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jahnje

So... the back story. I've got more planted tanks than I know what to do with and want to try my hand at reefing. Always looking for family projects for me  and the kids, this seemed perfect. So two of my girls opted in to this project. We looked around and decided that some of my 6 quart cambro containers  might make a good pico reef. I already have a bunch.You generally find them in commercial kitchens and can get them for about $6 to $8 a piece.  I'm really curious about the idea of combining a recent coral mag article about using them as fish QT system, and combining them with  @natalia_la_loca 's pico bowl. The idea being can I use small pico reefs as coral/invert QT system for a larger reef tank, while at the same time giving my girls a chance to really be involved with creating something.  

 

After much deliberation: We decided that the ultimate condiment was chocolate syrup. 

IMG_5951.jpg

 

ps. Also using this as an excuse to stop being a lurker.... :blush:

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teenyreef

Welcome to the light :)

 

I can't tell, is the container glass or plastic?

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jahnje
1 hour ago, teenyreef said:

Welcome to the light :)

Been trying to get here for a while, this was just the best excuse ever....

1 hour ago, teenyreef said:

 

I can't tell, is the container glass or plastic?

It's polycarbonate plastic. 

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teenyreef

I'll be interested to see how it goes and how resistant it is scratches. It looks nice and the price is right. Good luck! 

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Lula_Mae

:welcome:to Nano Reef!

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jahnje
7 hours ago, Lula_Mae said:

:welcome:to Nano Reef!

Thanks!

 

7 hours ago, teenyreef said:

I'll be interested to see how it goes and how resistant it is scratches. It looks nice and the price is right. Good luck! 

Thanks, I'd say it scratches about the same as acrylic. That being said, and these being as cheap as they are, I'm going to try and not affix anything to the container itself. That way I can just swap out the reef into a new one of I need to. I may have to catch a critter or three, but it could make maintenance VERY easy.   

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vlangel
11 hours ago, jahnje said:

So... the back story. I've got more planted tanks than I know what to do with and want to try my hand at reefing. Always looking for family projects for me  and the kids, this seemed perfect. So two of my girls opted in to this project. We looked around and decided that some of my 6 quart cambro containers  might make a good pico reef. I already have a bunch.You generally find them in commercial kitchens and can get them for about $6 to $8 a piece.  I'm really curious about the idea of combining a recent coral mag article about using them as fish QT system, and combining them with  @natalia_la_loca 's pico bowl. The idea being can I use small pico reefs as coral/invert QT system for a larger reef tank, while at the same time giving my girls a chance to really be involved with creating something.  

 

After much deliberation: We decided that the ultimate condiment was chocolate syrup. 

IMG_5951.jpg

 

ps. Also using this as an excuse to stop being a lurker.... :blush:

My husband like your choice of condiments the best.  It will be fun following your pico.

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duderubble

I'm not sure if the little reefs will grow coraline algae or not. My main tank now has started growing crazy amounts, more than any other tank I've had. Coraline will be a problem on a round tank (which I have for my contest tank too). It would be a nightmare on a non-glass round tank. 

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jahnje
9 hours ago, duderubble said:

I'm not sure if the little reefs will grow coraline algae or not. My main tank now has started growing crazy amounts, more than any other tank I've had. Coraline will be a problem on a round tank (which I have for my contest tank too). It would be a nightmare on a non-glass round tank. 

I'm hoping that if i do his right, I can just move this reef to a twin container. For the contest though I'm going to see what it takes to keep it clean.  Nice to know what I may have to look forward to.. thx. :-) 

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fishfreak0114

I like the container!

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jahnje

I think I have everything sourced and ordered that I'm going to need. If anyone sees something missing please let me know.

  • 6 qt cambro container w/ lid
  • Box of reef crystals.  - Since this is only going to get traces from 100% wc's thought I'd go this route as opposed to IO. 
  • 10 W aqueon mini heater - this is probably going to fail me somehow, so going to have to keep an eye on it.
  • Used Adjustable air pump -   Doesn't really really put out enough air for my larger tanks anymore, so should let me go very light on the air if I need to.
  • 1 ml disposable pipette - this will let me pump air from a hole in the lid to the bottom for circulation and flow.
  • Reef Chili - well, cause I gotta start somewhere and it's hard not to be a BRS fan.
  • Rapid LED PAR 38 Daylight Reef LED,  Goose Kneck, and LED dimmer from lowes. Overkill probably, but works into some more long term plans. 
  • Bayer Advanced CIK - 'cause gotta learn to dip sometime, and probably going rescue some corals from the local petco. 

Also completed scouting mission to Petco to check coral, invert, and live rock stock. Not really sure how to tell if a coral is on it's last legs or not.  As far as Inverts go, so far only Fire and Banded shrimp.  Not much in the way of crabs, but would like to find a pom pom. Will head to "hardware and pets," the local LFS on Monday and see what they have. Stock can be hit or miss, but quality is good. May also make a pilgrimage to Saltwater Paradise near Saint Louis and look there.   

 

Spent the evening learning to mix salt in "The Lab."  Currently I'm hitting an SG of ~1.025+ or 34 ppt @ 3TBS/L. I think this is probably a good fit. Easily reproducible and high enough for a reef system, without being too high I hope. Started lower, then did more research.  

 

including a picture of "The Lab". Magnetic stirrers are your friend by the way.   Please let me know if you think I'm headed down the the wrong path on anything. 

 

 

   

 

IMG_5977.JPG

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el fabuloso

Tell me more about this "lab."

 

Also, :welcome:

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jahnje
13 hours ago, el fabuloso said:

Tell me more about this "lab."

 

It was once called a "Laundry Room, " but much to my SO's consternation, it has slowly devolved into an area for frankenstein like experiments on  aquatic life forms.  Every QT tank I've ever had ended up with a permanent resident, so now it's devoted to a temporary and removable QT system.  RO/DI on tap, fertilizers, and testing keits etc.  The heart of it is really the system of tubs with heated water baths in them that allow me to keep a bunch of containers heated to the same temp. There's a heater and pump in each tub to circulate the water.  And then a shared air supply that is split into disposable pipettes which are put through holes in the lids of the containers.  I can handle about 1" of fish per liter, with %100 water changes every day. 1 drop of prime per liter gets them an easy and safe 24hrs.  The best part is that it allows me to use very small doses of medications and additives.  For my freshwater guys each 3L gets 0.2 ml of Stress guard, and 0.375 ml of Paraguard everyday for 2 weeks, with one week of kanaplex in the middle.     The containers also let me drip acclimate straight into the water that the fish came in. And then do a full WC the next day.  I dump the fish into a net each day and then transfer them to the new container, so I don't stress them out by chasing them around. 

 

Still a work in progress, but I'm looking forward to figuring out how to fit marine into all of this, esp corals.  

 

 

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IMG_5796 (1).JPG

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duderubble

I'm a big fan of petco rescue corals. Once I got a medium sized rock with a dozen or so melting mushrooms that looked like snot. The  manager just gave it to me because they were clearly dying. A week later they appeared to be hairy mushrooms. A week after that they turned out to be ricordea. 

 

My local Petco now gives me stuff that's in poor shape for a $5 donation to the humane society.

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jahnje

OK, so I'm trying to get my specific gravity to 1.025. How exact do I need to be? Although I'll be doing 100% water changes, how sensitive are corals and fish to the salinity of the water? Is there any wiggle room, and if so how much?  cause trying to nail 1.025 in a gallon of water is pretty exacting, and yet there got to be a fair amount of room or not nearly as many people would be having as much fun with picos. 

 

picked up a refractometer today. As you can imagine it and my hydrometer do not agree. So I'm having to rework the recipe math. 

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teenyreef

My salinity goes up or down by half a point or so but as long as you don't have large swings you'll be ok. This is why a lid is important to minimize evaporation. 

 

But you've put your finger on the single biggest challenge in keeping picos. The small volume makes it hard to keep things stable, and stability is the most important thing in reef keeping. 

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jahnje
6 hours ago, teenyreef said:

My salinity goes up or down by half a point or so but as long as you don't have large swings you'll be ok. This is why a lid is important to minimize evaporation. 

 

But you've put your finger on the single biggest challenge in keeping picos. The small volume makes it hard to keep things stable, and stability is the most important thing in reef keeping. 

I'm sorry, but I'm not sure I understand what to mean by "half a point"?  from a little above 1.025 to a little below for example? Or something else?  Trying to nail down a salinity recipe for a ~gallon at a time is going to be tight, that's for sure. Just the amount of salt sticking to the measuring spoon each time is different enough to to effect things, so I'm going to have to go by weight.  

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Lula_Mae

Good work so far! I'd suggest a temperature controller like Finnex or Inkbird for that heater, or look at the 25w heater Aqua Forest Aquarium carries. For your salt, try half a cup per gallon of water, I find that gets pretty close to 1.026 which is where I keep things (1.025 should be ok, the important thing is of course stability and consistency). Calibrate your refractometer and then trust it over the hydrometer, especially if it's a swing arm type. Reef Crystals and IO are both fine. 

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jahnje
2 hours ago, Lula_Mae said:

Good work so far! I'd suggest a temperature controller like Finnex or Inkbird for that heater, or look at the 25w heater Aqua Forest Aquarium carries.

Thanks, going to go with a controller so I can throw in a replacement of any size if I need to in case of emergency, plus more useable for other situations...

  

2 hours ago, Lula_Mae said:

For your salt, try half a cup per gallon of water, I find that gets pretty close to 1.026 which is where I keep things (1.025 should be ok, the important thing is of course stability and consistency). Calibrate your refractometer and then trust it over the hydrometer, especially if it's a swing arm type. Reef Crystals and IO are both fine. 

I bought a refractometer on a whim yesterday, just to verify my swing arm... Swing arm wasn't even close, said 1.025, but was 1.029 on the refractometer. so I'll just pitch it.   But, you're saying the corals et. al. really do care about a +/- 0.001 difference in SG? Given the minute amount of RC that can move that number up and down in a 1.5 gallon pico i'd think it could become quite tedious for a lot of people.  Or are most people mixing up a 5 gallon bucket, and then doing their changes with that for a few weeks, before having to mix up another batch? I'm game either way, just curious. 

 

thanks so much for your help!

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teenyreef
4 hours ago, jahnje said:

I'm sorry, but I'm not sure I understand what to mean by "half a point"?  from a little above 1.025 to a little below for example? Or something else?  Trying to nail down a salinity recipe for a ~gallon at a time is going to be tight, that's for sure. Just the amount of salt sticking to the measuring spoon each time is different enough to to effect things, so I'm going to have to go by weight.  

Sorry, by half a point I meant going from 1.024 to 1.0245, for example. Realistically, a pico may swing more than that without an ato. 

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Lula_Mae
1 hour ago, jahnje said:

Thanks, going to go with a controller so I can throw in a replacement of any size if I need to in case of emergency, plus more useable for other situations...

  

I bought a refractometer on a whim yesterday, just to verify my swing arm... Swing arm wasn't even close, said 1.025, but was 1.029 on the refractometer. so I'll just pitch it.   But, you're saying the corals et. al. really do care about a +/- 0.001 difference in SG? Given the minute amount of RC that can move that number up and down in a 1.5 gallon pico i'd think it could become quite tedious for a lot of people.  Or are most people mixing up a 5 gallon bucket, and then doing their changes with that for a few weeks, before having to mix up another batch? I'm game either way, just curious. 

 

thanks so much for your help!

I think it depends on the coral, really. SPS need more stable parameters than softies or LPS and I regularly forget to top off my 5.5 for a day or two so I choose things that don't mind small swings.  But if you use half a cup of salt per gallon of water, you'll get close to those numbers, pick one and stick with it. If you mix up too salty, add a little water. If you mix up not salty enough, add a little salt or wait for evap. 

 

I'm not a very scientific reefer, more of a play it by ear reefer lol.

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jahnje

So been researching how to dip live rock, and have come to the conclusion that this is probably best experimented with later. So I think I'm going to go with the dry rock, and seachem stability route. This will also let me shape the rock pretty well, and will guarantee fewer algae problems.  Plus most of the tanks with live rock around here also seem to have fair amounts of bubble and other algae in them.   Sanity Check? 

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jahnje
On 10/29/2017 at 2:48 PM, duderubble said:

I'm a big fan of petco rescue corals. Once I got a medium sized rock with a dozen or so melting mushrooms that looked like snot. The  manager just gave it to me because they were clearly dying. A week later they appeared to be hairy mushrooms. A week after that they turned out to be ricordea. 

 

My local Petco now gives me stuff that's in poor shape for a $5 donation to the humane society.

Asked the local petco to save me a few frag pedestals, and when I walked in today, the fish guy just started pulling anything that looked dead out of the frag tank. I'm going to assume that he's got a good eye for death, but you never know. So i kept them wet and brought them straight home to my test Qt system, and well see if anything is alive. Even if it's only some coraline or something. I'm just curious to see if anything grows out of petco trash now. But I might be able to talk him into the same deal as you.... who knows.  Gives me some good practise preparing water regularly. etc.    Esp. since I can't really kill anything that's already dead... ORZ 

 

Sadly my BRS order of food and lights won't be here until wednesday.  So if anything is alive it's going to have to deal with some pretty low light for a day or two. 

 

Also went to lowes today to look for construction material. Evaluating stuffit pond foam and portland cement as potential mediums for central tank "sculpture." Pond foam would be best, but not sure how to sink it.... hmmm... portland will take a few weeks to stop leaching. So each has their drawbacks.   

IMG_6012.JPG

10 hours ago, Lula_Mae said:

I'm not a very scientific reefer, more of a play it by ear reefer lol.

It's nice to know that, that is an option. Somedays I just don't feel like science...<_<

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Lula_Mae
8 hours ago, jahnje said:

Asked the local petco to save me a few frag pedestals, and when I walked in today, the fish guy just started pulling anything that looked dead out of the frag tank. I'm going to assume that he's got a good eye for death, but you never know. So i kept them wet and brought them straight home to my test Qt system, and well see if anything is alive. Even if it's only some coraline or something. I'm just curious to see if anything grows out of petco trash now. But I might be able to talk him into the same deal as you.... who knows.  Gives me some good practise preparing water regularly. etc.    Esp. since I can't really kill anything that's already dead... ORZ 

 

Sadly my BRS order of food and lights won't be here until wednesday.  So if anything is alive it's going to have to deal with some pretty low light for a day or two. 

 

Also went to lowes today to look for construction material. Evaluating stuffit pond foam and portland cement as potential mediums for central tank "sculpture." Pond foam would be best, but not sure how to sink it.... hmmm... portland will take a few weeks to stop leaching. So each has their drawbacks.   

IMG_6012.JPG

It's nice to know that, that is an option. Somedays I just don't feel like science...<_<

If anything's alive, it'll be fine with a couple days of lights out.  I do that when I have stressed corals sometimes (after a Lugol's iodine dip).

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