Fluval 13.3 Reef Tank Build

FireHouseReef

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Hey everyone this will be my second tank build. I had a 25 gal bio cube years ago when I was living in Hawaii. I'm excited to venture into more corals since I've moved. Hawaii had very strict regulations on corals you could keep. Follow along as I setup this tank and see if the second time around is twice as successful. I'd appreciate any advice or encouragement.

Equipment:
Fluval 13.5 AIO
Fluval Protein skimmer
InTank 2nd chamber filter basket to replace stock sponge
530 gpm powerhead
Digital thermometer
50w heater
20lb carib sea life rock
20lb carib sea live sand Bahamas Oolite
50GPD RODI Filter
Instant Ocean Salt
In Tank filter floss
Chemi pure elite
Bio-Spira start up
Ammonia test kit
6 in 1 test kit
Refractometer


Schedule:
Yesterday - mixed water and got salinity to 1.026
Today - adding sand, rock, water
2 weeks - Add two clown fish
4 week - Add first coral. Planning on green star polyp or zoas
6 week - Add Cleaner shrimp. So fun to have.

Future upgrades:
Stock return pump upgrade
DC powerhead with controller
ATO unless lid controls evaporation well


20210317_095804.jpg
20210317_103414.jpg
20210317_105832.jpg

Removed honeycomb with a razer. Looks much better.
20210317_095945.jpg
20210317_100046.jpg

20210317_095519.jpg

Stay tuned for sand and aqua scaping later today.
 
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Erikhsf

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Following. Let’s see if you can break the trend and get the skimmer to work! Like the honeycomb removal, might have to do that to mine
I have my skimmer working great I have had my fuval for almost 4yrs. If you saw what my skimate looks like you would get one there is no way some filter Floss and cemipure blue gets any close to what the skim does.
 
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FireHouseReef

FireHouseReef

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I have my skimmer working great I have had my fuval for almost 4yrs. If you saw what my skimate looks like you would get one there is no way some filter Floss and cemipure blue gets any close to what the skim does.
Any tips on getting the skimmer working well? My last nano skimmer sucked (biocube).
 
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NeonRabbit221B

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I have my skimmer working great I have had my fuval for almost 4yrs. If you saw what my skimate looks like you would get one there is no way some filter Floss and cemipure blue gets any close to what the skim does.
I tired one for 3 months ago it broke and that seemed to be the pattern I hear. My floss keeps N at 5 and P at .02 so i am happy with it and I don't tend to do water changes except monthly or so. I disagree 100%, that skimmer is trash lol
 

Erikhsf

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Hey everyone this will be my second tank build. I had a 25 gal bio cube years ago when I was living in Hawaii. I'm excited to venture into more corals since I've moved. Hawaii had very strict regulations on corals you could keep. Follow along as I setup this tank and see if the second time around is twice as successful. I'd appreciate any advice or encouragement.

Equipment:
Fluval 13.5 AIO
Fluval Protein skimmer
InTank 2nd chamber filter basket to replace stock sponge
530 gpm powerhead
Digital thermometer
50w heater
20lb carib sea life rock
20lb carib sea live sand Bahamas Oolite
50GPD RODI Filter
Instant Ocean Salt
In Tank filter floss
Chemi pure elite
Bio-Spira start up
Ammonia test kit
6 in 1 test kit
Refractometer


Schedule:
Yesterday - mixed water and got salinity to 1.026
Today - adding sand, rock, water
2 weeks - Add two clown fish
4 week - Add first coral. Planning on green star polyp or zoas
6 week - Add Cleaner shrimp. So fun to have.

Future upgrades:
Stock return pump upgrade
DC powerhead with controller
ATO unless lid controls evaporation well


20210317_095804.jpg
20210317_103414.jpg
20210317_105832.jpg

Removed honeycomb with a razer. Looks much better.
20210317_095945.jpg
20210317_100046.jpg

20210317_095519.jpg

Stay tuned for sand and aqua scaping later today.
Sounds like a killer start I love this tank I have had mine for almost 4 years now. There are some things you are going to need in my opinion the ato is needed at soon as you want to use the skimmer if you don't the water levels change so quickly in this tank you will have to adjust the skimmer more than once a day. But the ato will keep the skimmer running great. Then you need to get rid of the hood and get a new light kessil 80 is perfect if you don't want sps and a good price or a lot of people go AI prime. Secchi has a great tiny tiny return for more flow and room in the sump and I don't know if you said you had a powerhead but that will help AI nero is a great one. The only other thing is you may want to look at the D-flow media box it pushes the water back up to the top where with what you have now there flow goes straight across the bottom
 

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FireHouseReef

FireHouseReef

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Sounds like a killer start I love this tank I have had mine for almost 4 years now. There are some things you are going to need in my opinion the ato is needed at soon as you want to use the skimmer if you don't the water levels change so quickly in this tank you will have to adjust the skimmer more than once a day. But the ato will keep the skimmer running great. Then you need to get rid of the hood and get a new light kessil 80 is perfect if you don't want sps and a good price or a lot of people go AI prime. Secchi has a great tiny tiny return for more flow and room in the sump and I don't know if you said you had a powerhead but that will help AI nero is a great one. The only other thing is you may want to look at the D-flow media box it pushes the water back up to the top where with what you have now there flow goes straight across the bottom
Great advice. Thanks. Good point on the skimmer and ATO connection. I'll take your advice into consideration.
 

NeonRabbit221B

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An alternative way to go not trying to bump heads or anything...

I left the hood and stock light in place. No issues keeping most LPS and it keeps evaporation down pretty low (you could likely do without an ATO for a while, not considering the skimmer). I also don't personally run a powerhead in the display and just use a higher output return pump (MJ1200 or Sicce 1.0) and have random flow generator nozzels. The great part about this tank is it seems pretty versatile.

I do suggest you plug the hole in the false wall before you put water in it.
 
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FireHouseReef

FireHouseReef

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An alternative way to go not trying to bump heads or anything...

I left the hood and stock light in place. No issues keeping most LPS and it keeps evaporation down pretty low (you could likely do without an ATO for a while, not considering the skimmer). I also don't personally run a powerhead in the display and just use a higher output return pump (MJ1200 or Sicce 1.0) and have random flow generator nozzels. The great part about this tank is it seems pretty versatile.

I do suggest you plug the hole in the false wall before you put water in it.
No worries. The only wrong way is the one that doesn't work. I did plug the hole. The In Tank basket comes with a plug.
 
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FireHouseReef

FireHouseReef

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Update:
Life rock showed up and as I figured only needed about 12lbs so the giant piece will need a new home. Things are might cloudy. I did some research how to clear up fast but as with most things in this hobby it come down to patience.

20210317_155854.jpg

The rock looks great. Wish this product existed when I did my last tank.

20210317_161335.jpg

Cut a piece of cardboard the tank size and came up with an aqua scape.

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added some water before sand per instructions. Something about trapping air under sand.

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Took about 9.5 gallons

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Little concerned 20lb of sand is too much. definitely over 1" sandbed. Will have to wait till is clears to level it out and see. I used the bio magnet clarifier packets that came with the sand. Hopefully that helps clear things up.
 
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FireHouseReef

FireHouseReef

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Update:

20210318_143830.jpg

I got the heater installed. It fit! had to send the first 100w heater back since it didn't fit. Went with a 50w heater and it's heating up well. Shooting for 77deg temp.

20210318_162709.jpg

Forgot to get a mag float cleaner so that's ordered. Decided I didn't like a cliché arch aqua scape so took a chisel and hammer to my pieces including the big one. Got some smaller pieces to work with. Let me know what you think of the new design. I added the Bio-Spira active startup today and took my first tests before adding it. The only out of range result was ammonia which is good for cycle anyway. Hoping to avoid new tank syndrome and get cycle.
 
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GoReefin

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Aquascape looks great. There is a nano aquascape thread you can look into for idea. I like the 2 island approach you did.

I sadly have a "cliche" aquascape in one of my fluvals with the arch! My second fluval is kinda like yours but the 2 rocks are together for my nems to crawl all over. Thinking of adding a third rock to give some height to the tank...

Love these little tanks you can create some really unique styles in such a small package.
 

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FireHouseReef

FireHouseReef

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Aquascape looks great. There is a nano aquascape thread you can look into for idea. I like the 2 island approach you did.

I sadly have a "cliche" aquascape in one of my fluvals with the arch! My second fluval is kinda like yours but the 2 rocks are together for my nems to crawl all over. Thinking of adding a third rock to give some height to the tank...

Love these little tanks you can create some really unique styles in such a small package.
Your arch is awesome, far from cliché. Had to add an arch back. Those are huge nems!

20210318_170932.jpg
 
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Brit’s Fish

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I've been running my Evo for about 7 months now & I also have not upgraded the light. I'm also not running a skimmer - like someone else said, I tried it for a while and decided it was too much of a pain because it had to be adjusted multiple times per day. Instead of a skimmer, I have a mangrove growing out of the hole that I had to punch out of the filtration cover for the skimmer. My little mangrove is very happy there! As you can see in the photo though, everything in my tank is pretty happy without all the bells & whistles. Weekly/bi-weekly water changes are all I really need.

The hood does help with evaporation & I don't have to top off as often as I do with my other nano reefs. I upgraded to the Zetlight ZD1000 return pump since I liked the size (its tiny!), adjustable flow & feeding mode. I don't have a wave maker either - I tried a Sicce Voyager 1000 and it was way too much flow for my tank. My poor little clowns didn't know what to do! lol

You are going to love this tank & your scape already looks awesome!!

Edit: I should note that my substrate looks absolutely insane because of my resident Pistol Shrimp... always hard at work, 24/7, moving my substrate around and burying my Cynarina.
Get a Pistol Shrimp if you're not sure about your scape - you'll have a new one every day! ;)

tempImageuyCPDq.png
 
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FireHouseReef

FireHouseReef

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I've been running my Evo for about 7 months now & I also have not upgraded the light. I'm also not running a skimmer - like someone else said, I tried it for a while and decided it was too much of a pain because it had to be adjusted multiple times per day. Instead of a skimmer, I have a mangrove growing out of the hole that I had to punch out of the filtration cover for the skimmer. My little mangrove is very happy there! As you can see in the photo though, everything in my tank is pretty happy without all the bells & whistles. Weekly/bi-weekly water changes are all I really need.

The hood does help with evaporation & I don't have to top off as often as I do with my other nano reefs. I upgraded to the Zetlight ZD1000 return pump since I liked the size (its tiny!), adjustable flow & feeding mode. I don't have a wave maker either - I tried a Sicce Voyager 1000 and it was way too much flow for my tank. My poor little clowns didn't know what to do! lol

You are going to love this tank & your scape already looks awesome!!

Edit: I should note that my substrate looks absolutely insane because of my resident Pistol Shrimp... always hard at work, 24/7, moving my substrate around and burying my Cynarina.
Get a Pistol Shrimp if you're not sure about your scape - you'll have a new one every day! ;)

tempImageuyCPDq.png
Wow. Tank looks awesome. Thanks for all the advice. I can see this skimmer going away also. Mangroves would be fun.
 
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