To pico or not to pico?

IL613

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Hello,

This is my first time posting here, so thanks in advance for the advice. I've been in the saltwater hobby for eight years and I'm moving out to college in a few months. I have a 2.5 gallon glass aquarium (w/ HoB filter & clip-on LED light), and I was thinking about setting up a pico reef.

I've never had a reef tank smaller than 20 gallons, and I've heard that picos are notoriously hard to maintain due to fluctuations in water parameters. What kind of daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance would be required for a pico? I'd also be curious to hear all of your experiences with them.

For reference, I have experience with LPS, SPS, soft corals, and anemones. Thanks a lot!
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Although that will work it will never beat a vase reef for stability

in top-off


open topped two gallons lose so much water the top off is tricky it’s not easy and even the rigged up systems fail eventually


a vase reef however slows evap, for days, you can leave it alone for a week and it won’t die without top-off but a 2 gallon can die in two days if the top off system fails. Do a vase they look dumb but secretly are the most stable pico reefs you can own. Here’s a fifteen year old one

 

Fennel

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Three days later, every coral in under 20 is going to be gone after it sheds itself to bone. Maybe five days tops. Temporary quarantine to see if anything crawls after a dip then placing in a cycled couple gallons for a day or two, is likely going to kill it, but it's a 50/50 risk. Trying to prevent hitch hikers and itty bitty frags, don't always mix anyway. Frags are so pricey and small it is no wonder they die so easy.. conservation comes of it, great, otherwise it's money spent and lesson learned..
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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the bowl is fifteen years old, you are looking at fifteen years worth of coral growth



were you meaning to ask us how its possible to keep corals alive in a fishbowl for fifteen years

any training you've ever read about reefs doesn't apply here :) we make our own rules.

you should create one of these, so you can grow coral cheaply while at school. Then take it into class and discuss chemical and physical warring vs. habituation, asexual reproduction mechanisms, captive feeding and filtration mechanisms...so many reef things are going on
There’s a hidden reason the vase shape is the most stable of pico reefs, much moreso than a square. Y’all could discuss that too
 
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Ef4life

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If you’ve kept a reef before, a pico isn’t much different imo. All the same rules apply but there are some unique challenges.

the main issues with them are stability - temperature and water evaporation. A controller for a heater is a must imo, inkbird, hydros, full apex whatever but it’s necessary. If you don’t run a lid, evaporation can become a major issue, and the smaller the tank the bigger the issue. A good reliable ato is needed, but imo doesn’t exist for a pico. I use a kamoer dosing pump to drip a set amount of water in every hour. And give it a manual top off every few days to keep it in check.

That said a 2.5 is really small, and really the price difference between an aqueon 2.5 and a 5 or 10g is a few bucks it might be more practical to go slightly larger especially if you can’t guarantee a regular maintenance schedule.

My 5g pico - chromis is only a temporary resident FYI
46B43C83-1DEC-4725-9549-7C258DD383D0.jpeg
 
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