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Smurf

Fluval Spec III: Acan Additions!

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Smurf

spacer.pngHello, NR!

 

It has been quite sometime since my last build. I've spent quite the time out of the hobby and have been itching to get back into everything. 

 

Over the last month I've spent some significant time on Craigslist looking for deals on AIO tanks. With my past experience, I knew that when one person wants back in the hobby, another one wants out😂.  I knew I wanted something small since time and space is more limited on my end - and with AIO tank options coming a long way since my last biocube 14g, I knew my options were vast. Also, with this build - I wanted to make sure I stayed within a reasonable budget. On my second week of searching I came across a Fluval Spec III 2.6g (2018 version) being sold for $45 locally. I knew this was the one I've been looking for. It was an AIO, perfect size, local to me and on top of that - BRAND NEW. 

 

From the old tanks in my past, I managed to save old rock and sand. I am going about the bleach bath method to get them all crisp clean and white again. I ordered all the essential items and got them ready for the tank set up.

 

Last night I had some free time to fill up the tank with some RO water to test fill. Everything went well and all parts seem to be in functioning order. I mixed my salt and poured it back in to get the pump and heater up and running. The stock pump seems to be pretty weak for the whole tank so I ordered another mini pump from amazon. As far as it goes, I am only running the heater, pump and occasional light while I am working on the tank. I plan on adding a small piece of Live rock I got from the LFS a few days ago in the tank tonight to kick start some cycling. Over the past few days I've kept the rock in a small container with an air pump to preserve any life still living. I turned that pump off this morning and plan to come home to some stagnant water. I am hoping that this will be enough die off for an ammonia spike to kick off my cycle.

 

Almost 10 years and a lot has changed in the hobby and the husbandry, any recommendations or suggestions are highly encouraged. I need all the help I can get with this new tank!

 

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Christopher Marks

Welcome back @Smurf! You found a great deal on your pico tank, that's awesome. I have a 2 gallon pico reef and it really is a very manageable size, water changes are so easy! I only keep coral and inverts in mine, low stress pico reefing 😎

 

What kinds of coral are you hoping to keep in your pico reef?

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Smurf
22 minutes ago, Christopher Marks said:

Welcome back @Smurf! You found a great deal on your pico tank, that's awesome. I have a 2 gallon pico reef and it really is a very manageable size, water changes are so easy! I only keep coral and inverts in mine, low stress pico reefing 😎

 

What kinds of coral are you hoping to keep in your pico reef?

 

Thanks, Christopher! The last time I was contributing steviet, el fab, melvin, lgreen and lalani are some names that come to my mind that were synonymous with this forum. Is anyone still around?

 

I've given some thought into what to stock, but with the minimal space and stocking options; I've got some more thinking to do. I've seen some inspirational LPS gardens in this size that have captivated me. I am leaning towards that side.

 

I am hoping sometime down the line, I can DIY my current LED setup into something stronger to support an SPS or two.

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Christopher Marks

LPS corals would be a great choice, some mouths to feed! 😄 I'm having a lot of luck with zoanthids in my pico reef.

 

@StevieT is still around, keeping water wet, El Fab and Lalani stop by from time to time too. 🙂 

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Steemax

Can't wait to see it up and running. Torch garden would look cool but not sure if it would leave enough room if you wanted to add a hammer or frogspawn. Following along!

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dannyk35

This is gonna be sweet! I had a Freshwater spec III. I never even thought to use it for saltwater! 

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Ratvan

Following, cant wait to see what you do with yours

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WV Reefer
22 hours ago, Smurf said:

imageproxy.php?img=&key=a72cef6f73776f2bHello, NR!

 

It has been quite sometime since my last build. I've spent quite the time out of the hobby and have been itching to get back into everything. 

 

Over the last month I've spent some significant time on Craigslist looking for deals on AIO tanks. With my past experience, I knew that when one person wants back in the hobby, another one wants out😂.  I knew I wanted something small since time and space is more limited on my end - and with AIO tank options coming a long way since my last biocube 14g, I knew my options were vast. Also, with this build - I wanted to make sure I stayed within a reasonable budget. On my second week of searching I came across a Fluval Spec III 2.6g (2018 version) being sold for $45 locally. I knew this was the one I've been looking for. It was an AIO, perfect size, local to me and on top of that - BRAND NEW. 

 

From the old tanks in my past, I managed to save old rock and sand. I am going about the bleach bath method to get them all crisp clean and white again. I ordered all the essential items and got them ready for the tank set up.

 

Last night I had some free time to fill up the tank with some RO water to test fill. Everything went well and all parts seem to be in functioning order. I mixed my salt and poured it back in to get the pump and heater up and running. The stock pump seems to be pretty weak for the whole tank so I ordered another mini pump from amazon. As far as it goes, I am only running the heater, pump and occasional light while I am working on the tank. I plan on adding a small piece of Live rock I got from the LFS a few days ago in the tank tonight to kick start some cycling. Over the past few days I've kept the rock in a small container with an air pump to preserve any life still living. I turned that pump off this morning and plan to come home to some stagnant water. I am hoping that this will be enough die off for an ammonia spike to kick off my cycle.

 

Almost 10 years and a lot has changed in the hobby and the husbandry, any recommendations or suggestions are highly encouraged. I need all the help I can get with this new tank!

 

74F6E11A-FC52-4747-A32E-B80108AD3584.jpeg

AFAE92A2-7BE2-4599-A62B-01D1DD7C5633.jpeg

9633CB03-4133-4E4C-B8FB-A77821513636.jpeg

 

Welcome back.  Following along. 🙂 

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parsons10217

Looks good! following along as well. Curious which pump you went with if i ever have to upgrade my fluval evo 5 🤔

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StevieT
19 hours ago, Christopher Marks said:

 

 

@StevieT is still around,

omgomgomgomgomgomgomgomgomg

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Smurf

So I've decided to enter into the contest that @Christopher Marks had so graciously decided to start. 

 

I emptied out what water I had from starting last week and going to start my official entry to the contest here!!

 

 

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Smurf

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kimberbee

Don't forget to add the contest tag to your thread!!

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seabass
On 1/29/2020 at 2:18 PM, Smurf said:

The last time I was contributing steviet, el fab, melvin, lgreen and lalani are some names that come to my mind that were synonymous with this forum.

Good times.

 

Good to see you posting again.  Looking forward to seeing this progress.  Good luck!

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Smurf

So after emptying the water last night and refilling with fresh saltwater,  I started trying to figure out some rock scapes utilizing some of the old rock I cleaned out from my old aquarium 10 years ago. The rock was bleached for a week and cleaned out with RO/DI water - and then left out to dry over the last couple days. 

 

I know the rock work seems like a lot, but I want to go with a 'reef shelf' kind of look / theme. Once I think of more stocking options and corals, I will probably rescape to a more simple design. I am not going to lie, I really like the way it looks right now even though it is super heavy on the live (dead)rock. There are different views on each three sides of the glass, which was hard to achieve. The sand I had was also from my older setup which was dry. I did some good rinses with RO/DI and filled a good sandbed throughout the tank; 1" deep in some places. I am currently just stuffing some extra live rock to seed the tank in front and some in the back where the filter media goes.

 

I noticed that the flow for the stock pump on the Fluval was really weak. I opted out for an aftermarket knock off mini pump from amazon that fits perfectly in the back. The pump is a little louder but significantly stronger. I have a feeling I will utilize the stock pump in the back refuge area to create better flow in the back.

 

 

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Smurf

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Some really choice pieces I saved from my old setups. I made sure to incorporate some of my fave rocks from old tanks. I find it funny how even simple pieces of rock can hold sentimental value. I am really happy I was able to incorporate all of them into the scaping. 

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This specific piece was gifted to me by my mother. I don't know the legalities of taking rock from a foreign country and bringing it back - but my mom gifted this to me in 2008 when she came back from the Philippines. It will be the rock in the front of my glass.

 

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I remember purchasing this piece in the first 25lbs I bought getting into this hobby. This specific piece was apart of my 10gallon tank that was my first setup. Even after bleaching those red spots remain. 

 

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Rough outline

 

 

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Smurf

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Smurf

Problems I've encountered so far:

 

-Fitting all the pieces of rock in the aquarium was really tough. I think taking on the challenge of limited space is going to also be an up hill battle for me.

 

-The Fluval Specs glass is very easily scratched. I was trying to be as careful as possible when placing in the rock but I inevitably knicked the glass a few times and on a tank this small, it is hard to miss.

 

-The 15w heater I have is only maintaining 76.7 f. I only have room in the back pump area and cannot fit anything else in the front of the setup. 

 

-Flow of the stock pump for the fluval is really weak.

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Aqua Splendor

Glad you participate to the contest, kind of good timing for you (almost).

I would remove the top rock, better for corals later.

 

That heater didn't work for me either, i bought something else, can't remember what but i had trouble with the nano heater from fluval.

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Smurf

I got a very small algae bloom -  looks like diatoms but on a very small scale. I've shortened my photoperiod to four hours a day to refrain from any more nuisance algae growing. Parameters are sub optimal, but normal for this time.

 

I went to a LFS of mine that I remembered had a flawless 120g mixed reef and two 500g shallow reefs. I couldn't believe he remembered my name and my old tank! He was excited to see me and meet my son. I managed to ask for small baseball sized ball of cheato from his fuge(which was crawling with pods), some live rock chunks that I managed to keep submerged in water the whole commute home - plus a little cup of sand. All this for $15 + a 'hitch hiker rock' which he said had some type of brown palys and something else I cant ID. Its definitely a hitch hiker rock with feather dusters, all different colors of coralline on it and sponges of blue/yellow/white hints. I told him that I don't think the paly will do well since the tank is only 1 week old - but he just wanted to throw it in anyways since it was already in the live rock bag he dunked his hand in and gave me. His live rock is premium and always had awesome good hitch hikers on it. His tank has been established for a little over 15 years now and was more than happy to offer the benefit of a beneficial bacteria donation to kick start these microscopic workers.

 

I feel confident about this upcoming week and have a small handful of inverts in mind for new additions to clean up said algae. I am tempted to break out my old kessil a350w tuna blue for s&g's to see how it would light up this tiny tank. (more on that later)

 

Some equipment updates:

-I've swapped the stock pump that came with the Spec to an amazon bought pump under the guise of a 'mini pond pump'

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EWENMAU/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_image_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

I am having great success with the pump this first week and am very surprised at the up take in flow from the return. All the parts that came with the pump are interchangeable with the Specs stock parts; which made this even more of a definite buy for me. The flow is adjustable but I am keeping it on its highest setting for the return.

 

-I was able to get the mini heater 15w (meant for a betta tank) to work better for me. This I knew - the problem was flow. By adding the stock pump to my make shift fuge in the first overflow compartment, the heater gets better flow to the main display side and pushes out any dead spots in the lower first chamber. The temp (with the fuge on) has been running at 78.9f - 79.3f. Now its running a little too hot.. To prevent this and create a bit more balance - I am reverse scheduling the fuge lights / main display lights. I am maintaining 78.4f-78.8f in a 68-71 degree f room. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JQBS4Y5/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_image_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

-In the first compartment overflow box - I've made a small makeshift fuge. I put some of the liverock rubble I bought from the LFS on the bottom and top and I am using this USB camping light to light the Cheato. It has surprisingly good penetration and flood. I have the light pushed up against the glass of my fuge and feel a good amount of heat coming from the LED bulbs. The light came with a half dome cover that helped create flood -  which I took off and exposed the LEDs. The light sits perfectly between the back wall area and the back of the tank. It is simply wedged into place for now. I will see about finding a way to mount it. I also need to DIY a small filter basket that I can keep different mediums in. 

USB Fuge light:

https://www.amazon.com/Onite-20-US24USB3W-WW-Warehouse-Emergency-WarmWhite/dp/B00QX096L0/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=camping+usb+light&qid=1581092119&sr=8-4

Any ideas on what materials will work in such a small space?

 

Here are a couple of updated photos:

 

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Ratvan

So you have a pump in each of the rear sections? Hmmm wonder if that would help my temp....

Eggcrate works for a Media Rack, its what I made mine from 

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Smurf
On 2/4/2020 at 7:14 AM, Aqua Splendor said:

Glad you participate to the contest, kind of good timing for you (almost).

I would remove the top rock, better for corals later.

 

That heater didn't work for me either, i bought something else, can't remember what but i had trouble with the nano heater from fluval.

Thanks! I will keep the rock the way it is until I find out what exactly to stock, I have a plan... 😅

 

I think I was able to solve the heater problem for my tank.

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Smurf
Just now, Ratvan said:

So you have a pump in each of the rear sections? Hmmm wonder if that would help my temp....

Eggcrate works for a Media Rack, its what I made mine from 

1365430994_mediarack1.jpg.6d99da90d6403e10e95308fb11ca6c84.jpg

241792542_mediarack2.jpg.f3d0d3ebf6f21eb4f039b163cc9ea518.jpg

Great idea! I am going to mock up some ideas and get the measurements later. 

 

Yes, I have a pump in both chambers - it helps greatly with the dead spots in the lower area of chamber 1. If you also notice on the wall of that baffle - there is a horizontal slit. I am noticing a push of water on my sand bed on the display side  around that area as well.

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Ratvan
Just now, Smurf said:

Great idea! I am going to mock up some ideas and get the measurements later. 

 

Yes, I have a pump in both chambers - it helps greatly with the dead spots in the lower area of chamber 1. If you also notice on the wall of that baffle - there is a horizontal slit. I am noticing a push of water on my sand bed on the display side  around that area as well.

Ah yeah, I plugged that hole way back when this was a Betta Tank. Its so that the filtration section doesn't run dry. Kinda like an emergency drain for the pump and heater. It surface skims a lot better with that hole plugged. 

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Smurf

Diatoms have taken over and I am seeing some signs of some type of hair algae. I am bracing myself for the worst since I sourced my Chaeto from a non sterile source. 

 

My params are looking to be in check - I am going to start the search for some members of my CUC. 

Last week I was eyeing a pistol shrimp at the LFS. With my aquascape, I think I can pull off a deep sandbed up to 4" deep in some places - enough to make the shrimp happy with a small den. I know these guys tunnel constantly - with the mix of medium grained sand, some crushed coral and random shells here and there - I think I can make a nice habitat for the little guy. 

 

Other than the pistol shrimp on my mind. I was thinking:

3 scarlet hermits

2 - 4 ceriths

3 nassarius snails (do you think they will VIBEX with my pistol shirmp?😂🤣) < my worst attempt at aquatic dad humor.

 

future inverts:

4 sexy shrimp!

 

I am thinking of starting from the bottom up as well: rock flower nems / mini carpet nems for the potential sexy shrimp.

 

I'll be going to take a visit before my LFS closes today. He gets a shipment of new fish and coral every monday. I told him to look out for any small gobies that will pair up with a pistol shrimp. I've see 1 1/4" yellow watchmans that he gets and he said sometimes he gets them as small as 1". I know with my small tank - I'll be pushing the limits of the bio load with it but from what I've seen in larger tanks, the pistol shrimp is the active one once the shrimp and goby pair up. The gobies tend to watch entrance or entrances of holes and rarely swim away from their caverns into the water column or resting on rocks.

 

I've had a yellow watchman before in my 92g tank years ago that I purchased around 2 1/2" size. This watchman goby was not paired up with a pistol shrimp and I found that he roamed a lot more, especially in the water column and perched on rocks. The growth rate of yellow watchmans are a little slow from what I've seen read and experienced. I had my old 2 1/2" watchman for about a year before I gave him away with my tank break down years ago. 

 

I have also been eyeing my LFS' $5 frag section. He has random (brown and white) zoas, broken and unmounted pieces of birdsnest, tiny snips of acros, mushrooms and other softies. There are occasional great pieces I see in his selection and the price is unbeatable!

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