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Old 11/19/2020, 11:41 PM   #1
davidcalgary29
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The Macroalgae Jarquarium

I thought my marine tank adventures ended fifteen years ago, when my 110 gallon custom-build (second hand) burst in the middle of the night (silicon seal rupture), but decided that there'd be nothing better to try in dark, cold days of fall than to start another one...in a jar. Yes, yes, I know -- but I'm only going to try some macroalgae at first. There's a Canadian company that has some lovely halimeda clumps, and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to do some aquasacaping. Of course, I know zilch about pico setups -- let alone in a jar -- so this should be an interesting experiment.


I had a lovely Anchor-Hocking 2g jar that was doing nothing but storing rice, and I thought it would be a good place to start. Now for the hard part: stocking the jar.


I'm a ten-hour round trip to the nearest LFS and, with quarantines and winter-road conditions (with logging trucks...LOTS of logging trucks), a trip was out of the question. And shipping rates are outrageous! Fortunately, Amazon seemed to have everything that I needed. Right?


substrate: CaribSea live sand. I was afraid that it would be too fine, but the grain is fairly large, and that's what I was seeking.

"Aeration" and flow: water pump with air stone

Lighting: faux architect's lamp and SANSI full spectrum 15w bulb

Heating: Pawfly 50w heater. I know this is going to cause problems, and I have a replacement on the way.

"Topography": Amazon-special seiryu rock. I bought 17lbs for a great price...and found I could only fit in one rock. Oops!

Marine salt mix: Fritz's. Which burst all over the inside of the shipping box during transit. Of course it did.


Day 1:

After returning home from a business trip, I decided it was time for the build! I added the sand, rock...and seawater made with tapwater. Yes, yes...criticize if you must (and you will), but I was too tired to set up the RO unit I bought off of Amazon. Pump and heater went in next; lighting was turned on.

SG: 1.015 (I decided to go lightly on the salt as I had to convert from imperial to metric with a mix of imperial and metric kitchen utensils), and did not want to oversaturate the jar. Plus, my brain was tired after a long drive on icy roads. Now that I know better, I'll fix it tomorrow.


KH/Mg/ -- ? Test kit arriving next week.

To do:

-fix the lid. I was planning to drill a hole through the lid through which the lighting and air hose could be inserted. The air stone is throwing up a surprising amount of spray, though, and I'm concerned that a hole will be very problematic. I don't like leaving the lid half-on, though.
-move the rock. It's too far in the front of the jar, and ruins the aspect. Plus, the back of it is more interesting.
-Check water parameters daily! I've got to see how SG changes daily in such a small, and potentially closed, system.
-Oxygenation. Is this going to be a problem?


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Last edited by davidcalgary29; 11/19/2020 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 11/19/2020, 11:56 PM   #2
Michael Hoaster
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Pretty cool! Glad you started a thread for this. The small size is intriguing! Following along.

Enjoy the journey!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/20/2020, 12:03 AM   #3
davidcalgary29
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Thanks! I managed to get a 5 gallon storage jar and a neat Beverage Dispenser with spigot. Those will be my next victims after I set this one up!


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Old 11/21/2020, 01:14 PM   #4
ThePurple12
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This will be pretty cool! Stock idea: Hawaiian red shrimp.


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Old 11/21/2020, 03:47 PM   #5
davidcalgary29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePurple12 View Post
This will be pretty cool! Stock idea: Hawaiian red shrimp.
Maybe with the 5g that's next up; this 2g is just too small, I think. And it's certainly not cycled, so just the macrolaga(e) for now.

I've also got to contend with the fact that I'm a looong way away from a LFS, and will have to get livestock shipped in. And that means a limited selection (no red Hawaiian shrimp; perhaps a peppermint down the road, if I'm lucky) with real risk, as winter temps here are pretty steady between -5C and -40C -- not ideal shipping conditions for delicate tropical creatures.

DAY 3:

SG: 1.026 at a steady 26C, and the water has cleared up nicely. I'm surprised to see that the 50W heater isn't overheating the tank, based on multiple poor reviews on Amazon. I'm still trying different positions with the rock.

Tank considerations: Having a cylindrical jarqiarum is cool, but this jar wasn't made for aesthetics, and mutiple bubbles and waves in the glass create visual distortions and/or optical flaws. I'll have to see how bad this is with the 5g jar and 3g Beverage Dispenser.


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Old 11/25/2020, 07:40 PM   #6
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Build #2 coming together.

Build #1: halimeda arrived; not as compact as Iíd like.

Interestingly, the lid has allowed evoporate to condense and flow back into the tank. SG is a steady 1.025 and I havenít topped up in three days. KH: 8.5


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Old 11/29/2020, 02:31 PM   #7
davidcalgary29
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I received more halimeda in a mistake shipment. It's getting crowded in the back!

Parameters:

NH3: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 2
pH: 8.2
dKH: 8.5

I've decided to buy a calcium test-kit: if halimeda are they calcium hogs that I've heard that they can be, I suppose that I need to keep an eye on it.

More problematic: lighting. I bought a 9W 'full-spectrum' 'grow' bulb in the 430-650 nm range which is lighting the jar from a faux architect lamp. I hope that I'm not going to be encouraging nuisance algae with this choice...


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Old 11/29/2020, 03:56 PM   #8
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How will you manage calcium? Maybe a salt mix high in calcium, such as Reef Crystals?


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Old 11/29/2020, 05:06 PM   #9
davidcalgary29
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I thought I'd try to to experiment with Kalkwasser (in doses suitable for a jar). I'm really going to wait for the calcium test first, as I don't want to overdose the tank for no good reason. Parameters have been remarkably stable in both jars for the past week -- even SG levels -- because the clear lids are condensing and draining the evaporate back into the tanks.


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Old 12/05/2020, 02:54 PM   #10
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The halimeda in jarquarium #1 is looking a little ragged with my 9W Feit BAR 30 'grow bulb'. I thought that the red spectrum would aid in growth, but I don't like the look myself and am going to switch to a blue PAR 38.

Starting in on jarquarium #3 -- the beverage dispenser jarquarium! I threaded the airline for the pump through the spigot and will attach it to a submersible filter for flow and, well, mechanical filtration. I wrapped the outer threads with teflon tape, covered that with aquarium sealant, and then cut the fingers of plain latex gloves and threaded the aquarium side airline through the fingertips. I then sealed the fingertips to the inside of the aquarium -- we'll see if that works! I really did want to keep the spigot for this build, but it's obviously not the best solution to maintain integrity.


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Old 12/05/2020, 04:50 PM   #11
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I love the Nature-powered auto top off. But what about gas exchange?

Yes, the pink grow bulbs do not look natural. They're better for hidden applications.

Are you stocking any small critters to generate Carbon, Nitrogen and Phosphate? There are a few one inch gobies available. Shrimp, crabs, baby mollies, mysids, micro brittle stars. Lot's of tiny stuff out there!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 12/05/2020, 06:31 PM   #12
davidcalgary29
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Jarquarium #1 has four(!) astera snails and three mushroom frags. I'll move them (the snails, not the frags) around to the other jars as need arises, but they're holding on tight to the rocks. Jarquarium #2 has been populated with blue clove polyps (because it's the perfect setup for them) and agardhiella, and I'll try to put in other macro as it comes available. Build #3 will get some sexy shrimp in the beverage dispenser unit (for my "shrimp cocktail" build) if oxygenation and gas exchange doesn't prove to be too problematic.

I bought a cheap DO unit off of eBay and I'll see if I can get oxygen readings in the builds. #3 is going to be a problem, as I wired the jar through the spigot, and the lid is flush to the jar. I might put in a submersible filter in the unit to assist.


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Old 12/05/2020, 10:10 PM   #13
Michael Hoaster
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Right on. It sounds to me like you know what you're doing. Keep us informed! Pics of your progress?


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 12/06/2020, 12:08 AM   #14
davidcalgary29
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Pics of beverage dispenser build. White object (pic #3) is finger of latex glove cut off to provide sheath for airline over spigot seal; it's the last finger I placed over the joint. The others are underneath that one, teflon-taped and sealed with aquarium sealant. Pic #2 is a sample placement of the filter, which does add mechanical filtration and provides some turbulence (and airflow). I still haven't decided if I'm going to add this or the airstone; the filter is kind of clunky.

And yes, it's pretty obvious that I haven't added heating to this unit. I thought I'd try my luck with an ambient temperature build. I've got some research to do with livestock that prefer cooler water temps of about 20-21C.


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Old 12/06/2020, 11:10 AM   #15
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I think you’ll be fine with room temperature. Coming along nicely


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Old 12/06/2020, 06:57 PM   #16
davidcalgary29
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Water test in build #3. It's watertight so far -- which is a nice development -- but water did come through the airline. Because I did, of course, forget to put a one-way valve at both ends of the airline (one did go in front of the pump). The routing through the cheap Amazon submersible filter is providing a great deal of flow in tank and turbulence at the surface, breaking up the surface tension of the water. It may not matter if the lid is flush to the jar, though.

Jar #2 ("Barsoom as an aquarium") received new samples of dragon's breath and halimeda opuntia.


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Old 12/06/2020, 07:38 PM   #17
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Well, this is unfortunate. During the water test I noticed that build #3 has what appears to be a 2.5 cm-long crack halfway up one of the sides. It's not leaking, but is unsightly. I might have to order a replacement jar.


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Old 12/11/2020, 11:36 PM   #18
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Jarquarium #2 is going through the ugly stage...a very ugly stage. This evening, while redirecting flow at a clump of lovely dragon's breath I acquired last weekend, I noticed several polyps of what can only be aiptasia. Yikes! I'm going to have to do some pruning tomorrow before they spawn or migrate to the rocks.


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Old 12/12/2020, 04:05 PM   #19
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The dreaded aiptasia, that’s a bummer. Got any pics of the jars?


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Old 12/12/2020, 06:07 PM   #20
davidcalgary29
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Aiptasia pic with picture of algae in jarquarium.


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Old 12/12/2020, 07:42 PM   #21
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I searched the macro clump and found six polyps. I cut them off of the fronds and put them outside (it's -18C) to make aipstasia cubes (they're actually in an ice cube tray). I'll thaw them in a day or two to see if they can be revived after freezing.



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Old 12/12/2020, 09:23 PM   #22
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Interesting experiment. Not sure if even Aiptasia can survive that. We’ll find out!


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Old 12/14/2020, 11:59 PM   #23
davidcalgary29
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I thawed the aiptasia cubes yesterday and am observing them for signs of life. I thought that they'd have dissolved into slime by now, but they're just listless. Several of them have detached from their alga...but two others have not. Ugh -- I can't believe that they'd survive a good freeze, but who knows...

Found another polyp on the alga, which is now pretty shredded as they were all (of course!) near the base. I'm counting on some regeneration.


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Old 12/15/2020, 10:57 AM   #24
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Sheesh is all I can say


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Old 12/15/2020, 04:35 PM   #25
davidcalgary29
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I put jarquarium #3 in the office today and water kept pooling underneath the jar. I thought I'd have to break it down and do yet another re-seal when I realized that, because I'm using an airstone for flow, and have kept the lid on the jar (plumbing is through the spigot), the lid was sitting loosely on top of the jar...and collecting a lot of spray in the overhang. The condensation was then running down the spines of the octagonal jar and pooling under the jar. I flipped the lid around -- the knob is now underwater -- and it's now flush with the top. Watertight at last! Unfortunately, I've probably also doomed gas exchange levels. I'm going to have to get my DO levels checked once I get my meter calibrated...


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