Fluval Flex 15gal Nano Tank

SandyBay

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Hi all,
I just wanted to share my journey/plan for converting the Fluval Flex 15gal freshwater tank to a super-nano reef aquarium. I just got back into the hobby after 10 years of just doing freshwater tanks with the last couple of years dabbling in aquascaping. It's been really fun but I miss keeping saltwater tanks so... here I go!
I have a freshwater white Fluval Flex 15 gal that is aquascaped and I thought it would be a great idea to make a "matching" saltwater one.

For the freshwater tank, I basically used all the stock filtration and lighting as it is a really great AOI tank for anyone looking to do a super easy freshwater setup. For the saltwater tank, I made some pretty substantial modifications to allow it to support corals.

Here is what I am doing:

Return Pump/Flow:
I replaced the stock Fluval return pump that comes with the AOI kit with the Eheim compactON 600. It works well with 1/2" tubing from BRS. The reason for this is because the stock return pump does not provide good flow AT ALL and the Eheim pump circulates about 600L/hr, which is exactly where I want to be for the 15gal tank.
I also added a Fluval DC pump for 15 gal aquariums to increase the flow.

Filtration:
I replaced the stock sponge filter and stock biological media in the second filter compartment with only biological filtration in mesh bags. I used the Seachem Matrix media because it has the highest SA of any biological filtration media I know of. I kept the activated carbon bag and placed it on top just to clarify the water.
Instead of the stock sponge in the second compartment, I bought filter mesh and placed it in the first compartment to catch particulates. I placed it right before the gratings that allow the water to flow to the second compartment to catch particulates. This makes for really easy maintenance as I can just cut a new piece and replace the old one in 5 seconds.

I also added the Tunze Comline 9001 DC skimmer to the first filtration compartment. As it is a nano tank, I believe this step was not really needed because such a small skimmer won't make that big of a dent, but instead of changing the water every week, I might get away with every 10 days with the skimmer... who knows.

I might add some chaeto later on in the second or third built-in compartment, but I want to establish my tank and see if that really will be necessary later on for more nutrient export.

Lighting:
I replaced the stock LED's with a Hipargero Aqua Knight LED. I've read many reviews saying that this is a great budget nano reef light and I'm excited to see what softies and LPS corals will do well with it! I have not decided yet if I am going to cut a hole in the aquarium cover and mount it on there, or do a topless nano tank and mount the light on the rim. I am concerned about having the light so close to the water with evaporation causing electrical problems and the light being too intense for the fish and corals I will be keeping. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!

Hopefully, Awesome Pictures to Come!
 
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Fritz

piranhaman00

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Welcome and fun stuff! Not familiar with that tank but the fluval marine lights are basically waterproof.
 

Trickman2

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Hi all,
I just wanted to share my journey/plan for converting the Fluval Flex 15gal freshwater tank to a super-nano reef aquarium. I just got back into the hobby after 10 years of just doing freshwater tanks with the last couple of years dabbling in aquascaping. It's been really fun but I miss keeping saltwater tanks so... here I go!
I have a freshwater white Fluval Flex 15 gal that is aquascaped and I thought it would be a great idea to make a "matching" saltwater one.

For the freshwater tank, I basically used all the stock filtration and lighting as it is a really great AOI tank for anyone looking to do a super easy freshwater setup. For the saltwater tank, I made some pretty substantial modifications to allow it to support corals.

Here is what I am doing:

Return Pump/Flow:
I replaced the stock Fluval return pump that comes with the AOI kit with the Eheim compactON 600. It works well with 1/2" tubing from BRS. The reason for this is because the stock return pump does not provide good flow AT ALL and the Eheim pump circulates about 600L/hr, which is exactly where I want to be for the 15gal tank.
I also added a Fluval DC pump for 15 gal aquariums to increase the flow.

Filtration:
I replaced the stock sponge filter and stock biological media in the second filter compartment with only biological filtration in mesh bags. I used the Seachem Matrix media because it has the highest SA of any biological filtration media I know of. I kept the activated carbon bag and placed it on top just to clarify the water.
Instead of the stock sponge in the second compartment, I bought filter mesh and placed it in the first compartment to catch particulates. I placed it right before the gratings that allow the water to flow to the second compartment to catch particulates. This makes for really easy maintenance as I can just cut a new piece and replace the old one in 5 seconds.

I also added the Tunze Comline 9001 DC skimmer to the first filtration compartment. As it is a nano tank, I believe this step was not really needed because such a small skimmer won't make that big of a dent, but instead of changing the water every week, I might get away with every 10 days with the skimmer... who knows.

I might add some chaeto later on in the second or third built-in compartment, but I want to establish my tank and see if that really will be necessary later on for more nutrient export.

Lighting:
I replaced the stock LED's with a Hipargero Aqua Knight LED. I've read many reviews saying that this is a great budget nano reef light and I'm excited to see what softies and LPS corals will do well with it! I have not decided yet if I am going to cut a hole in the aquarium cover and mount it on there, or do a topless nano tank and mount the light on the rim. I am concerned about having the light so close to the water with evaporation causing electrical problems and the light being too intense for the fish and corals I will be keeping. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!

Hopefully, Awesome Pictures to Come!
Sandy can you give us a ballpark for your budget? Are you giving yourself a monthly allowance, etc. Please try to break down by Categories, Total budget, Equipment, Fish, corals. We can give you better recommendations if we know what you have to work with. Add some pictures it will help us provide some more incite.
 
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SandyBay

SandyBay

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Sandy can you give us a ballpark for your budget? Are you giving yourself a monthly allowance, etc. Please try to break down by Categories, Total budget, Equipment, Fish, corals. We can give you better recommendations if we know what you have to work with. Add some pictures it will help us provide some more incite.
I'm thinking around 300$/mo for initial costs like stocking and better equipment. So far I have everything set up except fish and corals and maybe an ATO system
 

Dark_Knightt

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I was thinking of a clown pair and goby. Maybe that might be a little much but I do want a utilitarian fish like sand sifter/algae eater/ parasite picker
1. Clowns are great, we all love them. 2. Ive never had a shrimp/goby pair myself, but Ive seen them at my LFS and they are SUPER fun to watch, because the shrimp digs the burrow for the both of em with little clawfuls of sand, and the fish then goes and hides, etc. cute. 3. For sand sifters, you could try a sandsifting starfish, but I would suggest nassarius snails, maybe like 2-3 in your tank, they are excellent.
 
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SandyBay

SandyBay

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0684DA0F-CD11-46E8-8F3F-925AC280F8FA.jpeg

Hey all! Here is my current setup! This is on the first day of setting it up. More pics to come of the filtration system :)
 
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SandyBay

SandyBay

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This is my tank a week after being set up! To cycle it, I used a full bottle of FRITZ Zyme 9, and when I added my clownfish I added the BIO+Spira Bacteria from Instant Ocean. I know this is a little over-kill but from what I understand, you can't go wrong with more bacteria!
1BDF9F32-AE2E-4263-A13A-C4ECAF062E90.jpeg
8494BFF1-C958-434C-8392-E603069653A7.jpeg

I added some pictures here of the back filtration and how my tank looks now! I stocked some beautiful (frostbite?) clownfish and am hoping to get a mandarin goby or sand safting goby. For the mandarin goby I understand I need to cultivate copepods- which I have yet to figure out how to do. Any help with doing so would be much appreciated!
8CB48E4B-D03F-4DAF-A529-F9466FBAF6FF.jpeg
8EC850B0-D032-49CB-98AA-47AC63D073FA.jpeg
5CDD3E63-37CF-4CED-B246-3B99CDA06C05.jpeg

Last picture is of a snail riding my Haloween hermit crab, which I thought was super cute!
Please let me know what you all think so far! Still going to figure out how to install my lights. Also does anyone have an idea where to find a clear lid for this sort of tank? I want to switch so I can install my Hipargero Aqua Knight Light above the aquarium but don’t know where to find one. Thank you all!
 
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SandyBay

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Hi all,
Just another update on the conversion project. I got some corals in today and the splatter hammer is opening up really nicely! Got a couple zoa colonies in, a duncan, a mushroom, and some GSP. I replaced the original flex top with plexiglass that I cut myself so that I can use my Hipargero Aqua Knight light and it looks fabulous! Clownfish are having some trouble getting along but hopefully all will be well in a couple of days.
5200F6A5-DDAB-4046-97B0-7C05A7C3C723.jpeg
 
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SandyBay

SandyBay

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Here’s a little update on the build! Corals are doing really well- just wished my pink hammer had more polyp extention. Any recommendations? There is some brown algae starting to appear on the sand and the back wall and I am just hoping it will go away soon... but otherwise really satisfied so far!
0C0A9967-B09D-4269-87A2-8E3803987940.jpeg
8EFFC381-410E-4781-BBE8-10B47AD1963C.jpeg
283A0D40-1622-4588-910F-4FBCA3EB8B26.jpeg
 
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marcwjj

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I'm thinking around 300$/mo for initial costs like stocking and better equipment. So far I have everything set up except fish and corals and maybe an ATO system
Nice setup and aquascaping, congratulations on a successful conversion! I converted my fluval 32 from freshwater to a saltwater tank as well :)

One note on ATO. I had the exact same skimmer as yours (tunze 9001) and found that it required constant adjustment to make sure it does not overflow / underflow. I've since installed an ATO which make it less a chore and removed the need to manually adjust it every few days.

But still I find it the skimmer to be a pain as it's too sensitive to water level changes, e.g. at feeding time, if I stop the return pump , the water level would change enough for the skimmer to overflow.

I wonder what's your experience so far with the Tunze skimmer?
 

marcwjj

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Here’s a little update on the build! Corals are doing really well- just wished my pink hammer had more polyp extention. Any recommendations? There is some brown algae starting to appear on the sand and the back wall and I am just hoping it will go away soon... but otherwise really satisfied so far!
0C0A9967-B09D-4269-87A2-8E3803987940.jpeg
8EFFC381-410E-4781-BBE8-10B47AD1963C.jpeg
283A0D40-1622-4588-910F-4FBCA3EB8B26.jpeg
BTW, I found that, for small corals such as zoas, it looks nicer if one removes the plug , and just glue the skeleton / base to the rock. that also leaves more open space.

PXL_20201231_173503528.jpg
 
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SandyBay

SandyBay

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Nice setup and aquascaping, congratulations on a successful conversion! I converted my fluval 32 from freshwater to a saltwater tank as well :)

One note on ATO. I had the exact same skimmer as yours (tunze 9001) and found that it required constant adjustment to make sure it does not overflow / underflow. I've since installed an ATO which make it less a chore and removed the need to manually adjust it every few days.

But still I find it the skimmer to be a pain as it's too sensitive to water level changes, e.g. at feeding time, if I stop the return pump , the water level would change enough for the skimmer to overflow.

I wonder what's your experience so far with the Tunze skimmer?
Same exact problem! I did just install an ATO to help as well and it's been going smoothly after that.
 
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SandyBay

SandyBay

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BTW, I found that, for small corals such as zoas, it looks nicer if one removes the plug , and just glue the skeleton / base to the rock. that also leaves more open space.

PXL_20201231_173503528.jpg
I did that about a week ago because I came to the same conclusion that frag plugs are ugly LOL. Thanks!
 

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