New pico reef, 3 years old 1 gallon vase

Discussion in 'Reef Fishes' started by brandon429, May 22, 2009.

  1. brandon429

    brandon429 pico 1

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    This is a bare bones approach to pico reefing that works in total simplicity. It's a valid setup because it grows any coral, long term, that can fit in it. It's taken years to pack all this into a 4 inch diameter neck, so enjoy my little ship-in-a-bottle





    these small tanks are a unique challenge, and are not to be found in anyone's living room no matter where you go, that's why I enjoy this area of marine science

    enjoy!

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsbsebZHh4M&feature=channel[/ame]



    the sealed reef, and another vase reef years-old and balanced:
    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3lhEeOCpao&feature=channel[/ame]
     
    brandon429, May 22, 2009
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  2. brandon429

    dustin_P74

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    the first tank in the second video looks like a big bong
     
    dustin_P74, May 22, 2009
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  3. brandon429

    brandon429 pico 1

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    well maybe the shops in san francisco would pay me thousands of dollars for a pyrex pico bubbler, thanks for the idea

    B
     
    brandon429, May 22, 2009
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  4. brandon429

    brandon429 pico 1

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    what about the biology man, the science!
     
    brandon429, May 22, 2009
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  5. brandon429

    BigH55 I'm that guy

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    Wierd. Pico reefs are pretty bad ass though.
     
    BigH55, May 22, 2009
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  6. brandon429

    ndepratt Equipment Junkie

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    crazy, can you give a rundown on any equipment and maintenance you do?
     
    ndepratt, May 22, 2009
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  7. brandon429

    Smitty

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    Those are truly amazing tanks.
     
    Smitty, May 23, 2009
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  8. brandon429

    Alexander

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    wow your tank is really amazing. its gotta be a huge challenge keeping the water quality perfect in a small environment like that. I would love to see some pics of how you have it setup. like what do you do for flow and how is it displayed in your house?
     
    Alexander, May 23, 2009
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  9. brandon429

    cthegame

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    Im speechless. I have no idea how you manage to keep such a small tank so healthy. Great job. I also would like to see the behind the scenes on these.
     
    cthegame, May 23, 2009
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  10. brandon429

    sen5241b

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    Please, give us more info on your setup. How do you keep the temp stable in a 1 gallon? Most heaters can't be use din 1 gallon tanks.
     
    sen5241b, May 24, 2009
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  11. brandon429

    brandon429 pico 1

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    Here is a thread that shows the exact construction, really easy, but it was groundbreaking back then because no one knew what the chemistry would do over the long term. Turns out the theory was sound and can easily be repeated if one likes building small models of living things...

    http://www.reefs.org/forums/topic72558.html

    They make very small heaters now that are thermostatically controlled, and preset at 78 which is what I use. It's six inches long and the vase is about 12, so there's room. $15 at petsmart. The flow is just one airstone, this design is the most bare bones approach to reefing you will find and imagine the peace of mind of no pwerhead cleaning, induction heating, laminar flow etc. Additionally, the airstone has a powerful evacuative effect on any built up CO2 in the tank and my house is well ventilated creating an ideal throughput. The result is strong pH predictability and the fact that my only two motile animals are accounted for at all times. So, if they are not dead, then nothing will go wrong chemically with the tank. It is so predictable chemically that no test kit of any kind has been used on any pico reef design I have made over the last decade I think I got my first bottle of c balance in 2001 and only tested dosing for a week to find the true balance, it was 1/2 capfull of each bottle, 2-3x per week, alternating days (meaning I don't add both capfulls on the same morning, it's alk on monday, calcium on tues etc)...
    I only use a $5 swingarm hydrometer, the same one I've had since 2001. Reefractometers are the rolls-royce of reefing, a nice way to get from point a to point b but cabs also work. It doesn't matter if swingarms are calibrated perfectly, it only matters if you strike a balance with one and it continues to work for ten years :)

    See, that's the point of these small reefs, to challenge all current thought on marine husbandry. With bare bones and a thumb as purple as it gets one can grow acan, sps, lps, fully heterotrophic corals, everything the books said you couldn't last year and without spending money into all the additives that are so popular. These tanks drive you to learn about reefs, as they will not grow purple and last more than 6 months without some serious devotion, so that's a good thing. Additionally, where else can you take your full reef tank in your car, drive it over to the local omnimax, and have lines of people waiting to see it! Small reef tanks are portable, I'm working on one that uses a small battery of lipo cells to be cord free and something I can rent to schools, sick eh> Check out the linked threads in the information section of the Reefbowl/.5 gallon tank thread to see pics of my full reef in my hand, at a stoplight, trying to accelerate slowly so as not to spill the water!
    This tank is ran with advanced water changes and very heavy feeding just to drive corals because I was getting bored. It can also be stocked primarily with simple corals like caulastrea, shrooms and euphyllias and have it's water changes extended for two weeks. I wouldn't have the shrimps and crabs in that case, I would scale down motile inverts to some snails and maybe a small brittle star or something. Another fact is that these micro reefs can be ran in such diverse ways, allowing you to experiment with ecosystems you couldn't otherwise afford to take on
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
    brandon429, May 26, 2009
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  12. brandon429

    daugherty part time reefer

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    great writeup
     
    daugherty, May 26, 2009
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  13. brandon429

    mennazeher04

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    WOW, man those mini reefs are awesome but i would be scared to even try one of those since i just started into a big reef tank not even 4 months ago.......lol
     
    mennazeher04, May 29, 2009
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  14. brandon429

    ndepratt Equipment Junkie

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    i'm not going to lie... i wasn't impressed with the pico being packed full of softies and easy lps that loves dirty water.

    THEN i saw the SPS encrusting the back of the tank.... wow. that is seriously impressive, hats off to you.
     
    ndepratt, May 29, 2009
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  15. brandon429

    RigoSharon LIVING REEFS INTERN

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    thanks for posting..wow..whats gonna be next??
     
    RigoSharon, May 30, 2009
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  16. brandon429

    mng777777 Shark Wrangler Wannabe

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    that is so cool. I am quite impressed!
     
    mng777777, May 30, 2009
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  17. brandon429

    dcantucson

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    Well, you got me. I'm very impressed.
     
    dcantucson, May 30, 2009
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  18. brandon429

    brandon429 pico 1

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    Hey guys stopped back in shortly to comment upon more of the husbandry angles I employ to keep these rascals clean and alive, as the discussion is really applicable to larger tank setups regarding algae prevention and dealings in-situ...I was talking about this on another forum and I thought it would be handy to repost here and discuss, I've looked around at you guys' tanks and I enjoyed the parallels between our tanks regardless of size and what you've accomplished in the large beautiful aquascapes I could never afford!

    Here is how I view algae sporulation, domination and eradication in marine fish tanks. It works well enough that it has been my sole technique that I have never changed, that's why you don't see algae in my tanks even with this much ridiculous feeding so I thought it would be helpful to newcomers or those battling ongoing algae issues in their large tanks. Algae infestation doesn't necessarily mean the 'death' of the tank, just the loss of it's virtue :)

    I have seen many a $10,000 tank with strands of hair on the back wall but corals so pretty one could not let go and start over, this is effectively 'dead' to me because you start making excuses for it when you show people, these ideas prevent one from that slippery slope in my opnion, let's discuss. On the follow up threads I'm going to quote my other typings so I don't have to redo it all, I was feeling especially chatty today.
     
    brandon429, Jun 22, 2009
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  19. brandon429

    brandon429 pico 1

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    A discussion on algae...this was a pico reef discussion but it's important to large tanks because:
    -the processes and science are the exact same, only the timelines differ. Pico=fast, large tank means in about a year or two...Many large tanks showing old tank syndrome are just having balance issues with surface area, detritus retention and chemical or gaseous pocketing in the substrate, there is no reason for a reef tank of any size to have a finite life span. Ideally the systems should run clean, forever, in my opinion.
    -eutrophic tanks look the same regardless of size, equally painful to behold, and I can't stand to see a marine tank with strands of algae or clumps of cyano out of control no matter how well everything else looks. I remember the hell of paying as much as I have for a tank, watching it get eutrophic, and thinking there was some invisible wall I could not traverse, not so.
    -The heart of the matter is that large tanks benefit from mechanical filtration of the water in ways that pico reefs don't need, so such extreme measures may not be required in larger tanks where other variables have been adjusted to maintain water cleanliness and waste export. either way, filtering in a large reef tank is usually done because of what others tell a person and not actually what's needed relative to bioloading...(buy this sump, put in bioballs and foam and get as much surface area as you possibly can)

    inevitably someone else out there will be setting up a nano reef soon and trying to down-extrapolate the information from large tanks to small ones...that only works in the opposite direction ;)

    quoted from practical fishkeeping forum:
    "Hey I wanted to add something because I think your tank looks so great with it's clean lines and exceptional implied space...I recommend to remove the floss pads. thinking 6 months ahead is more important in a pico reef than it is in a large reef, preventative is the only thing that works. once bad algae sets into an aquascaped pico, it can't be beat. these pads will be the #1 contributor to algae when it begins in 4-8 weeks. Pico reefs are that predictable man, I am just looking out for your super clean tank bro!

    There is not a need for extra surface area in a pico reef past the live rock inside and the corals and walls of the tank. You may use more circulation with filters, but the extra surface area they provide with pads and even carbon use (where water changes are the best friend, not any kind of filtering media) will wreck a pico in short time because only a certain amount of surface area is needed to contain nitrifiers, and anything past that is a leaking nutrient sink which in a pico you don't have the volume to compensate. considering how long pico reefs can live, no one should be content with just 6-10 months or so which is the average life span for the majority pico reefs on the internet. That's the point where algae starts to overtake the average system and the owner just puts up with it, but secretly cries themself to sleep at night because of it [​IMG] lol

    Conversely, if you want to keep them you can switch out for *brand new pads monthly instead of just cleaning the old ones, but why do it? What are the pads helping...if you have zero ammonia you should be removing surface area, not adding to it. Those pads, tanks and the filters they run in weren't made for pico reefs, they were made for pico aquariums that housed FW fish in large relative numbers, then those pads are likely helpful. If you leave the pads in place in a pico, they will be fine for several weeks, but I can personally guarantee you that by the end of the summer you will have algae issues if they aren't removed or replaced in an aggressive way.

    The surface area inside your pico is sufficient such that it can even handle a fish load without extra help, the pads will do nothing but catch detritus, form bacterial floc inside you can't remove which traps more detritus, and they are a trainwreck for aged pico reefs. Yank em bro!"
     
    brandon429, Jun 22, 2009
    #19
  20. brandon429

    brandon429 pico 1

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    on cyanobacteria, and active response to the alternation of generations in any reef aquarium...

    poster query:
    "
    [​IMG] micro bubbles
    i have a problem with micro bubbles in my precula 120
    i use 2x t5 lights during the day then in the afternoon 2x 250 halides comes on for 8hrs
    when the halides come on i get micro bubbles on the top of the live rock and on the rear of the tank that i don`t clean
    there is some red algae on these surfaces where the bubbles appear,and the problem seems to getting worse as the algae grows
    after the halide go out i blow the bubbles with a powerhead and im bubble free until the next day
    any idea`s please to stop or even reduce this would be great
    cheers richard"

    this was what I was thinking:

    "[​IMG] --
    that phenomena is more common in planted tanks that have driven saturation values past 100%, but I have seen it in reef tanks as well depending on lighting and other variables but it's less commonly originated in the organisms and more commonly associated with skimmer/sump mechanics. You are mentioning light infulenced cycles, I suppose it's possible anywhere you have oxygen-producing plants to spend part of the day filling the water faster than the gas is being used for respiration, so it reaches and exceeds a set point but this is unusual in reef tanks. I think it's more likely the extra light simply drives photosynthesis in algae and other symbionts faster than it can be liberated directly into solution, so regardless of water table oxygen values is simply being pumped out of algal stoma quickly and then the bubbles sit there dissolving slowly into solution or releasing and floating around.

    I say leave them in place, microbubbles harm nothing no matter what you've read. If it's not skimmer/sump related it's not like they are being pumped in bulk into the water to irritate gills per your description, I have systems that run solely on airstones (check page two pico reefs) where I try to get microbubbles on purpose in the water column because I think they are nice! You can change aquascapipng to cover these algal ledges that produce oxygen, but I think your redox benefits outweigh the learned fear of microbubbles because your description is tame to some instances I've seen. Lastly, if you want to cease them if they are located in a portion of the tank where minor shading won't hurt, you can lay tin foil squares on the top of the tank, under the light, to shade that which is below. still I think these will not hurt and should be celebrated for their chemical and aesthetic benefits.

    hey I just re-read and say your mention of red cyano. These are likely pockets of nitrogen gas and oxygen/methane mixtures, don't smoke around your reef.

    lol j/j

    If the bubbles form on green mats or on live rock where microplants may be abundant I think it's natural and ok, if it's forming in association with red algae and areas of the tank that are uncleaned you've got problems.

    If you continue down this path, your tank is showing early signs of eutrophication, the next step is depending on scrubbing filter pads to remove phos or nitrate yet the algae will continue. If your tank is large, you are looking at another year or so of pleasant observation before your real work begins and the costs mount and the algae hangs around.

    I strongly suggest you increase the flow directly in those areas by adding another powerhead aimed directly on those settling points, you clean and remove these spores consistently which may mean changing your aquascaping, and that you consistently check your water values to ensure they are in line with clean tank water values. Don't just test once a week or so, get a frequent reading to make note of so you can be sure you aren't fueling the cyano. Even clean tanks can get a cyano outbreak, but it will not remain if those tanks are cared for accurately. The blooming of marine organisms speaks nothing to their longevity in state, your husbandry practices do!@

    Just because a bloom of cyano hits a tank, it does not mean there are waste issues, that's why you need to check your major values especially just before the time you schedule your water changes, this lets you know how low you are willing to let water quality dip and these low points are the best food for troublesome algae. Just like bacteria from the air will seed a tank in time naturally, without having to buy products, urinate in the water [​IMG] add cocktail shrimp, dead fish, pure ammonia, and all the other silly anecdotes we read, cyanobacteria are normal aquatic organisms and their bloom does not necessarily mean their sustenance if you are actively taking steps to curtail them, the number one step is to remove them and never let them exist in a tank.

    If I could make one point today regarding the application of pico reef science to the science of giant reef tanks, it would be to say that the bloom of undesired organisms has nothing to do with it's longevity in your tanks. Bad algae blooms may or may not be indicative of poor water quality. Either way they will bloom at one time or another, but if you are prepared they will not stay. Red, green and blue cyano can be sporulated from areas inside live rock, where it was dormant or active but not visually seen, and if your water is clean and you remove the cyano and increase flow in deadspots and clean your detritus better it will die off. You can even get cyanobacteria as airborne spores in the deserts of yuma arizona in your reef tank even if none came on the rock! imagine the constant intermixing of this phenomena in your tanks, via the air, no matter what you do to your water to prevent it, all you can do is starve them out and export them when they show up from time to time. This will help more in your algae battles than most anything you will read on the internet about marine tank science, have fun battling algae. Remove it, never settle for it!

    [​IMG] --
    I do want to tell you that a UV sterilizer is a fine cheat to use to battle algae and disease. It can for sure make up for *some bad husbandry applications, but it's not necessary, just wanting to let you know an oversize one will clean your tank to prevent reinfestation if you don't want to make the other adjustments.

    It will not remove cyano off the glass for you...that portion would remain. it only kills water borne items in suspension, but this includes ich during it's motile/transitory phase where it moves from the substrate to a host.

    Your tank is not that reliant on microplankters which these do kill, I'd be concerned if you told me your cryptic tank habitat was failing then I'd say don't use a sterilizer. For your average fish and few corals tank, a sterilizer can be a huge headache remover, I always recommend them to aquarists as they do not hurt anything you care about in your tank regardless of what you've read on web...I've tested them personally with coral systems for years so that's why i am so passionate to endorse them in average situations where extreme biological engineering would be a headache.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
    brandon429, Jun 22, 2009
    #20
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