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Christopher Marks

2 Gallon Pico Reef Jar - Snail Kingdom 🐌

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seabass

Chris, have you considered dosing phytoplankton a few hours before a water change?  The zoas (and other softies) might get some direct benefit, and it should help the pod populations.

 

Although, a potential gotcha can be that big amphipods can irritate zoas (I wonder if that is happening to your).  Pods were never an issue in my jar, but I didn't have any large amphipods in it.

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Christopher Marks
13 hours ago, MRL said:

Too bad every time I try looking ar reefsmart.com, I get error say the site doesn't exist 

9 hours ago, gregpxc said:

I'm seeing this too. Maybe the site is down for maintenance and they didn't build out a 404 page? Either way, I'm very interested in these lights and this whole idea. A single shrimp reef sounds lovely for my desk.

I'll get in touch with @ReefSmart and let them know their website is down!

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Friendly
12 minutes ago, Christopher Marks said:

I'll get in touch with @ReefSmart and let them know their website is down!

they're setting up a new domain host and have run into some technical glitches. I PM'd them and that's what they replied with.  🙂 

 

 

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Christopher Marks
7 hours ago, seabass said:

Chris, have you considered dosing phytoplankton a few hours before a water change?  The zoas (and other softies) might get some direct benefit, and it should help the pod populations.

 

Although, a potential gotcha can be that big amphipods can irritate zoas (I wonder if that is happening to your).  Pods were never an issue in my jar, but I didn't have any large amphipods in it.

I have considered it, but at the moment I'm enjoying the ease of feeding Coral Frenzy powder, which I believe can contribute to really small filter feeders as well, they say the particle size is 53 to 1700 microns. I haven't tried spot feeding the zoanthids or ricordea quite like the LPS coral yet, but I will before tomorrow's water change.

 

I'll have to keep an eye on the big amphipods, I haven't found them anywhere near the zoanthids in my observations, but they do crawl all over the rocks. I imagine the corals manage to eat some of them, but wow they're multiplying fast with few predators.

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seabass

You're probably right; I think most pods will consume Coral Frenzy, so phyto could be redundant.

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gregpxc
12 hours ago, Friendly said:

they're setting up a new domain host and have run into some technical glitches. I PM'd them and that's what they replied with.  🙂 

 

 

For anyone subbed the site is back up and looking good!

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TheRope
18 hours ago, Christopher Marks said:

I have considered it, but at the moment I'm enjoying the ease of feeding Coral Frenzy powder, which I believe can contribute to really small filter feeders as well, they say the particle size is 53 to 1700 microns. I haven't tried spot feeding the zoanthids or ricordea quite like the LPS coral yet, but I will before tomorrow's water change.

 

I'll have to keep an eye on the big amphipods, I haven't found them anywhere near the zoanthids in my observations, but they do crawl all over the rocks. I imagine the corals manage to eat some of them, but wow they're multiplying fast with few predators.

I have the samw thing going on, absolutely huge amphipods moving about in broad daylight, they even chase eachother around kind of like happy street rats 😂 but no even the largest amphipods have never touched my zoas or palys, infact they have been living and breeding beneath the polyp canopies! Ill have to take some macros for you soon. 

 

18 hours ago, seabass said:

You're probably right; I think most pods will consume Coral Frenzy, so phyto could be redundant.

Things like feather dusters tend to rely on phyto more than others but usually reef roids/ coral frenzy does super well for filterfeeding corals and other critters

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Christopher Marks
5 hours ago, TheRope said:

I have the samw thing going on, absolutely huge amphipods moving about in broad daylight, they even chase eachother around kind of like happy street rats 😂 but no even the largest amphipods have never touched my zoas or palys, infact they have been living and breeding beneath the polyp canopies! Ill have to take some macros for you soon. 

Haha that’s a good way to describe them! They seem rather playful, chasing each other in and out of their burrows. The largest ones must be at least 1/4” long now, they swim around the most! Glad to hear they haven’t bothered anything in your reef bowl either.

 

I am considering trying an even more powerful air pump to increase circulation. The current setup provides visible flow, but I can’t help but be curious if a little more would help. 🤔

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WV Reefer
4 minutes ago, Christopher Marks said:

Haha that’s a good way to describe them! They seem rather playful, chasing each other in and out of their burrows. The largest ones must be at least 1/4” long now, they swim around the most! Glad to hear they haven’t bothered anything in your reef bowl either.

 

I am considering trying an even more powerful air pump to increase circulation. The current setup provides visible flow, but I can’t help but be curious if a little more would help. 🤔

I have some so big that the Scooter won’t even touch them! Maybe it’s because you can see their little faces. 😂

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Friendly
18 minutes ago, Christopher Marks said:

I am considering trying an even more powerful air pump to increase circulation. The current setup provides visible flow, but I can’t help but be curious if a little more would help. 🤔

Chris, are there any 'small' pico pumps that can run outside a tank that would give you the circulation you need? or mebe put a small pump into a bucket of water and use that as a heatsink while you have a line in/out from the jar?

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Christopher Marks

That's an interesting idea, I like the external heat sink concept. For simplicity sake though, upgrading the air pump should be trivial, it's currently only running a tiny one at 24 gallons per hour. It's the same air pump that Reef Smart has found success with in his reef jar, so I know it's well proven, but a larger pump is a small investment, I think it's worth experimenting with to find out. Mainly I'm curious to see if the zoanthids respond to more flow.

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JR!

what a great build chris

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ReefSmart
On 2/5/2019 at 11:14 AM, Friendly said:

Chris, are there any 'small' pico pumps that can run outside a tank that would give you the circulation you need? or mebe put a small pump into a bucket of water and use that as a heatsink while you have a line in/out from the jar?

That is a very good idea! And it would be hardly noticeable with 2 small tubes. 

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Friendly
3 minutes ago, ReefSmart said:

That is a very good idea! And it would be hardly noticeable with 2 small tubes. 

yup, 2 lines...almost the same as the what's needed for the airstone.

 

and further to the idea of bending an acrylic pipe/tube to the shape you need, what I had in my head is stuff like those ADA parts made out of glass.

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Christopher Marks

Update time! omgomgomg

 

APC_0347.jpg

 

The pico reef jar has been doing really well the past few weeks without needing much intervention from me, just as planned! I was out of town for a full week and didn't worry about the tank at all, I just did a water change the day before I left and it did just fine without much evaporation.

 

I decided to change a few variables on the tank last week, and so far they seem to be going well:

  • The first change is that I decided to reduce the intensity of the lights for at least one week, mostly to see how the zoanthids would respond, if I could get them to be 100% fully open all day. By my guess both channels of light are now running at around 75% brightness. My other reason for reducing the lights is because the little orange and purple ricordea nearly bleached out while I was out of town, after doing well for the first few weeks. During the last water change it moved in the sand bed some and must have ended up directly aligned with one of the LED diodes, I have since moved it under the shade of a rock to recover. The turquoise ricordea on the other hand was moved out from under that same shade and has been doing great in the light. 🤷‍♂️
  • The second variable change is temperature. Since the LED lights are not set to full power, they haven't been warming up the tank as much. I decided to set the Inkbird controller to 79°F instead of 78°, which now keeps the tank in the range of 78-79 all day and night, instead of one degree cooler. It's a small change, but I think it will help. I'll have to keep adjusting the temp range as summer nears and the house warms up.
  • The third change was connecting a second 8 gallon per hour air pump in-line with the 24 gph one that I've been using, just a little boost to the circulation in the tank. It's hard to quantify the difference, but increasing circulation felt like a good thing. I have this little ultrasonic 8 gph air pump sitting around for circulating water change water while it's heating, this helped me prove I could increase the flow in the tank without disturbing anything. Next I may try a larger adjustable air pump and keep pushing the boundaries.

Our first coral the acanthastrea continues to impress! I'm counting 6 new heads that have grown since it was added to the tank, it's so cool to watch them form and grow!

 

APC_0360.jpg

 

You can see the happy turquoise ricordea with the poor bleached orange one behind it. I foolishly waited a few days to move it into shade, it's going to take some time to recover.

 

APC_0358.jpg

 

The zoanthids have been showing an incredible amount of growth, despite not always being wide open. The intensity of the light is probably why! The colony in the front started with 2 polyps and has grown 6 new ones, 6 of the same zoanthids were placed on the left side as well and have grown 7 new polyps. I need to add more varieties soon before these take off!

 

APC_0363.jpg

 

Last week I bought this set of 15" long tweezers to help me with tank maintenance and coral placement, I should have gotten these sooner. The reef jar is only around 10" deep so I can use the tweezers without putting my hands in the tank. They have already come in handy, I definitely recommend these for any pico owner.

 

417E2WoyS+L.jpg

That's the latest! I have the itch to add more coral frags, hopefully I can make it out to a LFS soon. Another acan frag and more zoanthids are what I'm after next.

 

APC_0350.jpg

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Tigahboy

❤️ that green acan!  Huge fan of those tweezers as well. 

 

Glad to see this pico doing so well.  

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Frag Factory

I'd like to second the Acan comment, that's a great looking coral!

 

Glad things are going well!

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Christopher Marks

Thanks @Tigahboy & @Frag Factory, the acan has definitely been a satisfying first coral to own. It's one of the more interesting ones to observe too, between the new mouths forming and the original bandsaw fragged edges growing back with symmetry, it's so cool! I'd like to introduce at least two more acan color variants that compliment this green one, I'll definitely seek out smaller frags now that I see how quickly they can grow.

 

Slow and steady with this tank! I like going slow because I know it won't take much to fill this jar. I still need to order some snails from Reef Cleaners for my cleanup crew, the weather is warming up again now, maybe in the coming week. Despite the lack of snails, there's little algae to speak of, just a light film that slowly grows on the glass, it's easy to wipe quick with the Nimble Super magnet cleaner every 5 days or so.

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Coinee

Your tank needs a small rock island of GSP 😉

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Christopher Marks
57 minutes ago, Coinee said:

Your tank needs a small rock island of GSP 😉

I will admit I am a sucker for green star polyps, but I’m not excited by the likelihood of frequent pruning! They’re just too prolific for this little jar. The same goes for pulsing xenia too, haha! 

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Coinee
1 hour ago, Christopher Marks said:

I will admit I am a sucker for green star polyps, but I’m not excited by the likelihood of frequent pruning! They’re just too prolific for this little jar. The same goes for pulsing xenia too, haha! 

I just keep mine on a small plug island and they haven't left it, so mine are behaving.

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Christopher Marks

I've been thinking more about what kind of crab or shrimp I want to feature in the reef jar. I really like the idea of a pom pom crab, but I need to research them further, I want to be sure they can handle some potential temperature swings.

 

A porcelain anemone crab has also caught my eye, they seem pretty peaceful in a mixed reef setting. More research to be done, but maybe someone can share their experiences with either crab in a small reef tank.

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Coinee
10 minutes ago, Christopher Marks said:

I've been thinking more about what kind of crab or shrimp I want to feature in the reef jar. I really like the idea of a pom pom crab, but I need to research them further, I want to be sure they can handle some potential temperature swings.

 

A porcelain anemone crab has also caught my eye, they seem pretty peaceful in a mixed reef setting. More research to be done, but maybe someone can share their experiences with either crab in a small reef tank.

I was thinking about putting one of the pom pom crabs in my new pico tank. The research I've done says they can handle between 72-80F, but I can't really find anyone who has temperature swings. My temp swing is about 74 to 79F in my jar. If you find out for sure, I'd be interested in knowing. 

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East1
On 2/27/2019 at 3:08 AM, Christopher Marks said:

I will admit I am a sucker for green star polyps, but I’m not excited by the likelihood of frequent pruning! They’re just too prolific for this little jar. The same goes for pulsing xenia too, haha! 

For corals like this it's useful to build alittle clump of reef glued like a moat around the coral, as it spreads you can break off and replace chunks of rock to avoid lengthy pruning (also free frags)

I used to use this when keeping corals close together that would overrun each other. 

 

As a side note, if you're keeping lots of LPS and zoanthids, you could experiment with dosing Vitamin C and creatine monohydrate, I've seen increase in growth when using both of these (particulary Zoas with vit c. and LPS anecdotally with creatine, also sea sponges seem to go wild for the stuff) 

 

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Wonderboy

The porcelain anemone crab in my pico jar is particularly fun to spot feed reef roids to (once or twice weekly) - the small area makes it easy to find - I would recommend for the interaction. I also have a feeling that you could easily get away with both a pom pom and a porcelain.

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