I recently came across a build thread for a Pico Jar that really intrigued me to give it a try. My biggest draw back before was dealing with top offs without having any bulky equipment hanging out the side of the jar. Reefsmart developed a light that was integrated into a lid that reduced the amount of evaporation by having a tight seal, and directing the water back into the jar. With seeing how much joy our display tank has brought my wife, I decided this would be the perfect Valentines gift for her desk at work. Steve at reefsmart.com was amazing to deal with, providing tons of hand holding information so get me started with success. I headed out to Target to purchase my 2.5 gallon jar that would house our mini reef. I found that the clarity of the jars varied greatly from jar to jar, and choose the best that I could find. Once I got home I water tested it to see just how clear it was, and decided to head to a different store with more options to have the best view possible. I did however have to accept that there was no perfect jar out there, and settle for one that had the optimal viewing window for about a 130 degrees around the jar. Selecting the jar was the hardest part thus far. I purchased a few different air stone defusers to experiment with, and found that just the air tube itself with no defuser created the largest bubble that created the least salt creep. Other difusers also created micro bubbles that bothered me aesthetically. The other examples that I followed used just the air pump for filtration. I have always approached the hobby by over sizing, and over filtering everything I set up. I opted to put a small internal filter to be able to seed some filter floss from my display tank, as well as create a little more flow. One thing that I found to be pretty cool about the jar was that beings the sides are curved, you can actually hide the equipment on the sides as it obscures the view. The internal filter is a little to large to completely hid, but some coral placement should make it hidden pretty well over time. As for aquascaping I put 2.5lbs of CaribSea Bahamas oolite live sand in the base, but decided to add just under another pound for looks. I was able to find the perfect size rock in my sump and left it to cycle. The first light you see in the tank was a bendable air stone with light that I used to test the clarity, and experiment with the entire back of the jar being bubbles. The back of the jar beings solid bubbles was cool, made a lot of flow, but created a ton of micro bubbles. The 2nd picture is just a extra light that I had that I used for cycling while I awaited the reefsmart light. We are now a day before valentines day, and I have placed my first few corals to be ready for the day. Again for over filtration and for more color, I placed some red macroalgae. I am very excited to try this back to the basics approach to reefing. I will be completing a 50%-80% water change weekly.
I will include the equipment that I am starting with.
Aqueon X_small filter quiteflow internal, 3 gallon
A 3.5w air pump by Imagitarium
An Aqueon 50w Heater.
Nimble Nano glass cleaner