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Kingprawn

Lunatics are taking over the asylum

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Kingprawn

So after a few years off from keeping a tank, the big bit again, and armed with the knowledge gained by making ALL the mistakes (open top, over feeding, under filtered, canisters, poor research, eels...) I set out to make a Pico reef that would tick all my boxes.

So a 30cm cube was bought from a certain large river, as well as a tiny wave maker, a budget LED light and a minuscule preset heater.

The five gallon format would allow for 100% water changes in a matter of minutes and for a couple of quid. The old tank was big (and annoyingly deep) enough to make maintenance a chore (especially with our growing family) so this was a major consideration.

Endless topping off would be dealt with by the construction of a lid from acrylic.

The original plan was to try and mimic Jake Adam’s Ecoreef Zero, bare bottomed, no filer, minimal bioload, however the plan changed slightly to accommodate a pistol/ goby pair, so sand happened. Not just any sand though- 1.5 kilos of Limpopo black sand, which gives a minimalist look.

As this was now starting to go the reef route, rather than the original minimalist ethos, some nice branching rock was procured from my lfs along with my first flexible water carriers full of salty water.

pic below is a couple of months in.

image.jpg

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Seadragon
1 hour ago, Kingprawn said:

So after a few years off from keeping a tank, the big bit again, and armed with the knowledge gained by making ALL the mistakes (open top, over feeding, under filtered, canisters, poor research, eels...) I set out to make a Pico reef that would tick all my boxes.

So a 30cm cube was bought from a certain large river, as well as a tiny wave maker, a budget LED light and a minuscule preset heater.

The five gallon format would allow for 100% water changes in a matter of minutes and for a couple of quid. The old tank was big (and annoyingly deep) enough to make maintenance a chore (especially with our growing family) so this was a major consideration.

Endless topping off would be dealt with by the construction of a lid from acrylic.

The original plan was to try and mimic Jake Adam’s Ecoreef Zero, bare bottomed, no filer, minimal bioload, however the plan changed slightly to accommodate a pistol/ goby pair, so sand happened. Not just any sand though- 1.5 kilos of Limpopo black sand, which gives a minimalist look.

As this was now starting to go the reef route, rather than the original minimalist ethos, some nice branching rock was procured from my lfs along with my first flexible water carriers full of salty water.

pic below is a couple of months in.

image.jpg

 

Welcome back to the hobby!  Also think about starting a Journal so that we can all follow along and see how things turn out over time.  It also gives you a single thread to look back on and see how far that you've come.

 

I'd love to hear the stories of your past mistakes, particularly about the "eels...".  How many gallons was your old tank?  Since it looks like you may be going the reef route now, what corals do you think you may get?

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Kingprawn

Hey Seadragon,

Yeah, I meant to start logging this journey from the beginning, but... I forgot. So a little catching- up to do.

Old tank was a Fluval Osaka 155l- really nice, but we learned a few hard lessons, and a young family meant that it all got a bit neglected so we shut it down about 4 years ago. My other half passed the LFS every day coming home from work, and I often came home to new guests and an ‘apology cuppa’ waiting for me...

 

 

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Kingprawn

So for the first couple of weeks, full flow and minimal lighting, along with a few water changes, put paid to the majority of the algae on the LR, and once everything had cycled (and again. And again) a cutie little calcinus spp. Rock hermit was added, and he dutifully began eating algae and detritus.

A couple of weeks later, the LFS came good and got me a couple of my favourite reef crittters, a pair of calcinus elegans (blue knuckle hermit crabs), Waldorf and Statler, joined their cousin.

The ensuing algae massacre was amazing to watch- they ate the whole lot. And then pooed it out.

My once pristine tank was now a swirling mess of green crab poo. And as it happens, it was more dense than the sand, so attempts at siphoning failed. 
As well as the crabs, I decided to try a couple of frags, so a tiny wavy arm of Xenia and a plug of zoas (both chosen because they are simple, tough, and use dissolved Organics) made their way in. One slight superglue accident saw half of the zoas not opening for a week, but flow, natural sloughing and a gentle scrape with a chopstick (my reef tool of choice) saw all of them happy again. 

169CE8AD-B842-4F55-91A8-79678B01C81B.jpeg

E11B8146-BF82-457C-BFC8-F865732F8961.jpeg

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Seadragon
58 minutes ago, Kingprawn said:

Hey Seadragon,

Yeah, I meant to start logging this journey from the beginning, but... I forgot. So a little catching- up to do.

Old tank was a Fluval Osaka 155l- really nice, but we learned a few hard lessons, and a young family meant that it all got a bit neglected so we shut it down about 4 years ago. My other half passed the LFS every day coming home from work, and I often came home to new guests and an ‘apology cuppa’ waiting for me...

 

 

 

I was looking at some Fluval Osaka 155 L tanks and they look pretty nice!

 

N2U2NWYyYzFhY2IyOGY3ZDQ2Mjk3NmNmMzgyODdh

 

Picture009-5.jpg&key=5352d0a07c628207309

 

So 155 Liters is about 41 gallons... my next tank that I am planning on getting will be a 33 long (about 125 liters).  I love the long and shallow tanks because it gives good light penetration and has an amazing panoramic view especially when sitting near it all day long.  One day my friend... I shall get it and show it to the world. 🙂

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Seadragon
45 minutes ago, Kingprawn said:

So for the first couple of weeks, full flow and minimal lighting, along with a few water changes, put paid to the majority of the algae on the LR, and once everything had cycled (and again. And again) a cutie little calcinus spp. Rock hermit was added, and he dutifully began eating algae and detritus.

A couple of weeks later, the LFS came good and got me a couple of my favourite reef crittters, a pair of calcinus elegans (blue knuckle hermit crabs), Waldorf and Statler, joined their cousin.

The ensuing algae massacre was amazing to watch- they ate the whole lot. And then pooed it out.

My once pristine tank was now a swirling mess of green crab poo. And as it happens, it was more dense than the sand, so attempts at siphoning failed. 
As well as the crabs, I decided to try a couple of frags, so a tiny wavy arm of Xenia and a plug of zoas (both chosen because they are simple, tough, and use dissolved Organics) made their way in. One slight superglue accident saw half of the zoas not opening for a week, but flow, natural sloughing and a gentle scrape with a chopstick (my reef tool of choice) saw all of them happy again. 

169CE8AD-B842-4F55-91A8-79678B01C81B.jpeg

E11B8146-BF82-457C-BFC8-F865732F8961.jpeg

 

I love the look of your hermit crab, a beautiful blue color.  So it sounds like you need a CUC that will eat the detritus that sinks within your sand that comes from your crabs after they consume all of the algae within your tank.  I would look into getting Stocky Cerith Snails since they burrow and sift through the sand and are known to eat detritus, fish waste, algae, and uneaten food.

 

That should be all that you need.  But, if you wanted to research another amazing CUC, I would read all about the Tiger Sand Conch.  "They are great at removing detritus and oxygenating the dead spots, helping to eliminate red or green slime algae. They will stir and clean upper layers of the sand bed, removing diatoms, slime, detritus, and most other unwanted debris or algae settling on the sand."  But, I would only get the Tiger Sand Conch if there is a steady supply of food available to it, you do not want to starve him.  I have two of these in my Office NR and they keep my sand very clean (they do an awesome job of eating cyanobacteria if you ever get that one day).

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Kingprawn
38 minutes ago, Seadragon said:

 

I was looking at some Fluval Osaka 155 L tanks and they look pretty nice!

 

N2U2NWYyYzFhY2IyOGY3ZDQ2Mjk3NmNmMzgyODdh

 

Picture009-5.jpg&key=5352d0a07c628207309

 

So 155 Liters is about 41 gallons... my next tank that I am planning on getting will be a 33 long (about 125 liters).  I love the long and shallow tanks because it gives good light penetration and an amazing panoramic view especially when sitting near it all day long.  One day my friend... I shall get it and show it to the world. 🙂

Yeah, lovely tank, but really odd dimensions. 
Shallow tanks all the way for me now...

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Kingprawn

After a week, whilst getting another bag of water from the LFS, I was looking at the shrimps (I love shrimps!), but the thought of sticking a £20 lysmata spp. in this tiny tank, just to see it meet an untimely demise didn't really sit well, so...

 

Owners of lionfish, groupers and other big predatory fish buy bags of 'feeder shrimp' to, well, feed them. These are mysid shrimp (or therabouts) and whilst not that striking visually (they are transparent, but still rather lovely looking) they are pretty reef- safe, and also... DIRT CHEAP!

 

So £1 later I was the proud owner of a handful of worried- looking shrimps. Acclimated with care (these guys were luckier than their siblings!) they set to work eating ALL THE CRAB POO! 

 

Over the next couple of days, we lost three, but two have survived moulted a couple of times and are happily holing their own, eating all the detritus.

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Kingprawn

The Lunatics are taking over the Asylum.

 

One of the best things about having a tank with no fish is that whatever life comes- in on the LR gets to flourish, rather than being eaten as soon as it breaks cover. The hitchhikers have become the main attraction. The little cube is now home to an Asterina (getting fat, now has an extra leg, so I am assuming will soon be 2 Asterinas!), a plethora of little feather dusters (my wrasse used to love these, so I never got to see them for long) that fluoresce yellow under blue LEDs, copeopods (good), bristle worms (good), dorvilleidae worms (awesome!) hydriods (not so good) and amphipods.

About the Amphipods....

Normally, they get eaten. No biggy, that seems to be their lot in life. However, with no predators, and a limitless (for them) supply of food, they have got... BIG. the biggest is now an inch long, and burly. It has no fear of the other occupants, and happily whizzes around in daylight doing whatever it is that Amphipods do. And of course, there is never just one. Much fun.

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Seadragon
3 hours ago, Kingprawn said:

Owners of lionfish, groupers and other big predatory fish buy bags of 'feeder shrimp' to, well, feed them. These are mysid shrimp (or therabouts) and whilst not that striking visually (they are transparent, but still rather lovely looking) they are pretty reef- safe, and also... DIRT CHEAP!

 

So £1 later I was the proud owner of a handful of worried- looking shrimps. Acclimated with care (these guys were luckier than their siblings!) they set to work eating ALL THE CRAB POO! 

 

Over the next couple of days, we lost three, but two have survived moulted a couple of times and are happily holing their own, eating all the detritus.

 

That's awesome!  Take some pictures of the live feeder shrimp in your tank if you can, I'd love to see it!

 

I didn't even know you can buy live feeder shrimp at the LFS.  The different LFS around here usually only have frozen Mysis Shrimp for sale.  I will definitely ask the LFS owners next time to see if I can get some live feeder shrimp myself... I also love shrimp. 🙂

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Kingprawn

Asterina (now with extra leg) and transparent shrimp against a transparent background (not just a closeup of a cable, honest...)

image.jpg

image.jpg

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Seadragon
2 hours ago, Kingprawn said:

Asterina (now with extra leg) and transparent shrimp against a transparent background (not just a closeup of a cable, honest...)

image.jpg

 

 

Hah, I didn't notice you had a 2nd image of the shrimp.  I was only looking at the 1st picture for a transparent shrimp and after awhile I'm like... "Damn, he's transparent like the predator!  Can't even see him!".  Lol.

15-156697_predator.png

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Kingprawn
33 minutes ago, Seadragon said:

 

Hah, I didn't notice you had a 2nd image of the shrimp.  I was only looking at the 1st picture for a transparent shrimp and after awhile I'm like... "Damn, he's transparent like the predator!  Can't even see him!".  Lol.

15-156697_predator.png

F*ck I don’t want to find that in my tank!

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Kingprawn
39 minutes ago, Seadragon said:

 

Hah, I didn't notice you had a 2nd image of the shrimp.  I was only looking at the 1st picture for a transparent shrimp and after awhile I'm like... "Damn, he's transparent like the predator!  Can't even see him!".  Lol.

15-156697_predator.png

Is it just me, or is that predator wearing speedos?

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Ratvan
Just now, Kingprawn said:

Is it just me, or is that predator wearing speedos?

I can't unsee it now

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Seadragon

Speedos and flip flops. 😄

 

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Kingprawn

Fts for tonight.

BA the humbug doing his thing. Waldorf out front digging. Statler just visible under the rocks behind him. 

Asterina on the left.
Invisible shrimps may or may not be in shot.

Noticed a tiny stomatella snail tonight too...

image.jpg

image.jpg

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Kingprawn

Proud parents/ tiny little fella.

 

So chuffed. Zoas have spawned and now I have one on the other piece of rock. 
 

I’ve struggled to keep them alive before, never mind thrive or multiply.

 

B826A93E-5C59-4840-ABB0-8D63FBE2727A.jpeg

08B2909F-4C8A-461E-8533-22A333703C08.jpeg

Edited by Kingprawn
Better pic
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Kingprawn

Calcinus spp. Rock hermit doing his morning rounds...

image.jpg

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Kingprawn
15 hours ago, Kingprawn said:

Fts for tonight.

BA the humbug doing his thing. Waldorf out front digging. Statler just visible under the rocks behind him. 

Asterina on the left.
Invisible shrimps may or may not be in shot.

Noticed a tiny stomatella snail tonight too...

image.jpg

image.jpg

Tiny snail is just next to the invisible shrimp...

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Kingprawn

Got my eye on a lush pink hammer coral at the lfs.

Any suggestions for other soft pink corals?

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Ratvan
2 hours ago, Kingprawn said:

Got my eye on a lush pink hammer coral at the lfs.

Any suggestions for other soft pink corals?

Only thing that springs to mind is Pink Nephthea

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Kingprawn

50% water change tonight, filter clean (most days, to be fair) and a slight rearranging of the rocks to give a little more height.

Everyone looks happy so far.

The original plan was to have a single piece of branching suspended over the bare bottom by acrylic rods, but this was ditched in favour of sand and a ‘scape sat on top.

Maybe the floating aquascape will happen one day...

image.jpg

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Kingprawn
7 hours ago, Ratvan said:

Only thing that springs to mind is Pink Nephthea

Ooh, I like that! It caused me to look at a load of Japanese style reefs too, which I have always loved...

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Kingprawn

@Christopher Marks can this be moved to ‘Journals’?

 

No idea how I ended up in ‘Fish’...

 

 

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