View Full Version : Picoaquariums.com - When Available? Costs?

Trigger Me Happy
08/07/2012, 11:55 AM

I have been out of the hobby for over a year now (after 10 years in the hobby - 60g FOWLR, 120G Reef, 38g Reef) and am itching to get back in. After reviewing a lot of different setups I think I have settled on geting a setup from Picoaquariums.com. While there are others with rear chambers for media, I have a height limitation that I believe picoaquariums.com accommodates the best (i.e. less than 18" tall for a decent water volume.)

As Chris is not open for business at the moment, I had a few questions about for those in the know:

A - Does anyone have any idea on when he will start building again?
B - Does anyone have estimated costs for his builds? I would hate to wait for him to open to find they are way too expensive. Anyone from California get them shipped? Costs on shipping?
C - Any features that people wish they got or wish they hadn't purchased?
D- Are there any local guys that I should be looking at instead that can provide a clean, rimless, nano (8 to 18g) under 16"?

Thanks a lot - I appreciate everyone's help.


08/07/2012, 08:59 PM
I believe his site is down just for the summer. Should be back for the fall.
I think depending on the tank size and model it was about 200$-400$ plus shipping. Also options such as starphire.

08/07/2012, 11:10 PM
I have one of his manta ray 18's arriving here next week. I ordered all upgrades besides the starphire top. I paid roughly $360 including shipping to MN. This was after a 10% off promo he was offering. Dims. We're 18"-18"-9". Expect about six weeks to get the tank. Check out nanoreef for some tank builds, including a really nice manta ray. There are also some utube vids as well that show the filtration.

Trigger Me Happy
08/08/2012, 10:34 AM
Very helpful - Thank you.

Chris got back to me and said he was looking at October as timing to start up with some brand new designs. Should be interesting.

Maybe I can start curing some rock in the mean time.

Thanks everyone,

08/09/2012, 10:19 AM
To begin, Chris was awesome to do business with. I am located in Florida and unfortunately he was the only one who would build what I wanted, an AIO 30x14x16 peninsula. It was going on my counter so measurements had to be exact, plus I couldnt find anyone to build a peninsula style tank like this.
I ended up paying more just about as much on shipping as I did the tank.
His filtrations systems are awesome but if i had to do over I would have had him design the filtration box a little differently due to its larger volume than his other tanks. its 30 gallons, so the 3 rd chamber just isnt large enough, I have to add a a cup of water daily. In your case, 18 gallons, his filtration would be perfect. I ended up pulling out his media basket and putting rock rubble in there w a piece of filter floss over it.
Let me know if you have any other questions.

tank build I want to say was 250 and w Starphire glass, shipping 220

full shot

end shot



Trigger Me Happy
08/09/2012, 10:43 AM
That is an amazing setup. Well done on the planning and implementation. Great job to you and Chris.

Too bad about the shipping costs.


08/09/2012, 11:04 AM
Thank you todd, Good Luck!
Have you tried Reef Savy?they do really good work as well, 3 month waiting list though i think


Trigger Me Happy
08/09/2012, 11:09 AM
Reef Savvy appears to focus on larger tanks - not the nano <20g AIO solution I am looking for. Correct me if I am worng.

Also, I am in San Diego, so shipping could be worse than PicoAq....

Thanks for the suggestion.


08/09/2012, 11:38 AM
They gave me a qoute of 185 for a 29gallon rimless starphire, plus its smaller, so they said wait time would be alot less, but your prob right on shipping.

08/09/2012, 10:15 PM
Here is a pic of my pico build done by Chris.


He is an awesome guy and I would do business with him again. I was freaked out for a second when I started reading this thread and it sounded like he might be done building tanks. Looks like he might just take a break in the summer to a degree for whatever reason. For custom work, he is the real deal. If you don't need custom and are looking for a smallish tank but don't need an AIO, there are probably some nice tanks out there that have a little better value proposition. I like his AIO set ups a ton but went for a full on sump plumbed down to my basement.

I went black silicone and starfire on three sides. He has the edges beveled and it is a super clean look. I drilled it and blacked out the back glass myself with Gila Limo Black window film and fitted it with a tweaked out Glass Holes nano overflow. Props go out to Dave Fason at Nano Box Reef for the fixture in case anyone was wondering.

Trigger Me Happy
08/10/2012, 11:23 AM
Again, another beautiful tank. I am looking forward to October when he starts building again.


08/11/2012, 06:49 PM
I was looking to have Chris build a 36x36x16 AIO but he has stopped building custom tanks due to some issues with customers. I absolutely love his work and as stated on nano reef there are quite a few threads on his tanks. Reef Savvy will not build AIO's only sump style tanks, I asked them as well and they are close to me. I am in the midst of dealing with Cadlights right now. They will build anything you want, they have a bad rap for customer service but if you don't mind waiting a little while which it sounds you don't they are an excellent choice.

Trigger Me Happy
08/11/2012, 10:38 PM
Thanks for the heads up on cad lights. Their 22g with 30w led lighting looks exactly like what I want (short aio with great lightng.).

As you mention, they do seem to get a bad rap on some boards, however I have seen many positive reviews. Seems like most bad comments have to do with shipping, not quality.

Which system are you buying?

Trigger Me Happy
08/11/2012, 10:42 PM
Just noticed that cadlights is in Ontario, close enough to go pick one up and not have to deal with fedex.

08/12/2012, 03:38 PM
he has stopped building custom tanks due to some issues with customers.

Pretty vague, are you willing to elaborate?

08/12/2012, 05:27 PM
I'm not getting one of the standard cadlights setups they are building me a 36x36x16 star fire/rimless AIO. It will look like the Artisan II series just an AIO.

In reference to the "vague" comments, the reason they are vague is because they are just things that I have read that were discussed on nano-reef.com. If you go there you can search. His products and following are much larger on that forum. The only reason I know it is a fact is because I still have the email stating that he was no longer building custom tanks but that he "may" in the future.