Coral now going into bedside 8” x 8” x 8” sps pico.

Townes_Van_Camp

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My college daughter has decided to move out of the dorms and back in with dear old mom and pop. She wanted a shroom and Duncan filled pico for her room. That started me fumbling around all of my old equipment and realized I had almost everything to build something, just not shrooms and lps (more on this when I get to the lighting.) I have never done anything smaller than my innovative marine 14 peninsula. I am quickly figuring out that this little tank will require real thought from me. There is nothing “off the shelf” that really fits this little cube. But I’m going to try and do it cheap. My target expenditure before stock is < $250

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Equipment:
8” cube 2.2 gallons made at the local glass shop out of starfire glass by a buddy. Free

Architects lamp holding an old Rapid LED daylight reef par 38. I think I’m about $110 total. But this is old stuff that I haven’t used in some time. So I am calling it free because this all came out of a junk box. This bulb is why I am not able to put lps and softies in. At the bottom, I have 220 par, 330 at the top of my single chunk of fake rock and just over 550 an inch under water.

I have a 25 watt Hydor Theo on the way. I will run it through a old ink bird ITC-308 that also came from the junk box. Heater $21, Inkbird free.

Due to limited real estate on the glass, filtration is going to be handled by a Finnex PF-7 Nano HOB filter. It says 52 gph max flow. $15 new from Amazon.

Flow will be handled by the HOB filter and a old Tunze 5024.040 another 70gph of very laminar flow. This is going to be corrected with a diy 1/2” black pvc spray bar. Tunze pump and 4”section of pvc came from the box, free. I did still need a black pvc cap for the bar, 2.95 after shipping.

For seed bacteria and substrate I went to Fernandina beach this evening and collected about 1 quart of sand and broken shell. I am only using about 1/2” of substrate. Free

ATO gravity feed that screws on to a water bottle (for now) may move to an ozmolator if I ever move this tank to more public parts of the house. $15

Total price on equipment 53$

I don’t want to feed this tank much. But I do need a clean up crew of some sort. Hermit crab and a fighting conch will do well. Both stolen out of my 14 gal peninsula. I will feed with nori and occasionally supplement with a couple PE pellets for the hermit.

Weekly 100% water changes are planned using the discarded water from my 14 g.
the parameters of that water are

1.026 sg
10.0 dkh
440-450 ppm cal
8.1 ph obviously this moves around.
1350 ppm mag
10 ppm nitrate
Ammonia undetectable
Phos <.02

This pico gets no fish, maybe a shrimp later on. For coral, only 2. At the base of my singular rock, I am putting a mind trick (my favorite coral) frag. Top center of the rock I will put in an acro to be selected later.
 
Zoanthids

TriggersAmuck

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Great start! If you *are* tempted to add a fish, how about a single Yellow Clown Goby? They don't swim around very much, barely add any load, and yet they are a centerpiece type of fish, often drawing more attention to themselves in much larger tanks than much larger more impressive fish.
 
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Townes_Van_Camp

Townes_Van_Camp

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Set back no. 1 came in less than 18 hours. Something nuked a hermit crab that I have had for 8 months. Probably impatience or sand from the receding tide.

I’m going to dump it all out and start over with water from my 14, a rock, no substrate.


Great start! If you *are* tempted to add a fish, how about a single Yellow Clown Goby? They don't swim around very much, barely add any load, and yet they are a centerpiece type of fish, often drawing more attention to themselves in much larger tanks than much larger more impressive fish.
I have that thought in the back of my mind for down the road when this tank is actually thriving. Admittedly I am not sure which goby I would want. I was thinking some of the tiny species that kinda just lay there. Yellow clown fits that bill?

I already feel bad enough about the Halloween hermit I just did wrong.
 
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Townes_Van_Camp

Townes_Van_Camp

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Did you buddy use silicone made for aquariums. I’ve heard Even the HD 100% silicone contains something to kill mold.
He did, it was built from aquarium scrap. Glass and silicone were from a small freshwater display he built for a client. I used this to tank house a pea puffer for a couple of years.

Turns out that I over reacted. Halloween hermit molted. I thought it was odd that the hermit couldn’t handle it but the fighting conch did just fine. Crab is still alive but back in the main display. The crushed shell substrate from Fernandina is too small with that much flow and is a constant storm.

It’s all ok though. The conch and hermit are back in the other tank for the moment so that I can clear the substrate out and put a black vinyl backing on the bottom and back panel of the tank. Then reload it all, bare bottom I think. Maybe I will use LR rubble. I’d like to keep a healthy pod population even some bristle
worms wouldn’t hurt my feelings. The key to my success with this is going to bio-diversity.
 
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Townes_Van_Camp

Townes_Van_Camp

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Up to $63. Bought some 12”x12” black vinyl adhesive sheets this morning, 10 sheets for $10. This is the background. I’ll put it on the bottom also for a clean black finish.

Since I am ditching substrate, I need a new bacteria seed. Which would you choose?

A. LR rubble from an established tank
B. Filter Floss from an established tank
C. Microbacter
D. Combination of all three.
 

SilverRanger

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Up to $63. Bought some 12”x12” black vinyl adhesive sheets this morning, 10 sheets for $10. This is the background. I’ll put it on the bottom also for a clean black finish.

Since I am ditching substrate, I need a new bacteria seed. Which would you choose?

A. LR rubble from an established tank
B. Filter Floss from an established tank
C. Microbacter
D. Combination of all three.
Combo
 
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Townes_Van_Camp

Townes_Van_Camp

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Mostly done. Bottom left is the pvc spray bar attempt at breaking up laminar flow. I drilled out the end cap just big enough to fit the output with a piece of 1/2 silicone hose on it as a gasket. It also does a great job of reducing vibrations of the spray bar.

tonight when I do the water change on my 14 gal IM, I will move the rubble over and use it to hide the spray bar as best as possible. Hopefully it brings a fair number of pods with it.
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Now for the waiting game…. I hate this part.
 
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Townes_Van_Camp

Townes_Van_Camp

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Looks like I am going to have to use the cooling side of the Inkbird WiFi 308. Temp runs about 81degrees. I keep my house at 75, the only things heating the water are the little tunze pump and the Finnex HOB filter. I’m looking for a steady 79.

$63.00
+17.50 3D printed computer case fan brackets from etsy.
$80.50
 
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Townes_Van_Camp

Townes_Van_Camp

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I did another water change tonight. The water going in was already 5ppm nitrate, 10 dkh alk, 420 cal. I’ll probably monitor nitrate and see what direction it goes and how fast it goes there with nothing but the little finnex hob. After all I have to have something to do while I wait for pods to show up on the glass. Once the pods start showing up I’ll go ahead and scrape some coralline algae in from another tank. When that starts to grow. Game time.

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I’m ok with how it looks empty. I wish the pray bar wasn’t so intrusive (if any one has any other ideas feel free to speak up). It is however effective. Flow is much more random. I have about 50x volume flow between the HOB and tunze pump.

Nevermind Schwartz, he already tried to drink from it. He thinks it sucked.
 
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srobertb

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I did another water change tonight. The water going in was already 5ppm nitrate, 10 dkh alk, 420 cal. I’ll probably monitor nitrate and see what direction it goes and how fast it goes there with nothing but the little finnex hob. After all I have to have something to do while I wait for pods to show up on the glass. Once the pods start showing up I’ll go ahead and scrape some coralline algae in from another tank. When that starts to grow. Game time.

EA6D2292-73A0-4267-86C1-B516665DAC89.jpeg
E94A6CAC-C295-44B7-8700-869CBB13B40F.jpeg
E6AC3CD4-C483-4FD3-8C9B-87777689570E.jpeg
8626CC08-4431-4FBD-B5EC-1C950E612C47.jpeg


I’m ok with how it looks empty. I wish the pray bar wasn’t so intrusive (if any one has any other ideas feel free to speak up). It is however effective. Flow is much more random. I have about 50x volume flow between the HOB and tunze pump.

Nevermind Schwartz, he already tried to drink from it. He thinks it sucked.
Put a spin stream on the pump maybe? If it were me I’d go with a canister filter or something and put a spin stream on that coming over the top.
 
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Townes_Van_Camp

Townes_Van_Camp

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Put a spin stream on the pump maybe? If it were me I’d go with a canister filter or something and put a spin stream on that coming over the top.
I tried one of those from an IM that I bought a few years back. It sounded like I dropped a chainsaw in there.

I also thought about the one hydro makes. It however has a shorter but stumpy dimension to it. Almost more of an eyesore because there was no way to bury it under rubble.
 

srobertb

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You’re not wrong. I’ve used both and they’re just so poorly made. I buy them in bulk for my IM10 at this point. I spend about 5 minutes cleaning it and if it doesn’t work I go to the next one. The Spinstream is better FWIW. It becomes less noisy after some time. You can also put some food grade silicone (like you use on a dosing pump) on the gears to help it break in.

On the flip side my Tunze PH ate my anemone in my 10g so I swore them off and the 330gph + spinstream keeps everyone happy and clean.

On that topic- The baby Tunze moved a lot of water, has a decent footprint compared to others, can be turned down pretty low, and has a little built-in wave maker. It’s just a bit loud (and it ate my anemone so I hate it).
 
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Townes_Van_Camp

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Dropped in my corals tonight. Final iteration I believe. This thing is so small it’s easy to just change everything. But I had some fast growers in my other tank so I’ve moved them to the pico.

Duncan
Daisy cutter zoas
Gatorade’s
Red People eater palys.
Some green zoas with a rust colored fringe from chaos.
Florida Ricordea that doesn’t grow.

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Probably going to stay bare bottom and start growing zoanthids on the glass.

I may try and find one of those rocks with a sanded flat side so that I can put it up high on the right side and grow an Acro on it.
 
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