Saucey's 13.5 Fluval Evo : Mixed Reef (+Exotic Invert Tank)

SauceyReef

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Hello Reef2Reef Friends!

I am happy to announce I finally feel comfortable to start my build thread for my Fluval Evo 13.5 gallon. The all in one nano aquarium is about 3.5 months old. I thought it would be a good time to share seeing it is finally becoming well established. As some background: I have been in the hobby over 10 years. I had to tear down my tanks because of the hassle of moving around and not being able to have a dedicated spot. Well I could not wait any more and just had to get at least a nano going! My marine biologist friend who had been my partner in crime in the hobby for many years was watching many of my corals while I was away from the hobby. When I finally returned I had some NICE pieces waiting for me plus the convenience of some established liverock and water. I am happy to add I have not lost any tank inhabitants except a single coral frag and 1 sexy shrimp a few days after acclimation. Even every CUC member has made it since initial addition.

Current Tank Specs:
- Fluval 13.5 Evo Aquarium
- Replaced stock light with AI Prime 16 HD
- Fluval Heater
- Clipped stock light on back of tank for refugium light
- Removed all media and filtration from the chambers
- Added live-rock, kalerpa, and chaeto in the back middle chamber
- Replaced stock return pump with a Jebao DCS 1200
- Replaced stock return pump power head with a custom powerhead by D-Flow Designs
- Added a hygger mini wave maker
- Added a Kraken Reef Lid
- Add filter sock on the intake grid each night to prevent smaller fish + anemones from getting through. It also helps keep the water clear. I clean it every day.

Livestock

Fish:
- Yasha White Ray Shrimp Goby + Randalls Pistol Shrimp
- Green Warpaint Clown Goby
- Tail Spot Blenny

Invertebrates:
- 5 Sexy Shrimp
- 2 Glass Anemone Shrimp
- 1 Randalls pistol shrimp
- 1 Golden Coral Banded Shrimp
- 1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
- 1 Porcelain Crab
- 1 ORA Aquacultured Squamosa Clam

Corals & Anemones:
- Gold Purple and Green Splatter Hammer
- Neon Green Hammer
- Multiple colored Riccordia
- Riccordia Yuma
- Acan Echinata
- Acan morphs
- Numerous Zoanthid Morphs
- 3 Rock Flower Anemones
- 1 Small RBTA from my friends tank
- Scolymolia (11 yr old space booty)
- Blastomusa morphs
- Leptoseris
- 50 head Duncan
- Fascination Favia
- Pulsating Xenia on back wall

CUC:
- 10 Blue Legged Hermits
- 10 Trochus Snails
- 1 scarlet hermit (11 yrs old)
- Numerous Limpets
- 3 Nassiarus Vibex
- 1 Money Cowrie
- 2 Bumblee Snails

I thought I should add a current photo from a few days ago to get some more interest instead of just jumping into the build thread!
I will add some photos of other corals below than jump into the start of my Fluval Evo tank experience.

Saucey Reef 1.jpg
 
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SauceyReef

SauceyReef

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Nice . I'm getting ready to set up an evo at my workplace and am just taking in inspiration
Awesome! Great spot for one and a solid all in one tank. I have had a few small problems with the Fluval and would personally have tried the Waterbox 15 gallon peninsula instead if I could restart. Regardless the Fluval has made me fall in love with a peninsula tanks !
 
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Here’s some more current click bait from the tank before I get into the start of the build thread!
 

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david613

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Awesome! Great spot for one and a solid all in one tank. I have had a few small problems with the Fluval and would personally have tried the Waterbox 15 gallon peninsula instead if I could restart. Regardless the Fluval has made me fall in love with a peninsula tanks !
Fill me in what was problematic with the fluval ?
 
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SauceyReef

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Some of the negatives I have noticed is the stock equipment is not the best - you will likely have to upgrade everything although I have seem some nice tanks with just stock equipment. The glass is thick but the waterbox seems a bit more sturdy. I am getting what I think are some small scratches or possibly even micro fractures with the Fluval glass. Also it seems to get really bad salt creep on the tops. I am not the biggest fan of the painted black grid on the top but it can be scratched off! Not any huge problems - it is a great all in one tank especially for the price.. I just think there may be some better options out there I want people to know of after having the tank. I actually have a waterbox 15 gallon peninsula. I am probably going to upgrade around the 1 year mark seeing the scratches/fractures dont get to bad.
 
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Well here we go! Here are the first photos I took while getting the tank 3.5 months ago :)
 

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Nothing like getting the tank up and sand and rock in! Aquascaping ideas here we go!!
 

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david613

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Some of the negatives I have noticed is the stock equipment is not the best - you will likely have to upgrade everything although I have seem some nice tanks with just stock equipment. The glass is thick but the waterbox seems a bit more sturdy. I am getting what I think are some small scratches or possibly even micro fractures with the Fluval glass. Also it seems to get really bad salt creep on the tops. I am not the biggest fan of the painted black grid on the top but it can be scratched off! Not any huge problems - it is a great all in one tank especially for the price.. I just think there may be some better options out there I want people to know of after having the tank. I actually have a waterbox 15 gallon peninsula. I am probably going to upgrade around the 1 year mark seeing the scratches/fractures dont get to bad.
Thanks for the info. Already have a jeobo 1200 . I also realize that the foam media basket if you can call it that will need a upgrade . On what you said about the waterbox being more sturdy that really makes sense being that the fluval is raised will probably need a foam mat for leveling
 
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Thanks for the info. Already have a jeobo 1200 . I also realize that the foam media basket if you can call it that will need a upgrade . On what you said about the waterbox being more sturdy that really makes sense being that the fluval is raised will probably need a foam mat for leveling
I like the jebao a lot! Just can get pretty noisy sometimes after long term use.
 
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Finally had added some liverock and a basic power head from my old tank to get things cycling. In my years out of the hobby a new fad has popped up - cycling with no lights (something I regret I did not do). Using some established liverock and water my tank cycled quickly.. but this caused some unforeseen algae issues I will adress later!
 

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Sand settling in. I had added 3” for the future pistol shrimp and goby
 

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Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED lighting
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Well back to the past and the build! Dust was finally settling at this point. I decided just to stick with the two towers aquascape for now until I add more corals or liverock. This is my normal approach from the hobby in the past. The perks of a small tank is you do not have to worry about large liverock pieces and stacking them to much. The koralia was in there temporarily until the new flow replacements came in.

One large mistake I made was cycling the tank with lights. I’ve been out of the game for 3-4 years and in the past I don’t remember ever being told about this method of cycling without lights. Maybe it was not as well known? At this point I was still using the stock hood. The next couple weeks I would make a lot of mistakes causing issues the next month.

9DBD4D9D-ADA6-4707-81F4-4DBD862BA927.jpeg
 
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- 3 week mark -
After a short amount of time with the fluval stock lighting and some reassurance from other fluval owners I decided to upgrade my lights. While awaiting to the new AI primes 16 HD I decided to keep the oceanrevive on. In my eyes this was prepping the tank for the new lights (I know super stupid) the lights were one 3% but I was unaware this was still an incredibly high par source and light for my tank. As you can see I also removed the koralia in preparation for the jebao.

Again I was never aware of the lightless cycle until it was to late! I also did not clean the rocks well enough. As you can see some hair algae and bryposis is forming and it gets REALLY bad.. luckily nothing was in the tank for the first couple months. the next post I will go over the few big mistakes I made and the results in more detail. I was so excited to jump back in the hobby again this would make the start up difficult.

2F4C610F-1C6C-418A-B4BC-7AEF979F23EE.jpeg
 
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Well here is what my tank basically looked like for a month! Beware the dreaded bryposis. The odd thing was my tank was super young and already jumping to a bryposis invasion. Some must have stayed dormant on the rock that I did not thoroughly clean. I was pretty confused at this point. As it started taking over I was frantically looking up solutions and testing my water. I ordered some reef flux and Kent magnesium to do a MAG raise which helps defeat bryposis.

brypos.jpg
 
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Just to show how bad it got.. I wish I had more photos
 

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Well back to the present: I got some beautiful rainbow rock flower anemones from Frost Corals this week and they have moved into the light!
 

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