandon you are scaring me into thinking that my pico is going to explode any minute :scarry:

Share this post


Link to post
brandon429

heck no all the pros are scaring me that its going to because they said picos over three years would never work! those pros and their allelopathy, instability and lack of longevity writings since the dawn of marine keeping you know...the ones we still get most of our info from?

 

the words uncharted territory, exclusive territory, etc all apply to pico reef keepers.

 

:)

B

Edited by brandon429

Share this post


Link to post
el fabuloso

You have no idea how many times I've been tempted to just dump everything over to my RSM and call it a day. But I can't do it! As far as I'm concerned the tank is still good as long as it can sustain life. And at the moment it's sustaining SPS and a clam so I can't bring myself to tear it down. So how old is the oldest pico right now?

Share this post


Link to post
brandon429

who knows theres probably an islander with one unpublished on the web somewhere and access to natural seawater...I have not been able to locate *pictures* of two gallon systems older than 1999 in all searching but lots of old timers, with credibility, mention keeping them before picture taking and web posting was the norm. Somewhere in the German forums/magazines Daniel Knop has pictures of the Thaler Puddle which if my looking around was correct, was a 2 or 2.5 gallon tank from the 1970's the literal oldest pico reef I have ever heard of.

 

but that's with seawater, our synthetics are another beast nutritively speaking. on the contrary, with natural seawater you will pack so much more benthic life/live rock growth than normal one mistake could cause a giant dieoff and total cycling.

 

I am nearly sure eliminating algae forestation was not a concern for this tank either, I almost certainly remember it being described as some anemones in a bed of algae because it was sunlight driven.

 

-Not- the mixed SPS we are featuring today, zero algae, turbo picos. but then again look at their equipment, no heater, natural sunlight, ours would have looked the same!

 

Like DC Potts. That day he popped up to talk in the thread "Pre 2000's pico reefs (vetting for that article)" thats equal to the #1 high point in reefkeeping for me. Not only is he among the very first nano reefers, pico reefers with a 2.5, talking with us, it likely wasn't his first dance in small tanks and it would be neat to know what he tried back in the 70's and 80's. The oldest other documentation I can think of from someone I deem reputable (Sugar Magnolia on several boards from early 2000's) was her 2.5 tank living for seven years. like my threads we didn't pack it all into one nice place like this thread so it makes verification less linear.

 

Thats why I asked about your live rock switching Fab, I think in order to really test the bounds our tanks should not be taken down, pride is welling up again ahead of coral longevity lol. changing/trading coral is ok by me because corals won't cause algae outbreaks, but you care for live rock or live sand wrong for even a few weeks in a years-old pico and its algae toast. Since your tank features fish and all the info in one place, its much older nutritively speaking than a tank with corals and no fish. like in dog years...upscaling for size and metabolic considerations...

 

Just from web posting, Im sure the current 2010 average lifespan for pico reefs is set at this level roughly:

 

1 gallon systems 6 mos-2 years (all of two or three posts on the whole web this old from different people) max before algal domination or so much replacement its not the starting system.

 

2-3 gallon ones 1-2 years if lucky

 

3-5 about the same, not really an increase Ive seen interestingly

 

5-10 still about 2 years but going up to ten years posted. the pictures of the actual tanks ten years old often show starkly clean aquascapes, yet coralline crusty tank walls, that make me suspect changeouts on a scale that alters the actual statements. Id like to think I can't be tricked on the age of a tank...one look at a gent's live rock compared to the surroundings and I either exit stage left or double up for a handshake as in this case lol

Edited by brandon429

Share this post


Link to post
Weetabix7

Brandon, I'm curious, what do you define as the proper way to care for Live Rock and Live Sand?

I haven't commented on it much before now, but you're recent comments have definitely gotten me thinking.

I've always been an anti-sand person, sand just seems like a nutrient sink to me, but I know I'm in the minority on that.

The one tank I have sand in now, I'm looking at it and wishing I could take it out, seeing brown stuff on it, etc.

I have plenty of sand stirrers sand maintainers, whatever, but I suspect I'm just not doing something right.

You've also been commenting on benthic life and how our tanks just aren't capable of sustaining much of the benthic life that is naturally found on LR.

This is relevant to me because I recently started a Pico tank using the Ecosystem Method, which is supposed to support benthic growth much better than other systems.

For this reason I am trying to find ways to introduce and sustain that kind of life in my tank.

My Pico thread: http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...t=0&start=0

Threads on Ecosystem Method: http://www.athiel.com/lib7/lengsy.htm

http://www.aqualifesupport.com/getArticle.php?ArtID=168

Share this post


Link to post
brandon429

thats one area I wouldn't type a blanket restriction lol, its passive obervations about live rock mainly from keeping them in several tanks ranging 1-3+ years most observations I draw from this and seeing tons of other pico pictures for the ages people report them at...

 

 

wouldn't know the ideal way to care for it, only what I choose. Fab's thread is making me less of a purist for full water changes and more considerate of consistent small ones along with the obvious benefit plant growth refugiums will give to the best possible live rock quality we can sustain in these tiny systems, not to mention some nitrate binding which is why I change water like a crazy one cuz I don't have plants in this particular vase.

 

I have a psychotic fear of algae, others do not. I will not forget the fear of getting a pico out to three years, having this little red tuft pop up that looks like a neat benthic growth, and then losing the whole dang tank in 3 months to the scourge of humanity that is asparagopsis taxiformis.

 

http://biogeodb.stri.si.edu/pacificalgae/specie/76

 

most people have clean up crews, im bent on controlling it through water sterility but working only with gallon tanks makes you a tweak... Sand substrates are definately a trap, I use them only because of certain benefits mainly to the live rock. in the way El fab gets better than usual live rock sustenance with his combo of refug, sand (all the microfaunal reproduction growth in either substrate=plankton in the water as evidenced by sabellid worm growth throughout the tank, a prime fixer of these foodstuffs) i just try to benefit from the sandbed portion and across tanks kept ranging from ones with sandbed+refugium, sandbed without refugium, bare bottom no refugium, the complexity of live rock growth was best sustained in that same order with bare bottom, non refug'd pico reefs selecting for coralline but not a diverse array of pods, various worms, and other unidentifiable suprises we get out of the systems with more substrate (and as you mentioned more cleaning requirements)

 

its all just a blizzard mix of ways that work depending on your goal.

 

additionally, prolly already wrote it somewhere its my schtik that occasionally I will place my pico reef in the sink, pouring ten gallons of fresh sw through it forcefully to export as much top layer junk out into the sink. don't know if my vase would still be alive without that function, but I specifically register lower nitrates (the test that determines all my water changes) for quite a while after those blast cleaning runs.

 

summary: keeping dissolved nutrients low, and suspended nutrients high is my goal and will always give the best live rock diversity with the lowest algal complement. again I do this by feeding only before a huge water change, so degraded feed doesn't have to go into solution as bacterial and other animal usages degrade it down from whole proteins. if you have refugium presence, then the dissolved nitrogen from complete protein breakdown in the system can be bound up by plants, where it is not available in solution for algae. this is the role of all refugiums, post facto nitrogen absorbtion. its not like plants can take up proteins!!! the goal is to have a denser plant load in the refugium than the algal fragments looking to pounce upon the available N and P in solution, as bacteria chiefly break down the tiny fragments of food and waste we can't see in the water. but we can sure measure it=no3

 

in tiny tanks with no fixation I can't find a better way than full water changes, as all other aged gallon system have gone the way of the dodo Im most watching this pico reef year contest as one of the BEST compilations of what works and what doesn't because so many are repeating work in one place! in slightly larger nanos there's a little better dilution and a host of plumbing/refugium options that only add to the stability and bioloading possibilities...something a gallon reef can't and shouldn't do...just ranting

B

Edited by brandon429

Share this post


Link to post
brandon429

also I think the ecosystem method is very wise, its a blend of what E Fab is showing on this thread only with smaller particle substrates. If you don't allow phosphate and nitrate to go beyond ideal params, low, then no approach is bad even if you have a tank with only bioballs and an undergravel filter with goldfish substrate for your reef! the tests are everything, your work load is what should shift per design. and my methods towards sterility of dissolved nutrient are only designed to lessen the workload, and nutrient sinking, of the gallon reef as long as humanly possible. I included a small shot of my live rock growth which is equally dense but not nearly as diverse, the tanks with the refugiums should always be more diverse as one of the attested benefits of using refugiums...the repeatable way I get the live rock growth in a tank with less water quality consistency is simply to change out all the water and feed cyclopeeze and mysis a couple hours before. im thinking the rediculous amount of food, enough to cloud the tank sometimes, means every animal gets fed and they just get a little hungry by next week, living on the sparse planktors from the sandbed and rock surfaces. at least the pics make me think that...

 

 

 

for all the bantering I do against natural nitrate reduction in the nano reef, the ecosystem method could certainly pull it off and to me its because the smaller grain size of the mud base really probably does attain anoxia in as little as an inch, if you'll notice all the other piss battle threads regarding denitrification (the conversion of nitrate into gas within certain zones so well known in large tanks) its with standard grain beds and the same darn live rock we all own lol.

 

that being said El Fab what is your nitrate reading as of today bro! Here's my guess, 5 ppm. just a guess, plant fixation and regular partial changes should keep it low but I wouldn't guess undetectable. disclaimer: if you do write zero im blaming it all on your fuge

:)

B

post-138-1276281211_thumb.jpg

Edited by brandon429

Share this post


Link to post
badfish816

i swear brandon. you are so dang smart when it comes to these little details. your attention to detail is what keeps me reading. i never thought of live rock like you do until now. thanks man, for all your contributions.

Edited by badfish816

Share this post


Link to post
.Newman.

yo brandon, what are those things in your pic? Are those Hydroids? I have some just like that (theyre not full blown colonies yet) but my are actually neon green xD they look so awesome under the Blue Cree LEDs!

Edited by .Newman.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recommended Discussions

×
×
  • Create New...