Secondhand Fluval Evo 13.5 - First Saltwater tank

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saltylilthang

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I'm sure you'll get some coraline back soon! I'm a little less than five months in on my 13.5 and I believe I have some starting on my wall! I agree haha, it's not *too* bad, just a lot of testing and proactive measures you might take. Happy reefing! Excited to see some first coral when time comes.
There is one mushroom in the righthand corner :smiling-face-with-sunglasses: hopefull to add more this weekend. Thanks for watching my journey!
 

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Currently tank is looking good but dealing with challenges
Salt creep + salinity dropping

I am running an ATO but I have been supplementing any water level drop (very minimal) with salt water VS RO/DI water for the past few days. Salinity originally dropped down to 1.021 vs 1.024 it was at. I am currently reading again at 1.024 again but hoping to raise it to 1.026. With traveling coming up, super worried about my salinity dropping even more. I still have a month to mess with it. I also want to upgrade my sailinity tester for a more accurate read. I realized salinity was dropping due to salt creeping out of the tank which was related to water evaportation and the top hanging off the edge (had a cover to cover sump but that is now removed to fix lid). It happened suddently and original thought it was the ATO not working.

Otherwise, everyone looks happy! I will be getting my clowns some frozen food this weekend as well as my first group of CUC. I am looking at getting blue leg hermit crabs (2), nerite snails (2), nusariars snails (2), and perhaps 3 sexy shrimp (undecided). Although tank looks spotless, there are diatoms growing everywhere but as I stir the sand and clean the glass, they don't fully settle. I am also leaving on getting another few corals: Duncan and Toadstool. Wanting to keep the tank relatively open with somewhat slow growers. Zoa's are pretty but not a fan of how quickly they grow.
What type of ATO are you using. I bought a cheapy off Amazon and the sensors are spread apart too far. (better for fresh water tanks) Salinity would get too high and then the ATO would add to much water, and it would be too low. I gave up and just manually top it off till I get my DT set up. Sounds like you are having the same problem.
 
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What type of ATO are you using. I bought a cheapy off Amazon and the sensors are spread apart too far. (better for fresh water tanks) Salinity would get too high and then the ATO would add to much water, and it would be too low. I gave up and just manually top it off till I get my DT set up. Sounds like you are having the same problem.
I am using plug and play IceCap ATOEZ . Mine is more so the issue of salinity dropping. It never went beyond 1.025. I am currently keeping an eye on it and it's been stable. Worst case is I will update it, but for now its there for peace of mind.
 
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Heyo! So much yet so little stuff has happened. I have had to update my container for holding RODI. Although not asthetically pleasing, there was just too much debris getting into my OG holding tank and had to figure out a better idea. I do not like the placement but it works. I will fix it down the line. The ATO is now no longer sucking up saltwater and my salinity has been consistent for weeks. I had my settup completely wrong.
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I also have gotten new corals! Mainly my purple tip hammer coral. I love this one. It has opened up more now. I am also getting another pump (micro sized) to increase the water movement in my tank in the next week and then finally letting things settle (no more coral unless I see one I really like(. Overall, all is well. Diatoms are terrible but it is now slowing down. I feel like the crappy storing of my RODI water increased my diatoms. I do need to get more CUC as my clowns have eaten some of my hermits :anxious-face-with-sweat:
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Heyo! So much yet so little stuff has happened. I have had to update my container for holding RODI. Although not asthetically pleasing, there was just too much debris getting into my OG holding tank and had to figure out a better idea. I do not like the placement but it works. I will fix it down the line. The ATO is now no longer sucking up saltwater and my salinity has been consistent for weeks. I had my settup completely wrong.
07422272-3f01-47cf-a236-1c430da679db.jpg

I also have gotten new corals! Mainly my purple tip hammer coral. I love this one. It has opened up more now. I am also getting another pump (micro sized) to increase the water movement in my tank in the next week and then finally letting things settle (no more coral unless I see one I really like(. Overall, all is well. Diatoms are terrible but it is now slowing down. I feel like the crappy storing of my RODI water increased my diatoms. I do need to get more CUC as my clowns have eaten some of my hermits :anxious-face-with-sweat:
04186cec-2951-4de6-898b-789cdbc67794.jpg
Good to hear you fixed your ATO setup! Honestly, I just have a 2-gallon jug sitting in my room, not much different lol. As long as it works!

Corals look great! That is a very nice hammer! Colors look similar to my frog! Also, nice GSP frag! I love my GSP, it looks really nice in the tank.

The diatoms are part of the "uglies" stage, and hopefully will go away as your tank ages and when you add more CUC. When I was dealing with diatoms and algae early on, I did like a 3-day tank blackout twice over two months. It's not the best thing to do, but I only had 3 corals in the tank which were pretty hardy and they made it through. I probably wouldn't do it again with the amount of corals I have now. But, it pretty much killed all my algae and diatoms. I also added a UV sterilizer that I got for around 50$ in one of my media chambers which also could have helped at the time.

You said your clowns ate your hermits??? That's crazy!
 
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Good to hear you fixed your ATO setup! Honestly, I just have a 2-gallon jug sitting in my room, not much different lol. As long as it works!

Corals look great! That is a very nice hammer! Colors look similar to my frog! Also, nice GSP frag! I love my GSP, it looks really nice in the tank.

The diatoms are part of the "uglies" stage, and hopefully will go away as your tank ages and when you add more CUC. When I was dealing with diatoms and algae early on, I did like a 3-day tank blackout twice over two months. It's not the best thing to do, but I only had 3 corals in the tank which were pretty hardy and they made it through. I probably wouldn't do it again with the amount of corals I have now. But, it pretty much killed all my algae and diatoms. I also added a UV sterilizer that I got for around 50$ in one of my media chambers which also could have helped at the time.

You said your clowns ate your hermits??? That's crazy!
I actually have a UV sterilier in the back compartment :grinning-face-with-smiling-eyes: so my diatoms are not THAT bad. I have very little algea almost non existent. And yes my clowns had a lil snack! They act like I don't feed them at all.
 
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Extra pump came in! I know it looks clunky but the little power head is really powerful. Definetly noticed a huge improvement with poop and food not settling anymore. I also noticed higher flow areas so my hammer has been moved to the smaller rock scape, my green star polyp is lower down, and my mushroom is more or less in a dead zone (not completely dead but not heavt water flow). Snake coral is dead set in the higher moving area which it seems to love. Now I can finally let the tank settle!!
 
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UPDATE: Decided to modify the original fluval top. Added a screen to keep fish from jumping but also wanted "dead" zones for light as I know some corals don't prefer it and some corals do more than others. I also wanted a compartment for an auto feeder incase when I do leave for extended periods of time, I won't have to depend on someone to feed my tank. I just superglued some mesh unto the open compartment.

I am also noticing an increase in foam which is worrying as I had just cleaned my tank..
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Small update as I am busy with other hobbies atm:

RO/DI system had been purchased and now will be making my own saltwater and freshwater/ no longer depending on LFS. Easy system to use so far and my vivariums and plants will also benefit from this water.

Good news: Gone for almost 2 weeks and with no water changes, aquarium has been stable and only did a normal water change once I got back. For me, this means tank is in a good state and I can slowly start adding more coral if I feel like. Diatoms are more or less in the worst stage they will be.

Bad news: Brain coral is getting a black algea sludge type and is slowly dying. I moved it to an area with more water movement. No other coral has this issue. Also have a pretty slow algea growth I am keeping an eye on.
 

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