32 gallon Fluval Flex owners - please share what mods you've done to upgrade the tank! (Pics would be great too!)

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Hi y'all - I'm setting up my tank this weekend and have already gotten some things I'm going to swap out the stock parts with, but I'm curious what others have done to this tank and whether they were worth it. Also please share anything you've experienced as far as how well (or poorly) this has worked for you. This is my 1st attempt at a SW tank.

Here is what I'm doing so far:
1. Swapping stock pump for Sicce Syncra 1.5 pump
2. Replacing one filter basket with an InTank media basket (would love to know what media people are running and in what order in the basket)
3. MarinePure bio spheres, filter floss and Seachem Purigen for InTank basket
4. Fluval M150 heater
5. Hygger ATO
6. Jebao gyre wavemaker (hopefully won't regret not springing for the Maxspect Jump gyre I wanted...)
7. Going to seal interior of back chamber with silicone and plexiglass (thanks again for the tip @JNalley !)

Thanks! :)
 
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JNalley

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Here is what I'm doing so far:
1. Swapping stock pump for Sicce Syncra 1.5 pump
Just FYI, that is an upgrade, just not by much. The stock pump is also rated for 1500 L/H but I think because the stock pump has lower head pressure there is less flow than the Syncra 1.5. A better upgrade is the Sicce Syncra Silent 3.0
2. Replacing one filter basket with an InTank media basket (would love to know what media people are running and in what order in the basket)
curious why you're only thinking about one? I know a few people running a GFO reactor in the other filter chamber, is that what you're planning to do?
3. MarinePure bio spheres, filter floss and Seachem Purigen for InTank basket
I use Filter Floss and Carbon sponge/pad in the top, Chemipure Elite in the middle, and Biospheres in the bottom.
4. Fluval M150 heater
Same heater as me, though, there are quite a few 150Watt heaters that are better for cheaper, I just happened to buy my tank as a package that came with this one
5. Hygger ATO
tell me how this goes, maybe I'll get one
6. Jebao gyre wavemaker (hopefully won't regret not springing for the Maxspect Jump gyre I wanted...)
Lots of people use this, I think you'll like it
7. Going to seal interior of back chamber with silicone and plexiglass (thanks again for the tip @JNalley !)

Thanks! :)
No worries man, good luck!
 
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Just FYI, that is an upgrade, just not by much. The stock pump is also rated for 1500 L/H but I think because the stock pump has lower head pressure there is less flow than the Syncra 1.5. A better upgrade is the Sicce Syncra Silent 3.0

curious why you're only thinking about one? I know a few people running a GFO reactor in the other filter chamber, is that what you're planning to do?

I use Filter Floss and Carbon sponge/pad in the top, Chemipure Elite in the middle, and Biospheres in the bottom.

Same heater as me, though, there are quite a few 150Watt heaters that are better for cheaper, I just happened to buy my tank as a package that came with this one

tell me how this goes, maybe I'll get one

Lots of people use this, I think you'll like it

No worries man, good luck!

Just FYI, that is an upgrade, just not by much. The stock pump is also rated for 1500 L/H but I think because the stock pump has lower head pressure there is less flow than the Syncra 1.5. A better upgrade is the Sicce Syncra Silent 3.0

curious why you're only thinking about one? I know a few people running a GFO reactor in the other filter chamber, is that what you're planning to do?

I use Filter Floss and Carbon sponge/pad in the top, Chemipure Elite in the middle, and Biospheres in the bottom.

Same heater as me, though, there are quite a few 150Watt heaters that are better for cheaper, I just happened to buy my tank as a package that came with this one

tell me how this goes, maybe I'll get one

Lots of people use this, I think you'll like it

No worries man, good
Good point on the Sicce 1.5... I'm wanting as quiet a pump as possible but with enough strength - I was worried the 3.0 would be louder and/or too big to fit without touching the walls of the tank/filter chamber. Correct me if I'm mistaken!
I only bought one InTank basket because I wanted to check it out first due to price (vs just setting bags of media loose in the space where the stock filter cartridge is). I do like it, so will go ahead and get a 2nd one, unless there is a better option. What is a GFO reactor? I also wondered about possibly using one side as a kind of mini refugium - is that possible?
Already bought the heater and I'm good with it. I've not been particularly thrilled with other brands I've used in the past so figured I'd try it out. :)
I'm glad to know people like the Jebao - I'm excited to try it out (and like the fact that you can place it close to the waterline to keep the sides of the tank clear of cords from lower placed powerheads.
I will definitely let you know how trying out the ATO goes. I've never used one, but I have high hopes for it!
~Erica
 

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Good point on the Sicce 1.5... I'm wanting as quiet a pump as possible but with enough strength - I was worried the 3.0 would be louder and/or too big to fit without touching the walls of the tank/filter chamber. Correct me if I'm mistaken!
So, first point, you cannot get the Syncra Silent 3.0, that one is too big. The Sicce Syncra SDC 3.0 is about the same size as the Silent 1.5, it will fit, the strainer is a bit big and takes some maneuvering to get it into place, but I ran it without a strainer for months with no issues. There's nothing in that section large enough to suck through that the strainer would stop anyways. But it's the quietest pump in my entire system, the skimmer is the loudest but the 2 powerheads come in pretty close to the skimmer.
I only bought one InTank basket because I wanted to check it out first due to price (vs just setting bags of media loose in the space where the stock filter cartridge is). I do like it, so will go ahead and get a 2nd one, unless there is a better option. What is a GFO reactor? I also wondered about possibly using one side as a kind of mini refugium - is that possible?
Mini fuge in that chamber could work, maybe, I'd fear that the opening at the bottom into the return chamber is too large though and the macroalgae would just run out the bottom. As for GFO Reactor, GFO stands for Granulated Ferric Oxide, you fill a plastic housing with it, and let it tumble, and it removes phosphates from the water. It's not really necessary IMO, but there are a lot of people who run into trouble with phosphates due to Marco Rock or overfeeding. If it becomes a problem for you, there are Hang on Back options, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. I would buy the second InTank, most people are looking to purchase a set if you ever decide to sell them. Plus, I only run Chemipure Blue/Elite in the left side, the right side of mine is just floss, carbon, and biomedia. Plus I have loose biomedia in the return chamber.
 
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So, first point, you cannot get the Syncra Silent 3.0, that one is too big. The Sicce Syncra SDC 3.0 is about the same size as the Silent 1.5, it will fit, the strainer is a bit big and takes some maneuvering to get it into place, but I ran it without a strainer for months with no issues. There's nothing in that section large enough to suck through that the strainer would stop anyways. But it's the quietest pump in my entire system, the skimmer is the loudest but the 2 powerheads come in pretty close to the skimmer.

Mini fuge in that chamber could work, maybe, I'd fear that the opening at the bottom into the return chamber is too large though and the macroalgae would just run out the bottom. As for GFO Reactor, GFO stands for Granulated Ferric Oxide, you fill a plastic housing with it, and let it tumble, and it removes phosphates from the water. It's not really necessary IMO, but there are a lot of people who run into trouble with phosphates due to Marco Rock or overfeeding. If it becomes a problem for you, there are Hang on Back options, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. I would buy the second InTank, most people are looking to purchase a set if you ever decide to sell them. Plus, I only run Chemipure Blue in the left side, the right side of mine is just floss, carbon, and biomedia. Plus I have loose biomedia in the return chamber.
Gotcha - I might as well return the 1.5 and get the SDC 3.0 then. I guess I can just use the included Fluval for time being while cycling and put that money towards a second InTank.
I was thinking of keeping the included bio balls in there too so I have seeded media ready to use for QT and if hospital tank ever needs to be started up quickly.
I am using about 30 lbs (I think) CaribSea LifeRock and a couple lbs of Real Reef rock, so basically dry rock. I am going to LFS to see if I can find some actual live rock as well, but may skip that and add some live sand instead. I plan on soaking the rock and bio spheres in the PNS bottle bacteria I got from AlgaeBarn per their recommendation, then adding their nitrocycle, and also using Fritz Turbostart. Hopefully that'll seed enough bacteria to kickstart cycle. Going to use a different bottle bac I have (MicrobeLift Nite Out and Special Blend) in my QT as kind of an experiment on which one works better.
 
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JNalley

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People may debate this but this is how I startup every tank

CaribSea Ocean Direct Live Sand (Not Arag-Alive)

My LFS Has Rock in a bin that is connected to their systems, I usually get about 20-ish lbs minimum in the shapes I want, and then use other dry rock, but sometimes I just use all their rock and skip the dry rock, depends on the look I'm going for, their rock is usually old walt smith tonga and fiji rock that they stripped from system tear downs.

Lastly, the biomedia, if this is your first tank, I would actually go to the LFS, ask them what Biomedia they use, and then buy a box and ask them if you can have their used media and give them the new media. Bring it home in a bucket with a little bit of their water in it.

That process gives me the ability to add fish and corals day one.
 
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People may debate this but this is how I startup every tank

CaribSea Ocean Direct Live Sand (Not Arag-Alive)

My LFS Has Rock in a bin that is connected to their systems, I usually get about 20-ish lbs minimum in the shapes I want, and then use other dry rock, but sometimes I just use all their rock and skip the dry rock, depends on the look I'm going for, their rock is usually old walt smith tonga and fiji rock that they stripped from system tear downs.

Lastly, the biomedia, if this is your first tank, I would actually go to the LFS, ask them what Biomedia they use, and then buy a box and ask them if you can have their used media and give them the new media. Bring it home in a bucket with a little bit of their water in it.

That process gives me the ability to add fish and corals day one.
Great ideas! Owner of my trusted LFS recommended TurboStart if not using any live rock (and I believe keeps it chilled there, need to check) - but I will definitely ask him if he'll swap media with me, that'd be awesome!
 

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Why do you want to swap out the stock pump? It’s well rated for medium to low flow through the filtration, which is a good thing. The return pump isn’t meant for flow as much as it is meant for turn over through the filter. And high velocity isn’t as desired in filtration. Don’t just upgrade things based on r2r suggestions, think it through first.
This is not to say the sicce pumps aren’t good, they are great. But the stock unit does the same job, and are very quiet.
I’d only recommend that as an upgrade if the main pump fails.

I’ll be interested to see how you create a mini fuge in the back.
Best of luck!
 
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Why do you want to swap out the stock pump? It’s well rated for medium to low flow through the filtration, which is a good thing. The return pump isn’t meant for flow as much as it is meant for turn over through the filter. And high velocity isn’t as desired in filtration. Don’t just upgrade things based on r2r suggestions, think it through first.
This is not to say the sicce pumps aren’t good, they are great. But the stock unit does the same job, and are very quiet.
I’d only recommend that as an upgrade if the main pump fails.
Appreciate that input! I guess I panicked when I read a few posts here and elswhere where people said the stock pump was noisy. My fiance already isn't a fan of my hobby, and particularly the sounds the tank makes as it's in the living room, so just overly paranoid about that. Though he could technically just turn up the tv imho... lol.
 
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Appreciate that input! I guess I panicked when I read a few posts here and elswhere where people said the stock pump was noisy. My fiance already isn't a fan of my hobby, and particularly the sounds the tank makes as it's in the living room, so just overly paranoid about that. Though he could technically just turn up the tv imho... lol.
Iv been running the stock pump and it’s fine. I can barely hear it. All tanks make some noise as I’m sure you know. The sicce is honestly not more quiet.
 
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How do you plan To set up the fuge? I’m interested in how it could be done in any of those chambers.
Not sure how either, was just curious if it could be done - @JNalley can you share what you've heard about how other people have done that? :)
 
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Iv been running the stock pump and it’s fine. I can barely hear it. All tanks make some noise as I’m sure you know. The sicce is honestly not more quiet.
Good to know. :) I'm thinking the full coverage hood probably helps muffle any sound as well.
 

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Not sure how either, was just curious if it could be done - @JNalley can you share what you've heard about how other people have done that? :)
I have seen people jam rubble and macro in a chamber with a small clip on grow light shining through the back glass. Although it seems like an awesome idea it could be a pain in the but. And You may be able to create better filtration with it just as a filter. And tons of pods and critters will still live back there. If you had a large area like a sump, it would be a different story, fuge all the way.
 

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To give you an idea.
In each filter chamber I have a bag of bio media that fills the whole chamber and a slice of sponge that cover the inlets. That’s it.

In fact I recently took out the sponges because they have slowly degraded and don’t plan to change them out. Just bags of bio media.
 
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I have seen people jam rubble and macro in a chamber with a small clip on grow light shining through the back glass. Although it seems like an awesome idea it could be a pain in the but. And You may be able to create better filtration with it just as a filter. And tons of pods and critters will still live back there. If you had a large area like a sump, it would be a different story, fuge all the way.
Future project for a larger tank down the road then! ;) Would it be worth it to just dump a jar of pods back there? I feel like they're beneficial or necessary even? Not used to all this stuff - veteran freshwater fishkeeper here, lol, but salt newb.
 
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To give you an idea.
In each filter chamber I have a bag of bio media that fills the whole chamber and a slice of sponge that cover the inlets. That’s it.

In fact I recently took out the sponges because they have slowly degraded and don’t plan to change them out. Just bags of bio media.
Ok, so I could put my MarinePure speres at the bottom, Purigen in middle, and maybe some filter floss at the top of both and call it good? Not a big fan of sponges myself. Do you ever run a bag of carbon in there?
 

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Not sure how either, was just curious if it could be done - @JNalley can you share what you've heard about how other people have done that? :)
I said it could work, maybe. I've never seen anyone do it directly in the back chamber, most people use a HOB Fuge. But, thinking of how a fuge works, it's not impossible to run a small one in that chamber. I've erased the sponge and arrows from the image to give a better picture of what it looks like, and the more I look at it, the more I think it could be done without any modification, maybe a piece of plexy that's been perforated to ensure no macro escapes, but looking at the design that may not even be necessary. Just drop chaeto into the filter chamber and put a light over it, or put a much stronger light through the back (The honeycomb pattern will block a lot of it.
 

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BTimms

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I have ran carbon. But only after a chemical was used for meds.
I only run things like carbon, gfo etc...if there is an actual real reason. High nitrate, phosphate, chemicals etc.
If my levels are in check I let it ride on regular bio media and water changes when needed. I only have sps and lps, and one small patch of zoas.


I definitely recommend dumping some pods in. They will populate your entire system, every nook and cranny.
 
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I said it could work, maybe. I've never seen anyone do it directly in the back chamber, most people use a HOB Fuge. But, thinking of how a fuge works, it's not impossible to run a small one in that chamber. I've erased the sponge and arrows from the image to give a better picture of what it looks like, and the more I look at it, the more I think it could be done without any modification, maybe a piece of plexy that's been perforated to ensure no macro escapes, but looking at the design that may not even be necessary. Just drop chaeto into the filter chamber and put a light over it, or put a much stronger light through the back (The honeycomb pattern will block a lot of it.
Gotcha, I misunderstood. ;) But I bet you're right!
 
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