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Lee Dymax IQ5 Pico Marine Setup

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Posted (edited)

Restarting a Pico Marine Setup after decommissioned my last Nano Tank in 2006. Will update soon. 

Edited by LeeNanoIQ5

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It had been more than 15 years since my 2.5ft marine tank was decommissioned. Marine fish keeping technologies has been improving leaps and bounds especially the new LED lightings, control and monitor systems. I also observed many of you not only successfully keep SPS and rare corals but cultured them as well. It was rare sight then. One thing for sure today, many yesteryears corals & current rare exotic ones are priced many times higher.  

However I still believe with prudent budgeting and learning through reefers' experiences here I will try challenging myself setting up a basic mixed reef system. 
Due to time, space and budget concerns I had decided to setup an even smaller tank than my last 2.5ft. It will be a Dymax AIO Model IQ5 Acrylic Tank with effective volume of only 11 litres (3 US Gallons). It will be sited in a cozy table corner next to a few bonsai plants in my workroom. My initial budget for the equipment, live stocks and maintenance for 2 years should be less than $1000. I was very Wrong; I had under-estimated the live stocks especially the corals. I started the setup in early December 19 and currently I had already spent more than $1500. 

I will try to recap my setting up since Dec19 and will update to the current status whenever I'm free to do so. 

         

 

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These are the equipment I purchased for my setup :-

 

TANK : Dymax IQ5 Acrylic Tank, Int Dim: 21(W) x20(D)x 27(H) cm; Vol: 11Litres (3 US Gallons); $125 (FNM)

FILTER : Built-in Overflow (Bio Ball, Activated Charcoal); Power Head PH200, 200-300L/H; Power: 5W

SKIMMER: Skimmer w/ 3W Air Pump; $33 (Nanyang Aq); Powerhead as Wavemaker, 200-300L/H; Power: 5W; $8 (NA)

LIGHTINGS : Dymax Flex 5, 9White + 2 Blue; Power: 4.5W

 

EQ Dymax IQ5 Box WL.jpg

EQ IQ5 Front WL.jpg

EQ IQ5 Top WL.jpg

EQ IQ5 Side WL.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Day1 (3/12/19)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($364); Fish & Invert ($0); Corals ($0); Maintenance ($13) -> Power Used ~ 18W

Setup the tank, fill up with sand and sea water and let it run for the night.
Starts with Dr Tim bacteria.

Day1 Tank Fill Up WL.jpg

Edited by LeeNanoIQ5

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Day2 (4/12/19)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($364); Fish & Invert ($0); Corals ($0); Maintenance ($13) -> Power Used ~ 18W

Performs Water Tests for the following:-
PH (8.2); NH3 (0.25); NO2 (0.75); NO3 (0); Temp (26.5); Salinity (1.021)

Added rocks and water starts clearing in a few hours.

Day2 Tank w-rock WL.jpg

Day2 My Cozy Corner WL.jpg

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Cycling of my Saltwater Tank - using Dr Tim Bacteria & Ammonia Chloride - took me about 12 days.

Day2 (4/12/19)
PH (8.2); NH3 (0.25); NO2 (0.75); NO3 (0); Temp (26.5); Salinity (1.021)

Day5 (7/12/19)
PH (); NH3 (1.5); NO2 (0.5); NO3 (-); Temp (-); Salinity (-)

Day8 (10/12/19)  
PH (); NH3 (0.5); NO2 (2.0); NO3 (0); Temp (26.5); Salinity ()

Day11 (13/12/19)  
PH (); NH3 (); NO2 (3.5); NO3 (0); Temp (26.5); Salinity ()

Day13 (15/12/19)  
PH (8.2); NH3 (0); NO2 (0.25); NO3 (25.0); Temp (25.5); Salinity (1.022)

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Day13 (15/12/19)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($364); Fish & Invert ($12); Corals ($0); Maintenance ($13) -> Power Used ~ 18W

Felt that the cycling is somewhat OK and so I purchased my 1st 2 clowns, a hermit crab and a snail to test out the water.

 

Day13 1st Fish WL.jpg

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Day19 (21/12/19)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($364); Fish & Invert ($12); Corals ($50); Maintenance ($13) -> Power Used ~ 18W

Seem likes both clownfishes are doing well so I got a small RBTA & Torch (from a reefer here) to test out.

 

Day19 1st Corals WL.jpg

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Day20 (22/12/19)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($364); Fish & Invert ($18); Corals ($50); Maintenance ($13) -> Power Used ~ 18W

Being a little impatient visited Iwarna and got myself a yellow tail blue damsel and a blue springer damsel knowing well it will exceed my bioload.

Day20 More fish WL.jpg

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Day29 (1/1/20)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($414); Fish & Invert ($18); Corals ($100); Maintenance ($20) -> Power Used ~ 32W

Another week and bought some mushrooms from a reefer here. Getting crowded.
Installed a mini skimmer,  a small powerhead (acts as a wave maker) and another set of similar LED lighting.

Day29 2nd Corals WL.jpg

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Day31 (3/1/20)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($414); Fish & Invert ($26); Corals ($195); Maintenance ($20) -> Power Used ~ 32W

Being too excited to fill up my tank bought a green frogspawn and a torch. Later in the evening bought a yellow wrasse.

Day31 3rd Corals WL.jpg

Day31 Wrasse WL.jpg

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Day 37-51 (23/1/20)  
Expenses: Equipment ($414); Fish & Invert ($26); Corals ($195); Maintenance ($20) -> Power Used ~ 32W

Since the introduction  of so many livestocks in such a short period of time things went bad very quickly.
Fishes start getting 'velvet' diseases and it spread very fast causing death within the next 2-3 weeks. Even invertebrates and corals were not spare.
Did some water test and observed only NO2 (1mg/L) & NO3 (30mg/L) were a bit high. Salinity was observed to be different between Glass & Plastic Hydrometers (from 1.015 - 1.035) 
Several new water changes were also performed to bring the water parameters even lower.
Can also observed the spread of diatoms and green algae accelerated even lowering my light intensity and period.

 Day48 Live Stocks Died WL.jpg

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Day 52-93 (24/1/20 - 5/3/20)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($414); Fish & Invert ($49); Corals ($195); Maintenance ($20) -> Power Used ~ 32W

Time to restock, added a small Tomato Clown, Green Chromis & Blue Tang. Bought a bunch of Seagrass to add some Green to the tank.
However same problem happened, all the fishes died after 2-3 weeks and the seagrass turned yellow and wasted off.

Day 52 Livestocks WL.jpg

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Day 94-118 (6/3/20 - 30/3/20)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($414); Fish & Invert ($76); Corals ($220); Maintenance ($20) -> Power Used ~ 32W

With the past experiences, will try to slow down the introduction of livestocks this time and perform more water tests. 
Added a pair of Pink Skunk Clown, a Cardinal, a Dragonet and a Rock of Brown Star Polyp with green tips. 
 

Day 94 Livestocks WL.jpg

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Day 119-135 (31/3/20 - 16/4/20)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($414); Fish & Invert ($86); Corals ($310); Maintenance ($20) -> Power Used ~ 32W

I'm still battling with brown and green algae each days and need to increase my cleanup each day. 
The Pink Skunk, Cardinal and the Dragonet also don't make it this far.
This period corresponded to the increase in Covid19 cases and an expected lockdown is imminent.
As such, I tried stocking up with another small RBTA & GSP and a Sand Goby (to help with the algae)

Day 119 Livestocks WL.jpg

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Day 136-149 (17/4/20 - 30/4/20)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($414); Fish & Invert ($103); Corals ($310); Maintenance ($32) -> Power Used ~ 32W

Since this period is within the 7th April 20 Circuit Breaker No Livestock is allowed to be sold anywhere in Singapore. 
My tank was devoid of any fishes but managed to purchased online with delivery a pair of Clown Fish after almost 3 weeks.
This time round I'm hoping to keep the both the Clownfish alive as I will have more time to acclimate the fish before adding more livestock. 
So far the RBTA and the brown GSP are holding up.  

 

Day 136 Clown WL.jpg

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Day 150-172 (1/5/20 - 26/6/20)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($414); Fish & Invert ($103); Corals ($310); Maintenance ($32) -> Power Used ~ 32W

As we were still in the CB period no additional livestock can be purchased hence these was the best time  to let the tank water stabilised and matured.
Since I had persistent brown and green algae problem some reefers suggested my salt mix should change from Tap water to Distilled water. 
Did a change and indeed i can observed mark improvement in the slowing of algae growth. However I still need to control the fish feeding frequency and 
reducing my lighting intensity and duration. 
During this period both my brown star polyp and RBTA grew pretty well.  

Day 150-172 Clown WL.jpg

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Day 173-186 (27/6/20 - 10/7/20)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($436); Fish & Invert ($113); Corals ($460); Maintenance ($50) -> Power Used ~ 32W
Water Test (Ave) PH (8.2); NH3 (0.15); NO2 (0); NO3 (20); PO4 (0.5); Temp (27.5); Salinity (1.023)

Feeling confident of the water quality and CB Phase 1, this time round I will limit my tank to only 2 clownfish and instead get more of soft corals and LPS.
Managed to get some Zoas, mini Pulsing Xenia, GSP, Flame Clove and even a Stylos Frag (only last for 2 weeks) to try. Also got a Red Starfish (but it died after a week) 

  

Day173 Corals WL.jpg

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Day 187-198 (11/7/20 - 22/7/20)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($436); Fish & Invert ($113); Corals ($555); Maintenance ($69) -> Power Used ~ 32W

Stock up more corals such as GSP (actually a back wall); Flame Clove & Pink Carnation (died after 1 week)

 

Day 187 Corals WL.jpg

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Day 199-207 (23/7/20 - 31/7/20)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($501); Fish & Invert ($121); Corals ($795); Maintenance ($99) -> Power Used ~ 46W

Purchased a new 18W LED with more emphasis in the Blue wavelength. Also replacing a better Bio Media for the overflow filter.
Managed to get a Seahare which supposedly can remove my current increase in Hair Algae. Seahare died a few days later.
Stock more LPS & soft corals such as Ricordia, Kenya Tree and a Yellow Plate.  

Day 199 with new LED WL.jpg

EQ 18W LED WL.jpg

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Day 199-207 (23/7/20 - 31/7/20)  

To my surprised my RBTA started splitting on 25/7/20 and still not complete. 

RBTA Splitting WL.jpg

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Day 208 (1/8/20)  
Expenses
: Equipment ($436); Fish & Invert ($113); Corals ($460); Maintenance ($50) -> Power Used ~ 32W
Water Test (Ave) PH (8.2); NH3 (0); NO2 (0); NO3 (25); PO4 (0.3-0.5); Temp (27.5); Salinity (1.022)

My tank status as of today; will let it stabilise for a few more weeks before adding new livestocks. 
Still looking for solution to reduce hair algae, green and brown algae.

 

1Aug20 Pico Tank Cosy Corner DS.jpg

1Aug20 Pico WLight WL.jpg

1Aug20 Pico BLight DS.jpg

1Aug20 BrownSP WL.jpg

1Aug20 GSP WL.jpg

1Aug20 Flame Clove WL.jpg

1Aug20 Green Plate WL.jpg

1Aug20 Kenya Tree WL.jpg

1Aug20 RBTA(Splitting) WL.jpg

1Aug20 Ricordia WL.jpg

1Aug20 Zoas Corner WL.jpg

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Looking good and glad to see your tank stablised very well in the end. What method are you using to chillt he tank? don't see any fan nor chiller used. This may not be something u want to hear, but a pair of clown should be the only fishes in the tank.

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