Fluval Evo 13.5 Build - First Aquarium!

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Ollie67

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Day 62 Update and Previous Days

Happy Wednesday everyone! It's been almost two weeks since my last update here, what the heck! Time has been flying by. I haven't been doing too much with my tank, just feeding once a day and dosing my microbacter 7 daily and microbacter clean weekly. I have noticed a good amount of growth on my corals, my Xenia has opened up nicely and spread out more, with longer arms! It even pulses when flow is turned down. My GSP also looks much better now, the polyps are much larger and got longer, way more green! Love how it's all looking. There has been some patches of algae in my sand here and there, but no more other uglies really. Lately, I have been noticing some diatoms (I believe) in my sand - these light brown patches. Stirring the sandbed every few days or so has helped.

Not too many major updates up until today. On day 55, I installed a UV sterilizer from Innovative Marine and placed it in my second chamber, moving my heater to my third chamber with my return and ATO (a little crowded haha). I didn't notice too much a difference with algae having it, but hopefully it's been keeping away the other uglies. It's been on 24/7 for the week, then I plan on running it only at night. The only other thing I added was a VCA random flow generator nozzle to replace the stock fluval return nozzles. It's a single nozzle because I made the mistake instead of ordering the dual nozzle, but it's larger at 1/2" so it should work fine. I like the flow it creates.

Today (day 62), I stopped by my LFS and picked up a red mushroom frag! I think it's a pretty sick looking coral, the color looks great. I also picked up my final fish for now, as I will be at max capacity pretty much. It's a royal gramma! Haven't gotten a good picture, he's pretty shy right now. But I think it's a perfect candidate for the tank and the color is super nice! Hopefully he will get along with my clowns... I didn't want to get another goby from the same family, as in such a small tank I heard they could fight or compete. I was considering an orange spotted goby, but since I already have a watchman I ended up with the gramma! I've also done a water change today as it's been a bit over a week now. I will post some pictures of the new additions and current corals, let me know what you guys think!
 

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WalkerLoves_TheOcean

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Day 62 Update and Previous Days

Happy Wednesday everyone! It's been almost two weeks since my last update here, what the heck! Time has been flying by. I haven't been doing too much with my tank, just feeding once a day and dosing my microbacter 7 daily and microbacter clean weekly. I have noticed a good amount of growth on my corals, my Xenia has opened up nicely and spread out more, with longer arms! It even pulses when flow is turned down. My GSP also looks much better now, the polyps are much larger and got longer, way more green! Love how it's all looking. There has been some patches of algae in my sand here and there, but no more other uglies really. Lately, I have been noticing some diatoms (I believe) in my sand - these light brown patches. Stirring the sandbed every few days or so has helped.

Not too many major updates up until today. On day 55, I installed a UV sterilizer from Innovative Marine and placed it in my second chamber, moving my heater to my third chamber with my return and ATO (a little crowded haha). I didn't notice too much a difference with algae having it, but hopefully it's been keeping away the other uglies. It's been on 24/7 for the week, then I plan on running it only at night. The only other thing I added was a VCA random flow generator nozzle to replace the stock fluval return nozzles. It's a single nozzle because I made the mistake instead of ordering the dual nozzle, but it's larger at 1/2" so it should work fine. I like the flow it creates.

Today (day 62), I stopped by my LFS and picked up a red mushroom frag! I think it's a pretty sick looking coral, the color looks great. I also picked up my final fish for now, as I will be at max capacity pretty much. It's a royal gramma! Haven't gotten a good picture, he's pretty shy right now. But I think it's a perfect candidate for the tank and the color is super nice! Hopefully he will get along with my clowns... I didn't want to get another goby from the same family, as in such a small tank I heard they could fight or compete. I was considering an orange spotted goby, but since I already have a watchman I ended up with the gramma! I've also done a water change today as it's been a bit over a week now. I will post some pictures of the new additions and current corals, let me know what you guys think!
Everything is looking nice, and that mushroom looks awesome!

I can't wait to see pictures of the royal gramma!
 
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Everything is looking nice, and that mushroom looks awesome!

I can't wait to see pictures of the royal gramma!
Thank you!! :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

He actually took a nibble when I fed today, glad he ate. He moved to another cave/hole in my rockscape, hopefully he will come out more later on. Super pretty! I have a short video I took, I'll try and get a photo in the next few days.

How is your hammer doing! I think a hammer, frogspawn (hammer/torch looking coral lol), or duncan are next on my list to buy in the next few weeks. I'm debating which one (or two) of those to get next month. Obviously might depend on what the LFS has, but excited to have a coral that will move a lot more! Anything special you have to do to keep/have such coral?
 

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Thank you!! :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

He actually took a nibble when I fed today, glad he ate. He moved to another cave/hole in my rockscape, hopefully he will come out more later on. Super pretty! I have a short video I took, I'll try and get a photo in the next few days.

How is your hammer doing! I think a hammer, frogspawn (hammer/torch looking coral lol), or duncan are next on my list to buy in the next few weeks. I'm debating which one (or two) of those to get next month. Obviously might depend on what the LFS has, but excited to have a coral that will move a lot more! Anything special you have to do to keep/have such coral?
My hammer is doing awesome!

I just glued the frag down, because yesterday my tailspot blenny knocked off the rock onto the sand.

Hammer is the easiest euphyllia to keep.

I found that my hammer wasn't getting enough flow because it was "droopy", so I turned my powerhead back on, so now the hammer receives a little more flow, and it looks awesome! You want to look at the little "hammers", they should gently be moving around.

I would say make sure you have detectable phosphates before you go, because euphyllyia like dirtier water, but I have seen people keep them in very clean water and they were fine, but I think dirtiter water will be easiest for beginners.

I can't wait to see what you get!
 
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My hammer is doing awesome!

I just glued the frag down, because yesterday my tailspot blenny knocked off the rock onto the sand.

Hammer is the easiest euphyllia to keep.

I found that my hammer wasn't getting enough flow because it was "droopy", so I turned my powerhead back on, so now the hammer receives a little more flow, and it looks awesome! You want to look at the little "hammers", they should gently be moving around.

I would say make sure you have detectable phosphates before you go, because euphyllyia like dirtier water, but I have seen people keep them in very clean water and they were fine, but I think dirtiter water will be easiest for beginners.

I can't wait to see what you get!
That's great to hear! I might start with a hammer or frogspawn, they look so cool! I'd put them on top of my biggest rock, so it'd be receiving a good amount of flow. I've been dealing with high phosphates, so I don't think no phosphates will be an issue :grinning-face-with-sweat:

Thanks for the tips!
 
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Little update for today:

Finally got some pictures of my gramma! He's been darting out of his cave every now and then, managed to get a few photos. Such a lovely fish! I also ran some tests today:

Nitrate: 2.1ppm
Phosphate: 0.31ppm
Alk: 7.8 dKH

My nitrate is reading a little low. I have been feeding once a day, in small portions, so I can try and increase nitrate by feeding a little more in my portions. Phosphate is good news for me, as my phosphates have been high for a long time. My last reading from almost two weeks ago read 0.54ppm, so I am happy to see it has gone down after reduced feeding and water changes. I have also been adding Phosguard in a media bag, so that could possibly be lowering it as well. Hoping to keep lowering if possible.

My alk is reading 7.8, which is lower than my test last week of 8.5 dKH. Not sure what could cause the lower alkalinity, but I think it should be okay for now. I would want it at least around the 8.0 or more ideally, any tips on how to get alk up a little?

Happy Friday y'all!
 

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WalkerLoves_TheOcean

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Little update for today:

Finally got some pictures of my gramma! He's been darting out of his cave every now and then, managed to get a few photos. Such a lovely fish! I also ran some tests today:

Nitrate: 2.1ppm
Phosphate: 0.31ppm
Alk: 7.8 dKH

My nitrate is reading a little low. I have been feeding once a day, in small portions, so I can try and increase nitrate by feeding a little more in my portions. Phosphate is good news for me, as my phosphates have been high for a long time. My last reading from almost two weeks ago read 0.54ppm, so I am happy to see it has gone down after reduced feeding and water changes. I have also been adding Phosguard in a media bag, so that could possibly be lowering it as well. Hoping to keep lowering if possible.

My alk is reading 7.8, which is lower than my test last week of 8.5 dKH. Not sure what could cause the lower alkalinity, but I think it should be okay for now. I would want it at least around the 8.0 or more ideally, any tips on how to get alk up a little?

Happy Friday y'all!
Such a beautiful fish!

How often do you do your WC's, and when will your next one be?
 
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Such a beautiful fish!

How often do you do your WC's, and when will your next one be?
Thank you!! I agree :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

I usually do weekly water changes of about 2-3 gallons for my 13.5. If not, it might be a week and a half, depending on how busy I am haha. But in the past, when I was dealing with very high phosphate and nitrate readings, I did like 2-3 smaller changes in a week for emergency reasons. My next one would be towards the end of next week.
 

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I have the same time! I might have missed it but what do you use for ATO? I currently manually top off since I struggle with the water chamber levels. Chamber one filters get clogged which makes chamber 3 with my heater & return pump dry up. It’s annoying.
 

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Thank you!! I agree :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

I usually do weekly water changes of about 2-3 gallons for my 13.5. If not, it might be a week and a half, depending on how busy I am haha. But in the past, when I was dealing with very high phosphate and nitrate readings, I did like 2-3 smaller changes in a week for emergency reasons. My next one would be towards the end of next week.
A simple WC will higher it, but I am sure you already knew that lol.
 
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I have the same time! I might have missed it but what do you use for ATO? I currently manually top off since I struggle with the water chamber levels. Chamber one filters get clogged which makes chamber 3 with my heater & return pump dry up. It’s annoying.
I currently use the Tunze Nano ATO (3152) in my third chamber! It’s been working great, I have a 2 gallon jug for my rodi water.

How come your first chamber is clogging? I’ve never had that issue thankfully, I usually change my filter floss every 2-3 days.
 

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I have the same time! I might have missed it but what do you use for ATO? I currently manually top off since I struggle with the water chamber levels. Chamber one filters get clogged which makes chamber 3 with my heater & return pump dry up. It’s annoying.
You running a sock?
 

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Little update for today:

Finally got some pictures of my gramma! He's been darting out of his cave every now and then, managed to get a few photos. Such a lovely fish! I also ran some tests today:

Nitrate: 2.1ppm
Phosphate: 0.31ppm
Alk: 7.8 dKH

My nitrate is reading a little low. I have been feeding once a day, in small portions, so I can try and increase nitrate by feeding a little more in my portions. Phosphate is good news for me, as my phosphates have been high for a long time. My last reading from almost two weeks ago read 0.54ppm, so I am happy to see it has gone down after reduced feeding and water changes. I have also been adding Phosguard in a media bag, so that could possibly be lowering it as well. Hoping to keep lowering if possible.

My alk is reading 7.8, which is lower than my test last week of 8.5 dKH. Not sure what could cause the lower alkalinity, but I think it should be okay for now. I would want it at least around the 8.0 or more ideally, any tips on how to get alk up a little?

Happy Friday y'all!
I had some high phosphorus, switched to ai axis return and now I turn the pumps off when I feed so I don't have all that left over food sitting in the filter breaking down. I came to the conclusion it was not that I was necessarily over feeding (I was a little) but that the tank was turning over so fast most of the food was just expelling. So now I just shut it down for 10 minutes and the majority of the food gets eaten. I went from a .39 to .09.
 
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I had some high phosphorus, switched to ai axis return and now I turn the pumps off when I feed so I don't have all that left over food sitting in the filter breaking down. I came to the conclusion it was not that I was necessarily over feeding (I was a little) but that the tank was turning over so fast most of the food was just expelling. So now I just shut it down for 10 minutes and the majority of the food gets eaten. I went from a .39 to .09.
Thanks for the suggestion! I turn off my powerhead for a bit when I'm feeding but my return pump stays on. I could try turning the return pump off for a little when feeding too, but it does help distribute some of the food haha. After feeding, the majority of the excess ends up in my filter floss anywho. Good to hear that fixed your problem though!
 
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Day 74 Update and Previous Days

Hope everyone's been doing well! It has been yet another week or two so I'll do an update on here. Not much has happened since my last update. I have been cleaning the glass and stirring the sand regularly, and did one water change of about 2.5 gallons. Between Days 70-72, I did another 3 day blackout. The diatoms in my sandbed have started to get out of control and were growing pretty rapidly. Considering I don't have many light-sensitive corals, I figured I might as well. It has been about 3 days since the blackout and no signs of diatoms re-appearing thankfully. The sandbed is clean for now... lol!

I did do some testing after my water change:
Nitrate: 4.4ppm
Phosphate: 0.42ppm
Alk: 8.3dKH

Nitrate is still hanging low but not bottoming out. Been keeping an eye on it. Rather have it lower than crazy high I guess. Phosphate seems to have increased since the last test of 0.31ppm about 10 days ago. Alkalinity has gone back up though, happy to see that.

I have been continuing to dose Microbacter 7 daily and Clean weekly. My hermit crab molted this week which was interesting. I also lost more of my trochus snails for some unknown reason. I had 5 but am now down to two. I plan on picking up some more CUC this week: a tiger conch, more trochus snails (maybe 2 or so), and maybe another nassarius. Let me know if there are any other recommendations! I do have another bottle of pods on the way to replenish my stock along with phyto this time! Any tips on dosing that stuff for a 13.5g?

A little update on my gramma; he's been doing pretty good! He's comfortable leaving his cave now and swims around during the day near his area. My clowns don't seem to bother him. He's been eating a lot and seems healthy! My watchman has also been out more which is cool, not a ton but still sits outside his cave from time to time. Corals are doing well too, had my GSP close up for a couple of days not sure why. It seems to have opened back up after my water change though.

Wishing everyone a good week!
 

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WalkerLoves_TheOcean

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Day 74 Update and Previous Days

Hope everyone's been doing well! It has been yet another week or two so I'll do an update on here. Not much has happened since my last update. I have been cleaning the glass and stirring the sand regularly, and did one water change of about 2.5 gallons. Between Days 70-72, I did another 3 day blackout. The diatoms in my sandbed have started to get out of control and were growing pretty rapidly. Considering I don't have many light-sensitive corals, I figured I might as well. It has been about 3 days since the blackout and no signs of diatoms re-appearing thankfully. The sandbed is clean for now... lol!

I did do some testing after my water change:
Nitrate: 4.4ppm
Phosphate: 0.42ppm
Alk: 8.3dKH

Nitrate is still hanging low but not bottoming out. Been keeping an eye on it. Rather have it lower than crazy high I guess. Phosphate seems to have increased since the last test of 0.31ppm about 10 days ago. Alkalinity has gone back up though, happy to see that.

I have been continuing to dose Microbacter 7 daily and Clean weekly. My hermit crab molted this week which was interesting. I also lost more of my trochus snails for some unknown reason. I had 5 but am now down to two. I plan on picking up some more CUC this week: a tiger conch, more trochus snails (maybe 2 or so), and maybe another nassarius. Let me know if there are any other recommendations! I do have another bottle of pods on the way to replenish my stock along with phyto this time! Any tips on dosing that stuff for a 13.5g?

A little update on my gramma; he's been doing pretty good! He's comfortable leaving his cave now and swims around during the day near his area. My clowns don't seem to bother him. He's been eating a lot and seems healthy! My watchman has also been out more which is cool, not a ton but still sits outside his cave from time to time. Corals are doing well too, had my GSP close up for a couple of days not sure why. It seems to have opened back up after my water change though.

Wishing everyone a good week!
That's awesome to hear that everything is going good for you! I have read that you should dose 5ml per 20g of phyto for the first 2 weeks. So I would do less than 5ml for the first 2 weeks. Hope this helps!
 
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That's awesome to hear that everything is going good for you! I have read that you should dose 5ml per 20g of phyto for the first 2 weeks. So I would do less than 5ml for the first 2 weeks. Hope this helps!
Thank you!! I might try the 5mL you recommend for the first two weeks. I reached out to Reef by Steele and they told me to dose 2mL per day per actual system volume; so for my system they said 20mL per day which is interesting. For dosing you just use a regular pipette right?
 

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Nice to hear things are going overall pretty well! Personally, I wouldn't do more snails unless you're seeing a lot of Algae growth, they might actually be starving, based on the pictures you've posted - since there doesn't appear to be a lot of Algae.

The conch though will definitely help with the sandbed - I love them.

Nassarius are great scavengers - love them too!
 
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Nice to hear things are going overall pretty well! Personally, I wouldn't do more snails unless you're seeing a lot of Algae growth, they might actually be starving, based on the pictures you've posted - since there doesn't appear to be a lot of Algae.

The conch though will definitely help with the sandbed - I love them.

Nassarius are great scavengers - love them too!
Thank you! That's true, I might consider waiting on the snails rather than keep purchasing them every few weeks. CUC definitely can add up in cost haha. I do have a little green on my rocks, but I'm not sure if it is sufficient for too many snails. I still have 2 cruising around. Unless something is killing them off, but I don't think my hermits are.

Definitely might pick up a conch though! I get algae in some of the areas further away from my powerhead in the sand, so there should be some food.
 

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