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Pico Reefs Contest - Official Rules!

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So you think you can pico? PROVE IT NANOREEFER! This is your chance to show the community your skills with a small tank. First I want to say a quick thanks to our sponsors for their ongoing support, and for donating the prizes for this contest. Without our sponsors, contests like this one wouldn't be possible. Thanks also to the community here for concocting the basic idea and format for this contest. and now.......You asked for it.......You spent 3 days in line waiting........wrapped in a sleeping bag on the front steps of NR headquarters.........in 4ft of snow.......with nothing to eat but a frozen burrito that was warm when you got there........and now.... here they are......finally.......



Ok first off. This contest requires you have a digital camera or access to a digital camera at fairly regular intervals during the contest. Welcome to 2005......a contest that requires digital photos. If you don't have a digital camera, think to yourself......."can I borrow a digital camera or cameraphone regularly to get shots of my tank entry when I need them?". If the answer is no, then you won't be able to take part in this contest. Note: I am putting this rule upfront since it applies to both categories.


Oh....One more thing before I get started with the rules for the individual competitions. This contest will begin on October 15th barring huge amounts of public outcry for the contest starting so soon after rules being posted (something tells me this won't be an issue). You will be able to enter your tank for a period of three weeks after the start date of the contest. That allows for around one month past the posting of these rules to get everything well underway. The Pico Contest will run for approximately 6months at the end of which judging will take place by the community here at Nano-Reef.com. There is plenty of time to work out the specifics of the judging. Hopefully it will all be in writing by the time the contest starts or soon thereafter.


Stock/Basic Category Rules


2.5 Gallon AGA or equivalent tank with trim. The dimensions of a standard 2.5 gallon tank are 12"Lx6"Wx8"H. The most common tanks people are going to find are AGA and Perfecto and can be purchased at any Petco or Petsmart or large LFS usually for under $10. Both tanks are nearly identical and are 12"Lx6"Wx8"H. You are welcome to paint the back of your tank black or blue. The rules won't get too particular on the shades of blue, but the standard aqua marine type blue you see on most tanks will be fine.



The maximum amount of standard PC lighting will 18watts. There is currently a thread in this forum dedicated to a Group Buy from NanoCustoms/NanoTuners on a 12" Current-USA 18w Satellite which comes with an 18w 50/50 bulb and Fixture Legs. This group buy light also has a built in white LED moonlight. Thanks to Nanocustoms for offering the discount price on this group buy.


In the stock/basic category, there will be one exception to the above rule and that is for the "screw in" 20Watt PC lights. These screw in pc's are actually lower light output than the group buy PC lighting. I suggest using standard pc lighting for this contest such as the group buy setup since it is much better lighting for your corals, and you will more than likely have much better results in the end.


NO, you can't overdrive your pc bulbs in the basic/stock contest. This contest is about what you can do WITHOUT modified equipment.



Participants in the stock contest will be allowed one or the other; must not exceed 160gph. This restriction allows for a broad range of Powerheads and HOB Filters. See manufacturers specs for your particular model to see if it is allowed or not. You may not modify a higher flow HOB or PH to create a flow that is within an acceptable range.


List of some popular powerheads and HOB Filters that are allowed:

Aquaclear 20 (previously known as "mini" or "100") - 100gph

Aquaclear 30 (previously known as "150") - 150gph

Millennium 1000 (aquarium systems) - 90gph

Millennium 2000 (aquarium systems) - 160gph

Penguin 100 - 100gph

Penguin 150 - 150gph


Minijet 404 - 108gph

Minijet 606 - 153gph

Microjet 320 - 73gph

Microjet 450 - 117gph

Penguin 550 - 145gph



Yes. You will be allowed to use a heater in your tank.



Yes. You will be allowed to use an auto topoff system with your entry.



Yes! You can create that custom hood/stand of your dreams for the basic/stock contest, but your tank will not be judged on your amazing craftsmenship. Your amazing crafstmenship will however make your tank look nicer wherever it happens to be setup.



(answering other questions that have come up: may be updated)



Yes, Thermometers are amongst the legal equipment list.


Can I test my water using test kits (ph, alk, cal, etc) such as Salifert brand?

Yes, all typical Marine Aquaria test kits are legal to use for your tank entry.


Can I use Live Rock from my other tank? I have plenty extra and it will speed my cycling.

Yes, you may use Live Rock from another reef system you have on hand.


Can I stock my basic/stock Pico contest entry with frags or corals from my display tank?

Yes, you are welcome to use Frags from your other display tank. There will be a cutoff when contestants are not allowed to add any more corals to their tanks. This will force contestants to show they are in fact able to maintain and show growth under basic/stock conditions, even if their corals came from a display tank 5 feet away.


Can I dose my tank with nutrients, etc?

You are welcome to dose your tank, although the aim of the stock/basic contest is more in line with the "less is more" theory of Reefkeeping.


How Do I Enter?!

To officially enter this contest you will need to take a photo with an object specified by me on the day the contest begins with in your unfilled tank setup. You will post this information in your own entry thread in the Basic/Stock Contest Forum. Details to come.


Custom Category Rules


Your display tank volume must be 2.5 Gallons or smaller. If you are using a custom built tank, you may need to show images with measuring device of some sort to prove dimensions to the rest of the contestants. You may be asked at different intervals to take photos of your tank with measuring devices and something else in pic to prove current photo. You may not use an 8 gallon tank for your system and seperate it with a "false back" wall. So....Say it with me everyone...."Your display tank volume must be 2.5 gallons or under".



First off, you are NOT required to utilize a sump for this category. However, if you do, your sump/refugium volume must not be more than 5.5 Gallons. You are welcome to use a custom built sump space or standard tank. This is completely up to the entrant. You will more than likely be asked to take photos of your sump with measuring devices and something else in the pic to prove it is a current photo. Your entire system volume must not exceed 8 Gallons in volume. You may use your sump space for a refugium or sump. You will not be able to fill your display tank or sump space completely to the top. That's good.



Shortest route possible. Keep tanks close. Plumbing should not be used to increase system volume significantly. If it looks like it does, you may be asked to change it.



There is no limitation on this aspect of your tank entry.



There is no limitation on this aspect of your tank entry.



There is no limitation on these aspects of your tank entry.



Yes! You can create that custom hood/stand of your dreams for the Custom Category contest, but your tank will not be judged on your amazing craftsmenship. Your amazing crafstmenship will however make your tank look nicer wherever it happens to be setup. There are also rumors on the internets that your amazing craftsmenship may win a seperate prize altogether.


How Do I Enter?!

To officially enter this contest you will need to take a photo with an object specified by me on the day the contest begins with in your unfilled tank/sump setup. If you are using a custom tank or sump, please make everyones lives easy by taking photos with a yardstick or ruler next to your custom setup to prove dimensions as clearly as possible. You will post this information in your own entry thread in the Custom Pico Contest Forum. Details to come.


So you made it through the rules?

What are we playing for you ask? Well here is a list of this contest's generous sponsors and the prizes they donated to the Nano-Reef.com Pico Contest! The information on exactly how prizes will be awarded and for what categories will be made available when the contest actually begins or soon thereafter. You can see by the list of prizes, there is alot more than honor to play for here in this contest. On to the prizes!.



Aqua Buys - TSS Digi Lab $125 value (includes continental US shipping)



Sea Crop - $100 Livestock Gift Certificate!



Marine Depot - Two $50 Gift Certicates!



Fraggle Reef $75 Gift Certificate


Thanks once again to our sponsors and to the community here at Nano-Reef.com for making this contest a reality. You now have the rules. The rest is in your hands. Good luck Nano Reefers!

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If your tank crashes (for any reason) you will not be able to restart after contest entry has closed (November 5, 2005).


Reason: If your tank crashes, you would have to set it up again which would be basically be entering a new system after contest entry has ended. The point of this contest is to keep a healthy reef the first time around, not to start and then restart over and over if you continually hose your system.

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OFFICIAL ENTRY PHOTO INFORMATION - Taken from photo entry thread.


NANO REEFERS!!! START YOUR PICO'S! (insert large engine rev noise here)


To officially enter the first ever www.Nano-Reef.com Pico Reef Contest, you will need to do two things alerting the community that you are taking part. You will need to take the ever so coveted entry photo which makes sure noone has started early, and you will need to post that entry photo in a thread you start in the Pico Reef Contest forum (under Special Events header on the main forum index page). When starting your Pico Reef Contest entry thread, please be sure to use this context in the title......


[sTOCK] Gilman




[CUSTOM] Gilman

If you don't use this format, one of the mods will fix it, and everyone will chuckle heartily at you about how you obviously can't read/follow directions.


The official entry photo for this contest is.....drumroll please.....


A CD or DVD of some sort (in a case or not, please no porn dvd covers, etc thanks) and a PAIR OF SOCKS (clean...dirty....it doesn't matter). Put both these items in your EMPTY tank and snap a shot. Once you have your picture, post it in your entry thread, and you are officially entered!



We want to see the whole system please. This may take more than one pic. If you are running a custom tank for the display or sump, please go ahead and get pics of your custom built tank next to some sort of measuring device (ruler/tape/yardstick/etc) in order to show proof of dimensions.


You can be custom with your entry pic too and put a CD in the display and a sock in the sump/fuge area or vica versa if you'd like.


To all involved,


I am really looking forward to seeing the tanks that come of this contest. Thanks once again for the support of our sponsors and from our community here at Nano-Reef.com.


Good luck one and all!

ps. Judging criteria and official prizes list will posted soon (within a week or two) please so don't fret.

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