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Christopher Marks

2 Gallon Pico Reef Jar - Amphipod Kingdom ūüíß

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On 12/21/2018 at 4:01 AM, seabass said:

For a heater, 7W is plenty.  I used something like this.  It is surprisingly small and seemed to work well with a controller.

 

I'm confident that an air line will give you good flow (and aeration).  However, like you noticed, lots of salt spray too.  I was contemplating a small pico pump, but knew that would sacrifice gas exchange. :unsure:

That's the one I've been searching for, thank you! It seems to be the most minimal in design, I remember now you were able to get it through the hole you drilled in your glass jar! I definitely won't need much heating power, it's mainly just to get the jar through nights in the winter, and it's only 'cold' here Dec-Feb. Did you also use an Inkbird brand controller?

 

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15 minutes ago, Christopher Marks said:

Did you also use an Inkbird brand controller?

I used a Digital Aquatics RKII, but an Inkbird should work well.  It's even theoretically possible to just use a light timer, as that heater doesn't raise temps very quickly.

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I think that Bettastik heater is the way to go, thanks @seabass! When I was searching for heater options earlier, I stumbled upon this interesting Hydor slim heater, it's notable because it's flat and meant to be buried in sand, the cord exits at a 90 degree angle. It might be too much of a hassle to burry in the fine reef sand bed, but the thought did cross my mind. It would look really tidy, that's for sure. I wonder if a future cleanup crew would excavate it over time?

hydor betta heater.png

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I considered those as well.  I can't remember exactly why I decided against it.  Maybe it was that I wanted the cord to go through the jar and not over the lip. :unsure:  Remember, I drilled mine.

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On 12/20/2018 at 6:30 PM, Christopher Marks said:

The tank is crystal clear after that glass scrubbing, it's really looking great today! I'm using an airline tubing suction cup to hold the line and stone in position near the sand at the bottom of the jar, it makes for a clean look and I can clearly see that it has improved circulation throughout the jar, I feel confident in the 24 gph rate for the air pump. One variable I still haven't settled is where to keep the water line in the jar. It looks great filled nearly to the top, no light spills out, but the bubbler creates a fair amount of salt creep condensation on the light lens. I suspect it's also contributing to the daily temperature gains, I think at the next water change I'll try it lower to give more of an air gap between the waterline and the light. The cycle period is a good time to sort out all the details like this.

 

If I glue my aquascape together, I may start hunting for a better glass jar, if an example exists. The jar I picked out has surprisingly great clarity throughout most of it, but I've come to notice it begins to blur a little as you get closer to the top. I guess I won't try too hard to find one, but if I pass by a store and have time to check, why not? I only tried two stores originally, but it seemed clear there's a big variation jar to jar. Other than disturbing the sand bed, it shouldn't be much trouble. Maybe some day.

 

Photographing the reef jar is an interesting challenge, I look forward to improving. The way the glass magnifies everything as you move around it is really incredible in person, but difficult to capture in a photo. The optical effect can be used to our advantage when placing the airline, temperature probe, heater, and even the cords as they exit the jar: if I keep everything positioned on the right side near the edge of the TV, the glass distortion makes them all disappear when looking at the jar straight on, it's pretty neat!

 

I'm looking at @inkbird temperature controllers, I think this is the one I'm going to use for my pico reef: ITC-308S + 1.97'' Short Probe. I like this version because the temperature probe can be replaced in the future, or use a different design. Does anyone have any opinions on these controllers for their heaters? How have they been working out? I'd pair it with a really low wattage heater, something like this or this one perhaps. I'll have to search the pico container contest journals again and see what other heaters were used.

I use that Inkbird controller. Works well. I did get some rust on the probe after a period of time so I coated it with silicone and problem solved. It didn’t have any noticeable impact on the probes sensitivity either.

I used a Cobalt Neotherm 10w in my reefbowl. It’s a little larger than the 5w in your link but it worked well and still does after 2 years. 

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18 hours ago, seabass said:

For a heater, 7W is plenty.  I used something like this.  It is surprisingly small and seemed to work well with a controller.

 

I'm confident that an air line will give you good flow (and aeration).  However, like you noticed, lots of salt spray too.  I was contemplating a small pico pump, but knew that would sacrifice gas exchange. :unsure:

Though it’s a little noisier, I think taking the air stone off the air line would bring the salt spray down a bit

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Scape looks like shit, IMO. 

 

Some other odd points to take as you will.  

You started this website shortly after George Bush Sr. left the White House.

You started this tank shortly after his death. Coicidence? I’m not so sure....

Your dog only has 3 legs. Not sure if you noticed. 

 

Congrats, Fearless Leader! I honestly didn’t think this would ever happen.

 

I’d think 9 to 10 degree swings might be a bit extreme. I’d stick to the heater. You were worried about summer temps too. Don’t you run AC? If not, I feel sorry for your wife. You probably stink up the bedroom. Though I’ve never run a jar, I have used a bubbler for various cultures. I’ve found the pump runs quieter without an air stone, however, the bubbling is quieter with one. It was my opinion, using the air stone was the more tolerable of the two. 

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Thanks @RayWhisperer, I'm a bit surprised myself! ‚ėļÔłŹ

 

This morning I had a nice newbie moment when I turned on the lights and found the glass covered in copepods! A classic "what are these white bugs?" moment of my very own, it made me a little nostalgic for my first reef tank. I called @Food Court over to come see our newest reef guests. I was able to capture this neat clip of them moving around.

 

copepods.gif 

 

Here on day 18, I'm feeling pretty good about the reef jar project, despite my slacking on water changes already. The water temperatures are not peaking as high now that the water level is lower in the jar, it seems to only get to around 78.5¬įF max. I set the thermostat a little warmer at night, it's only getting down to 71 at night.¬†Despite that, I do have a heater on the way thanks to @seabass, and I'll order the Inkbird shortly and silicone the temp sensor.¬†I tested the salinity on my refractometer and it's still holding strong at 35ppt, around or 1.026. Not too shabby for 17¬†days of evaporation!

 

I'm going to give the reef jar at least another week or two to cycle and get established, and perhaps I'll try out my new test kits as well and see where things stand. We have some travel coming up next week, so I might as well be patient. Cleanup crew and our first coral will come next!

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Just now, RayWhisperer said:

NO! I will not tank sit for you!

But I can just carry it over to your place and plug it in, c'mon!

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After noticing all the copepods yesterday, we posted up ready to observe the pico reef when the light came on this morning. Lots more copepods visible, the first generation is getting larger and more distinct in shape. Just as we were getting bored with the copepod show, my eyes spotted a big amphipod emerging from the rocks! @Food Court was quite impressed.

 

amphipod swimming.gif

 

I am pleased with the life emerging from the Caribsea live sand and Real Reef Rock cultured rock, I honestly wasn't expecting it so soon. I think the only thing I miss seeing from actual ocean rock is all the little feather dusters. I'm pretty sure I also saw an arm of a sand sifter today too, or maybe a tiny bristle worm. This is my first time with man made cultured rock, it is nice not worrying about pests.

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3 hours ago, Christopher Marks said:

After noticing all the copepods yesterday, we posted up ready to observe the pico reef when the light came on this morning. Lots more copepods visible, the first generation is getting larger and more distinct in shape. Just as we were getting bored with the copepod show, my eyes spotted a big amphipod emerging from the rocks! @Food Court was quite impressed.

 

amphipod swimming.gif

 

I am pleased with the life emerging from the Caribsea live sand and Real Reef Rock cultured rock, I honestly wasn't expecting it so soon. I think the only thing I miss seeing from actual ocean rock¬†is all the little feather dusters. I'm pretty sure I also saw an arÔĽŅm of a sand sifter today too, or maybe a tiny bristle worm. This is my first time with man made cultured rock, it is nicÔĽŅe not worrying about pests.

Looking good I really love the magnification effect of the jar it makes everything pop so much better than my other tanks. Looking forward to seeing some coral action! 

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On 12/21/2018 at 12:35 AM, coopaloop said:

As much as I wanted to keep cords out of my jar, I had to add a heater too. Out of those two I would say the cobalt one. Another one to check out that a lot of jars use and I was recommended is the Archaea 25W slim heater, which has an adjustable controller on it as well. 

 

I always thought the original glass lid for these jars was an eyesore. Good looksūüĎćūüŹľ

I recommend that heater all the time lol. It's great! Only thing I'd change is the cord is a bit shorter than I like. 

 

On 12/30/2018 at 9:07 PM, Christopher Marks said:

After noticing all the copepods yesterday, we posted up ready to observe the pico reef when the light came on this morning. Lots more copepods visible, the first generation is getting larger and more distinct in shape. Just as we were getting bored with the copepod show, my eyes spotted a big amphipod emerging from the rocks! @Food Court was quite impressed.

 

amphipod swimming.gif

 

I am pleased with the life emerging from the Caribsea live sand and Real Reef Rock cultured rock, I honestly wasn't expecting it so soon. I think the only thing I miss seeing from actual ocean rock is all the little feather dusters. I'm pretty sure I also saw an arm of a sand sifter today too, or maybe a tiny bristle worm. This is my first time with man made cultured rock, it is nice not worrying about pests.

I spotted an amphipod in the IM14 the other day that was, no joke, about 3/4" long! My eyes were like :eek:!

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@ReefSmart, I sent you a message on your website.  I've wanted to change my office 3.7 Petco Imagatarium from a freshwater to saltwater.  I was super concerned about the light-bleed throughout the office, but I think your lights would definitely help with that. 

 

I'm excited to follow this thread.  It's about time CM got around to setting another tank up. 

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Day 22, I'm preparing for the first water change today before I go out of town for a few days, I'll be using the same stored saltwater from the LFS that the tank was started up with, I should have about a half gallon left over just in case.¬†I'm planning to stir up the sand a little and wipe the glass before removing the water.¬†I'll test the water parameters for curiosity sake beforehand, though¬†I haven't been too concerned during this slow cycle period. The last two days the salt creep has¬†built up enough to cause some regular drips of water down the sides of the jar, enough to pool up a little moisture on the stand. I am testing the boundaries a little bit here in the beginning, if only to see what the limits of the jar are in case it needs to go a little¬†over a week without attention during travel. Cleaning salt creep from the lid will now become part of my weekly routine I think, but now I know it can go a solid 2 weeks without incident ūüėĄ. I should try the airline with the air stone too, just to see how it behaves. I wish I could get the little air line suction cups to hold more than a week, maybe I need a nicer one. @seabass¬†kindly sent me his spare 7.5w Bettastik heater, I'm going to wait until I'm back home before I set it up, just so I can keep an eye on the temperatures at first. In the meantime though, it's being used to heat up the new saltwater,¬†somehow it's 66.5¬į cold after sitting in the cabinet below. So much for my room temperature water change dreams ūüėĚ.

 

Now let's see if I can start a siphon without a mouthful of saltwater... it has been awhile!

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I think its good you are really testing this jar. Especially so you can feel a little more at ease when you do leave for periods of time. 

 

 Also too,maybe track your evap rate,and see how consistant it is and get to the point where you can set a aqualifter on a time or doser on a schedule to fill it every few days,although that still seems sketchy.  But I'm pretty cautious but I would try it after I tested it on something for awhile. 

 

 Did you ever thing about maybe placing a neo mat or decorative tray under it so it doesn't ruin your entertainment centre ? 

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42 minutes ago, Reefkid88 said:

I think its good you are really testing this jar. Especially so you can feel a little more at ease when you do leave for periods of time.

Definitely, I'm already feeling confident in the slow evaporation rate with the lid after two weeks.¬†I don't think I'll need to top off between water changes, just compensate a little during the change. I'm hoping to avoid needing any automated ATO, less moving parts to worry about. Someone please quote¬†this with a haha.gif¬†if I end up buying an ATO in the future ūüėĄ.

42 minutes ago, Reefkid88 said:

Did you ever thing about maybe placing a neo mat or decorative tray under it so it doesn't ruin your entertainment centre ?¬†ÔĽŅ

That's a good idea, I honestly hadn't considered it, but with the occasional drips of water from the lid it's definitely something on my list now. The bottom curve of the jar wicks moisture for awhile before it dribbles away towards the center of the cabinet top. There are no electronics in any of the cabinets at least, other than what powers the jar itself. Better safe than sorry though!

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Looking great Chris so happy to watch and see what you do with it. 

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Thanks @Lawnman!¬†ūüėä

 

The first water change went smoothly enough, I can see how I could get a good routine in place over time, definitely some room to improve. I put an old 75w Eheim heater to work in the new saltwater container, it quickly got the water change water up to temperature. I wiped the glass and then used a pipette to blast the rocks and sand before removing about 90% of the water. I'll need to get some new tubing suitable for siphoning out water, I ended up using a small cup to remove water this time.

 

Before the water change I tested the water, the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates were all zero. Maybe, possibly a little nitrates, but it sure looked like zero. Salinity tested at 1.027 after 3 weeks without top-off, definitely high but not too bad considering. After the water change I added about 100ml of freshwater to bring the salinity down to 1.024, the new saltwater is at 1.025. I already spotted an amphipod scurrying around, and the copepods are back out on the glass after the change.

 

I decided to remove the air stone while the tank was empty so I can test out the air line without anything attached. It's creating large rapid bubbles that seem to agitate the water surface more, circulation looks to be a little more intense too. It definitely makes a different sound this way, more of a putter-putter-putter rapid-fire sound. There's no more fine bubbles misting at the water surface either, this will clearly cut down on salt creep like everyone has said, I suspect I'll keep this configuration. I mounted the airline in a straight line downwards using two clear air line tubing suction cups, it looks pretty tidy!

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Would the airline tubing into an acrylic drinking straw eliminate the need for suction cups?  You could use a little rock on the bottom as a weight.

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6 hours ago, Wingy said:

Would the airline tubing into an acrylic drinking straw eliminate the need for suction cups?  You could use a little rock on the bottom as a weight.

I have considered it, although I think I’d still need at least one suction cup to keep it up against the side of the jar, since the airline has to curve around the neck of the jar. Acrylic would probably hold in place better long term too, the airline was a bit fiddly when I remove the lid, but the second suction cup seems to be helping.

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I think you need a pistol shrimp for this when you get that far. I actually just setup my jar from the contest again last month. I am using a Kessil A80 for a light and put it in a window. That way I get natural light most of the time and a little bit of blue at night.

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1 hour ago, Boggers said:

I think you need a pistol shrimp for this when you get that far. I actually just setup my jar from the contest again last month. I am using a Kessil A80 for a light and put it in a window. That way I get natural light most of the time and a little bit of blue at night.

I'm strongly considering taking down my Fusion 10 (in the bedroom) and going full-pico with this jar+light combo.  I think a fancy goby and pistol would be terrific inhabitants too. 

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That's awesome @Boggers, I'm glad you set yours up again! A pistol shrimp would be pretty cool, I should learn more about their needs.

 

Join the pico jar club @TatorTaco! You should go to the store and take a look at a jar in person and see how you feel about it.

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