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Fluval Spec Pico (Warning: Many words ahead. And some pictures.)


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Some of you might remember that I had a Fluval Spec (all of 2 gallons) shrimp tank a while back. In the end, it was fairly hard to keep, largely I think because the water evaporation was HUGE in proportion to the tank volume, and the parameters were fluctuating all over the place. So I upgraded to a downright enormous 8 gallon tank for my small planted needs, and put away the Spec for a later project.

That project's day has arrived.

My husband has built for me an automatic topoff for this tank. (Hooray!) This consists of a one gallon reservoir of RO water (as the thing that evaporates is just the water part of the water, and everything else in the water stays in the tank, this is the best way to maintain parameters), an aqua lifter (basically a very slow pump) and a float switch that tells the aqua lifter when the tank needs more water. Here are those components:


By the way, we bent the acrylic piece in this next photo ourselves. It's super fun; I highly recommend it. :D


The float switch sits down in the back part of the Spec like this (air line removed for better viewing):


And when the switch indicates the water level is too low, the aqua lifter turns on and pumps water up into the tank through an air line. Pretty neat! I'm super excited about that.

But wait, there's more. :)

I also built a custom media basket for the other part of the back area of this tank. I wanted to be able to put the heater back there and out of sight, and I also wanted to be able to add my own media to the filtration of this tank. So the solution I came up with is this:


As you can see in the photos above, on the top goes a layer of filter floss, and then in the triangular compartments I will put some biological and/or chemical filtration. I haven't quite decided what all I am going to put back there, but whatever it is, I'll be super glad I have that space. The filter media that comes with the Spec for this compartment is a giant sponge with small holes in it for carbon and ceramic media. Not really the filtration balance I wanted, and definitely no room for a heater.

So with my awesome media basket and my awesome topoff, I have decided to completely jump off the deep end and make this tank a mini reef! My husband has kept saltwater aquariums since before I met him, so I've participated in many salty adventures, though this is the first one that is mine. I should note that attempting to make a reef out of a 2 gallon tank is a really really stupid idea. I don't expect it to last particularly long, although it would be nice if it did. (Luckily the things above that we've made for this tank are useful for other applications as well.) The reason I decided on this is that not only is this tank a tiny, tiny 2 gallons, but it's a tall 2 gallons, which means there's really no useable swimming space in it. So I decided to stock it with things that don't need to swim: a couple corals and a snail or two.

I don't have anything in it right now but some rocks and sand, but here's what it looks like so far. I think it's just about ready to start thinking about living inhabitants, though I'm not sure exactly what just yet. I might start with the snails to get the cycle going and work from there. Stay tuned for more updates! In the meantime, here is what the tank looks like right now:



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Nice :)

Thank you Shell! I'm excited about it!

Wonderful! What a smart idea to keep the evaporation in check!

Thanks Chelsea! It is a really cool device! Many people do this on a large scale for their reef tanks but I think it's lots more important here.

That's kool. I have a Spec 5. Where did you get those gadgets for refill? Mine doesn't evaporate quickly, tho. Its empty now and thinking what fish to add.

The various parts were either ordered from the Internet or came from my husband's stock of misc electrical bits. The expertise assembling them into something that functions was all him, though.

This is awesome Courtney!!! It looks like a piece of art! Can't wait to see what you decide on for inhabitants :)

Thank you Jess! The blue-ish lights on reef tanks definitely have an allure of their own. Hopefully it will just get better with more things in it!

That tank would be perfect for sexy shrimp!

It's looking great so far, can't wait to see how it develops. :D

Thanks. :) I definitely would entertain the idea of shrimp. We'll have to see how things go!

That's so cool! :)

Thank you Shelli! It's a nice little tank to look at already, and I love having a project to work on.

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That is amazing! What a cool project! :) I'll have to try to bend acrylic now too, since it's "so much fun" :rofl

Oh man it totally is! You're all heatin up the acrylic and thinking "there is no way this is going to work... oh wait, maybe it's starting to bend a little bit... hey look it's all done now!" And then you're done and you're all "bwahahahahahahahaha I have bent the plastic to my will!"

Maybe it's just me. :)

Very nice project :). I wish I was as skilled with my hands as you guys!

I think you could do this stuff! I am super excited about this project. This is what I needed that Spec part for! So thanks for enabling the whole thing. :D

That's so awesome, you guys did a great job figuring all that out!

Thank you!

Edited by Courtney
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Is it possible for you and hubby to put together all the pieces and graphic instructions for us? We be willing to pay. I wanna try this.

There is actually a place that does this already! They do it better than we could, even, since many of our parts were just from leftover projects.

This is super neat Courtney, I can't wait for some updates! :D

Thank you Jenny! I will post updates when I have new stuff to share! I'm hoping to shop for something at least this coming weekend!

Amazing! :D Can't wait to see updates. :)

Thank you! I can't wait to update you!

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Oh, wow! What a cool idea. I look forward to seeing updates of this!

I love that the spirit of DIY is still alive and well in certain of our forum members! :)

Thanks Alex! I love DIY things, if I can manage them. It's so nice to have things exactly the way you want them!

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The Spec got its first live inhabitants yesterday! I hijacked some snails from my husband's tank (and then ordered more to replace them) and also bought a tiny frag of what I think is frogspawn, or something very like it. I couldn't resist; it's proportioned just right for this tank. :) It can grow quite a bit and still not be horrifyingly large.



Stay tuned for more updates when I have more to update. :D

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This is so neat I can't wait for updates :D

I will definitely provide! Can't wait till I have something more to update with. :D

Very creative =) I like it.

Thanks! I like it a lot too. I hope it does alright.

Very nice. Looking forward to seeing more photo's of what you do.

Thank you! More photos are on the way! Just gotta find something to shoot first...

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