My little Pico system

Discussion in 'uncategorised' started by Jaco Schoeman, 8 Aug 2010.

  1. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman MASA Contributor

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    Hi guys...

    Been holding back a bit with this, as it was an experimental setup at first. I can however confirm now, that I have had huge success with it, and I am very happy with my Pico Tank.

    The tank

    The dimensions of the DT is 300x300x300. I have however, had the glass cut 400mm long, in order to allow for a 100 sump area at the back, which would consist of return pump, DSB and refuge!!!

    Here is the unbuilt tank:

    [​IMG]

    I drilled the return hole on the rear inner panel:

    [​IMG]

    Stuck alltogether, it would look like this (here the engineer is double checking dad's work)

    [​IMG]

    As with everything in this hobby, one always has to have some setback. Mine was in the form of a leak on the rear panel, but I traced the problem quickly and fixed it without any problems. The bigger problems came in after all was upo and running, but I will elaborate about that at the end of my post...

    Lighting:

    Because this is such a small tank, lighting was issue for me. I did not want to go the PCL or CFL type lighting, as wanted to keep Ric's and if possible an SPS or two. T5's are also not an option, as 24W T5's are double the length of my tank. So I shopped, and shopped and shopped...

    Then I got a hold of a LED unit, that consists of 6x 1W Cree LED's. These are the same LED's used in the Solaris units BTW. I had the comapny replace two of the Pure White LED's with two blue's, to get color spectrums balanced inside the tank. I will write a full review on this LED unit on another thread, but I am ABSOLUTELY blown away with the performance of this LED unit.

    Pricing would compare to a DIY 150W MH unit and bulb, but at 6W power consumption, and 50000hr lifespan, it was perfect. It has VERY VERY low heat generation, and we placed this unit head to head against my dad's 12000K 150W MH, and I can confirm that this LED unit is brighter than the MH. The type of light also looks more natural than any type of lighting I have seen to date. But, further information on another thread... ;)

    Here is how it looks:

    [​IMG]

    Filtration:

    What I absolutely love about these Nano sized tanks are the filtration challenge. It is too small to fit most skimmers, DSB's, refugiums etc. unless you have space to place larger sumps etc. below the tank. I wanted mine to be desktoped. So, I built it have a small DSB at the back, where I would be able to have cheato growing, to help cope with nutrients... The DSB material I chose, is Mineral Mud. I just fell in love with this media, as I could really see coral and macro's do so much better after using it in previous setups. I would never ever run any tank again without having mineral mud inside it, as it also gives a natural source of many trace elements etc.

    Placement of the heater would also be a challenge, and I just stuck a 50mm PVC pipe to the bottom of the DSB, and put the small 100W heater inside it. It works like a charm!!!

    I also do a 5 litre (WOW!!!!) water change per week, but taking into consideration the entire system is a mere 25litres, this water changes helps alot!!!

    I also place filter floss in the overflow area, as this helps catch up all bits of food etc that might cause nutrient build-up. This piece of filterfloss is replaced twice a week.

    Here is what the tank looks like from the back:

    [​IMG]

    Flow:

    Another challenge on a 300x300 cube, is flow. You can put a powerhead in there yes, and as far as my knowledge streches the smallest p/heads are the Tunze Nano stream. But that would a) look very bad as it would still take up too much space and b) it would cause havock as the flow would be tsunami compared to chaotic. Normally one would just have a simple return pipe, but I wanted chaotic flow, so I invested in the Dymax Wave Deflector. This was an amazing investment, and I will now always have one on a return. I did have some issues with it at first, where it would just stop turning, but now all of that is sorted out, and it does an amazing job with flow over my corals.

    Here is what it looks like, and it costs R70!!!

    [​IMG]


    Livestock:

    I know that in this sized tank, fish would be a problem. So after researching a bit, I decided to stick with trusty old NEMO. He is a great addition to the tank, and is at this stage the only fish. I would however want to look at one or two more smaller fish, but I would use much caution before adding too much fish here, as it is quite cramped...

    Inverts consist of a hermit crab in the back, one in the tank, an Arrowhead Crab and a Feather Starfish. I also have one or two hitchiker cushion starfish, but have no idea where they are at any time. I have also discovered a hitchiker Crinoid Shrimp in my Feather Starfish, and he is REALLY cool... I also have tow tube worms, that help with filtration, and are quite happy!! Here is some photos of the inverts:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Corals:

    This type of tank is ideal for zoanthids, mushrooms, ricordias, star polyps etc. IMO, unless you have HUGE colonies of zoanthids, they do get lost in large tanks, so this sized tank forces you to have a "closer" look and admire these beautiful corals. I have many different species of zoa and palythoa in my tank.

    I also have Ricordia's, red mushrooms and green mushrooms. Other softcorals include star polyps, metallic green leather coral, finger leather coral and a small pincushion frag. For a bit of "movement" I place my all time favorite clownfish host - Green Torch Coral.

    Then I put the LED's to test once more, and this is still under close supervision... I place and SPS in the tank, and will experiment with only this specimen. Forgive me, but this is the first ever SPS I have kept, and I am not even sure what it's name is, so ID is welcome please... At this stage, the SPS is doing VERY VERY well, and I can even confirm it growing. The coral is at the highest point in the tank, and the light is about 40+ cm from the coral tips, yet it is doing extremely well. The moment I see any change in this coral, I will have someone take it off my hands, that has a good home for it.

    Feeding corals are something I believe in as much as I believe in eating food myself... Photosynthesis alone can not keep corals healthy and growing long term IMO. So, I feed small amounts of Phyto, zoo and cyclopeeze once or twice a week. Then, just before I do the water change, I feed a huge amount of Phyto, Zoo, Cyclop-Eeze, Rotifier and Brine Shrimp. I can definetly see that this feeding helps my corals stay healthy and colorfull. A few hours after feeding so heavily, I do the water change to eliviate any nutrient issues.

    Here are some photos of my corals:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]





    Will post some more below...

    Anyway, all have been going very well. Running cost and setup cost is very low on this tank, I and enjoy keeping it.

    Drawbacks however only came in as a result of bad planning. The pump I used was too big for the overflow I planned, so I almost flooded the tank. I then had to improvise, but this was a problem as all was glass panes already stuck, and a tank already stocked. I ended up drilling glass inside a full tank, and I am lucky to have done so without breaking anything I did not intend to break. I had to break my way through to make a larger overflow to handle the flow rate. I also made the return hole too high up, so ended up with the Wave Deflector pushing water over the edge of the tank.

    This has now made me have to redesign, and rebuilt the entire tank. I will break it all down, and transfer to the newly build tank within a week or two, but the design will stay the same...

    I enjoy my little tank none the less!!!
     
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  3. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    More photos of the corals:

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    (SORRY FOR THE BAD QUALITY but Nemo doesn't wanna stay still, and neither does his home...)
     
    Last edited: 8 Aug 2010
  4. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    And more...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Annoying

    Annoying

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    Wow awesome little project! Amazing colours of the coral aswell!
     
  6. Slummies

    Slummies

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    fun little setup:)

    please explain more about this wave deflector!!!???
     
  7. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Thanks... Basically the wave deflector has a propellar inside, that runs on gears, connected to the outer dome which also has gears...

    In a nutshell, the flow rotates the propellar which in turn rotates the body of the deflector. It then has a 45deg curve, which rotates the water to give nice random 360degree water flow / movement... ;)
     
  8. Slummies

    Slummies

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    that is so rad bru!!

    will it work at the end of a return nozzle? (clear piping you get from a petshop)
     
  9. Loki

    Loki cable tie ninja

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    Hi jaco great work as usual. i think the sps is a seriatopora caliendrum. forgive the spelling sps gurus.. wen can i get some zoa frags?
     
  10. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Jip, that is what mine is connected to...
     
  11. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Spot on Loki!!! Thank you for the name!! Tnat does deserve a frag... ;)
     
  12. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Here is a FTS, had to wait till night to take it, otherwise there are too many reflections on the glass...

    [​IMG]
     
  13. FransSny

    FransSny

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    Very Nice Jaco...glad your plans worked out ! Have you maybe compared that unit (lights) to MH with a PAR meter ?
     
  14. Slummies

    Slummies

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    i have heard conflicting reports. 2 others say they used it for 30min and then packed it away cos it didnt work
     
  15. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Thank you Frans... And can you believe it, I didn't even use sandpaper once!!! :lol:

    No, I have not compared it with a PAR meter. What I plan to do, is to post a thread that will compare stats from the manufacturers of the MH vs. the LED - but I guess the proof is really in the pudding though...

    So if anyone can assist with a PAR / LUX meter to come and test, I think it would help a lot to judge from...

    I have spoken to the supplier and they might be willing to "sponsor" me a whole range of lights, including 7x 3W LED screw in bulbs, MR16 bulbs etc. Then I can compare the entire range, and see which one works best.

    @ Slummies: I think many people have tried alternative types of LED units maybe, maybe even ones with lower wattage yet more LED's altogether, and have then failed. As I say, my dad uses two of these with his MH, and he says they outperform the MH. He has placed all his light loving coral under the LED's, so I guess we will have to look at it long term
     
  16. FransSny

    FransSny

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    LOL Jaco...dodnt want to bring up the sandpaper issue again...( I must actually look for that thread, I did the most stupid thing of all time last week)

    If you can get a decent Digital you can also test with the buildt in light meter.

    Another question (and sorry for hicjacking) , I PERSONALLY doubt the effectiveness of the small sandbed...what is your reasoning behind it ..or any thoughts from anyone else ?
     
  17. Johan van Aardt

    Johan van Aardt I love marines [R.I.P.]

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    Jaco how did you get your wave deflector to work? That is what slummies is talking about i think.

    Im very intrested in the LED light, can you maybe send me details about from who you baught it and how much it costs?:whistling:

    looks fantastic tho, and will be following to see how it turns out in future
     
  18. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Frans, good question... WRT the DSB. I would not recon that it alone serves as the ultimate in filtration in such a small tank. I am VERY bad with mathematics, so I cannot work the DSB calculators to determine the footprint of the DSB.

    That said, the additional "idea" behind the DSB is that it is made up from mineral mud. This gives a natural supply of some trace elements and also helps with the growth of the cheato and macro's growing from the LR.

    All in all, I cannot say that the filtration is a must, but it works very well for me. Whether the DSB actually functions as a DSB or just as source of minerals for the macros and a house for the micro fauna, I really cannot say at this stage, but it cannot do any harm. I would still not advise on reducing water changes though, so I still stick with 5litres per week wc, which is about 20% of total volume...
     
  19. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Ah, okey thanks for clearing that out Johan... ;)

    Yes, I think people might get "over-exited" when reading the words "wave deflector..." If you read the descriptions of the packaging too, you might think this is an alternative to wavemaker powerheads etc. If that is what anyone thinks, then they are wrong :p

    For a 300x300x300 cube, this works best, as powerheads and other methods of flow will either be too strong or look bad. As I said, you can just discharge from the return, but the wave deflector just does a better job at random flow.

    So, if you want to use this in your large aquariums, IMO you might not even see a difference other than corals placed right in front of this. But this cannot replace flow from powerheads in larger tanks.

    Hope this clears it out a bit more... ;)

    With regards to the LED unit, this 6W LED unit cost me R1500, but I will post all the info later on the LED unit.
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2010
  20. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    The pipe the heater stand in, is it blocked off at the bottom end? Else as hot water rises up out of it, were will cold water be sucked in?
    Not sure if the heater in this position will work 100%. Obviously heater is too long to fit in sideways. Wonder if you still get those heaters where the thermostat part and heater part is seperate parts. Had one of them when I was still in school many moons ago.

    Unless you got a auto top up unit, that could keep the last chamber full, then you can put the heater there. but i would not trust it there. To many tings can go wrong and the thermostat part could end up above the water.

    Only other option I can think might work, is to put a 15mm conduit pipe next to heater in the 50mm pipe, with an elbow at the top. To form a channel for cold water to flow down and hot water could rise around the heater itself.
    Or a small thin line that you T off the return pump, with 10-15mm flexible pipe that goes down next to the heater. Strong flow not required. That would ensure at least circulation around the heater.
     
  21. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Bliksem. (If I can use that word on the forum). R1500. That is R250 per LED.
    imagine this same LEDs on a 1.5m system.
     
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