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andrewkw

My first pico! Dymax IQ3 now 5 YEARS OLD!

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saltman123

Some updates. Less then 2 months until the tank is 4 years old! Very excited for this day.

Wow! Amazing,and motivational. I'm kicking off a 3.5 gallon pico soon, and definitely plan to read through your thread since you've had so much success.

 

So at some point you decided to go bare bottom I see. Was the sand hard to keep clean? What method do you use to scrape the glass, just the magnet or do you get in there manually with a razor blade?

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andrewkw

IMO you cannot keep a sandbed in a pico long term. Maybe if you replace it once a year or so it's okay but not worth the headache. You can barely tell my tank is bare bottom. As much as I like a sandbed and will always have one in larger tanks, in picos they are more trouble then they are worth. Of course you could argue this for larger tanks as well but in these small tanks its fatal. The amount of detritus this tank produces is crazy.. Despite 3 separate pumps its hard to get the right flow to stop accumulation. I use a turkey baster every week to stir it up.

 

The tank is acrylic. I just use the magnet and sometimes a credit card or just my hand when doing water changes. harder and harder to do as much of it is covered by corals.

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brandon429

Im not sure if anyone is considering this method, but doing one simple thing is about the most amazing breath of fresh air you can do in a pico including yours Andrew. obviously its packed ideally and things are happy, but if you wanted to see even an extra quarter inch polyp extension all over consider doing this just once a year, you'll agree its positive. the blast clean

 

 

for any real pico, you can pick it up and move it when either drained or in the case of some picos completely full. if we want to call a five gallon tank a pico, this adage may not hold but true pico reefs can be moved by someone other than steve austin... so using that requirement you simply pick up the reef, set it in the sink, and pour slowly but steadily 20 gallons of balanced great new sw right through the tank, overflowing as needed, netting on the drain.

 

The makes any sandbed in any pico free of detritus. it will eject bits of detritus even your sb-less tank holds Andrew, but its the tidal refresh simulation that perks things up.

 

So the answer is, sandbeds in pico reefs dont matter they are easily reset to like new, any old time you want. Im due for a blast run, 24 mos off since the last one lol. You can do this weekly if you want, and have the spare gallons, it will never hurt a pico reef or a pico fish as they are already used to minor imbalances from a small tank vs a large one anyway. It is only on the internet that slowly refreshing your entire tank water is dangerous, in actuality, its the exact thing to do more often that we are permitting ourselves to do it. Im not even gentle with my tank, I pour roughly.

 

I agree if you simply leave a pico sb alone it will eventually crash the tank with algae. If you partially disturb one, the same. rock n roll or get out lol.

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andrewkw

I really don't want to move the tank if I don't have to. However I do plan on eventually moving at which time I will just make 3-4 gallons of saltwater and put the whole tank in a 5 gallon bucket submerged.

What I typically do is change about 60% of the water, but when it seems like I need more I do 120-150% but 60% at a time over an hour or so. I just change the filter floss in the filter and blast with the turkey baster then repeat the water change and again put new floss + carbon and gfo.



I may try a 500% change which would have a similar effect. I think a turkey baster can simulate the overflow you are talking about. Basically if I can blast and not much if anything is stirred up I know I've achieved what I wanted.

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brandon429

sure I agree any amount of internal blasting and repeated removal is the same

 

 

good idea about setting in a bucket lol Id have never thought of that one dang good control of jostling around the frags and corals etc. outer bucket acts like a stabilizer and carry case wet lol.

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andrewkw

I saw the secret goby again this morning. First time in a couple of weeks for almost an entire second. It's amazing I even remember to feed him since I never see him. Even for feedings he won't come get the food but wait till it enters the rockwork he hides in. I should have kept just him in a shotglass.

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Cameron6796

Done water changes with a pipette

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andrewkw

It looks like I turned my AC on one day too late this year :(


Tank has semi crashed. It looks like I will lose most of the acans. the micro is basically gone, and so is the hammer. i have no idea what the temp is as I never monitor but it got hot in my house before I turned the AC on. Probably should invest in a temp controller everything else should be okay, going to do a lot of water changes and only turn the lights on for a brief amount of time and maybe some of the above corals will bounce back.

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Cameron6796

... Omg that horrible hopefully most things make it through, really strange thing I am always fearful of checking in on this little tank for this reason ... A crash

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gena

Keeping my fingers crossed that things pull through. I love this little tank.

 

 

Those space photos on page 24 are incredible OMG.

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andrewkw

Looks like I'm going to lose most of the LPS

 

that's all it takes one day. Usually as soon as it starts to get warm I turn the AC on just to be safe, but for some reason the heat just didn't register with me.

So close to 4 years too...

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brandon429

you w think im crazy but I think they will come back

 

I have specifically melted two picos exactly like this, the lps is what makes it. Ive brought candies and frogs and hammers back from bone white Sir, dont give up

 

deep in the corallite pit is regenerative tissue, almost always. its slow, i wouldnt give up on em yet if these conditions exist:

-anything living in the tank thats not microscopic

 

if your fish made it, any CUC members, any corals, then by inference LPS are predictably saveable really man its true. The only reason I found this out was one day I knocked a little old frogspawn frag off the glue base and if fell behind, where I can never get to it again. upside down in the sand, so I left it to die nbd.

 

three months later during a blast water change it was self righted, but still inaccessible

 

it was a bone white corallite, presumably dead and in the dark area, head down in sand, for 90 days ish. as predictably dead as we would think.

 

and then bam. in a month a tiny green comes out and Im like wut

 

then in three more months its light, but back as this new tissue -regrows-, recalcifies, on top of the old corallte to make a new, funkier corallite that actually supports living material. in time.

 

fast forward a few years up to 2013. red mushrooms invade my tank and def kill it this time via stinging Im so mad but thats karma lol.

 

If its not too late, and you havent removed them, Id leave every single LPs in there alone and start taking macros of the centers in three mos man.

 

great is keeping a pico alive this long

 

amazing is recuperating it fully even if takes a year. thats bad man, do eeeet dont give up

 

doc b

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andrewkw

I already threw some out, some are still in the tank and some that may be salvageable are in my frag tank. If they are going to recover in 1+ year I'd rather do it in there this is still a display.

 

The purple xenia hasn't melted yet just looks very unhappy. I don't plan on giving up but I do plan on making some major changes. Just not right away. For now I'm just going to do water changes and see what happens and revisit things in a week or 2.

For next year I will probably stick a controller on the tank and have a fan come on and off, too cold is never going to be an issue but as we have seen too hot is. The problems are always may / september when it's too early too late for AC a hot day comes and you don't know what to do. I didn't even think of the tank as after such an exceptionally long cold winter my first reaction to a hot humid day was not quick get the ac on...

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brandon429

what felled you could fell any of us. my ac system leaks freon all year and im too cheap to pay to get it fixed the right way. so this year about march ish i set my ac to come on when we were predicted to be at 90 deg

 

so it comes on w no freon, I get home to an 85 tank and proceed to get real mad but rip it all out for 78 lol then call the ac man, again, to pump it up. im walking a fine line man lol

 

its neat that your bacteria w survive, and some animals, so its not a crash imo.

 

having no sandbed here helped you in massive, massive ways. the heat triggering bacterial doubling along w oxygen consumption and inevitable organic loading from an avg sandbed would've been a real crash, total loss.

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andrewkw

Things are getting back to normal.

I lost 2 acan pieces entirely. A Hammer. Another acan is in rough shape 90% of my purple xenia but some of its still around. The green micros are white but still hanging on. The chalice that has been in the tank almost since day one is bleached but otherwise fine. It has bleached before.

I've also noticed perhaps because the tank is so empty now an explosion of yellow polyps. I even have some growing ON the sides of the grandis palys.

In probably 3-4 months the tank will be back to normal. As I said earlier I am planning some changes but just letting things settle for now. Got bigger things to deal with like moving my display tank off the carpet, hoping to just get a new larger tank and do a switcheroo. It will be a pain and the tank will only be up for 3 months to 1 year but this way I'll already have a new tank.

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brandon429

this models realism as an el nino event that bleaches tropical reefs and then we watch mo nature build em back. in 2 gals :)

 

this is a thread that should be stickied in place of, or to the side of, el fab's sticky up top

 

this tank lived longer, was able to deal with the inevitable pico reef temp spike, by managing accumulated waste differently than people did in 2008

 

i realize its nit picking to harp on something that lived 3 yrs, thats a nice long time and past the average for sure just wanted more expanded ex up top :)

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tibbsy07

Looks like I need to go to the first post and read my way through it all

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brandon429

i have no beef w el fabs thread, but my counter to it along with a seemingly permanent exclusive sticky status is that its actually not the best way for new keepers to prepare a tank. if andrews tank here had a dsb loaded with decay, it wouldnt be alive to replicate el nino as a test. it would die like el fabs did, for the reasons his died, if he'll update.

 

another thing el fab did very well was manage that heavy laden sand bed longer than most, but a test it could not weather. how to get beyond the 3 yr mark is new goal!

 

The AC mod section of his thread is tops worthy, but the sticky status means always, always, first readers see the first thread and copy it as was said by new keepers. it showed them how to set up a tank, via 2008, when it was thought by some that you could stack in a dsb and let fish waste compile without consequence, they should be seeing andrew's way first now. because it lasted longer and weathered a simple test almost all of us will have happen, something that drastically alters oxygen levels be it heat or eq failure or a move between houses

 

such organic loading and resulting bacteria load in a 3 yr old untouched dsb is rotten compared to a glass bottom tank in andrew's example.

 

 

Andrews reef surviving an incident that has killed old picos of mine in the past, using dsb's like el fabs, really means something. its the new knowledge this forum has to offer new keepers.

 

 

 

 

in the past, we built picos that looked awesome and grow coral

 

 

 

as of today, that is only half the battle. the other half is predicting what will go wrong, and meeting that in design on day one. care techniques must change, if we are to exceed common lifespans of yesterdays great, but otherwise dead picos

 

el fab showed the max lifespan one can attain, under ideal conditions, for leaving all waste in a small pico until it crashes due to invasions of one life form or another.

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evanski

i have no beef w el fabs thread, but my counter to it along with a seemingly permanent exclusive sticky status is that its actually not the best way for new keepers to prepare a tank. if andrews tank here had a dsb loaded with decay, it wouldnt be alive to replicate el nino as a test. it would die like el fabs did, for the reasons his died, if he'll update.

 

The mod section of his thread is tops worthy, but the sticky status means always, always, first readers see the first thread and copy it as was said by new keepers. it showed them how to set up a tank, via 2008, when it was thought by some that you could stack in a dsb and let fish waste compile without consequence, they should be seeing andrew's way first now. because it lasted longer and weathered a simple test el fab's reef could not.

 

Agree with a lot of what you say...but as I pointed out before, there are OTHER reasons tanks go away, some of them nothing to do with tank husbandry per se.

 

Life, room-mates, personal issues, jobs, moves, kids, etc. are probably more likely a cause of tanks gone bad than actual setup.

 

Having said that, I REALLY respect your thoughts on picos, especially when it comes to water chemistry, long-term viability, and sand bed issues.

 

I like the idea of keeping the sticky...and would encourage you and others to update and extend it.

 

On a purely selfish note...I have a 2G build Fluval Spec and would appreciate it if you would have a look and tell me what you think. Having a little bubble algae outbreak (expected at this stage I would think). May take the tank down for an afternoon to remove and peroxide the algae and remove sand. The more I think about sand the less I like it.

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tibbsy07

Whoa. Just got through everything. Definitely going bare-bottom on my 5g now. This is incredible!

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andrewkw

Some good discussion going on here. Less then 3 weeks until the tank is actually 4 years old. There are a few corals from that time as well. While this is part experiment the main goal of the tank is a display.

 

As for the reasons people tear down picos, money is never going to be an issue for a tank like this. You can just stop buying corals. One box of reef crystals or IO or whatever salt you can get cheap will last an entire year. I'd imagine you wouldn't burn through RO filters very quick either. Even 2 water changes a week which is more then I ever regularly did is barely over 100 gallons year. Moving, like I said put the whole tank in a 5 gallon bucket. I plan on running this tank until it doesn't hold water, and even then I may repair it. As much as I'd love to start with a custom tank in the same size range that would better allow more equipment, this $50 impulse buy (I bought this tank while in line to pay for other stuff) has really served its purpose and beyond. There are scratches now, the back which was a sticker is mostly gone. I did a sloppy drill job while the tank was running because I didn't think about the future ect..

 

Some overall thoughts about long perm pico care.

 

I stress this every time but I still believe it's the number one thing. Sand beds are death to picos. You simply can't gain anything from them in a tank this size.

Everything stock in pico tanks are useless. The original LED's were not very bright but they also dimmed super super fast. Meanwhile this PAR30 bulb was replaced once (because it was defective) otherwise it's the same bulb. 4 years ago we were a lot more unsure if corals could even grow under LED's long term. While I had mixed results with minimal sps additions, LPS and softies all grew great and the SPS issues were more water parameters then lighting issues.

If you keep your home comfortable for YOU then it's going to be fine for the pico. I don't use a heater, I don't use a fan unless it gets hot and I'm waiting for the AC to cool down the house. In the winter I'm not freezing. I do this for me but the side effect of it is the tank is stable enough most of the time. If you are going to do a tank with high end zoanthids or sps maybe you want to add a controller but you don't need it. A controller would however eliminate most problems I've had with this tank though.

 

The actual water volume of this tank is probably more like 1.25 -1.5 gallons because its packed with corals they absorb alkalinity like crazy. This is the main reason why sps have been harder to do. Even weekly water changes are not enough when you're losing .8dkh per day. I experimented a bit with dosing but it's very easy to forget. I've just stuck with corals that can handle the swing and try and change the water every week, but it's not do or die for at least 3 weeks.

 

No water change volume is too much. Usually I change 1 gallon a week, but if there is still a lot of detritus I will just do another, then another. This holds true with any size tank but in a pico it's very realistic to do a 200-300% water change with basically the same effort it would take to do a more standard 20% water change. Using a turkey baster really helps for the water changes. A simple airline tube is fine for the siphon,. Water changes are so easy in a pico they really should be done with regularity. However if you can't do it for one week you should not freak out.

 

Fish are more trouble then they are worth but it can be done. Just don't except these little gobies to live years on end. Personally I suspect their lifespans are short, but between feeding them and rarely seeing them it may not be worth your effort. The flamming prawn goby is the most expensive thing I've added to the tank and while I'm pretty sure he survived the heat wave I've seen him less then a total of 10 seconds since he was added to the tank. Other small gobies hid most of the time. You can't keep an open swimmer. The best option is a bright clown goby that won't be afraid to perch in the open. This is one case where a common fish that's going to cost less then 10$ is a better option. The same can be said for inverts. Yes sexy shrimp are sexy, but they also eat coral. Have a big colony no big deal, have only 2 paly polyps you are going to notice if they take one out. Crabs I kept also hid most of the time. Snails other then tiny hitchiker ones are a waste of time. While there is algae in this tank it should not be producing enough to keep larger snails alive, and even if it was they knock too much down in such a small tank.


Natural sunlight is not your enemy. This tank gets a lot of sunlight and it really adds to the look imo. Gives it a real dawn, not so much dusk because the lights are on after, but again because my house is comfortable for me the tank is not heating up in the sun, nor is excessive algae growing. I do run a half tablespoon of gfo for phosphate issues, however if I didn't have the little goby I wouldn't be adding nearly as much frozen food.

 

That's all I got for now. in a couple of weeks, after some more water changes and recovery I will add some new frags maybe rearrange a fish things give the tank a bit of a refresh and take some pictures to celebrate 4 years of pico reef keeping. Thanks for all the constructive comments and support, I have enjoyed showing both the good and the bad that has come with this tank. I've often said this is the tank I've been most happy with.

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Kiwi

Stunning tank O.O

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markalot

I'm just happy the Chalice made it. I love to hear about this tank, please give us a FTS as soon as you can. :)

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Zer0

Hey! First off, great tank! A true inspiration indeed!

 

I have a question though, about the AIO aspect of the Dymax... How does that single baffle in the AIO work exactly? In which compartment does the evaporation take place? I'm just wondering because I'm making an AIO right now, and if the Dymax's single baffle system works fine, then I'm just going to go with that design, rather than have 2 or 3 baffles in the back.

 

Thanks!

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andrewkw

The back is where evaporation takes place. Although with the extra hole drilled in mine I believe now it's pretty much both areas. I've almost always used an ATO so evap is not an issue for me. A single float switch BARELY fits in the back. Overall I'd rate the design of this tank 5/10 at best and out of the box its completely useless as a reef imo.

I will be working on another tank this weekend but still hope to get back to this one soon. More more issues to report and things have settled down. The bleached chalice showed great PE last night and I will give it some cyclopeeze feedings to help it regain some colour.

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