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Christopher Marks

Pico Reef Contest Ideas 🤔💭💡

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Hi Everyone! The community is long overdue for another tank building contest, I've been giving the potential parameters a lot of thought, and I wanted to open a new discussion on the idea to get more input. Our last contest was the Creative Container Pico Contest, for those of you who missed it, the basic idea was to start a reef tank that was 3 gallons or smaller, in a container that was not originally meant to be an aquarium. We set some rules for the lighting, circulation, livestock budget, and modifications that would be allowed.

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We'll need to decide on the basic parameters and rules for our next contest, here's the foundation that I'm proposing:

 

  • Contest Duration: 6 months
  • Contest Tank: 2.5 gallon standard glass tank, approximately 12" x 6" x 8" in size. Aqueon, Perfecto, All-Glass, Top-Fin, and similar brands. Average LFS price under $20.
  • Allowed Equipment: 1x hang on back filter of any design (volume not to exceed 0.5gal), 1x circulation pump, 1x air pump, 1x heater (plus temp controller), 1x lid/screen/cover, 1x auto top off device, 1x digital controller. All Equipment Listed Is Optional
  • Allowed Lighting: ??? I think we should leave this open to anything, discuss below!

 

The idea is to keep the contest approachable for everyone and use equipment that many hobbyists may already have on hand from other projects.

 

Other variables to discuss and decide on:

  • Do we only allow hang on back filters, or any kind of external filter (sump or canister)? We might want to 'level the playing field' somewhat, but I know some people like to get creative with their builds.
  • Do we track or restrict expenditures on livestock additions? This one is pretty difficult to manage.
  • What will be our requirements for staying in the contest? Monthly photo updates? What will be our grace period for missing a month?

 

I think that covers the basics, offer your thoughts below!

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Just thinking out loud here... and it will hinge on trust of long time users. 

 

 

Spouse tanks.  No help from nanoreef users.  Spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend of nano reef users try to keep the most appealing and healthy tank off of the information they actually listened to in the past.  No help in maintenance or upkeep is allowed.  

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Only reasonable lighting for such a small tank is led, cheapo par bulbs would be good unless there’s some ther cheap alternative.

Sumps would be overkill imo, canister filters are uncommon anyways but when used with lily pipes look really good. Most sumps/canister setups wouldn’t offer much of a technical advantage over  hob filters, but may offer an aesthetic advantage. 

For livestock I don’t think price is a fair way to restrict buying, but limiting the number of species/varieties of coral could be done. Might make the tanks more homogeneous though. 

To stay in the contest photo updates would be good, easy way to track a tank’s growth as well. Exceptions could be made for emergencies, travel, etc

Keeping things open ended May cause a less even playing field, but would lead to more interesting setups imo

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People can spend crazy money on frags and still have a crappy looking tank.  I dont think coral should have a price limit,(or species limit) but maybe equipment should.

Let's say the average cost of 2 cheap pumps, a return pump,powerhead, or any combination of the two, a cheap light fixture, and a decent heater and cap it off there.  I know I for one have enough equipment laying around for 3 of these tanks probably.  

 

 

The real question is if any of it still works.

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Some good points made!

 

I think we can level the playing field with equipment, to some extent, if we only allow a hang on back filter to be used for 'external' filtration. That still leaves a wide range of customization options, vs requiring a specific model like an Aquaclear. Plus we can also offer the option of 1 pump, 1 air pump, 1 heater, all of which would be completely optional. Some people might want to run completely filter free too.

 

The 2.5 gallon tank is of course the other great equalizer! I think it will be neat to see how different hobbyists approach the same basic tank.

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1 hour ago, patback said:

Just thinking out loud here... and it will hinge on trust of long time users. 

 

 

Spouse tanks.  No help from nanoreef users.  Spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend of nano reef users try to keep the most appealing and healthy tank off of the information they actually listened to in the past.  No help in maintenance or upkeep is allowed.  

I can see the divorce filings already :lol:

 

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10 minutes ago, Christopher Marks said:

Some good points made!

 

I think we can level the playing field with equipment, to some extent, if we only allow a hang on back filter to be used for 'external' filtration. That still leaves a wide range of customization options, vs requiring a specific model like an Aquaclear. Plus we can also offer the option of 1 pump, 1 air pump, 1 heater, all of which would be completely optional. Some people might want to run completely filter free too.

 

The 2.5 gallon tank is of course the other great equalizer! I think it will be neat to see how different hobbyists approach the same basic tank.

Tank 2.5g aqueon or equivalent

Filter: Aquaclear 20 / 30 / 50 only

Powerhead : hydor nano

Heater: any

Lighting: any 

Ato: any

Livestock : free for all 

 

Just because you have cash to spend on stocking doesn't mean you can grow it . 

 

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1 hour ago, patback said:

Just thinking out loud here... and it will hinge on trust of long time users. 

 

 

Spouse tanks.  No help from nanoreef users.  Spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend of nano reef users try to keep the most appealing and healthy tank off of the information they actually listened to in the past.  No help in maintenance or upkeep is allowed.  

Well I'm no long term user but this would be awesome/funny and get the wife into reefing 

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The picotope should be brought back for this and participants be required to use it as it comes

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3 minutes ago, Weikel said:

Well I'm no long term user but this would be awesome/funny and get the wife into reefing 

You're around long enough that I'm sure the mrs has glazed her eyes over while you went over the importance of the relation of alkalinity calcium and magnesium. 

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2 minutes ago, patback said:

You're around long enough that I'm sure the mrs has glazed her eyes over while you went over the importance of the relation of alkalinity calcium and magnesium. 

Well I got included in a group msg at work today.. my best buddy, his wife, and me.. they were babbling and I had just finished my invoicing and was checking out my new "fish cam"... and this was their responses lol

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1 hour ago, jbb_00 said:

Tank 2.5g aqueon or equivalent

Filter: Aquaclear 20 / 30 / 50 only

Powerhead : hydor nano

Heater: any

Lighting: any 

Ato: any

Livestock : free for all 

 

Just because you have cash to spend on stocking doesn't mean you can grow it . 

 

Too specific imo...

 

Personally I think equipment should be kept more open within reason to encourage more people to join. Open to most any hob or canister for example and any powerhead. People have hoards of stuff they can probably use. 

 

Give em a reason to dig through the fish closet and declare to their spouses THIS is why I never threw my 15yr old hob away! I showed you!

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5 minutes ago, Tamberav said:

People have hoards of stuff they can probably use. 

 

Give em a reason to dig through the fish closet and declare to their spouses THIS is why I never threw my 15yr old hob away! I showed you!

 

This sounds more like a confession 

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4 minutes ago, jbb_00 said:

 

This sounds more like a confession 

Haha 😉 For sure but I damn well know fish people are hoarders of fish items.

 

Pat did just say he could make 3 of em!

 

 

I tossed my 2.5g when I moved and look what happened! Now I need it 😄

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I just dropped off my 5 gallon. And the princess could care less. I have a nanobox tide laying around. But think its excessive.

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I'm curious about it, but I don't think I can find a tank with those exact same dimensions here (not unless I custom-order one through my LFS, which would be very expensive). 

 

Otherwise, it does sound like a good idea for a comp., although maybe be a little bit more flexible over the type of equipment used too....? 🙂

 

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My wife would let the tank inhabitants wither away and die. I wish she had an interest in reef keeping, but it's not Real Housewives of Abu Dhabi or the other drivel she watches.

 

I'd be down for a 2.5G contest though.

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I think allowing any pico tank between as an example 1-4g would allow more ppl who may have tanks lying around to get involved.

 

Any hob, internal filter, light, and heater

 

Photos and updated journals are required monthly as an update with a restricted time limit to post them. 

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Ya I wouldn't mind more options on tanks if it got more people able to join. Some people are outside the USA and can't get these tanks and even though they probably can't win a prize due to shipping problems (if there is prizes even) they might like to throw their hat in the ring for fun 😉 bragging rights matter ykno...

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I threw this out on another thread.  I'm not married to it, but thought I'd share it again just as another potential option.  I was thinking about fish bowls.  You know, goldfish and betta bowls.

 

They weren't allowed in the last contest, they are relatively inexpensive, and there are several to choose from in various shapes and sizes.  I think it be great to see a bunch of reefs in something so unexpected.  We could either standardize on one specific bowl, or just leave it open.

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The tank size is fine, it doesn't have to be exact.

I could care less about your spouses.

Part of me wants to see H.O.B. only filters, no canisters.

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Based on the last contest many of the participants didn’t end up running their tanks as designed long term.  I feel with all the effort the parameters should be very open to allow each person to build a tank that works for them.  I for one will be more inclined to join if I can drill the tank to put in bulkheads to run a canister filter on a 2.5g.  I want to try a canister in SW as it’s not the norm.  If I couldn’t drill I would likely just do 100% WC and powerheads.  I think it’s agreeable that HOB, Canister, WC only, Sumped(2.5g matching sump maximum for comp) all will work and won’t offer unfair advantage as each has their own hurdles.  Lighting limitations last comp were the biggest deficit on my tank so I would like to see 100% openness on this.  Metal halides anyone?  Livestock should be unlimited, again I would like to see more longterm tanks and limited livestock won’t be conducive to this goal.  People should also be able to make a false wall of acrylic and make a AIO too, or in my case make a surface skimmer to sit around the submerged intake on the canister.  I want to see creative builds on a bland 2.5 and see who’s reef mastery can make it the best, I wouldn’t even care if someone plumbed it to a much larger system, I just want to see how beautiful of a 2.5g display one can create.

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