Fluval Evo 13.5 Build - First Aquarium!

Fishy888

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 26, 2021
Messages
3,069
Reaction score
11,442
Location
Decatur, IL
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Day 19 Update

Everything seems to be coming along well so far. There doesn't seem to be much growth of any algae as I have been keeping the light off. The diatoms present on one of my rocks have not spread nor grown noticeably. My ATO has been functioning properly and maintaining salinity well.

Test results
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0.25ppm
Nitrate: ~40ppm
pH: ~8.0

Nitrite is finally coming down from 2ppm, and should hopefully be gone in a day or two. Having no ammonia or nitrite will mean that my tank has finally cycled. I will be looking at adding a clown and shrimp at the end of this week! I am not sure why my nitrate is so high, this could be an inaccurate test result or just part of the cycle. I am hoping to get it down to 3-10ppm (any tips?). Also, what is a good pH level to maintain in a reef tank (and how can you do so?)?
I prefer to be between 8.0 to 8.4 but don’t chase numbers. Your system should be at a good pH level as is, especially at this stage of the game.

As for high nitrates, nitrites can give a false positive for nitrates. Nitrites are nothing to be concerned about in saltwater. In freshwater nitrites are every bit as toxic as ammonia but in saltwater they aren’t a concern.

I would stop dosing ammonia the night before you get your first clownfish. The fish will produce enough ammonia to feed your beneficial bacteria.
 

kevgib67

7500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 16, 2022
Messages
9,051
Reaction score
41,588
Location
Canfield, Ohio
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Day 19 Update

Everything seems to be coming along well so far. There doesn't seem to be much growth of any algae as I have been keeping the light off. The diatoms present on one of my rocks have not spread nor grown noticeably. My ATO has been functioning properly and maintaining salinity well.

Test results
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0.25ppm
Nitrate: ~40ppm
pH: ~8.0

Nitrite is finally coming down from 2ppm, and should hopefully be gone in a day or two. Having no ammonia or nitrite will mean that my tank has finally cycled. I will be looking at adding a clown and shrimp at the end of this week! I am not sure why my nitrate is so high, this could be an inaccurate test result or just part of the cycle. I am hoping to get it down to 3-10ppm (any tips?). Also, what is a good pH level to maintain in a reef tank (and how can you do so?)?
Nitrites are a non factor in saltwater tanks unlike freshwater but they can cause false high nitrate readings.
 

Fishy888

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 26, 2021
Messages
3,069
Reaction score
11,442
Location
Decatur, IL
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Day 13 Update

Looks like cycling is finally making some progress. After dosing a little more MicroBacter Start XLM bacteria on day 10, today's testing results show:

Ammonia ~ >0.25ppm
Nitrite ~3.0ppm

Looks like ammonia will soon be reading zero (hopefully). I just need nitrite to drop to zero and I will be ready to add my first fish! My AmmoniaAlert reader is showing a safe reading of ammonia. Just before I add my first fish I will be planning to add my ATO, AI Prime, and change up the filtration a little (adding filter floss).

IMG_2224.jpeg
API will always read 0.25 ppm ammonia when in fact it’s zero.
 
OP
OP
Ollie67

Ollie67

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2024
Messages
282
Reaction score
486
Location
Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I prefer to be between 8.0 to 8.4 but don’t chase numbers. Your system should be at a good pH level as is, especially at this stage of the game.

As for high nitrates, nitrites can give a false positive for nitrates. Nitrites are nothing to be concerned about in saltwater. In freshwater nitrites are every bit as toxic as ammonia but in saltwater they aren’t a concern.

I would stop dosing ammonia the night before you get your first clownfish. The fish will produce enough ammonia to feed your beneficial bacteria.
Sounds good! And it's good to know nitrites aren't a concern.

I haven't really dosed ammonia since the first few days, once I read 0 ammonia (a few days ago) I have just been waiting for everything else to balance out. Should I do one more dose?

Also, is there any product you guys recommend to put in along with the first fish? Or just let it be natural for now?
 
OP
OP
Ollie67

Ollie67

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2024
Messages
282
Reaction score
486
Location
Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
API will always read 0.25 ppm ammonia when in fact it’s zero.
My API test actually read 0ppm (yellow color) recently, but just in case I have my SeaChem Ammonia Alert meter in the tank, which read a safe level a few days before my API kit did.

I will be getting Hanna checkers most likely in the near future!
 

kevgib67

7500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 16, 2022
Messages
9,051
Reaction score
41,588
Location
Canfield, Ohio
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Sounds good! And it's good to know nitrites aren't a concern.

I haven't really dosed ammonia since the first few days, once I read 0 ammonia (a few days ago) I have just been waiting for everything else to balance out. Should I do one more dose?

Also, is there any product you guys recommend to put in along with the first fish? Or just let it be natural for now?
No need to add anything when you introduce the fish.
 

Fishy888

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 26, 2021
Messages
3,069
Reaction score
11,442
Location
Decatur, IL
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Sounds good! And it's good to know nitrites aren't a concern.

I haven't really dosed ammonia since the first few days, once I read 0 ammonia (a few days ago) I have just been waiting for everything else to balance out. Should I do one more dose?

Also, is there any product you guys recommend to put in along with the first fish? Or just let it be natural for now?
Don’t dose chemicals unless it’s absolutely necessary and you can test for what you’re dosing.

Chemicals like prime and stress coat are scams in a bottle. Keeping good water quality and stability will help fish, coral and other invertebrates to thrive.
 

mdpitts

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2023
Messages
218
Reaction score
257
Location
Austin, TX
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Day 8 Update!

Everything seems to be coming along well. No issues with any components. I have been testing every day and adding in distilled water (will have RODI water soon) to make up for evaporation. I use a refractometer (yes, it is calibrated with a standard of 1.0264 SG; 35ppt) for my salinity, and have been reading 1.025 SG (my target). At time it does rise to 1.026 or 27 but that is becuase I have no ATO installed at the moment. My temperature has been around 77 degrees F, maintained by my temperature controller (76-82F safe zone).

Testing on day 8 shows:
Ammonia ~ 3.0ppm
Nitrite ~ 4.0ppm

I am unsure of how accurate my API test kit is, as others have mentioned it is not the best, but I still have a general idea of parameters. I may invest in Hanna checkers and other testers in the future.

Comparing day 8 results to previous tests, ammonia seems to be consistent but slowly coming down from a high of 4.0ppm. Nitrite is also lower than the last three days, which were above 5.0ppm (readable levels on my kit).

Only other important mention is that some evidence of diatoms is present on one of my smaller rocks. I will attach a close-up below. This shouldn't be concerning as it is a normal part of cycling (the "ugly stage"), and hopefully will go away as the tank gets itself established.

IMG_2160.jpeg
IMG_2093.jpeg
You're making me wish I had gone with this kind of rock in my Evo. Looks really nice.
 
OP
OP
Ollie67

Ollie67

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2024
Messages
282
Reaction score
486
Location
Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
You're making me wish I had gone with this kind of rock in my Evo. Looks really nice.
I'm happy with it! I picked from a selection of dry rock from my LFS for the main scape. I didn't want to get dyed purple rock, it doesn't appeal to me that much. Eventually, I may get a live rock from my LFS and scrape some of the coralline algae off it into my tank. A matured tank should have some purple rock!
 
OP
OP
Ollie67

Ollie67

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2024
Messages
282
Reaction score
486
Location
Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Day 20 Update

Super excited to share my update today! Since my tank has finished cycling just recently, I have gone ahead and pulled the trigger on my first pair of fish! When I went to visit a LFS a few weeks ago, I really liked the look of the snowflake clowns. I called a few local shops today, and none had any in stock recently, except one that had just one pair left.

I'd like to introduce you guys to my new pair of snowflake ocellaris clowns! They are about 7 months old, still juveniles, and have been paired together for most of that time (hence I couldn't just get one!). They seem to swim around together closely and peacefully, and so far have been exploring the tank once acclimated. I tried feeding a few pellets for the night, but they haven't eaten yet- is it normal for fish to not eat in a new tank the first day?

Otherwise, I will be installing a Jebao SLW-10 powerhead in the tank for better flow sometime very soon. Really, the last thing I am waiting on is the replacement part (lens) for my AI Prime to come so I can repair/clean it and then mount it on my tank. I have a custom acrylic/mesh cover that has just came in to go along with it!

I will also be ordering some Hanna checkers most likely for more accurate testing when needed to do so. Excited for that...

(R2R won't let me upload my high-res photos from my camera, so my photos will be cropped)
 

Attachments

  • 3254.png
    3254.png
    1,004.9 KB · Views: 74
  • 3259.png
    3259.png
    975.6 KB · Views: 56
  • 3273.png
    3273.png
    988.6 KB · Views: 55
  • 3250.png
    3250.png
    975.8 KB · Views: 56
  • 3251.png
    3251.png
    965.5 KB · Views: 52
OP
OP
Ollie67

Ollie67

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2024
Messages
282
Reaction score
486
Location
Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
In continuation...

Currently to feed my clowns I have Reef Nutrition TDO Chroma Boost pellets, which is what they have been fed for most of the time (according to my LFS). While I was there, I also purchased Frozen Spirulina Brine Shrimp cubes as a frozen option. I am not sure when I will try feeding frozen, but when I do, I will cut up the cubes into smaller bits and feed twice a day (morning and evening).

For those with clowns, is this a good schedule and product? Any recommendations?

Thanks!

Here's some more pictures :)
 

Attachments

  • 3248.png
    3248.png
    975.7 KB · Views: 58
  • 3282.png
    3282.png
    946.6 KB · Views: 52
  • 3287.png
    3287.png
    1 MB · Views: 74

accidental_reefer

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 11, 2023
Messages
240
Reaction score
198
Location
Northeast
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Day 20 Update

Super excited to share my update today! Since my tank has finished cycling just recently, I have gone ahead and pulled the trigger on my first pair of fish! When I went to visit a LFS a few weeks ago, I really liked the look of the snowflake clowns. I called a few local shops today, and none had any in stock recently, except one that had just one pair left.

I'd like to introduce you guys to my new pair of snowflake ocellaris clowns! They are about 7 months old, still juveniles, and have been paired together for most of that time (hence I couldn't just get one!). They seem to swim around together closely and peacefully, and so far have been exploring the tank once acclimated. I tried feeding a few pellets for the night, but they haven't eaten yet- is it normal for fish to not eat in a new tank the first day?

Otherwise, I will be installing a Jebao SLW-10 powerhead in the tank for better flow sometime very soon. Really, the last thing I am waiting on is the replacement part (lens) for my AI Prime to come so I can repair/clean it and then mount it on my tank. I have a custom acrylic/mesh cover that has just came in to go along with it!

I will also be ordering some Hanna checkers most likely for more accurate testing when needed to do so. Excited for that...

(R2R won't let me upload my high-res photos from my camera, so my photos will be cropped)
Cute clowns (and I’m jealous bc I’ve been managing a domestic violence situation for over three months since /the/ moment my storm busted out of the acclimation box targeting the preexisting mochavinci).

My fish have eaten like pigs from day 1 but my understanding is that it’s normal for them to refrain from eating first few days. Using an acclimation box to introduce new fish might facilitate eating by otherwise skittish new residents.

I suggest holding off on the Jebao, at least until you have a better idea of what corals you are going to get and where you are going to place them bc you might not need more flow or alternative source for generating it. That being said, I think you’re better off using the money to upgrade to at least a Sicce 1.0 or 1.5 or better yet a Mighty Jet. The Sicce Nano and 0.5 made too much noise (more noticeable for me than the AI Prime fan running). The water circulation from those pumps also appeared to me to be kinda limp??? (If that’s the right word). Just passable and I think you’ll eventually want to upgrade pumps anyway.

The 1.0 may be sufficient but still generated some noise. With the 1.5 or mighty jet, I don’t think you need the Jebao (and you can use the 0.5 to mix salt, as a back up which you should have anyway, for QT, etc.). I’d get the Mighty Jet for nanos. It’s only marginally more expensive and, in exchange, you get dead silence, controllable flow (intensity and pulsating vs constant), and a lot of power. I don’t have the Fluval, but I have a couple IM aios and, for a 13.5 gallon, it will generate enough flow at even the lowest setting for everything except maybe acros (depending on placement). If you get the 1.0 or 1.5 and feel like you need more flow, you can then just get a dual nozzle and/or random flow generator from innovative marine or VCA (available through BRS, Amazon, etc), which are much cheaper than a power head — although I’d guess you’d need the 1.5 for the additional GPH needed for the flow generator).

Here are some examples:

Vivid Creative Aquatics VCA Flex Series Random Flow Generators (1/2")
https://a.co/d/cMf0bfh

Innovative Marine Spin Stream Universal Nozzle
https://a.co/d/23QOKRy
 
OP
OP
Ollie67

Ollie67

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2024
Messages
282
Reaction score
486
Location
Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Cute clowns (and I’m jealous bc I’ve been managing a domestic violence situation for over three months since /the/ moment my storm busted out of the acclimation box targeting the preexisting mochavinci).

My fish have eaten like pigs from day 1 but my understanding is that it’s normal for them to refrain from eating first few days. Using an acclimation box to introduce new fish might facilitate eating by otherwise skittish new residents.

I suggest holding off on the Jebao, at least until you have a better idea of what corals you are going to get and where you are going to place them bc you might not need more flow or alternative source for generating it. That being said, I think you’re better off using the money to upgrade to at least a Sicce 1.0 or 1.5 or better yet a Mighty Jet. The Sicce Nano and 0.5 made too much noise (more noticeable for me than the AI Prime fan running). The water circulation from those pumps also appeared to me to be kinda limp??? (If that’s the right word). Just passable and I think you’ll eventually want to upgrade pumps anyway.

The 1.0 may be sufficient but still generated some noise. With the 1.5 or mighty jet, I don’t think you need the Jebao (and you can use the 0.5 to mix salt, as a back up which you should have anyway, for QT, etc.). I’d get the Mighty Jet for nanos. It’s only marginally more expensive and, in exchange, you get dead silence, controllable flow (intensity and pulsating vs constant), and a lot of power. I don’t have the Fluval, but I have a couple IM aios and, for a 13.5 gallon, it will generate enough flow at even the lowest setting for everything except maybe acros (depending on placement). If you get the 1.0 or 1.5 and feel like you need more flow, you can then just get a dual nozzle and/or random flow generator from innovative marine or VCA (available through BRS, Amazon, etc), which are much cheaper than a power head — although I’d guess you’d need the 1.5 for the additional GPH needed for the flow generator).

Here are some examples:

Vivid Creative Aquatics VCA Flex Series Random Flow Generators (1/2")
https://a.co/d/cMf0bfh

Innovative Marine Spin Stream Universal Nozzle
https://a.co/d/23QOKRy
I appreciate your intel! Sorry to hear about the altercations that have happened between your clowns. Mochas are gorgeous! I'll see how they eat in the morning, I may try the frozen stuff.

Honestly, when I was upgrading the stock pump, I was debating between the Sicce 0.5 and 1.0. A couple of the reviews in the 1.0 claimed that it was wayyyy too much flow for a 13.5, therefore I went with the 0.5. It had a little vibration at the start (came from the plastic Fluval lid), but after a few days the pump hum is not too noticeable in my room. The flow isn't the strongest, therefore I wanted to add a powerhead. Mainly, I want to have a better flow in the tank, which will help keep algae and other ugly stuff out of the rocks and sand, and also create flow/waves on the surface. Eventually, it will be used to help out the corals. But I won't have corals for a while, as it is a new tank and isn't ready for most corals, unless it's some rigid ones like mushrooms.

I'll definitely consider some other options, but I will see how the powerhead works out.
 

mdpitts

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2023
Messages
218
Reaction score
257
Location
Austin, TX
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Day 20 Update

Super excited to share my update today! Since my tank has finished cycling just recently, I have gone ahead and pulled the trigger on my first pair of fish! When I went to visit a LFS a few weeks ago, I really liked the look of the snowflake clowns. I called a few local shops today, and none had any in stock recently, except one that had just one pair left.

I'd like to introduce you guys to my new pair of snowflake ocellaris clowns! They are about 7 months old, still juveniles, and have been paired together for most of that time (hence I couldn't just get one!). They seem to swim around together closely and peacefully, and so far have been exploring the tank once acclimated. I tried feeding a few pellets for the night, but they haven't eaten yet- is it normal for fish to not eat in a new tank the first day?

Otherwise, I will be installing a Jebao SLW-10 powerhead in the tank for better flow sometime very soon. Really, the last thing I am waiting on is the replacement part (lens) for my AI Prime to come so I can repair/clean it and then mount it on my tank. I have a custom acrylic/mesh cover that has just came in to go along with it!

I will also be ordering some Hanna checkers most likely for more accurate testing when needed to do so. Excited for that...

(R2R won't let me upload my high-res photos from my camera, so my photos will be cropped)
Beautiful! I wasn’t interested in getting a clown fish but then they grew on me and I got one as my last fish. Of course, she/her/he/they is by far my favorite fish now. Always doing something in the tank, racing around, patrolling to guard against “the hand”, riding the flow from the power head.
 

mdpitts

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2023
Messages
218
Reaction score
257
Location
Austin, TX
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Cute clowns (and I’m jealous bc I’ve been managing a domestic violence situation for over three months since /the/ moment my storm busted out of the acclimation box targeting the preexisting mochavinci).

My fish have eaten like pigs from day 1 but my understanding is that it’s normal for them to refrain from eating first few days. Using an acclimation box to introduce new fish might facilitate eating by otherwise skittish new residents.

I suggest holding off on the Jebao, at least until you have a better idea of what corals you are going to get and where you are going to place them bc you might not need more flow or alternative source for generating it. That being said, I think you’re better off using the money to upgrade to at least a Sicce 1.0 or 1.5 or better yet a Mighty Jet. The Sicce Nano and 0.5 made too much noise (more noticeable for me than the AI Prime fan running). The water circulation from those pumps also appeared to me to be kinda limp??? (If that’s the right word). Just passable and I think you’ll eventually want to upgrade pumps anyway.

The 1.0 may be sufficient but still generated some noise. With the 1.5 or mighty jet, I don’t think you need the Jebao (and you can use the 0.5 to mix salt, as a back up which you should have anyway, for QT, etc.). I’d get the Mighty Jet for nanos. It’s only marginally more expensive and, in exchange, you get dead silence, controllable flow (intensity and pulsating vs constant), and a lot of power. I don’t have the Fluval, but I have a couple IM aios and, for a 13.5 gallon, it will generate enough flow at even the lowest setting for everything except maybe acros (depending on placement). If you get the 1.0 or 1.5 and feel like you need more flow, you can then just get a dual nozzle and/or random flow generator from innovative marine or VCA (available through BRS, Amazon, etc), which are much cheaper than a power head — although I’d guess you’d need the 1.5 for the additional GPH needed for the flow generator).

Here are some examples:

Vivid Creative Aquatics VCA Flex Series Random Flow Generators (1/2")
https://a.co/d/cMf0bfh

Innovative Marine Spin Stream Universal Nozzle
https://a.co/d/23QOKRy
I have the Fluval Evo and I ordered a set of 3D printed items from an Etsy shop to hot rod my tank a little. It included random flow attachments, 2 media baskets for chambers 2 and 3 and a plug for the hole in the back. You can buy the random flow attachments separately. The seller suggested I upgrade my pump to a Jebao or Sicce. I ordered a Jebao from AliExpress for $30 free shipping/2 week delivery. I’m happy with all of it.

 
OP
OP
Ollie67

Ollie67

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2024
Messages
282
Reaction score
486
Location
Illinois
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Beautiful! I wasn’t interested in getting a clown fish but then they grew on me and I got one as my last fish. Of course, she/her/he/they is by far my favorite fish now. Always doing something in the tank, racing around, patrolling to guard against “the hand”, riding the flow from the power head.
Absolutely! I love how they race around together :)
 

Clear reef vision: How do you clean the inside of the glass on your aquarium?

  • Razor blade

    Votes: 145 60.9%
  • Plastic scraper

    Votes: 66 27.7%
  • Clean-up crew

    Votes: 84 35.3%
  • Magic eraser

    Votes: 42 17.6%
  • Other

    Votes: 64 26.9%
Back
Top