My first attempt at a pico

TJDSEKULA

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I have my big 255 system chugging along but in the back of my mind since I've started I've always wanted to try a pico reef. When I started as a complete noob I loved the look but logically understood that keeping a larger quantity of water stable first would be easier.

Now that I've got the big tank nice and stable I feel like I'm ready to attempt this next project.

My goal is a small 1-3gal container that will house a few small inhabitants that I just can't put in my big main tank. This being said my target stock is a minimaxi nem and a sexy shrimp maybe two. Coral will be an assortment of zoa and shrooms and I might even try a frag of pocilipora or another hearty monti from my main tank. Equipment will be a small heater, air pump, and led fixture, also plan on having an ato. My goal will include building a stand and hood of sorts to hide all my gear and have a very appealing sleek look to the build.

Now, I started this build about two months ago so I will do some quick catching up..
If you've read or followed any of my posts you may know I like playing with acrylic so the first goal was to find an appropriate container in acrylic as most of these vases type tanks are glass and that just wouldn't suit all my diy modification needs ;)
I settled on this drink dispenser.

IMG_20200527_162523.jpg
 
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TJDSEKULA

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Once I had the container I started modification because... Well.... I can
First, the dispenser hole had to get sealed up I don't need to dispense my reef onto the floor by accident.
Then I started working on a way to make my maintenance easy and hide the equipment. I decided on drilling a pvc pipe straight through the center of the tank. It would house the air And heat and have a drain on the bottom. This would be made into a rock like structure later and covered with coral and potentially have some extra media like sponge inside.

I am completely aware I sealed one hole in the tank just to drill another btw, I just didn't like the original hole I guess.

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Next I started making my "rocks" the idea was that the pvc rock would be screwed into the bulkhead rock and I could take the entire thing out for fragging type maintenance. The final image is what I came up with after four days of sculpting mortar around pvc. Im happy with the result but after four days working on one "rock" I'd hope it's acceptable. I also cut the hole and placed the pass through for my heater in the lid.

IMG_20200617_204305.jpg IMG_20200617_204301.jpg IMG_20200618_201355.jpg IMG_20200619_211034.jpg
 
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TJDSEKULA

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This last post will bring me up to current. Im currently building the stand and hood. I have tons of circles getting glued up right now. The last pic I was trying to get an idea how it would look finished.

Oh and I actually found a minimaxi in the meantime so it hanging in my sump atm. Here's a pic. The nice part about having the main tank up is that I can aquire stock as I find it and leave it in the frag sump area, I also plan on placing the pico rock in the sump as well so it's all ready stable when I add it to the pico tank. Heres the nem, it's about 2" but looks nice and healthy and has its foot attached inside a turbo snail shell.

Well, thats where I'm at currently more updates will come as I build more.
Thanks for viewing!

IMG_20200619_150727.jpg 15926282349342290537999309855798.jpg IMG_20200619_192044.jpg MVIMG_20200619_004024.jpg
 
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TJDSEKULA

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It will be a nice step-by-step guide for anyone wanting to do the same... and not ‘dispense their reef onto the floor’ :D
I considered keeping the existing spout for water changes but a tiny bump would open the valve and dispense water. The new valve will be hidden in the stand so there's much less chance of an accident.

I also want to have this tank in my bedroom as a nightlight, I live in the country and dark is literally pitch dark so our bedrooms and hallway have a small amount of light. Im going to try running the tank reverse photo so I can view when going to bed, there's times now when I just can't sleep and walk down to the tank to view in the moon light for a little calming down. Anyway, I could absolutely see myself bumping that spout while half asleep and reaching for a drink on the nightstand and then waking up to a mess in the morning .
 
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Thank you to everyone for the compliments :)
Criticism is welcome as well if anyone sees issues that I don't.

So far I've found this a fun little project. I did have to order the container but most of the other supplies have been tossed together from spare parts. All the plumbing parts are left over from my 255gal diy tank, the heater and air pump are ones I used for qt, even the mortar and wood was left over from my last build. My budget goal is to keep the out of pocket spending under $100 for the build and $100 for stock. It will be interesting when I'm nearing completion to tally everything up (including things
I have on hand) to see what the true cost of this project would be if I was starting with nothing.
 
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The stand is all glued up, obviously needs to be sanded and finished, the door I cut out will also be attached hinged back on but this gives a good idea what the end goal will look like.

Here's how the led and ato container will fit in the hood area, it will be a tight but manageable fit.

Here are the small equipment components I plan on using.

One thing to note, I bought the ato on amazon hoping to find a tiny container that would screw in place. I pocketed the small contraption and hit various stores to see if I could find anything suitable. Long story short is that I struck out. These fit specifically evian brand bottles, as an avid diyer I was not discouraged. I carefully cut the neck of an evian bottle removing the thread part but leaving the lip that the cap sits on. I drilled the container of my choice and attached the threads. This bond was made with weldon 42 should anyone else need to make a similar part.

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TJDSEKULA

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I didn't get much done today after work but slow progress is better than none.
The pico is going to be a bb build so I sprayed the bottom today. I love this krylon look like stone paint it auctually looks like sand through the tank :)
IMG_20200624_211627.jpg

The only other task I got to complete was getting an epoxy coat on the stand and hood.
IMG_20200624_211638.jpg

You may notice that there are two of these tanks in the paint pic. I don't believe I mentioned this yet but... Part of what finally lit the spark for this project was my mother. She loves reef tanks (never has one) and lives in a smaller house in the desert. She is the one who originally got me into aquariums a a kid and supported all my diy insanity growing up she would absolutely love a tiny reef but it has to be very manageable and come with simple instructions since there 0 reef experience. Once all the querks are worked out the second tank will be shipped to her. She is science savvy and has kept tanks. To combat the inexperience I will be starting her center rock in my tank with easy coral growing on it and shipping wet after her tank is set up and she's got mixing and wc down. I will also provide every piece of gear she needs to be successful so it's very important to me that I can work out a very exact maintenance schedule and easy to follow regiment for this build. On a side note, if anyone following has recommended coral vendors around prescott arizona please let me know so I can send her stuff directly down the road.
I've started getting some frags of zoas and mushrooms in :)
Thanks to those sellers on R2R who helped me out with small sized packs!!
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