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Fluval EVO 13.5 questions! I need HELP!


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May 26, 2019
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Hey everyone, I have several questions currently about my tank. I'll post specs first before my questions/issues...
Tank: Fluval Evo 13.5 gallon
Lighting: stock light- 11000K LED. Very Very white light :(. I try to run my blue light from 0700-0-1000, and then full lights from 1000-1900 and then back to blue from 1900-2200. One of the things that I am bummed about this light is the inability to run a timer, I work nights as a nurse so I always have to make sure i turn it on/off manually to try to maintain some semblance of a schedule..

Pump: Ehein Compact ON 1000- can move up to 220 G/hour. I have mine turned probably 75% up and it seems like the fish enjoy the flow.
I was running a skimmer but recently as my tank has been more established I am not removing anything from the skimmer. I shut it off on Tuesday. It is still in compartment 2 but not running. I have chemipure in my first compartment with filter floss and I plan to add filter rings to the second compartment once I remove the skimmer.... I do 3 gallon water changes occasionally. but I will not lie and say it is consistent. I truly believe my tank has been more stable/happy since i just replace as needed. I do a water change if I notice a lot of debris on the sandbad (1 inch deep). I dose Dr. Tim's one and only every month or so just for a boost.
I use Instant Ocean salt and keep my salinity pretty stinking level at 1.025. I test once a week with ATI unless something looks off. ( I will be upgrading tests once I am out of these)
-pH runs consistently at 8.0. I tried everything to raise it to 8.2 or so but finally gave up. I started using Seachem Reef Builder and that seems to keep me at 8.0-8.1 compared to 7.8 when I do not use it.
-Ammonia is always 0-0.25. I use the ATI kits and it always seems hard to tell if it is at zero, or the 0.25. so I count it higher to make sure I am adressing it properly.
-Nitrite and Nitrate are always zero. I was always under the impression that my nitrate neeeded to at least be present in order to prove the biological filter is working properly. But I am at zero and it seems like the tank if happy and stable. I have a lot of pods present as well.
-Alk ise 10,
-Ca is usually 380-400.
- Mg is 1275.
I use Seachem to replace..

-2 snowflake clownfish
-tailspot blenny,

-2 blue legged hermit crabs,
-1 nessarius snail
-2 nerite snails
-1 Astrea snail
-feather duster
-GSP (rehoming to my mothers tank VERY soon, he loves my tank too much and I don't want to be overrun)
-Xenia tree (also rehoming to my mom, its MASSIVE and is turning into a forest from a frag plug the size of a quarter)
-1 emerald green crab, I do give him little pieces of shrimp 1-2 times a week( so far has been peaceful, I think he used to be better at eating algae? Or maybe the algae I have now he does not approve of? Maybe it is too tough now?)
I JUST added a dolabella sea hare and 1 tiger conch on wednesday for the algae and sand cleaning respectively. The conch seems very happy, and the sea hare seems to munch slowly away. He does sleep a lot but no signs of illness and I acclimated both very slowly.
I typically feed 1/3 cube of brine every day approximately 5-6 days/week. I tried to mix up and do blood worms or mysis for variety but NO ONE will touch it. 2 times a week i dose 5 mL zooplankton and 5 mL phytoplankton target fed to my mushrooms, xenia and GSP. My mushrooms started as 1 and I now have over 9 mushrooms and I am always finding more...

So, I delt with red cyano several months ago and just let it run its course and one day it cleared up on its own. after that I started getting more green algae that my emerald crab just is not able to keep up on. So I let it get pretty bad and then ordered a sea hare from my LFS. (they accept trade-ins so I plan to bring him back after the job is done). That brings us current to today, I noticed 2 patched of weird black/gray slime (?) or algae near my sandbed. The one in the picture is about the size of a quarter, the other one is smaller-dime size. I cannot find any pictures that look like what I have, so I am posting here, is this anything to be concerned about? Is it toxic or will it kill my sea hare if he eats it? If so, how do I deal with it....

My other question that I wanted to ask is regarding a light. I am currently eyeballing the AI prime HD- is that too much light for mushrooms and zoas? I think primarily that will be what I run in this tank, and likely one hammer/torch/frogspawn. The reason I ask is sometimes it appears my mushrooms look light at the tips, almost as if they are bleaching. also the "bubbles" on the mushrooms are massive from what they were when I purchased it... Is it getting to much light? Has anyone else had mushrooms that changed like this? I really do not like the look of the white light and I want to get the more "blue" feel with the upgrade, but it would feel bad if an upgradeed light kills my mushrooms.... I did just purchase several Zoas from aquarium depot before this gray/black algae came out. I truly thought my tank was stable and happy. Naturally now I am stressed that I just added new coral and my tank is going to poison itself.
I guess one last question- if I get the AI prime light then I need to go to a screen cover which means my evaporation will be severe....... Reviews on ATO are so mixed but I feel like If i get the light i should get the ATO with it, what does everyone run for their nano tanks that is consistent and also not huge. Of course I do not have a sump or anything so It would be hanging on the tank..
So to recap my questions:
1. Black/gray algae slime, what is it? and will it kill my tank?
2. AI prime- too much light for a small tank with mushrooms and zoas?
3. are my mushrooms bleaching from too much light?
4. ATO: Should I deal with manually topping it off, or can I trust one?

Thanks everyone for reading, this is my first post here so I apoligize if it is not formatted correctly or I am missing information. I have been a lurker for months but I need help now!

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reef lover

It's a reef thing....
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Jan 1, 2013
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new york
Def get an ato. I like micro aqua autos myself.
I would run your skimmer even if nitrates are showing 0 they arent by the algae in tank. The grey area looks like a sponge.

Your mushies are trying to increase surface area to get more light so def upgrade.

Do you have any "bully fish" in your tank?

  • YES (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 116 58.0%
  • NO bullies just misunderstood...

    Votes: 68 34.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 16 8.0%

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