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LesPaulGtr

New Fluval 13.5 tank questions

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LesPaulGtr

Hi All,

 

Absolute beginner here.  Just got a new Fluval 13.5 tank with Protein Skimmer and filled it (sand, rocks & saltwater) and had a few questions:

  1. What should the water level be in the back chamber(s)?  Should it be filled almost to the top so the middle chamber filter media can be reached properly?
  2. I'm considering an ATO unit.  How should the sensors be setup in the return pump chamber so that I know to start topping off?  
  3. I'm also considering the Smart AWC.  Where would the recommended places for the sensors and where could the drain pump for the AWC fit in this tank?  Not sure there is much room in the return pump chamber.  Would it fit in the chamber with the protein skimmer?

 

Thanks so much in advance!

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Daniel91

1. Something you decide yourself, the top “dots” are actually there to help maintain stable level.

2. Again, you decide yourself but use the dots as level guidance - the whole back chamber is aligned and water level will decrease/increase same amount in all 3 chambers.

3. Can’t advise.

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LesPaulGtr

Thank you Daniel91 for the reply!  But just to confirm, does the water level in the chambers have to be high enough, level with the carbon bag in the second chamber?

 

Thanks again.

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Daniel91

Yep - it should be cover the media.

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LesPaulGtr
16 minutes ago, Daniel91 said:

Yep - it should be cover the media.

Thanks!  I filled the overflow tank to about 1-1.5 inches from the top.  I think that should be enough to make sure it goes through the media right?

 

Anyone else have any placement recommendations for ATO/AWC?

 

Thanks.

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Daniel91

If it covers the media and you are comfortable with that level, then you can setup your ATO for that level in the return chamber.

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Curtis_Rose

Check out melevsreef on YouTube watch his video on water changes yes it’s long but it’s very informative. He will tell u the ups and downs of automatic changes and auto top offs as well. Just because it auto doesn’t mean u won’t have to watch it closely. I have the same tank as u and I’m a beginner as well. I keep my chambers about two inches from the top seems to work well. Also with the hood on I only lose around a half a cup of water per day. I don’t need auto top off yet but I will by the time we go on vacation. But I may have someone check the tank daily anyway so maybe not. Just things to think about that’s all. Half a cup isn’t bad my salinity never changes. (At least not yet) If you don’t use the hood and upgrade lighting u will lose a lot more as other people with the same tank can add up to half a gallon of fresh water a day.

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LesPaulGtr

Thanks that makes sense!

54 minutes ago, Daniel91 said:

If it covers the media and you are comfortable with that level, then you can setup your ATO for that level in the return chamber.

 

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LesPaulGtr
19 minutes ago, Curtis_Rose said:

Check out melevsreef on YouTube watch his video on water changes yes it’s long but it’s very informative. He will tell u the ups and downs of automatic changes and auto top offs as well. Just because it auto doesn’t mean u won’t have to watch it closely. I have the same tank as u and I’m a beginner as well. I keep my chambers about two inches from the top seems to work well. Also with the hood on I only lose around a half a cup of water per day. I don’t need auto top off yet but I will by the time we go on vacation. But I may have someone check the tank daily anyway so maybe not. Just things to think about that’s all. Half a cup isn’t bad my salinity never changes. (At least not yet) If you don’t use the hood and upgrade lighting u will lose a lot more as other people with the same tank can add up to half a gallon of fresh water a day.

Thanks Curtis, I will check out that video!  I've attached some pics below of my setup and what the chamber water levels looks like.  Mine is around 2 inches as well, although I have trouble figuring out if the water level is high enough to reach the carbon.

 

IMG_9634.thumb.JPG.74fbf8a9d30002da425188394a0ce750.JPG

 

FullSizeRender.thumb.jpg.0d4a6ea8c626b967bd32c66f530939ae.jpg

 

IMG_9632.thumb.JPG.14924cd0418ccaf10dc5c541866ae935.JPG

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Curtis_Rose

Looks great. Love the rockwork. And looks like your levels are the same as mine. I am not running carbon as of now I made a diy media basket and I just run mechanical filter pad for now seems to work pretty well keeping my rear chambers clean and free of any build up I have live rock and marine pure in my second chamber

32ABED1F-0486-4E98-9C89-7D59CAE33D5F.jpeg

0F9DA0AE-2D7A-49AC-96D7-39DEEC1DA6D9.jpeg

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LesPaulGtr

Thanks Curtis!  Is the stock media basket that bad?  I'm still cycling my tank so I haven't added fish yet and see how it performs.  Let me know if you can post a full tank pic, I'm interested to see how yours is set up!

 

I'm looking into adding the auto aqua smart awc but I'm not really sure if there's enough room for the pumps with this tank.

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Curtis_Rose

Are you referring to the stock sponge? The kit doesn’t really come with a media basket. I don’t really like sponges cause they usaully get so dirty and I just made the media basket for carbon or gfo. I may end up buying the intank media basket as it helps better the flow through the rear chambers. But only if I see the need for more flow. Which right now seems fine. I upgraded the pump tho to twice what it came with stock. 

F9695C4A-7CBE-408E-AC12-30B0F72D9AF0.jpeg

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Daniel91

@Curtis_Rose what did you use to plug the whole in the middle of the display?

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Curtis_Rose

Intank sells a piece on amazon and on their website snaps into place there are also some on thingaverse if u have access to a 3d printer 

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LesPaulGtr
12 hours ago, Curtis_Rose said:

Are you referring to the stock sponge? The kit doesn’t really come with a media basket. I don’t really like sponges cause they usaully get so dirty and I just made the media basket for carbon or gfo. I may end up buying the intank media basket as it helps better the flow through the rear chambers. But only if I see the need for more flow. Which right now seems fine. I upgraded the pump tho to twice what it came with stock. 

 

Thanks Curtis, I like your setup!  Yes, the stock filter basket/sponge which already has a carbon biological sections.  

 

I just realized... do I have too much rock in the tank?  There's about 10-12lbs of real rock and I've been able to fill the tank with about 9 gallons of water.

 

Thanks again!

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