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Newbie Pico: Please Advice


moonyguy

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Hello everyone,

 

After weeks of reading on this forum I finally jumped in and decided to get myself a pico. My current set up looks like this.

Tank: 1.6 gallon hex

Lighting: Currently 15w bulb (I am awating a 10w PC 50/50 bulb)

Substrate: 1 inch deep crushed coral with 1/2 inch layer of live sand from LFS

Live Rock: Currently 1/2 lbs fragments (will add another pound this weekend)

Filter: I am currently running the UG filter that came with the hex.

My plan: I want to cycle the tank for 3-4 weeks before I decide what to add in it.

 

My questions:

 

1. Is the UG the right thing to use in a SW pico? I was wondering is the substrate bed is so deep it doesnt do a whole lot of good anyway.

 

2. Is the current generated by the air pump in UG enough or do I need a power head? Must of this current is towards the surface.

 

3. This morning I noticed that the fragments of LR I got from LFS had something growning on it (marked by arrows in the picture below). I am wondering if the one to the right is Aiptasia? Also any idea what those red things are to the left.

 

Thanks a lot for the help in advance. Hope to learn more here.

clear skies

VishnuWhatistis.JPG

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well I would get rid of the UGF before you get too much farther into this the way a UGF works is it sucks everything down into the gravel bed then to clean you need to "vacume" the gravel which in your case would be a PITA...loose the UGF ..not sure if you can get a HOB to fit on the back of that tank but look into one of those small ones that everyone uses on there picos and that should do you for current...

 

yea that is aiptasia

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Thanks a lot dhoff. I got rid of the UGF but kept the airstone for now till I get a small HOB and hook it to the tank. The easiest way to remove aiptasia I read is to pour boiling water over them. Just to double check...does this mean that I also kill everything living in the live rock?

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Airstone (all bubbles) + saltwater = Massive ********* + Skimmate. Remove the airstone ASAP or you're going to be in for it. Best way to kill aptasia, IMHO, is go to your LFS and buy a bottle of joe's juice. ;) Look around for a small AC300 or even smaller if one of those won't fit on your tank. You could convert the HOB into a refugium and be much better off than using it as a filter.

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Hi Kogut, The airstone is out. Just wondering what is the difference between the bubbles produced by an airstone and a power jet? Is it the airstone thats the issue or the bubbles. Will get joe's juice ;)

Thanks once again.

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Yup. The bubbles are the issue. You want to disable any "oxygenation" feature that your powerhead might have, too. The bubbles attach to the waste and your whole tank turns into a skimmer. ;) Good luck!

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Thanks a lot Jana and Kogut. Looks like the red stuff is harmless foraminiferans. I also went and got more live rock from the store today. I have taken out the airstone and so there are no bubbles in the tank. The only thing that worries me now is the high temperature. The 15w bulb is cooking things to 80-85F. My 10w 50/50 PC should be here in a couple of days.

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neanderthalman

I wouldn't worry about your temperature so much, especially when you're cycling your LR. Natural ocean temperatures vary wildly, but most species are found in fairly shallow coastal areas. I've read that most coral reefs have a water temperature close to eighty degrees. After reading that, I slowly raised the temp of my 1.6 ga hex to 80F nearly a year ago, and it's been doing just great.

 

The species kept in aquaria do not require a single specific temperature to thrive, but they don't do well if the temperature changes quickly. It is my thought that keeping your temperature as close to natural conditions as possible would speed up bacterial growth in your LR and therefore speed up your cycle. Just like with food, if the rock is kept too cold or too warm, the bacteria grow slowly.

 

If you're still having trouble keeping temperatures down once you get your new light, there's a simple solution. Blow air at the outside of the tank to cool it, then add a heater to keep it up to temperature.

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Thanks a lot for the nice explanation about the temperature. I will keep your advice in mind and decide what to do once my tank cycles. I was also wondering how long will a small tank like this would take to cycle. I have about 2.5 pounds of LR and a pound of LS in there now. No hurry just wondering if the time is the same (2-4 weeks) as FW.

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neanderthalman

The trick with "cycling" is that it never really finishes.....

 

All you need to do is wait until the bacteria population stabilizes before you add critters. That usually takes a few weeks, about the same timeframe as a FW tank. As soon as you add anything to your tank, a mini-cycle starts up, and the ecosystem will slowly stabilize again. That's why patience is so important with nanos, and even more so with picos. I'd recommend waiting at least a month to add anything to your tank.

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cool. Waiting is not a problem at all for me. Best to wait and get it right the first time. Since my school gets over in one month's time it would be perfect time for me to let things cycle before that. Right now I do not have a testing kit but I intend to take my water to the LFS and get it tested everyweek till it cycles.

I forgot to mention that two small snails hitchhiked along with the LR into my tank. One is a dark brown one with small white dots and another is a light green one. Both about 20 mm long. Do I take them back to the store and return them or shall I let them be in the tank till it cycles?

Thanks once again.

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I had lots of hitch hiker snails in my lr....they've all survived quite well. Leave them, and they can help (a tiny bit:D ) with the algae, when it takes over....

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neanderthalman

Can you post a pic of the snails? It might be nice to get them identified - There's an entire forum here dedicated for identification of stuff in your reef. I don't know of any harmful snails, although my astrea snail seems like a 1" bulldozer some days. Chances are they'll not only survive the initial cycle, but speed it up slightly by kick starting it with the small amounts of ammonia they produce.

 

Good idea to wait until after school to add critters - adding stuff to your tank while you have exams to study for wouldn't be the smartest thing to do. Might not be a bad time to kill those f@*&ing aipstasia - great stress releif to see them shrivel up and die.

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Photos are on their way. I realized that the green snail is a crab actually. I was wondering if I need to get the HOB running while cycling or do I need to wait till I get it cycled before I start running it. Also I noticed that "rubble" being used in HOBs instead of regular filters...any idea what this rubble could be.

Thanks once again.

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neanderthalman

Rubble is just small peices of LR, maybe an inch in diameter. It works just like LR but it isn't as pretty and you can't build it into nice aquascaping as easily. I've also seen some macro in a HOB fuge before.

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