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Lorekeeper's 3 Gallon "Shallows" tank!

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Skip to the bottom of this post if you want a summed up version of this!


Okay, so this tank has been set up 4-5 different times over the past few years, and has been taken down for various reasons. Upgrades, equipment failure, tank nukes, and disinterest have all been culprits. Well, now that I've got more time for the hobby, I've decided to give this tank one last go.


The "tank" is a 3 gallon jar from Walmart that you've probably seen people on here use for the pico contest, or, it's a variation of that jar. I think this one may be a slightly bigger version of the ones I've seen used most commonly on here. It's being lit by a 6000K LED bulb, rated at around 1100 Lumens. I think it's pulling 11W, and is being powered by a Walmart desk lamp. Maybe I should just make this an all Walmart build! 😋 I'm using a Top Fin Internal Filter with some cycled media to seed the tank and get it going, and I'm using a small preset heater that keeps the tank right at 76F. I plan to slowly remove some media from the filter with each water change, and eventually switch over to a much smaller powerhead once the media is no longer needed.


When planning this tank, I threw a bunch of ideas around. I had thought about a freshwater shrimp tank, or a Pygmy Sunfish tank, or even something like an Opae Ula tank. Eventually, I narrowed it down to either a softy reef, or a macro tank. I decided to go with the macro idea, after remembering how I had tried and failed with them in my main tank. I'm hoping that with a dedicated tank, I'll be able to make it work.


From there, I posted on the forum and learned that I'd be best off to choose a color of macroalgae (green, red, or brown) and create the tank around that color of algae. Greens are collected in shallow water (1'-40'), reds are collected in much deeper water (30'-onward), and browns seem to be collected from a variety of depths. After learning that, I decided to go with the greens and have thought about trying to imitate a "patch reef", or a little island of rock and macroalgae far behind the main reef. Running with that idea, I've kinda picked out a variety of macros that I like and think will make for an interesting tank.


I decided to stock with a Yellow Clown Goby, and decided to do a snail-only CUC. I figured that if things go correctly, the macros should keep the water fairly clean and make weekly 30-50% WC's enough. So far, the little guy made it through QT and has been doing great. Eating well, fairly active, and very colorful. I'm planning on 8-10 dwarf ceriths, a few nerites, and maybe 1 or 2 Florida ceriths. If I notice a lack of any microalgae, I'll reduce the CUC. As far as macros, I'm planning Caulerpa Prolifera, Caulerpa Mexicana, Codium, Fern Caulerpa, Carpet Halimeda, Blue Scroll, and maybe some Cactus Caulerpa. Lots of Caulerpas, but I find them attractive and don't think they should cause issues with weekly prunings.




Tank and equipment:

3 gallon jar

Top Fin 10 Gallon Filter, with seeded media

Preset Heater at 76F

3 lbs of rock




Yellow Clown Goby

Dwarf Ceriths

Florida Ceriths


Caulerpa Prolifera

Caulerpa Mexicana


Fern Caulerpa

Carpet Halimeda

Blue Scroll

Cactus Caulerpa

Dragon's Breath


Here are some pics of the tank as of today. Tank has been running for a few weeks, and has had fish, some macros, and a couple of snails for 8 days. Parameters have been good so far.






Thanks for reading!

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Christopher Marks

Great to see another pico jar coming online! Your macro algae plans sound really cool, looking forward to watching this one grow!

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Okay, so my order shipped from ReefCleaner's today. Should be here Wednesday afternoon. I paid for express shipping, but apparently I'm not in the overnight areas. Too bad.


On the bright side, I've got some macros pearling! Specifically the little ball of Chaeto I threw into the tank, but the dragon's breath and Caulerpa Prolifera are pearling a bit too.


The clown goby seems to be spending most of his day sleeping, and most of the night active. Kinda weird, but I'm still hoping that he'll get more active once he has more stuff to perch and hide in.


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Order arrived today. Not sure if I'm happy with it yet. It definitely wasn't a great order, yet.


Only part of my order arrived. I didn't get quite a few of the macros I paid for, and haven't been told whether or not I'll be getting them or not. 


What DID come in looks pretty good. Most of the snails have begun to latch on and crawl around, and all of the macros made it, to a point. A lot of the Fern Caulerpa died in the bag. I cut off all the dead matter, plus 1/2" of healthy plant, to be safe. The Carpet Halimeda doesn't look anything like what I've seen online, and I'm really not a fan of it so far. My opinion may change, though.


All of the macros got a freshwater dip before they were put into my tanks. Helped me sort out the dead stuff from the living stuff, and got rid of quite a few pods. I hated to kill them, but I'm not sure I wanted to introduce all of those into my tanks without knowing what they were. 


I kinda just threw them into the tank for now, since I have some other stuff I gotta do. I'll be siphoning and dealing with all the sand (introduced by the Halimeda) later. For now, here's a pic of the tank pre-water change.



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After a conversation with Reef Cleaners, the macros that I didn't receive were refunded. It was a quick and easy process, but it just really shouldn't have happened in the first place. Mistakes occur, but there were a few too many in this order for my taste.


Let me know if anyone has any macro placement suggestions.

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Little guy was out and about all day today. I think they addition of all the macros has really helped him settle in. He seems to really like the Halimeda in particular, for some reason.




Does anyone have any experience with hair algae growing on macroalgae? The Blue Scroll I received is covered in hair algae. I know I can't treat with peroxide, and manual removal didn't do too much for me. Anyone got any tips?

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This little guy is awesome! Loving him.




He's begun to perch on macros and around the tank much more. He's very active, for a goby. Lots of personality, too. He'd be a good candidate for a larger nano with other shy fish.


I ended up simply trimming back the Blue Scroll, with advice from both @vlangel and a friend on R2R. So far, it seems to be doing alright. The majority of what's left is healthy algae, so I'm hoping that the new growth will come in fairly quickly. I also have a new "finger" forming on the Codium, and the Pink Galaxy is beginning to color back up as well. 

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Where did you get your pink galaxy? Sorry I know this is an old thread but I’m looking everywhere to find some. 

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