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My 3g Pico tank

  • 3g-pico-fts

My 3g Pico tank ran for about a year, providing a tiny splash of color in my kitchen.  The tank was later repurposed to treat infested corals, and then became the Suncoral Tank for several years.

A Pico tank - all 2.6 gallons worth!

Set up 6/25/05 - taken down a year later.  Below are my thoughts during that period...

I bought some new zoas today. They are really pretty, and I didn't want to put them in the main tank since my livestock tends to enjoy checking things a little too, ah... thoroughly. So I set up my Fry Tank, the one I've been hoping to keep baby clownfish in one day. Since I can't get the hatchlings, I decided to put it to use for now. I might even get the Clown Goby out of my tank and put it in this little pico tank.

I have a tiny heater in the tank to maintain temperature, and a 32w PC 50/50 bulb over the frags. The light fixture is too large, and it is tempting to just use a 5100K refugium bulb instead. I've not made up my mind yet.

Here is the pump, a Sen mini pump that moves 90gph. I decided to make a small adaptation to the outlet to control the flow in a way that should work okay.

I have one snail in the tank to keep the rock tidy. Water changes will be the only filtration, and I don't plan to feed the tank. I'll just use water from the reef tank. It holds roughly 2g of water.

The cube is 9" x 9" x 9". One blue moonlight is mounted over the tank, which I turn on for 2 hours each night.


I picked up a new item today. An Ultra Maxima, less than 2" (shell length) in size.


Here are a few new pictures now that the clam is getting used to the tank. Plus he's got a friend.

This is my older maxima. It looks much worse compared to the new one. Odds are it has been picked on by the Copperband Butterfly more than once. I believe the mantle may be pinched, and dipping it in freshwater for 5 minutes may help. It has been a while since I've had clam problem so I'll need input from others before I do anything.

I pulled it out of the tank late last night, so it will have plenty of time to heal up in the new tank.

The ricordia has been stretching and looking kind of ugly in my main reef, so I moved it into the Pico just to see if it will recover, split, or heal. Plus it was small.


So here it is after another visit to the LFS (local fish store) on Saturday.

Here are both clams. They tend to move a bit, so what you see is what you get. The first (1 yr old) maxima looks better already, and it has only been a couple of days since it was moved from the 280g reef.

And all the zoas. There are lots of tiny precious frags in here, so it makes for a very colorful showpiece.

I added a second snail, a couple of stomatellas, a baby serpent starfish, and did a 1g water change again last night. I take 1g from the main reef and pour it in the Pico to replace was has been tossed out. I suppose I could just toss it back in the reef tank, but I'm not. The only thing I'm feeding (I know, I can't help myself) is a small amount of phyto every two days. If the clams can sit in a dish of water and suck out the phyto in 30 minutes, I don't see why they can't do the same in the Pico.

I dug out my tiny "Shrimp" cleaning magnet that is designed to work on 1/4" acrylic, and the front panel stays nice and pretty.

The heater has been unplugged since last night to see what would happen. The tank temperature dropped to 79.7F from 82.4F yesterday. I need to address the lighting situation before moving the tank, but the small pump seems to be generating enough heat to remove the need for a heater whatsoever. Maybe it would be needed in the winter.

I top off with maybe 1/2 cup of RO/DI water each day.


Here is my new little Cleaner Shrimp.

I would like to introduce all of you to Casper.


Good news. Casper ate today. He seems to only like Hikari frozen mysis, but he loves that. I'll need to buy a frozen pack.

Here are a few more zoanthids I added for Casper to hold onto. Actually, the branching live rock is for him, and the zoos are an added bonus. :)

The full tank. Not the best shot as I didn't get the tripod.


Here is a tiny plate coral (Fungia) I isoloated (from my 280g reef) last night. It was forced off the main skeleton by the many other plates growing at once. You can't see much in this picture because it is tucked in a spot where the Salifert beaker won't blow away. I'm using a plastic beaker to keep it safe, as the last one accidentally was sucked into the small pump and was destroyed. Some mysis are nearby for it to snack upon.

A few hours later, it was inflated quite a bit.

Here is Casper. He's changed colors somewhat, more yellowish. I guess he's trying to look like a zoanthid or two. ;)

I wanted to get a picture of the shrimp peeking out, since it is so tiny and cute, but this was the best shot unfortunately. A little blurry, unfortunately.

I did a one gallon water change tonight.


A full tank shot, showing how the light is suspended or balanced over the tank. Those metal brackets are actually the heat sinks from a couple of IceCap 430 ballasts that I had handy.

I installed a small computer fan (12v) behind the tank to cool the water slightly. It is connected to a 6v power supply. It is actually too efficient and cools the tank too much, so I turn it on for one hour or so, once the tank hits 81F.

The plate coral seems to be quite happy in the tank, and has been inflating enough that it may try to get out of the beaker entirely.


The tank is doing quite well, with water changes being done about twice a week. A few days ago, I changed out a lot of water over a 1 hour time period. Using airline tubing, I had it slowly drain water from the tank into a bucket, and I added new water each time it was 50% empty. After about four gallons of new saltwater was added to the tank, I was done. That's a pretty good water change for a 2g tank.

I added Fang, my clown goby to the Pico. He has been banished from my reef tank due to his constant eating of SPS corals. Since he just wiped out a frag I brought home from MACNA, I had enough and removed him from my reef. Casper has a new tankmate.

I took a few more pictures of the Pico Tank.

Casper seems to be doing just fine in this tank.

Getting a cleaning...

A few zoas, and an aiptasia that I need to kill.

and the dendrophyllia up close. I just got this coral at MACNA two weeks ago, and it is a beautiful addition.

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