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Thread: Drilled 3 gallon Pico Build

  1. #1

    Drilled 3 gallon Pico Build

    I just joined this site and wanted to show my pico build. I have already completed the build and have started stocking it, but I am going to start from the beginning and try to give you all an idea of how it went down.

    Let me start by saying that this is the second drilled pico that I have done. The first went quite well but I thought that I would change a few things on this one.

    To start off, I went to elite and purchased a pico. the first obstacle was to decide how to hide the plumbing when drilled the tank. I decided to get a small peice of black ABS plastic, bend it into a curve (to match the curve of the tank), and cut some slits in it for the surface skimmer. In my previous build I drilled two holes. One for the drain and one for the return. It works ok but it barely drained fast enough for the return pump. Because of this I decided to drill three holes in this tank. one for the return and two for drains. I also decided to use a length of lockline with a splitter for the return into the tank. Here are some pics of everything upto this point.

  2. #2
    Man, that's way cool!!! Welcome BTW!!

  3. #3

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Denver Co
    very creative and i like it

    how large is the sump? what did you stock in it?

  5. #5
    Thank you all.

    The next set of obstacles for me to overcome included the fuge and the stand. I wanted the stand to have a small footprint, like the pico, so I did not have space for a large fuge. Instead I chose to go with a 2.5g AGA. I purchased some small sheets of acrylic, cut them to the needed size, and used silicone to attach them in the 2.5g.

    The stand itself was a little more difficult. On my previous build I used steel tube, steel bar, and steel angle iron to build a stand. It turned out very well, but took a lot of time and work. I did not want to do all of that work this time so I spent all of that time doing research instead. What I ended up chosing was the 8g biocube stand. It is the perfect fit for the Pico.

    All I had to do was cut a hole in the top of the stand and plumb the system. Here are some pictures of the sump and the stand with the tank on it.

    And with some live rock in it for the cycle.

  6. #6
    The final, and most difficult thing that I needed was a better light. The 9w stock light just doesn't cut it. I love LED lighting and used it on my previous build. I think that most of the commercially available LED fixtures are way overpriced so I have DIY'd all of my LED systems.

    On my previous build everything was completely custom. From the heatsink to the fixture itself. The fixture was made from aluminum flat bar that I welded and had powder coated to give it a professional appearance. Like the stand I did not want to go through all of that trouble again.

    After a lot of research and shopping around I found the perfect heatsink/fixture for this little system. I found it on nanotuners.com. It is all aluminum, custom CNC'd, black anodized, and came with a splash guard and built in fan. I purchased 5 Cree XPG CW, 6 Cree XPE RB, and 2 Blue moonlight LED's from rapidled.com. Both the white and blue LED's are powered by 1000mA dimmable buck pucks, and the moonlight are powered by a 350mA dimmable buckpuck.

    Unfortunately, the fixture that I purchased does not have any room to put the buckpucks in it. This took a bit more thinking to come up with a solution. What I came up with was an external control box that houses the buckpucks, power plugs, and the dimmer knobs. I went to radio shack and found an ABS plastic project box. I drilled a few holed in the front cover and attached the dimmer knobs through these. I then drilled 3 holes in the bottom of the box for the power jacks, and one hole on the top for all of the wired going to the fixture. I then wired everything and wrapped the wires with electrical tape. I used velcro to attach the control box to the side of the stand.

    To mount the light, I used the Current USA light hanging kit. I simply attached it to the stand, drilled some holes in the fixture, and hung the light. Here are some pictures of the light in all it's glory.

  7. #7
    Once the light was completed and the cycle was done it was time to begin stocking the system. So far I added a small zoa rock, button polyps, a small acan frag, and a feather duster.

    I have placed an order for something special that I am VERY excited about. I should have the first in this afternoon. The rest will not be here until at least tues. More info will be given when I get them in the tank.

    In the meantime, here are the latest pics of the tank. these were taken two days ago.

  8. #8
    looks good! ...be prepared to keep a close eye on that tank ...little tanks can be the hardest to keep
    Don ------------making waves like a vortech

    DBTC That I owe:
    2X green monti, 2x henry's zoas, 2x tourqoise milli, 2x rainbow pocci, 2x blue digi, 2x blue riddler,

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dv3 View Post
    looks good! ...be prepared to keep a close eye on that tank ...little tanks can be the hardest to keep
    I am prepared for the chalanges that a tank like this can present. I started with a 135g mixed reef years ago and have been downsizing since. This is one of two pico's that I currently have and the other is doing quite well.

    I do not dose anything or have a protein skimmer on either tank. I do weekly 40% water changes on both tanks. I continually check the water params and have a custom ATO on the other Pico, which I plan to set up on this one as well. My apartment is air conditioned and heat is not an issue. This tank sits at 76.6 most of the time and I have never seen it out side of the range of 76.2 - 76.8. I feel that is as stable as one can hope for.
    Current Tanks: 3g custom drilled pico mixed reef, 300g work in progress

  10. #10
    I mentioned a couple of days ago that I was excited about a new purchase that I had made. Well I received it and it is in the tank and doing very well. I have been reading all about these guys for a long time and finally purchased some.

    I got my very first mini carpet anemone and I have several Maxi mini anemones on thier way. I may not be able to keep them all in this tank, but I have plenty of room for them all between my three tanks. Here is a picture of the mini carpet. Hopefully it's color will improve a little more with time.

    Last edited by lpsouth1978; June 25th, 2011 at 12:35 PM.
    Current Tanks: 3g custom drilled pico mixed reef, 300g work in progress

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