Fluval 13.5 Reef tank build! / Suggestions?

StarterSaltWater

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Hi Everyone!

So I decided to post my first build thread to R2R! I currently have an SCA 80 gallon FOWLR that has been running for over 1 year and after finding a good petco sale on the Fluval 13.5 / redoing my office I decided I wanted to start a nano reef for the office(thinking this would be the cheaper option than upgrading my FOWLR lighting/dosing/etc in order to accommodate a reef). I have solid FOWLR saltwater experience but 0 reef experience other than reading forums etc. so please bear with me.

Currently here is my equipment list I have ordered based on what I've read about what people have done with these tanks thus far (tank being set up tis coming weekend hopefully):

Tank: Fluval 13.5 AIO
Lighting: Stock (plan to upgrade to AI Prime later on but will start with this to offset some cost)
Heater: Eheim Jager 50W w/ Inkbird controller
Pump: Sicce 1.0
Flow: Vivid Aquatics RFG, will add wavemaker/flow pump after tank is cycled and fish are in prior to coral addition
Filter: I am foregoing the PS2 skimmer after reading various threads and purchased the Intank media basket for chamber 1, for chamber 2 I plan on doing Marinepure bio balls/possible refugium later on
Media: Marinepure bio balls / filter floss / Chemipure Blue
ATO: Reefbreeders Prism ATO
Rock: 10lbs Real Reef rock
Sand: 10lbs Caribsea Argonite
Salt: Red Sea Coral Pro, I currently use Red Sea blue bucket for my FOWLR but figured Coral Pro best for coral.

As for stocking, my ideas are currently a clown pair and pistol shrimp/goby combo. I am not set in stone with the Clown pair as I have heard some people have success / failure with clown pairs in these tanks, so any stocking options would be appreciated.

After tank is cycled / fish are in the tank and parameters are settled I plan on adding corals ASAP - any coral suggestions? I know you can only do softies and LPS and NOT SPS with the stock lighting. I would like to avoid Zoas after reading about palytoxin (I am aware risk is minimal not trying to start an argument here haha)....

Any advice / critic's are appreciated as always!
 
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lapin

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sam2110

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Look at the maxspect rsx100 i have one above mine, so much better than the AI prime. The Eheim compact 1000 pump fits perfect and its super silent with really good flow. The AI nero 3 makes for a really good wave maker, it fits in nicely due to its small profile. The fluval protein skimmer is a waste of money.
 
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StarterSaltWater

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Look at the maxspect rsx100 i have one above mine, so much better than the AI prime. The Eheim compact 1000 pump fits perfect and its super silent with really good flow. The AI nero 3 makes for a really good wave maker, it fits in nicely due to its small profile. The fluval protein skimmer is a waste of money.
Appreciate the feedback on the light! I am definitely trying to be as budget as possible since I want to rapidly get into corals which add up. I did order the Sicce 1.0 already after reading a couple reviews about the Eheim being loud, my initial intention was Ehiem though! But for a difference in 10GPH I guess I’m not going to return the Sicce haha... for flow pump I still have not decided I also saw hygger makes a mini wave pump with controller for around 70$ that seems pretty good too that I may check out. Will post pics when I’m all set up this weekend (hopefully)!
 

sam2110

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Appreciate the feedback on the light! I am definitely trying to be as budget as possible since I want to rapidly get into corals which add up. I did order the Sicce 1.0 already after reading a couple reviews about the Eheim being loud, my initial intention was Ehiem though! But for a difference in 10GPH I guess I’m not going to return the Sicce haha... for flow pump I still have not decided I also saw hygger makes a mini wave pump with controller for around 70$ that seems pretty good too that I may check out. Will post pics when I’m all set up this weekend (hopefully)!
I understand your point with wanting to get to corals quickly. mine took 6 months to fully stabilise and get through all the algea issues, it was none stop the best advice I can give you is hold of on coral as long as possible. In my experience for fish stock and keeping nitrates low a pair of clowns is about the limit.

This is mine now needs a bit of a clean on the back wall but its getting there.
20210103_185124.jpg
 
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StarterSaltWater

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I understand your point with wanting to get to corals quickly. mine took 6 months to fully stabilise and get through all the algea issues, it was none stop the best advice I can give you is hold of on coral as long as possible. In my experience for fish stock and keeping nitrates low a pair of clowns is about the limit.

This is mine now needs a bit of a clean on the back wall but its getting there.
20210103_185124.jpg
Very true, I do have (some) patience I’ve read a lot about the various algae stages in these small tanks, fortunately I didn’t have many in my 80g that I cycled with dry rock and Fritz 9 but these are a different animal. Your tank looks awesome did you start with all frags or some colonies? All LPS and softies? Also what fish / CUC do you have stocked?
 

sam2110

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Very true, I do have (some) patience I’ve read a lot about the various algae stages in these small tanks, fortunately I didn’t have many in my 80g that I cycled with dry rock and Fritz 9 but these are a different animal. Your tank looks awesome did you start with all frags or some colonies? All LPS and softies? Also what fish / CUC do you have stocked?
There's all sorts of algea and just when you think your through it another will pop up.

Thanks its starting to get there slowly but surely, all LPS and a few SPS on the top. All frags some I flagged from my bigger tank other's I brought. I'm on the look out for some acro for the top.

As for fish I have a pair of clowns only its easier to keep nitrates low. CUC turbo snails, emerald crab and a small conch.
 

saltybees

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Great little tank, stock light isn’t that bad, I’ll be upgrading to a prime for sure though also but don’t be afraid to attempt sps.
 

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Reef of Fillory

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In my experience with this tank, if you throw one of these on the back and add chaeto, not only will you not have to worry about Nitrate [and phosphate] but you'll have to add additional fish and feed heavy in order to not have to dose nutrients...



I also used the Fluval skimmer and had great results with it.

Edit to add: I used a DIY InTank chamber 1 w/ chaeto in the bottom section and Fluval skimmer in chamber 2.

 
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StarterSaltWater

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Here is where I am at now post cycle. I used Microbacter STARTXLM and the corresponding ammonia to cycle relatively quick within 7 days then dosed the ammonia to continue feeding bacteria while my livestock quarantined.

My current stock list is:
- Yasha Hase Goby w/Candy Cane Pistol Shrimp
- Hector’s goby
- 1 snail
- 2 Hermits

Was thinking about possibly looking into a Blue Stripe Pipefish or clown goby as my final fish before corals. I want the tank to remain stable with the fish for a couple weeks before adding corals.

Additional mods not shown / coming include:
- Y splitter with second RFG as my flow is WAY too much with Sicce 1.0
- AI Prime
-Intank filtration cover
- Mangroves
 

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