Amanda's Fluval Evo V rescue and Rehabilitation

Amandakayphoto

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Hello all! About 6 weeks ago I rescued a 5+year old Fluval EVO V setup that the previous owner had let slide and was ready to literally flush and toss. :eek:

Equipment:
It had been setup as a reef tank with the stock AIO equipment and filtration, and what looks to be an aqueon 50w heater. About 2 weeks ago I swapped out the stock filter for the intank media basket (filter floss, chemipure blue, media balls). I also upgraded to the Current USA light.

Current inhabitants based on what I was told and have tried to ID:

Fish

-Humbug/three stripe Damsel

CUC
-Several blue leg hermits
-2 adult nassarious snails
-3 baby nassarious snails
-1 turbo snail
-small pincushion urchin
-2 bumblebee snails (to work on vermitid snail infestation...)
-numerous limpets and other hitchhikers (bristleworms, spaghetti worms) plus some unwanted

Corals
-Hammer coral (was three heads when I first got tank, is now 5 heads)
-Frogspawn coral (three heads)
-various zooanthids
-Captain America Favia
- Neon Duncan (1 head)
-Green Birdsnest
-Mystery coral #1 (see photos)

The tank had a significant amount of hair algea all over the rockscape, brown/green algea on the glass and under the sand line, and coralline algea that has taken over the back wall to the filters, and a section of glass. With weekly 1 gallon water changes and some manual removal, I have gotten the hair algae reduced.

I checked parameters when I got the tank home, and there were a few issues:
Calcium was low at 300
Phosphate was elevated at 2
Nitrate was elevated at 20
Everything else was ok- used both the reef master kit and Ammonia tests from API as well as tetras easy strip (6 in 1 and ammonia), as that was what I had on hand.

I quickly upgraded my test kits and now have a combo of red sea, hanna, and AquaForest tests.

Most Recent Parameters:
Alkalinity: 10.1
Calcium: 400
Magnesium: 1230
Nitrate: 2
Phosphate: 0.08
Salinity: 1.025
Temp 77.5 - 80

The tank came with Reef Crystals, and she had been using bottled purified water for mixing and top-offs. Since tge tank size is so small and I work near a saltwater specialty store I have opted to buy pre-mixed saltwater as well as RO/DI from them in 5 gallon jugs. They use red sea blue bucket. The change in salt alone with consistent water changes has really helped bring the parameters in line, so once that is settled I will see what I truly need to dose.

Currently trying to run blue lights for 7-8 hours, whites for 4-5, and 12 off. Dosing phytoplankton (seachem) 2x weekly- just ordered some from algea barn as the supply she sent with the tank looked super old! Have been dosing stability and pristine weekly with the water change.

Pictures:

Week 1

IMG_20210529_100952_185.jpg


Week 2

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Week 4

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Week 6
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As you can see, still very much a work in progress with the hair algea... stay tuned for updates as I hopefully get this tank rehabbed! I LOVE those nassarious snails though- remind me of narwhals!

Any tips/tricks, thoughts/ideas welcome! I have been a freshwater keep for years, but this is my first saltwater experience.





Mystery Coral #1
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Mystery Coral #2

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Amandakayphoto

Amandakayphoto

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Week 7 update:

I forgot to add in that I added in the CurrentUSA eflux 660 wave maker for extra flow about 2 weeks ago. Currently have it on just 10% with a pulse. I also added in a cheap Evian bottle ATO- so far seems to be working great!

Got several Halle Berry Frags from my local club, as well as a few favias and two montiporas from a generous fellow refer local to me. I also picked up a lovely long polyp goni.

I FINALLY got my Ocean Magick from Algae Barn- ordered in early June, but was on backorder. I also got a can O'Cyclops which my little Damsel terrorist LOVES (plus my freshwater pea puffers), so I froze the can contents into little drops for future feedings.

I also got some sea lettuce and have been working on turning the top compartment of my intank media basket into a mini fuge. We will see how it goes- if I don't feel like it is working I will scrap the plan.

Current media basket setup with mini Refugium:

Top: 2oz. Sea Lettuce with a cheap LED grow light (clamp light) shinning onto it
Middle: filter floss
Bottom: chemipure blue and fluval media

Week 7 Photos:
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20210711_151439.jpg
 
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Amandakayphoto

Amandakayphoto

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Nice!! Love the fluval V.

If you want a wave maker with a much much smaller profile. May I suggest the Hygger DC propeller pump.

I have pics on my Fluval V build thread. https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/n...build-lots-of-pics.759346/page-5#post-9158756
Did you feel like you could dial the intensity down enough with the hygger? I am currently running the eflux at just 10% with a pulse. More than that and it seemed my fish was unhappy and it had to be lower and was making my hammer and frogspawn unhappy or it would spill too much water...
 

chaostactics

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Did you feel like you could dial the intensity down enough with the hygger? I am currently running the eflux at just 10% with a pulse. More than that and it seemed my fish was unhappy and it had to be lower and was making my hammer and frogspawn unhappy or it would spill too much water...
Its run at 20% most of the time except part of the day where it's cranked up for "nutrient export" to stir up the bottom and blow off the rocks.
 
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Amandakayphoto

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8 week update!

The tank has now been in my care for 8-ish weeks! So far, I feel as if I am starting to get a better handle on the care needs of the tank and its occupants, and I have been getting the tank in better health.

Still fighting some hair algae, but it is getting better! I have still been manually pulling small bits out when I can, working on getting nitrates/phosphates in check, and hoping my urchins will help too. I discovered that twirling a BBQ skewer in the algae works really well to pull pieces out!

My pincushion urchin started to eat some of the sea lettuce I pulled from my mini refugium for him : )

Corals are all looking really happy this week except for a two head Duncan I recently got from WWC- it doesn't extend/open much. I have tried it in a few places in the tank, but am still looking for it's happy spot. My other duncan- which was a steal from Petco a couple weeks ago (like $8!) is super happy- so I dunno. I did spot a small aptaisia on the two head Duncan this morning (hiding tucked under the base), so I hit it with some Red Sea Aptaisia-X. Maybe that was irritating it? Hopefully, and now that it is gone it will cheer up.

My little birdsnest is happy- polyps extended nicely. My zoas are looking bright and developing new heads. Xenia is also looking happy

I had some coupons for BRS, so I ordered a dosing pump (Kamoer XI Bluetooth micropump) and a small bottle of Tropic Marin All for Reef. I do some traveling for work so I want to automate as much as I can for when I am on the road and simplify it for my pet sitter. I am local to BRS, so I just need to pick the items up on Monday. Given the small size of the tank I think the All for Reef liquid will be cost effective enough for now, and add tons of convenience benefits. Just trying to find tiny dosing containers that make sense for a pico! If anyone is reading this and has thoughts- let me know!

The mini refugium seems to be working okay so far! I noticed it was causing some flow issues leading to lower water levels in the second chamber, which was messing with my auto top off, so I placed a small piece of plastic across part of the top of chamber one to hold the sea lettuce more to one side, so part of the chamber 1 has open space for good flow. So far that seems to be doing the trick! My pincushion has been munching on some of the lettuce I pulled out for him.
IMG_20210724_232812_762.jpg

Mushroom

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Goni (???) That came with the tank

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Little baby nassarious snail- I got 3 babies, but this one is my favorite. Love his shell ♡ (edit: might be a cowrie...???)

IMG_20210725_115504_241.jpg

Long polyp goni looking happy!

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Pulsing Xenia- I know it is a "weed" but I am mesmerized by it ♡

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Long polyp goni with some if the Halle Berries, random other zoas that were already there and the happy Duncan in the distance

IMG_20210725_120142_752.jpg

Birdsnest

IMG_20210725_120336_475.jpg


Mr. Pincushion ♡



Long Polyp Goni video


Urchin Video


Pulsing Xenia Video



Baby snail video ♡
 
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Amandakayphoto

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I think that might be a cowrie snail?

Also I'm curious about the mini refugium? In chamber 1 or external?
I was curious but that too... the other two babies look much more like adult nassarious, but all came as "nassarious". Time will tell I guess!!! And idea as to what kind it might be? I know not all are reef safe...

I am running the refugium in chamber 1. I have an intank media and sacrificed the top spot as a refugium. At the very bottom of the first basket I have a piece of filter floss, the second basket is filter floss, and tge bottom is my bio media and a bag of chemipure blue. I have a clamp grow light shinning on the spot and use a plastic fork to mix, rotate, and "fluff" up the sea lettuce every few days.

The density of the lettuce seemed to impede flow a bit through the baskets and into chamber two with the outflow pump, which caused lower water levels in chamber two and led my ATO to keep thinking it needed to fill. I have corrected that by removing some of the lettuce (was fed to my urchin) and placed a thin piece of plastic sideways across chamber one to hold the lettuce more to one side. This has allowed for much better flow and consistent chamber 2 water levels. Has only been a few weeks ,so it will be interesting to see how it goes long-term, but overall happy with it so far, and glad to have a renewable food source for my urchin once he eats up all the nuisance algae...

These pictures aren't great since the lights were out so I just turned the grow light on and moved it weird, but you can kinda get an idea...
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chaostactics

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Do you have any trouble keeping your tank cool with that light?

I'd question the utility of having a fuge on a tank that small but if it makes you happy then go for it.

Re: Floss you're going to want to change the floss 2-3 times a week usually. I'd recommend treating it the same way you'd treat a filter sock. (See bulk reef supply video on filter socks).

Essentially in the Fluval V build I did filter floss (filter mat) acts sort of like a combo skimmer/filter sock as it's on the top of the media basket.
 
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Amandakayphoto

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Do you have any trouble keeping your tank cool with that light?

I'd question the utility of having a fuge on a tank that small but if it makes you happy then go for it.

Re: Floss you're going to want to change the floss 2-3 times a week usually. I'd recommend treating it the same way you'd treat a filter sock. (See bulk reef supply video on filter socks).

Essentially in the Fluval V build I did filter floss (filter mat) acts sort of like a combo skimmer/filter sock as it's on the top of the media basket.
Thanks! I have been swapping the floss weekly with my gallon water change so far, but could absolutely change it more often, which might be good to combat the algae. I Have been doing a combo/layering of a coarser blue and a finer white.

So far I haven't had any issues with overheating the tank- typically I struggle keeping it warm being in cold Minnesota, but I had that thought as well and have been monitoring the temp- I have a probe on that side and one the other to look for differences/trends.

I agree- probably not much benefit to the fuge, but it has been an interesting project so far. Time will tell how long I run it...
 
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Amandakayphoto

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Time for another weekly update! Added in a few corals that I picked up in the WWC anniversary sale. They are looking happy.

Baby urchins are also looking fashionable in their hats ♡

I had ordered a tuxedo urchin from Algae Barn back in June, and due to shipping delays, high heat, etc. it took a few tries, but one finally arrived alive and well and seems to be doing good. Shout out to Algae Barn- their support was fantastic throughout! (@AlgaeBarn ). I could not say enough positive words about their customer service team. Truly outstanding service.

Continuing to dose live phyto daily and Red Sea AB+ every other day. Weekly 1 gallon water changes where I dose Seachem pristine and stability as well.

Auto top off seems to be working much smoother this week- ran into no issues since making that slight modification to my mini fuge to hold the sea lettuce to one side of the back chamber and fluffing/rotating it with a fork every couple of days. Urchins love the stuff, so I am happy to have it and hope it will continue to grow ♡

IMG_20210731_225639_949.jpg
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I got my Kamoer X1 pump and got it hooked up today- after testing daily for the last couple of weeks, for now it seems I should be dosing every other day. I will continue to test, especially as I am starting to see some coral growth and adjust accordingly. I think this will be super helpful, especially when I am traveling for work. I may move back to manual dosing when I am not on the road for a stretch, but this will help simplify things for my pet sitter. Setup was a breeze, and I really like that I can connect additional pumps down the road as needed.

I couldn't find a dosing container small enough in size to seem reasonable (my bottle of All-for-Reef is 250ml), so I ended up drilling a small hole in the cap that the tubing slips through exactly. For now, this will work.
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