Jump to content


Recommended Posts

Current FTS

3 Gallon JBJ Picotope
Date started - 11/13/2018





  • Tank - 3 Gallon JBJ Picotope Curved Glass
  • Lighting - AI Prime 16HD with 3DReefing Diffuser
  • Circulation - Hydor 100 GPH Circulation Pump
  • Heater - Cobalt Neo-Therm 25w
  • Filtration/Refugium - Aqua Top Forza PFE-1 45 GPH HOB w/ Floss
  • Auto Top Off - Smart ATO Micro
  • Salt - Red Sea Coral Pro Salt



  • Temp - 78F
  • Salinity - 1.025
  • PH - 8.2
  • NH3/4 - 2.0
  • NO2 - 0.0
  • NO3 - 0.0



Red Headed Goby


Scarlet Hermit Crab (12/18/2018)

Banded Trochus Snail (05/09/2019)




Brown Palythoa (12/18/2018)

Rasta Zoanthids (02/28/2019)

Pink Grey Zoanthids (04/07/2019)

Pink Green Zoanthids (04/07/2019)

Punk Rocker Zoanthids


Orange Mushroom (04/07/2019)

Blue Mushroom (06/29/2019)


Green Duncan (01/03/2019)

Green/Purple Micro Lord (01/24/2019)

Orange/Lavender Micro Lord (01/24/2019)

Purple Tipped Green Branching Frogspawn (02/19/2019)

Red/Purple Micro Lord (05/18/2019)

Blue/Green/Orange Micro Lord (06/29/2019)

Green Tipped Purple Hammer

Gold Tipped Purple Hammer

Green Tipped Aleveopora

Purple/Green Blastomussa Merletti

Pink/Green Blastumussa Merletti


Yellow Leptoseris


Background & Goals

A little background on myself and the tank to this point. I began reefing when I was about fourteen years old, and originally started the hobby of fish husbandry when I was maybe ten. I quickly became obsessed, but in earnest I was too young and crashed my then 37 gallon "reef". Fast forward sixteen years and I'm thirty, and not using my parents money to support my hobby. I have been wanting to start a pico reef for many years, but put it off until now. I also, live in a major city with access to many awesome corals, so why not?


I was most inspired by El Fab's Pico which is why I special ordered the JBJ from the USA (and paid a ridiculous amount to have it shipped to Canada). Also, another 7 gallon bowfront tank that I remember from many years ago (like 2002 lol).


I have been curing some Pukani Dry Rock for over three months because they have been leeching phosphates like crazy. I can say I had a lot of luck with dosing Lanthanum during the cure process. If I could go back in time I would have dosed LC immediately following the bleach/primed water stage. It rips phosphates out of the water quickly. I would not recommend dosing in a DT though.


I went for the bare bottom tank because of the horror stories I have read about sandbeds. Aesthetically speaking, the sandbed does nothing for me and the tank is actually sitting at eye level while standing so it would be hard to notice it anyway. I would rather have an easier space to clean and there is a lot that can go wrong quickly in a pico. There is no starboard on the bottom, just the glass.


Lighting the tank currently is the Hipargero A029 Aqua Knight and as far as color goes I like it. I plan to run a 6-7 hour photoperiod starting when I add zooplankton/phytoplankton.

The HOB AC70 Refugium will be running filter floss and chaeto with a 12watt ACKE grow light duct taped to it. The grow light will be run on a reverse photoperiod to the pico's lights. I'll be changing out the floss weekly or bi weekly.


Another idea I have had is to occasionally use the "pico" filter included with the aquarium itself to run as a chemipure reactor? For instance, if something gets out of whack quickly and a water change isn't possible, just set up the pico filter with some chemipure blue and run it for a few days. Just an idea.


I'm using Red Sea Coral Pro salt with distilled store bought water. I am currently dosing the tank with Dr. Tim's Ammonia and Dr. Tim's One and Only Nitrfiying Reef Bacteria to start up. Temp is set to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and I will be using API to test during cycle (and switching to Salifert or Hanna once corals are added).


Once cycle finishes I plan to add copepods, phytoplankton and chaeto and to begin the photoepriod. Maybe a week or two after that I will add a part of or the entire CUC. I am open to suggestions regarding all livestock.


As far as water changes go, I am thinking probably doing a 50% weekly change and upgrading to a 100% once the inhabitants begin to use minerals more quickly. Also, open to suggestions.


Tank has been up and running for 24 hours and I'm very excited to see what I can do with this little tank!




Thanks in advance for any replies/suggestions. This community has been great over the last four months and I have learned a lot while researching!




  • Like 9
Link to comment




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.0245
  • NH3/4 -1.5
  • NO2 - 0.25
  • NO3 - 5.0
  • PO4 - 0.05

Tank has been set up for 7 days now and I am impressed with the level of phosphate at 0.05 considering the Pukani dry rock. I'm glad I did a 3+ month cure of the rock that included bleach and Lanthanum.


The Nitrite just registered today, and the original 2.0ppm I dosed of Ammonia was processed down to 0.25ppm within 5 days and is beginning to fall again after I redosed to 2.0ppm.


I dusted the rocks and the bottom glass with a turkey baster three times throughout the week.


Salinity looked to be at about 1.0245 so the ATO is doing its job.


It has been lights out, except for the occasional viewing to examine the rock work. There seems to be no signs of algae growth.




Flexin' with the API tester/sexy succulent shot.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Christopher Marks
On 11/14/2018 at 1:30 AM, Jon-Paul said:

I was most inspired by El Fab's Pico which is why I special ordered the JBJ from the USA (and paid a ridiculous amount to have it shipped to Canada). Also, another 7 gallon bowfront tank that I remember from many years ago (like 2002 lol).



Kickin' it old school, I love it! It's great to see a new Picotope come online. Great foresight to soak your rock so long in advance, very wise! It's good to see you back @Jon-Paul!

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Day 16




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.024
  • NH3/4 -0.5
  • NO2 - 5.0
  • NO3 - 5.0
  • PO4 - 0.05

Phosphates are barely even registering and it is over two weeks since the initial setup.


The bacteria is at a point where it is now processing ammonia down from 2.0 to 0.25 in 24 hours, however the nitrites are still sky high. I was originally told that when the ammonia can be processed from 2.0 to 0 that I could do a 100% water change and begin stocking a day later, but I think I should wait until the nitrites are also able to be processed within the 24h window. Until then I will continue to dose ammonia to 2.0ppm.


I also find it strange that the nitrates haven't spiked yet, but I'm sure that will come as the nitrites start to drop off, and I assume it should be some time within the next week.


With my cycle coming to an end I am wondering what my next step should be. Should I seed the tank with pods and phyto and begin the light cycle? Or, should grab a small CUC? Or, should I add a (1) coral? Of course I am speaking about adding all of this after the cycle is fully completed and after a 100% water change. I'm thinking I can add the chaeto later when I notice an algae problem, or should I be considering adding that soon as well?


Also, after the water change do I replace my filter floss? I assume there is a ton of bacteria living on it lol,


Any answers are appreciated!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Day 28




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.024
  • NH3/4 -0.0
  • NO2 - 5.0
  • NO3 - 40

I just took a small weekend trip and left the tank unattended for the past three days and I returned home to find that everything is fine. Nitrites still haven't come down, however my Nitrates have finally spiked. I think not dosing the ammonia daily helped and I will probably only dose every few days as opposed to daily as my cycle seemed to stall for a period of two weeks.

Link to comment

Day 34




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.023
  • NH3/4 -0.0
  • NO2 - 0.1
  • NO3 - 100.0

I finally took a trip to my LFS because I continued to get mixed results on my API test kits for my NO2/NO3. I picked up some Salifert tests and retested to find my nitrites around 0.1-0.0 (as compared to the consistent 5.0 from API) and my nitrates were sky high at 100 (compared to 10-40 from API). I re-dosed ammonia to 2 ppm and will double check to make sure it is being processed down in 24h.


I learned a valuable lesson with the API test kits, "Don't cheap out." 😂


I may do a water change (80-90%) tomorrow and go back to my LFS and grab some pods and chaeto and begin my light cycle. Maybe grab a scarlet hermit to "test the waters". Hoping to have 10-20ppm for N03 after the water change.

Link to comment

I like these tanks too. 

I’m interested to see how that light performs for you. 30w is a lot of power.  How high above the water line is it at? 


Glad you got some other test kits. I use Saifert too and have had good results with them. 


Looks like cycle is amost over and you’re ready to go!

Link to comment

Day 35




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.0255
  • NH3/4 -0.25
  • NO2 - 0.5
  • NO3 - 100.0



Woke up early today and grabbed a bottle of distilled water from the grocery store and made some fresh salt water. While that mixed and heated up I headed to my LFS and grabbed some Apex Pods and Phyto Feast by Reef Nutrition, some Chaeto macro, some coral RX pro, a scarlet hermit crab, and three pieces of live rock loaded with coralline algae.


I did a 90% water change (which I kind of regret) and refilled with fresh saltwater. I rinsed my powerhead, and ato sensor. I also cleaned the glass with an old IKEA gift card and blasted the rocks with a turkey baster before siphoning out the water for the change. Checked parameters and nitrite and nitrate were higher than I expected at 0.5 and 100 respectively. Much higher than what I was aiming for, but hopefully the chaeto will take advantage of that. Furthermore, I'll probably just do a water change tomorrow after work, but will check the parameters again tomorrow.


The hermit is in and walking around, he seems to like to check out the powerhead and AC70 intakes.




The chaeto is in the refugium and the 16 hour photoperiod has begun. Hopefully it will utilize the high nitrates and soak them up.




As a bonus the rocks had some zoanthids on one of them and a cabbage leather on another. I scrapped off all the algae from two of the pieces and threw it in the tank on the bare bottom along with the rock with the zoas and two brittle stars. If they survive that's cool but I really only wanted the coralline algae to seed the tank. I chose not to add the cabbage because it would probably release toxins which is not cool.




I will probably add the pods to the chaeto and main tank later this evening and then dose a little phyto.


I will be beginning the photoperiod of the display tank tomorrow with just three hours.


Link to comment

Day 41




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.0255
  • NH3/4 -0.0
  • NO2 - 0.5
  • NO3 - 1.0

So after doing the water change on 12/20 I noticed a significant drop in my nitratesfrom +100 to 25ppm. I came home from work today to a mildly cloudy tank and I'm not sure what happened. My first instinct was to test water and noticed nitrites at about 0.5 and nitrates were at 1. The chaeto has been doing its job, and I fear it may die when I go away for the week. My tank may still be too young for the chaeto.


I also did about a 20% water change, and noticed the water in the bucket had a green-ish tinge to it, but who knows. The parameters are before the water change, but I will retest before I leave for the week.


The clove polyp colony was 5 strong and has since created a very small joiner to make it 6. The zoanthids have also opened up much more since the second big water change. The outer tentacle are now extended and they are less cup shaped and have flattened out more than previously. The pics I have are from two days ago but the the zoa is looking healthier.




Hermit is loving life and picking at stuff throughout the tank. He usually finds his way to the algae scrapings or to the rock with the zoas/cloves and eats some algae there.




Slightly concerned about the cloudy water, but there isn't much I can do other than just wait it out. I'm assuming it's a bacteria bloom because of the two massive water changes I did and a little R and R without me around prodding at it should do the tank well.



  • Like 1
Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Day 54




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.025
  •  NH3/4 - 0.0
  • NO2 - 0.0
  • NO3 - 2.0
  • PO4 - 0.05
  • Ca - 360

Arrived back from my week vacation to a peaceful tank. Everything was still alive and the cloudiness had dissipated, so I assume it was a bacteria bloom. I was pretty busy so never got around to doing a water change until 2 days later on January 3rd, but when I arrived I tested and everything came up 0.


The chaeto had grown massive over the week I was gone so I had to dispose of about half of it and already only three days later it looks like it could be trimmed back, this will be part of my weekly maintenance.


I noticed the crab had molted so I think that's a good sign? Also, my pod population has increased for sure and I have noticed some adult sized boyos roaming around during lights out.


After the water change I headed to my LFS and grabbed a Calcium test kit, some Reef Roids and few new inhabitants. I picked up a duncan, an orange florida ricordea, and some scrambled eggs zoas. I did no assimilation and just popped them all right in the tank.


I did glue the duncan down and he came with 5 heads to start, with the biggest one having a green base. He has had great extension and seems to like his home close to the powerhead jet stream. He did feast on some reef roids and enjoyed it.




The scrambled egg zoas have opened up nicely and are placed high on the rock structure. There are currently two polyps with full extension and it looks like they are also having a little baby. I have them in a pretty high flow area as they are right below the AC70 spill over and also in the path of the power head.




The orange Florida Ricordea seems to like his home the least. I think the flow was too high so I angled the rock better so he gets less flow from the AC70/powerhead and gets more light. He has three mouths so I am hoping he will make a split at some point and grow inside that little cave and cover the plug.




I will be doing a water change of 75% on Monday and hoping to restore some of my calcium levels as they are a tad on the low side at 360. The chaeto has been doing an amazing job and is growing like a beast which is why I'm assuming my nitrates are at 2 and my phosphates are at 0.05 even considering my heavy feedings of phyto-feast (10-12 drops) and a dose of roids.


I think I will pick up some more corals on Monday or Tuesday as well, and grab an Alkalinity test kit and some frozen mysis shrimp. I will grab a full tank shot hopefully on Wednesday with the new dudes.

Link to comment

Day 61




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.025
  • PH - 8.1
  • NH3/4 - 0.0
  • NO2 - 0.0
  • NO3 - 0.2
  • PO4 - 0.02
  • Ca - 440
  • Alk - 8.9

I feel like every week I learn something from this tank. This week I learned about the importance of testing and water changes.


Earlier in the week I went to the LFS and picked up a Bizzaro Cyphastrea, and two unnamed zoanthid frags along with some frozen mysis shrimp and a KH/Alk test kit. I had done a 50% water change earlier in the day and dropped everything in after a quick dip in some coral rx.


The new zoanthids did not open very much on the first day but they began to warm up to the tank on the second, however the majority of the green colony (Watermelon/Eagle Eye?) did not open. I would say at most about 7/20 of the polyps opened well. I placed them near the top of the tank in line with my powerhead on the opposite side of the tank. The pods seem to love exploring them and are constantly bothering them I feel. Does anyone have suggestions for how I could get more of them to open, or should I just be happy with what I got (it was a cheap frag).


I don't even know what the orange ones are (Orange Bam-Bams?) but they look pretty cool and all of them have opened up.




The Bizarro Cyphastrea is a dang nice color pop in the tank, and should look pretty cool once it takes off. I put it in the space where the Orange Florida Ricordea was so it has some shade and protection from direct flow, I'm curious to see how it will encrust, and I'm hoping it will cover the ugly cement I used on the rock.




The Orange Florida Ricordea was definitely not liking his original home so I moved him below the powerhead, and out of its path flat on a rock and it has stretched itself out and generally seems fuller and less agitated. It has accepted mysis shrimp and reef roids and gobbled them both down. It looks like he might split soon (pinching?)?




I also accidentally knocked the duncan off, but reglued him back on and he is doing super good and I think he may be sprouting a new head on his underside. He loved the mysis shrimp and reef roids - seems a bit insatiable haha.


Today I noticed my Ric was scrunched up, and my scrambled egg zoas were closed up so I tested everything and only one thing seemed to be in the "redzone" which was the Alkalinity. It first measured at 6.4, which was down from 7.5 when I had originally tested on Tuesday (5 days elapsed time) so I did my weekly 50% water change a day early and the alkalinity shot up to 8.9. This was slightly concerning to me because I'm aware fluctuations like that are not good so I'm thinking I may start dosing an Alk buffer such as sodium bicarbonate. I've been researching and it seems like all that needs to be done is to pre-mix a solution and add a small amount directly. Regardless I will be monitoring my alk closely over the next week to see if it is still declining at a rate of 0.2/day.




Some items I am looking to pick up in the near future are a magnesium test kit, an Ultra Scolymia, some Blastos, some more zoas and maybe a euphyllia (but I am concerned with sweepers and my tank size).

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...

Day 77




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.026
  • NO2 - 0.0
  • NO3 - 0.2
  • PO4 - 0.03
  • Ca - 445
  • Alk - 8.5

I realized that my tank was depleting it's dKH very quickly so I have since begun dosing a home-made batch of liquid sodium bi-carbonate as per Randy`s recipe #2. I was dosing about 0.5 dKH/day but since I added two new Acans I am going to have to increase that number to about 0.8 dKH broken up to twice daily. I'm currently looking into getting a dosing pump to automate the whole process.


The Bizarro Cyphastrea was not doing well with where I placed him and began to bleach, I was hoping he would turn the corner but he got worse so I moved him to a shadowed corner of the tank with a bit better flow and he has since healed his bleaching and has had polyp extension and appears to be encrusting the plug he's on. Gonna chalk that up to a win.


The Scrambled Egg Zoanthids were closed up for about a week but have finally opened along with the new baby, so that was another win.


The Eagle Eye Zoanthids also have all opened up and appear to total 24 polyps. Also, I figured out that the orange zoanthids are called Punk Rocker Zoanthids (also doing great).


The Duncan is growing a new head on the bottom, and the Ric is getting some green around his outer skirt and has been looking very fat and happy (doesn't seem to be trying to split).


The acans are pretty neat, but I also realized how aggressive they can be when my orange/magenta fella spit out a bunch of sweeper tentacles. Luckily I placed both of them on a new rock structure that I made so they are out of the way a bit. I got a green/purple/white and an orange/lavender/white acan, and I'm hoping to get two more.











  • Like 2
Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...

Day 99




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.025
  • Alk - 8.5

The tank has been doing pretty good the past few weeks. Except the cyphastrea which is once again not doing well despite being in his new spot. I fear he is not long for this world.


I've been looking into a dosing pump and bounced around on a few before deciding I am going to go with a Kamoer F4, but I didn't get it yet and I am still manually adding the alkalinity buffer. The tank is currently using about 1 dKH/day and I assume that number will go up with the newest additions.


I recently purchased a few new corals. Grabbed a branching purple tipped branching frogspawn, rainblow clove poyps, and some nuclear green dragon eye zoanthids.


I also, moved around and glued down some of my other corals.





Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Day 110




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.025
  • Alk - 6.0

So I finally picked up the dosing pump, but work kept me from tinkering with it until tonight. The Kamoer F4 is now setup and programmed, now I'm just waiting to see if it will spit out 0.5ml at 4am. In the meantime, my manual dosing suffered this week and alkalinity was at 6.0 when I tested just after setting up the pump. I will be doing a 1 gallon water change to bring the alkalinity up a bit and I'll then be testing every day to see what the alkalinity needs are for the tank.


In other news I picked up some rasta zoanthids and some "pink flamingo" zoanthids? They're pink and cool lol. Duncan is growing another new head. Orange and lavender Acan is growing three new heads, and the purple and green acan is growing two more heads. The rainbow cloves have also gone from 8 polyps to 10.5, also there is a stolon that keeps just waving around and isn't pinned and I'm wondering if I should glue that down.


Frogspawn has adapted well and adds some more movement to the tank, and I just love the translucent green color of him.


Noticed some coralline algae beginning to spot on the bottom glass around the OG rock I got just after my cycle with the brown palythoa (also has grown two more heads) and white cloves. All of the rocks have a green hue to them when lights are off, and algae has been growing on the glass after feedings. During my weekly maintenance I'm pretty diligent to clean the front and side glass though. The back glass has all kinds of small barnacles and I even found some tiny snails.


The only thing that isn't doing well is that cyphastrea. All of the polyps have lost any yellow they had and just look to have orange lumps on it.


All in all I believe everything is rockin in the free world though.



  • Like 2
Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

Day 146




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.025
  • KH - 9.6
  • Ca - 425
  • Mag - 1500
  • PO4 - 0.03
  • NO3 - 0.1

In terms of my levels I feel as though everything is as it should be. I am still only dosing Randy's Alkalinity Recipe and everything seems fine. Finally got a magnesium test kit and I was surprised to notice how high my levels were. I think I need to up my feedings because my nitrates are insanely low. 


Some things have happened over the last month. Some good, and some bad. Beginning with the bad, following a water change I accidentally poured some warm tap water mixed with a small amount of vinegar into the pico 🤦‍♂️. I thought it was some remaining saltwater that I could top the tank off with, but it was the water I was cleaning the powerhead off in. Anyways I caught myself mid pour, but knew the damage had been done. I immediately fired up a fresh batch of saltwater and started warming it, and after it was set up I checked on the tank to notice all of my corals freaking out. I tested the KH and PH and both had tanked from about 10.0 to 6.5 and from 8.4 to below 7.4! I jumped on here and some users helped me out and I did about a 95% water change and everything recovered more or less.


Somehow during that day I also lost my Rasta Zoanthids and they just went completely missing 🤷‍♂️. I assume Hermes (the lone hermit crab) got on them and maybe knocked the glue loose (another lesson learned - always use lots of glue). 


My Eagle Eye Zoanthid colony definitely took a hit from the vinegar bath and one half of them are all completely closed and haven't opened. The other half just don't seem as full, but just today I noticed a few more, so hoping they liven back up.


Both of my Micromussa Lords have many new heads, my green/purple guy has about 3 and the orange/purple guy has about 5-6. I really want some more lords to fill in the small structure I made but work has been busy and my LFS hasn't had anything I loved.


Duncan has 3-4 new heads since I bought him. He seems bulletproof. Probably one of my favorite corals.


Rainbow cloves got nuked from the vinegar because it got dumped right on them, but they are bouncing back and have since migrated off the frag plug and are making their way towards the frogspawn 😂 boy are they in for a surprise.


I didn't clean the tank or do a water change for over two weeks until yesterday because my partners mother was staying with us. After I finally cleaned it up I decided I could make a trip to the LFS to grab some new corals. Picked up a fluorescent orange mushroom, some black zoanthids, and some pink/purple zoanthids. And, as a bonus, when I went to put them in I finally found the Rasta Zoanthids in a crevice! The hermit was guarding them so I will pick them up tomorrow and re-glue them somewhere.


In terms of what am I looking to do with the tank I'm thinking I kind of want a little mushroom garden on the right. I'm going to look into some special looking mushrooms and hunt them down (not a bounce lol). I would really like a plate coral, or a nice scolymia to fill out the bottom. I did see a beauty scoly (orange/purple/blue) today but didn't feel like chucking $250 on one. I'm also really, really tempted (mostly by the constant pestering of my partner) to get a fish, but I don't know what. I'm assuming a goby of some sort, maybe a yellow clown, or a green banded. I'm thinking it could also help with my ULN situation and boost my nitrates.



Link to comment

Very detailed journal, I wish I could keep records like you do.  It gives you a picture of what changes really work in your tank.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Thanks @kimdawg, I appreciate it! I also keep a physical journal that has all of my recorded levels, as well as other ramblings I see fit to write down! I find it helps keep things in order for a tank.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

Day 179




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.025




Over the past month I added some new corals, moved some things around, and figured some things out.


Recently my zoa garden has been more or less closed up. It was closed up even after tank maintenance and I couldn't figure out why. The frogspawn had shrunken up considerably, my duncan seemed out of whack and my mushrooms were even acting strange. There was also some hair algae forming, and even what looked like diatoms. I knew something wasn't right.


Luckily while doing my most recent weekly maintenance I decided I should clean my AC70 fuge, and try and get some of the algae that was growing on the return off. After taking it (filled with my chaeto/pods/water) off and putting it down on the edge of my sink I forgot I had stuffed the cord in my pocket, and when I went to walk away I ripped fuge and it came crashing to the floor. I had shattered the fuge and it was completely broken. I quickly cleaned the water and grabbed the chaeto and stuffed it into a small bucket with some old tank water I had pulled while cleaning. I drained the tank and then threw the rest of the chaeto in the bucket with the old tank water, a heater, and a pump. And topped the tank back up with fresh salt water.


The dosing pump was attached to the ac70 so I had decided I would leave that unhooked until I got a new ac70 the next day. Went and got it and after recustomizing the fuge I decided not to reinstall the dosing pump. It's now two days of operation without it and my corals seem to be coming back to life. I think my alk was running too high and I was just trying to chase a number that I arbitrarily thought would be good to maintain. I was probably having an effect on other nutrients in the system as well, and I think in the long run this is beneficial. Lesson learned.


I think going forward I'm going to do a small water change throughout the week. Maybe a liter, or two. This should refresh some of the nutrients without upsetting the balance, which is what I ultimately think was the problem. The dosing pump will come in handy in the future doe.


Some new inhabitants in the tank are two Astrea snails which have been decimating my minor algae problem so far, a War Paint Scolymia (Orange/Purple/Teal), and two new color morphs of zoanthids (maybe Blue-Eyed-Blonde-B****es, and some other small frag).


I moved the cyphastrea in a desperate attempt to bring it back to life and this time it finally worked and it is spitting out new heads like crazy. I think originally my lights were too high, but now I run them quite low, so they are really benefiting from their new placement.


All of my rainbow clove polyps migrated off of their original frag plug and onto the rock. They were closed regularly prior to uninstalling the dosing pump, but are now open and happy.


Frogspawn seems to be doing better since taking off the pump and has expanded more, but has shrunk considerably since I originally bought him. Hoping he will turn the corner.


I found some yellow clown gobies at my LFS and saw one in person for the first time, and I think I am going to get one. I almost impulse bought it at the LFS, but didn't because I know he would probably try and jump and I don't have a screen. Next goal is to build one of those bad boys soon, or if anyone is familiar with how to make a screen top for a picotope I would love some help with that.








Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Beautiful 3 gal Pico!  I'm just starting a 2.6 Fluval Spec and I'm using the same Hypargero light.  I'm wondering what intensity (how many clicks on white/blue?) you're running the lights on and are they on a timer?  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
7 hours ago, RemoGaggi said:

Beautiful 3 gal Pico!  I'm just starting a 2.6 Fluval Spec and I'm using the same Hypargero light.  I'm wondering what intensity (how many clicks on white/blue?) you're running the lights on and are they on a timer?  

 Thanks @RemoGaggi!


The light works surprisingly well over the pico so far. I am using it at +2 on the white (2 from being off) and +6 on the blues/UV. Everything seems to be doing well with it, but I'm not going for insane growth. I had my lights cranked when I first got it and I noticed some corals bleaching, since toning it back I've noticed I can add things and they accept the lights.


The light is on a timer and is on for 8 hours a day at those settings from 1:15PM to 9:15PM. The tank gets a lot of indirect sunlight from my windows in my place, but it's not bad and kind of acts like a dawn light for six hours lol.


I should mention I would like to switch to something with more control like am AI Prime HD, but while this one is working so well, and for so cheap I can't justify buying it right yet. I wouldn't mind also making some sort of frankenstein hood between the OG Picotope light that came with the tank (50/50 PC bulb) and the Hipargero. And just run the hipargero blue's and turn the 50/50 on for like 6 hours, which would give me a nice mix between fluourescent and LED and allow me to simulate dusk/dawn.


If you have any questions about a pico let me know, and I will be happy to answer! Good luck with the project!

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Day 191




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.025
  • KH - 8.0
  • Ca - 420
  • Mag - 1500
  • PO4 - 0.03
  • NO3 - 0.2



Recently had a mini vacation from work so I have been doing some testing and got some new inhabitants.


The removal of the dosing pump has been doing wonders for all of my corals. Everything has gotten bigger, and for the most part my chemistry seems fine. I don't think it was a mistake buying it, because if I ever have to dose something it will come in handy, or if I get a bigger tank, which is a possibility as everything is pretty tight in there.


Luckily with the addition of the two Astrea Snails I have only had to clean my glass once since adding them. They have a voracious appetite, and I think they have also eliminated my small flatworm population as well as they are mowing the algae down.


Water chemistry seems quite stable as I changed 6L of water on 05/21 and I tested on 05/22 and my KH was at 7.7 and Ca was at 400. I retested today on 05/23 (24h later) and KH was at 8.0 and Ca was 420. Weird numbers, but it seems consistent. I'll be doing a 50% change and a 25% change after 4 days on a weekly cycle going forward to replenish nutrients.


Swung by my LFS and picked up some new corals and also some Polyp Booster. Reef Roids and Mysis combo have been working well so far, so hoping this will boost them even more. Picked up some:


Dragon Loops Zoanthids

Blue Florida Ricordea

"Rainbow" Yellow/Orange Acan Lord

Red Acan

Green/Orange Chalice


Scolymia seems to have found a nice home for himself up against the right side of the rock in the middle. Thinking I would like to glue/cement him in that corner but on a slight angle so I can see him better. He seems quite happy as is right now, and has his feeders out every night. I've been feeding him every other night or so, and he is taking in the food.




The blue ric actually slipped beneath my rock structure and my crab dug him out somehow, so I scooped him up and put him in a little crevice next to the orange one and he has since wiggled out a bit more. Also, the red mushroom has had a baby. Hoping it doesn't populate too quickly.


Cyphastrea has been steadily growing and multiplying it's polyps. It's nowhere near the color it was when I first got it, but it's trending in the right direction.




Acan island is filling out nicely, and the newest additions should be my last unless there is one more that tickles my fancy. Everyone has taken food, and seems happy and healthy.




Frogspawn is hulking out and has grown the most since I removed the dosing pump. It's back to really spreading out. The clove polyps have started to go towards it, but are making their way towards the zoanthid peak. Also worried about these being invasive and populating too quickly.


The chalice is my most interesting piece now, I'm excited to see how (and if) it will grow and spread itself out. Hoping for it to grow to the left and make a little bridge, and create some shade. If so, I can clip it regularly and leave it as a cool centerpiece. The snail is in the way on the right side, but he has a fair amount to grow.


Still looking into some more corals, but as space is getting limited it's tough to pick what will be next. I'd like some more shrooms/rics, maybe a blastomussa, maybe a candy cane. I think a favia would be awesome, but they seem quite aggressive. Ideally I could get something to spread on the bottom, or the back glass, but I feel that's a later in life kind of move. GSP Really loving the bare bottom currently as I can see every spec of dirt and siphon it out easily on maintenance day.



  • Like 1
Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

Day 246




  • Temp - 80F
  • Salinity - 1.025
  • PH - 7.8
  • KH - 6.1
  • Ca - 450
  • Mag - 1440
  • PO4 - 0.5
  • NO3 - 0.2

Got some new corals for the tank, but tank maintenance is tomorrow and that's when I plan to take some pictures. I decided to check the parameters the night before and about 5 hours after lights off. I also fed heavily before the water change just to see what would happen to my levels. My alkalinity has been dropping to around the 6.2 range just before I do a weekly water change (lowest alkalinity I examined was 4.5 KH!). It raises to the low 8's after the weekly WC. I'm strongly thinking of switching from Coral Pro Reef Salt Mix to Instant Oceans Reef Crystals in the distant future (still have so much salt).


The PO4 seems jacked because of the heavy feeding at lights out. Usually runs at 0.03, so I'm guessing my chaeto normally eats it. It has been growing like a monster in the AC70. It will be interesting to follow this number if it is not due to the heavy feeding. I only feed once a week.Everything else in my parameters is pretty standard affair, except the temperature, which climbed as high as 81.8 before I did a WC just to drop the temp. The A/C was off in my building for about 4 days and temps rose. It has since been fixed.


Some unfortunate news in the coral department. My Scolymia has died, and I would say it is my fault. He was in an area that had too much flow, and never really had a solid substrate to dig into, or feel balanced. I noticed some of his flesh was peeling and I knew it was the end. About three weeks later I pulled his skeleton from the tank, and that is my first loss. Sucks, but it was inevitable I would lose something lol.


I also had a small green and orange chalice frag which browned out. It wasn't dead, but didn't seem to be growing well or liking the spot it was in. Knowing I didn't really have a spot for it, and knowing chalices can be aggressive I decided to just toss it. It was a cheap frag, and wasn't worth the headache of relocating and potentially stinging something else. I would like to know what went wrong and caused the browning. Too much/little light/flow?


With death, comes life, so I picked up some new corals! I grabbed an Aussie Torch, Rainbow Acan Lord, Utter Chaos Palythoa, and a Blue Mushroom. I also took the liberty to do some coral rearranging.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recommended Discussions

  • Create New...