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“Pico-chu, I choose you!” 3.5G Low Maintenance Pico


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Current FTS - 13/04/22




FTS - 04/03/22



Superfish iq13



Stock return pump - 52gph

Asta 20 LED

Visitherm Heater

1.5lbs branching Real Reef Rock

Jebao SLW-10 




Maxspect Bio-spheres 

Filter wool







Hello all!

This thread will document my new pico build that my 5yr old and I are doing.  

I had the superfish iq13 stored away from my previous time in the hobby and thankfully I kept the equipment for it too so, when my son asked for his very own tank, it was the perfect solution. 


The plan is to keep it simple, there is not much room for an additional powerhead so I think I’ll stick with just the return and have undemanding softies in here along with some macro-algae . Maybe an easy LPS centrepiece. 

Here is the tank fresh out of storage:


And during cleaning. There was some old dried deposits and salt so some warm water and a toothbrush soon shifted them:


After this I took the opportunity to block the two holes on the rear wall as I believe this will aid filtration rather than bypassing the media. 

Once that was done we headed to the LFS to choose a bit of rock and pick up some sand. The LFS had some man made rock labelled as Real Reef Rock but I have a feeling it’s actually TMC eco-rock.  If anyone has used Real Reef Rock and can compare it to theirs that would be appreciated!


It is a nice piece and lends itself well to the small tank!


Next up was getting the tank wet! The sand got a good RO rinse and the rock was scrubbed in RO to remove as much dust and debris as possible. 


And this is where we are up to today:


I have the Maxpect bio-spheres in my 20G to seed them ready for adding a fish to this tank. I think we’ll probably go for either a yellow coral goby or warpaint goby. I’d love to get a Christmas goby but they seem hard to come by. 


I also have a cutting of gorgonian from the 20G to go in here as the first addition so that will be added soon too.

Thanks for reading!


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On 2/21/2022 at 5:26 PM, debbeach13 said:

This is fantastic. I bet your son is very excited! 

Thank you! He is super excited.


3 hours ago, Pjanssen said:

I love that you are doing this with your son!

Thanks! It will be a good adventure. 

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After watching the tank for the past couple of days I decided I wasn’t really happy with how high the water line was sitting. The only option was to reduce the flow from the return pump but this meant reducing flow for the whole system. Not ideal. 

So I’ve re-purposed my salt mixing Jebao SLW-10 for this build. It’s giving a good amount of flow to the tank now, even at the lowest setting, and it’s set to wave mode so the little guy loves it as the water now has a wavy effect. 



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  • 2 weeks later...

This little tank has some life!

I’ve been putting the used floss from my 20G in here to seed it with some microfauna/ bacteria and there is some spots of algae starting to form on the walls. Also picked up some frags for this alongside some for my 20G.


GSP. I think we are going to let this grow over the rockwork which should give some nice movement and colour. 




Also picked up a dwarf hermit crab to start picking at the diatoms and algae starting to form. 


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7 hours ago, carnationcrab said:

I love this. What’s your son’s favorite thing in the tank?

The GSP! He saw it and loved the colour straight away. 

He’s also after copepods of all things lol.

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The tank is now in full ugly stage mode with patches of hair algae starting to grow here and there.


2 Astraea snails were added a couple of days ago to start grazing away at the rock and sand so hopefully they will go some way to keeping it at bay. 


The GSP is starting grow onto the rock at the bottom left, so pretty happy that at least there is a bit of growth going on. The zoas have not been opening fully but I’m thinking it’s just from strands of algae blowing over them and annoying them. Will need to get the toothbrush out to scrub them.


I was planning on keeping this as low maintenance as possible but a birds nest coral smashed in the main tank so a bit has went in here towards the top of the rock, will need to keep an eye on Alk consumption and nutrients. If it doesn’t make it then I won’t be too fussed as its just a take a chance and see.


Also added some gracilaria mammillaris macro at the top right of the rock. I’m thinking that long term this will help soak up some nutrients as there is no space in the rear to run a refugium. I’ve also been looking at other macros and am keen to try more in here.


Fish wise, still nothing in here yet but I was at the LFS yesterday at they had a firecracker goby in stock. If it’s still there next month then it may be finding it’s way into this tank!



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