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sr2z

The Pico vol. 2 - Shrooms and calculations

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sr2z

Hello folks!

So... where should I begin... Some time ago, I started my very first saltwater aquarium... a small nano... It was quite happy for the first few weeks, then came some diatoms here, some cyano there... then some more... A complete disaster. I shut it down and didn´t even think about reefing for quite a long time.

But now, I am ready to present you my second attempt on a pico reef, the result of a lot of reading and studying about nano and pico reefing, but still made at a friendly budget...

(oukey, I think that was too much theatricality)

 

Behold, The Pico vol. 2:

 

Date of establishment = yesterday (21/10/2020)

The tank = 4,5 gallon cube

Lighting = Completely DIY (notice the wooden construction), has a "White mode" (on the photo of the empty tank), "Blue-white mode" (on most of the photos) and a "Blue mode"(no photos here, but I can tell you that it looks great, in my opinion).. What do you think?

Filtration = Built-in, someone could call it a "rear sump"...

1. A sponge

2. Some ceramic rings

3. Seachem purigen

4. Seachem Matrix

5. Another sponge

6. Resun sk-300 protein skimmer (I know, a bit too oversized)

7. Another sponge

8. Return pump

Deco = I used two kilos of Caribsea Liferock, I think it looks OK. Those odd things that you can see on them isn´t algae, just a lot off bubbles from yesterday. I had the opportunity to use some live rock, but after close inspection a discovered that it was full of Aiptasia...

Sand = Used to be live sand, but was completely dried and washed in fresh water so.... yeah, not too live now...

Dosing = Nothing except some Sera BioReefclear to help with the cycling, eventually some Seachem Stability. After the first corals, I will see, and probably ask you folks for some advice!

Parameters = Actually, I didn´t test yet, but I´ll update it as soon as I get to it. All my tests are Salifert

Stocking = 

1 Blue-legged hermit crab

1 Cerith snail (massive, I don´t think I´ll add more Ceriths...)

2 small Dove snails (mistakenly identified as Nassarius. Thank you @jservedio for help with the identification!)

Maybe I´ll add some other kind of snail...

In a few weeks, the first zoanthids will come.

And maybe, just maybe.... a fish (clown goby, or maybe even a Banggai Cardinal)

 

That´s all I could think of at the moment, if there is something that I have forgotten, remind me please! I am open to any opinions on my tank and any advice.

DSC_0626.JPG

 

CSC_0628.JPG

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Leo_ian

for the fish i wouldn't go with the banggai simply because of their size. Cgs eat corals. I'd say a small shrimp goby like a black ray or yasha would be cool. Trimma gobies would look nice in there. Maybe a small damsel or dottyback if you want some open water swimming

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sr2z

Yeah, it is a small tank, but there is still a lot time till I will be adding any serious livestock, so plenty of time to decide...

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sr2z

Parameters update Day 2, test 1:

pH = 7.5

KH = 6.7 dKH

NO3 = 5

NO2 = 0

Si = 0

PO4 = 0.25

I know... 

... Parameters not ideal, pH and KH too low and phosphates way too high... 

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sr2z

Update:

I have just measured phosphates, they went down rapidly to 0,1.

Also, I discovered that I should take pictures of the tank under white lighting only, I think they look waaay better 😆

 

DSC_0648.JPG

DSC_0645.JPG

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sr2z

As for the clean-up crew, I was thinking of this combination:

2-3 blue legged hermits

2 cerith snails

2 trochus snails

What do you think?

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Leo_ian

maybe more ceriths, i rarely get them from where im from but as much as i know, they are small

 

actually phosphates of 0.3 and higher are ideal imo, it feeds the corals

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A.m.P

That's likely too big a CUC, slowly add them and see what you end up needing in the long run.
Trimma gobies are a tiny option, coral croucher gobies, Caribbean sailfin blenny, starry goby, bluestripe cave goby, saltwater dwarf rainbowfish, or you could just do inverts; some sexy shrimp and a flower nem would look pretty cool.

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sr2z

Well, the tank will be focused mainly on zoanthids, maybe some LPS, I could even imagine a small birdsnest frag on the top. So the sexy shrimp would be superb, but it is kinda hard to track them down in Slovakia, not speaking of flower anemones 🙁 As for the CUC, I will add the ceriths at first, because I expect diatoms to grow first, then the hermits when some other algae shows up, and finally the trochus. I was thinking of adding Nassarius but I think the sandbed is a little too shallow (below 1 inch)

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sr2z

Soo.... I think it´s time for a small update:

My tank is under heavy attacks of diatoms, so I decided to call in some reinforcements.

What I added yesterday:

1 Blue-legged hermit crab

1 Cerith snail (massive, I don´t think I´ll add more Ceriths...)

2 tinny little Nassarius (I know that I said that they won´t go in there, but when I saw how tiny they are, I decided to give them a try)

My experience so far:

The hermit crab is scavenging around the rockwork, quite good in that.

The Cerith snail hasn´t done a lot so far, it just plows the sand in a speed of 1 inch/hour (I´m not even joking 🤣)

The Nassarius are awesome! They zip around the tank, eat a lot of diatoms from the glass and rocks. Are they even supposed to do that?! I´ve heard that they just burrow in the sand and wait for food.

My parameters:

I only used a quick test, the pH was fine, so was the KH, NO2 undetected, NO3 near zero... No silicates whatsoever, even phosphates have dropped! What in the earth can be fueling those diatoms... 🤔

Some questions 😀:

Any suggestions on expanding my CUC? I was thinking on adding an Ophiolepis superba next week, or maybe something else...

When should I expect the diatoms to start to disappear? I was thinking on adding a first frag of zoas (as @Snow_Phoenix kindly suggested) in a few weeks, if the parameters are ok and the diatoms will be no more.

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Leo_ian

The star would require a lot of space. @Snow_Phoenix has brittles in their pico maybe you can ask them on tips

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sr2z

Yeah, that starfish was just one option, there are plenty of others. I probably won´t add it because i need to keep the bioload as low as possible if I want to succeed. My CUC is looking good at the moment, water parameters stable. I was thinking of adding a nerite or two to help with the diatoms, but I see that the diatom bloom is slowing down and slowly disappearing, so I think I won´t add them at the moment...

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Leo_ian

What corals are you planning on adding? softies, polyps, lps, sps. mixed?

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sr2z

Glad you are asking 😀

The tank will be focused mainly on zoanthids, no other softies inside (maybe a GSP background, but that could quickly get out of control). Then, when the zoas settle in, I want to add one euphyllia paarancora polyp to the top, to make som movement. Maybe a few other LPS too (caulastrea, blastomussa). I don´t really think that it would be able to support SPS, but if I will feel confident enough, I´ll add a small birdsnest coral frag, too. But I think that would require a lighting upgrade, because this light what I have now is just DIY, nothing special.

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Leo_ian

A yellow birdsnest requires low light btw 

just a fun fact

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sr2z

Really? I think I should refresh my SPS knowledge 🤣  Thanks @Leo_ian

 

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Leo_ian

hehe tidal gardens youtube has fed me a lot of coral info

 

Pavona is an easy sps but doesnt look like a conventional one, branching forms have a more club like appearance. 

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sr2z

Same, tidal gardens videos are great with excellent footage... I would love to keep all kinds of corals inside, but as you know, I´m veeeery restricted by the dimensions of the tank... it´s tiny! I don´t think I will have space for pavonas, but thanks for the tip!

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sr2z

Some photos of my CUC...

The hermit crab:

IMG_20201105_063012.thumb.jpg.78a1241e7f60793381134c2ac7178406.jpg

The Nassarius snail:

IMG_20201105_210106.thumb.jpg.0c0124cde2cf79d24e3ccf393e588e72.jpg

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sr2z

Just a little update:

My CUC is doing a good job in controlling the diatom outbrake, the diatoms have almost disappeared.

I´m excited because I´m gonna pick-up the first 3 frags for my pico reef this friday! They will be all zoanthids, Jungle Juice, Bam Bam orange and Lime Chilli.

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sr2z

The corals have arrived!

 

Lime Chilli in the foreground... Bam Bam in the background...

125408831_411080769923011_5801087424176605923_n.thumb.jpg.370b2857b127ce707e2b4599fa0ca159.jpg

 

 

Lime Chilli detail...

125220424_890651478139230_9109108563626424898_n.thumb.jpg.22e89c4b91c24d3075cf9d6ca2fe33c5.jpg

 

 

The Jungle Juice haven´t opened up yet...

125392800_367476297663922_3505546353882685995_n.thumb.jpg.b3a5133718f5a7f58eba457360f334bd.jpg

 

 

The zoas and some GSP (got it for free)...

125526882_2884923035071280_2665120929919736290_n.thumb.jpg.d68657b8040fe5c5eebf2c66226f3116.jpg

 

 

 

As you can see, some of the corals haven´t opened up yet, but I can´t wait until they do so 😄

 

125426430_278641116907899_7755195010011153627_n.thumb.jpg.1f804d810a20ae30c8e4703b1c2cac6f.jpg

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sr2z

Now, when the first corals are settling in, I have started to think about what fish would eventually be possible to keep in the tank. I got a lot of thoughts on what should be fine, but they were mostly about clown gobies, yellow-tail damselfish etc...

Banggai cardinalfish and Lawnomer blennies do really grab my interest, so do dragonets, but all of those fish are too big for this pico. Are there any unique fish, with interesting personalities (except clown gobies and damselfish) which could possibly be kept in this pico? Please, share your experience...

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A.m.P

Barnacle blenny's may be small enough, I think the carribean sailfin's would probably get too big, maybe a Pictus blenny?  
I wouldn't put a damselfish in a system that small.

Trimma and coral croucher gobies are both oddballs you may prefer.
Dwarf saltwater rainbowfish could also be a possibility.

Lower flow means you could stock it with saltwater Endler's Guppies.

 

You could stock with interesting inverts instead of fish as another possibility.
 

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sr2z

Thanks @A.m.P!

I was thinking about stocking a blenny inside, maybe a linear or tailspot. I would love to get my hands on a coral croucher goby, however, they are pretty much impossible to get in my country.

14 minutes ago, A.m.P said:

You could stock with interesting inverts instead of fish as another possibility.

I was thinking about this option, actually, but I decided to go with the fish option for this tank... I don´t have a real reason, I just prefer fish to inverts... My plan is to create a dense reef with one small fish. I heard one interesting opinion, and that is, to stock not only one, but a breeding pair of clown gobies! What do you guys think of that? Could it work?

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A.m.P
51 minutes ago, sr2z said:

Thanks @A.m.P!

I was thinking about stocking a blenny inside, maybe a linear or tailspot. I would love to get my hands on a coral croucher goby, however, they are pretty much impossible to get in my country.

I was thinking about this option, actually, but I decided to go with the fish option for this tank... I don´t have a real reason, I just prefer fish to inverts... My plan is to create a dense reef with one small fish. I heard one interesting opinion, and that is, to stock not only one, but a breeding pair of clown gobies! What do you guys think of that? Could it work?

No experience, but it's easier to find mated pairs of neon or blue/yellow line sharknose gobies and or green banded gobies (at least stateside)

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