Visser's custom Pico...


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Well, since there seems to be a real lack of pico tanks in South Africa & MASA, (& because I always wanted to), I'm going to start my own little Pico...


History:
A couple months ago, I had to close down all but my frag system to accommodate a new work contract that I had to manage. So basically, I was only running “Skeleton staff” & could only do top-ups, & a monthly water change (with some occasional dosing.)
Fortunately, my frag system has been doing great despite my absence.

Well. To sum it up. From the word go, I’ve been only into Nano’s. They truly fascinate me, & I like the challenges of keeping rather delicate livestock in such a small system.
One of my long time dreams has been to keep a full blown Pico reef… & this is the start of my pico.

Firstly, the size:
The Idea was to create a Pico without anything inside the tank except LR & LS. (& perhaps a wave maker). So obviously, I required a sump , which made things difficult, as the total volume would instantly go over the “Pico limit.”
Unfortunately, It is very nearly impossible to add a sump to a Pico without taking it under the “20l” limit. So the DT is 15 liters & the sump another 10 liters, making it a total of 25litres.
Fortunately, the DT still “looks” like a pico (size wise).

The livestock:
I’ve always wanted to have a pistol shrimp / goby pair in one of my nano’s, but there was always something that prevented me from doing so.
Now, with the pico, it was the ideal time to do just that, but I didn’t just want the normal shrimp goby… I was looking for something unique / rare.
After a lot of research, & searching, I managed to get hold of a black sailfin goby & a red striped pistol shrimp. There will also be 3 x sexy shrimps.
As for corals. The right of the tank will be only SPS’s (including some very nice birdsnests & some other sps’s that’s suited for a pico) & the entire left of the tank will be only zoas, & perhaps a mushroom etc.


The tank:
I wanted to create a very clean looking thank.
That’s where I came up with the idea of using a skinny overflow for the tank, & “recess” the tank into a pre-cut rectangular hole in the granite top on which it will stand. The tank is going to be glued to the granite slab, to allow the tank to literally “hang” in position.
Thus creating a pico of which the bottom glass pane isn't visible.












Note the position of the skinny overflow goodies underneath the granite slab.


The look:
I did a LOT of planning for the landscaping & look I wanted to achieve. I did +-20 hand sketches to work out the best layout,& landscape for such a small tank, & finally came up with a good one that I liked.
The problem was that & needed to shape the rocks in an unusual way that couldn’t be achieved with normal liverock that just gets stuck together, so I had to go the DIY LIVEROCK route.
I built a dummy tank that was exactly the same dimensions as the pico to cast the diy liverock in & this was the result just after curing:



I used gladwrap to cover the glass to allow the cured liverock to release easier from the mould.
(note the position of the yellow cap. This is to keep the position for the MP10 wavemaker.)
The Holes in the DIY rock is to allow frag plugs to be inserted & stay in position.

Here the gladwrap was removed to show what it’s going to look like.
(note the little hole at centre bottom for the pistol shrimp / goby will be staying.)



& here is the cavity underneath the rock to show their cozy home. LOL.



The tank build:
I started with the skinny overflow of the tank, & the rest followed.



Unfortunately, & forgot to take progress photos of the build, so here is the almost completed product.

 
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This was only a “fit”. There is still a lot of work to be done on the tank, & the overflow still needs to be glued together, but it gives a good idea of the scale of the tank.
The MP10 will be on the top left of the tank.

Here is the return outlet


& part of the overflow


The goby / shrimp hole


& one from the top


& that’s it for today folks.
Will do the next update when I’ve made some progress.

Any comments welcome (good or bad). Please let me know of you see any problems.
Thanks.
 
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I did the first wet test this past weekend, & no leaks. (YEAH!!!)
Just awaiting the granite slab
here is just a pic of the diy rock with the vortech mp10 installed.
 
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& now.
A couple pics of corals I will be putting in the tank.
Firstly, I have a total of 25+ different colored zoas & palys that will be the "main attraction" lol
Here is a couple pics of some of the corals. (Still have a couple zoas, rics & smallish sps frags in my frag system that needs to get moved over to my "quarantine pico" before finally moving into my DT pico...

These were takes just after lights went on, so not everything has opened yet.






















Have 2 different chalice corals
small green digitata
purple digitate
green millepora
purple millepora
2x different pink birdsnest corals
green birdsnest coral
Very unique tricolor encrusting monti
small montipora hirsuta
My all time favourite. (Nuclear death palythoa)
& a bunch of zoas & paly's.

Still need a couple more SPS's & lps's

If anyone wants to know. Yes, & know some of them grow big...
ive been keeping large sps corals in small tanks for a long time... (Im gud at fragging, lol)
 
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& here is a photoshop picture I did just to get an idea of the scaping/placement of corals on the DIY rock.

 
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Sheez, awesome execution of the diy plans. Well done :thumbup: Please will you share your base rock recipe and how long will you leach it ?
 
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I wouldn't add the sps,
Why not just keep it a softy tank? :)
Im only adding a couple "smaller" sps that isnt too difficult to keep.
The birdsnests in the picture is only to get an idea of what it would look like...

Ive been keeping sps in a 25l tank for more than a year without any issues. Just requires a bit more maintenance & dosing...
 
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Im only adding a couple "smaller" sps that isnt too difficult to keep.
The birdsnests in the picture is only to get an idea of what it would look like...

Ive been keeping sps in a 25l tank for more than a year without any issues. Just requires a bit more maintenance & dosing...
Yeah, I'm not saying it will be a problem, Just that why burden yourself with extra maintenance for sps when you can have a full softie awesome looking tank :drool5:
But well it's your tank dude. :p

You can tell I'm a softie fan :tt2::thumbup:
 
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Sheez, awesome execution of the diy plans. Well done :thumbup: Please will you share your base rock recipe and how long will you leach it ?
Thanks @Istio...

I used white portland cement that I finally managed to get hold of after a lot of searching. I mixed the cement in a 1:2:2 (Cement:Aragonite:coarse salt) ratio.
I first mix the Cement & aragonite (0.5-1.5mm size) together, then slowly add water to create a stiff mixture (dont make it sloppy otherwise its impossible to create shapes with), & vigorously stir until fully mixed. Then I add the salt & stir for another 2 minutes until its worked into the mixture completely.

The idea of the salt is to create cavities in the rock to allow bacterial colonies to settle.
After the concrete has cured (24 hours), I let the rock soak in water for a week, changing the water daily (add a powerhead to speed up process.)
The salt fully dissolves, leaving only the rock with cavities.
Tip: Only make small batches at a time. Makes it easier to mix,& gives you time to shape the rockwork.
 
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Yeah, I'm not saying it will be a problem, Just that why burden yourself with extra maintenance for sps when you can have a full softie awesome looking tank :drool5:
But well it's your tank dude. :p

You can tell I'm a softie fan :tt2::thumbup:
LOL. yeah, can definitely tell you like softies... lol

Anyhow. Isnt that much more maintenance... Just dosing 3x a week, & better skimming. I quite enjoy the look of one or 2 nice SPS in a zoa tank... Just breaks the uniformity a bit...
 
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This makes me want a pico too.....guess I should get my medium (500l) right first. If you are ever selling any of those frags, I am interested.
 
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This makes me want a pico too.....guess I should get my medium (500l) right first. If you are ever selling any of those frags, I am interested.
Lol, will definitely keep you in mind, but you are currently about 6th in the line... Lol.
Ive been collecting most of the frags for the past 3 years, & got a bunch of very nice zoas from gerhard when he shut down his pico...
 

JS

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Wow...even a photoshop layout of corals....:thumbup: This is gona be a cool little tank!
 
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