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The Rainy Day Aquarium

🚀Pocket Rocket Pico Reef🚀

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The Rainy Day Aquarium

Introduction:

Part of my employment includes working part time at a pretty slow desk job. Besides the common desky things that reside in my newly acquired personal space, it seems rather empty. I recently sold some aquarium hardware and such and had some extra funds to start a small office pico reef. After hours of research I knew what I wanted, but unfortunately there were no available commercial products that fit those needs/wants. Enter DIY. I'm not a professional, but consider myself fairly handy and enjoy a challenge. In all I ended up building my own pico reef using 1/8" thick acrylic.

 

Equipment:

Tank: DIY 1 gallon rimless AIO

Light: Zetlight mini (zn1000)

Heater: Aqueon mini heater 5watt (controlled by a Cobalt Neo-Stat)

 

Live Stock:

TBT 

 

Build:

This was my first time working with acrylic so there was a learning curve for sure. The main panels were cut out using a compound miter saw and then sanded to finish the edges, and the rest of the fine cuts and details were done on a CNC machine. One of the key things that I wanted was to have a small tank, but with a false back leading to the built in filtration. Although this is a classic "AIO" filtration design, I had a lot of fun designing it.

 

Since this tank is so small (measuring only 6" wide, 6" tall, and 8" long) It was for sure a challenge to find hardware that would work for what I wanted. I ended up going with a small unbranded 52gph pump as my return pump. For heating I am using an Aqueon 5watt mini heater controlled by a Cobalt Neo-Stat. Lighting was a challenge for me, I wanted something sleek, but small. I'm not a fan of the "light bulb hanging over the tank look" howbeit effective, it's just not my style. One thing I found is that there are not many, if any, vendors selling lights specific to pico reefs especially in the 1 gallon area haha. After a while though I found a light made by Zetlight that was close enough and decided to give it a try. I ordered two of them. One being a daylight, and they other is an all blue LED just to see which one worked the best for what I was trying to achieve. Installing it on the tank, it looks pretty sharp and am impressed with how much light this tiny 3 watt LED pumps out. This aquarium may be small, but it has a problem common to almost all aquariums, the medusa of cords hanging out the back 😜. Since this little tank will be visible from almost all sides, I acquired a black nylon cord wrap and tidied up the wires in the back that go below to the power strip that will be mounted under my desk.

 

Stocking with this tiny reef will be kept simple to give the best chance at success as possible (can't show off an ugly tank at work 🙃). Aka strictly corals. Which ones I have yet to decide, I was thinking a duncan as a center piece with a bunch of zoas around a small rockscape, but who knows haha, let me know what you have any ideas. I might, MIGHT add a small shrimp (I really like Pederson's Cleaner Shrimp as they have beautiful coloration and stay pretty small) but stability is key with this tank so the less I have to feed the better 😉.

 

Overall I'm pleased with how everything turned out so far! I'm going to be doing a leak test here in a few days and start working on a tiny rockscape. Let me know what you think/any suggestions that you might have!  

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Baffles for filtration

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Testing some new cnc drill bits before cutting out the lid 😉

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Back Panel installed

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Finished!

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Cord management

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Power strip setup

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Chaozu

Wow! I’d buy one of those tank if you ever consider haha 

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kimdawg

You did a great job with the tank.  It will be a lot of fun to see you stock.  I think it would look good with a small scale rockscape covered in zoas and bottom covered with rics.

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The Rainy Day Aquarium
On 10/28/2019 at 12:59 AM, Chaozu said:

Wow! I’d buy one of those tank if you ever consider haha 

Well, I did want to have an excuse to build another one haha 😅 Send me a PM if you're interested and we'll talk. 

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The Rainy Day Aquarium
On 10/28/2019 at 1:24 AM, kimdawg said:

You did a great job with the tank.  It will be a lot of fun to see you stock.  I think it would look good with a small scale rockscape covered in zoas and bottom covered with rics.

Thank you! There are a few kinks that I'm working out, but I'm excited as well to see this little tank mature. I like the zoas and mushroom idea though 🤔

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The Rainy Day Aquarium

It passed the leak test with flying colors! I also spent some time yesterday and put together a small rockscape for it. One thing that I found was that my original 5watt heater would barely hold 74°f so I upgraded to a mini 10watt heater (still controlled by the Neo-Stat). I'll be cycling this tank at home before I bring it in to the office and that time will give me a chance to address any problems I run into in these first few weeks. 😊

 

PSX_20191029_084912.thumb.jpg.f9e162e43c13503e4570a1352df92159.jpg

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Elizabeth94

This is awesome! Gosh I wish I could run my tank on that little power strip. Interested to see what you come up with for coral stocking. 

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Christopher Marks

Nice work @The Rainy Day Aquarium, that's a great looking DIY tank! I like the hexagon vent design, that's a cool look. Keep up the good work!

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Tigahboy

Nice work indeed! 

 

The face on that lid also looks vaguely familiar to me.  Hmmmm.  LOL.

On 10/27/2019 at 11:38 PM, The Rainy Day Aquarium said:

Testing some new cnc drill bits before cutting out the lid 😉

20191025_135450_HDR.thumb.jpg.e01d189dbde8371e82bc8a8daf0bf519.jpg

 

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Christopher Marks
18 minutes ago, Tigahboy said:

The face on that lid also looks vaguely familiar to me.  Hmmmm.  LOL.

Looks like you have another Tigahboy Club Member 😄 

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Reefkid88

I love this !!! Awesome looking build,definitely following along. 

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The Rainy Day Aquarium
20 hours ago, Elizabeth94 said:

This is awesome! Gosh I wish I could run my tank on that little power strip. Interested to see what you come up with for coral stocking. 

Thank you! Haha I'm embarrassed to say how much time was spent just on the cable management 😅

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The Rainy Day Aquarium

@Christopher Marks Thank you! I wanted a different "techy" look. We'll see how it works out in the long run. 

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The Rainy Day Aquarium
18 hours ago, Tigahboy said:

Nice work indeed! 

 

The face on that lid also looks vaguely familiar to me.  Hmmmm.  LOL.

 

Thanks @Tigahboy! and concerning the "lid" I have no idea what you're talking about! 😉

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The Rainy Day Aquarium
18 hours ago, Christopher Marks said:

Looks like you have another Tigahboy Club Member 😄 

Pending on if I ever recieve my official "Tigahboy club membership certificate". Also the voucher said that there is 20% off all merchandise included with the subscription? 😂

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The Rainy Day Aquarium

Just a quick update. I noticed that the acrylic on the sides of the tank started bowing ever so slightly. It wasn't bad, but it bugged me enough to where I made another tank. Enter the POCKET ROCKET V2 😅 It's not perfect but I used thicker acrylic in trying to rectify the bowing issue. It's also smaller at .5 gallons as it will better fit my desk space in the office. It will be fun to see gow long I can keep .5 gallons running haha! Anyways more to come! 

 

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Lula_Mae

What a cute little tank! A heater with a thermostat controller is definitely the way to go in something this tiny. You might could add a pom pom crab as they are tiny and usually very reclusive so a small tank is the best way to be able to see them. Pederson's are very entertaining though! I had one which my husband called the "Superman shrimp" because of the way he'd fly across the tank, front arms outstretched lol.

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The Rainy Day Aquarium

@Lula_Mae Thank you! For sure! I'm using a 10watt heater with a controller and so far so good! Although with this small of a tank I really had to smash all the equipment in the back filtration area 😅 A pom pom crab would be great! My worry is its little nems would sting the rest of the coral? Or would they be okay? Haha that's fantastic they sure can have some character! 😊

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Lula_Mae
3 hours ago, The Rainy Day Aquarium said:

@Lula_Mae Thank you! For sure! I'm using a 10watt heater with a controller and so far so good! Although with this small of a tank I really had to smash all the equipment in the back filtration area 😅 A pom pom crab would be great! My worry is its little nems would sting the rest of the coral? Or would they be okay? Haha that's fantastic they sure can have some character! 😊

Finding space for equipment is definitely a challenge in a pico! And the smaller they are the harder it is! I've tried teeny ones and have found I like 2+ gallons the best since I can actually fit my hands in there haha.  I definitely respect people keeping smaller ones and using forceps to move stuff around and such.

 

I've never noticed any issues with stinging anything, most pom poms don't bother anything (there's rare exceptions and I've had one of those lol--the link in my sig for a 1.6 gallon tells the tale of Shelby the pom pom). It is common for them to lose their poms in captivity although I suspect if you do feedings of coral food before doing water changes (the method Brandon of the 11+ year vase reef recommends and many other pico keepers follow), they may last longer. Pom poms are super adorable when doing their little pom pom dance! If you haven't seen one in person you may be surprised at how small they actually are. They're probably my favorite invert, I've had probably about a dozen over the years.

 

I highly recommend some little pipettes like these, for feeding coral, sucking up detritus in tiny corners, etc. Sometimes even a turkey baster is too big in a pico haha (these were one of the first options that popped up when I searched so I'd poke around and try to find a good price on them. I used to buy them straight from Drs. Foster & Smith but alas, they are no more).

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kurnn

I like the size

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The Rainy Day Aquarium

@Lula_Mae haha I have to agree! Even my previous one gallon seemed huge compared to this tiny reef lol. And a challenge for sure! Haha me too, tweezers and forceps are difficult! I have my rock structure where I can just take it out if needs be though. 

 

Mmm okay! Haha I spent last night researching pom pom crabs and am now persuaded I need one 🧐😂 okay having the nems sting surrounding coral was my main concern, but it sounds like I'll be okay. 

 

Lol I bought a pack of 300 of those not too long ago for that exact reason. Best $7 I've invested on my pico reefs! Ahhhh, Drs. Foster and Smith, when you could get things like the Azoo Mignon 60 filters for like $6 lol. 

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The Rainy Day Aquarium

Some photos from this morning. Moved the coral from the 1 gallon to the new .5 gallon. Everything seems to be doing well. Not sure about the rock work though? 🤔PSX_20191204_102725.thumb.jpg.0cc0bace0f0f386caada3dae07d711e0.jpg

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Lula_Mae
4 hours ago, The Rainy Day Aquarium said:

Some photos from this morning. Moved the coral from the 1 gallon to the new .5 gallon. Everythin seems to be doing well. Not sure about the rock work though? 🤔PSX_20191204_102725.thumb.jpg.0cc0bace0f0f386caada3dae07d711e0.jpg

PSX_20191204_102910.thumb.jpg.a63f49f7f2e6154703fb23cf1a558342.jpg

It's hard to scape in such a small space! I would leave space open for things to grow rather than crowding too much rock in. Maybe keep a few small rubble bits on hand in case something needs to be isolated a bit or something. Right now I think it's got a decent balance of negative space and looks nice!

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Reefkid88

Man I LOVE the V2 tank !!! Just acrylic work is soooo expensive 😭😭😭

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Tired

Beautiful little tank, and, cough, interesting name.

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