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Ash1176

Hi, I’m new here, coming from the freshwater  side of things. 1st post on nano-reef but I’ve been creeping behind the scenes for a while, soaking it all in, research, research, so much more research. But I’m finally here, got my first salt water tank set up and cycling! 

Guess what ? It’s a super original tank... no it’s Fluval Evo 13.5, would have rather started with something like a 40 breeder but space and money are tight for that scale, it’s definitely size down but the ease of the Evo is what appealed to me. I know there’s literally 100+ of these threads, but I kinda kicked myself for not starting one when I set up my freshwater tank.

So here it is:

 

- AI prime HD 

-stock pump 

-VCA Random flow generator 

-hydor Koralia 240 powerhead 

-cobalt neo therm 50w heater 

-inkbird temp controller ITS-308S

-XP Aqua duetto ATO 

-diy eggcrate basket for chamber 1 running filter floss, and a bag of seachem matrix 

 

Got about 12lb of the CaribSea life rock and 10lbs of their Fiji sand. the plan is to have a clownfish, a watchman goby and maybe down the line a third fish (purple firefish) and some cuc (trochus, nassirius, cerith, and emerald crab, might add a skunk cleaner or red shrimp but keeping it to two fish)

and obviously add some coral down the line, can’t wait to add more colour and movement to this tank!


Let me know what you think.
 

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Elizabeth94

Nice set up for a first nano tank! You have so many build threads that can help you decide on equipment and stocking. Its a good thing. 
 

Regarding the lid/light issue. You can always get a lid made and upgrade lighting if you wanted to. Or you can even make your own screen lid to keep the kitty paws out! 

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Ash1176

Thanks!

the light upgrade is definitely on my mind, but I also don’t want to add to much to what I already spent (all the other little things add up real quick haha)

I’m down to take my time with slow growth on easy corals (although I’ve seen some great results with stock light) that being said I don’t like the light colour it gives off so looking to add some good blue Led strips to change that, it will also add some flexibility with the light schedule.
Dust is also another reason I want to keep the lid on, the tank is our bedroom next to the bed, so much dust flies around just by making the bed and the chaos of kids running around hahaha. although I would love nothing more to take the lid off and upgrade big time with the light when the budget would be here too 

 

Re: the thousands of threads

I think this is one of the main reasons I was drawn to that tank, because I could see what everybody else did with theirs and see the results in the threads, I was able pick everything that suited me and get recommendations for gear, which helped so much as a salty newcomer. Learned a LOT on this forum 

In Hindsight, what would be your best tip to a newcomer to the salt side?  
 

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Gramophone

Lookin' good! Any thoughts on what coral you want at this point? Definitely don't be afraid to ask questions and continue to do your research would be my 2 cents. Also, check out the featured monthly tanks for tips. There is a little "advice for new hobbyists" section. Good stuff there :smilie:

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mipster

Welcome to the Evo club! I started mine about a month an a half ago and I have my first two lil fishies.

 

Make sure you add your build thread to the Evo 13.5 owners club. Great spot to ask advice to a whole bunch of evo owners at once.

 

What are you planning to run in your media baskets?

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Ash1176

@Gramophone thank you! I won’t hesitate to ask. Yes the research always goes on, one of the great aspects of this hobby. My coral research is still pretty basic with what I plan on getting, but I do have some ideas,

love the look of pulsing Xenia and GSP but not keen on it over tanking my tank, is it easy to cut them back ? 
but also looking into torch coral, Duncan, frogspawn, hammer, zoan, ricordea Florida, acans. 
i’m still unsure about A few things regarding corals: taking them of the frag and handling them, been looking into the dipping and acclimatation process recently.

 

@mipster thank you ! 
how are you liking yours ? What fish did you go for ?

I will add it to the thread, been on that quite a bit in the planning process. 
media basket wise, in chamber 1: filter floss, then chemipure elite once we get cycled and add fish (cycle should be nearly done, got a good feeling will be hitting the zero nitrite this weekend!) and I’m also running a small bag of Seachem matrix 

Chamber 2 i run a bigger bag of matrix, figured I might as add as much bio media to host all the bacteria. If I need the chamber for something else down the line I still have space to move that bag into the first chamber. 

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mipster
7 minutes ago, Ash1176 said:

how are you liking yours ? What fish did you go for ?

I love mine, it's the perfect size for the limited space I have. It's on a cabinet beside my tv so it's in my perfect line of sight all the time. 

 

I've got a blue neon goby (adorable little attention hog who still needs a name) and a royal gramma diva name Priscilla. I will be adding one more fish, probably a clown I just can't decide if I want classic or designer. I have been really liking the snowflake clowns so I might go in that direction.

 

Have you watched the BRStv 5 minute guide? I loved it, it was a terrific starter guide and I've taken some of their suggestions (such as leaving the lights off even after adding my first fish for a few months until I'm ready to add corals). I haven't added any clean up crew because there is nothing to clean up with no light on to grow the algae.

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Elizabeth94

Best advice for a newcomer? Well- just reiterating taking things slow. Everyones right when they say nothing good happens fast. But really, don’t get discouraged if something goes wrong or you make a mistake. Most issues are fixable. Hobby is much more enjoyable this way. 
 

And once you get going with coral, testing will be your friend. Oh- don’t stress over algae either. Most comes and goes with the proper maintenance 🙂

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Ash1176

@mipster been thinking about the royal gramma too, the yellow tail is a great colour to add to a tank that pops out. Do you have a thread for your tank? I hear you about the clown, would love to get a black and white one, but the classic ones looks good too.

hahaha yes I watched all the 5 minute guides and watched a lot of the 52 weeks by brs too, Yes, loads of great stuff in there!

 

@Elizabeth94 thanks for the wisdom, yes I’m kinda relishing taking things slow with this tank, it leaves me more room to learn and find out about the things behind the scenes of a mini reef.

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mipster
5 minutes ago, Ash1176 said:

Do you have a thread for your tank?

Just click the link in my signature and it will take you right to it!

 

I see you're in Ottawa! That's where I'm from and where I had my first tank before had to take it down to move to Toronto. I did a lot of my shopping at Marinescape over on Carling but get a second opinion on anything they tell you lol The convinced me to do a lot of things that I now realize didn't really fit with what I wanted and was a "do it fast" shortcut that didn't work out well in the long run. BUT they had great prices for their fish and corals (or at least they did 5 and a half years ago lol). You know... I still technically have credit there because I brought them all my livestock when I had to suddenly move lol I wonder if they still have that recorded.. It was a pretty old school tracking system of writing it on a piece of paper on the wall lol.

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Ash1176

Awesome just found your thread, nice scape with the rocks! 

hahaha too funny! Yes in Ottawa, I’ve been meaning to go check out that shop, it’s not to far for me, they’ve only just Started letting one person at a time back in, been trying to get some of the upgrades from them but they didn’t have what I was looking for in stock... hahaha yes I know to well to double check advice from ant lfs, will go check them out soon though, I was on the phone with them asking where I could find RODI water, and they told me to use tap water.... nahhhh it just didn’t sit right but for a second I was tempted to do it, would have made it so much more easier than getting 5 gallon jug refills. I understand the water here is really good, but I think it will be easier for me to learn with RODI rather than deal with extra problems from the tap water 

did you do the tank transfer method for the new royal gramma? Qt just seems so stressful to fish to me, I don’t do it with my freshwater fish, but I get that it’s different ball game with saltwater fish. my tank is tiny and not a huge reef

do you freshwater dip too?

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mipster
5 minutes ago, Ash1176 said:

I could find RODI water, and they told me to use tap water....

THEY TOLD ME THIS TOO!!! Annnd at the time I listened.... Always had crazy stupid issues and I'm sure now the water was part of it. RODI isn't that complicated, though read over my experience with mine if you are using one like I do (ie not plumbed and permanently set it). 

 

I didn't qt the gramma and I cut the tank transfer method short. Actually experiencing it made me really concerned, it is a very stressful Qt method it seems. I understand I'm taking a risk but this is also a very small tank, I will never have more then 3 fish and I'm buying from places that have their own qt procedures so hopefully I'll be lucky. I would do a true qt except I really don't have room for a proper qt set up. 

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Ash1176

Hahaha the odds! 
i have 3x 5 gallon jugs that I refill from RODI stations. 
With the lack of antibiotic meds for fish here in Canada, it doesn’t help much with the QT process. 

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Ash1176

@mipster on the subject of not being able to quarantine, have you looked into UV filters? the BRS guys swear by them for helping with ich and other parasites. Saw somebody on here using a 3w green killing machine In the same chamber as the return pump 

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mipster
6 minutes ago, Ash1176 said:

have you looked into UV filters

I haven't really yet no. I'm feeling OK so far, everyone is very active and healthy and eating like pigs. I did watch that video of theirs and it's stored at the back of my mind. Let's just hope I'm one of the lucky ones 😛

 

 

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Clown79

Highly recommend qt, especially here in canada.

Meds are no longer available so treatment options are limited. Also treating a sick fish in the display tank isn't often an option.

 

With the increased prices of fish these days, its always better to qt.

 

I learned the hard way, lost my favourite $50 purple firefish because I didn't qt a new addition and then my tank had to go fallow for 8 + weeks.

 

Other advice

 

Always get a good heater and don't place it in your return chamber, especially if you don't have an auto top up.

 

Go slow, be patient, less is more.

 

Really important- don't over use media, low to no nutrients can become a big problem.

 

Always do your own research, shop at the lfs but generally their advice is sketchy

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Ash1176

I’m still doing my research with QT procedures, and I’m finding conflicting arguments an all sides as usual haha. The medication aspect of it seems pretty intensive and that’s why right now I’m shying away from it because I don’t have access to those meds here in Canada. Now I do have the means to set up an old 15 gallon tank (will need to silicone the leaks) with a spare old HOB filter and heater (yes I’m already upgrading my heater, I can use the old one as emergency back up too) I also added the little bag of bio rings that came with the tank in chamber 2 So if I need to seed a QT or emergency tank, it’s ready! With the lack of meds I guess this would be an “observation tank” to be sure the fish is “healthy” before going in, but if it is sick I can’t help it... I guess still better than having to fallow the tank! I’m also going to see if the LFS is willing to quarantine and also mostly looking at buying tank bred fish, but I realize non of these are fail safe procedures.
 

regarding the heater, I just ordered the cobalt neo-therm 50w heater (most are sold out everywhere, probably because of covid)

my issue with the preset heater is that being in the chamber I guess it doesn’t need to turn on as much because the small space and pump increases the heat, so when I measure temp at the other end of the tank (tried 3 different thermometers) I’m getting 75 instead of the “preset” 78, so I wanted more control over the heat, the cobalt seems well liked, not made of glass, safety overheat feature and is REALLY small, which makes it a great choice. 
I don’t have an auto top up yet, but I’m using the hood so evap is minimal so far.

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Ash1176

Oh yeah and great news today

 

0 NITRITES 

 

cycle should be done, dosed 2-3ppm of ammonia and will check tomorrow 

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mipster
2 hours ago, Ash1176 said:

so I wanted more control over the heat

I really recommend a temp controller. Gives you an extra level or redundancy and protection. I use this one.  I really like this one because I have one plug for the heater and the other plug for the clip on fan I bought for the hot summer months so the controller automatically turns on the heater and fan as necessary.

 

Ya to finishing the cycle! Any thoughts on your first inhabitants? 

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Ash1176

Thanks, will look into it! More research hahaha... haven’t looked at the automation side too much yet. But was definitely thinking about it regarding 2 part dosing further down the line when I get some corals in 

for the fish I’m thinking clownfish, maybe regular or black and white

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Clown79
4 hours ago, Ash1176 said:

I’m still doing my research with QT procedures, and I’m finding conflicting arguments an all sides as usual haha. The medication aspect of it seems pretty intensive and that’s why right now I’m shying away from it because I don’t have access to those meds here in Canada. Now I do have the means to set up an old 15 gallon tank (will need to silicone the leaks) with a spare old HOB filter and heater (yes I’m already upgrading my heater, I can use the old one as emergency back up too) I also added the little bag of bio rings that came with the tank in chamber 2 So if I need to seed a QT or emergency tank, it’s ready! With the lack of meds I guess this would be an “observation tank” to be sure the fish is “healthy” before going in, but if it is sick I can’t help it... I guess still better than having to fallow the tank! I’m also going to see if the LFS is willing to quarantine and also mostly looking at buying tank bred fish, but I realize non of these are fail safe procedures.
 

regarding the heater, I just ordered the cobalt neo-therm 50w heater (most are sold out everywhere, probably because of covid)

my issue with the preset heater is that being in the chamber I guess it doesn’t need to turn on as much because the small space and pump increases the heat, so when I measure temp at the other end of the tank (tried 3 different thermometers) I’m getting 75 instead of the “preset” 78, so I wanted more control over the heat, the cobalt seems well liked, not made of glass, safety overheat feature and is REALLY small, which makes it a great choice. 
I don’t have an auto top up yet, but I’m using the hood so evap is minimal so far.

I only qt for observation. I don't prophylactically treat. 

I use a small tank with heater, filter, and if need be some added flow.

I keep the fish there for 4 weeks minimum to observe for illness. 

 

I use the neotherm heater and inkbird controllers.

 

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Ash1176

thanks for all the advice so far everyone! 
Setting up the old tank for QT shouldn’t be too much of an issue (wonder what the wife will say) and I like the idea of protecting the future investment of what will be in the tank.  I was thinking about a small uv sterilizer filter to the Evo, With the lack of meds, would it be wise to add the UV to the quarantine tank? Also If the fish dies in the QT tank, do I need to fallow the QT tank with the equipment? Or a do a classic vinegar clean? 

so with the inkbird temp controller, I get that it turns off the heater if it gets too hot, but when the temp drops, does it force the heater to turn on? Or does it rely on the heater thermostat to kick in ? Or do you set the heater at higher temp to ensure it turns on? 
 

on another note the cycle isn’t done yet, still had ammonia and nitrites this morning. That’s ok I’m in no big rush. 

 

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mipster
1 minute ago, Ash1176 said:

so with the inkbird temp controller, I get that it turns off the heater if it gets too hot, but when the temp drops, does it force the heater to turn on? Or does it rely on the heater thermostat to kick in ? Or do you set the heater at higher temp to ensure it turns on? 

The Inkbird will turn the heater on and off as necessary unless you have your heater set really low I believe. I put the heater's internal temp to be the same that I set the inkbird at. I wouldn't put it higher incase the inkbird ever fails, you won't have the heat go higher because of the internal temp of the heater being set too high.

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Ash1176

Ok, so its more about being an extra protection from the heater staying stuck on more than heating accuracy? 

 

what are you guys doing for a CUC? 
mess thinking trochus, nassirius and cerith snails, not too keen on the hermits though.

how many of each should I add? 1 of each or more? 

Was also thinking a skunk or red cleaner shrimp and maybe an emerald crab if bubble algae shows up

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mipster
1 minute ago, Ash1176 said:

so its more about being an extra protection from the heater staying stuck on more than heating accuracy

It depends, my heater's internal heater was not very accurate so the inkbird improved the accuracy greatly as well but even if your heater is accurate, it is a redundancy to protect your tank from your heater getting suck in the on position.

 

Clean up crew, I still havent added any yet as there isn't anything to eat but I will warn you about cleaner shrimps, they are super cooly inverts and I loved the one I had on my old tank but the ass stole food right out of the mouths of my corals so it's something to be aware of.

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