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varanus37

.6 gallon LED-powered Acro forest

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varanus37

Decided to enter my pico in the methodology contest so here is a current FTS shot of this tank as of April 2010. I know, nothing new but it will get better. Really kewl to see a long-term contest such as this. Can't wait to see how they all turn out.

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So this tank has been somewhat a byline in my other 2 tank threads for some time. I got interested in picos after wandering around this forum and seeing some of the really neat things people create. The idea for this tank came from a few different places. I don't really keep acros in my other displays. The 10 gallon is my wife's tank and she digs rics and softies and my 75 is a jumble of all things coral but I really like montis. I do go to RC occasionally (gasp!) and run through the large tank section there. I'm always impressed by the mammoth creations that some people have and I really like to look at them but I just couldn't bring myself to build a tank like that and have nothing but acros in it. It's so pretty but so boring.

 

This brings me to my present project. I found this random betta cube at petsmart for like $10 and snagged it. It has a sweet fake snake skin base and looks as cheesy as possible. Maybe if it were actually a caricature of Nemo with a fish bowl inside it would be cheesier but it's really a toss up. Now, I drill this little cube and plumb it to a 2.5 and what do you know? It holds water and has a nice flow. So what do I want to do with it? I want to recreate those monster acro forests I see on RC so often! So I jumped on Evil's group buy and picked up 2 of his 12k LED Pico lamps and there the tank sat for quite some time. I just recently moved so it wasn't a big hurry. Wandering through Menards I found a track lighting system that I think will work nicely so I picked it up and put it all together tonight. That's what prompted me to create this thread.

Some pics.

Random shot of what I have now. The 2.5 and return pump are elsewhere but who needs them for gluing and testing lights?

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How the lights should be situated over the tank. Possibly on a shelf or in a cabinet of some sort.

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This brings me to the pics through the actual front pane of the tank. It looks like crap right now I'll just tell you. I'm using snail shells as my back wall and I'm only about 1/4 done so just go with it.

Shot from above.

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This is with the lights off in the room and just the 2 LED bulbs firing.

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So there you have it. The start to my pico thread. Why a snail shell background you ask? Because I've seen rock walls done and they're really neat. I wanted something different. I like encrusting montis and chalice-type corals and I plan to place 2 or 3 pieces and let them grow to cover the back wall. How neat will it be to see the growth patterns of encrusters over a jumble of snail shells? I think it will be pretty neat indeed. The plan for the acros is 4 or 5 pieces placed either directly on the bottom of the tank or using frag plugs with the bases set flush with the tank bottom. I'm hoping for an orchard type of look but we'll see. Not sure on the actual acro types or anything that I'll be using. Likely random cheap/freebies from my reef club. I've got 2 in my 75 now that may make the move along with a birdsnest piece. I've also got 2 acro crabs in the 75 and I would love to get another and basically make this whole thing a home for him.

 

So if you bothered to read all of that tell me what you think.

 

Bill

Edited by varanus37

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ashaf22789

Looks kinda cool. The shell wall is an interesting idea. Would be cool to grow some corals right out of the shells. How big is the pump your going to be using?

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varanus37

That was partly my reason for leaving some of the shells facing upward. Depending on what I go with for the encrusters I may place a piece in one of those openings. If I use monti encrusters on one side then the thought was to put a digi in the shell opening. If I use a chalice as the encruster then the shell openings will stay empty so they don't sting each other.

 

The pump is an old Rio 1100 I had chilling in the parts box. It says 1450 LPM, no idea what that works out to in gallons. I turn it down quite a bit as the sump sits fairly close to the display so it doesn't take much power to get the water back up and I don't want to overflow it.

 

Bill

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evilc66

Make sure you vent those cans. The lamps will get really toasty in there without a way for heat to escape.

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varanus37

Yeah they're going to be drilled. Do you think a comp fan or something of that sort would be necessary? If I ended up doing this in a cabinet of some sort I could put a comp fan in the wall and have it run across the top/back of the bulbs with the vent holes drilled out.

 

On a side note, if you're looking for a tank to deck out with LED's then you should check out the Fluval Edge. Saw it in an LFS today. It's a new type of FW AIO tank but it looks pretty neat. The way the lights are set up it's just begging to be stuffed with LED's to make a reef.

 

Bill

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evilc66

Fans shouldn't be necessary depending on how many holes you drill.

 

The Edge is an interesting tank. There has been some discussion around here on how to improve the lighting, but unless you DIY something, all other options suck. Don't know if I'd want it for a reef though. You'd have to take a gallon of water out just to put your hand in it.

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varanus37

I agree that it is more pretty than effective. Today was the first time I'd seen one and with that little space for lighting it has LED's were the only thing I could think of to put there.

 

Bill

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Nemo Niblets

You could submerge a giant orb of LIGHT!!! And then wrap some cool fake plants on it. Then it will be a giant PLANT-VEINED orb of light. Then you could put disco colors in it and let them spin around and get like 20 sexy shrimp and let them DANCE!!!

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varanus37

Very true but with the flow rolling through this little bugger I don't think sexies would be happy. We'll see how it goes.

 

Bill

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Deleted User 6
You could submerge a giant orb of LIGHT!!! And then wrap some cool fake plants on it. Then it will be a giant PLANT-VEINED orb of light. Then you could put disco colors in it and let them spin around and get like 20 sexy shrimp and let them DANCE!!!

 

back away from the LSD

 

 

also, OP, what's the plan on keeping water quality stable?

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Nemo Niblets

darn

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varanus37

I'm not entirely sold yet. Obviously top-off is huge in a tank this small with an open top. Not sure if I want to make the sump a 5.5 and chaeto ball it up or not. Also considered Chemi-pure and Purigen. I have a spare skimmer but it's volume is actually more than my display, LOL. Since I want to go SPS in this tank water quality is a concern for me. Quality is always a concern but keeping xenia and shrooms in a pico doesn't require the same quality as montis and acros IMO. I'm leaning toward the Chemi and Purigen route. Possibly a small HOB stuck on the sump. I like chaeto balls on larger tanks for the randomness of life that accumulates in them but I don't see a major benefit in this particular tank.

 

Bill

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Nemo Niblets

Get an AC 110 :D

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varanus37

Eh, I've got lots of HOB randomness laying around so I'll probably just mod up my own. This tank is a random side project for me but I would like it to be long-term. I'm much more for the build it sweet on your own with what you've got laying around. My other 2 tanks had relatively little DIY so I'd like to use more here. The small size in and of itself almost necessitates that anyway.

 

Bill

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MGDMIRAGE

Cool project, it kinda looks like a Hermit Crab torture chamber. Why don't any of these shells i've put on move!!! aaaaaaaa!!!

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varanus37

That would be hilarious. Would be neat to have one of those hermits that lives commensally with poci in there. I wonder if he'd still want the commensal coral or if he'd take up residence in a shell? I'm hoping an acro crab will use it as a hidey hole when he's not out in the coral branches.

 

Bill

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varanus37

Picked up a bundle of shells today from a friend at a local LFS so I should be able to finish out the wall as far as the shells go. Thinking about sprinkling sand into the glue seams but I'm worried that it will look too much like grout in between tiles. I think over time coraline, etc. will cover the seams in between the shells and make for a natural look. I can deal with the white until then. My end goal is to have coral coverage of the back wall anyway.

 

I'm still a good while from having coral in this tank but I think I'm going to start on the back wall first and go with a monti. I'm leaning toward a sunset piece right now. We'll see what I pick up when the time comes but I don't think I'll find a better background than the orange of a sunset.

 

Bill

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varanus37

A few pics of shell placing in progress tonight. Here's the randomness of the back.

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I lucked out with these 2 shells fitting the curve of the pipe.

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My highly technical way of holding the shells in place while things dry. The PVC glue can happens to be just wide enough to fit in between the tank wall and a shell covering the overflow pipe and an angled Pepsi can puts good pressure on a big ol' shell that was sagging.

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I'll try to get some pics up tomorrow when things are dry and I can look through the front pane. Still have to place a few more shells to get the pipe covered and even things out a bit toward the bottom.

 

Bill

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RyanR1212

LOL thats awesome!! i like it a lot and hopes it works out all well

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varanus37

Thank you very much. It is a very technical process as you can plainly see, LoL. Really thought it's coming along fairly well and my daughter is having a blast picking out shells and then telling me where they should go.

 

Bill

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Needreefunds

Neat little project Bill. B)

 

Not to be Mr. Negative, but, any worries about detritus build up in the upside down shells? :huh:

Suppose you could always top them with epoxy if need be. ;)

 

Following along as usual. :happy:

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varanus37

That is a pretty solid worry. To be honest I'm not really sure. There are only a few shells that are upside down like that and I would imagine at least one or two will have frags in them. The FW runs that I've done with the tank have some pretty turbulent flow so I think most things will be kept in suspension. I am still considering the CUC for something this tiny so we'll see where it goes. Teresa's 10 gal. has dozens of stomatellas so I think I could swipe some of those and I really do want to see an acro crab in here. Beyond that we'll just have to see what I can come up with.

 

Bill

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pismo_reefer

im totally watchin this one....

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varanus37

Glad to hear it. That 9.5 looks sick. One of your pics made me think of a different way to go on the back wall. Maybe a monti or two to encrust on one side and maybe a cyphastrea on the other? Could be kewl.

 

Bill

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Weetabix7

I'll be watching this one, I think it has some interesting potential. :)

(Good catch, R ;) )

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