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bruinhd

9 gallon Pico LPS Reef

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bruinhd

Alright guys. I've been out of the hobby for 8 years and was fully inactive. I had been doing pico reef tanks in grad school and then sold off everything when I moved out-of-date. Now I'm married, employed, and ready to get back into the hobby. This time around, I am remembering all of the things I used to do wrong. I'm building a 5g pico reef that will be very low tech and minimalist. I will focus on biostability over filtration whenever possible.
 

I got a Fluval Evo V tank. I'm upgrading the stock pump to an MJ 606 (180gph). I'm going to avoid any more power than that because my old experience was that it stressed fish out and I had jumpers, etc. I'm avoiding an electronic ATO because I once had one overflow and It was no bueno. I also just hate having wires everywhere. In my photo you can see that I have a gravity evian bottle ATO that works perfectly.

 

There's a 100 watt Aqueon preset heater in the back.
 

I have a custom glass cover with rubber risers to allow gas exchange and to limit evaporative losses. I found that a 4-5mm gap also avoids condensation buildup on the lid from the heat of the light source (also learned from experience). The glass piece was cut at Ace Hardware and cost $11 total for the glass and risers.
 

I got some live rock from my local LFS Golden Aquarium In Chicago. I'm on day 4 and my ammonia level has been chilling at 0.25 for 2 days and I'm starting to register a little bit of nitrite so cycling is underway. I might keep filtration very low tech. Probably just carbon once soft corals go in. I'm planning just a juvenile clown and a small cleaner shrimp once everything is established.
 

There is one nasarius snail and an emerald crab that hitchhiked in the middle of the big live rock. The emerald crab emerged yesterday I assume because it was sick from the cycle and died almost immediately. The snail feasted on his corpse today. I hope the snail survives the cycle. I am certain he is stressed.

Im going to say one more controversial thing. I used to do all my top-offs with RO/DI. However I'm going to be adventurous this time around and do them with....tap water. I checked parameters on my tap water yesterday and found the following:
 

CaCO3 hardness: zero (impressively)
Chlorine: zero (shockingly)
Carbonate ppm: zero
Alkalinity ppm: 120
pH: 7.2
Ammonia, nitrite, nitrates all zero as well of course.
 

Hit me with your thoughts. And thank you for visiting.

 

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debbeach13

Looks like a nice tank. Welcome to NR

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Llobrao

Nice build bro! We are on the same boat but I was out for about 2 year, GF got me that lil fluval which was betta/planted tank but plants are kinda boring after Coral bug bites! 
 

Only thing I will say is tap water you might be playing with fire wouldn’t do it and upgrade those lights if it’s the stock ones better over light than under and have surviving corals not growing,

 

 

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bruinhd
1 hour ago, Llobrao said:

Nice build bro! We are on the same boat but I was out for about 2 year, GF got me that lil fluval which was betta/planted tank but plants are kinda boring after Coral bug bites! 
 

Only thing I will say is tap water you might be playing with fire wouldn’t do it and upgrade those lights if it’s the stock ones better over light than under and have surviving corals not growing,

 

 

I agree. It's definitely playing with fire to use tap because...just because it tested with nice parameters today, doesn't mean it doesn't wildly change tomorrow. Water treatment plants in general dose things the same daily, however if there is a rainstorm or other run-off, the chemists can change things on a whim. With that said, the reason I am trying tap water is not for cost. My wife and I have been trying to avoid using single use plastic. I don't like buying deionized water that comes in a plastic gallon bottle that goes to a landfill. We also stopped buying plastic bottled drinks. Usually only glass (which can be recycled an unlimited number of times). aluminum, or we use our soda stream.

 

I am trying to find a place that sells fountain DI water so that I can just bring refillable jugs. If anyone knows a good spot in Chicago, let me know.

 

As for the lights, you're right. I will need to upgrade those eventually. I just need to do a lot of research into what I want.

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Llobrao
4 hours ago, bruinhd said:

I agree. It's definitely playing with fire to use tap because...just because it tested with nice parameters today, doesn't mean it doesn't wildly change tomorrow. Water treatment plants in general dose things the same daily, however if there is a rainstorm or other run-off, the chemists can change things on a whim. With that said, the reason I am trying tap water is not for cost. My wife and I have been trying to avoid using single use plastic. I don't like buying deionized water that comes in a plastic gallon bottle that goes to a landfill. We also stopped buying plastic bottled drinks. Usually only glass (which can be recycled an unlimited number of times). aluminum, or we use our soda stream.

 

I am trying to find a place that sells fountain DI water so that I can just bring refillable jugs. If anyone knows a good spot in Chicago, let me know.

 

As for the lights, you're right. I will need to upgrade those eventually. I just need to do a lot of research into what I want.

I did some deep research  hipargero seem legit but there’s plenty more depending on what you will be hosting, at one point I considered holding out for Radions gen 5 in case i upscale a bit but then I remember them price’s 😂😂😂

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bruinhd

Week 5 update:

 

Tank has been running very well. Last set of parameters taken yesterday had phosphate at 0.12 (Hanna test kit), nitrates and nitrites just close to zero, Calcium at 450, pH at 8.0. I had some issues with flow that I worked out. I ended up using 160gph Cobalt again, but with Innovative Marine Spin Stream which significantly knocks the flow down and randomizes everything. Someone sold me an extra 100gph pump as well as an extra heater that I am going to use to make Fritz RPM salt on hand. I upgraded the light 1 week ago to the AI Prime 16HD which amazing. I'm going to post my light settings. Please let me know if you feel I need adjust any of my light settings or placement of LPS. Thank you.

 

Fluval Evo V tank

InTank Media Basket (floss, chemipure elite)

Cobalt 606 Return Pump

100w preset heater 78F

innovative Marine Spinstream RFG Nozzle
AI Prime 16HD

WuyouChy Low tech gravity ATO (Evian water bottle)

 

20% water changes weekly

Fritz RPM reef crystals, spec grav 1.023

 

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Here is a view of my cable management. There's a zippered slip that goes over all of the cables.

 

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Labeled buttons so I can turn off the pump easily during feedings or when tweaking the system.

 

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_R_

Looking great... How is the flow with MJ606? 

 

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bruinhd
6 minutes ago, _R_ said:

Looking great... How is the flow with MJ606? 

 

With the Innovative SpinMaster RFG, the flow seems to be perfect. Without it, it was way too much flow for this 5 gallon. My baby clownfish looked exhausted and was hiding in the top corner, and my cleaner shrimp refused to walk around. Corals were also not open as much.

 

Everything appears to be perfect now in terms of water movement. I have an MJ404 100gph handy as well in case I change my mind in a couple weeks.

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_R_
4 minutes ago, bruinhd said:

With the Innovative SpinMaster RFG, the flow seems to be perfect. Without it, it was way too much flow for this 5 gallon. My baby clownfish looked exhausted and was hiding in the top corner, and my cleaner shrimp refused to walk around. Corals were also not open as much.

 

Everything appears to be perfect now on terms of water movement. I have an MJ404 100gph handy as well in case I change my mind in a couple weeks.

Thanks. i have the stock pump and Koralia Nano. i am trying to find a used MJ606 to replace the stock pump. I am trying to get the same ATO and i believe in less wires too.

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bruinhd
36 minutes ago, _R_ said:

Thanks. i have the stock pump and Koralia Nano. i am trying to find a used MJ606 to replace the stock pump. I am trying to get the same ATO and i believe in less wires too.

Look up WuyouChy Auto Top Off system on Amazon or eBay. It only works with evian bottles, but it works fantastically!

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bruinhd
4 hours ago, _R_ said:

Thanks. i have the stock pump and Koralia Nano. i am trying to find a used MJ606 to replace the stock pump. I am trying to get the same ATO and i believe in less wires too.

I posted this in a Fluval Evo V build thread. Here are instructions for how I made an adapter for the Spinstream RFG using $4 worth of parts from Ace Hardware:

 

1. 1/2" nylon hose barb elbow:

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2. 3/8" to 1/2" nylon hose barb adapter

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I then dremel cut both pieces and mad an elbow adapter to go from the pump tubing (1/2" thick), then the 3/8" portion slides nicely through the hole and out to the tank from the sump area. I used a hot glue gun to seal them together. Then you can slip one of the Slipstream adapters over the 3/8" portion of the elbow you make. It looks exactly like the following:

 

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DO NOT be discouraged by the loud clicking noise that the Slipstream RFG makes, it goes away on the order of days. It took mine only 24 hours for a small film to develop and dampen the noise away. Every negative review online literally gives the noise as the reason people returned the unit.

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RedTheReefer
7 hours ago, bruinhd said:

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Is that an elegance? It looks wonderful.

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bruinhd
9 hours ago, RedTheReefer said:

Is that an elegance? It looks wonderful.

Yes! It's an Australian elegance that I purchased from another awesome reefer in Chicago. I'm hoping that my baby clown will host it as he grows.

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bruinhd

Alright everyone, don't judge. As a birthday gift to myself, I decided to upgrade the tank to something nicer that would be rimless and have a cleaner look in terms of cable management. I looked into the Waterbox 10 and then found out about Ultum Nature Systems AIO tanks. I went to check them out in person at my local LFS and I was blown away by the silicone job and the viewing angles at the edges/interfaces of the glass without distortion due to angle cuts. I had to hVe one. I looked at the 7 gallon cube, and the 9 gallon peninsula, and I wanted to be fair to my clownfish and give him space to zip around horizontally. So I went with the 9 gallon. I did the transfer last night and all parameters are close to zero. Nitrites and ammonia are all zero. Nitrate is trace and phosphate is 0.05.

 

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bruinhd

Had a dino outbreak the past 2 weeks that hast mostly been sequestered in the sand. I've had to stir it daily, which the corals get excited about (I guess they can sense dinos in the water column and eat them).

 

I cut the lights to 8 hours a day the past 3 days, which has kept the dinos manageable. Just added uv light to the back today. So we'll see if this helps to clear things overnight. Supposedly dinos release cyst lifecycle into the water column after the photo period from things I've read.

 

I also removed GFO and have let my phosphate levels climb so that bacteria can hopefully out compete dinos.

 

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Here's a shot of the spinstream RFG and aqamai wavemaker.

 

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This is the UV sterilizer 

 

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Gravity

Tank still looks great! Can’t see any dino in the photos. 

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