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Wonderboy's UGFuge 2.5G Pico


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I increased the wattage yesterday: got a Coral Compulsion LED (14W). I changed the light mover fan to be on always when DT light is on - immediately noticed some corals hated it; I moved the xenia into "shade", moved one mushroom to lower light areas, and moved one to the 10G. Everything else may be okay - will be watching. Added some clove polyps, a little red mushroom and a couple zoas - plan to try birdsnest again soon; more flow first. All inverts and verts are well - posting a video shortly...

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Photo update on corals tolerances to light change - trying to decide if I should go with the original plan of two lower watt bulbs side by side. Lots of pros with both light setups... I could move the two-bulb setup back and forth a few inches, too... 


The hairy mushroom doesn't mind the new light - new addition, orange lepto I think will probably like it - the purple gorgonia is hopefully recovering from slowly withering:





The xenia still hates it in here, probably going to have to pull it out again:





Duncan's doing okay - rastas popped out a baby polyp finally:





Ricordea, brown gorg and zoas mounted at lower positions seem to be handling it well:





These shrooms seem to be okay with things so far - definitely still getting used to it though:





This slice of mushroom is handling it well (had taken a few days to acclimate this one to bright light in QT after cutting):





This blue one hates life right now - even after being moved into a shaded area... I will give it a couple days:





The paly pals look good - they pressed themselves against the rock and their skirts curled up tightly like zoas when first introduced to the light:




Green algae is still growing on the glass - the 3 trochus are keeping it from densing up so much that you can't see through it - still not enough to make me scrape - I might move another trochus from the 10G. The montipora frag that made it through the CFL era is hanging in there. I can see the green leptastrea that has been in here since forever inside the rock - can't get a picture still - but it is quite well and seems to be loving to the moving and new light - still not going to see it encrusting visible areas soon, but hopefully one day. I think the zoas towards the top of the rock will be fine over time most are mostly open and coloring up still. Went with 3 days fasting of frozen food after algae growth increased - kept up with pellets. Heavy feeding followed by large WC tomorrow (9 days since last).

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I moved the xenia to a shadey spot near the back, under the green mushroom, yesterday - hoping it makes it, maybe even to the back glass. It is already looking much better today. It is barely visible, but as it grows, I think this placement will be more interesting. The algae on the glass is still prominent, but I haven't added a snail, just been watching to see what a big WC will do with the new light. Still hard to get shots close to the glass in here, Twitch has no idea what a personal bubble is - he only knows of his own cuboid.











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It's not just Twitch; it's just difficult to get balanced shots in here at all because of the intense (or sometimes not even present lol) light:






I'm thinking that I will look for some type of light to keep nearby just for evenly lighting photos  :rolleyes:

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Quick updates!

  • The xenia seems to be pulling through - even with Mr. Sally's tendancy to frantically scurry over/through it when food hits the water.
  • Trying to reduce the algae on the front panel with a ruler blocking the light right now - still lingering, yet holding off on adding snail #4
  • I'm patiently constructing a set light that will occupy the ruler's position which should help keep snail #4 unnecessary and help light photos
  • The blue mushroom is content in its new spot - the teal one is getting pretty big... and I have a couple more I'm waiting to add
  • The puple gorgonia is missing flesh but hanging in there - still hoping the little thing makes it, but I may bring in another piece
  • Cyano overtook the bryopsis that was in the rearfuge (which already seemed like the munnids were eating it cause they were all over it all the time) and I'm noticing that as the cyano clears, the bryopsis (pretty positive that's what it was) gets wiped out - I can't see any more in there... none showed in the DT
  • Been fasting frozen frood since that last heavy feeding - continued with pellets daily - feeding frozen again at lights on today - then adjusting the routine to each day alternating pellets and prepared frozen (about just <1 cube).
  • It's friday, hope everyone's week went well - FTS and some more shots in the morning
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You can see the xenia doing better back there:













Sorry, the light is really intense - did my best with the DT light in one hand, phone in other haha










I'll scrape if it doesn't clear up soon.

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Dare I say the rearfuge seems to be clearing up a little?






This is the red algae growing right next to the outlet of the overflow:





I found some time today to add a couple more things to the rock in DT - I put a piece of thin styrofoam sheet on the pico lid over the mounting location to help acclimate them to the light.

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This light though:


Yes, we have no bananas.


Here's a look at that little stryo shipping sheet I'm using for this LED's acclimation mode:



If anyone wants to know, styrofoam shipping sheets seem to reduce light intensity to between 40 - 50%... took some measurements with the lux meter. I know, the things I do with some of my time...


The new corals are responding well so far; will be exposing them to more light and try for pics tomorrow.


Dun dun… dun dun…. dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnn!




Hope everyone's weekend has been nice!

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One day, I'll get some filters for better phone photos...


This was hard to photograph (bright light + algae); a chunk of acan sitting front-center-bottom of the rock:



Slice of Superman:



We'll see about this:



The glass is clearing, but reeeal slowwwly. Tomorrow, that 4th snail (trochus) will be starting its first day of work at this location, from 9 to 5.

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I'm going to go forward with the change to two bulbs over the DT - will probably try to move them back and forth slightly with the fan still. Making this modification for the duncan and to reduce algae. The fourth snail was huge compared to the others, but still not enough. So, I'm finally going to scrape the glass and remove the large snail when I make that light change. I have also been planning to take things apart so I can look for chaeto in the UGFuge again soon.


More notes:

  • the larger red mushroom jumped off the rock (too much light)
  • noticed the feather duster lost its crown somehow, but is growing another at the top of the rock
  • added some turf algae to the top of the mud cup and some other "pest" like algae to the top of the large-grade sediment cup in the rearfuge
  • cyano seems to have begun to subside back there - hoping to out-compete what's left with the additional algaes
  • the duncan has not wanted to open very much for the past few days
  • the montipora fragments have not shown polyps for a while now, they did not tolerate the increase in light when switching to the previous LED and have not recovered yet
  • Everything else seems to be tolerating the situation well, but I don't think it will be a good idea in the end trying to maintain these metabolic rates when this pico starts to fill in - so I'm looking forward to the light downgrade/upgrade, whatever you would call it   :]







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So, I was about to commit to two of these: 5 watt LEDs, but then I found this 10 watt COB LED right before I went through with those. Ended up going with the 10W COB because I feel it may be just the right wattage to keep the "LED distribution" rig as it is, that and less $ isn't bad. It's ordered, but it won't be here for a few weeks, so I put some plastic screen over the current bulb, the Coral Compulsion, to reduce intensity until then; that bulb will probably end up over a future setup - I know, it never ends... Also, I decided to toss the idea of DIYing a viewing/photo light because I thought that if there's going to be light anywhere for viewing, it should just as well be photosynthetic. So, I spent more than I saved from the LEDs on something that should meet that purpose and then some: this 12" T5 and a wee fixture for it just arrived in the mail today - I put it over the pico right where the ruler (that was shading the front panel) had been. It has taken me some time to figure out how to best light this little tank; I'm sure that there was a nice little unit I could have thrown over this, but that's just not how it went...  this run-on should sum up how things went instead: first I decided that running CFL would be sweet because it was old school cool, but it ended up being too dull and pretty unbalanced, so I "retrofit" some blue LED strips into the hood, then later more blue and also some pink, and after a little while found out that was still not enough, so I switched to 7 watt E26 led that I had available instead of all that, but I couldn't hang it high enough to get a nice spread, so I integrated it with the oscillating fan nearby so that it would move position constantly -quick note: rubberband tensioner cracking; replaced with spring-, after this the coral response to the light was good, but I didn't prefer the spectrum, I don't know, because I'm picky, so I switched to a 15 watt bulb thinking that the coral could handle it if it moved from side to side, but nope not so much, so I had decided to switch the bulb to something else, and now I'm here writing about that choice 😄   Enough nonsense, I didn't have any time to get close ups of anything, but here's a shot of the T5 lighting things up right before lights off tonight (LED is off - plan to turn that thing on for midday shifts until the COB arrives):




Sorry, I have not scraped the glass yet. Coral response to the T5 for <2 hours tonight was awesome. I have some small modifications that I need to do to the fixture to make sure it is out of the way of the LED but they should be simple. I am trying to be patient for what this will look like when both HO T5 and COB LED are running -and with fresh slate viewing panels- lol. One last thing, a few mushrooms and some zoas in here are out of place, and I have a few more polyps that I set aside for this thing; so, I will soon be putting the rock on the operation table again. The last few additions were added quickly by just holding the rock out of the water, but I have many things to correct/add this time around, so I will probably be setting up for that over the weekend. 



That was a lot of text and a quite a rough FTS. So, here's a shot of my paludarium to try and balance all that out  :]




Thanks for reading! Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

- The COB LED came in much earlier than expected but then did not turn on :[  Aaand it stuck out of the dome because of the lense and heatsink on it, and it almost touched the T5 fixture - it was ugly. So I moved the LED over my .25G jar to here (7W I think, but not sure - 3 blue, 2 white diodes).

- The "light mover" chewed through a section of the fishing line despite oiling the eyescrews (once), will try to oil the eyescrews for what line is still intact with some frequency; the broken line was replaced with a mechanical joint to eliminate line-contact at two points (the DIY shenanigans seem almost inevitable over here). If the line breaks again, I will upgrade it ..again.

- Figured a way to get the T5 into position and modified it's reflector to not impede the LED - photos of that rigged up below (the screen you can see in the shots was over the old bulb, the 15W, to reduce its intensity. I had thought that a COB would have been sweet to sneak the light past the T5, but I think instead I'm going to have to stick with a similar five diode LED bulb, like the current one, so that the light varieties from it are at least close to the center of the bulb - we'll see if I come across something useful.

- the system overheated (to 83F from normal 79, not too huge of an issue) a few days ago. The chiller's alarm was sounding, so I tried turning off the HOB, then the UGFuge, DT lights, nothing reduced the temp (over 30 mins each trial). I figured it out - I had put in too much SW on purpose after a WC the day before so that I could raise the salinty by .001 over a short period - so the last thing I tried was reducing the system's volume back to normal. Temperature began to decline; apparently the circumstantial volume of the this pico is the most that this peltier chiller can cool - amazingly, ironically, luckily. It has been keeping temps at 79F since with all equipment running as intended.

- Changed the food portions to ~2.5 mL frozen mysis and Rod's (original), Zoe, Zoecon, Reef Roids, tiny bit of garlic, phyto - every other day

- I added a few polyps from some recently aquired softies, and some birdsnest, and some more gorgonia, and a single head of merletti

- haven't scraped anything yet, but I am actually thinking that I will do that tomorrow and then take some close-ups.

- I changed the illumination times: DT = 10 hrs, UGFuge = full time, rearfuge = 14 hours [reverse cycle]

- The cyano had come back pretty hard in the reafuge, I'm assuming that's because of an assortment of changes.

- But then yesterday, I did a different style WC using strictly the rearfuge... the cyano was incidentally blasted to almost nothing.

- The introduced "pest" algae in the rearfuge is starting to take off - picture below - hopefully it gets a jump start before the cyano returns.

- WCs have been from 5 - 8 days apart. Still no alk or sufficient level of iodine in the RODI res - recently refilled it to verify the depletion rate.



Modification to "light mover" - totally normal contraption one would see in a walkway:


Initially, it produced just a little tiny squeak, but with some oil, it is completely silent 



What holes? I dunno what you're talking bout...


T5 fixture placement:








Night time shot - extra brightness, extra grainy:



Still going to check for some chaeto soon - Thanks for reading! 

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On 9/29/2019 at 8:58 PM, Wonderboy said:

- the system overheated (to 83F from normal 79, not too huge of an issue) a few days ago. The chiller's alarm was sounding, so I tried turning off the HOB, then the UGFuge, DT lights, nothing reduced the temp (over 30 mins each trial). I figured it out - I had put in too much SW on purpose after a WC the day before so that I could raise the salinty by .001 over a short period - so the last thing I tried was reducing the system's volume back to normal. Temperature began to decline; apparently the circumstantial volume of the this pico is the most that this peltier chiller can cool - amazingly, ironically, luckily. It has been keeping temps at 79F since with all equipment running as intended.

Nope. It did this again tonight - alarm sounding at 83.2F - the chiller says it's cooling but it's blowing cold air  :[   I think that the chiller has just been dying slowly these past few days. I unplugged the UGFuge light to prevent further overheating - noticed very recently that a few things have been really upset - probably at the 2 warmer-than-daytime nights... I'm probably going to pull out anything that looks stressed in the morning and move them to the 10G for recovery - a couple mushrooms now spend all of their time shrivelled throughout any daylight - pretty upset at this because each specimen that I had hoped to get in here was finally in here and had been doing quite well before these incidents. I'm not sure what the equipment plan for the sytem will be from here. I think that a temperature controller may have something to do with it...

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And super glad I waited for the morning <- sarcasm because I'm not at all. 😑   The pico was at 91F without the chiller and UGFuge leds running all night. It must have been the HOB. Response: stop RODI top-off, drain DT 80%+ into bucket (about 1.25G) exposing corals to air, add equal quantity 78F SW to the bucket (always have plenty premixed ready for use), leave coral exposed to air and fish/inverts in that ~15% volume while adding new SW to rearfuge so that new water is be slowly pumped into DT, wait for DT to reach half volume, remove the DT rock and corals, fish and inverts to the bucket, fill the DT back to 100% with new SW, match salinity of my 10G reef to the bucket, and then put the rock and corals into it's 'fuge. I recenty re-set up the only open QT and don't trust it yet, so I'm going to put the fishes and the inverts into my little frag tank. From what I can tell, there are no losses, so far. I'm pretty upset I didn't get to scrape the glass and take pics of everything before this because I think that I'm going to shut this thing down for a while to do some redesigning   :[  

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I am going to keep this running with just water, 'fuge lights and algaes (no DT lights, no chiller), and all suspect equipment of that heat. I am pretty sure I had the chiller unplugged because its alarm would have been going off, but that's not how I figured out it was warm, just checked as soon as I could with an infrared thermometer... so far, it's been running for the past 36+ hrs and temps are holding fine at 81 (even with the UGF LEDs running all the time...). In the other room, corals so far seem unscathed except for the xenia, that is very upset, but should make it - the crabs and snails all seem like they're behaving normal in coral QT - the sharknose is doing well - I noticed just recently that the damsel has a wound on his head (moved him to his own QT for assisted healing; my best guess is he darted and ran into something in the frag tank overnight). If I can figure out the source of the problem, I'm feeling that I should be able to get this running again soon. Here's a shot of the rock/corals in the 'fuge of the 10G:



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Sorry, I know the glass here may be harder to see through than the pico's was 😅





Also wanted to note that I was super reluctant to put this in here but decided it would be better than most options - I had done my best to keep dwarf ceriths, limpets, flatworms, and more out of the pico - and well now those will probably be an inevitable addition to the bio diversity of it.

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That may be a good solution if that's where the issue ends up being. I have been watching temperatures, and the pico has not really fluctuated very high since... the HOB is definitely the prime suspect because readings show 84 - 97F at the motor, but, still 79F in the chamber. I know that the two nights that the pico had reached over 83, and the chiller alarmed, that both measurements were accurate; I remember making sure to verify with the infrared thermometer because I was pretty much questioning the fact that it would even be doing that on "cooler" nights. When the pico went over 91F, that was just using the infrared thermometer - pretty sure the chiller was not on, therefore not taking a reading or responding - there is a tube thermometer in the rearfuge, but I didn't think to double verify with that, ever, until now, 79F... and recently I've been worried that the thermometer gave a false reading?? ....not sure about that though, I remember taking a reading of the surface temperature once during the process of cooling the tank from 91F and at that point it had read 86F. Trying to detective this as best as I can, but starting to feel like this is a job for Mystery Incorporated.

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Idk, sounds like the HOB has gone funky on you, 91 at the motor will heat up that volume of water in no time (not to mention how suspicious it is to match the *exact* max temp your water's hitting), there's no insulation/separation on those things at all. Especially the "less-expensive" ones, there's also no real way to check the temperature of the water right on the surface of the motor/impeller, but I'm going to venture a guess and say it's pretty close to where your tank's been heating to...

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Speaking of impeller, try giving that a good cleaning.  Peltier chillers do fail but  the module themselves are inexpensive to replace.  If you need something "right now" you can canibalise an electric cooler.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

The HOB had reached 100F at the motor, but the UGF LEDs also where at about 97 [under the tank]. I'm going to try replacing the UGF lights with something that sits a little further from the tank. I am also going to put some stryofoam sheet between the HOB and the DT like @Wingy suggested because that seems quite necessary as well. Will be moving the corals back in here when I can get a stable temp - may have to put in a heater somewhere, we'll see.

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