Looking for advice on my 5 month old 13.5 Evo. (warning LOTs of information)

DannoOMG

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I have been trying to get some reef tank services to come and consult me on how I should improve my tank but nobody has gotten back to me. I guess they are too busy.

Information I will include hoping it will give you guys an idea of where I should go from here :

*Lighting/Tank/Pumps etc
*What food I use and my feeding schedule
*My entire history of testing/water changes etc in a spreadsheet (also includes what is in the tank)


Gear:
13.5 Evo Tank
Fluval Marine NANO LED
PS2 Mini Protein Skimmer
Stock return pump (the sponge inside the pump has been removed)
Just this past week I added the Vortech MP10 Powerhead.
Chemi-pure blue for my carbon filtration
Stock biological media and the foam mechanical filtration (I rinse this a every other week)

___________________________________

Feeding/Dosing: (pictures of brands and example size of food I put in)

Every other day I feed the fish/corals a pinch of ZoPlan coral food, a small piece of frozen brine shrimp, 2 milliliters of Kent Marine Phytoplankton and 2 milliliters of AB+ Coral Nutrition.
Every other day I do extremely small shavings of the frozen brine shrimp to keep my 6 line calm... (I needed him for flatworms and he did his job well)
Twice a week I do a half a cap of "Purple up"

20210522_164125.jpg

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Examples of portions below:

20210522_164224.jpg


20210522_164316.jpg


I try and spot feed the small gonipora, chalice and Aussie lord I have with a turkey baster.

My water change/test History:

Tank Status 5-23.jpg


I use premixed sea water by "Caribsea Sea pure" for the water in my tank. RO/DI for evaporation. If my pH is low I dose 8.4 pH and add a VERY small amount to bring it back up. Like a half a milliliter.

My most recent images of my gross tank as of 5/23.

20210522_095511.jpg


20210523_162545.jpg


^^^ This gunk is almost covering 60% of my sand bed and feels like a one big carpet of gunk that can lift sand if you try and remove it.

I am a little overwhelmed and lately I have gone through some rough couple of months so I have been a little out of sorts. As you can see my tank has gotten away from me a bit. I try to make sure I take the pump/skimmer apart, rinse it and clean it on a regular basis. I think I might be overfeeding but I wanted some input. My 6 line wrasse got bored after two weeks of eradicating my white flatworm population and started picking on my watchman goby. My fix for that was putting up a small mirror on one side of the tank and do some SMALL shavings of frozen shrimp every day to keep him fed. It has worked so far but I think my tank has suffered for it. Maybe not? I don't know.

I can be a little thick headed when it comes to problem solving and I am little stuffed mentally these days.

If this was your tank what would change? I'm not overly sensitive to criticism.

Sorry that this is my first post, "HEY I'M NEW HERE. HELP ME OUT NOW!" I cannot have an experienced set of eyes on my tank right now if my life depended on it.

P.S. I included some pictures of my tank through it's multiple stages. That acro is dead and I knew it was dead when I put it in there. My boss had a big hunk of it and let me take a piece to decorate my tank. Hoping some coralline algae sticks to it.

Thanks for your time.

- Dan 1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg 8.jpg 9.jpg
 
Zoanthids

Sharkbait19

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For one thing, I believe that you'll have to lighten up on the feedings. Uneaten food leads to raised phosphates, which leads to algae. With only three fish and a small system, the decomposition of food can spike parameters.

It appears as though your system has both cyano and dinos, two annoying algaes that occur during nutrient imbalances. A good solution is Chemiclean, which is effective against nuiscance bacteria such as cyano. I'm unsure of how it may affect beneficial bacteria, however, so you may want to double check on that.

I myself had a terrible algae problem for months. There were two excellent solutions to my problem.
One is the InTank Media Basket for chambers 1 and 2. After I installed them, any uneaten food or die-off was caught by my filter floss and broken down by microorganisms, and the display itself became much cleaner.
The second and more important thing is to have a good cleanup crew. Right now, I notice you have only two snails, and they're Margarita snails. Those are only truly effective with diatoms and detritus, and they tend to slowly starve because of their unique diet. Your tank would greatly benefit from nassarius, cerith, trochus, and astrea snails. The nassarius and ceriths are excellent in stirring the sandbed and keeping algae from settling. Trochus and astreas are both algae-eating machines. I'd recommend at least five nassarius and ten astreas. You will definitely notice a difference there.

As far as your sixline's problem goes, I'm unsure if you'll be able to suppress its aggression for long. They're notoriously aggressive for small wrasses, and in a fluval evo, they claim the whole tank as their territory. I myself had to pass on getting one for this reason. You could try to rescape or add more rocks to both provide more hiding spaces and to confuse the aggressive fish.

Your tank is looking great, and it really just takes a lot of time to get it right. I myself am having some troubles, but it's all part of the tank's development. Good luck!
 
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DannoOMG

DannoOMG

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I have... 3 Dwarf Hermit Crabs, 2 Emerald Crabs, 1 Sand Sifting Cucumber, 1 Pistol Shrimp, 6 really tiny hermit crabs the size of a pea and 3 Margarita Snails and 3 Halloween Hermit Crabs.

Those are my inverts at the moment. I also have that alternative media basket but the guy at the store was worried if I removed the mechanical foam it would mess with bacteria. Maybe it's time to do the swap...
 

Sharkbait19

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I have... 3 Dwarf Hermit Crabs, 2 Emerald Crabs, 1 Sand Sifting Cucumber, 1 Pistol Shrimp, 6 really tiny hermit crabs the size of a pea and 3 Margarita Snails and 3 Halloween Hermit Crabs.

Those are my inverts at the moment. I also have that alternative media basket but the guy at the store was worried if I removed the mechanical foam it would mess with bacteria. Maybe it's time to do the swap...
I've never replaced my media, but I do give it a rinse every now and then.
 
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DannoOMG

DannoOMG

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I've never replaced my media, but I do give it a rinse every now and then.
Okay. I rinse it every 2 weeks or so.

For the rest of the week I am only doing some small shavings of food for the fish and that is it. I'm cutting down on invert/coral food for a week and see if that helps. End of the week I will do a water change.
 
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DannoOMG

DannoOMG

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Will do.

(1) Cut back on feedings
(2) More frequent bigger water changes.

Hopefully things start improving. The Cyano has basically been nuked from the tank now. I used something from "Ultralife Red Slime Remover." It has worked well. This new stuff though came after.

So far there is some peace in the tank with the Wrasse but I have a feeling in time he will need a new home.
 

Sharkbait19

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The Cyano has basically been nuked from the tank now. I used something from "Ultralife Red Slime Remover." It has worked well. This new stuff though came after.
That's sort of how algae is. Once one is removed, another has the chance to take over. It seems to be a never-ending cycle lol
 
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NeonRabbit221B

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Toss that foam in the trash. Its a nitrate factory and removing it won't considerably impact your nitrogen processing. using a flow director and media basket allows me to replace a 1/2" x 3" strip of filter floss about twice a week while keeping everything stable. Upgrading the pump further helps removing detritus with the floss.
 

DrunkenViking

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I did change out my light very early on and added a lot more flow to the tank as well. Our tanks are about the same age. I don’t dose or anything I have used phosgaurd once and have had no issues. Where are you getting your ro water from?
 
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DannoOMG

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I think the new power head will honestly help a lot it seems like the stock pump just didn’t have enough flow to keep enough movement. Just my 2 cents
I had some cheap 35 dollar powerhead which worked fine and only had one speed. But cleaning it was such a pain in the butt and the Vortech sounds like it is such a breeze to clean it seemed like a no brainer.

I'm still breaking it in and hopefully I can put it in Lagoon Mode in another 10 days. (They say run it on low speeds on continous mode for 2 weeks gradually increasing speed over time)

I USE premixed saltwater for the water changes. At work I have an RO/DI for the tank at work and I use that for straight RODI water for evaporation etc.
 

NeonRabbit221B

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Here are my thoughts
- Don't dose anything you cant test for. Adding pH boosters are a temporary fix and unless your ph is falling below 7.8 then leave it alone and don't change numbers
- Toss out the foam
- Purple up isn't doing a thing. Read what is in the bottle
- Goni will need high light and flow then what you have. Move it up
- Didn't see chalice placement but keep it low light near sandbed
- Keep Nitrates 5-10 and phosphates detectable (I would replace API test kits with something more accurate, you are guessing for 50% of the test result)
- Keep on trucking man, your doing just fine.
 
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DannoOMG

DannoOMG

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Here are my thoughts
- Don't dose anything you cant test for. Adding pH boosters are a temporary fix and unless your ph is falling below 7.8 then leave it alone and don't change numbers
- Toss out the foam
- Purple up isn't doing a thing. Read what is in the bottle
- Goni will need high light and flow then what you have. Move it up
- Didn't see chalice placement but keep it low light near sandbed
- Keep Nitrates 5-10 and phosphates detectable (I would replace API test kits with something more accurate, you are guessing for 50% of the test result)
- Keep on trucking man, your doing just fine.
Nice. This has all been useful information.

The chalice has always been in the sand and the Goni has also been in the sand. Chalice is currently located far right side of the tank in the sand. I will move the Goni when I get back to work.

Good thing I have a ton of floss and the alternative media basket ready to go. I read here that people said ditch it. Do I replace the biological media or keep the existing when I put in the new basket?
 

DrunkenViking

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I’m still trying to decide on doing the skimmer for this tank I have read so many different things about it not being very good and some love it. I’m honestly to the point where I may just add a 10 gallon sump and call it a day lol.
 

NeonRabbit221B

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Nice. This has all been useful information.

The chalice has always been in the sand and the Goni has also been in the sand. Chalice is currently located far right side of the tank in the sand. I will move the Goni when I get back to work.

Good thing I have a ton of floss and the alternative media basket ready to go. I read here that people said ditch it. Do I replace the biological media or keep the existing when I put in the new basket?
What specific media are you referring too. Generally I would argue that live rock is the only biomedia you need and the foam can trap detritus which is converted to nitrates. My tank revolves around removing the trapped waste (which collects on my filter floss) very regularly. Biorings/Matrix I would keep but others are likley just doing ammonia processing which doesn't really help you.

Can you link me to the media basket? Here is what I printed and has been working wonders for me
 

NeonRabbit221B

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I’m still trying to decide on doing the skimmer for this tank I have read so many different things about it not being very good and some love it. I’m honestly to the point where I may just add a 10 gallon sump and call it a day lol.
Worst $100 purchase in my 2 years or reefing. I think it broke about 2 months in. Pointless if you keep up with water chnages.
 

DrunkenViking

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What specific media are you referring too. Generally I would argue that live rock is the only biomedia you need and the foam can trap detritus which is converted to nitrates. My tank revolves around removing the trapped waste (which collects on my filter floss) very regularly. Biorings/Matrix I would keep but others are likley just doing ammonia processing which doesn't really help you.

Can you link me to the media basket? Here is what I printed and has been working wonders for me
Stop making me want a 3D printer even more
Worst $100 purchase in my 2 years or reefing. I think it broke about 2 months in. Pointless if you keep up with water chnages.
yeah that is exactly what I have read
 
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