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tinyreef

2.5-gallon Sunlight Pico-Reef

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tinyreef

this was the last post from my pico-reef contest thread. as suggested by chris, instead of having him move the threads over i'm posting a new thread here (as likely will the other contestants).

 

sorry for the long initial post but it was basically a summation post and gives the contest history (for me) in a snapshot. this is actually an edited posted as there were too many images to upload in one shot. there are other detailed info in the original thread (if you have an afternoon to kill :blush: ).

 

Bascially, this tank was an experiment on sunlighting in an everyday application/situation. I know sunlight works in a greenhouse (e.g. Tropicorium or Seacrop), skylighting/sola-tubes, and natural setting (i.e. those reef-things/places near the equator) but I wasn’t sure how it’d stand up in a plain ol’ regular tank setting plopped down next to a window like a potted plant.

 

I was definitely concerned how the corals would color up/down with the sunlight but I think I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the coloration and growth. The usual problems of nanos/picos affected the tank (i.e. temperature, evaporation, alleopathy, etc.) but by and large I think it was a success. During the contest the main problems I had were temperature and alleopathic issues from a sinularia but otherwise things seemed to get along.

 

Long-term for sps and stonys I'll have to investigate more but not sure if I'll bother since those corals really don't interest me. So far though, the stonys seemed very happy with the lighting levels (although we are entering spring/summer, not sure if winter season would sufficient).

 

Unlike some of the other contestants’ view of "easier maintenance with such a small tank", this tank was more work than my typical tank. But I think that’s more because I’m lazy to a nirvanic-level than the tank really needed maintenance. I’m just not used to doing waterchanges religiously/weekly and switching out filters and so on. If you do that already, then this setup’s easy. I often go weeks or months without such maintenance on my other tanks (they look it too! D’oh!) so the regularity of this tank sort of irked me. Topping off constantly is also a bother for me. I long for a pico-sized ATO. <sigh>

 

The setup is a 2.5-gallon All-Glass tank. The rock was bleached fiji rock from my lfs’s toss-away bins. The substrate is caribsea’s crushed coral and fiji pink sand. The heater is a 25W Hagen. The only water movement is generated by an undergravel filter system (over)powered by a Whisper-40 air pump. Lighting was by sun.

 

IIRC, all of the corals were either aquacultured by me, two OLS’s (Seacrop and Coral Dynamics), or from the frag tanks of two LFS’s (Hanover Pet and Country Critters-Long Island) I "frequent". Many of the coral livestock below are in multiple colonies but I've only listed them singularly, e.g. there are actually two separate colonies of the tubiopora and probably a half-dozen colonies of the orange zoanthid.

 

Livestock:

Coral

Sarcophyton elegans

Sarcophyton latum

Discosoma-Blue

Discosoma-Brown/Green (MIA)

Discosoma-Red

Palythoa-Green

Palythoa-Cream

Tubipora

Capnella

Clavularia #1

Clavularia #2 (previously mis-ID’d, same as above)

Clavularia viridis

Clove Polyps (in ill health)

Gorgonian-Purple

Stoloniferan #1-Pink

Stoloniferan #2

Stoloniferan #3 (aka ‘Moss’)

Caulastrea-Blue

Parazoanthus (Yellow Polyps)

Zoanthid-Blue

Zoanthid-Orange

Zoanthid-Red (mis-ID’d, same as Zoanthid-Orange)

Zoanthid-Pink/Violet

Zoanthid-Yellow

Zoanthid-Yellow/Orange

Zoanthid-Brown/Green (color changed to predominantly green)

Zoanthid-Green/Brown

Zoanthid-Green/Orange

Blue Xenia

Hydroids-Brown

SPS-Yellow (Unidentified)

Aiptasia

 

Livestock (other than Corals)

Algae

Chaetomorpha

Padina sp.

Amphoria fragilisima

 

Macrofauna

(2) Astrae Snails

(3) Brittle Stars

(1) Stomatella Snail

 

Microfauna

Phyllochaetopterus Worms

Ctenophores (casting line-type)

Copepods

Bristleworms

Mysis Shrimp

Feather Dusters

 

Below: initial setup pic (10-23-05), chalk-white rock and northern facing window (I was concerned of overexposure for the tank at the time).

2005-1023-3.JPG

 

Below: angled fts (11-8-05)

2005-1108-2.JPG

 

Below: overhead view showing condensation and splash from the bubbles

DSCN0788.JPG

 

Below: front fts (1-1-06), happy new year!

2006-0101-3-New.jpg

 

Below: front fts (2-11-06), I’m getting better on the glare as you can see. :P

2006-0211-1.jpg

 

Below: side view fts (2-25-06)

2006-0225-2.jpg

 

Below: new canopy closeup (3-24-06), new and improved low profile canopy.

2006-0324-2.jpg

 

Below: side view fts (3-25-06)

2006-0325-14.jpg

 

Below: side view fts (4-1-06), final shots right after contest end-date

2006-0401-4.jpg

 

Below: front view fts (4-1-06), NOTE: this is a cropped and spliced shot. What I did towards the end of the contest is take two pics of the front fts, ignoring the obvious glare/reflection, then cut/cropped two pictures (right & left) into one pic that minimized the glare/reflection. You can still see the slight seam line in the middle though. I didn’t say I was good at photoshop, I just wanted less glare from my honda in the driveway. :P

2006-0401-14.jpg

 

Overall, I’ve been very happy with the setup and process. The contest forced/prodded me to be vigilant and conservative with my livestock additions (never did add the fish I wanted to). The ugf system was ok by-and-large. The bubble geysers gave me some grief but overall I liked the randomness and easy/light flow of the bubbling versus a small powerhead.

 

One of the original concepts I wanted to incorporate into this setup was an emulation of Lee Eng Chin’s “natural method” utilizing bubbling action as the water flow. I’m not sure if I could apply his method effectively to a large traditional-type tank but I think I did a decent job imitating it here in a pico.

 

But I think the sunlight application proved out very well. I don’t think I’ll be doing another tank without sunlight as a significant light source or as the only light source from now on.

 

In fact, the very rich phytoplankton generation from this tank has me thinking of other corals and applications to combine with our “traditional” tanks. will advise!

Edited by tinyreef

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shivametimbas

my favorite pico of the contest. nads, u got em. go sunlight.

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Mr.anemone

wow .....whats with the fan ....but anyway good job your tank is good .....so what is that bottle with white stuff in it...?

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Mr. Fosi
whats with the fan ...

 

You should know all about fans given your post about how to keep your aquarium cool.

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shivametimbas
.....so what is that bottle with white stuff in it...?

 

kalk

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aquaman7
my favorite pico of the contest...

 

^Mine as well. A very natural approach, it's excellent Tiny. B)

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tinyreef

thanks, shiva! it was definitely a fun contest. c'mon, your turn now post your thread. :)

 

mr.anem,

the fan's for cooling. decent amount of heat from the sunlight. actually, i have the fan on 'oscillating mode' because constant direction cools the tank too much but my smaller deskfan doesn't cool enough.

 

and yes, shiva's correct, the little white bottle's kalkwasser (pickling lime in ro/di water). i shake it up everyday and dose in the morning and at night. it makes up about 75% of the evaporated water, which i still suffer from even with the enclosed canopy due to the constant air-pressure forced in by the air-pump/ugf. so a lot of atomized water from the bubbling is pushed out thru the small inlet in the canopy for the air-tube and heater wire.

 

updates after the contest as requested:

below: side view fts

2006-0521-1.jpg

 

below: top view fts (tank's too close to the window now for a front fts)

2006-0521-2.jpg

 

below: closeup of pipe organ in pic above, the 2nd strata of pipe organ is beginning to grow in

2006-0521-3.jpg

 

below: coral veins! heh, actually they're just the stolons of the "moss" coral i bought late in the contest. as seen in the 1st pic, they're growing onto the side pane of glass (and the front actually). every so often a polyp grows out but it's an interesting view imo.

2006-0521-5.jpg

 

thanks, aquaman! to the hall of justice, superfriends! :lol:

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aquaman7

Wow, that "moss coral" is doing well, it may be coolest coral you've got in there. Did you ever get a positive id?

 

btw... your sig is one of my favorite quotes of all time.

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tinyreef
Wow, that "moss coral" is doing well, it may be coolest coral you've got in there. Did you ever get a positive id?
thanks, again!

 

ID? uh, i dunno. :unsure: heck, i can barely ID sarcos and they're my "speshiality". :lol:

 

i just call them mini-polyps or moss polyps. even the "adult" polyps are tiny. they're about the size of this "t".

 

sometimes i can't even see them, then i glance sideways and notice that they're covering an additional inch of rock or something (i fragged a bit for my office nano).

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aquaman7
ID? uh, i dunno. :unsure: heck, i can barely ID sarcos and they're my "speshiality". :lol:

 

Haha... oh well. They're cool anyway. Maybe it's a new species Tinyus Mossishpolypius :P.

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tinyreef

below: closeup of some tunicates growing on the uplift tube of the UGF. the squiggles to the right are just micro-bubbles floating around. the pinkish branchy thing to the left is amphiroa sp. coralline (i think). for scale, the tunicates are about 3mm tall in this picture.

 

2006-0521-10.jpg

 

tunicates have been dominant and recessive in this tank. sometimes they grow almost into the turbulent and sunlit areas and then sometimes they die back into the dark recesses of the LR. i think it has to do partly with the available food pyramid than available phyto, which i quite abundant since the system is bathed in sunlight everyday.

 

but i have noticed certain organisms dominating and then dying back in cycles. the latest one was a near-infestation of amphipods as the highest predatory organism in this tank. they've now died back with the shrinking food source (copepods diminished sharply) and now the copepods are making (seems to be) a comeback and these tunicates as well. probably some larger/overall food pyramid connection thingy at work.

 

whatever, i thought they made a good/interesting macro shot. :P

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coralcrazy

wow dude..you are using JERSEY SUN also..great job..i would never have the balls to do that with our sun ;)

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tinyreef
wow dude..you are using JERSEY SUN also..great job..i would never have the balls to do that with our sun ;)
imagine the cohones needed to setup a tank with jersey water! :lol:

 

thanks for the comments though!

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tinyreef

speaking of jersey sunlight, because of the change in seasons, the sunlight is now more directly overhead. and since this isn't a skylight setup (that's for the future project! :owned: ) the tank needed to have its position changed to still get as much direct sunlight. so now it's only less than a foot from the window versus set further back during the fall/winter months.

 

below: updated FTS (5-21-06)

2006-0521-8.jpg

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tinyreef

the pinnules of this stoloniferan has gotten pretty lengthy. it almost resembles an anthelia in a closeup imo (but it's waaay smaller, 1/5~1/10 relative size). you can compare scale by the green star polyps in the lower right. not a spectaular shot or subject or anything, i just liked the macro shot.

 

2006-0529-6.jpg

 

the tank's butt-up against the window now. i can see (this weekend) that the late morning/early afternoon sunlight (used to be highest intensity light period) is now actually entirely shaded from the tank by the roof due to the seasonal angle of the sun.

 

it still doesn't grab enough light imo but it's better than it was set so far back. it's funny to think that it actually got more sun in the winter/fall than now because of the angles involved.

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tinyreef

ARRRGH!

 

weekly maintenance -> cleaning the glass -> slipped while handling my nimble scraper -> reflex reaction to upright the fallen scraper -> ripped most of my coral veins off the glass -> profuse cursing and forehead smacking (d'oh!)

 

2006-0604-2.jpg

 

what's left of the coral "veins" is that pile of fish net looking thing in the upper left of the picture. i've already transplanted it to my display. not that an itsy-bitsy coral is noticeable in such a large tank tho imo. maybe in a year or two.

 

v5a7hf.jpg

 

stupid-stupid-stupid! *foreheadsmack*

 

well, that still counts as an update though. :(

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andykee
weekly maintenance -> cleaning the glass -> slipped while handling my nimble scraper -> reflex reaction to upright the fallen scraper -> ripped most of my coral veins off the glass -> profuse cursing and forehead smacking (d'oh!)

i'd blame it on the nimble :lol: j/k Jerome :P

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tinyreef

Updates!

 

i moved the tank from the window to underneath a narrow skylight in my foyer. i wish i could put it under one of the larger skylights but that would either be too obtrusive or in great danger from too much foot traffic. as it is, i'm concerned with the kids running around. :o

 

the narrow skylight also limits the direct sunlight the tank receives now. instead of getting anywhere between 3~4 hours of direct sun, now i'm down to about an hour, if that even. note the difference in the following pictures:

 

direct sunlight

2006-0704-2.jpg

 

about 30-minutes later

2006-0704-3.jpg

 

the tank has slowed down in growth and i've removed some corals as things get crowded. but the "coral veins" are still growing, the substrate half of this coral (moss coral) is slowly covering the left side of the tank.

2006-0704-5.jpg

 

nuisance algae has grown a bit. i had pruned too much of the chaeto at one point and it unbalanced the system a bit (still recovering from that imo). and i've been very lax on maintenance recently (not enough time from work) so unfortunately it's looking a bit rough around the edges.

 

so far, i'm most disappointed in the loss of lighting due to the season changes. i expect much better light and growth in the fall and winter when the sun's at a better angle to put the tank back next to a window.

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tinyreef

much easier now to take pictures compared to when it was butt-up against the window. sacrifice light but get accessibility. *sigh*

 

this picture was taken with the acrylic canopy off and the bubbler (UGF filter) turned off. the uplift tube is located underneath the carbon and Poly-Filter on the upper right.

2006-0704-7.jpg

 

the "flower pot" mushroom has taken a beating lately. i've been ignoring the tank too much. :blush: it was in shade for a couple of weeks but it's getting better.

 

i also took out my kryptonite zoos as they were getting bounced around by the bubbler/ugf. the pipe organ coral seems to love the tank and was crowding the k-zoos into the bubble flow.

 

i'm getting a rebound of flatworms that i'm going to have to deal with eventually. stinkin' worms.

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tinyreef

i just noticed this sponge is on the move (again). it had crept to its present home (palythoa rock, on its left) from the main rock months back prior to me re-locating it to the sand where it's currently at. and now it's moving to a zoanthid rock next to it (on the right).

2006-0709-3.jpg

its pseudopods (the thin filaments waving around) are extended and helping it reach like an octopus, i guess. o_O

 

but don't misinterpret that, it's verrrry slow going. i figure it should finish moving across the 1/4" gap (its currently halfway) in about another few days. *yawn*

 

you definitely can't see any actual movements with the naked eye though.

Edited by tinyreef

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adinsxq

needs more fish!

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tinyreef
needs more fish!
meh, i was thinking more cow-bell.

 

but i'm just waiting for a baby hippo tang to clear qt so i can plop it in. i'm going to call it Dorito.

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tinyreef

attack of the killer sponge! :o it's spongebill upyourbutt!

 

this fugger's now crawling over my zoanthids (background). i dunno where or why it's decided all of a sudden to trek across my little tank but i hope it doesn't bother my sunnys much longer. (it's taken a week for it to go about an inch and half)

2006-071706-1.jpg

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adinsxq

squish it!!!

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tinyreef
squish it!!!
ewww, sponge guts! *barf!*

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