3 Gallon Pico Jar!

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Builds' started by PoorBigBlue, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. PoorBigBlue

    PoorBigBlue Valued Member Member

    So, to start off, I'm new here. I had an account years and years ago, but I lost interest in the hobby once I got into high school, and sold everything off. I had been in the saltwater portion of the hobby for my whole life at that point, and I was tired of it.

    Recently, I was browsing Craigslist, looking for a used tank for my nephew. I came across a 10 gallon tank that was fully set up as a reef aquarium, and long story short, I ended up grabbing it. In the ad, it had said that it was a bit of a fixer-upper, with two fish, no coral, and just a few crabs and snails. It came with everything else that was needed.

    Turns out, that was an understatement. The tank was covered in algae, and nitrates read over 80 PPM with an API kit. When I got the tank home, I cleaned up the front panel, the sand, and the filters. Then, I did a 100% WC, and re-acclimated everyone. The tank is ugly and still a bit cloudy, but it's safer for the inhabitants now. This is what came in the tank:

    2 (small) Lyretail Mollies
    6-8 snails, mostly dwarf ceriths
    1 Hermit Crab (that I can find)
    1 shriveled up zoa colony
    and a mystery macroalgae.

    I realize that the mollies will need to be rehomed at some point, but I'm not aware of any stores around me that'd take saltwater mollies. I also realize that I'll need a larger CUC, but I want to wait to make sure the tank isn't doomed before shelling out for that. As for the coral and macro, who knows if they'll make it. They don't look so good.

    Equipment-wise, it came with:
    An AC 20 HOB
    An Aqueon 50W heater
    An ABI PAR 38

    and I added a powerhead I had laying around for some extra flow.

    Forgive me if I'm forgetting any important details for a thread like this, but I'm jumping back into the hobby head-first. I'll use this as a sort of "tank journal", as well as ask any questions I may have here.

    Thanks for reading! Pictures to come.
     
  2. OP
    OP
    PoorBigBlue

    PoorBigBlue Valued Member Member

    Also worth noting that I made sure not to clean the rock or the sand with anything but saltwater, so the cycle should be intact. There was no Ammonia or Nitrite present before I changed out water.
     
  3. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill Well Known Member Member

    Welcome back. Sounds like you had your hands full.
     




  4. stella1979

    stella1979 Moderator Moderator Member

    Indeed, sounds like a big job, but congrats, and welcome back. :)
     
  5. OP
    OP
    PoorBigBlue

    PoorBigBlue Valued Member Member

    Well, I'm not sure I'm going to keep this tank going. Both mollies have died since the water change. Not sure why, as I matched SG, Temp, and PH of the new water to the old pretty well. Too bad :( The macroalgae isn't looking so good either, with a lot of nuisance algae growing on it. The coral is starting to come around, though.

    I may move whatever inverts and coral I have into a different tank and use this one for a freshwater tank. I think starting over, new, without any previous issues might be the best idea.
     
  6. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill Well Known Member Member

    That’s too bad. Sorry to hear that. Did the tank lose its cycle?
     
  7. OP
    OP
    PoorBigBlue

    PoorBigBlue Valued Member Member

    No, it doesn't seem so. There's no ammonia or nitrite present, just around 5 PPM of nitrate. Maybe the "fresh" water shocked them? I'm not sure.
     
  8. stella1979

    stella1979 Moderator Moderator Member

    Sorry about the mollies. :( You did what seemed best for them, so that's unfortunate the save didn't work out. :(

    I have run across a story or two of fish being so used to very dirty water that a sudden switch to clean water took them out. It's hard to say with such new fish, but that's probably what I'd assume happened here.

    Hmm, a fresh start sounds like a very good idea to me. :) How's the rock in the current tank looking? Any nuisance algae or pests there? If so... whelp, you might just want to completely start fresh, and while a whole new build isn't something I want to push on anybody, I'd say to go a little larger if at all possible. A 20g long offers much more in the way of stocking room, but it would also require it's own equipment too. The 10g sounds like a great quarantine tank for a little reef. Anyhow, just an idea and I'm glad to help either way.;)

    If you stick in the 10g range, I'd recommend keeping only one nano fish. A firefish would be awesome! :D My guy Scorch has been hardy through some tough times and was pretty brave before I put a clown in with him. They can be timid, but that was not my experience with Scorch while he was alone... which was for over a year. Again, just an idea, though I think a good one for a 10g based on looks and activity level.;)
     
  9. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill Well Known Member Member

    It’s hard to say. I know mollies in freshwater can stand some pretty dirty water, not sure about salt though.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    PoorBigBlue

    PoorBigBlue Valued Member Member

    There doesn't seem to be anything growing on the rock except for a bit of hair algae, and that's just growing in the nooks and crannies. I'm actually thinking about staying with a 10 gallon or even downsizing, and going with no fish. Just inverts and coral. I've been reading around on different sites, and have a few ideas for what I want to do. Thanks for the suggestions, though!
     
  11. stella1979

    stella1979 Moderator Moderator Member

    Yesss, I love a tiny pico reef tank! Please keep us updated, whatever you decide. :)
     
  12. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill Well Known Member Member

    RFA gardens are beautiful.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    PoorBigBlue

    PoorBigBlue Valued Member Member

    I'd love to try and RFA! I'm not sure I want to do an RFA-dominated tank, but it might be cool to have a really colorful one in the middle of the scape and have corals surrounding it.

    I'm starting to collect equipment from my storage unit... I found an old Top Fin HOB, an old Tetra heater, and some dead rock. I think I'll let everything run with some plain freshwater in an empty tank for a few days to make everything works well. I'll give the rock a bath in acid, too, to make sure I don't cause a big cycle.

    As for the tank itself, I'm having tons of ideas. I want to stay away from the jar aquariums you see so often, just because I dislike the viewing angles so much. I'd really love to get a hold of a decent tiny cube, but they're all overpriced for what they are. I might just go with a cheap betta tank from petsmart to get my feet wet. We shall see!
     
  14. OP
    OP
    PoorBigBlue

    PoorBigBlue Valued Member Member

    Okay... So, I ended up going with a glass jar from Walmart, that's roughly 3 gallons. I don't love the viewing angles, but it's something different, and will save me from having to source a lid and light the tank evenly. Seems easier to me, and I'm all good with that.

    I've got all the stock from the 10 gallon sitting in a rubbermaid container with an internal filter from Petsmart and a heater until this weekend when I can get the jar set up.

    Stock Includes:
    Lots of Dwarf Ceriths
    1 Hermit Crab
    Mystery Macroalgaes (some red, some green)
    Caulerpa Prolifera (?)
    Zoas

    The only thing that may get thrown out is the zoas, since they're in SUCH rough shape. I don't want them to bomb the tank and kill everything.

    I'll be lighting the tank with a desklamp and a PAR 30. Should be fun!
     
  15. stella1979

    stella1979 Moderator Moderator Member

    Indeed, it should be fun! :D Can't wait to see it come together. :)
     
  16. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill Well Known Member Member

    You can always send the Zoas to me, I’m building a zoo garden
     
  17. OP
    OP
    PoorBigBlue

    PoorBigBlue Valued Member Member

    Ha! They'd melt in shipping.

    Right now, they're opening up a tiny bit in the container I've got them in. They're still brown and deflated, though. We'll see if they pull through
     
  18. OP
    OP
    PoorBigBlue

    PoorBigBlue Valued Member Member

    The zoa's are looking much better today. They're showing a bit of their color, and look much more inflated and much larger than they did last night.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    PoorBigBlue

    PoorBigBlue Valued Member Member

    I've got the tank partially set up - the equipment is in, and the tank is in it's spot on my desk. I may move everything over tonight - it depends on how I feel after a coffee run!

    I know that with these picos, bare bottom is often preferred due to the ease keeping such a tank clean. I personally prefer the look of sand, and I feel as if the hermit crab (and future non-snail inverts) may have an easier time with a sandy bottom. But, if it's really THAT much easier to keep clean with a bare bottom, I can go with that, too. What're your opinions on it? I've got an old bag of sand ready to go.
     
  20. Waterloo

    Waterloo Valued Member Member

    I don't have any insights for bare vs covered but super super excited to see it!
     




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