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The Weather Guy's 20L Pico - Some Pics 9/6/2009

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Specifically for Nano and Pico Tanks with a Volume less than 100 litres.

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What Should I Choose to Do with the tank

Poll ended at Tue 02 Jun, 2009 10:34 pm

Option 1: Ghetto Sump the Tank (50L sump)
1
10%
Option 2: Sump the Tank up with a 2ft tank with frag rack.
1
10%
Option 3: Upgrade to the 2fter as a display tank, with 2xT5 actinics, 2x70W MH lighting, 100x Turnover and 50L ghetto sump
6
60%
Option 4: As for Option 3, except plumb in the 20L tank as a frag/shrimp/softies tank.
2
20%
 
Total votes : 10

The Weather Guy's 20L Pico - Some Pics 9/6/2009

Postby Xebadir » Fri 09 Jan, 2009 7:46 pm

Introduction:
Well i've sat looking at marines for years, and finally have the cash to do something about it. Decided that I'd like a bit of a challenge, however at the same time dont really have the space for a large tank. Hence the choice of a Pico.

System Objectives: To gain experience in maintaining a reef aquarium and inverts, and keep a pico tank stable before one day moving on to a larger system.

System Type: Hopefully SPS and Softies

Display System:

Strike up Date: 7th January 2009

Display Tank: Interesting shaped corner tank with 5 sides, 23L empty

Display Lighting: 70W MH In DIY fitting with 10k Bulb currently.

Stand: No stand, top of a bookcase.

Hood: No true hood.

Sump: No Sump

Refugium: HoB converted Penguin 125 with heater including 1kg LR

Refugium Lighting: Intending on using LEDs when I add cheato or other macro.


Support systems:

System Water: NSW

Display Water circulation: Currently a Koralia Nano (900L/h) in addition to Penguin HOB refugium (500L/h): So current flow is approx 1400L/h so roughly 65-70x turnover.

Return Pump: Penguin 125.

Skimmer: Surface Skimming associated with the Penguin.

Cooling/Chilling: 15cm Fan on surface.

Evaporation Top Up:ATO timed daily system using SP3000 dosing pump


Chemical Support:

Calcium Addition: None as yet

Alkilinity Addition: None as yet

Other Chemical Maintenance: GAC run in the outflow section of the penguin.

Current Water Chemistry:
Nitrates: <5 ppm
Phosphates: 0.02
Alkalinity: 9.5 dKH
Calcium: 430ppm
Salinity / Specific Gravity: 1.028
Magnesuim: Unknown


Images:
FTS
Image


Hopefully this will be an interesting diary for anyone considering a pico
Last edited by Xebadir on Wed 10 Jun, 2009 12:52 am, edited 25 times in total.
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Postby tmd77 » Fri 09 Jan, 2009 10:01 pm

looks like it should be an interesting build :thumbsup:

i'd probably remove the glass cover if possible thus allowing a higher PAR reading at water level. this will enable a better chance at keeping SPS.

might wanna look at a bigger powerhead as well or add in another small powerhead. I've got 900lph but wish i woulda gone at least 1300 or even 1500lph.

check out my Journal for a similar size tank or Snaza's for how to really do a SPS nano/pico.

look forward to pics :poke:
Last edited by tmd77 on Fri 09 Jan, 2009 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby funkngroovy » Fri 09 Jan, 2009 10:12 pm

Cool, Hurry up and get some pics up.
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Postby Xebadir » Fri 09 Jan, 2009 11:37 pm

Pics are up, found I have a few hitchhikers on my live rock, namely some species of snail and a pink sponge of some sort, as well as a some sort of shrimp (possibly a mantis).

I am planning to improve my flow rates eventually, but im going to either going to upgrade the current powerhead or possibly add a second to make currents interesting.

The lid will come off when i can work out how to mount the light a sufficient level above the aquarium on the odd shape. Youll see what I mean in the FTS.
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Postby Xebadir » Tue 13 Jan, 2009 12:20 am

Well the mantis has disappeared, and the water test results are in:

Salinity: 1.025 (Hydrometer, not happy with it but cant seem to get a refractometer atm...)
pH: 8.0 as far as I can tell. However lights had been off for at least 2 hours prior.
Temp: 26C
Ammonia: 0.5 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate:0-5ppm
kH (Alk): (dKH: 11-12) 200-214.8 ppm
Calc: Don't Have yet
Phos: Don't Have yet

Not that I have the money to spend at the second (waiting to be paid), but my aqua one powerhead has decided to make funny noises at me and generally annoy me after I repositioned. Im going to have a fiddle and see if I can fix it. Im considering just keeping it as a spare once I set up my hob filter fuge (which is coming along nicely), and upgrading to a Hydor Koralia Nano. This would give me an overall flow of 1400 lph, so turnover of about 70x. Would this be excessive or sufficient for my tank if I plan to try SPS. Would my lighting work for SPS or is this just a pipe dream?

Are there any fish possible that can be successfully and safely kept in a ~20L tank?
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Postby tmd77 » Tue 13 Jan, 2009 10:16 am

hey mate,

have to agree its an interesting shape, however have to say it looks pretty cool.

I think the HK nano is a great powerhead for the tank for both sps and softies (mushrooms are quite difficult to get to hold tho at 70x so try and buy them already attached to rock if you want them in the tank). if you were after SPS only then i'd consider the K1.

how high is your tank? my lighting is 2x24w t5 with 1x 10k and 1x actinic and the sps in my tank are doing well. the height of my tank is 23cm with all my sps within 10cm from the top. theoretically you've got the same wattage as me, however best thing to do is grab a frag off someone and give it a go to see. IMO important thing is to work out how to build a stand for your lighting and remove the glass cover, thus improving PAR. also Snaza has found with a fan blowing accross the surface this also increases the PAR levels, not to mention it keeps your tank temperature down.

i currently have a decora goby and a yellow coral goby in my tank. both are fat and healthy. previously have had some small tank bred occelaris which were good until they got spooked one night and jumped. this would be as stocked as you could probably go (some could argue mine might even be overstocked).

you could probably have a small dottyback (only fish as they are aggresive), other types of gobies (firefish for eg.), blackfoot clownfish, cardinals (banggai/pyjama), damsels (aggresive).

other suggestions might be some shrimp like peppermint, coral banded, redline cleaner, stars and stripes etc.

HTH :cheers:
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Postby Xebadir » Tue 13 Jan, 2009 12:19 pm

Thanks for the nice comments trent.

Im figuring ill go a mixture so will probably up to the Koralia Nano at some stage, found it at a reasonable price on Age of Aquariums (70 something) so i might end up going with that and ordering a refractometer at the same time.

Tank is 28cm deep to the base, but make that about 26 or so when you take into account the sand level, atm I have the cover off and am running the lights balanced near the surface, which is probably keeping my PAR high. I might look into a fan instead of a mini chiller to see how that does.

Im pretty interested in gobies, saw a nice green coral goby the other day, but I wouldnt mind any type really, they are awesome. Was thinking i might try a goby shrimp pair as the focus of the tank outside coral.
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Postby tmd77 » Tue 13 Jan, 2009 12:52 pm

i have a small clip on fan i bought from woolies blowing air onto the water under the lights and that is keeping the temp at 24.9-26.4 during the day which when we get 30+ degree heats up here you can't complain about.

as long as you keep the sps in the top half of the tank you "should" be right but i recommend just grabbing a small frag off another reefer to try it first.

look at becoming a MASOV member, not only will that give you 10% off at Age of aquariums (will almost pay for itself in first purchase) but im sure another member will be more than willing to put their hand up to help you out with a frag. also handy in case you need emergency help!

look forward to seeing the cycle finish and some stock put in! (but dont rush it nanos are too easy to crash!)

:thumbsup:
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Postby KirTracid » Tue 13 Jan, 2009 2:38 pm

Looking good. That photoi actually makes the tank look alot bigger than I expected. It's a really nice shape too. Good to see another melbournian starting a journal, I used to live in templestowe. Still spend about 50% of my time living there actually.

Tis going to be an interesting read. I have a few tanks, one of them beiong 25lt, which I really haven't done much with, it'll be interesting to see what you do with yours =)
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Postby Xebadir » Sat 17 Jan, 2009 11:56 pm

Rightio, so the cycles getting running, ammonia is about 0.25 down from 0.5 5 days ago. Havent seen a nitrite spike yet.

Getting some algal buildup on the liverock, so hopefully things are going well. Still trying to find the time to source a fan for my tank and evap is being a pain in the ass (as expected with the hot days). Still working on the refugium as ive been very busy, but hopefully should have it in with 2 weeks.

Anyone have suggestions for what species of goby i could get away with in the tank? And what sort of CUC i should look at for it?

Also how do I go about joining MASOV?
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Postby tmd77 » Sun 18 Jan, 2009 11:44 am

Firefish gobies are always pretty cool or if you're having sps then its always cool to see yellow coral gobies sitting in the corals.

For CUC I'd grab some trochus snails and some hermit crabs.

On the masa homepage (not rtaw forum homepage) there should be a link to the masov page. From there just follow the links.

Next time you're in woolies duck into the electrical aisle. Should find something in there otherwise maybe crazy clarks or similar?

What test kits are you using?
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Postby Xebadir » Sun 18 Jan, 2009 6:47 pm

API Master Freshwater Test Kit. Its what Ive used for my cichlids previously.

Ill have a look in woolies.
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Postby tmd77 » Sun 18 Jan, 2009 9:36 pm

Might need to get a new test kit. All your results will be off due to the fact your testing SW with a FW kit. A lot of reefers here use salifert test kits. Guppys sell them. In the meantime head to your LFS and get them to test your parameters.

You will learn a lot from going to the frag fest! Have fun!
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Postby Xebadir » Sun 18 Jan, 2009 11:13 pm

Strictly it shouldnt matter should it? Realistically I thought there shouldnt be any difference between tests for the big 3 anyway? and certainly not for alkalinity? Gah....that is a pain in the butt.

As for fish anyone know if a
Trimma Goby
Yellowstripe Clingfish
or a Court Jester Goby would work for this tank?

Is there an alternative to salifert? I dont really want to pay guppies outrageous shipping prices for a test kit.
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Postby BigCol » Mon 19 Jan, 2009 9:31 am

Yeah Xebadir,
get some better test kits, Salifert are considered to be the norm.
What sort of prices are you paying for test kits down under.
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Postby tmd77 » Mon 19 Jan, 2009 12:24 pm

I'm no chemist but im certain that when using SW some parameters change. there are alternatives, but most reefers are using salifert. have a chat to your LFS to see what they have in stock, but make sure whatever test kits you use, they are specifically for SW.

maybe one of the more experienced reefers can step in here and explain the reason for the difference?
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Postby kurt » Mon 19 Jan, 2009 1:36 pm

You should be able to test nitrate and ammonia with the fw kit you have without any problems though salt might give pH a false reading check if it has a sw chart to correct the reading.
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Postby KirTracid » Tue 20 Jan, 2009 7:54 am

I'm with everyone else. I have both salifert & API tests (got these given to me with the tank, would never spend $ on em) and they're very, very different from each other & I have the tendancy to agree with salifert.

Some of the API tests say Salt water & some read freshwater & saltwater, so I'm assuming the salt must affect the result if they write it on some packages.
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Postby Xebadir » Tue 20 Jan, 2009 11:30 am

Well, im heading of to my local LFS to get the water tested using a marine kit and to see if its much different. The main reason im a little gah with salifert is that it costs 27 bucks for the method of shipping from the seller(courier) which is like 2 test kits alone. Had I known this earlier I could have included it when i got the lights and not paid that ridiculous price.

Test Results from LFS:
pH: 8
Carbonates/Alk: 5
Ammonia: 0.25ppm
Nitrite: 0-0.25ppm
Nitrate: 0-10ppm

And ive had a look into it and it appears that it shouldnt affect the results using a 'freshwater' kit due to the chemical reactions used.

Carbonates is a bit of a curve ball though, going to get another test kit for that.
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Postby Xebadir » Tue 27 Jan, 2009 4:43 pm

Rightio, the tank has been doing well since I bought a small desk fan to regulate the temperature under lights during this very hot period. I've also got aircon running to keep the room temp down for my other tanks, so the temp is a fairly stable 26 degrees. Today was hot as hell, and the next 4 days are all over 40C :o.

Got a couple of pictures of some hitchhikers ive found in the last few days, including a better one of the big snail (ive found a cowrie like small one as well).

Snail for Ident:
Image

Spot the Crab (I might put up the full picture, it is actually a bit where's wally like):
Image


I dont think im going to put up a full tank shot as this point, as the algae is something shocking, thats all the blurs in the crab pic. Found the 'feather like' things were actually small bristleworms, and have discovered a couple of really nice feather dusters (although of course in a hard to photo spot), plus looks like the pink sponge will survive. On a plus note, it seems because of all of the algae, I have ALOT of pods....as many as 20 per square inch of tank wall, guess the system is prooving healthy. Going to do a water test a little later and see what the alk is like together with the nitritic trio.......hopefully things are heading towards stabilisation.

Im planning on getting a couple of new test kits, one for Alk, and one for Calcium, (And any others people suggest at this point) does anyone know if any of the tests sold by age of aquariums are good? (Im planning on ordering my koralia nano shortly from them).
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Postby Xebadir » Mon 02 Feb, 2009 11:38 am

Time for an Update:

Well theres no pic today as Im tired and the tank is under gladwrap (bug sprayers are doing the house, not my room though so its a precaution to ensure my tanks are ok).

However, some positive news...following placing myself through the punishment of working an Australian Open again (170 hours in 2 weeks is wrong) I decided to lash out and spend for my little tank. Have bought a Koralia Nano and a Refractometer (the second is a bit of a long time purchase for future larger tanks ;) but useful for ensuring the stability) from Age of Aquariums which should arrive in the next day or so. This will see the other powerhead retired to mixing duties/ backup.

Other good news is my surface skimming Penguin 125 HoB refugium has been converted, and the aquarium safe silicone (which has a pleasant vinegar aroma while curing) has now cured making it safe for use, so ill be adding that to the system as well...probably with additional LR for added filtration(as im still thinking about lighting for macro...probably eventually using LEDs. It should increase my volume by about 3L (2 after LR displacement). The heater will be moved into it as well removing some clutter, and powerhead placement hopefully will work better. Ill show whats been done to the 125 if anyone would like to emulate, but basically emanates from around the Aquaclear 70 design. Then once all this is up (in pictures) it will be FTS time with another set of water tests.

So more to come soon (probably tommorow).
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Postby tmd77 » Mon 02 Feb, 2009 12:12 pm

sounds like things are progressing nicely!

how's the water parameters going?
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Postby Xebadir » Tue 03 Feb, 2009 1:41 am

Will provide details later on, once i get a new test kit to try and get some more accurate results (particularly for KH). Hopefully refractometer should be here soon so i should have that as well.
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Postby KirTracid » Tue 03 Feb, 2009 1:52 am

Sounds like it's prgressing well, neighbour =) Have been watching this build closely. I dunno what to do with my nano as my other tanks keep me so busy.
Will really make a big difference after your new purchases.
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Postby coral1 » Tue 03 Feb, 2009 7:53 am

sounds like its coming along nicely
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Postby Xebadir » Tue 03 Feb, 2009 5:18 pm

Rightio, Water Testing is going to drive me up the wall...i can just tell. Still searching for a good test kit, what do people think of seachem or sera (If these fail im going to try and find someone else ordering from guppys and split the cost...why the hell cant they just post)? Everyone in melbourne seems to stock API or worse.
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Postby Xebadir » Tue 03 Feb, 2009 11:21 pm

Well...i've come to the conclusion that I might as well bite the bullet and go with salifert and not waste my time with lesser test kits...it really isnt worth the effort. Therefore I placed an order today for:
Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, Phosphate and Calcium.

Im really disapointed I couldnt get a KH test (out of stock) so im going to see if I can find one locally from API (as I believe there is a different constituent used for KH in freshwater kits).

I figure the ability to effectively test this tank will mean savings in the long run for stock etc.

As promised: Picture time!
FTS
Image

The new HOB Refugium:
Image

The skimming attachment:
Image

And Today's 'Test' Results:
pH: 8.2
Alk: Still stupidly high due to wrong testing method i think.
Ammonia: Non-Zero (slightly green i think so 0.25)
Nitrite: Zero

Will look into KH tommorow and await the delivery of the new powerhead and testing equipment.
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Postby KirTracid » Wed 04 Feb, 2009 1:06 pm

Looking good =) Always good when ya buy new gadgets. The hob fuge is very cool I must admit. Great idea for a pico. =)
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Postby Xebadir » Fri 06 Feb, 2009 12:01 am

Well some news, I fitted a kilo of LR extra into the HOB, so that can only be a good thing filtration wise. Its also increased my volume by around a litre and a half after the LR is added. Not sure though if I should have lighting in the HOB though.

Now that I suspect its getting to the end of the cycle (ill tell you more though when I get my salifert kits hopefully tommorow), its time to start thinking stocking and I've got some ideas that i'd like people to comment on:

Option 1:
Green Coral Goby (only if my SPS experiment works down the track, id wait for a couple of months first I think).
Sexy Shrimp (are these available in Australia and would they be ok with some softs, SPS and LPS?)

Option 2:
Green Coral Goby
Red-Line Cleaner or Coral Banded Shrimp

Now in addition to either of these I think my little crab is a porecelain anemone crab, so should be good there.

As for CuC im looking at snails and thinking that Trochus/Astrea might be the go (1 of each), or maybe just 2 Turbos..is this going to be ok for the tank?

Coral Thoughts:
Ideally Id like to have Zoanthids or possibly Palythoa species. Not sure about other softs though, im quite attracted to the hard species.

I like the look of Blastomusa and Candy cane from the LPS, while for SPS im tempted to try a few frags, though would definitely try plate monti and possibly the branching variety, Maybe Seriatopora, or possibly once the tank is established Acropora frags similar to trent (given the depth and lighting I think this might work).

What do people think here, i know stocking Pico's is rather contentious.
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Postby Xebadir » Fri 06 Feb, 2009 9:11 am

Well so far this morning my Koralia Nano and Refractometer have arrived. The Nano is a dream as compared to the prior powerhead, the magnet adjusting and directional flow are just so much easier to use. The flow doesnt seem to be too much so thats a good thing.

As for the refractometer i've got it calibrated, and found my SG to be 1.026 which is a fraction on the high side of what I thought.
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