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skyscraper2290

skyscraper’s PicO III Reboot (New photos 11/28)

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So I have been out of the SW game for a couple years now after moving about 6 times the past 4 years and after moving my tank a couple times I decided to break it down when I moved states. Well I recently bought a condo and decided it was time to set up the tank again now that I’m somewhere I know I won’t be moving from for quite a while. 

 

I went back to Jackson, WY where my tank was still stored and gave it a good cleaning with white vinegar and did a leak test. Yesterday I got the tank filled with saltwater, got my scape put together and placed in the tank, and replaced them return pump. Today I went and got a smaller piece of LR from a LFS just to help seed the tank and begin the cycle. 

 

Tomorrow I am supposed to receive my live sand and a new Jebao wave maker which worked really well for me last time. So tomorrow will be able to add both of these to the tank. 

 

After being in storage and not stored ores well I sent my Nanobox Duo to @DaveFason today to get the light worked on and brought back up to par and also switch it over to the bluefish controller. I won’t be adding any coral to the tank until I receive the light back, so in the meantime I just have a cheap LED over the tank (really resting on the tank) just so it looks pretty haha. 

 

Stocking wise I plan to do something similar to my last build with either a branching hammer or a torch that will stay on its own island. I definitely want to do some acans and rics and a good mix of zoas. I also do plan on doing a couple SPS pieces towards the top of my scale. After the tank starts to mature I might do a RBTA depending on if I get a clown pair or not. For the fish I have been going back and forth between doing clowns or a single fire fish. I also would like to do a clown goby and/or a yasha goby and attempt to pair it with a pistol shrimp. I am still open to suggestions for fish. 

 

The tank is a 20g cube AIO which was made by PicO Aquariums and it looks like they are no longer around. It measures 18x18x16. As of now I have about 17 gallons of water in the tank but imagine I’ll have to take a little out once the sand is in. 

 

If you want to see my old build then here is the link. 

 

 

Any feedback or constructive criticism is always welcome. I added just an iPhone picture of the tank set up. Once I start getting it stocked I’ll bust out the big camera and do my best to provide some nice photos (which I love doing) and will do my best to always be adding new pictures. 

 

I am super excited to get everything going again and really happy to see quite a few of the people who were on here a few years ago are still around and managing awesome tanks. 

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28 minutes ago, ninjamyst said:

nice scape!

Thanks ninja! Somewhat similar to my old one, but have a nice big base for plenty of corals 🙂

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So went today and picked up a used LED 120W Programmable setup from a LFS that had it used for $50 and I figured it would be my best option while I wait on the Nanobox Duo to get back. It will also be a great back up light. I was curious though if anyone has had any experience with this light in the past and if you still know how to program it. Thanks!

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So the cycle is well underway, granted I’m not seeing the exact numbers that are expected with the Red Sea Reef Mature kit I am using. After looking around online it looks like it could move a little slower with the use of dry rock vs LR and all I only used one piece of LR.

 

According to the instruction manual you are supposed to see algae by day 4-5 but still have none as of day 7. Ammonia was down to between .2 and .4 today which is what you are suppose to see. My nitrites are at .2 and have dropped but according to the kit should be at .05. Nitrates are currently at 5 from what I can tell which is also in line of what I’m supposed to see. PH is hovering between 8-8.3 over the past few days. Alk is currently at 9.5 and Salinity is at 1.025. All of these numbers are after doing the 10% WC that I was instructed to do according to the kit. This seemed a bit strange to do during the cycle but I’m committed to it at this point. You are supposed to introduce a CUC at Day 10 but will only do this if I have no detectable ammonia or nitrites. 

 

Curious if anyone else has used the Red Sea Reef Mature kit and what your experience was like. 

 

And a picture just because... even though it’s just a box of wet rocks at the moment I still enjoy it. You can also see I got my sand in the tank which was a 20lb bag of Carib Sea Arag-Alive Fiji Pink which I what I used before and really like it. Also got my Jebao SW2 mounted to the back wall which I think helps keep the tank looking clean. Been just manually topping off for evaporation but need to find an ATO container and get that set up. Granted I have pretty minimal evaporation because of the glass top so will have to keep on eye on that if there isn’t enough gas exchange.

 

Hopefully by midweek I will be able to get some CUC and have been eyeing the Halloween hermits that the LFS right down the street carries. If there is no algae by then I will have to probably supplement some food. 

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And one more taken with my big camera just to start a proper photo documentation of the tank. (For my log more than anything else)

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So just like the Red Sea Reef Mature kit stared, ammonia and nitrites both read 0 yesterday. Went yesterday to one of my LFS and picked up a small CUC. I got 2 star asteria snails, 5 nerites, and then a Halloween hermit which I have been eyeing since I decided to set up the tank again. I did a 30 minute float acclimation while slowing adding tank wanted to the bags and everything was looking good this morning. Pumped to have some life in the tank now.

 

According to the Red Sea kit I am supposed to add my first fish to the tank on Day 14 which will be Sunday. As of now i have decided either the first fish will be either a hi fin goby with a pistol pair or purple fire fish. The same LFS that had the Halloween hermits also has a few of the high fins already paired with pistol shrimps. This is what I’m leaning towards to add first because I believe it would be less of a bioload but please correct me if I’m wrong. 

 

In in other news I’m trying to figure out some lens solution to get closer pictures. Right now I’ll primarily use the Tamron 28-75 F/2.8 But have been looking at the Rokinon 100mm F/2.8 Macro lens for Sony E mount. I have also had success with extension tubes as well so might try that first. Cheers everyone!

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Welcome back @skyscraper2290, it's great to see a PicO Aquariums system some back online 🙂 

 

That's great your cycle went so quickly! The high fin goby and pistol shrimp pair sounds like a good addition to me. Double check your parameters before hand, 14 days is pretty quick, but not necessarily unheard of, especially since you had one piece of actual live rock and live sand on top of that. What were your nitrates running? You can reduce those with a partial water change before you add the fish.

 

Extension tubes can be a good solution for aquarium photos, but it's a bit fiddly to get right, and the depth of field tends to be very shallow. A 100mm f/2.8 macro lens is definitely the go-to choice for great aquarium closeup shots, the Rokinon is a manual focus lens?

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54 minutes ago, Christopher Marks said:

Welcome back @skyscraper2290, it's great to see a PicO Aquariums system some back online 🙂 

 

That's great your cycle went so quickly! The high fin goby and pistol shrimp pair sounds like a good addition to me. Double check your parameters before hand, 14 days is pretty quick, but not necessarily unheard of, especially since you had one piece of actual live rock and live sand on top of that. What were your nitrates running? You can reduce those with a partial water change before you add the fish.

 

Extension tubes can be a good solution for aquarium photos, but it's a bit fiddly to get right, and the depth of field tends to be very shallow. A 100mm f/2.8 macro lens is definitely the go-to choice for great aquarium closeup shots, the Rokinon is a manual focus lens?

 

Ya it’s definitely a faster cycle process than I am used to. Last time I set up the tank I dosed ammonia and it took between 30-40 days. A LFS highly recommended the Red Sea Reef Mature kit which in total takes 21 days. I have just been following the instructions and have seen the numbers that you are supposed to see. Ammonia and nitrite at 0 as of yesterday and nitrate was about 20. Per the instructions and using NoPox at day 14 you are supposed to do a 5% WC and then add your first fish but won’t do this unless the numbers are there. Definitely not in a rush but wanted to try this kit out and follow the instructions. 

 

As for the photography I switched from Nikon to Sony but used to use a 50mm with extension tubes and even tried a reverse mount as well. Got some good results but like you said working with such a small focus area was a pain. The Rokinon is a fully manual lens but have used them for a few years now especially for night photography and really like them. I’m leaning towards the macro just because that would give the best results.

 

Thanks for stopping by and your words of wisdom! 

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Following! I'm interested to see how the Red Sea Mature thing goes. Red Sea is pretty good about being methodical and giving good recipes to follow. 

 

I too think the goby/shrimp would be a great start. They are entertaining and pretty, plus keeping sand moving around is always a good thing.

 

I can't help you much with the lenses, I'm a Nikon guy. I love my Tamron 90mm but honestly I don't use it much. Close cropping with the kit lens works pretty well in most cases for me.

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39 minutes ago, teenyreef said:

Following! I'm interested to see how the Red Sea Mature thing goes. Red Sea is pretty good about being methodical and giving good recipes to follow. 

 

I too think the goby/shrimp would be a great start. They are entertaining and pretty, plus keeping sand moving around is always a good thing.

 

I can't help you much with the lenses, I'm a Nikon guy. I love my Tamron 90mm but honestly I don't use it much. Close cropping with the kit lens works pretty well in most cases for me.

Ya it seems to be working so far, I really wanted something that would allow the cycle to happen faster and couldn’t find Dr. Tims out this way. 

 

I am really starting to lean towards the goby/shrimp pair. After that most likely a purple fire fish and then one more fish after that eventually. Would love a six line because they can help with pest control but can be such a bulky. 

 

Nikon is great but really glad I made the switch to Sony. I’m sure I could get away with cropping but the close ups with a macro just sound so enticing to me. Really like the photography aspect in this hobby, and a good enough excuse to me to get a new lens haha

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So everything has been moving along swimmingly. Yesterday I finally took the time to set my ATO and picked up a 1 gallon plastic cereal container which is perfect size for where I have my tank. From what I can tell so far it should last about 5 days before requiring more water. 

 

Today tested all my paramaters and had 0 ammonia and nitrite and after the instructed 1 gallon WC (about 5%) nitrates we’re at about 10. So I went to pick up a hi fin goby paired with a pistol shrimp. Did a 30 minute float acclimation for temperature then opened the bag and put about 1/2 cup of tank water in about every 5 minutes until it filled the bag. Then emptied about half the water and repeated this one more time for a total acclimation time of about 1 hour and 10 minutes. 

 

Released them into the tank and luckily the pistol shrimp started his burrow front and center. Initially the goby went and hid under another little cave. Went out for a walk and when I came back they were both in the burrow omgomgomg! They are slowly coming out of the burrow and making it bigger. I have the lights off for 4 hours and plan to turn them on their lowest setting for about an hour so I can try to spot feed them and see if the goby will eat before lights out. 

 

Over the next week it will be just observation until the Day 21 mark where I will most likely start introducing some coral as long as numbers stay stable. Thinking a couple zoas and a Duncan to start with. I will also pull out the piece of live rock that i had purchased and replace it with another small piece of dry rock that I will use as a ric island. Also plan to get some chaeto for the refugium area of this AIO tank and get a timer to run the 1W LED I have on a reverse light cycle. 

 

I have also settled on the 3 fish I plan to keep in the tank:

 

Hi Fin Goby and pistol shrimp pair

Purple Firefish

Jester Goby

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Goby and shrimp are settling in very nicely so far, seems like they are already displaying normal activity that I saw at the LFS they have been at for at least a month. Goby was eating right away the moment I started spot feeding. Already getting used to me looking in the tank and is barely darting into the burrow. Managed to take a quick picture of him poking out.

 

 

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Got some more pics of the goby today when I was feeding, seems to be doing quite well

 

 

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Awesome shots.  You have lots of patience.  Hahahh

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1 hour ago, ninjamyst said:

Awesome shots.  You have lots of patience.  Hahahh

It didn’t take too much patience, probably got all of these within 10 minutes haha

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Tanks looking great.

 

Love the aquascape and the goby is super cute.

 

 

Great pics!

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8 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Tanks looking great.

 

Love the aquascape and the goby is super cute.

 

 

Great pics!

 

Thanks! I always wanted a shrimp/goby pair and was so glad to find a LFS with bonded pairs. $50 for pairs so price was pretty good too. 

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So went to the LFS today and bought a purple fire fish but having them hold it for me until the tank is ready for a second fish. Looked super healthy and well fed. 

 

I also picked up some dry dry rock rubble and chaeto for the refugium area today and have that running on a reverse cycle with about an hour of overlap both at night and in the morning.

 

Decided to break up some small pieces of rock for the pistol shrimp to use for the burrow entrance. He has it connected to a bigger opening in the LR as a second entrance. Actually saw the shrimp for the first time since he went in the tank and made his burrow. Luckily I was able to get a couple decent pictures of him. 

 

Today I also picked up some empty shells for the hermits and one instantly switched shells, then went back to the original and then found a 3rd shell and couldn’t decide which one to stay it. It was pretty funny to watch.

 

 

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And a current FTS, if you look close you can see the goby sticking out!

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Looking good - I love the high fin goby :wub:

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Thanks teeny! The goby is an awesome fish! 

 

So yesterday I picked up a small green mushroom and an even smaller ric to start my mushroom/ric rock. Today though I went and actually picked up the rock. Was trying to find some dry rock but it seemed all the stores were waiting on there orders so picked up two small LR pieces. Got the mushroom and ric put into place and really happy with the final scape. I am hoping with the bridge I created that I might be able to eventually get some type of small carpet nem (suggestions?) so I could pick up some sexy shrimp but who knows. 

 

All my numbers are holding solid right now and so planning on getting the fire fish and some zoa frags this weekend to start working on the large rocks base. 

 

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So being that it is day 21 I just wanted to give an update on using the Red Sea Mature Kit for cycling a tank. Overall I would say it’s a great kit to use especially for a nano tank. If you plan on using it in a large tank you will have to buy more than one or at least some extra NoPox. One bottle is good for about 20 gallons over the 21 days. Using dry rock vs LR you don’t see the algae bloom that is expected per the instructions. At the end of 21 days I was reading 0 ammonia 0 nitrite and between 2-5 on nitrate. It did take longer to see the nitrate drop and I believe that is because I was not using a skimmer during the process but the end results were very similar to what is supposed to be expected.

 

At the end of 21 days I have added a hi fin goby and pistol shrimp pair ( Larry and Harry) and a purple firefish (Garol). They all seem to be doing great and are eating as much as they can. 

 

Coral wise I picked up some zoa frags from a local reefer yesterday and also picked up a hammer, 2 zoa frags, and another ric when I got the firefish. Here is a complete list though.

 

1. Green Hammer coral

2. Green mushroom

3. Multi colored ric

4. Blue ric

5. Utter chaos zoas (3p)

6. Armageddon zoas (3p)

7. Sunny D zoa (1p)

8. Scrambled egg zoas (3p)

9. Space Monster zoas (1p w/babies)

10. Hawaiian people eaters zoa (1p)

11. Pink Hippo zoa (1p)

12. Spit Fire zoa (1p)

13. Green center acan

 

Tomorrow I am picking up some Armor of God zoas and Captain American zoas from another local reefer. This should be pretty much all the zoas I will be doing and will let them grow from here.  I want to get at least one more hammer coral, more acans, and more rics to finish the lower section of the tank. After a couple months I will begin getting the few SPS I am planning to have up top. Finally still going to add either a hector or jester goby to the tank and that should take care of my fish stocking plans.

 

I just mounted everything and will get some photos after everything everything is opened up again but here is one of the firefish. 

 

 

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So just got back from a hike and noticed the firefish isn’t looking that great. Labored breathing and laying against the back wall on the sand. This morning he was eating and swimming happily. I have done a 2.5G WC (15%) and was contemplating doing another one. No visible white spots or anything else on the fish. I have another 2.5G of fresh SW mixing up right now. Contemplated throwing my 5G on my counter and getting the water ready and putting the firefish in there as a temporary QT. Anyone have any ideas? Water parameters were 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 2-5 nitrate today. 

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nice choice in zoas!  hope the firefish continues to recover

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Thanks! I’m thinking they should grow in nicely! I hope the fish recovers, really at a loss at the sudden decline in health. The hi fun goby seems just fine, but now this makes me worry about him. 

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