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meno19

Tweaks Fluval Evo 13.5 Gallon Setup

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meno19

Hi Everyone,

 

This is my very first attempt at a Saltwater tank. I have been keeping fresh water fish since I was a kid but have never ventured into the world of Saltwater. With my first go around I sourced a used Fluval Evo 13.5 gallon AIO setup. I found it for sale nearby for $40. Figure if I was gonna do it I was gonna attempt one of the harder scenarios... a nano reef tank. My plan is to start the tank from scratch all dry rock and dry sand. Start the tank up with ghost feedings and bacteria to get it cycled and then from their I hope to build up a reef with maybe 2 fish and a cleanup crew. This is where I am going to look for advice on what to stock the tank with. I am in no way in a rush and taking the slow route one step at the time. Here are my current specs and a pic of Day one. 

 

Setup Date 2/19/20
Tank Fluval Evo 13.5 Gal
Substrate CaribSea Aragonite 10lbs
Rocks Texas Holey Rock 14lbs
Salt Instant Ocean Reef Crystals
Target SG 1.024 - 1.025
Target Temp 78F
Water Tap Water Treated with Seachem Prime
Bacteria Seachem Stability

 

On 2/22/2020 I got my first testable amount of Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. Since then it looks like the tank is in the process of cycling. I do not plan to add anything until I get a complete cycle in place but I open it up to everyone. What do you think I should start with as the first inhabitants? Cleanup Crew? 1 Fish? Frags?  

 

  2/22/2020 2/24/2020 2/25/2020
Ammonia 0.5 0.75 1
Nitrite 0.1 0.1 0.25
Nitrate 20 15 10
PH 7.8 7.8 7.8

 

Looking forward to continue posting my journey of the tank on nano-reef.com 

 

Day1.jpg

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meno19

Hi Everyone. I wanted to post an update to the tank. I am 14 Days into the cycling now and the chemical results are showing it is moving along. The Ammonia is almost at 0 but the Nitrites are still high and processing. The salinity is very close but I do want to raise it to 1.025 to 1.026 ill work on that with the next water change. Also the PH is a bit low so I will be also working in raising that. 

 

I also remove the dry rock and glued them together with Loctite to create a better and more stable arrangement. Getting closer to the CUC but not there yet. 

 

Would love if anyone has any recommendations on what i should start stocking the tank with. 

 

  2/22/2020 2/24/2020 2/25/2020 2/28/2020 3/2/2020 3/6/2020
Ammonia 0.5 0.75 1 0.75 0.5 0.1
Nitrite 0.1 0.1 0.25 1 5 >5
Nitrate 20 15 10 20 40 30
PH 7.8 7.8 7.8 7.8 7.8 7.8
Salinity         1.024 - 1.025

1.024 - 1.025

Day 14 - 03-06-2020.jpg

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meno19

With my PH being a bit low I am going to try aerating the water to see if it has to do with too much dissolved CO2 in my water. Will test tomorrow to see if I see a boost in PH. If not the I will look to use some sodium bicarbonate to raise a bit. 

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debbeach13

Welcome to NR and reefing. Nice deal on the tank. I like your scape. Once cycled and you see diatoms. It should be fine to get couple snails and a blue leg hermit. Some to watch right!Don't want them to starve so grab some sinking pellets or nori  if you can. I would be careful chasing PH just yet. An open window, the time of day so many things affect PH. Always make adjustments very slowly. Good luck with your tank. 

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Garf

Ya, i wouldn't be too concerned with PH at this phase, no need to chase params to an ideal number imo.  In fact, a lot of people do not test it at all after tanks is cycled. Just point one of those pump outlet nozzles at the surface to agitate water a bit and leave it be. You may be stuck with 7.8 (which is fine btw) because of your tapwater/prime combo. 

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meno19
3 hours ago, debbeach13 said:

Welcome to NR and reefing. Nice deal on the tank. I like your scape. Once cycled and you see diatoms. It should be fine to get couple snails and a blue leg hermit. Some to watch right!Don't want them to starve so grab some sinking pellets or nori  if you can. I would be careful chasing PH just yet. An open window, the time of day so many things affect PH. Always make adjustments very slowly. Good luck with your tank. 

Question what will the diatoms look like and when would they start to develop? Right now my Nitrite is still high so that has to finish cycling of course. For the food what is nori? 

 

Also Im thinking of getting a frag when can I introduce one of those to the tank?

3 hours ago, Garf said:

Ya, i wouldn't be too concerned with PH at this phase, no need to chase params to an ideal number imo.  In fact, a lot of people do not test it at all after tanks is cycled. Just point one of those pump outlet nozzles at the surface to agitate water a bit and leave it be. You may be stuck with 7.8 (which is fine btw) because of your tapwater/prime combo. 

I was also thinking of getting a small nano power head to also circulate the water a bit more. 

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Garf
51 minutes ago, meno19 said:

Question what will the diatoms look like and when would they start to develop? Right now my Nitrite is still high so that has to finish cycling of course. For the food what is nori? 

 

Also Im thinking of getting a frag when can I introduce one of those to the tank?

I was also thinking of getting a small nano power head to also circulate the water a bit more. 

Good idea on the powerhead. And wow, 40$? Nice deal!

 

Diatoms will be a thin brownish film that starts on the glass, rocks and sand.  

 

Start with a small cleanup crew, but make sure they have algae to eat first. Like you said in your first post, go slow and easy, i wouldn't add a frag for quite a while.

 

That rock looks pretty dense, especially if that is all 14lbs of it in the tank. See if you can find a couple of the ceramic biomedia cubes or balls, the smaller ones and stuff them in the middle chamber. It can give you a lot more surface area for bacteria to settle in.   

 

Nori is a type of seaweed, you can get it in sheets (good for grazing fish), pellets and such. Don't let the CUC get used to eating the good food, else they wont touch the algae!

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debbeach13

I like every thing Garf said. I only mentioned the CUC and Nori because many people say they are taking slow but then can not wait for some thing to watch. LOL 

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meno19
On 3/7/2020 at 5:08 AM, debbeach13 said:

I like every thing Garf said. I only mentioned the CUC and Nori because many people say they are taking slow but then can not wait for some thing to watch. LOL 

Absolutely. Im itchy to get something but would rather wait until the tank fully cycles. 

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meno19

Well the Nitrite continue to hold on above 5ppm. But looks like things are still cycling the Nitrate's are still increasing. Still not ready for residents 😞

 

Date Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate PH Salinity
3/10/2020 0.10 >5 40 8 1.025 - 1.026
3/6/2020 0.10 >5 30 7.8 1.024 - 1.025
3/2/2020 0.50 5.00 40 7.8 1.024 - 1.025
2/28/2020 0.75 1.00 20 7.8 N/A
2/25/2020 1.00 0.25 10 7.8 N/A
2/24/2020 0.75 0.10 15 7.8 N/A
2/22/2020 0.50 0.10 20 7.8 N/A

 

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meno19

Wanted to drop an update on the tank. I'm coming up on my first month that the tank has been running. A few days ago I added some live rock rubble to help further add additional bacteria to the tank. Also got the first unintended inhabitants with the live rock pieces. Ends up 2 small bristle worms took a ride in on the rock. Also have the first signs of algae in the tank. Its starting to grow on the rocks and the substrate. 

 

Below are my current numbers. Ammonia has dropped to 0 but Nitrite is still holding strong above 5ppm. After the readings I took today I did a 2.5gal water change. Hoping to see the Nitrite fall soon so that I can go get the CUC to get the tank really started. Slow and Steady. 

 

Date Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate PH Salinity Notes
3/18/2020 0.00 >5 80 8.2 1.025 Prior to 2.5gal Waterchange
3/10/2020 0.10 >5 40 8 1.025 - 1.026  
3/6/2020 0.10 >5 30 7.8 1.024 - 1.025  
3/2/2020 0.50 5.00 40 7.8 1.024 - 1.025  
2/28/2020 0.75 1.00 20 7.8 N/A  
2/25/2020 1.00 0.25 10 7.8 N/A  
2/24/2020 0.75 0.10 15 7.8 N/A  
2/22/2020 0.50 0.10 20 7.8 N/A  

3-18-2020.jpg

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meno19
On 3/6/2020 at 10:13 PM, Garf said:

Good idea on the powerhead. And wow, 40$? Nice deal!

 

Diatoms will be a thin brownish film that starts on the glass, rocks and sand.  

 

Start with a small cleanup crew, but make sure they have algae to eat first. Like you said in your first post, go slow and easy, i wouldn't add a frag for quite a while.

 

That rock looks pretty dense, especially if that is all 14lbs of it in the tank. See if you can find a couple of the ceramic biomedia cubes or balls, the smaller ones and stuff them in the middle chamber. It can give you a lot more surface area for bacteria to settle in.   

 

Nori is a type of seaweed, you can get it in sheets (good for grazing fish), pellets and such. Don't let the CUC get used to eating the good food, else they wont touch the algae!

Just saw the mention on the biomedia. There is a bag of biomedia in the middle chamber since the beginning along with a bag of charcoal which I just changed out today for the first time. 

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meno19

Okay got a question for everyone. Since the last post green algae was starting to show up and now it looks like brown algae or is this the detritus that everyone talks about? My Nitrites refuse to drop. Today I noticed that maybe it was starting to lighten up in the tests but still cant be sure. 

3-24-2020.jpg

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Gravity

Most likely diatoms, it’s the first algae to show up. This is later replaced with green algae. All a normal part of the startup. If your nitrates are high I would suggest a water change to lower it but you still want to keep some in there. The algae will eventually take up a majority of it. 

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meno19
10 hours ago, Gravity said:

Most likely diatoms, it’s the first algae to show up. This is later replaced with green algae. All a normal part of the startup. If your nitrates are high I would suggest a water change to lower it but you still want to keep some in there. The algae will eventually take up a majority of it. 

 

Yeah a little green showed up first and then this brown stuff. My Nitrates are okay I do a water change when I see them going above 50ppm right now. But my concern is the Nitrites they have seemed not to move. Is the Nitrite cycle much longer than the Ammonia cycle? 

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Gravity

The reduction of Nitrite into Nitrate is usually pretty rapid. You will only register a Nitrite reading during your initial cycle and it’s possible if you have enough microbes to skip detection altogether. Once ammonia and nitrite are undetectable and nitrate is being produced your cycle is complete. 

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meno19
On 3/25/2020 at 1:29 PM, Gravity said:

The reduction of Nitrite into Nitrate is usually pretty rapid. You will only register a Nitrite reading during your initial cycle and it’s possible if you have enough microbes to skip detection altogether. Once ammonia and nitrite are undetectable and nitrate is being produced your cycle is complete. 

Yes that I understand. Its just my initial Nitrite cycle has been quite longer than the ammonia cycle and still has not finished. Does it ever get stalled or do I just need to continue to wait.

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Gravity

Assuming that pH, Alkalinity and salinity are all good and the tank is well aerated, I wouldn’t expect it to stall. Have your nitrates increased at all?

 

At this point you could do a water change to get the nitrite back in range. And take a rest or reduce ghost feeding until ammonia and nitrite are zero. 

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meno19
10 hours ago, Gravity said:

Assuming that pH, Alkalinity and salinity are all good and the tank is well aerated, I wouldn’t expect it to stall. Have your nitrates increased at all?

 

At this point you could do a water change to get the nitrite back in range. And take a rest or reduce ghost feeding until ammonia and nitrite are zero. 

Well literally the day after I posted this I saw them start to drop. Ammonia has continued to be 0 and I only did one ghost feeding in the beginning to start the process. As of yesterday they were close to .25ppm.
 

Nitrates have continue to produce and it seemed that they began to get consumed on there own as I saw a drop for a short change. I’m thinking that it may have been from the algae growth in the tank. 
 

One thing is I have not been checking alkalinity. Should I for this tank?

 

But I think I am close to getting the first CUC for the tank this week. Any recommendations? 

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Gravity
16 minutes ago, meno19 said:

Well literally the day after I posted this I saw them start to drop. Ammonia has continued to be 0 and I only did one ghost feeding in the beginning to start the process. As of yesterday they were close to .25ppm.
 

Nitrates have continue to produce and it seemed that they began to get consumed on there own as I saw a drop for a short change. I’m thinking that it may have been from the algae growth in the tank. 
 

One thing is I have not been checking alkalinity. Should I for this tank?

 

But I think I am close to getting the first CUC for the tank this week. Any recommendations? 

Glad to hear things are progressing. You are probably ok not checking alkalinity since you don’t have corals. It was just a possible limiting factor since nitrification consumes some alkalinity. 
 

I would recommend starting with a few snails and/or hermit crabs. I particularly like banded trochus nassarius and cerith snails. 

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meno19
16 minutes ago, Gravity said:

Glad to hear things are progressing. You are probably ok not checking alkalinity since you don’t have corals. It was just a possible limiting factor since nitrification consumes some alkalinity. 
 

I would recommend starting with a few snails and/or hermit crabs. I particularly like banded trochus nassarius and cerith snails. 

Very cool. Now I will be looking to get some corals in the future so I guess I will need to monitor other levels specific to the corals

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