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Wonderboy's UGFuge 2.5G Pico


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This is replacing the DIY LEDs - I didn't want to spend more time modifying things, so went this route:




Also, I think I will may be able to put the coral back in here very soon and run the system with the chiller 'off'. I am going to order and install another chiller but will wait until after winter.

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Things have been sitting in the same state for a few days now; been basting the rearfuge a few times a day and running the light sporatically to keep things on standby. Interestingly, the cyano has cleared up. I really haven't put things together yet because I have been wanting to get a shot of the chaeto in the UGF but have been busy with some other stuffs. I finally got around to taking a picture of the chaeto. I tried looking underneath the tank, but, still, the detritus and film algae prevented decent visibilty (picturing) of the chaeto, so ended up just peeked into the trap door under the substrate:




It has spread only about an inch from where I inserted it and has definitely bulked/densed up - but at this rate, it may take quite a while to fill the area available down there. I suppose we'll see if the light change plays a significant role one day also.


I grabbed some shots of several occurances in the rearfuge tonight:




Blue clove polyps making an appearance finally:



If I recall correctly, this is royal purple shimmer macro:






Here's that frilly "pest" algae that I introduced (this stuff came in attached to a mangrove pod):



It has jumped several directions, and is growing towards the gracilaria and turf algae pretty quickly:



Turf algae (no real noticeable growth yet - except for those little red macros growing off it lol):










Scooped up an Aqueon mini 10W heater (kind of wanted a controller, but at least this heater's thermally protected). Going to try and put things back together again tomorrow. 

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Christopher Marks

Hey there @Wonderboy! Can you believe it has been 7 months already? 


This is a friendly reminder to post your final competition FTS and a 1 to 2 paragraph recap of your experience in the pico reef competition. Be sure to share your future plans for your pico reef as well, will it continue forward or get an upgrade? The competition ends on Sunday October 27th at midnight!


Thank you for being a part of our "Rule Breakers" Old School Pico Reef Competition! ❤️ 

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I had to bypass the chiller because the plumbing inside it had become clogged and the pump was not feeding water to DT anymore.... I had to do a few more things to keep temperature stable also - after dealing with other equipment discrepencies and plenty of "jerry-rigging", I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to put the corals back in here, but I finally did it:






I'll get an FTS with lights and some close-ups tonight. Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!!

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I have some pretty big upgrades planned for this little system - will be expanding the volume to another vessel under DT - I wasn't trying to use that area for a "sump", but at this point, with those bulkheads where they are, expanding the volume makes more sense than putting in another one of those chillers. I will have to see if it isn't difficult to implement another type of chiller though. So anyways, here's some shots just after moving them from the 10G. In there, I had the rock under the same 50/50 CFL that I started this pico with - haha - it was temporary, but there's still much stretching from the low light - I didn't run the LED in here after moving things until later (just for pics), didn't want to shock anything. Oh, also trying some more macro:



I haven't recorded on the notepad lately... will get back at it and add what I can recall soon.








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These shots I took quickly w/ the LED before lights off:










I am going to take and post my final FTS tomorrow sometime if that's okay, after I put Jaws Jr back in here - hope that's not too late... well if it is, it's not like I haven't broken almost every other rule you can think of already. Twitch is healed up 100%, not sure I should squeeze him in here still...  I just might for some pictures though...



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I added the fish back earlier today for the FTS. I had to wait til tonight to take any shots because when I put them in, they hid of course - luckily, they were both out and about before bed. I snagged little mug shots of them and I did what I could for the contest's final FTS within the last 10 minutes of lights on tonight  :]  





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The old school pico contest was such a fun event to be involved with - I found a lot of entertainment in putting some ideas into motion and still look forward to improving those in the next few months. I have also enjoyed watching other's setups grow maybe even more. The original concept of my pico was to keep things pretty relatively simple. I was never interested in any prize - I liked the idea of the contest and really just wanted to share the concept of lighting tanks from the under side for the purpose of algae skimming - I have employed the tactic often, but it has kind of been a challenge on this scale. Then, I think that once I was classified as a rule breaker, I may have went almost overboard with the setup, but at the same time I feel like I have done what was necessary...ish. Haha. Things quickly became a little more complex than simple. Like, I added a "rearfugium". I tried several different light setups before settling on the current rig - which is not stationary and the bulbs are still temporary... I gave a chiller from the internet a shot that didn't quite work out. As for livestock, I had a brittle star in here at one point - that was super interesting to see close up - it was removed because it's health seemed to decline - it's well in my 10G now :]  I may see how a sea serpent fairs instead. I had added Mr. Sally (the Sally lightfoot crab) some time after the brittle and he was also very amusing and very energetic, but so much so, that he kept trampling over the xenia to the point of almost killing it - Mr. Sally is in frag QT now. I can definitely recommend them for frag QTs. My most recommended pico inhabitant has been Jaws Jr. - the sharknose goby - awesome little personality. Twitch, the damsel, has been an amazing inhabitant so far, but if not his temper, his size will grow, so he will be moving on in the next few days. Future plans for this system involve first a temporary shutdown so that I can perform some more "necessary" modifications - but I intend to get things going ASAP so that everything that I have quickly* added to the rock in here can finally start to fill in (*that was 7 months?). Thank you to NR for an excuse to set-up another system! Thank you for everyone who took time to read through any of my crazy thread! Good luck to everyone!


Contest final FTS:



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I think your tank looks pretty amazing for a rule-breaker.  I have enjoyed reading about all of the things you have tried out.  I am glad I joined this contest too.  I can finally grow zoas now, and it is close to my chair  where I do my 3 hour arm treatments.  It makes the time go faster and is a lot more relaxing than watching TV.

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So I didn't waste very much time (which is new for me) - but I want to get stuff (equipment) back to a reliable state soon. The morning after that FTS, I began working on a temporary setup for keeping the corals happy while I modify the "old school pico". As soon as it was finished, I went ahead and moved the rock over. I used a 7G tank and some extra stuff laying around... Sorry - the main light's off and its night-light is going right now - but I didn't let those retired UGF LEDs go to waste:




Check out that old school heater ^^^ sporting it on the rimless tank hahaha




HOB's intake comes from the closed end of a capped gravel-vac tube for keeping macro (the "90 degree" fitting is a shortened "T" left open):



As for the fishes, I moved Twitch to the 'fuge of a frag tank for now - pretty sure he'll end up in a section of the 200G FOWLR I'm working on. Jaws Jr now resides in my 10G with several other gobies and a pipefish  :]

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It is amazing how big 7G looks and feels after working in a 2.5G.  My service dog hides and my family goes outside when I am trying to add my rock back into the tank after a water change.  I like the night light look.😁

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Thanks :]   Yeah no kidding - I put the rock in and thought, hmmm I have a lot of extra room to make frags and put some in here to grow out - so I did 😆

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WB that final FTS is impressive. An UGF with lighting under the tank and cheato. So different I honestly never would have though of it. How often you take everything out of the tank is way too much work for me. I am amazed the fish are ok with so many moves. A chiller, a sump, movable lights Oh My. Never have I ever seen so much equipment on such a tiny tank. All and all it was really some thing to watch. You are an innovator and a mad scientist. Good luck with your new set up. I hope you continue breaking the rules and keeping us posted. 

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Thank you @Clown79 - I really appreciate that! It has been quite an amusing build for me as well - these smaller systems definitely make it easier (time/money) to try new things than it would probably be with larger systems  :]


Thank you @debbeach13! I already have some upgrades in mind 😄  I think I let things get a little "out of hand" mostly for fun haha. I really did try to leave things be for as long as possible, but with so little time and considering all the coral that I was ironically fragging elsewhere, I ended up just putting on as many extras on the rock as I could whenever I had them - but yeah, if it wasn't for the stable substrate/UGF and not touching the rearfuge, I'm sure things would've imploded at some point...  :]  Now, not sure when the great coral war will begin, but I'll be content if it gets to that point anyways.


Currently, I've been watching hair algae grow all over the place in the corals' holding tank - I've upgraded the CUC in there, which includes Mr. Sally. I'm going to add Twitch to the holding tank, too, just for his coral feeding "skills". I have kept everything alive in the rearfuge with F2. Been keeping the chaeto alive in the UGF, F2 too.


As for system plans - I want to keep the float valve how it is, so expanding to an un-sealed chamber below the rearfuge just won't work easily. So I decided that I will attempt to plumb a canister filter to the bottom of the rearfuge; I may try to use a fan speed controller to attempt to control it's velocity, otherwise, there is already a valve in the lockline. The benefit to this is that it removes the need for the return pump in the rearfuge - which opens up some space back there. Another potential is that if temps aren't stable, I have a place to easily install an Ice Probe. I will be running the canister with no media (carbon is easy to toss in rearfuge), just a single, chosen rock that will be banished from light for eternity (or for the life of the system). I think that I want to change out the UGFuge LEDs, but not going to worry about that until after it's running again. I don't know if I mentioned anywhere, but I will here - the 12" T5HO fixture over DT is rated for powering a 15W bulb - I've been overpowering a [7 or 10W?) 12" Power-glo T5HO bulb in there because the spectrum was pretty close to ideal; well I decided that I'm going to run the bulb intended for the fixture - a 15W Reptisun 5.0 UVB T5HO - because the spectrum is also close to ideal, added that it leans slightly more into the UV end of the visible spectrum (5% UVB and 30% UVA - which should help in the development of fluorescent pigments), and of course the rest of its spectrum is quality "full spectrum" visible light (German-made) for both photosynthesis and taking photos. "Works best at up to 12 inches", so I don't think I'm going to over-do it if I run it 6 or 7 hrs mid day. Now for the funny part of the plan - I have decided on the light bulb that I'm going to use in the moving fixture:




Best part about this bulb is that I'm seriously going to try it...  Haha. Next best thing is that, theoretically, it should have plenty of usable light both inside and outside of its general blue-band coverage. Last benefit is that it shouldn't wash out my simple camera-phone shots as much as those pin-point nanometer diodes do all the diomn darn time. I ordered and recieved already and put one above DT just to verify if I am crazy or not, took a pic:





It's still difficult to be able to judge this though without any coral, so I very much could be crazy 😆

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