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LesPaulGtr

New Fluval Evo 13.5 Build

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Hi All,

 

Just wanted to share my new build that I've been working on since December.  This is my first venture into the saltwater hobby.  Two clownfish were added a month ago and seem to be getting on just fine so far.

 

Specs:

Fluval Evo 13.5 tank

Chamber 1: Intank Media Basket with filter floss, Chemi-Pure Blue & Seachem Purigen

Chamber 2: ATO hose, Temp probe & PH Probe

Chamber 3: ATO High and Low sensors, Return pump & Heater

Stock Fluval Heater and Lighting

Hydor Koralia Nano 240

Neptune Apex EL controller

Neptune ATK top off system

Netpune AFS auto feeder

Icecap 5000ml reservoir for ATO, with low water sensor and leak sensor on counter

Cheap 3 fan mounted to hood for cooling

 

Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!  Thanks!

 

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that is quite the setup, LPG!

 

do you have a CUC to manage algae growth?

 

what are your coral aspirations?

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Thanks @Friendly!  It's been a lot of trial and error so far, with a last minute vacation that spurred my investment in an Apex controller, ATO & auto feeder.  It's a bit of a mess of wires right now and is sort of an issue right now as it's on our kitchen counter.

 

I don't yet have a CUC, but yes, algae is starting to become an issue, so this weekend I'll be going to my LFS to see what options they have.

 

As far as corals, yes I'd like to get some but my LFS has advised that I should wait at least a few months to have the water quality stabilize more.  I need to do some more research into what would be appropriate for this setup.

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Wow! That is some serious gear and investment on your evo. I love it.  I run mine with the stock light, but I feel with all your gear a light upgrade is a must. A Radion XR30w would like sweet on there 😝

 

Looking forward to seeing what you achieve!

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for a CuC, make sure you look up what others sell in them, so you don't get a bad algae eater by accident. I hope you mix up different snails, shrimp and such!  :) 

 

do you plan on adding any more fish? two clowns is pretty much the max for 13 gallons I think...but you might be able to sneak in a shrimp goby and shrimp if they have somewhere to burrow. :)

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Well! Looks you loaded up that tank with some nice gear!  I’m running the Nuvo 20 myself and wished I got a bigger tank. 

 

I would avoid buying tank specific upgrades at this point as you might have a plan to upgrade to a bigger tank to go with that nice gear.  

 

Lights , and nice power heads can be reused.  

 

The ai primes are nice  and affordable and would go nicely with your tank.

 

for flow ...don’t do what I did and buy all kinds of powerheads just to end up buying the Ecotech MP10 . This is the best powerhead for the money ImO 

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Honestly though if I had to choose lighting gear I would definitely get the radions , either 2 XR15 or 1 XR30 with the diffuser would be coral growing machine

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28 minutes ago, hyoib said:

Wow! That is some serious gear and investment on your evo. I love it.  I run mine with the stock light, but I feel with all your gear a light upgrade is a must. A Radion XR30w would like sweet on there 😝

 

Looking forward to seeing what you achieve!

Thanks @hyoib.  I agree the setup is a bit overkill for the Evo tank I have.  At first I had a whole bunch of separate components (temp controller, light controller, power strip, etc) with different power supplies and cables cobbled together clogging up our kitchen counter area.  When i realized it was a pain to keep topping off the tank several times a day combined with the fact I do travel and don't have anyone to check in on the tank - it made sense to get the Apex... also because of the space constraints I can make the wiring a whole lot more consolidated.  I'm a bit of a tech geek anyway so I was up for the challenge...

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31 minutes ago, Friendly said:

for a CuC, make sure you look up what others sell in them, so you don't get a bad algae eater by accident. I hope you mix up different snails, shrimp and such!  🙂

 

do you plan on adding any more fish? two clowns is pretty much the max for 13 gallons I think...but you might be able to sneak in a shrimp goby and shrimp if they have somewhere to burrow. 🙂

Thanks @Friendly.  Good point, I do want a decent mix of CuCs to control the growing algae issues I'm having.  How many of each would be appropriate for my size tank you think?

 

I would like to add another small fish or 2 or 3 🙂  Maybe a couple of Gobies, Pseudochromis or cardinal fish?  Thanks!

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2 minutes ago, LesPaulGtr said:

Thanks @hyoib.  I agree the setup is a bit overkill for the Evo tank I have.  At first I had a whole bunch of separate components (temp controller, light controller, power strip, etc) with different power supplies and cables cobbled together clogging up our kitchen counter area.  When i realized it was a pain to keep topping off the tank several times a day combined with the fact I do travel and don't have anyone to check in on the tank - it made sense to get the Apex... also because of the space constraints I can make the wiring a whole lot more consolidated.  I'm a bit of a tech geek anyway so I was up for the challenge...

Very envious! How much evaporation are you getting with the canopy on? although I suppose the fans dont help in that regard!

 

What corals you planning on stocking?

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19 minutes ago, Tuan’s Reef said:

Well! Looks you loaded up that tank with some nice gear!  I’m running the Nuvo 20 myself and wished I got a bigger tank. 

 

I would avoid buying tank specific upgrades at this point as you might have a plan to upgrade to a bigger tank to go with that nice gear.  

 

Lights , and nice power heads can be reused.  

 

The ai primes are nice  and affordable and would go nicely with your tank.

 

for flow ...don’t do what I did and buy all kinds of powerheads just to end up buying the Ecotech MP10 . This is the best powerhead for the money ImO 

Thanks @Tuan’s Reef I kind of wish i got a larger tank as well, but being in a small apartment where the only space available is the kitchen counter, this tank seemed like a logical space until I move to a house.

 

Regarding flow, since I'm in the Neptune ecosystem now I'm considering the WAV, but the minimum flow rate even at 1% I believe would be too much for this small tank...

 

I agree, an AI prime is next on my shopping list 🙂

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7 minutes ago, hyoib said:

Very envious! How much evaporation are you getting with the canopy on? although I suppose the fans dont help in that regard!

 

What corals you planning on stocking?

@hyoib Evaporation seems to be very dependent on the inside temp and how much the fan is running, but it seems like around 1-2 cups daily.

 

No idea on the corals yet, maybe toadstools that the clownfish can call home 🙂  I'm actually thinking of trimming down the rock a bit on the left side of the tank to allow a little more swimming room.

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Congrats on the new build thread, and the tank looks great! You're doing everything right (where "everything right" is define as "take it slow") :biggrin:

 

Seriously, though, it looks really good so far. I agree with you, if you took down a little of the top left corner of the rocks it would give a little more room, and would probably look better too. Remember that your tiny frags will be big corals that need plenty of room faster than you expect.

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Congrats on your first saltwater aquarium @LesPaulGtr, you're off to a great start! I'm going to move your build thread into our Aquarium Journals forum 🙂 

 

I saw you're still looking for a cleanup crew for your tank. If you're still researching your options, I highly recommend our community sponsor Reef Cleaners. They have a wide selection of different crabs and snails, including some really unique options you don't often see in stores. There's also handy cleanup crew packages pre-selected for various tank sizes, that might help give you a better estimate of what your system needs: https://www.reefcleaners.org/cleaner-packages-with-free-shipping

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+1 for ReefCleaners, those guys are great. Their website has a ton of information about all the different varieties of pest algae and what cleaners are best for each type, which is amazingly helpful. I've had nothing but good results from them so far.

 

And I also agree with reducing the rockwork a bit; remember that besides growing and taking up space, your corals and other inverts are likely to come in on frag plugs or pieces of live rock. A tank can get cluttered up pretty quick with that stuff!

 

Can't wait to see where this tank goes with all those fancy bells and whistles 😉 Following along!

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Thanks @teenyreef @748S911 @Christopher Marks @billygoat, I appreciate it!

 

Some more pressing advice needed.  Today I was doing my weekly water testing and I suddenly noticed my Ammonia between .1-.2 and Nitrite slightly pink at .05, Nitrates pretty low at 2-5 using the red sea test kit.  Last week I added 6 nassarius snails and 2 hermit crabs (which should be cleaning up anyway).

 

Do I have reason to worry?  Could this be due to being a little heavy handed when feeding?  I'm currently feeding the clowns twice a day, 2 pinches each alternating API flake and marine s pellets.  Every other day I treat 1 meal with brine shrimp 1/2 frozen cube.  Is this too much?  I feel like i have to feed more because the smaller clown gets pushed aside by the beast clown lol.  Some food does quickly sink to the bottom before they can eat it because the large clown dives into the food like a pig causing it sink.  Any and all advice greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks again!

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In a new tank, any addition of livestock (even clean-up crew members) or change in feeding regimen can cause a spike in ammonia that results in a small "mini-cycle", which seems to be what you're experiencing right now. As long as your livestock don't display any signs of distress, I wouldn't worry about it too much. The denitrifying bacteria already established in your tank should be able to process the ammonia and nitrates without trouble, although I wouldn't be surprised if you saw a spike in algae growth from the increased nutrient load.

 

Your feeding regimen does seem pretty heavy, especially since you are not running a protein skimmer. One thing you could try is using a turkey baster or low-angle powerhead to put uneaten food that falls to the substrate back into suspension, so the fish can get another shot at it. That way you end up with less waste decaying on the bottom, and you can get away with feeding a bit less.

 

Also, what's your water change regimen look like?

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Thanks @billygoat.  I change 10% of the water (approx 1.5gal) weekly.  I've been looking into getting a small protien skimmer: maybe the Reef Glass skimmer (limewood airstone type) since it will fit in the second chamber with my apex probes.  I already have the fluval ps2, but I never hooked it up because of the bad review and how loud it is.  It's really hard to tell how much i should be feeding 2 clowns - there are lots of opinions on the subject!

 

Thanks!

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