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xlzerolx's 9inch (3gallon) box of water

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Current FTS 2009-05-09




Just thought I'd share my 3gallon pico with you guys. Learned a lot from this great site and the helpful people on here. I've been battling some algae so right now all I have are pics of it under actinics. I will post more details of the setup this weekend when I have more time and some pics of it with the halide on.











My Frankenstein fishneedit 70 watt halide with a hacked up aqualight minilight fixture:



More details and pics coming this weekend so stay tuned!

Edited by xlzerolx

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Holy wiring, batman! lol

Tank looks good though.

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Too much lighting IMO, but hey its cool!

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Yeah the reason why youre getting pwn3d by algae is because you have over 30 watts per gallon. That metal halide is overkill, your best bet is LED or just compact fluorescents. That is a nice looking tank though. Did you build it yourself?


and thats a freaking sweet last mushroom. is that a yuma? i cant tell.

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Mushroom looks sweeeet! B)

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Holy wiring, batman! lol

Tank looks good though.

Lol yeah that wiring needs to be hidden haha

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Yeah the reason why youre getting pwn3d by algae is because you have over 30 watts per gallon. That metal halide is overkill, your best bet is LED or just compact fluorescents. That is a nice looking tank though. Did you build it yourself?


and thats a freaking sweet last mushroom. is that a yuma? i cant tell.


Sorry, I didn't mean to say algae. I'm good with algae. It's really that bacteria that grows on the sand and traps air bubbles I forget what it's called. I believe it might have to do with the nutrient levels with this being a young tank. I did have some calurpa as macro algae in the tank and things were perfectly fine (It actually came as a hitch hiker, lucky me! :) ). It did get too invasive and I had to cut it back every 3-4 days to stop it from growing out to the front... it grew like crazy under the halides. I now have it in the AC fuge with a LED desk lamp for lighting but it's not doing as well as when it was in the tank. Maybe because of the lighting. Not sure. I did have cheato macro algae for about 2 days until I noticed that it had aptasia growing in it. I immeadeatly dumped it. I can't stand aptasia especially the way it took over in my last tank.


I have reduced the photo period down to 4 hours from 6 with the halides, and have the actinics on the rest of the time. I'm not really a firm believer in the watts per gallon rule, and I can adjust the height of the fixture. Right now it's about a foot above the surface of the water.

Here is a pic of it about a week ago:


Yes that's the actual colour of the fishneedit.com 20000k metal halide bulb! :lol:

As you can see the bacteria seems to love the sand a lot I have none growing on the rocks at all.... and it's concentrated in the highest flow area in the tank :( . Really thinking I should've gone with a bare bottom.


I have moved some stuff around since then so I will post some updated pics on the weekend.


Yeah that is a blue ricordea yuma with a green mouth. It's not as pretty as it looks lol. I got it from a reefer that had it right up against the T5's so it's kinda blueish white. I'm hoping it regains it's colour.



***Edit: Just realised from the pic that the xenia needs a hair cut ;)

Edited by xlzerolx

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Ok weekends here! Time for details and more pics! Got A little camera crazy, Tank was just waking up so not everything is fully opened yet


The Tank

This tank was started late December 2008. A local fish store owner agreed to build a 9" cube for me for $23, a pretty sweet deal, and he did a decent job of it too. I purchased about 4 lbs of live rock from a local reefkeeper here who was tearing down his tank. You really can't beat $3 (and this is in Canadian dollars) per pound of fully cycled live rock :D. Not wanting to take any chances, I let the rock sit in the tank for 5 weeks before doing anything with it.




My initial setup were two coralife mini aqualights (two because I wanted to control the actinic and daylight separatly); but, they were putting out way too much heat, and everytime I came home from work I could smell warmed up plastic from the acrylic splash screen; not something I wanted to inhale everytime I was in my room. Not being very impressed, I deceided to look online for a better option and I narrowed it down to either the 12" Dual sattellite from current and the fishneedit 70W metal halide fixture. With both of them being almost the same price I opted for the metal halide fixture. Heat and too much was a concern for me so I decided to "build" a suitable stand for it that wouldn't cost too much would match the stand and could be adjusted for height. Being limited with the tools I had at hand (I had only recently switched pronvices and was starting out life in a new city and new place), I went down to home depot to see if I could find something to build the stand. What I ended up coming home with was a vertical post they sell for building stairways and a few brackets. On the way home the busdriver joked with me "what are you building a stairway one post at a time?" :lol:. A few hours later with only a screw driver and a few screws B) I had the stand to hang my fixture from.


It's ghetto, it looks ugly, but it works ;)


My decision to add actinics came about 2 weeks ago when I wanted to reduce the photo period of the metal halide but still wanted to have something to look at when I got home from work. So I decided to hack up one of the coralife mini aqualights and attach it to the metal halide fixture. Luckily the screw holes in the PC compacts were the exact distance of the screws on the fishneedit fixture so that was a bonus!


Filter/Fuge/Water mover


The filter I use is the AC50 with the standard fuge mod except I didn't glue anythign in place. I found that

everything presses quite nicely against the walls and there's a tight fit. At first I cut down the impeller to half

the length because I thought the flow would be too much, but after a while I decided I needed more flow and

purchased a replacement AC50 impeller. In side the fuge/filter I have a tetra heater some quilt batting from

walmart (filter floss) and some calurpa for macroalgae that actually came as a hitch hiker on one of the coral

frags. It's grown quite a bit since then :). For lighting I am using an LED desklamp I found at Walmart. I picked it because it fit behind the filter and could be pressed right up against it without any problems with heat.



For now this will have to do:


High-tech gravity drip system :lol: . I plan on having an air powered top off like el-fab has for his. I ordered a float switch from ebay and right now and I'm just waiting for it to come in.



So far I have the following frags:


Frogspawn (although it looks like a hammer to me):





Candycane, one of the heads has started splitting.



Pally's/ Zoas







Bluey purpley green mushrooms





Toadstool leather (or what looked like it) - Leathers are by far my favourite coral. It'll grow big I know but I intend on fragging it when it does





Brown Finger leather which I recently discovered was suffereing from a munching nudibranch!


Hopefully it will recover


Xenia - Can't live without the soothing motion of these!









Green and brown star polyps







Blue yuma with green mouth and a baby attached to it. Got this one from a local reefer




Hitch hikers/clean up crew


4 stomatella started of as 2 two months ago ( hitch hiker)





brittle /serpent star (hitch hiker)


2 turbo snails (bought about 2 weeks ago)


lots of amphipods



Leather coral eating nudibranch (now deceased ;) )



oh right... and a few flatworms :(




For maintenance I do 1 litre water changes every other day about (0.3 gallons). So that's a little less than a

gallon a week. I have just started dosing small amounts of Iodide in the make up water. After reading

GobyInPeace's featured reef tank profile, I do 3 day black outs every month and it's really amazing how much it really does help.

For now I'm just going to wait and watch the tank grow. In the future when the tank matures more, I intend to add either a monti cap or a birdsnest.


Also I intend to find a supplier that has a quality 70 watt 20000k or 14000K bulb in stock and will ship to Canada. It's been really frustrating trying to find a supplier :(.


So stay tuned for updates! I will try to update with growth (if there is any, every month or so)


Current FTS:

Actinics front



ACtinics right



Actinics Left



Metal Halide on:


Edit : Damn I double posted so many images ><

Edited by xlzerolx

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Wow fast reply lol. Thanks gerber :)

Edited by xlzerolx

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I really like this tank. I'm deff going to watch it.

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Looking good! B)

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Thanks so much for the compliments :) . This forum/site is definitely one of the best out there when it comes to reefing information and friendly experienced reef people! :bowdown:

I'm looking forward to updating this thread with more good news and pics in the months to come :lol:

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Ok so long weekend is here!


and I've been busy!


Here is my ATO build!


This is what I started off with.A float switch from ebay and a battery powered airpump.




First I cut a hole in the air pump case so I could thread the float switch wires through the case.




Cut and stripped both ends of one of the wires to the battery terminals:




Twisted the stripped ends of the float switch wires to the air pump wires:



And this is what it looks like:




I chose a 1L coke bottle to hold my top off water. I'm hoping this will suffice and will be air tight when closed.

So far I made to holes in the cap. One for the air inlet and the other for the water inlet. I siliconed the holes and tubes to try and get an air tight seal.



The snail guard/ float switch uh-oh protector:

Went don to the dollar store and picked up these little containers. they had the perfect diameter for the float switch!



After a little bit of dremeling! The suction cups were taken from a minijet that weren't being used since I only use it to mix water



And supergluing ( I used the gel type superglue to do this):



Here is the entire ATO setup:


and the "reservoir"



Now just waiting for the water to evaporate so I can work out any problems.

I plan to replace the pop bottle with something else..soon... when the water level gets low it tends to not want to stay upright lol

Edited by xlzerolx

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I'll start off this reply with some bad news first. Unfortunately, the finger leather really did not fare well at all and was pretty much disintegrating day by day after the nudibranch attack :(


On to the good news! In addition to the ATO I have new frags!


I did say I wanted to wait a bit; but a local reefer was practically giving away some SPS frags @ $10 CAD each for a birdsnest and monti cap frag! :happydance:

Also picked up 2 more pallys!


I like to call these headbanging pallys:



and some zoas:



Both these SPS came from being under T-5's... so hopefully they will colour up to something brighter *keeps fingers crosssed*



Hopefully that ugly white plug will be covered in something soon lol



And here are some current pics:


I have some growth! here's an example:



Ummm and I guess the obligatory FTS's


Right Side:



Left Side:



Front view:


The Xenia is a camera hog



Any tips on not getting a camera reflection in the glass while taking pics? :lol:

Edited by xlzerolx

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Hello fellow pico and nano enthusiasts!


I'd like to upgrade my MH bulb to a 70 watt 20k K quality bulb. Unfortunately no one online in Canada (or LFS) carries any 70 Watt ushios or xms or aqualines in the 20k K colour, and no store in the states will ship these bulbs internationally and the ones that will haven't had anyin stock for months. Was wondering if someone south of the border (the Canadian border that is) would be willing to purchase one for me and ship it to me? I'll refund the expenses of course! ***EDIT :SOMEONE VOLUNTEERED! THANKS!***********


Also updated pics of the tank soon! :)

Edited by xlzerolx

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I really like your tank and your DIY projects. Keep posting any new pics you might take.




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Very cool little cube there! and love the ATO.

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Nice Looking Tank!

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Woke up this morning and looked at the tank and saw this:



The above pic is what happened yesterday night while the lights were out. The amphipods had been harassing one of my pallys. They had totally eradicated the yellow zoa type polyps I had in my tank last month. At the time I had thought that the yellow colony I had got was sick and they were just doing their job by keeping the sick polyps in check. This was what I had read on nano-reefs as being one of the reasons pods start eating zoa/paly polyps. However this new palythoa is a completely healthy one (healthy enough that it's sprouting new little ones) and the pods had no interest in it for weeks after destroying the yellow polyp colony.


I grabbed my turkey baster and blasted the area as hard as I could to get them away, but that didn't even seem to phase them at all.... in fact they are immune to strong turkey baster blasts lol. So, I decided to distract them by feeding them some reefroids; and, it worked. :o

They're no where near my paly anymore and they have reverted back to their scurrying about. I think that they were just very hungry and had nothing to eat.

When the pods were chewing up the yellow polyps I was not feeding my tank with anything. I only started using reef roids about 3 weeks ago. I guess it was reefroid rage :haha:.


Anyway, I suppose I'll have to increase tank feeding. Do the regular spot feeding of the corals once a week and an small additional feeding mid week for the pods and other critters to keep them happy :unsure:


If it was just hungry pods, I think people are wrong in assuming that the pods were harassing the zoas due to a zoa colony sickness. Then again, there could be 2 reasons why pods eat palythoa and zoa colonies: either they are hungry, or the colony is sick.


Will post some growth comparison shots / updated FTS when the lights are on and everything has fully opened.

Edited by xlzerolx

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Pic and growth and tank updates.


Since the last details on the tank, a few things have changed. First off the yellow polyps dissappeared from my tank because of the pods harrasing them. I have also started dosing kalkwasser solution with the ATO water and feeding the tank reefroids. The xenia rock got a haircut too.

I haven't added any new coral since the last update.


I will be getting a 20000K ushio bulb in the next few weeks, so next updates will be under the new lighting hopefully. Will finally get rid of the yellow look :)


First up here's the Monti. Cap. growth. It's been about a month and it's starting to get "frilly". There's new growth, the skeleton is growing on the left side in this pic.. so I guess I'm doing somethign correct :D

And I think this is becoming my favourite coral right now along with leathers lol





The candycanes: The fleshy part has started to grow in between the split mouths



The GSP extending it's mat



Not sure if you guys can see this, but the Hammer is sprouting a new head. I now have settled on calling it a hammer coral....It definately does not look like a frogspawn



I got tired of looking at the ugly birdsnest plug so i pulled it out of it and glued it to the rock. Looks more natural and more like a birds nest now. The white tips have dissappeared from when I first got it, but no new white tips are showing yet. It also might be changing to a green colour, can't know for sure yet though



The toadstool has grown quite a bit since I first got it, growing pretty damn fast O.o



FTS shot progression (not from very beggining since I didn't have a camera when I first started the tank). You can really see how the toadstool has exploded upward lol



Current FTS


Edited by xlzerolx

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