AtlantiCat

33% Salt, 67% Fresh, 100% Weird
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
423
Reaction score
473
Location
Northern Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Background:
So I've wanted a reef tank for many years but although I always cruise the "blue section" at aquarium shops, I never bought one because I didn't think I had the space. I keep many nano freshwater tanks, but I didn't think you could do a nano reef and I don't really have the room for one of the monsters that I always felt was the minimum size for a reef. Even after I bought a book on nano reefs a few years ago and read through it multiple times, I never quite got that poke in the tailpipe saying, "Hey, go for it!"

Then someone at my local (freshwater) aquarist club asked me if I was going to Aquashella (Chicago). I said I'd think about it, and I checked into it, hemmed and hawed about it for awhile, and finally bought a ticket.

I decided to go through the darkened "blue section" first because it was mostly empty, so I started looking at these nifty coral "frag" things and I saw some really gorgeous little flower-looking thingamabobs with weird names (Gorilla Nipple? REALLY???) that came in all sorts of funky color combos and I really liked them. But alas, I had no reef tank. So I passed on into the lighted "normal" section after taking a quick pic or ten...

IMG_20221008_123724-01.jpeg

I spent most of my day checking out the aquascaping competition and all the vendors, then I doubled back to make sure I hadn't missed anything. Sure enough, I had bypassed a small side aisle. At the end of that aisle was PNW Custom. On the table for PNW Custom was a TINY 40oz reef tank that got my attention. I stared at it and I'm thinking No WAY could I make that work. But then I saw it. The one gallon Small-In-One reef-ready AIO tank, and my heart stopped.

This was my reef tank! I knew it the moment I saw it that I had to take one home. Did they have a heater that would fit? Yes, they did! They even had a micro ATO if I wanted it. No, I'd take care of that myself, thanks. Would they hold it for me until I left for the day? Yes, indeedy!

So I went back to the "blue section" and talked to virtually all of the vendors and said, "I'm starting up my first reef tank, what do you recommend for beginners?" And they all suggested, among other things, Zoanthids. What are those? Those adorable little flower thingamabobs with the goofy names I had been looking at earlier. SCORE!

Well I went home, re-read all my books, ordered MORE books, read all of those, and basically thought of almost nothing else for about two weeks straight. I was obsessed. I came up with every conceivable question I could possibly think up and googled the answers, read dozens of articles, watched dozens of videos, read through all the relevant forum posts, ordered/bought all the supplies and finally, about 3.5 weeks later, I was ready to start my new tank.

The Build (TL;DR):
The PNW Custom Small-In-One is an acrylic 1 gallon tank divided about 80/20, so the usable tank space is only about 0.8 of 1 gallon. The usable tank dimensions (OD) are 6.375 x 5.375 x 5.875" and the acrylic is about 0.1875" thick.

It comes with a lid for each section, a USB pump with hose and nozzle, a removable insert with 3 sections for filter material, and a 4-setting USB light fixture with a height-adjustable acrylic neck. You also get stickers, some Chemi-Pure Blue Nano packets, and long-handled cotton swabs (I have no idea why).

I set it up with CaribSea Special Grade Live Sand, Instant Ocean Reef Crystals, live rock rubble from my local aquarium store, and a couple of pieces of dry rock given to me at Aquashella (which probably also contained a certain amount of pocket lint by the end of the day).

IMG_20221204_120034.jpg

After the tank was fully cycled, I ordered my first Zoas from New York Reef because they had a WWC AOI on sale at a good price and my LFS had nothing I wanted. I also picked up a Safecracker frag, and NYR kindly sent a nice 5-polyp Gatorade for free. The frags arrived yesterday in good condition, but very cold, so I warmed them up for a good 30 minutes in my tank just to be safe.

IMG_20221209_122001.jpg

After acclimating, dipping, and trimming back as much of the plugs as possible, I used Tunze Coral Gum instant two-part epoxy and a little aquarium glue to clumsily stick everything together in my typical ham-fisted way. I'm hoping the polyps will grow to cover up my sloppy attachments.

IMG_20221209_154912.jpg

I left the lights off (except for brief photography interludes) for the remainder of the day and my new little friends rewarded me by mostly opening up for me this morning. I'm using my Aquashella glasses as a lens filter, so the pics are not 100% true-to-color, but they're reasonably close.

Safecracker
IMG_20221210_110929.jpg

WWC AOI
IMG_20221210_111011.jpg

Gatorade
IMG_20221210_111025.jpg

I intend to check out my LFS again next week to see if they have anything for me (they're checking into Rasta and Fruit Loops) and possibly adding some Pederson or Sexy shrimp as my only non-zoa fauna.

Hope you enjoyed my story! I am 98.66% Fresh, 1.44% Salt, and 100% weird. :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes::winking-face-with-tongue:
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
AtlantiCat

AtlantiCat

33% Salt, 67% Fresh, 100% Weird
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
423
Reaction score
473
Location
Northern Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Update Week 1:
So far, so good. All of my new Zoas seem to be happy and thriving. I had a concern that the Gatorade had a polyp that wouldn't open fully but, whaddaya know--a new polyp was forming right next to it! Gosh darnit, I might just be able to do this reefing thing after all...fingers crossed! :winking-face-with-tongue:

Did a partial water change and all tests came back within normal parameters.

The LFS did not have any Rasta or Fruit Loops for me this week, but they did have a nice Bob Marley. This one came right off the frag plug when I took the bone cutters to it, so I just glued it directly to a rock.
IMG_20221215_180932.jpg

Nice little frag, but so TINY! All five heads together are barely the size of a finger nail!

The LFS also had some Sexy Shrimp, so I picked up 3, which is probably the limit on motile fauna for this pico tank. I might add a snail or two if there are algae issues, but they've been minimal so far. Here are two of the three:
IMG_20221217_192823.jpg

I'm also happy to report that I believe my first Coraline Algae is starting to appear. These rocks have been a lovely shade of brown since I set up the tank, but these little pink spots are starting to pop up in odd places (center of the photo, left of the Bob Marleys):
IMG_20221217_192854.jpg

Forgot to mention in the OP, I added some Tisbee Copepods about a week before the Zoas and have been dosing with Phytoplankton. They're not there to feed anything (unless Zoanthids eat them), but my experience with the freshwater kind makes me feel like they're beneficial to tanks in general. Going to try to culture my own Phytoplankton and see how that works out.

Oddball:
I haven't read anything about Sexy Shrimp being particularly fond of algae, but I had some tiny tufts of the fluffy red algae that waves in the current growing on a couple of rocks yesterday. Today I have zero such tufts. :astonished-face: That was completely unexpected.

Until next week!
 
Last edited:

RedfishReefer

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 14, 2021
Messages
54
Reaction score
35
Location
North Carolina
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Just ordered one! Had a 10 gallon waterbox for 2 years and decided to shut it down last May and have missed having something. I want it to be small and can fit on my desk so this was perfect! Bummed I can’t have any fish but the shrimp will make up for it!
 
OP
OP
AtlantiCat

AtlantiCat

33% Salt, 67% Fresh, 100% Weird
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
423
Reaction score
473
Location
Northern Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Just ordered one! Had a 10 gallon waterbox for 2 years and decided to shut it down last May and have missed having something. I want it to be small and can fit on my desk so this was perfect! Bummed I can’t have any fish but the shrimp will make up for it!
Sweet! Are you going to keep Zoas as well? Or did you have some other tiny beauties in mind? I'm a long-term planner so I'm interested in potential ideas for my next nano tank. This current tank will only be Zoas and Sexies, but I might need a new challenge in the future.... :winking-face-with-tongue:
 

LeannaBanana

Fishies and Frenchies
View Badges
Joined
May 14, 2022
Messages
1,301
Reaction score
4,490
Location
757
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I'm obsessed with this "Small in One" branding. I don't need another tiny tank, but I LOVE this. (CC: @Steph72, you were telling me about this tank during the last LRO sale!) I'm excited to follow along with this tank's progress!
 
OP
OP
AtlantiCat

AtlantiCat

33% Salt, 67% Fresh, 100% Weird
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
423
Reaction score
473
Location
Northern Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Update Week 2:

All seems to be doing well. The Sexy Shrimp are busy being sexy and I'm thrilled to report that both the Bob Marley and the Gatorade have each put out two new polyps!

Bob's the best.
IMG_20221225_181121.jpg

Gorgeous Gatorade
IMG_20221225_181049.jpg

I also re-oriented the Aoi because it was half turned away from me and I wanted to be able to see it better. None of the rocks are glued together because I knew I would make mistakes and wanted to be able to correct them without disassembling the entire structure.

WWC Aoi with a Sexy photo bombing.
IMG_20221225_181036.jpg

LFS still does not have any Rasta or Froot Loops, but I spotted one I had been considering and seeing it in person was the convincing factor. Check out my new Sunny D!

Non-drinkable, but still Sunny D.
IMG_20221225_173431.jpg

I have not tested this week because I was busy cleaning and cooking for Ye Olde Holiday. I will correct that tomorrow since I have the day off and nothing to do but recover.

I have also apparently encountered my first Hydroid Jellyfish, which I am told should not be an issue unless they get out of hand.

Until next week!
 

RedfishReefer

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 14, 2021
Messages
54
Reaction score
35
Location
North Carolina
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Sweet! Are you going to keep Zoas as well? Or did you have some other tiny beauties in mind? I'm a long-term planner so I'm interested in potential ideas for my next nano tank. This current tank will only be Zoas and Sexies, but I might need a new challenge in the future.... :winking-face-with-tongue:
Yeah I plan on having Zoas! I also want to try to keep more diversity in it as well. I’ve seen some unique items in this teeny tiny tanks. As I’ve always liked having fish I am considering getting a nano goby but am hesitant due to the size of course. But PNW Custom has nano gobies in their small-in-ones so might try it at some point. Biota sells nano gobies that seem to work great as some don’t even reach an inch at full size.

I look forward to seeing how yours progress and I’ll let you know when I get my build thread up!
 
OP
OP
AtlantiCat

AtlantiCat

33% Salt, 67% Fresh, 100% Weird
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
423
Reaction score
473
Location
Northern Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Update Week 3:

This is the week I made my first MAJOR mistake.

(But here's a pretty picture to distract you.)
IMG_20221229_143745.jpg

Last week, I tested late and noted the Alkalinity was borderline high. Didn't think much about it because I could take care of any issues with this week's water change.

Did the water change and tested the Alkalinity...the test kit couldn't read it, the level was so high! Yikes! Well, the problem had to be either the salt or the water. The salt hadn't been a problem before but I was also absolutely, positively, 100% certain the filter cartridge did not need changing yet. :face-with-raised-eyebrow:

GUESS WHAT?

The filter cartridge needed changing. :oops: D'oh! o_O

Will test again tomorrow after today's additional water change, but my polyps are all PO'd at me right now and most won't open. I don't blame them; mineralized Chicago tap water must have been a bit of a shock.

In other news, my lovely Safecrackers are in the process of putting out their first new polyp, which you can see at the bottom of the cluster on the right.

IMG_20221229_171332.jpg

One of my Sexy Shrimp molted female! It will be interesting to see if she becomes berried. With the lack of other predators in this tank, I wonder if some of the babies might survive. Artemia fry wouldn't be difficult to supply fresh for a few weeks. Guess we'll see.

IMG_20221226_175109.jpg

I'm currently amassing a large collection of hydroid jellyfish. As there are no fish to sting, I'm not too worried about them. When I can convince my phone to zoom in on them, I think they're kind of cool, actually.

IMG_20221228_185551.jpg

And for my final livestock, I gave up on the LFS and ordered some Rasta, Froot Loops, and Radioactive Dragon Eye Zoas from Sunnyside Corals and those will be arriving on January 4th.

Happy New Year and Tank On!
IMG_20221229_143720.jpg
 

RedfishReefer

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 14, 2021
Messages
54
Reaction score
35
Location
North Carolina
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Update Week 3:

This is the week I made my first MAJOR mistake.

(But here's a pretty picture to distract you.)
IMG_20221229_143745.jpg

Last week, I tested late and noted the Alkalinity was borderline high. Didn't think much about it because I could take care of any issues with this week's water change.

Did the water change and tested the Alkalinity...the test kit couldn't read it, the level was so high! Yikes! Well, the problem had to be either the salt or the water. The salt hadn't been a problem before but I was also absolutely, positively, 100% certain the filter cartridge did not need changing yet. :face-with-raised-eyebrow:

GUESS WHAT?

The filter cartridge needed changing. :oops: D'oh! o_O

Will test again tomorrow after today's additional water change, but my polyps are all PO'd at me right now and most won't open. I don't blame them; mineralized Chicago tap water must have been a bit of a shock.

In other news, my lovely Safecrackers are in the process of putting out their first new polyp, which you can see at the bottom of the cluster on the right.

IMG_20221229_171332.jpg

One of my Sexy Shrimp molted female! It will be interesting to see if she becomes berried. With the lack of other predators in this tank, I wonder if some of the babies might survive. Artemia fry wouldn't be difficult to supply fresh for a few weeks. Guess we'll see.

IMG_20221226_175109.jpg

I'm currently amassing a large collection of hydroid jellyfish. As there are no fish to sting, I'm not too worried about them. When I can convince my phone to zoom in on them, I think they're kind of cool, actually.

IMG_20221228_185551.jpg

And for my final livestock, I gave up on the LFS and ordered some Rasta, Froot Loops, and Radioactive Dragon Eye Zoas from Sunnyside Corals and those will be arriving on January 4th.

Happy New Year and Tank On!
IMG_20221229_143720.jpg
Looking good! My PNW small-in-one comes in Monday and I am very excited for it! Have somewhat of a scape idea but will more than likely change once I get the tank!
 

Sink_or_Swim

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
1,301
Reaction score
2,088
Location
Iowa
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
This is AWESOME! Following along! (I've thought about turning my empty 5 gallon Marineland portrait tank (my son's old betta tank) into a rock flower nem tank. Love the zoas and sexy shrimp idea too though!
 
OP
OP
AtlantiCat

AtlantiCat

33% Salt, 67% Fresh, 100% Weird
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
423
Reaction score
473
Location
Northern Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Looking good! My PNW small-in-one comes in Monday and I am very excited for it! Have somewhat of a scape idea but will more than likely change once I get the tank!
Awesome!!! Can't wait to see what you do with yours. Tag me and I'll link your build in my thread!
 
OP
OP
AtlantiCat

AtlantiCat

33% Salt, 67% Fresh, 100% Weird
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
423
Reaction score
473
Location
Northern Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Looking good! My PNW small-in-one comes in Monday and I am very excited for it! Have somewhat of a scape idea but will more than likely change once I get the tank!
One quick tip I thought of while doing this week's water change--I recommend getting a tray of some kind to put underneath. There's a notch cut out of the back for threading the cords through and it's very easy to overfill. You can also get a leak out of the screw holes where the light is attached if they're not in tight.

I picked up this 8 x 12 x 2" tray on Amazon for the record. YMMV. I'm just a bit hamfisted and clumsy and good at getting saltwater in the darndest places.... :astonished-face:
IMG_20230107_090041.jpg
 
OP
OP
AtlantiCat

AtlantiCat

33% Salt, 67% Fresh, 100% Weird
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2022
Messages
423
Reaction score
473
Location
Northern Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Update Week 4:

I have the KH down to normal values now and the polyps have mostly forgiven my error. The Safecracker and Sunny D are still a little miffed and refuse to open all the way, but the Aoi, Gatorade, and Bob Marley are all relatively happy. Bob has a bit of a discoloration on one polyp. I tried poking it off, but no dice. Second from the left, top. Ideas?

IMG_20230107_123733.jpg

A few hours ago around noon CT, my female Sexy Shrimp molted. I was running tests at the time and saw her standing next to her molt, which was "standing" all by itself. Pretty cool, I thought.

The next time I looked over, she had been set upon by a male, who repeatedly chased the other male away. :astonished-face: He would straddle her and twiddle his antennae at a very high rate of speed in what I can only assume was some form of courtship ritual. The whole process lasted for about 20 to 25 minutes. I filmed some of it between tests and I believe I may have caught the moment of their actual mating. Check it out.


I don't know enough about SS anatomy to say if that's what I was ACTUALLY filming. :face-with-raised-eyebrow: I DO know that the...apparatus on Neocaridina shrimp is at the front, so maybe/maybe not? :cool:

I'm also not certain if one male got to have all the fun or if they traded places at one point. Here's the moment of decision. It LOOKS like they swapped, but they move so fast it's hard to tell for sure. See what you think:


The shipment for the Rasta, Froot Loops, and Radioactive Dragon Eye was delayed by a week due to weather, so I'm still waiting on those. They will be the last additions to this tank I think. Then I'll just be waiting for everybody to "grow in" and cover the rocks so I get my 1980s Day-Glo Punk Rock Flower Garden!

Until next week!
 

Managing real reef risks: Do you pay attention to the dangers in your tank?

  • I pay a lot of attention to reef risks.

    Votes: 109 43.6%
  • I pay a bit of attention to reef risks.

    Votes: 84 33.6%
  • I pay minimal attention to reef risks.

    Votes: 40 16.0%
  • I pay no attention to reef risks.

    Votes: 13 5.2%
  • Other.

    Votes: 4 1.6%
Back
Top