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Sundevil_B

Desktop Pico Portrait 5gal

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Getting back into saltwater after 10+ year break. Been keeping busy with planted tanks since then.

 

My wife finally caved and agreed to letting me have another tank and she even bought it for me for christmas this year! She got me the Marineland portrait 5 gallon. It seems like it will be a little difficult to get a nice scape as compared to the Spec tanks but I wasn't going to turn down the tank.

 

The Plan: I am going to keep mostly soft corals (zoas and mushrooms/ricordea) with maybe a LPS or SPS. Haven't decided on what yet but I like trumpet corals and hammers for LPS and I'm thinking a pink birdsnest for SPS if I get that far. I am also going to try running a bare bottom on this setup as well.

Part of the plan is modding the tank as necessary which I think is a big part of the fun with this or similar tanks. Along those lines I've already upgraded the pump, added a diy LED light and cut some travertine tiles for the not-so-bare looking bottom to help protect the glass from the rocks. I really like the tiled bottom more than I was imagining it would look with bare bottom. 

 

Equipment

Tank: Marineland Portrait 5gallon

Upgraded Pump: Aqueon quiteflow 600 (seemed to be the same as MJ606 but was actually orderable and half the price)

Heater: Hydor 25W

Temp: Glass hydrometer from petco

Light: Proof of concept Diy led 2x Royal blue 1xCool White. 15W peak during middle of photo period.

Salt: Fritz RPM

 

Stock

1x bumpy mushroom brown/green tips (hitchhiker)

5x disk mushroom purple body w blue streaks (hitchhiker)

2x aiptasia (on the eradicate list)

1 frag of a mint green zoa I picked up for cheap at LFS

 

Updates so far

Tank was setup on Dec 31st with dry rock, two pieces that were definitely too big for the tank. Added a frozen shrimp a couple days later to kick start cycle. While that was cooking I got the pump and added it to the tank. The original pump was fine for water flow through the filter area but wasn't going to be enough flow for the tank. The quiteflow pump sure fixed that. I doubt i'll need another pump in there. I think the bare bottom might also be helping with the flow but don't quote me on that. I then realized I was probably missing the important bacteria to kick start to the cycle and headed to the LFS after about a week to get a small piece of live rock. The small piece I picked out ended up having quite a bit of life on it already. Didn't see them in the store but it had sever different mushroom coral on it. There was also a small hitchhiking snail but I haven't seen him in a while. Took out the shrimp shortly after getting the live rock as I figured for such a small tank it had probably released enough organic matter plus any die off I'd get with the live rock. 

Since I now had coral I wasn't expecting yet I  accelerated my plans for a DIY light. I had Daylight Cree's lying around from a project I never completed for a freshwater tank and got some royal blues in the mail. I set it up with 2xRB and 1xCW in series on the same ldd driver. Controlled the whole thing with an arduino so it kicks on low for an hour in the morning, turns off while I'm at work and then 3hr ramp up to a full 15W for 2hrs and then 3hrs back down. The light is real thrown together as I just wanted something that worked right then. I'm already in planning for v2 which will use RGBW lights because I can't stand the disco effect that is made worse by the water drops that condense on the glass top. It will also be in a lot nicer enclosure. right now it's just a raw wood box thrown together.

 

Freshly set up with the stock light and tile bottom. Rocks were too big so you can see in the later pic I chiseled them down.

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Pic of the streaked mushroom a couple days after I first got it. They were pretty brown

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Setup pic from a couple of days ago.

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close up of the shrooms. They are a lot more purple now and the streaks are more blueish to greenish. You can see the shroom with the bubbles at the top in the middle of the rock. He is still pretty brown but the tips of the bubbles shine green under the royal blues. You can also see the mint green zoas at the bottom.

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Looks good! Interesting mushrooms - the stripes are in almost a star pattern. Looking forward to seeing what they look like once really settled in. 

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What's that coral on the left, between the live rock and dry rock?

 

Cool tank btw!  And nice DIY lights

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42 minutes ago, paulsz said:

What's that coral on the left, between the live rock and dry rock?

 

Cool tank btw!  And nice DIY lights

Thanks! That is a coral skeleton I found on the beach in South Padre Texas. Didn't identify what coral it was from though. Just put it in to give more texture/diversity to the tank while corals grow in. 

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Finally got some Calcium Hydroxide (kalkwasser). Checked most of the local Walmarts for "pickling lime" but they were out. Also checked the LFS but couldn't justify the price difference vs ordering online. I mixed up a slurry and hopefully eliminated all the aiptasia I could see. Unfortunately some of the lime landed on one of the starburst mushrooms (thanks @Newstead 😉) . I tried to get it off of it as soon as possible but it's still shriveled. Hopefully it'll pull through. 

 

I fed some flakes today just to make sure there were organics in the system. I noticed a decent amount of pods a week ago but less now so I'm just a little worried I'm starving them. Tried to target feed the starburst and the bubble shrooms. The starburst surprisingly grabbed the food and ate it! No feeding reaction from the bubble shroom. There was food on it for a good minute before the flow eventually carried it away. 

 

Ordered the RGBW leds but with Chinese new year I'm not expecting them for a while. When they get in I'll make my light 2.0. Still need to get some LDD drivers that are compatible but those show up within a couple of days. 

 

Also got a better pic of the bubble shroom. Haven't been able to get a picture to show off the green florescence on the tips under the blue lights. Under the blues it looks purple w/ green tips but it's still pretty brown under daylights. 

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Just start propagating and marketing the "Rare Sundevil Starburst mushrooms" as some coral suppliers do, and you will be rolling in coral money.

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So the biggest complaint about the portrait I have so far is the surface skimming... Or lack of any. There are 6 slits at the top that might be able to handle fresh water but there is constantly scum on the top of my tank. I've been able to clear it up by running an air stone overnight but don't have that automated yet. I think the oils and proteins are binding to the bubbles like a protein skimmer and then the bubbles are small enough to pass through the slits without getting caught by the surfaces tension. I got a small piece of acrylic and am going to try and build an auxiliary over flow so most of the water doesn't get sucked in bellow the surface. 

 

I am also living with cyano. It's not really taking over and mostly disappears overnight. Going to keep on water changes to see if the problem goes away. 

 

I also can't keep out of the fish store. Picked up a orange/yellow zoa,a pink pally frag, orange/blue yuma  as well as a stylo frag. That stylo will actually be the first SPS coral I've ever kept so we'll see how it goes. Not expecting much from it but wanted to dip my toes in the SPS world. 

 

Got an orange gel filter for my camera which helped with pictures not being washed out to blue. However I think my phone's camera has survived 1 too many drops and isn't the greatest at taking pics anymore. 

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Got an update on RGBW LED's. They should be in by Friday. Unfortunately I didn't check the status sooner so I probably won't have all the LDD drivers in by this weekend. However I'll be able to build up the emitter end. I'm getting in 5 conductor RGBW ribbon cable  in as well so that should make wiring easier (I think). 

 

I'll be doing a channel each for RGBW and then am tossing around the idea to do another channel with the Royal blue LEDs I have. I could run the RGBW's blue and white at 700ma and then for more blue run the royal blue string. The only problem with that is I'll end up getting the disco effect again I was hoping to avoid with by using RGBW leds. 

 

Right now I'm running 2 RB and 1 CW @ 1500ma full blast for 2 hours with a ramp up and down. So peak the tank is getting just under 15W. With 5x RGBW @ 700ma per color I could still get 15W if I want to keep 2/1 RB/CW or bump it up to 22 with 1/1 ratio. 

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Figured out how I'm going to solve the surface scum issue. I am just going to permanently run the airstone on a really low flow rate. It'll add a little more flow (marginal) and keep the surface clean. I can tuck it behind the rockwork and it really doesn't create too many micro bubbles.  Also since I am running with the lid I haven't noticed too many salt creep issues with it. 

 

Also a pic of a frag I picked up. Need to stay away from LFS....

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Put together my DIY RGBW led light. So now I can run almost any color I want. My kids had a fun time trying out all the different combos. Their favorite was bright pink which was basically running the blues and reds pretty high. The corals still fluoresce but all the rock work is a hot pink color. 

 

Will be running the lights somewhere around 1:1:51:25 (R:G:B:W) for the main part of the day and fading everything but blue at the end of the day. 

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One of the nice things with the new RGBW led is I can add red to the blues during the "actinic" portion of the light cycle.  Really highlights the red/orange algae that is growing on the tile bottom. I might even like that algae more than the purple coraline... Without the red, that algae just looks dark and shades of blue. Sorry for the dirty glass. need to get a scraper. 

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Time for an update. Spring is trying to fight its way into Texas. Has been in the 70s a couple of days (before it drops back to 50s again...) but the tank was getting a little too hot. It was getting up to 82-83 in the tank. I took the back cover off that goes over the filter compartment but that didn't seem to be enough. I am running a little fan on my DIY led light but the heatsink seemed to be up to the task so I put that over the back compartment. That seemed to do the trick as now the temps are generally around 79-80. I also made a little plastic cover to go over the first compartment where the overflow is so try and cut down on the salt spray.

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And here are some tank shots. Mushrooms are doing well. Recently discovered one of the starbursts ones also has iridescent blue spots! Zoas are trucking along, 1 new head for each kind so far. Birds nest is just kinda hanging out. I can't tell if it is growing but id doesn't appear to be dieing either....

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The stylophora is giving me mixed signals, It's growing another branch at the tip but the backside seems to be bleached out.  But that part is also getting shaded by it's new growth.

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The hammer also seems happy. This one seems to have really short tentacles though. Was hoping for more movement from it. There is also something growing on the base not sure what it is. In the picture it's the tan circle looking thing half way up the base on the right side. 

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Did a 2 gallon water change today and did some re-scaping. Was trying to get ca couple of the hitch-hiking mushrooms to the bottom of the tank. managed to break off the LR where I had the birds nest and knock the frag off the rock as well.

Here is the new FTS.

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Here are the ric and the green hitch-hiking shroom. Don't mind the glass, can't quite get my hand with the razor down to the bottom corners....

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And here is one of the starburst mushrooms, this is the one that had the tiny blue iridecent spots. It's in a lot better position for viewing now. before it was barely poking out from a rock ledge. These mushrooms are starting to really blend in with the rock. I could barley tell where they were when I had the liver rock out of the water.

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