Elise's first reef tank - Fluval 13.5

Elise_

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I am a little late to start my build thread for this tank, but would love to share my tank as I go through the trials and tribulations of learning with my first reef tank.

On April 12th I purchased my Fluval 13.5 in the Petco tank sale and started my reef journey!
Tank was set up with just stock equipment and light.
Caribsea fine sand
Live rock from a LFS
1635137716832.png


A couple of weeks later I added my first tank inhabitants.
2 x Clowns
3 x assorted zoa's from the LFS
IMG_3123.jpg


March 8th: Starting to see some algae building up on the sand. Added another 2 corals:
Florida Riccordia
Purple Frogspawn
IMG_3713.jpg


June 1: Frogspawn not doing well. Green algae improving with continued brown algae on the sanded.

June 3: I made my first upgrade decision for the tank and purchased the Fluval Marine 3.0 light to allow me to keep the tank lid (also have limited overhead space where the tank is positioned on my kitchen counter.
Also picked up the Sine SOW-3 wave pump. Much too powerful but seems to be working ok on the lowest setting.
Frogspawn still looking a bit sad - Was not testing for all parameters and think I may have not been adequately supplementing for this.
Also picked up an awesome Orange Yuma.
IMG_3952.jpg


Sorry for the long break between updates - I tried to learn from some of my early mistakes and just try and leave things alone to mature and settle.
October 11: Magnesium tested low at 1200, slowly starting to increase.
Added Chemipure blue
Additions to the tank:
Green Frammer? - sold as hammer but seems more like a frogspawn.
Superman Rhodactis
Bizzaro cyphastrea
GSP
My orange yuma decided to detach from its frag plug where it was and float over to the main rock work **eek** however it seems happy in its new position, maybe the flow at the end of the tank was too high.
IMG_5660.jpg


October 22: Replaced the sponge filter with the Intank 1st chamber. Filled with the original ceramic media + added Marine Pure Gems. Same chemipure bag and added filter floss at the top of the chamber. Heater moved into chamber 2.

New purchases yet to install (just arrived in the mail!)
1/2 inch random flow generator - have to just work out how to get this one off, might have done it up too tight!
Vivosun 210GPH pump. Concerned this may be too much with the wavemaker/powerhead in this small tank but wanted to increase the filtration. Thinking I might need to downgrade the wave maker to something smaller or just see if the tank is ok with the pump alone.

Other exciting updates!!
I am picking up some more live rock and some coral frags from Cali Kid Corals tomorrow and then have a small haul of frags coming from Living Reef Orlando on Tuesday.
Definitely went overboard with the coral sales so hope I have my tank in a position to handle keeping as many as I can alive!

Thanks for reading if you made it this far. I very much appreciate any tips or advise you have. I have been keeping freshwater tanks for many years from Betta's to a Discus tank and many mixed and planted tropical tanks. I have always been in awe of marine tanks and I am so excited to finally get to experience how awesome this hobby is!
 
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Elise_

Elise_

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"Frammer" looks neat.
I am trying really hard to make sure I look after this one, has loads of new buds at the base so it seems happy enough! I will get some more photos tomorrow its definitely a favourite of the tank so far.

Although I am excited to see what the tank looks like when I add the new additions over the next couple of days.
 
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Elise_

Elise_

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So I picked up a couple of new corals today and also added a few smaller rubble piles at the front of the tank to be able to have some more room for corals at the bottom.
The new guys seem to be settling in ok for the most part aside from a blasto that's looking a little worse for wear sadly.

I moved my GSP up onto the side to give myself more room across the front of the tank. I am trying to work out placement as I have a couple of Acan's to fit tomorrow, a single small Favia colony, as well as new mushrooms and zoas and of course my much anticipated rock anemone garden which I am thinking I will try and convince them towards the new rock on the lower right.

What do we think? Put the GSP back on the sand? Try and get it climbing the back of the tank?
I want to be able to mix things as much as possible but I am aware that the Acan's and Favia need space or they will kill other corals. I saw somewhere that maybe the Acan's and Zoas will play nice together, however my gorgeous orange yuma mushroom decided it's spot is right where I was planning to put the zoas as its a bit higher light.

Some updated shots from today.
IMG_5760.jpg

New corals:
IMG_5753.jpg
IMG_5752.jpg

Cute photo of 2 of my mushrooms on the new rubble
IMG_5754.jpg
 

Sharkbait19

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Looking great!
Always happy to see another evo!
For the gsp on the wall, some like it some don’t. I don’t do it, mine just sits in the front of the tank, but I’ve always liked the thought of making a background out of it.
If I’m correct acans don’t have a super powerful sting, so they can be somewhat near corals. Mine is a few inches from a litho, leather, and gsp no problems. My favia isn’t too bad either but hasn’t been near anyone to sting. Watch out for euphilia stinging though…they are nasty, my torch almost took out an entire zoa colony.
They do a good job at corralling Xenia though.
Glad your shrooms are doing well, I never had much luck with them.
Can’t wait to see where it goes from here!
Any thoughts for adding fish and inverts?

@GHOSTLY I haven’t seen yours in a while…very nice! That large lobo (right?) really looks amazing! I gotta get more zoas for color…
 
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Elise_

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Looking great!
Always happy to see another evo!
For the gsp on the wall, some like it some don’t. I don’t do it, mine just sits in the front of the tank, but I’ve always liked the thought of making a background out of it.
If I’m correct acans don’t have a super powerful sting, so they can be somewhat near corals. Mine is a few inches from a litho, leather, and gsp no problems. My favia isn’t too bad either but hasn’t been near anyone to sting. Watch out for euphilia stinging though…they are nasty, my torch almost took out an entire zoa colony.
They do a good job at corralling Xenia though.
Glad your shrooms are doing well, I never had much luck with them.
Can’t wait to see where it goes from here!
Any thoughts for adding fish and inverts?

@GHOSTLY I haven’t seen yours in a while…very nice! That large lobo (right?) really looks amazing! I gotta get more zoas for color…
I am unsure of it, I loved it sitting at the front adding more movement just feel like it takes up a lot of space.
But maybe I am being overly cautious about the acans and can place them more in with the zoas and mushrooms.

I think i need to rethink the euphillia placement. I was planning to have them fairly close together but the hammer i picked up today is bigger and taller than I expected but I will just keep seeing how things work.

In terms of inverts I have a variety of snails, I think i have 4 nassarius snails and a variety of others, I have lost quite a few snails which seems odd when otherwise things seem to be ok. I have a red legged hermit and 2 blue legs, i barely see the blue ones but the larger red may be helping with the loss of my other snails.
I also have the cleaner shrimp who is not shy at all about me working on the tank or trying to steal food from the corals and the clowns!
I am not sure about adding any other fish. The tank is small and I don't want to overdo it. I love the royal gramma but not sure its right for this tank but maybe some sort of goby would be ok to add at some stage.
 
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Sharkbait19

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I am unsure of it, I loved it sitting at the front adding more movement just feel like it takes up a lot of space.
But maybe I am being overly cautious about the acans and can place them more in with the zoas and mushrooms.

I think i need to rethink the euphillia placement. I was planning to have them fairly close together but the hammer i picked up today is bigger and taller than I expected but I will just keep seeing how things work.

In terms of inverts I have a variety of snails, I think i have 4 nassarius snails and a variety of others, I have lost quite a few snails which seems odd when otherwise things seem to be ok. I have a red legged hermit and 2 blue legs, i barely see the blue ones but the larger red may be helping with the loss of my other snails.
I also have the cleaner shrimp who is not shy at all about me working on the tank or trying to steal food from the corals and the clowns!
I am not sure about adding any other fish. The tank is small and I don't want to overdo it. I love the royal gramma but not sure its right for this tank but maybe some sort of goby would be ok to add at some stage.
Hammer and frogspawn can be placed next to each other no problems, but torches cannot go with them. Torches can go next to torches though.
For reference, I have a clown (used to be a pair, female killed male), royal gramma, and aurora goby in my fluval 13.5. I plan to get a firefish as well. If you have a good wc schedule and pick many low waste fish, 4 is safe as long as all are compatible.
 

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Looking great!
Always happy to see another evo!
For the gsp on the wall, some like it some don’t. I don’t do it, mine just sits in the front of the tank, but I’ve always liked the thought of making a background out of it.
If I’m correct acans don’t have a super powerful sting, so they can be somewhat near corals. Mine is a few inches from a litho, leather, and gsp no problems. My favia isn’t too bad either but hasn’t been near anyone to sting. Watch out for euphilia stinging though…they are nasty, my torch almost took out an entire zoa colony.
They do a good job at corralling Xenia though.
Glad your shrooms are doing well, I never had much luck with them.
Can’t wait to see where it goes from here!
Any thoughts for adding fish and inverts?

@GHOSTLY I haven’t seen yours in a while…very nice! That large lobo (right?) really looks amazing! I gotta get more zoas for color…
I'm not sure probably! I also need more colour i don't have enough.
 
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Elise_

Elise_

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Ok, so 9 new corals and 3 rock flowers arrived for the tank today!
I am super excited to get them all situated in their final spots once they fully acclimate.

Tank testing today as I finally have most of my test kits in (still need a Phos test- reccomendations?)
And aside from my Alk being too high the rest is ok. I have been dosing Magnesium to slowly increase it as it was 1200 last week.

Parameters prior to 25% water change today before the new corals went in.
Temp: 77
Salinity: 1.024
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20
pH: 8
Alk: 12.6
Calcium: 400
Magnesium: 1275

Corals:
Softies
GSP
Florida Riccordia - Green, Green + Orange, Purple
Orange Yuma
Superman Rhodactis
2 x assorted zoos from the tank start - no idea what they are... eek!
CB White Zombie Zoa
Brushfire Zoa
Pink Zipper Zoa
Sunny D Zoa
LPS
Green Frammer
Tri-Color Branching Hammer
Rainbow Acan
Red Acan
Blues Clues Acan
Blue Dream Favia
Ultra Green Blasto
Bizzaro Cyphastrea (not doing well)
SPS
Watermelon Psammacora
Anemone
3 x Rock Flowers - Pink/Green, Orange/Red, Orange/Green

IMG_5775.jpg

Also any tips for getting better photos are welcome, I seem to be getting terrible shots! haha
 
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dvgyfresh

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So many colors!! Nice haul! I esp love the rock nems. Yr parameters are spot on , just let alk fall naturally and possibly increase salinity to 1.026 would be my Rec. And for phosphate the Hanna LR phosphate checker has been amazing and gives accurate results
 

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Ok, so 9 new corals and 3 rock flowers arrived for the tank today!
I am super excited to get them all situated in their final spots once they fully acclimate.

Tank testing today as I finally have most of my test kits in (still need a Phos test- reccomendations?)
And aside from my Alk being too high the rest is ok. I have been dosing Magnesium to slowly increase it as it was 1200 last week.

Parameters prior to 25% water change today before the new corals went in.
Temp: 77
Salinity: 1.024
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20
pH: 8
Alk: 12.6
Calcium: 400
Magnesium: 1275

Corals:
Softies
GSP
Florida Riccordia - Green, Green + Orange, Purple
Orange Yuma
Superman Rhodactis
2 x assorted zoos from the tank start - no idea what they are... eek!
CB White Zombie Zoa
Pink Zipper Zoa
Sunny D Zoa
LPS
Green Frammer
Tri-Color Branching Hammer
Rainbow Acan
Red Acan
Blues Clues Acan
Blue Dream Favia
Ultra Green Blasto
Bizzaro Cyphastrea (not doing well)
SPS
Watermelon Psammacora
Anemone
3 x Rock Flowers - Pink/Green, Orange/Red, Orange/Green

IMG_5775.jpg

Also any tips for getting better photos are welcome, I seem to be getting terrible shots! haha
Don’t worry, clowns don’t stay still more than a second. For corals, you need a lens that filters out blue light, otherwise taking pics on blues just comes out weird. Tank looks amazing!
 

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Ok, so 9 new corals and 3 rock flowers arrived for the tank today!
I am super excited to get them all situated in their final spots once they fully acclimate.

Tank testing today as I finally have most of my test kits in (still need a Phos test- reccomendations?)
And aside from my Alk being too high the rest is ok. I have been dosing Magnesium to slowly increase it as it was 1200 last week.

Parameters prior to 25% water change today before the new corals went in.
Temp: 77
Salinity: 1.024
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20
pH: 8
Alk: 12.6
Calcium: 400
Magnesium: 1275

Corals:
Softies
GSP
Florida Riccordia - Green, Green + Orange, Purple
Orange Yuma
Superman Rhodactis
2 x assorted zoos from the tank start - no idea what they are... eek!
CB White Zombie Zoa
Pink Zipper Zoa
Sunny D Zoa
LPS
Green Frammer
Tri-Color Branching Hammer
Rainbow Acan
Red Acan
Blues Clues Acan
Blue Dream Favia
Ultra Green Blasto
Bizzaro Cyphastrea (not doing well)
SPS
Watermelon Psammacora
Anemone
3 x Rock Flowers - Pink/Green, Orange/Red, Orange/Green

IMG_5775.jpg

Also any tips for getting better photos are welcome, I seem to be getting terrible shots! haha
Suggest raising it to 1.025. Nice bunch!
 
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Elise_

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Thanks so much everyone for the suggestions! I will work on trying to keep the Magnesium and Calcium stable as the Alk starts to fall.
I will see if I can slowly work my Salinity up a touch. It used to be at closer to 1.025 and then I messed up and got it too high and killed some snails.

I am loving the adventure of this tank so far and I am learning a bunch
 
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