Fluval Evo 13.5 Build

Tarqy

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Hey all, New to the hobby and plan to start the tank in the next few weeks, I picked up the Evo 13.5 second hand for £180 but it was one of those things someone bought during lockdown and never actually used so it’s safe to say it’s as new.

This is rundown of what I currently have and what I'm thinking of buying, I have some questions and it would be great to get some input on if I'm going about this the right way.

The idea was to start with a pair of Clownfish then maybe a Goby/Shrimp and the obligatory CUC.

LFS options aren't great up here but there is a shop an hour or so away that looks like it stocks frags so I'll probably go there for livestock/corals.

Current Equipment

Stock Return Pump
Stock Filter and Media
Stock Light
Fluval SEA PS2 Mini Protein Skimmer
Aquael Platinum 50w Heater
Jecod SW-2 Wavemaker with Wireless Controller
Salifert Test Kits (Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH)
D-D True Seawater Refractometer
Evolution Aqua Pure Reef Balance
Seachem Matrix High Capacity Biofiltration


Ordered

D-FLOW Fluval EVO Filter Media Basket Chamber 2
D-FLOW Random Flow Nozzle 1/2" (D-FLOW suggest if you upgrade the return pump you should switch to 1 x 1/2"?)
Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Syphon

Shopping Basket

Osmotics Ultra-Pure 4 Stage 100 Gallon Per Day RODI System
D-D Inline TDS Meter
Aquael Ultra Heater 75w
Tropic Marin Pro-Reef Salt 25Kg Bucket (750L)
Flipper Float Cleaner - Nano
Caribsea Seaflor Special Grade Sand (15lb)
Sicce Syncra 1.0 Aquarium Pump
Aquascape construction Putty (Coralline Algae colour)
Maxspect Nano-Tech Bio-Spheres 1KG
Brightwell Microbacter Start XLM

I've acquired a ridiculous amount of rock because marketplace pictures don't do justice to the scale! I got a load of what I’ve been told is Marco Rock or something very similar which I picked up for £40 but this could fill the tank 4 times over so unless I start smashing it up, I may be better with the other rock I picked up for free.

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The free rock was live when i got it but had been in a tank that was using water pumped from the North Sea for cheap water changes. As you can imagine it had some interesting wildlife attached most of which i couldn't identify as it's probably not something you'd keep in a home reef aquarium. I personally wouldn't swim in the North Sea, so I didn't want to take the risk with it. I've cleaned this rock up with an acid then bleach bath and many rinses/dry cycles.

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The rock I’ve cleaned is much lighter and appears to be way more porous which if I understand correctly suggests it would be a better filter in a small tank.

Question Time!

Should I use the skimmer or buy the chamber one media basket?
What size RODI unit should i get, the 100 is only £30 more than the 50 (future proofing?)
Should I upgrade to the Sicce 0.5 or 1.0 pump?
What should I be putting in the media basket(s)?
Do I need to dose ammonia once I start the cycle with the XLM? I've seen people just sticking fish in to generate the ammonia, but I don't want to kill some innocent fish if I get this wrong.
Which rock should I use? I can either use the stuff I’ve cleaned which will fit or smash up some of the larger Marco type rock.
I've read I shouldn't really need an ATO if I’m starting with the stock lid/light since it stops a lot of the evaporation?
Is the Seachem Matrix basically the same as the Maxspect Bio-Spheres but in a different format?
Will I ever need the Evolution Aqua Pure Reef Balance?
Is there anything I've missed and should be looking to buy?

I know i should upgrade the light but that’s a few months down the line when I get to corals! However, I will take recommendations for when the time comes!

Thank you in advance!
 
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thatone08

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Hey Tarqy,

I would recommend upgrading the stock return pump. Sicce 1.0 240 gph fits in there. Not sure if the gallon per hour on the wave maker but that is a nice touch. Rfg nozzle is a great idea. If you plan on keeping LPS corals upgrade the light AI prime would be perfect. If you do a media basket in chamber one, filter floss, I use the stock foam and scrunch it in, followed by marine pure balls. If you go the extra rock route make sure to shake the balls out in clean saltwater during a water change, separate from the water your adding back in. Nitrates will grow if you don’t.

you can ghost feed with fish food, or by ammonia for this purpose during cycling. I add fish after ammonia is 0 and 1 at a time.

good luck.
 

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Tarqy

Tarqy

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Hey Tarqy,

I would recommend upgrading the stock return pump. Sicce 1.0 240 gph fits in there. Not sure if the gallon per hour on the wave maker but that is a nice touch. Rfg nozzle is a great idea. If you plan on keeping LPS corals upgrade the light AI prime would be perfect. If you do a media basket in chamber one, filter floss, I use the stock foam and scrunch it in, followed by marine pure balls. If you go the extra rock route make sure to shake the balls out in clean saltwater during a water change, separate from the water your adding back in. Nitrates will grow if you don’t.

you can ghost feed with fish food, or by ammonia for this purpose during cycling. I add fish after ammonia is 0 and 1 at a time.

good luck.
Okay great I'll order the 1.0, I got the impression they where the same size based on the information on the website just wasn't sure if it would be too much flow but i guess I can turn it down so it gives me more flexibility.

I also read that the higher flow causes problems with the water level in chamber 3 which houses the heater but some posts suggested that was user error and that it could be fixed so I'll just have to figure it out if it happens.

The wavemaker came bundled with the tank, not sure I need it but I see a lot of the builds do have one and that flow is important, are you suggesting its too powerful for this size tank?
 
Corals.com

thatone08

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Nice! 2/3 is fine in the highest spot. Just make sure you have enough room from the glass.

how many pounds is it? You have to think of displacement of water with rock and sand. My fluval is roughly actually 10 gallons of water after all the displacement. But rock allows housing for beneficial bacteria to colonize.
 

MNFish

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I use stock light and I do not need ATO.
I do not run skimmer but have filter basket in first chamber with floss that seems to work fine.
Stock light in my opinion is under rated but it depends on what you are trying to do with the tank.
 

Catnip885

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I have the evo as well we went with the sicce 0.5 my husband read a ton of people got the 1.0 and turned the flow down but I don't know how true it is. We went with the chamber 1 intank media basket didn't use a skimmer as I do regular 15-20% water changes once a week. We also upgraded to the ai prime mostly because my husband ordered a lot of sps that needed the upgrade. My lps were doing fine under the stock light but it did get pretty warm so I did not like the temperature swings for it. Also noticed that there was a protien film that would not go away until I got rid of the lid. Idk if it was coincidence or not. I wouldn't use the sponge that comes with it as it can easily turn into a nitrate factory just use filter floss and you can throw in purigen or chemipure. Your scape looks amazing! You are going to have so much fun with it!
 
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