Lifegard Aquatics 4.14 Pico

Daniel92481

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Hello everyone,

I recently made a lifestyle change after having a few small reef tanks in my house. Long story short, I made the switch and chose to go full time RV about a year ago. I sold all of my furniture, including all of my reefing supplies and tanks, thinking a small reef was impractical in a RV. As many of you know, the “reefing itch” never leaves you once it hooks you lol. After some irrational mixed with rational thoughts and planning, I am happy to say that I have set up a pico reef…in the Airstream! One of the best parts about this reef is that if I do decide to travel somewhere in the RV for a weekend, the pico can be completely taken down and transferred to a stable environment with one 5 gallon bucket. For some that may remember, I used to have the same tank setup as a pico reef before I moved, but I will be using different equipment this time. Here is a breakdown of my tank and equipment…

-Lifegard Aquatics 4.1 AIO

-Kessil A80 tuna blue

-25 watt heater

-ReefBreeders Prism ATO

-5 lbs Caribsea life rock

-Sicce nano return pump (100gph)

-Hawaiian live black sand

-Red Sea coral pro salt

-InTank media basket

-Kraken Reef custom lid

-BRS 4 stage RODI

As far as the media basket filtration, I have one Chemipure nano packet, additional minor amount of Red Sea carbon, one bio ball, and some poly filter balls that are from a desktop IM purity pack. I only use the filter balls from the pack. Fits perfect in the media basket and is easy enough to rinse out 2x/week.

I set this tank up at the beginning of August with a fishless cycle, added a raw shrimp from the local grocery store. The guys face was priceless when I asked him for only one shrimp at the seafood deli.

Yea, just one man! I’m on a strict diet!:face-with-tears-of-joy:

I added Dr. Tim’s one and only to get things going. My ammonia spiked up to about 8ppm using an API test kit, so I took the shrimp out after three days. The whole initial cycle took about 26 days to complete.

The maintenance plan for this tank will be minimal, including a 75% water change every week, siphoning sand and back chambers as needed.


When I was planning this tank, I had thought about making it a zoa dominated softie tank. I have since decided to make it a mixed reef complete with goniopora varieties, high end zoas, and maybe some easier SPS. As of right now, I have a few zoa varieties, a neon green goni, baby fungia, and probably my favorite so far, a Koji Wada pink nepthea. I added a few small trochus snails to start doing their thing. As far as fish, I picked up a baby neon dottyback who absolutely loves being the only fish in the tank. I can tell that he has a lot of attitude for as small as he is. Currently at about an inch long, he is the king of the reef.

Current parameters-

Salinity 1.025 (Hanna), temp 78.9 (Hanna), ALK 12.5 (Hanna) phosphates 0.11 (Hanna), nitrates 2 (Salifert). I plan to use the Red Sea kit for calcium and Aquaforest for magnesium. Just haven’t picked up those two yet. Last time around, I used the Red Sea blue bucket salt, but decided to switch it up and try the Red Sea coral pro with higher ALK this time. It will be neat to compare growth and color vs using the blue bucket.

I plan on attending Reefapalooza-Texas here in a few weeks and am really excited about it. I am hoping to pick up some fire and suck up some deals going on!

Well, I think that sums things up for now. Thanks for checking out my setup. I have attached a few pics of my current setup, and one from before :grinning-face:



5ED39DDA-3A7E-4F81-A1AF-5445E80C33D6.jpeg
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Dan_P

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Hello everyone,

I recently made a lifestyle change after having a few small reef tanks in my house. Long story short, I made the switch and chose to go full time RV about a year ago. I sold all of my furniture, including all of my reefing supplies and tanks, thinking a small reef was impractical in a RV. As many of you know, the “reefing itch” never leaves you once it hooks you lol. After some irrational mixed with rational thoughts and planning, I am happy to say that I have set up a pico reef…in the Airstream! One of the best parts about this reef is that if I do decide to travel somewhere in the RV for a weekend, the pico can be completely taken down and transferred to a stable environment with one 5 gallon bucket. For some that may remember, I used to have the same tank setup as a pico reef before I moved, but I will be using different equipment this time. Here is a breakdown of my tank and equipment…

-Lifegard Aquatics 4.1 AIO

-Kessil A80 tuna blue

-25 watt heater

-ReefBreeders Prism ATO

-5 lbs Caribsea life rock

-Sicce nano return pump (100gph)

-Hawaiian live black sand

-Red Sea coral pro salt

-InTank media basket

-Kraken Reef custom lid

-BRS 4 stage RODI

As far as the media basket filtration, I have one Chemipure nano packet, additional minor amount of Red Sea carbon, one bio ball, and some poly filter balls that are from a desktop IM purity pack. I only use the filter balls from the pack. Fits perfect in the media basket and is easy enough to rinse out 2x/week.

I set this tank up at the beginning of August with a fishless cycle, added a raw shrimp from the local grocery store. The guys face was priceless when I asked him for only one shrimp at the seafood deli.

Yea, just one man! I’m on a strict diet!:face-with-tears-of-joy:

I added Dr. Tim’s one and only to get things going. My ammonia spiked up to about 8ppm using an API test kit, so I took the shrimp out after three days. The whole initial cycle took about 26 days to complete.

The maintenance plan for this tank will be minimal, including a 75% water change every week, siphoning sand and back chambers as needed.


When I was planning this tank, I had thought about making it a zoa dominated softie tank. I have since decided to make it a mixed reef complete with goniopora varieties, high end zoas, and maybe some easier SPS. As of right now, I have a few zoa varieties, a neon green goni, baby fungia, and probably my favorite so far, a Koji Wada pink nepthea. I added a few small trochus snails to start doing their thing. As far as fish, I picked up a baby neon dottyback who absolutely loves being the only fish in the tank. I can tell that he has a lot of attitude for as small as he is. Currently at about an inch long, he is the king of the reef.

Current parameters-

Salinity 1.025 (Hanna), temp 78.9 (Hanna), ALK 12.5 (Hanna) phosphates 0.11 (Hanna), nitrates 2 (Salifert). I plan to use the Red Sea kit for calcium and Aquaforest for magnesium. Just haven’t picked up those two yet. Last time around, I used the Red Sea blue bucket salt, but decided to switch it up and try the Red Sea coral pro with higher ALK this time. It will be neat to compare growth and color vs using the blue bucket.

I plan on attending Reefapalooza-Texas here in a few weeks and am really excited about it. I am hoping to pick up some fire and suck up some deals going on!

Well, I think that sums things up for now. Thanks for checking out my setup. I have attached a few pics of my current setup, and one from before :grinning-face:



5ED39DDA-3A7E-4F81-A1AF-5445E80C33D6.jpeg
E85FB6BA-5341-4C19-A9F7-534C37A7BDCC.jpeg
F67AB15A-A791-4707-8B6F-52B3BD087722.jpeg
3366A7FB-C634-42D8-AD3C-C99C619774AA.jpeg

ECC94DC8-53D3-48CC-94BA-34BE8297056A.jpeg
Good luck! Tank is beautiful.
 
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Daniel92481

Daniel92481

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Hello everyone, just wanted to give an update on the progress of my pico reef! Currently, the tank has been setup for coming up on 4 months now. Things have been responding well to the weekly 75% water changes. I changed it up a bit as far as rinsing off the filter sock/filter balls. I started out rinsing 2x/week, but have reduced to cleaning once per week during water changes. Switching to once per week has allowed my nitrates to hover around 5ppm and phosphates anywhere from 0.01-0.1 using one chemi pure blue nano packet in the media basket. I also stopped using additional Red Sea carbon inside a mesh bag. The nano packet does the trick as far as water clarity, eliminating the need for additional. Other than those two things, my routine/maintenance has been the same. I am starting to see some good corraline growth on the plastic bits of the tank. I want this tank to thrive with minimal maintenance on my part. So far so good I would say.

I was able to go to Reefapalooza-Texas and pick up a few corals. For the most part, most of the corals have been doing good. I did have a couple frags with some aiptasia. I tried to superglue some of them with success, but only to see new ones pop up. As much as I wanted to try and save the frags, I ended up tossing them to save the reef from an outbreak. Some of the newest additions are some JF gobbstoppers, pink goni, small clam, rainbow monti, purple stylo, green/yellow milli, rainbow plate, pink constellation zoas, purple monster zoas, rainbow acan, small RFA, clove polyps, and a few others. I purchased the clam from “clam mania” at RAP. This guy has some amazing clams like you wouldn’t believe! The clam is an ultra blue measuring at about 2 inches. I have always loved clams because of their mesmerizing colors as well as their natural water filtering skills. My daughter named my neon dottyback “Astro”, who is doing well and enjoying being the king of the reef. He is really cool to watch and has been growing well. My favorite coral is the Kodi Wada pink nepthea! Anyone who has one of these, probably understands why. In the mornings when the sun shines through my window, the nepthea fluoresces pink, then turns purplish throughout the day. This piece is incredible with natural light. The newest member of the reef is my orange/red starfish. Not sure of the exact species, I was told linckia from the LFS. He was named “Orbit”, another awesome name from my daughter.:D He is a bit bigger than what I was looking for, but seems to have adjusted well. I am hoping to have him for at least a year. I have heard many horror stories about starving, losing limbs, etc. He is definitely interesting to observe! I love how they wave one limb in the water, catching microscopic organisms in the current. Wish him well for me! Please?:beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

Parameters have been almost spot on. I still haven’t tested Calcium or Magnesium. Here’s what I have…

Salinity 1.026
Temp 77-78
ALK 10.7 (Red Sea coral pro)
Phosphates 0.01-0.1
Nitrates 2-5

The plan for this pico is to maybe add a few more small corals, keeping them happy, and watching it grow out. The fastest growing coral for me so far has been the purple monsters. Easily 25-30 polyps on this plug now. Loving the growth. I think that’s it for now reefers, thanks for reading and following along. I have attached a few pics. Thanks for checking out my pico reef!:beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:
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TruRacr314x

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How are things going on the tank?

I am setting up the same tank now and was trying to decide what to do about the filtration. Are you using the middle chamber for anything? I was thinking about just having filter floss and heather in the first compartment...making a diy media basket for the middle...and ATO and return pump in the last compartment. Is there any reason this would not work?

Also...what frag holders are on your walls? I like them...but haven't had much luck finding similar ones.

Any insight is appreciated!
 

MarineandReef Jaron

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Loving this tank. One of my business partners just tore down his 150 gallon tank because he plans to travel more in retirement. He keeps eyeballing tanks and saying, "I think I could keep that in the RV." This is what he is looking for.
 

nuxx

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That's awesome my wife and I put about 8k miles on a camper we bought during the pandemic and the two times our brewpub was shut down we'd just go with our dogs for a month long drive, no real ideas of where to go. Was fun, but now we have new born twins, that's not happening again soon. Also had two different campers over two years. Sold them both for more than we bought them for used than new.
 
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Daniel92481

Daniel92481

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How are things going on the tank?

I am setting up the same tank now and was trying to decide what to do about the filtration. Are you using the middle chamber for anything? I was thinking about just having filter floss and heather in the first compartment...making a diy media basket for the middle...and ATO and return pump in the last compartment. Is there any reason this would not work?

Also...what frag holders are on your walls? I like them...but haven't had much luck finding similar ones.

Any insight is appreciated!
Thanks for checking out my reef. Things are going pretty good, just trying to keep things stable. :)

As far as set up, I have an InTank basket on the left hand side with floss and one chemipure blue nano packet. In the middle I have the light mount, heater, and ATO, on the right side I have the return pump. Seems to work out well like this. Start off simple.

The frag plugs are from Ocean box designs here in Texas. Top notch quality. Check out their website. I think these plugs were a limited run, but you might be able to find some.

Good luck with your setup! I am excited to see.
 
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Daniel92481

Daniel92481

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Loving this tank. One of my business partners just tore down his 150 gallon tank because he plans to travel more in retirement. He keeps eyeballing tanks and saying, "I think I could keep that in the RV." This is what he is looking for.
Sounds like a dream. Tell your partner that it definitely can happen if he plans to be stationary at one spot for a while. You would have to break down in a 5 gallon bucket for transport. It can be done, but not ideal. I live in a “RV resort” which makes it possible. Thanks for checking out my reef. :grinning-face-with-big-eyes:
 
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Daniel92481

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Do you still have the starfish? I know they are very sensitive and hard to keep so I can’t imagine trying to keep one in a 4 gallon tank especially long term.
Yea, I still have him. Seems to be healthy. He is a bigger one, not sure if that plays to his favor. Here’s a recent pic.
4A02D3C4-1BFC-4D77-9E5E-58ACC99C2DC3.jpeg
 

AydenLincoln

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Yea, I still have him. Seems to be healthy. He is a bigger one, not sure if that plays to his favor. Here’s a recent pic.
4A02D3C4-1BFC-4D77-9E5E-58ACC99C2DC3.jpeg
Okay that’s good make sure to feed him try giving him a variety of food and try Masstick.
 

Figuring out the why: Has your primary reason(s) for keeping a saltwater aquarium changed over time?

  • My reasons for reef keeping have changed dramatically.

    Votes: 11 8.7%
  • My reasons for reef keeping have somewhat evolved.

    Votes: 56 44.4%
  • My reasons for reef keeping have no changed.

    Votes: 58 46.0%
  • Other.

    Votes: 1 0.8%
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