Islandoftiki

Islandoftiki's Mantis/Pest Tank Pico Contest Winner!

419 posts in this topic

Your tank is looking good. I cant believe its a pest tank lol. now u just gotta find a pest acro crab lol

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Max size of that Mantis? I love him and if I had more money I'd be making the same tank as you.

 

Max size, 40mm. Usually smaller though. He should be full grown. He's somewhere between an inch and a half and and inch and three quarters. This one is a pretty common hitchhiker in live rock and if you ask your local fish store, they would probably save you one if they find one. That's how I got this one. Free.

 

Also, if you get one like this, they're actually safe with all but the smallest snails and hermits. They are unlikely to mess with fish or larger cleanup crew members. So, your dwarf cerith snails and dwarf blue leg hermits may not be safe, but they're also really cheap to replace.

 

This tank isn't costing me a penny either. I already had the tank and light, but I'm getting all of the pests for free from local reefers and local fish stores.

 

My only expenses for this tank are the filter floss and a bag of chemipure elite.

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And... here's a video of the pest tank as of today. New additions include some underwhelming palys, a ton of bubble algae (popped a few of them), some purple clove polyps and some more live rock rubble.

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Tanks looking good love the shrimp! wish you lived closer cause I just discovered I have a poly clad flatworm lurking in my pico....hes not welcome here but he would be a nice addition to your tank lol :lol:

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I've been looking for a fire worm to put in there. That flatworm would be pretty cool.

 

Yesterday, I was doing some work in the basement where the tank is temporarily. The mantis shrimp was a busy little bee. He was out most of the time moving things around and customizing his new home. He's starting to figure out that I'm the food source. He's a ton of fun to watch. He always look like he's contemplating what he's going to do next.

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Coming along nicely!

 

If you haven't already, try feeding him some scallops or shrimp for the Groccery Store. Put them on a wooden skewer. Great way to get him out for pics ;)

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Found a single aiptasia in my tank today! :angry:

 

If you want it, I'll send it to your for the small price of one million shipped :P

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Coming along nicely!

 

If you haven't already, try feeding him some scallops or shrimp for the Groccery Store. Put them on a wooden skewer. Great way to get him out for pics ;)

 

He's been getting a combination of enriched mysis shrimp and sinking shrimp pellets. Both of which he seems to love. We have frozen scalops and shrimp in the freezer, so I'll mix some of those into his diet.

 

He's also taken his smasher to a coupe of dwarf cerith snails. I plan on keeping him stocked with dwarf ceriths so he has something to use his hammer on so it doesn't atrophy. Glad I bought my main display's CUC from reefcleaners, I have enough dwarf ceriths for quite some time. :-)

 

He's quickly becoming one of my favorite saltwater critters. I'm currently looking for a stand for the tank so I can move it up into the living room now that I'm done messing around with the rockscape and making a mess.

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Awesome little tank. The mantis is the icing on the cake.

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The headquarters of you Mantis shrimp is impressive! Very unique how you built him a home!

 

He wasn't interested in using it at first. I think it was too exposed at the front of the tank. So, I piled a handful of rubble pieces near the front of the hole and he moved them around to his liking and uses it now. He actually has three different hangouts in the tank that he regularly goes between. Starting yesterday, he really started customizing the tank to his liking. It's good to see him out and about so much.

 

I'm still not certain on his ID. Physically, he's closest to a Green Mantis (Gonodactylellus viridis), but he's black as midnight, or smoke grey in parts. If I can get a bright enough light on him, maybe I can discern some color, but he's not really keen on being in bright lights. He does have some very slight patterning on his body, but because he's so dark, it's hard to see it

 

Either way, I can't wait to get the tank into the living room.

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Ok, so like before with this tank, I'm having issues with keeping the temperature as stable as I'd like. Believe it or not, between the Mini-jet 404 pump and the Par 30 LED light, and the not-so-accurate thermostat in most heaters, it can push the temperature over 81 degrees and I'd like to keep it down around 78. So... I'm going to actually spend a little money on this build and add a Reef Keeper Lite like I had on it before. Ordered one today, should be here next week.

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Scallops! It's what's for dinner!

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The contest pico came upstairs this weekend to join my 10 gallon tank! I have a more permanent stand coming for it. Should be here Thursday.

 

E9EA8BF1.jpg

 

Also, the RKL came today. That will be going on this weekend along with an iceprobe chiller just in case temperatures get a little warm this summer. We have A/C but don't always keep it below 78, and between the pump and the light, that could push this little pico well over 82 degrees. All of the new gear will be installed this weekend.

 

Here's a FTS as of this weekend. As you can see, everything is doing great. The xenia is all healed up and things are growing like mad! I'm doing a 30% - 50% water change once a week and dosing two drops of Salifert All-in-one.

 

829C1453.jpg

 

Cheers!

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Oh yeah, and coraline algae is starting to grow on the glass.

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Coming along nicely.

 

Not sure what settings you are using for photo and video, but I found the best one for me when taking pics of the mantis was to use Cloudy for White Balance.

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Yeah, I need to actually get out my real camera. I've been using my iPhone 4 with some special camera and video apps to take pictures/videos. The LED's make getting a reasonable white balance nearly impossible. I'm going to con my friend who's an avid photographer into coming over and showing me how to set up my camera for taking better pictures under the heavy blue light.

 

That said, Shadie has been extremely active lately, so I should be able to get some really good pictures of him. I'm almost positive he's a green mantis now. I think his color is starting to change a bit.

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New goodies arrived for the pest tank today. As I've probably mentioned, this tank runs on the warm side. With the upgraded pump and the fairly warm LED lighting, it can easily head for the mid 80's when the ambient temperature gets above 75 degrees.

 

So, I'm going to be adding a peltier chiller. I guess it would be safe to say that it's a little bigger than I expected it to be, but I have a couple possible solutions in mind. Easiest is going to be to just plunk it into the filter chamber in the back of the tank and call it a day. Although I have a thought to drill a hole in the bottom of the stand that it's going to be sitting on and feed the probe up through the bottom and attach it to a large heat spreader that will contact the bottom of the tank.

 

Here's a picture of the thing on top of my freshwater version of the same tank.

B15FFE1B.jpg

The chiller, heater and lighting will be controlled by a RKL.

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This afternoon, I've been working on the stand/chiller/RKL assembly for the tank. Here are some pictures with explanations of what I have in mind.

 

Here is the stand I'll be using (minus the door in this picture).

4EE7C775.jpg

 

I'm modifying the door. Originally it came with three glass panes, but I'm going to need some ventilation, so I remove the upper and lower panes of glass and am installing 1/4" galvanized hardware cloth.

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The Fluval Spec has a plastic base that is hollow, so I'm installing a plywood base piece to ensure the tank stays centered on the stand. This is going to be important to how I plan to use the chiller.

0376FEFF.jpg

 

The hole you see in the locating plate is where the cold probe for the chiller will come through. It will be mounted upside down with the heatsink inside the cabinet. Here you can see the cold part of the probe sticking through the hole. The hole was made larger than the chiller probe so the shaft of the chiller can be insulated with foam to prevent cold loss. The end of the probe will contact the glass bottom of the tank at near the rear chamber where there is a good amount of constant water flow. I will add some thermal compound to the contact point between the tank and the chiller. The chiller will also be height adjustable so I can get good solid contact between the chiller and the glass.

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The heatsink and fan will reside inside the top shelf area.

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I'm going to be hacking up this Ikea lamp to hold the PAR30 bulb. It will be attached to the cabinet with brackets and will be adjustable for height.

F2D95ABA.jpg

 

The Reef Keeper Lite will be installed with the control unit on the top shelf area, visible through the hardware cloth and attached to a vertical backing piece (not yet built)

E8E951E3.jpg

 

And here is the completed door...

AC8C7F59.jpg

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I'm glued in suspense! I am a fan of the clean look! Very impressed watching the outcome of the chiller!

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I'm glued in suspense! I am a fan of the clean look! Very impressed watching the outcome of the chiller!

 

Obviously, in this arrangement, I'm not expecting the chiller to be able to do much more than shave off a couple degrees when it gets hot out. I'm pretty sure it will work. I'm debating on whether or not to add an aluminum heat spreader... Or in this case a cold spreader. Technically a heat sink with no fins. I don't think it will be necessary if I use thermal compound between the chiller probe and the glass.

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The chiller is very nice at keeping a pico in check with temps, it works wonders on our 2 gallon tank...

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I spent the majority of the past two days enjoying this unseasonably warm weekend we've been having here. However, I did manage to squeeze in some work on the aquarium chiller/stand.

 

I built the spring loaded bracket that will keep the nose of the chiller pressed up firmly against the bottom of the tank.

995BCFBF.jpg

 

I modified and mounted the Ikea lamp to the back of the stand and drilled holes for the wiring. The lamp will hold the PAR30 BoostLED bulb. The lamp's shroud won't be used.

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I insulated the shaft of the chiller and tested the operation. That's frost forming on the end of the chiller probe!

EC5BC61E.jpg

 

That's about it. I built the mount for the RKL's control module; it and a couple other pieces are being painted.

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I finished the RKL module holder today...

 

E14BB895.jpg

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Very nice looking!

 

Is the entire stand going to be the holder or just the box around the RKL?

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All of the support equipment for the tank will be in the stand. The plug strip for the RKL and the power supply for the chiller will be housed in the lower shelf (as seen in photo). The RKL's control module will live in the top shelf in the housing I just made which will also help to hide the chiller. I'm thinking about adding some LED mood lighting to the middle shelf area just for fun. We'll see if I actually get around to that.

 

I'll finish mounting the chiller this weekend, and hook everything up. I'll be done with hardware at that point.

 

I got some more brown palys and some blue xenia bits to add to the tank. I bought some duncans for my 10 gallon tank from the LFS and they threw in the palys and xenia for free. A local reefer has also donated some palys to the project that I'll pick up tonight, and yet another local guy is donating some yellow colony polyps that I hope to pick up tonight as well. It's getting pretty full!

 

I've had to thin out the caulerpa twice already now. It looks like that will be a regular maintenance once a week with the water changes.

 

The mantis shrimp built another burrow, so he has at least three or four tunnles now. He's very industrious. He seems to have a dislike for one specific majano and whacks it or tugs on it's tentacles every once in a while. I'll have to catch him on video doing that!

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