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  1. I'd like to preface this by saying that I'm a DIYer at heart and I enjoy that process. I'm sure that much of what you see here could have been avoided by going with a small AIO tank, but I wanted to do something different. We'll see if this backfires as it's my first reef tank, but fingers crossed! Around 3 years ago I was ready to set up my first tank - a Fluval Evo 13.5. I was nearly ready to add water, auto water change configured, custom stand build, etc, but had to move shortly thereafter. My new place was going to be much smaller, meaning no place to put the stand I had built for the 13.5g tank. Fast forward a year.. having already been considering a jar, not only for the interesting aesthetics, but also the potential to rip clean and just generally less water to deal with. I decided to go for that instead as my new place had a little snack bar, perfect for such a tank! I ended up purchasing a Reefsmart light (intended for use with the Anchor Hocking 2g jar), and again was just about ready to add water. This was at the same time as the PG&E power shutoffs in Northern CA, which seriously put me off from setting up an aquarium of any kind. I told myself that if by the next year there had been no PG&E outages for a extended periods of time, I'd pick it back up. During this period of de motivation, I decided to implement a reef-pi and Kasa power strip in place of the Inkbird setup. Said to myself, might as well monitor temperature swings in my jar as my home insulation isn't the best. Sure enough, my little 10w heater wasn't keeping up in the coldest months and indoor ambient temps would get over 82 during the summer. This further demotivated me as I don't have central AC. After staring at the Anchor Hocking jar for literally a year I just could not get past the lack of clarity. I delved deep into Google trying to find a clearer alternative that would work with the Reefsmart light, no such luck. I came across a single mention of the extra large snack jar available at CB2 in a post over at nano-reef as a potential candidate. From the product photos it looked crystal clear, and slightly larger in diameter. Despite some lines visible from production and few other imperfections, the clarity was night and day in comparison to the Anchor Hocking in person. I resolved the diameter issue by designing a simple 3d printed reducer ring. I'm not very happy with the finish of the ring even after smoothing it out and painting it, so I'll likely to another version that will also extend down past the water line. Now to address the heating and flow. After extensive research, I decided to use a canister filter for both flow and heat, with no intention of using it for filtration (although I have that option, probably just carbon). I found the Oase Thermo 100 canister filter which has an option to install a heater directly into the canister itself - perfect! I liked this as it would clean up the display and would allow me to use a higher wattage heater. Ordered the Thermo 100 and quickly realized that the flow was way too much for such a small jar, its physical size would also make the whole setup very ugly. I stumbled on a post in the freshwater community stating that the smaller Oase 60 (and it's much cheaper clone the ZooMed 10) uses the exact same blanking panel as the Thermo 100! Meaning you can use Oase's heater conversion kit intended for the non Thermo 100, as long as you can find a heater identical in diameter to the Oase and short enough to fit in the smaller canister. Bam, problem solved.. well, almost. I am a paranoid person by nature, so the idea of using a canister filter sketched me out with their leak potential. After some brain storming I decided that a kitchen container to house the filter would kill 2 birds with 1 stone - leaks and aesthetics. Another step towards leak prevention/containment is ensuring all plumbing connections are made inside of the container. I hated how the stock hosing looked, so I ordered some acrylic tubing intended for PC cooling and bent up some custom lily pipes. Finally, I added a very simple leak sensor on the outside of the filter's container connected to the reef-pi. I was able to fit a 50w heater in the ZooMed, and the flow looked good enough for me. After running it through its paces, my water temps stayed pinned at 77 despite ambient air temperatures of 58 during the morning (for science!) I haven't had many hot days to address over temp issues, but I did add a small USB driven fan on a Kasa smart plug, controlled by my reef-pi. I did some short tests and it looks like it does drop the temp by a few degrees, which may be enough. This is something I'm still not confident on, so I'll have to adjust on the fly. I also ordered some 25c phase change material to throw under the tank as a test. Fast forward to Thursday of last week, my 3lbs of the Australian live rock from Unique Corals arrived and it's currently curing in a 5 gallon bucket! My rock is in quite a few smaller pieces, so I'll have to figure out what I want to do for an aquascape. I ordered a few sealed magnets from KJ's, so I might actually create a few live rock shelves. Still unsure what I want to do in regards to stocking, but definitely coral and inverts only, I'm thinking a RFA centerpiece with sexy shrimp would be awesome. I'm stoked with how it's coming out thus far, need to do a bit more cable management, but it'll be viewable from almost 360 degrees which I don't thing I could have achieved with a traditional tank. Finally, I just want to thank @brandon429 for constantly fielding my questions and guiding me and so many others, I probably would have given up without his help.
  2. householdofpayne

    Another Reefsmart PicoJar

    I recently came across Christopher Marks Pico Jar that really intrigued me to give it a try. My biggest draw back before was dealing with top offs without having any bulky equipment hanging out the side of the jar. Reefsmart developed a light that was integrated into a lid that reduced the amount of evaporation by having a tight seal, and directing the water back into the jar. With seeing how much joy our display tank has brought my wife, I decided this would be the perfect Valentines gift for her desk at work. Steve at reefsmart.com was amazing to deal with, providing tons of hand holding information so get me started with success. I headed out to Target to purchase my 2.5 gallon jar that would house our mini reef. I found that the clarity of the jars varied greatly from jar to jar, and choose the best that I could find. Once I got home I water tested it to see just how clear it was, and decided to head to a different store with more options to have the best view possible. I did however have to accept that there was no perfect jar out there, and settle for one that had the optimal viewing window for about a 130 degrees around the jar. Selecting the jar was the hardest part thus far. I purchased a few different air stone defusers to experiment with, and found that just the air tube itself with no defuser created the largest bubble that created the least salt creep. Other difusers also created micro bubbles that bothered me aesthetically. The other examples that I followed used just the air pump for filtration. I have always approached the hobby by over sizing, and over filtering everything I set up. I opted to put a small internal filter to be able to seed some filter floss from my display tank, as well as create a little more flow. One thing that I found to be pretty cool about the jar was that beings the sides are curved, you can actually hide the equipment on the sides as it obscures the view. The internal filter is a little to large to completely hid, but some coral placement should make it hidden pretty well over time. As for aquascaping I put 2.5lbs of CaribSea Bahamas oolite live sand in the base, but decided to add just under another pound for looks. I was able to find the perfect size rock in my sump and left it to cycle. The first light you see in the tank was a bendable air stone with light that I used to test the clarity, and experiment with the entire back of the jar being bubbles. The back of the jar beings solid bubbles was cool, made a lot of flow, but created a ton of micro bubbles. The 2nd picture is just a extra light that I had that I used for cycling while I awaited the reefsmart light. We are now a day before valentines day, and I have placed my first few corals to be ready for the day. Again for over filtration and for more color, I placed some red macroalgae. I am very excited to try this back to the basics approach to reefing. I will be completing a 50%-80% water change weekly. I will include the equipment that I am starting with. Filter: Aqueon X_small filter quiteflow internal, 3 gallon A 3.5w air pump by Imagitarium An Aqueon 50w Heater. Nimble Nano glass cleaner Light: Reefsmart Picopro
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