Beginners New Build - Fluval Evo 13.5G

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Johnb65

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Looks great! Have you done a water change yet?
Not yet! Just a top up when needed of RODI. Still some ammonia I know so I’ll probably add a little more bacteria over the next few days to get those down. Otherwise, is this ok? There’s not really an ugly stage right now and that kind of worries me I was going to get a cuc and 2 clowns in 2 weeks when I back from a small getaway but if it’s ready and good to go, maybe I should get them now??
 
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It seems like your cycle is proceeding as it should, though it’s not “fully cycled.” 2 weeks in and reading ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate means that your tank is still establishing its biological filter. In some tanks it can take 3-4+ weeks to get to where you are now. You should see the levels of each begin drop over the next week or so. You’re using API, so Ammonia may never show below .25 (and that’s OK), but you should see the nitrite and nitrate drop significantly relatively soon. 2 weeks is too soon to worry about “stalled” cycle (that’s not really a thing). You’re in a good place, and the bacteria and live rock have helped. I don’t think I’d add any more bacteria - just wait it out. The uglies will come, don’t worry.

I wouldn’t add the first fish before those readings drop (or before you go away for a bit). There’s really no risk of hurting the cycle by adding fish, but it won’t be easy on the livestock. Waiting the two weeks would be best.
 
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It seems like your cycle is proceeding as it should, though it’s not “fully cycled.” 2 weeks in and reading ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate means that your tank is still establishing its biological filter. In some tanks it can take 3-4+ weeks to get to where you are now. You should see the levels of each begin drop over the next week or so. You’re using API, so Ammonia may never show below .25 (and that’s OK), but you should see the nitrite and nitrate drop significantly relatively soon. 2 weeks is too soon to worry about “stalled” cycle (that’s not really a thing). You’re in a good place, and the bacteria and live rock have helped. I don’t think I’d add any more bacteria - just wait it out. The uglies will come, don’t worry.

I wouldn’t add the first fish before those readings drop (or before you go away for a bit). There’s really no risk of hurting the cycle by adding fish, but it won’t be easy on the livestock. Waiting the two weeks would be best.
Cheers! Did some testing again to keep track.
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I did expect more algae building up but there’s noat all so far! It started 2 weeks ago and just disappeared
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Im going to buy some better test kits instead of the API but for now it’s just showing me what’s rising and falling. Seems to be rising consistently across Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate.

Still waiting on my D-Flow media chambers for the past 3 weeks now which is frustrating as I want to get the back chambers set up and keep parameters consistent
 
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Just over 5 weeks in now and seems to be going well and going to get my CUC very soon. I’m happy with just taking a back seat and allowing it to do it’s own thing.

Ive what seems to be a healthy population of copepods which exploded and now they’re all over the tank etc. Thousands of them.
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I also received my new pump and DFlow media baskets including the RFG and stopper so they’ll be going in tomorrow.
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I’m still deciding what media to go where in the chambers and also whether to do a mini refugium at the back or Macro in the tank. I like the Macro idea personally.

Parameters have stabled and actually consistently the same. Ammoni at .25 which I’m told will never show below this value; Ph a steady 8; nitrite 0 and Nitrate staying at 20ppm. I’ve been adding fish flakes every few dates.
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Any ideas on the best way to manage the nitrate without water changes? I want to avoid water changes as much as possible. I have this in my tank and I’m wondering if that is keeping the nitrate stable??
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Having said that will I need to do water changes to bring my nitrate down to get some CUC or would they be ok and eventually be helping bring it down?

Would welcome any suggestions on Nitrates, the media chambers (also adding further ceramic media, and CUC. Do you think It’s going ok so far?
Thanks all!!
 

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Awesome! It looks really good. And the pods are a very good sign.

I wouldn't worry too much about the Nitrate yet. If you're ghost feeding every day, it's going to remain high. Especially if you don't have life in your tank (or filter media) in that will help remove it. I'd dial the ghost feeding back now since you clearly have the nitrifying bacteria in place. I'd also consider about a 50% water change to get that 20ppm to 10ppm. You could probably get away with adding a CUC without doing a water change, but I'd personally feel more comfortable if that nitrate was lower. Once you have your CUC, you can start a little feeding again. I'd expect to see diatoms (the "uglies") pretty soon with those nitrate levels. Not a bad sign, just means your tank is maturing. Lots of LPS and softies like dirtier water, so some nitrate is good but it's a balancing act.

I don't know about BioNitratEx, but the best controls for nitrate are to limit excess waste. This means not overfeeding and cleaning up detritus. Good filter media can help keep it in check too. Some people feel differently, but I'm a proponent of water changes as they do help to export some of the nitrate. A fuge or macro algae can also be a big help, so that's a good idea. I'm considering one for chamber 2 of my tank.

Keep it up though, it looks awesome!
 
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Awesome! It looks really good. And the pods are a very good sign.

I wouldn't worry too much about the Nitrate yet. If you're ghost feeding every day, it's going to remain high. Especially if you don't have life in your tank (or filter media) in that will help remove it. I'd dial the ghost feeding back now since you clearly have the nitrifying bacteria in place. I'd also consider about a 50% water change to get that 20ppm to 10ppm. You could probably get away with adding a CUC without doing a water change, but I'd personally feel more comfortable if that nitrate was lower. Once you have your CUC, you can start a little feeding again. I'd expect to see diatoms (the "uglies") pretty soon with those nitrate levels. Not a bad sign, just means your tank is maturing. Lots of LPS and softies like dirtier water, so some nitrate is good but it's a balancing act.

I don't know about BioNitratEx, but the best controls for nitrate are to limit excess waste. This means not overfeeding and cleaning up detritus. Good filter media can help keep it in check too. Some people feel differently, but I'm a proponent of water changes as they do help to export some of the nitrate. A fuge or macro algae can also be a big help, so that's a good idea. I'm considering one for chamber 2 of my tank.

Keep it up though, it looks awesome!
Cheers!! I’ll definitely have to look at a water change and then get some CUC to start and scale back the feeding until getting the CUC and if they need any supplementary feeding.

I did start to get algea and look like the uglies were coming but then it just stopped and it’s slowly creeping in so I know that a few CUC will get rid of that and hopefully manage it as it increases over the next few months as I add more life.

I’m trying to decide what corals etc to put in especially with the stock light as I plan to keep it. I do really like Pulsing Xenia so I’m definitely going for than and see how it gets on. I’m liking the journey so far though!!
 

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Cheers!! I’ll definitely have to look at a water change and then get some CUC to start and scale back the feeding until getting the CUC and if they need any supplementary feeding.

I did start to get algea and look like the uglies were coming but then it just stopped and it’s slowly creeping in so I know that a few CUC will get rid of that and hopefully manage it as it increases over the next few months as I add more life.

I’m trying to decide what corals etc to put in especially with the stock light as I plan to keep it. I do really like Pulsing Xenia so I’m definitely going for than and see how it gets on. I’m liking the journey so far though!!

From my experience, I used my LFS to test my water when I was cycling. I also have the API kit, but have read the results can be a bit off. You should use that kit as a frame of reference IMO. I use Hanna Checkers for PH, Nitrate, and Alkalinity now after my cycle. I only test Ammonia and Nitrite once per week, and this might actually be a bit unnecessary. If you have a testing routine (time of day), stick to it…test results can vary throughout the say. I use the Aquarimate app to set up reminders because that’s how my brain works.

changing the filtration and flow is key on the Fluval tanks, closely followed by lighting. Lighting really depends on what your goals are (coral types etc). I upgraded my media baskets using Intank products but I’m sure the Dflow is very similar. I run MarinePure bio media ‘gems’ and have seemed to work very well for me. I use intank’s filter floss as well, and it’s light years better than the stock foam block.

My nitrate levels are pretty consistently between 8-15, and I’d like to be more around 5-10. My next change is converting chamber #2 into a mini-refugium using an intank basket, macro algae and a Chaetomax light I’m going to run at nights.

good luck!
 
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From my experience, I used my LFS to test my water when I was cycling. I also have the API kit, but have read the results can be a bit off. You should use that kit as a frame of reference IMO. I use Hanna Checkers for PH, Nitrate, and Alkalinity now after my cycle. I only test Ammonia and Nitrite once per week, and this might actually be a bit unnecessary. If you have a testing routine (time of day), stick to it…test results can vary throughout the say. I use the Aquarimate app to set up reminders because that’s how my brain works.

changing the filtration and flow is key on the Fluval tanks, closely followed by lighting. Lighting really depends on what your goals are (coral types etc). I upgraded my media baskets using Intank products but I’m sure the Dflow is very similar. I run MarinePure bio media ‘gems’ and have seemed to work very well for me. I use intank’s filter floss as well, and it’s light years better than the stock foam block.

My nitrate levels are pretty consistently between 8-15, and I’d like to be more around 5-10. My next change is converting chamber #2 into a mini-refugium using an intank basket, macro algae and a Chaetomax light I’m going to run at nights.

good luck!
API aren’t the best I agree although Hanna checkers are a bit pricey so I’ll upgrade my test kit shortly for the moment. I’ve not been very consistent with when I test but will for sure try to start a routine for maintenance, testing etc.

I was also looking for a mini refugium light but can’t source one unless I pay a fortune to get it shipped to Ireland
 
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Today I finally got to install my D-Flow media baskets. Very happy to have them in. I know everyone might have their own strategy and combination but for now I’m going to try it out this way and change as needed. I’ve got filter floss and a filter sponge (chopped up the stock one) at the top of the right chamber, a small bit of ceramic media to fill the space and at the bottom BioNitratEx; the middle chamber starts with the small ceramic media that’s been in the tank from the start and didn’t want to lose any bacteria while I put in fresh stuff, with a small amount of PhosEx in a pouch on top of a pouch of Carbon, on the bottom more ceramic media. Left chamber is just housing the pump and the heater.
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I purchased the Sicce 1.0 from Amazon and tried installing it also to replace the stock pump. I was really disappointed with it as it’s suppose to be very silent. It was the noisiest thing ever and I even tried just holding it in the water in case it was touching off the sides etc. No luck so I had to take it out and it’s being returned now. I’ve heard others say theirs are great so I might give it another go, just from another retailer.
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Bit the bullet and finally did my first part water change and let it settle for a few hour because a lot of detritus clouded the tank. Going to hopefully get the first CUC on Sunday maybe. Taking it slow but just doing it bit by bit and will talkie each issue as it arises. I’m in no rush at all… Will do another test of parameters tomorrow to see if the water change has had any effect.
 
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Tank is settling well, parameters are consistent and since doing a small water change 2 days ago, and introducing the media baskets etc, a lot more algae is starting to grow.

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I finally went to my LFS and purchased 2 hermit crabs and a nassarius snail

I didn’t realise actually how small they are I thought they would be at least 2-3cm but they’re less that 1cm. I was a little embarrassed and didn’t mention it so I took what I had and brought them home. They had no turbo snails left unfortunately so that’s next weeks task to go back and pick some up.

image.jpg


Any recommendations for amount of CUC to have in the Fluval Evo 13.5 overall?

One major issue I’m having in my tank is the temperature

The temp is always above 27C (80.6F), sometimes even to 27.8C (82F). Except at night when it’s cooler.

I want to keep the stock lid and light but my house is always warm and unless I take away the stock lid and use a fan, it will fluctuate. I was thinking of drilling holes in the stock lid to allow the heat to escape better. Suggestions? Could really do with some creative ideas.

I’m guessing unless I get the temp down, im going to be in trouble trying to add fish/corals etc.
 
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Tank is settling well, parameters are consistent and since doing a small water change 2 days ago, and introducing the media baskets etc, a lot more algae is starting to grow.

29F911F2-AAA8-4A90-AF52-808B2A479493.jpeg


I finally went to my LFS and purchased 2 hermit crabs and a nassarius snail

I didn’t realise actually how small they are I thought they would be at least 2-3cm but they’re less that 1cm. I was a little embarrassed and didn’t mention it so I took what I had and brought them home. They had no turbo snails left unfortunately so that’s next weeks task to go back and pick some up.

image.jpg


Any recommendations for amount of CUC to have in the Fluval Evo 13.5 overall?

One major issue I’m having in my tank is the temperature

The temp is always above 27C (80.6F), sometimes even to 27.8C (82F). Except at night when it’s cooler.

I want to keep the stock lid and light but my house is always warm and unless I take away the stock lid and use a fan, it will fluctuate. I was thinking of drilling holes in the stock lid to allow the heat to escape better. Suggestions? Could really do with some creative ideas.

I’m guessing unless I get the temp down, im going to be in trouble trying to add fish/corals etc.
I’ve seen a bunch of recommendations for for CUC, so I think it varies. I have 5 small hermits (blue and Red Leg). I have 4 astrea snails, one nassarius (my first time with one of these and I love it), and a skunk cleaner shrimp (love them in my tanks - he cleans my hands every time I put them in the tank). My tailspot does good algae control too. Lots of people like different stuff.

I wish I had recommendations for the temperature control. It’s part of the reason I went topless, but the trade off was the evaporation and having to purchase a mesh lid to prevent jumpers.
 
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I have 8 hermits, lots of astreas, some trochus, about 10 nassarius, and a turbo. I’ve also got a pistol shrimp.
I’m going to try a skunk again soon, and get a new emerald crab (bubble algae).
Plus pods and mysis.
I’ve only the 2 red leg hermits and a nassarius snail so far now and I realise it’s not near enough They haven’t even made a small mark and it’s growing faster. I’ll for sure get build up to more hermits and turbo snails too. I want a mix but everything that can live together peacefully and do no harm. More nassarius snails are a must right now as I’ve a deep sand bed

Have you a Fluval Evo too? I forgot….
 

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I’ve only the 2 red leg hermits and a nassarius snail so far now and I realise it’s not near enough They haven’t even made a small mark and it’s growing faster. I’ll for sure get build up to more hermits and turbo snails too. I want a mix but everything that can live together peacefully and do no harm. More nassarius snails are a must right now as I’ve a deep sand bed

Have you a Fluval Evo too? I forgot….
Yes, it’s a little over a year in.
 

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Hi All,

Yesterday was day 1 of my reefing journey! Im pretty excited already and looking forward to seeing how my reef progresses over the next year. I’m already wanting to upgrade!

So day 1:

Had all of my equipment ready or so I thought to get my tank up and running! Of course I would forget little things like a thermometer, filter floss etc. After picking up the last few bits I finally started on the tank.

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Don’t be fooled though, it took me the whole day to actually get water into the tank. I stopped every few minutes and what I thought I knew I second guessed myself at every point. A year worth of “research” isn’t the same until you get your hands wet (literally).

I thought about the filtration for a long time and still I’m not confident in how best to structure it. I have the D-Flow media chambers arriving in the next few days and in a better position to try a few combinations. Potentially down the line I’ll include a mini refugium at the bottom of the right chamber.

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For now, the stock filter media is in chamber 1 (right) with extra floss on top and bio balls at the bottom of both chamber 1 and 2 (middle). Chamber 3 (left) is housing the return pump and heater. Considering this layout eventually:

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I decided on leaving the two live rocks sitting in the tank. Typically I see an arch or some altered scape but right now I left it easy!

Once I had the rocks placed I started on the sand. At first I was going to just put the same in and allow to clear itself. Oh how wrong I was. I rinsed the sand in water first and very happy I did! It took so much rinsing, emptying, rinsing, emptying and on and on. It’s worth the time!!

Sand finally went in and water was added. I purchased pre mixed water from my local which saved me the hassle for initial set up. I’ll probably look to mix my own over time but starting out I wanted to keep it on the safe side.

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As you can see in the last image, tank is up and running and has cleared overnight from the murkiness of the sand. I think it looks great so far! Next step is to wait for the media chambers to arrive and make some filter changes. I’m also waiting on a test kit to arrive and will start taking readings to see how it progresses while cycling.

Would welcome all feedback and suggestions for this build

image.jpg image.jpg
you have the same tank that I started off with in December 2020 where we are September 2021 and I have just upgraded from my 13.5 to 142 gallon tank my 13.5 yeah I took me a few months to get to the point where I was outgrowing it was a cause I want to have corals that I couldn’t have because of the size tank hence my upgrade to a lot bigger tank 13.5 gallon tank is a good tank to start off with the learning but like I had a suggested to me and I followed people’s suggestion if you do good on your water primers are good for six months or more than you should have no problem going to bigger tank and done that and13.5 gallon tank is a good tank to start off with i did have done that and at the moment I’m having no problems touchwood But so far yes it’s looking really good
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Johnb65

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you have the same tank that I started off with in December 2020 where we are September 2021 and I have just upgraded from my 13.5 to 142 gallon tank my 13.5 yeah I took me a few months to get to the point where I was outgrowing it was a cause I want to have corals that I couldn’t have because of the size tank hence my upgrade to a lot bigger tank 13.5 gallon tank is a good tank to start off with the learning but like I had a suggested to me and I followed people’s suggestion if you do good on your water primers are good for six months or more than you should have no problem going to bigger tank and done that and13.5 gallon tank is a good tank to start off with i did have done that and at the moment I’m having no problems touchwood But so far yes it’s looking really good
F6BBB323-F5B0-470A-9A16-A9C1BEAD674E.jpeg
C2CA8E57-9453-4247-8116-E1FB8A06EC1E.jpeg
I can’t wait to upgrade already thanks for the advice!
 
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I’ve seen a bunch of recommendations for for CUC, so I think it varies. I have 5 small hermits (blue and Red Leg). I have 4 astrea snails, one nassarius (my first time with one of these and I love it), and a skunk cleaner shrimp (love them in my tanks - he cleans my hands every time I put them in the tank). My tailspot does good algae control too. Lots of people like different stuff.

I wish I had recommendations for the temperature control. It’s part of the reason I went topless, but the trade off was the evaporation and having to purchase a mesh lid to prevent jumpers.
I’ve changed my temp settings to around 26C and it does rise gradually some days now but not exceeding 27. When it gets too hot I take off the back stock cover where the filtration is and put a regular fan over it and it works perfectly.
Because if this I’m considering the JBL Protemp cooler as I’ve already purchased a temp controller so having the cooler and heater connected should be able to regular it quite well. Just means having the back part open more often although I might also look at something of a mesh covering too in case the snails decide to creep out. The JBL Protemp cooler I think might fit on really well as it looks as compact as any is going to.
 
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Its almost 2 weeks now since updating here and it seems so much has changed

I lost a blue legged hermit and 2 top shell snails in total. I’m not sure why but happened pretty soon after getting them while all the others are doing great!!

And now I’ve got 3 blue legged hermits, 3 narrasius snails, 2 top shell snails and 1 or 2 red legged hermits (they only come out at night and they’re amazing hiders).

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My parameters have been consistent and staying at Ph - 8/8.2; Ammonia - 0; Nitrite - 0; and Nitrate - 10-15ppm.

A week ago my tank was going through a bit of an ugly stage and still is but not as bad. My water wasn’t very clear as there was a lot of detritus and the surface wasn’t cleaning even with breaking the surface water. As with all the advice I’ve seen, make small changes rather than drastic moves.

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I decided to put back in the water flow directer to raise the level slightly and make the weir intake more concentrated! It worked…

Having said that my parameters were pretty consistent and I wasn’t overly worried. Diatoms we’re spiking but it’s reduced since and algae is managed mostly by the snails, hermits and some manual glass cleaning.

Water is much clearer and being directed better through the filter chambers. There’s still a lot of detritus in the sand bed and will allow my nassarius snails to sort that over time without disturbing any beneficial bacteria.

I tested my water last night and all parameters seemed pretty much the same. Ph - 8-8.2; Ammonia - 0; Nitrite - 0; and very surprisingly my nitrate went to 0…. Last week it’s was around the 10-15ppm and I had only since then done less that 10% water change. Too good to be true but I tested a second time with the same result. To be sure, I went to my LFS and they tested for me and it was the same.

With their recommendation, I can up my load in the tank and why it was the perfect time to introduce some fish Phosphates are also 0 and recommended I remove the small PhosEx pouch I have in one of the chambers as it’s not needed.

So far I’m very happy with the progress here. It’s been 2 months and I’ve been very patient, trying to leave the tank alone as much as possible and setting it up as best as I could. With that, I’ve added my first 2 little clowns to the tank and a small frag of pulsing Xenia which I hope will be fine as the small piece of rock it was attached to isn’t very stable even glueing it to my rock.

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Avast

Do you have a build thread or tank journal here on R2R?

  • YES and I keep it updated

    Votes: 116 41.4%
  • YES but I don't keep it updated

    Votes: 53 18.9%
  • NO but I want to create one

    Votes: 76 27.1%
  • NO not interested in starting a build thread or journal

    Votes: 25 8.9%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 3.6%
Ecotech Marine
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