Jump to content
Madcat

Madcat's Fluval Evo 13.5 - new fish store pics

Recommended Posts

Madcat   

After several months of research and preparation, my very first saltwater tank is finally set up! I'm so excited and entirely in love with it.

 

Equipment:

Fluval Evo 13.5

Stock lighting

Hydor Koralia Nano 240

DIY media basket - filter floss - carbon

Aqueon 50w heater

 

13lbs dry rock + 1lb LR

10lbs CaribSea Live Sand

 

Livestock:

Scarlet reef hermit crabs x1 (added July 20/17)

Nassarius snails x2 (added July 20/17)

 

"Frost Berry" blastomussa (added July 26/17)

Mint chocolate chip sunflower palythoa (added July 26/17)

Clove polyp frag (added July 26/17)

"Short Circuit"(?) blastomussa (added Aug 3/17)

Eagle Eye zoanthids (added Aug 3/17)

Trumpet (added Aug 12/17)

Torch (added Aug 12/17)

Red acan (added Aug 13/17)

Capnella sp. leather tree (added Aug 13/17)

Red & blue acan (added Sept 2/17)

Purple & green blastomussa (added Sept 2/17)

Red zoanthids (added Sept 2/17)

Florida ricordea (added Sept 2/17)

 

Green macroalgae sp. (added Aug 8/17)

 

Tailspot blenny "Jeff" (added Aug 8/17)

Snowflake Ocellaris clownfish "Puzzle" (added Aug 13/17)

 

 

FTS:

 

June 24, 2017

595016533dc8a_FullSizeRender(15).thumb.jpg.0f4adb0d642433a8ea7c2e5a56edb59f.jpg

 

July 21, 2017

IMG_5173.thumb.JPG.0818194825d0e18747a9354329e851bd.JPG

 

Aug 8, 2017

IMG_5592.JPG.ef440e26dfc75b545701cfc57f76e89c.JPG

 

Sept 2, 2017

IMG_6217.JPG.18707e676cdbb48f46015d3a43aeeec9.JPG

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   

So, I'm dosing Stability daily and there hasn't been any reduction in ammonia yet. When can I expect to see the bacteria start to kick in? I don't expect my tank to cycle overnight... I'd just like to know that it is cycling!

Share this post


Link to post

Just leave it for a couple weeks. You don't need to constantly add more chemicals as the cycle needs to occur naturally.

 

If you added ammonia, the next step is to monitor your nitrite and nitrates to track cycle progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   

Thanks! All I'm adding is more bottled bacteria as per instructions on the label (dose for 7 days). :) Otherwise I'm just playing the waiting game!

 

Thanks for the suggestion - I went ahead and tested nitrite and trates tonight for the first time. I also tested the store water (still have some in a bucket) to measure against. Happily, the store water tested 0 for both. My tank tested 0.5ppm for nitrates and 2ppm for nitrites! Still have high ammonia but at least something is happening in there!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   

Wanted another piece of rock to help fill the tank out and fell in love with this piece of LR at the LFS. New scape:

 

IMG_4846.thumb.JPG.331f49a5d9b461b220d4c884db73f6fc.JPG

 

Already found a bristleworm! He's pretty tiny.

 

Quick story about my heater - like a few other people I've seen, the Fluval 50w heater wouldn't fit in the 3rd chamber with the stock pump in there. So I exchanged it for a much shorter Aqueon 50w heater, which fits perfectly. I don't see a lot of other people using Aqueon heaters, so I was a little apprehensive. But so far I've been really happy with it! The temp fluctuates only within 1 degree, even when I tested having the lights on for a few hours.

 

Anyway, ammonia is still high. Nitrites are now around 5ppm and nitrates are close to 2ppm. Is it wise to do a water change at this point, or should I wait till the cycle is done?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   

Tested on Sunday and still had high ammonia, tested today and it's almost 0! Very excited! Nitrites and nitrates haven't budged much though.

 

pH has gone from 8.3 to 8.0 - a good sign of cycling. My refractometer arrived and says I'm at 1.023 so that's good too.

 

I'm fretting that my left-side rock (the largest piece) is too big. I really like its height (I wanted a tall piece) but I feel like it takes up a lot of room. I guess now would be the time to take it out, before any livestock goes in... opinions would be greatly appreciated...

 

ETA: All 3 pieces come to 14lbs of rock. The one is just really dense and big.

 

I asked this in my other thread as well and could really use a couple opinions. I made my filter media basket out of plastic StayMesh - this stuff: https://www.bunnings.com.au/whites-1m-staymesh-plastic-ultra-gutter-guard-strip-5-pack_p3040976 It's flexible and fits really nicely in the chamber. Someone told me it might degrade in the saltwater. Is that true?

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   

Still staring at this tank waiting for it to cycle... and staring wistfully at other people's pretty tanks... sigh.

 

Yesterday I saw my first drop in nitrites! I redosed ammonia to get 2ppm. I want it to be able to convert from 2ppm to 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites in 24 hours for 2-3 days before adding anything, just to be safe. pH is 8.0 and salinity is 1.024.

 

I ended up taking my big rock outside and taking a screwdriver and a mallet to it until I whittled it down to a nicer size. New scape, which I think I may actually stick with:

 

IMG_4937.thumb.JPG.d0309c50eda63f0b8645195a14af8a20.JPG

 

Would still like to know about my plastic filter basket, if anyone has any ideas!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Lula_Mae   
On 7/1/2017 at 9:03 PM, Madcat said:

Wanted another piece of rock to help fill the tank out and fell in love with this piece of LR at the LFS. New scape:

 

IMG_4846.thumb.JPG.331f49a5d9b461b220d4c884db73f6fc.JPG

 

Already found a bristleworm! He's pretty tiny.

 

Quick story about my heater - like a few other people I've seen, the Fluval 50w heater wouldn't fit in the 3rd chamber with the stock pump in there. So I exchanged it for a much shorter Aqueon 50w heater, which fits perfectly. I don't see a lot of other people using Aqueon heaters, so I was a little apprehensive. But so far I've been really happy with it! The temp fluctuates only within 1 degree, even when I tested having the lights on for a few hours.

 

Anyway, ammonia is still high. Nitrites are now around 5ppm and nitrates are close to 2ppm. Is it wise to do a water change at this point, or should I wait till the cycle is done?

You can get a temperature controller like the Inkbird one on Amazon to help make sure it doesn't malfunction and cook your tank. 

 

The new scape looks nice!  No idea about the media basket lol.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   

Been dosing 2ppm of ammonia daily and getting 0 ammonia consistently after 24 hours... today saw the first drop in nitrites since I started daily dosing! :D Thinking I might be ready for my first inhabitants by Saturday!

 

While I'm waiting for the cycle to finally finish, let me show off my non-reef 40 gallon tank! FTS from above:
 

IMG_3890.thumb.JPG.a3cb3be60a03228ce391a5bfd8ec8e7d.JPG

 

It's stocked with two Phodopus campbellsi. Here you can see them in a cave together. The grey one has claimed it, but he tolerates his tankmate in there.

 

IMG_2656.thumb.JPG.5e284a112ee33f4d1befee979a3dd919.JPG


Despite the colour difference, these two are both male. I purchased them as juveniles at the LFS and so far haven't had any trouble with aggression. Keeping a male and female together is unwise as these fish are livebearers and will quickly overpopulate a tank.


Their teeth grow continuously like a puffer's, so they require hard food and wood to gnaw on. They are a very interactive fish and will follow and even sit in your hand in the tank!


Maintenance is very easy due to them having a small bioload. Partial bedding changes are performed weekly, with the occasional 100% change.


Like bettas, the LFS will often sell these fish in small plastic containers, but it is a myth that they can thrive in a pico set-up. Despite only reaching 3-4", these fish (and their larger cousins) all require a MINIMUM of 20 gallons each in order to be their most active and vibrant! Something to keep in mind, as they are a very popular fish for children. I'm very proud of this tank and hoping I can replicate its success in my Evo.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   

Sure does! Whiskers too!

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   

I'm so frustrated. But first: My tank FINALLY CYCLED! 0 ammonia! 0 nitrites! After dosing 2ppm ammonia 24 hours prior! :)

 

I decided I would do my big water change today and pick up a few critters tomorrow. Finally! I tested for nitrates and got a result between 20-40ppm.

 

I pulled out 40% of the water and replaced it with the last of my LFS water (which I had already tested for nitrate and found 0), and some distilled water mixed with Instant Ocean salt. I gave it about 20 min to circulate before I tested for nitrates again.

 

40ppm. It went UP, somehow.

 

I went to work, came home, and tested again with a completely clean vial. For sure 40ppm.

 

I can't think what happened except that I somehow misread the first test. Anyway, no critters for me tomorrow. I guess I'm just gonna have to do an even bigger water change. I could add Prime, but that's just a bandaid. Anyway. I'm very disappointed.

Share this post


Link to post
Lula_Mae   
On 7/12/2017 at 2:01 PM, Madcat said:

Been dosing 2ppm of ammonia daily and getting 0 ammonia consistently after 24 hours... today saw the first drop in nitrites since I started daily dosing! :D Thinking I might be ready for my first inhabitants by Saturday!

 

While I'm waiting for the cycle to finally finish, let me show off my non-reef 40 gallon tank! FTS from above:
 

IMG_3890.thumb.JPG.a3cb3be60a03228ce391a5bfd8ec8e7d.JPG

 

It's stocked with two Phodopus campbellsi. Here you can see them in a cave together. The grey one has claimed it, but he tolerates his tankmate in there.

 

IMG_2656.thumb.JPG.5e284a112ee33f4d1befee979a3dd919.JPG


Despite the colour difference, these two are both male. I purchased them as juveniles at the LFS and so far haven't had any trouble with aggression. Keeping a male and female together is unwise as these fish are livebearers and will quickly overpopulate a tank.


Their teeth grow continuously like a puffer's, so they require hard food and wood to gnaw on. They are a very interactive fish and will follow and even sit in your hand in the tank!


Maintenance is very easy due to them having a small bioload. Partial bedding changes are performed weekly, with the occasional 100% change.


Like bettas, the LFS will often sell these fish in small plastic containers, but it is a myth that they can thrive in a pico set-up. Despite only reaching 3-4", these fish (and their larger cousins) all require a MINIMUM of 20 gallons each in order to be their most active and vibrant! Something to keep in mind, as they are a very popular fish for children. I'm very proud of this tank and hoping I can replicate its success in my Evo.

:wub: I love hammies! I've never kept dwarves, only Syrians, but they're soooooo cute!

 

I dunno about the nitrate test result, that's weird! Maybe try testing again and do another large water change if still high?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   
3 hours ago, Lula_Mae said:

:wub: I love hammies! I've never kept dwarves, only Syrians, but they're soooooo cute!

 

I dunno about the nitrate test result, that's weird! Maybe try testing again and do another large water change if still high?

:D I like Syrians, but I looove dwarfs. I've met some real grumpy ones (and owned a real grump), but these two are terrifically sweet. Their names are Peanut Butter and Anchovy (so one really is a fish!).

 

I have to work all day (my plan had been to go to the LFS on my way home), so I won't be able to do a big water change till I get home and by then they might be closed. But if I can straighten the tank out tonight, hopefully tomorrow will be a good day for critters.

 

Also... adding a zoa frag: too soon?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   

I ended up doing about a 75% WC today. Current params:

 

pH: 8.0

SG: 1.026

Ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate: 20ppm

 

You would think it'd be less than 20, if it was 40 and I removed 75%. -_- I'll be okay with 20ppm and some Prime, right? I added carbon to my filter today, though I'm gonna try to find Seachem Matrix specifically.

 

New plan is to add critters on Wednesday, since I work all afternoon/evening both tomorrow and Tuesday. That'll give the tank some more time to... prepare itself for critters. :happy:

 

I need a new heater too. My Aqueon 50w maintained so beautifully for me while I was cycling, but now that I'm trying to turn it down, it's fighting me. I have it dialed all the way to the lowest setting (69*), and it doesn't want to budge much below 80. I don't really trust it anymore. Gonna look for an Eheim 50w.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Throw a nice macro in there and see if it consumes nitrates for you

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   
Just now, GregEmmitte said:

Throw a nice macro in there and see if it consumes nitrates for you

I'd actually really like a decorative macro like dragon's breath in there, but I don't recall ever seeing one at any LFS I've been to. Maybe I just wasn't looking. It does feel like we're a bit more limited up here in Canada though. I can't find a green-banded goby anywhere... :'( Probably someone is selling a ball of chaeto or something somewhere. I'll look when I go in on my day off.

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   

Thanks! They only ship nudibranches to Canada, though. I've checked a few online vendors and J&L Aquatics is Canadian and sells macro, though they don't seem to carry dragon's breath. If I can't find anything locally I'll look into something they carry.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   

Turns out my heater isn't the problem. I unplugged it and my temp stayed at 81. Before work I rotated the hood a bit so each corner of the tank is open to help with evaporation, and it's still 81 tonight. Not the worst temp to be stuck with, but I dislike the lack of control and I'm a little stumped. The room itself can't be any warmer than 75 or so.

Share this post


Link to post

We are going through a summer heat wave in Alberta right now. Tanks are getting as high as 85F so if you want to keep it cooler, just aim a clip-on fan at the top of the water for surface agitation and keep up with topping off any evaporation so your salinity stays stable. Ambient temperatures in summer rarely go below 78 so you often need to intervene manually unless you have a chiller.

 

Also, if your nitrates are still high, just do another water change. Don't dose anymore ammonia. Your tank is ready for some underwater friends.

 

Nitrate should be ideally 0, but having up to 10ppm isn't a game changer. Some inverts and corals are more sensitive but you can add fish at this point. Feed it and it will poop to keep the bacteria happy. Don't tinker too much chemically with the tank. You use Prime mainly for de-chlorinating your tap water. 

 

Just for clarification, why are you testing LFS water? Are you purchasing pre-mixed water from them vs mixing your own?

 

On another note, you might have too much rock. Aquascape is subjective but you may find yourself running out of room pretty quickly. Does your scraper have enough rock clearance when cleaning?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   
5 hours ago, Nomoreammo said:

We are going through a summer heat wave in Alberta right now. Tanks are getting as high as 85F so if you want to keep it cooler, just aim a clip-on fan at the top of the water for surface agitation and keep up with topping off any evaporation so your salinity stays stable. Ambient temperatures in summer rarely go below 78 so you often need to intervene manually unless you have a chiller.

 

Also, if your nitrates are still high, just do another water change. Don't dose anymore ammonia. Your tank is ready for some underwater friends.

 

Nitrate should be ideally 0, but having up to 10ppm isn't a game changer. Some inverts and corals are more sensitive but you can add fish at this point. Feed it and it will poop to keep the bacteria happy. Don't tinker too much chemically with the tank. You use Prime mainly for de-chlorinating your tap water. 

 

Just for clarification, why are you testing LFS water? Are you purchasing pre-mixed water from them vs mixing your own?

 

On another note, you might have too much rock. Aquascape is subjective but you may find yourself running out of room pretty quickly. Does your scraper have enough rock clearance when cleaning?

Thanks! Do you think my tank is okay at 81-81.5? ETA: I'll pick up a clip-on fan tomorrow. Just have to figure out how to maneuver my hood around.

 

I haven't dosed any more ammonia since my nitrites hit 0. Don't want to create any more nitrates than I have to...! My plan was to start with 2 scarlet reef crabs and 2 Nassarius snails. Are you thinking I would be better off adding a fish before inverts?

 

I tested the LFS water because I bought pre-mixed to fill the tank with, and I heard stories about LFS water having nitrates in it and such. Just wanted to check. I'm using distilled water for water changes and top-offs now.

 

And, yes! I can get my mag float all the way around the tank so I'm sure I have scraper clearance. :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

81-85F should be fine for now since you don't have anything in the tank yet but ideally you want to be around 78-80F. More importantly is that you don't want to tank to be fluctuating from 85 down to 78 and back up to 85 as that will stress out the animals. Some of us have been blacking out our tanks/turning off lights until the heat wave is more manageable but alot of us have established tanks.

 

Hermits and snails are fine, I was really more referring to inverts like shrimps or pom pom crabs. At this point you can add whatever you want; just take it slow and don't add too much at the same time. If you want to add a fish alongside your cleanup crew, that's perfectly fine IMO since 2 hermits and 2 snails have a negligible

impact a 13.5 gallon bioload..

 

Over the next little while, your rocks may start getting a brown algae on them. It's perfectly natural and you're just going through the typical ugly-new-tank syndrome.

 

Have you thought about what you'd like to keep as far as livestock?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Madcat   
6 minutes ago, Nomoreammo said:

81-85F should be fine for now since you don't have anything in the tank yet but ideally you want to be around 78-80F. More importantly is that you don't want to tank to be fluctuating from 85 down to 78 and back up to 85 as that will stress out the animals. Some of us have been blacking out our tanks/turning off lights until the heat wave is more manageable but alot of us have established tanks.

 

Hermits and snails are fine, I was really more referring to inverts like shrimps or pom pom crabs. At this point you can add whatever you want; just take it slow and don't add too much at the same time. If you want to add a fish alongside your cleanup crew, that's perfectly fine IMO since 2 hermits and 2 snails have a negligible

impact a 13.5 gallon bioload..

 

Over the next little while, your rocks may start getting a brown algae on them. It's perfectly natural and you're just going through the typical ugly-new-tank syndrome.

 

Have you thought about what you'd like to keep as far as livestock?

The biggest fluctuation I've noticed (with the heater not plugged in) has been about 80.1-81.7. It hasn't gotten any warmer than that. Is that an okay temp if I add hermits and snails? - just in case. Hopefully adding a clip-on fan will get me more in the neighbourhood of 78.

 

Planned livestock are some soft corals, maybe a couple LPS. 1-2 clownfish and a citron goby. I'm leaning towards a single clown right now. If I get only one, I might also keep an eye out for a tailspot blenny or a green banded goby. Would LOVE a GBG but I've never seen one at any of the LFS near me.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Nitrates should be less than 10ppm but not 0. You need a minimal amount. 

You really need temps below 80

Also, why is it so hot? I live in Houston Texas and it's 99 degrees outside and 70 inside lol

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recommended Discussions

  • Sign Up or Sign In to hide this.

×