Jump to content
thesmallerthebetter

1/4 Gallon Open Top SPS Cube

Recommended Posts

thesmallerthebetter

Most Recent FTS:

CornerFTSJan5th2011.jpg

 

Current Stocking:

 

  • CUC:
  • 5 Micro Ceriths
  • Micro Pistol Shrimp
  • 1 Sexy Shrimp

    Non-Photosynthetic:
  • Mini Orange Dendrophyllia
  • Pink Lace Coral
     
    Acroporas:
  • Bali Tricolor Acropora
  • Blue Boa A. Echinata
  • Smurf Tricolor A. Loripes
  • Green A. Granulosa
  • Red/Green A. Millipora
     
    Montipora:
  • Red M. Setosa
  • Neon Purple/Green M. Capricornis
  • White/Blue M. Verrucosa
     
    Softies:
  • Devils Armor Palythoa
  • Black Proto-Zoanthid
     
    Other:
  • Ponape Birdsnest
  • Pink S. Hystrix

 

So, i just finished ordering my build parts so i figured now that I'm committed, i may as well start my thread :)

 

I have been mentally designing my next sub gallon pico for a few months, and when this contest rolled around i decided i may as well jump in. The idea here, or my mission statement if you will, is to design the smallest possible system i can, while keeping the design sleek, modern, and functional.

 

As a rule with with my past micro systems i think of adding gallonage with a sump as "cheating", by doing so you create essentially a tiny viewing window on a much larger system.

 

I decided on a 3.5"L x 3.75"W x 4"T (internal dimensions come to 0.23 Gallons) acrylic cube i had lying around, and plan on painting out all but the front window with trusty krylon in order to prevent ANY light leakage around the footprint. Also i hope to reuse the gravity ATO from my last sub gallon system.

 

For lighting i chose to go the LED route, but rather than DIY a pendant, i chose to explore the 3x 1W MR16 bulbs out there. I ordered one that seems to be awfully close to the 8000K or so rating (no spectrum info was offered), and another one by the same manufacturer that is "Royal Blue"...the hope is that i can dissect the two bulbs and swap emitters around to find my desired 12000K-18000K Color Temp. I plan on building a overhanging pendant style fixture to attach to the back wall of the system, keeping the light only inches from the surface and hopefully providing enough PAR to support the various Acropora i intend to house.

 

Heating was the biggest mental obstacle i faced when trying to plan the tank, as there is not a small enough heater made to even FIT in the tank, and without a sump i wouldn't be able to hide it. But i managed to stumble across a product called "Flex Watt Heat Tape" that should work perfect. Its advertised at 6W a foot, and i'm running 3"s of the stuff, as well as a reostat to give me a bit of control as far as dialing in the required heat.

 

And then, of course, the all important current and water movement that SPS need for proper health and growth. I settled on a little 3.5GPH Aqualifter, hoping that by splitting the returns and making some clever modifications to the return lines i can provide the high velocity that this system needs. But if i cant with a single pump, ill go ahead and add a second :)

 

As far as stocking goes, im hoping to be able to add 5-6 different acroporas (mostly deepwaters), as well as a few other SPS (heliopora and seratiopra species)

 

So, thats the plan, and seeing as how all my parts are in the mail, the only thing i have a picture of is the cube, so no pics until i have at least some parts haha

Edited by thesmallerthebetter

Share this post


Link to post
pismo_reefer

so, its gonna have 1 frag in it? :huh:

Share this post


Link to post
thesmallerthebetter
so, its gonna have 1 frag in it? :huh:

 

More like a dozen 1/8" Frags :P

Share this post


Link to post
Nemo Niblets
More like a dozen 1/8" Frags :P

 

That won't grow? :)

 

A mini acro forest..

Share this post


Link to post
Deep Thief

Damn, now those are some kahunas you got. That should be some kind of system. I look forward to seeing it. I wonder about its long term viability, but thats what this contest is all about. You do realize that water changes alone will probably break your bank account. :bling:

Edited by Deep Thief

Share this post


Link to post
thesmallerthebetter
Damn, now those are some kahunas you got. That should be some kind of system. I look forward to seeing it. I wonder about its long term viability, but thats what this contest is all about. You do realize that water changes alone will probably break your bank account. :bling:

 

a bag of IO aquarium salt that makes about 50 gallons is $20. that makes 454x0.11 Gallon water changes. so even if i did a 50% water change every day (i actually plan on 1/4 every day) it would last me well over a year :P

 

im no stranger to sub gallon reefing. admittedly, this will be my smallest system to date, but i should be seasoned enough to work out the kinks :P

Share this post


Link to post
marinekeeper

whers that pic of the cube

Share this post


Link to post
Phyto4life

lol great stuff

Share this post


Link to post
thesmallerthebetter

Ask and thou shall receive...

 

PicoCube.jpg

 

The little tag on top is the future mounting point for the lighting arm/pendant and will be dremeled down to the lowest possible profile once i have the light mounted.

Share this post


Link to post
lowfi

how are you gonna keep the temps up?

 

whoops just found it above :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
c_k_kuehne

Way kewl build thread. Glad you came to join the fun in this contest.

 

I looked into that heat tape stuff. Seemed like a viable solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Deep Thief

Your breakin the bank on the live rock purchase also, you know that, right? :lol::lol::lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Growerguy

Very nice! Cant wait to see this one also.

Share this post


Link to post
badfish816

I used 3" 5 watt tape on my snake rack. Connected to an RSU thermostat I set it to 90 degrees over a year and a half ago and it hasn't budged since. That stuff is awesome. Where are you putting the tape though?

Share this post


Link to post
thesmallerthebetter
I used 3" 5 watt tape on my snake rack. Connected to an RSU thermostat I set it to 90 degrees over a year and a half ago and it hasn't budged since. That stuff is awesome. Where are you putting the tape though?

 

Im going to tape it to the outside bottom of the tank with UL listed foil tape. with the connectors hidden behind the system out of view...

 

glad to hear that the heat tape is reliable, hoping it works just as well for my application.

Share this post


Link to post
thesmallerthebetter

So, got some parts in the mail today, the aqualifter and heat tape came.

 

the heat tape looks like its gonna be kickarse, cant wait to get that all rigged up and make a few test runs.

 

the aqualifter however was a HUGE disappointment...the thing barely moves any water.....i dont know if my pump it defective or what, but at the most, at ZERO head, i get a very slow trickle....i suppose if the online retailer wont take the pump back im gonna try chopping it up and fiddling with it.....

 

looks like i have to come up with a new idea for water movement....id kill for someone to invent a 10gph external pump right now.....hmmm....

Share this post


Link to post
c_k_kuehne
the heat tape looks like its gonna be kickarse, cant wait to get that all rigged up and make a few test runs.

Very interested in this heat tape. Keep us posted as to how it works.

 

looks like i have to come up with a new idea for water movement....id kill for someone to invent a 10gph external pump right now.....hmmm....

 

I agree 100%. I like external pumps and there aren't many choices for small ones and no choices for micro ones.

 

You might be able to find something made for small fountains. I have a micro pump for a tabletop fountain -- I went and looked to see if it would work for you but unfortunately it is internal.

Edited by c_k_kuehne

Share this post


Link to post
thesmallerthebetter
Very interested in this heat tape. Keep us posted as to how it works.

 

 

 

I agree 100%. I like external pumps and there aren't many choices for small ones and no choices for micro ones.

 

You might be able to find something made for small fountains. I have a micro pump for a tabletop fountain -- I went and looked to see if it would work for you but unfortunately it is internal.

 

yea, pumps are a big freaking pain in the ass. i wouldnt even mind using a MJ100 and dialing it down but the returns are so huge that theyd take up the whole tank....

 

im going to havta look into those "pico evolution" Pheads and see if i cant fandangle one into working. perhaps mounted in the center of the tank hidden in the rockwork.....or maybe modding it into a external....idk yet

Share this post


Link to post
thesmallerthebetter

So, got some more reef mail today. My MR16 LEDs came in the mail, 2 in "Cool White" and 2 in "Royal Blue". immediatly took the screwdriver to them and opened them up. After a little tinkering (and soldering and cursing) managed to switch the emitters around to a more "Reefy" color temp.

 

wound up with one using 2 RB and 1 CW (Gives a nice 12000k feel), and another using 2CW and 1RB (bluer, but not quite 20000k). for a total cost of $20 (and i still have a pile of components lying around)

 

they have 45 degree optics, and as such produce a very focused beam, just what i was hoping for. Just hoping they throw enough light for my stocking plans.

 

as soon as i get a better way to test them (aka, finish my powersupply/socket) that doesnt require 5 hands to do, ill throw up a few pics of the beams and bulbs. :)

Share this post


Link to post
reef2.5

Have you kept sps in a sub gallon before I'm going to try it but havnt heard much about it as we are the few brave ones

Share this post


Link to post
thesmallerthebetter
Have you kept sps in a sub gallon before I'm going to try it but havnt heard much about it as we are the few brave ones

 

 

i kept several SPS in the half gallon that is in my sig, didnt have too much success tho. i managed to keep a small red acro and a yellow deepwater for a few months, but they never showed much growth.

 

i dont think it was so much the size of the tank that made it difficult, but the type of light i used. PC's suck for sps....

Share this post


Link to post
brandon429

what are you guys dosing for calcium and alk in these tiny systems?

 

the published experts I read on other forums recommend not dosing. However, what they won't be able to show you is a pico with coralline and sps plating growth all around. They'll show you a pristinely-clean reef, no benthic growth whatsoever on the glass or sand but the baddest excrusted live rock you have ever seen. Aged rock, sterile glass and substrate...always sounded to me like the rock didn't mature in this *undosed* tank?

 

 

To me, relying on water changes only makes the slowest possible calcification rates for a system, the baseline in growth, and doesn't outcompete for algae very well imo. I am a doser so Im predjudiced lol. If anyone has pics of an aged, undosed pico with sps growth then that will show an alternate means. If you dose, it'll quadruple your calcification rate Im sure, and anytime you have coralline you can have SPS growth. PC's work well, I feel it's your dosing honestly.

 

not saying it's impossible to have sps pico success without dosing, Im just saying I have never seen it done in ten years so I keep looking for a successful long term sps pico that is not dosed. JustDave had some on this site from about 4 years ago, he dosed, and look how purple his azoo 1/2 g tanks were! The rarest thing you can find regarding marine tanks on the entire internet is a pico reef with coralline. To me that says the experts are about 5+ years behind the learning curve lol

B

Share this post


Link to post
reef2.5
what are you guys dosing for calcium and alk in these tiny systems?

 

the published experts I read on other forums recommend not dosing. However, what they won't be able to show you is a pico with coralline and sps plating growth all around. They'll show you a pristinely-clean reef, no benthic growth whatsoever on the glass or sand but the baddest excrusted live rock you have ever seen. Aged rock, sterile glass and substrate...always sounded to me like the rock didn't mature in this *undosed* tank?

 

 

To me, relying on water changes only makes the slowest possible calcification rates for a system, the baseline in growth, and doesn't outcompete for algae very well imo. I am a doser so Im predjudiced lol. If anyone has pics of an aged, undosed pico with sps growth then that will show an alternate means. If you dose, it'll quadruple your calcification rate Im sure, and anytime you have coralline you can have SPS growth. PC's work well, I feel it's your dosing honestly.

 

not saying it's impossible to have sps pico success without dosing, Im just saying I have never seen it done in ten years so I keep looking for a successful long term sps pico that is not dosed. JustDave had some on this site from about 4 years ago, he dosed, and look how purple his azoo 1/2 g tanks were! The rarest thing you can find regarding marine tanks on the entire internet is a pico reef with coralline. To me that says the experts are about 5+ years behind the learning curve lol

B

ive been thinking about this and came up with, i was planning on keeping a 5 gallon bucket with a pump for some movment for ease of daily water change. then was going to just dose the bucket as i know doseing 5 gallons is easier then 1/4 gallon. how do you think that would work?

Share this post


Link to post
brandon429

I would also add that just because a tank is this small doesn't mean dosing will kill it, spike the pH etc. You simply scale down the additive and make sure to only dose before lights on. Dosing a 1/4 gallon tank is no more harmful than dosing a 1/2, with C-Balance or ESV two part. salinity control will be more of a long term threat to this tank imo. if you do choose to dose, it will have to be in the mornings strictly, afternoon dosings will spike your pH above 9. Of course I think water changes only would be easier, but how much cooler would it be for this palmtank to get purple instead of just look the same month after month!

 

this sure is small, but you can do it fo sho man

Share this post


Link to post
brandon429

HA!!!!!!!!!!!!! that is way smart I never think of the simple stuff.

 

Yes, that's better for your system via easy introduction of chems id think but I have one ponderance-> I don't know how the chemistry might work in the container that's separate from the reef. it will sit idle in the change water, where in an active reef it's taken out rather quickly due to calcification/acid binding from detritus breakdown etc, if the water is heated and circulated that may not matter, its just a dynamics change worth considering.

 

in my change water I keep it unheated until ready to use and I don't see fluctuating temps keeping those ions in suspension. Just to illustrate another variable between change vessels and the actual reef--I always get a cream flake buildup at the bottom of my change container, like a little slime or chemical sludge mass that sticks to the bottom of the container after it sits for a week or so. This does not ever happen in a pico,

 

I would notice them immediately looking like white cereal flakes, so that's another physical difference between the two containers and that may be insignificant, just brainstorming on how that may or may not affect ion dissolution. I would bet temp and water movement in the change water would solve the issue tho

 

 

 

 

What a smart idea though Im sure there's some way of doing it.

Edited by brandon429

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...