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IM Nuvo 16 - My First Build


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Hello All,


I'm new to aquariums in general, started reeding forums and (a lot of) books for about year now. Finally decided to start my small Nuvo 16 build based on lot of good material on this forum. So here it goes;




Tank: Innovative Marine Nuvo 16

IM Desktop skimmer (Ideally want to get rid of thins micro bubble madness!)

AI Hydra Fiftytwo LED Lights

Custom Stand, Custom Light Fixture for AI Hydra Fiftytwo

2 x Intank Media baskets

20 lb Live Fiji rock

Apex Neptune Controller with Lab Grade PH probe

Apex Wireless Module for AI

Cobalt Aquatics 100w heater

Tunze Osmolator Universal 3155

Vertex Puratek 100 GPD RO/DI


Cured Live rocks for 6 weeks


100% WC every 3 days for 3 weeks

50% WC every 3 days for 3 weeks



0 ammonia, 0 nitrates , 0 nitrites after 6 weeks.



Tank Setup


Started water testing IM Nuvo 16 tank around 2nd week, immediately found water leak had to send it back to IM. Tank replacement took about 4 weeks. Finally tank was setup couple of weeks, started the new skimmer, return pumps.


The troubled IM Desktop Skimmer



At this point, think I made a wrong choice even after reading many of your issues with the IM Desktop skimmer.


1. Crazzzzy micro bubbles - i'm in 3rd week of setup, can't seem to stop the madness!

2. Skimmer started leaking between the collection cup and the skimmer body.

3. Too noisy


I'm going to contact IM tomorrow, see if they can resolve or else it's $100 down the drain. Definitely hate it, bad design and bad product in my view.


Still waiting to setup following


1. Neptune Apex Controller

2. AI Hydra Fiftytwo with Apex Wireless controller

3. Designed Ordred custom fixture from 8020 for AI Hydra Fiftytwo

4. Tunze Osmolator 3155


Skimmer is definitely making the problem worse, rest I don't see an issue at this point.


Would love to hear your comments and suggestions


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Great list. Sounds like you've done some proper reading.


I'd say if the skimmer can't be fixed by IM perhaps you could still return the item? or was it purchased used?

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Thanks Adam,


I bought the skimmer from Amazon, don't see an issue returning it.


I do need a good replacement skimmer through, planning to have SPS only in my new tank. Any suggestions ?



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Thanks Adam,


I bought the skimmer from Amazon, don't see an issue returning it.


I do need a good replacement skimmer through, planning to have SPS only in my new tank. Any suggestions ?



Tunze? I think you want the one that Stevie sells over at InTank. That is what I bought per the recs on here. Can't say how it works as it is still in the box (along with my IM reactor). Not sure when I am going to bust them out.

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Saw your post on the skimmer in the Nuvo Index thread...I doubt the leak is "fixable" - you'll likely have to hope IM will exchange it (as much as I hate their skimmer, the customer service has been good).


Unfortunately, there aren't many skimmers out there that'll suit the Nuvos...it does seem the Tunze gets the best reviews, but I didn't like the idea of it going in the main/middle rear chamber. And the Aqua C Remora HOB is too big. Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, Long day :) finally got my Apex and ATO hooked up.


Did some basic program setup for all the necesary equipment and the AI Hydra Fiftytwo.

All seem to work nicely except, I wasn't able to get the Lab grade PH probe calibrated, keeps showing me 4.2 when I use either of 7.0 or 10.0 calibrating solution.


Did anyone have similar problems ?


here are some of the pics from days hard work :)


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Controller and cord setup looks super clean! I have a IM 16 and their skimmer as well. No issue with leaking but the micro bubbles are really bad. I haven't found a solution for that yet. Read somewhere that someone put it in one of the outside columns in a different tank(because it wont fit in the outside ones of the 16) and that fixed their problem. It clearly needs an extra divider before the return pump to get rid of the bubbles but i don't know how that can be done in our case. I tried putting floss where the water flows into the center compartment but that didnt do anything.



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I seem to have to got around the micro bubbles (could be temporary).


1. I replaced the stock airline tubing, with a Lowe's airline 1/4"

2. Maintaining the water level properly


Still wet skimming at the moment as I don't have any bio-load yet.


I'll keep an eye on it, will update if anything changes.



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nice if this works I will be so happy ha. I don't run it at night because my tank is in my room but i don't even run it during the day except for after I feed because the bubbles have been driving me crazy. besides that it has worked well for me so far.

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I'm in the process of setting up an IM16, and as most, had a hard time deciding on a ps. I belong to WAMAS, and a fellow member told me the eshopps nano skimmer fits in the back chamber. The dimensions of this skimmer would leave you to believe it's too big, but I took a leap of faith and ordered one anyway. I've had it on the tank, it does fit in the second chambers. I don't have the tank set up yet (leak test was yesterday, didn't leak), so I don't know how it performs, but reviews do seem promising. Anyway, just FYI in case you want to replace the IM skimmer.


Good luck with your build, I'll be tagging along.

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Got around doing more work today, so Tank setup is about 95% complete before I start adding bio-load.


So, Today was great day for me to setup my light fixture that I custom designed. Most of the parts are extruded aluminum with some fastening. Things went quite smooth.


First unboxing custom machined/ parts I ordered.




Put together the whole fixture




Mounted Lights AI Hydra Fiftytwo




And finally mounting it to the stand, I can adjust the hight using 4 separate screws in the back




Here is the FTS at 30% Light intensity, I'm not planning to increase it any further for a while. Picture looks dull with my cell phone camera quality, but it's very bright




Now that I've lights on, going back to my old issue of Micro bubbles.. it's clearly visible in my tank.. need to find a way quick to fix the damn IM Skimmer issue.

Oh! I also got around calibrating PH probe, looks like Im all set.. reading 7.92 :) ok I guess



That's it for the day :)


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  • 4 weeks later...

Heya Throbbinjack,

I gotta ask where did you buy the mount for that AI Hydra and how are you liking it over your 16? AI (as well as most others) have zero good options when it comes to mounts in my opinion. The default AI rail as you know would force the light North\South instead of what it needs to be East\West. How so many companies cannot seem to get this huge detail right blows my mind (i digress). Its been tough to find a solution that looks nice, has the functionality, spectrum, and look that meets the wife approval that's required. Your AI mount for the IM 16 I think is the best non-hanging solution available, so I would love the info and cost etc if you don't mind. Is it mounted to the wall or fish stand? Anything you don't like?


Regarding the IM Skimmer. I had identical issues as you have described here and when I initially set it up I thought there was no way it could be this loud. The reviews claim how reasonably quiet it is etc, so I returned it to the LFS and they agreed that it should be much quieter than I had recorded for them and described. They got me a replacement and when I got home, plugged it in, and the noise was just ridiculous. In the end I'd prefer to have a skimmer, but there are not any good submerged options. I know the Tunze can go in the middle chamber, but the displacement of water is quite a bit and without an ATO system, the chamber for me is better served without it. Just running Purigen now.


Please keep us updated with the skimmer issue. I ran mine 5 days before the noise drove the initial return, but the bubbles were insane. I know it can take a while to break in, but I couldn't handle that noise :o)


Looking good btw,


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Hello Blind :)


I designed the AI Hydra fiftytwo (I guess Hydra has the same dimensions) mount and had it built with 8020.net aluminum extruded parts, The stock AI Hydra EXT mount would've costed more than $140 + tax and shipping for my configuration. Also had the issue of the East/West option. My total cost for the custom mount was around $110 including shipping and taxes.


Here is the drawing that I worked on, It's 10" from the wall mounted with 2 brackets that is used to move the light up/down. The light is about 6" over my FT and running at 35% intensity. I have 3" gap between the wall and the tank.




My skimmer (bummer!) is a ongoing battle, although slowly stabilizing or I'm getting used to the noise. :)


As far as the back chamber, I have no space left, specially the middle one is occupied with Tunze Osmolator float switch, Apex Probes and my future dozing setup. I'm also custom designing acrylic dosing mounts to fit the back chamber.


Hope this helps,


really good looking build

Thank you, still a work in progress :) as always!

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Hooked up my custom made ATO tank today, 3.5 gallon. Took me a while to get it prepped and cleaned thoroughly before hooking it up.






Will work on dosing equipment over the weekend. That should finish all the equipment build. I'm also on my 26th day of Zeovit cycle. Will start stocking corals by next month.



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  • 1 month later...

Been awhile since you've been on here, so this is probably wishful thinking, but what kind of mounts did you use to attach your LED mount to the stand and/or wall? I'm a bit perplexed by how to best get it attached, but also allow for easy raising/lowering.


Also, where did you custom ATO container come from?



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