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Fluval Evo 13.5 set up options/opinions


wh1skey6

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Setting up a "new to me" Evo 13.5 and had some questions. I have a ton of gear from my last tank and am wondering what to use or what to put away.

 

1) Powerheads: I have two MP10s with controllers. I've read one at 40% with the stock pump for surface agitation is plenty. Any reason to deviate and use two MP10 (offset) with pulsing waves in addition to the stock pump? OR I do have some Koralia Nano knockoffs that I could use. TBH i think my last tank liked the knockoffs better since I could angle the powerheads.

2) Protein Skimmer: I have the Fluval protein skimmer with it as well. I read its almost unneeded in a nano. Should I skip on it and use macro algae or other filtration in that chamber instead?

3) Lighting: The stock hood was cut and modified for a refuge. The light works but its simple on/off. I do have a SBReef box...but I love the look of a streamlined enclosed tank. Stock light or SBReef (dumb question, I know). I'd have to build a mount for the SBReef. If I went with stock lights, I'd get some blue LEDs for sunrise/sunset.

4) Refuge: I hate tanks that look like a plumbing project gone wrong. Bad cuts, hoses and tubes everywhere, etc. Hence the AIO look. That being said, I do have the CPR refuge. Should I consider setting this up?

5) Paint: This will be in a corner. Side with the chambers will be against a wall. Any benefit to plasti dipping the back (that will also be against a wall)?

 

Everything will get wired to my old reefkeepr 2. Lots of gear to consider especially for a AIO but would love thoughts/opinions from the experienced AIO/Fluval owners.

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I'll take a crack at it:

1) one MP10 is enough. Stock return pump does very little. If you want to use two powerheads, go for it. It'll help with the whole "randomizing" flow. Just make sure it's not too much. 2 Koralia knockoffs should suffice too. To be honest this one is your choice.

2) You can definitely skip skimmer for this tank. If you want to turn chamber 2 into a mini fuge, go for it. There's a fluval 13.5g thread specifically showing what a bunch of people have to done to mod it. I have my heater in chamber 2 so unfortunately I may have to resort to a hang on back fuge. 

3) My stock light took a whole 3 days to break. Day 1 all was well, Day 2 only a third of the LEDs lit, Day 3... finito! And I've seen that for some people it lasted a couple of years, others had it break after a few weeks or months. So that's a gamble IMO. But you do have a SBReef as backup should it ever break. So honestly, you can use the stock light if you really like the closed hood. I heard it was enough light for softies and LPS. Not so much for SPS. I like that look too but didn't bother looking into it after the light broke. 

4) You can turn chamber 2 into a fuge if you're not using it for anything else. 

5) That's your call. If you want that look or not. My tank is on a wall too. My wall is painted white, so it adds a bit of depth to the tank imo. I like being able to see through to the other side, especially in a nano one like this, where everything is "small scale". Just my opinion. 

 

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@paulsz thanks for the answers! I think my route will be:

 

  • Koralia knockoffs since I can direct flow. MP10s will be saved incase I don't like the Koralia results.
  • No skimmer or HOB fuge. will turn chamber 2 into a mini fuge.
  • Stock hood/light until I can build or figure out how to hang the SBReef. It plays well with the Reefkeeper and already has blues.

Thanks again. I started reading the Fluval Evo 13.5 owners thread and still have half to go. Any other tips/tricks you can think of before I fill it water? I am planning on plugging the hole in chamber 2 tonight.

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yeah plugging that hole in chamber 2 because some people. I just put a bit of putty/epoxy on there (the stuff i use to stick frags into rock). 

 

People say to plug it because it "shortcuts the first chamber, so you end up with some uneaten food and waste in chambers 2 and 3, and just filters less (since less water passes by chamber 1). But the real reason I plugged it is because one day I found my yellow clown goby in chamber 1 🤣 He's so small he literally just slipped in there and chilled in chamber 1. I tried to catch him with a net but then we just slipped into chamber 2 then back out the hole into the display tank 🤣 adorable, hilarious and scary all at once.

 

One last thing is that with the hood, topping off can be done manually. But once the lid is off, evaporation is too much and you're better off with an ATO. 

 

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26 minutes ago, paulsz said:

yeah plugging that hole in chamber 2 because some people. I just put a bit of putty/epoxy on there (the stuff i use to stick frags into rock). 

 

People say to plug it because it "shortcuts the first chamber, so you end up with some uneaten food and waste in chambers 2 and 3, and just filters less (since less water passes by chamber 1). But the real reason I plugged it is because one day I found my yellow clown goby in chamber 1 🤣 He's so small he literally just slipped in there and chilled in chamber 1. I tried to catch him with a net but then we just slipped into chamber 2 then back out the hole into the display tank 🤣 adorable, hilarious and scary all at once.

 

One last thing is that with the hood, topping off can be done manually. But once the lid is off, evaporation is too much and you're better off with an ATO. 

 

Oh man, I have a ywg and he is small enough he could slip through it!

 

Good tip on the lid. My old tank was open top and I forget how much it evaped. Thoughts on a plexi/acrylic lid but maybe crank the SBreef a little higher? 

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you mean all plexi? or just a trim? with netting in the middle? i can't speak for all plexi. Some say it's bad, but i don't know if they are just guessing of if they know for a fact. 

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11 hours ago, paulsz said:

you mean all plexi? or just a trim? with netting in the middle? i can't speak for all plexi. Some say it's bad, but i don't know if they are just guessing of if they know for a fact. 

Well I was thinking maybe all plexi with a square/rectangle hole in the middle. Not sure about mesh yet.

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6 hours ago, Bella Smith said:

You can skip protein skimmer but you have to change water more often. For my Fluval Evo without a skimmer, I have to change 10 percent to 20 percent of the water weekly to compensate for the lack of a protein skimmer. 

I used to think that but it's not always the case...

 

I originally ran a skimmer, for around 3-5 months.. but it was such a pain I decided to ditch it and just go with a weekly water change. I did that for around a year but I was getting a lot of nuisance algae. When we went into lock down, I wasn't able to get the water from my LFS so I just didn't do regular weekly changes. I went to doing a change 1x per 6 weeks(ish) and my tank has flourished, never looked better in fact! I think I was actually stripping too much out on a weekly basis.

 

My point here is that whilst the tank is maturing and unstable, it might be worthwhile having a skimmer/doing water changes, but I think when you have a good established tank and eco system, you might not need to do as much.

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3 hours ago, afcajax73 said:

I used to think that but it's not always the case...

 

I originally ran a skimmer, for around 3-5 months.. but it was such a pain I decided to ditch it and just go with a weekly water change. I did that for around a year but I was getting a lot of nuisance algae. When we went into lock down, I wasn't able to get the water from my LFS so I just didn't do regular weekly changes. I went to doing a change 1x per 6 weeks(ish) and my tank has flourished, never looked better in fact! I think I was actually stripping too much out on a weekly basis.

 

My point here is that whilst the tank is maturing and unstable, it might be worthwhile having a skimmer/doing water changes, but I think when you have a good established tank and eco system, you might not need to do as much.

Fully agree..

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