Dcj's Fluval Spec 3 Build

DCJ

Hallo forum!

As I've just received it in the post today, I decided to start my build thread for my Fluval Spec III tank

It's one of the new ones (honeycomb back instead of frosted glass with the new larger light) and I'm planning on stocking it with ricordea, minI maxI nems, rock flower nems, sexy shrimp, a pom pom crab and other CUC

Things will be happening a lot faster come December when I'll be able to afford to get a nice piece of rock along with various other bits and pieces I'll need for it, but for now I'd love some input/musings on the following:

I'm planning on removing the sponge filter and layering (from the bottom up) Phosguard, GAC and filter floss, then maybe putting a little bit of chaeto in that area somewhere?

A couple of specifics: I'd be layering the media on top of itself in mesh bags (bar the floss), will this a) work and b) cause any problems? I can separate them with pieces of eggcrate if necessary, but I can't afford an InTank doohickey for this and I can't make my own... trust me... my last attempt did NOT go well

Secondly, chaeto in the sump, worth it? I won't be able to fit tons in there and I'm planning on having some decorative algae in the DT itself anyway - might as well add it or just leave it out?

I also want to avoid changing the light if I can at all help it - I'd love some more input on if the stock light can support my stocking plan. I won't be able to get a new light until the new year anyway, so I might just see how I go and then replace with a WaveBlade 8W if I don't get anywhere with it. I know the older ones were pretty terrible, does anyone have any firsthand experience with the new ones? I've asked similar in the lighting equipment section, just FYI

Otherwise, I'll probably be keeping the stock pump unless I have any issues with it, and I'll be posting pics when I get the rock in there.

Thanks for your time and attention, as always!
 

PoorBigBlue

I have no idea how powerful the pump is for that tank, but I wouldn't imagine layering the media like that would be an issue as long as the pump is strong enough to pull water through all the mesh and media. Maybe someone who knows more can chime in, but I wouldn't see any problem with that - although I'd divide it with some eggcrate, just for personal comfort.

If you have the chaeto on hand, I'd give it a try. I've been having issues keeping my decorative macros fed in my tank, and if you go completely fishless with this tank, I don't see you having any problem keeping water quality in good shape. You might find that chaeto keeps the water "too clean", especially in the first few months you have the tank - it's ultimately up to you!

I can't help you with the stock light, as I have zero experience with the spec line of tanks. That said, if it turns out that the light isn't doing it for you (which may be the case with those nems), looking into some of the PAR38 bulbs. They're cheap, and would be more than enough for that tank.

I think you'll probably want a bit more flow than the stock pump will provide - one of the tiny Hydor powerheads would be my first thought, but I haven't had much experience with pumps that small. The nems would definitely appreciate the extra flow, IMO.

Do you know what you plan to do for topping off? An Auto Top-Off is really going to save you a lot of trouble with a tank this small. Even on my 10, I'm topping off every 2 days or so, and that's with a glass lid.
 

DCJ

PoorBigBlue
You've got a point there - if it can pull water through all that sponge it should work with the media. I can always upgrade if it doesn't work out, rather than just kneejerk change it right off the bat. I'll use the eggcrate too I think, although it'll still be floating all on top of each other it'll put more space between the media.

I wasn't going to add fish, no, so that's a help. I might try with the decorative algae in the DT and see how I go, maybe add the chaeto if I see any issues with the params - it's always nice to have but there's not much room in that little sump. I'd love to hear more about your experience with decorative algae - I wanted some red grape but I might go dragon's tongue with some others, I'm not sure yet

If the stock light isn't cutting it I might just get the LuminI Nano Asta 20 - it's supposed to be like a cheaper version of the Kessil A80 and the reviews I've seen have been encouraging.

Lol, I'll probably just be manually topping up. It's so small that it shouldn't be a problem to top up regularly - I hope

Thank you for taking the time to respond, I really appreciate it
 

stella1979

Hey there DCJ! I'm super glad to hear that you've received the tank!!!

Wish I had advice on the lighting or sump, but alas, I've never had a Spec either. I do agree that you can certainly keep med-low light corals happy under a PAR38, as I've seen that evidenced here. If you could place it up high, I think even some of the more agreeable SPS corals might do well, (like plating montis and birdsnests.) However... all of that in good time my friend.

The nems you've mentioned generally aren't too needy about light either. I have two RFA's, one in excellent lighting, (who I'd like to move but can't:meh, and the other way off to one side in the sand... under the lowest light in my tank. Both do well.

Of course, if that Kessil knock-off is comparable to the real thing, then you shouldn't have to worry about lighting at all. Again though, all in good time. It's a tough call on how to stock the tank... the shrooms would be an excellent starter coral, but the nems will present danger to corals in the tank, mostly when they are new and roaming around finding their happy place. Don't think a little RFA can't take out a frag... it happened to me when one of my guys walked too near to a scroll coral. So, stocking nems before corals is good advice. However, nems are more sensitive to the swings that a new tank can go through. They are less likely to tolerate instability in salinity, temp, nitrates, any ammonia or nitrite spikes, and so on. The best advice for nems is to wait until you've got the tank nice and stable and have worked out a good routine regarding top offs and water changes. Anyhow, these are just things to keep in mind as you go forward with stocking.

As for chaeto, well, idk that it's really going to be worth it in your case. I hope he'll forgive me for getting in his business, but PoorBigBlue is experimenting with adding/dosing nitrates to keep his macros happy. For me, chaeto is an absolute nitrate sponge, and I just don't think you'll want that with macros in the display needing the low amount of nitrates your tank is likely to produce. That is, unless you plan on overfeeding your critters and jacking those nitrates up. Kidding!! I wouldn't put chaeto in your system unless and until you're sure you need it.
 

PoorBigBlue

PoorBigBlue
You've got a point there - if it can pull water through all that sponge it should work with the media. I can always upgrade if it doesn't work out, rather than just kneejerk change it right off the bat. I'll use the eggcrate too I think, although it'll still be floating all on top of each other it'll put more space between the media.

I wasn't going to add fish, no, so that's a help. I might try with the decorative algae in the DT and see how I go, maybe add the chaeto if I see any issues with the params - it's always nice to have but there's not much room in that little sump. I'd love to hear more about your experience with decorative algae - I wanted some red grape but I might go dragon's tongue with some others, I'm not sure yet

If the stock light isn't cutting it I might just get the LuminI Nano Asta 20 - it's supposed to be like a cheaper version of the Kessil A80 and the reviews I've seen have been encouraging.

Lol, I'll probably just be manually topping up. It's so small that it shouldn't be a problem to top up regularly - I hope

Thank you for taking the time to respond, I really appreciate it
Well, so far, it's been a battle of finding out nutrient issues. I got the macros I currently have out of a deal on a crashed tank, and they were just about the only things that had survived. I got some Dragon's Breath, Codium, and some Caulerpa Prolifera - all of which weren't doing too well a few weeks ago due to low nutrients. I had pretty low nitrates, and I think all of it was getting used up by micro algae and Caulerpa before the Codium and Dragon's Breath had a chance to get any. The Dragon's Breath started to turn clear, and the Codium started to look pretty sick. The Caulerpa was surviving, but wasn't growing much, if at all. I looked around for solutions, and came across Potassium Nitrate dosing - pretty much adding liquid nitrate directly to the tank. I used stump remover to make a solution, and so far, I've had great results! Great growth out of the Caulerpa, great color and some growth out of the Dragon's Breath, and a little bit of growth out of the Codium - even though it's still not 100% improved. Check my thread out for info on the nitrate solution, if you're interested!

Stella made some good points - probably skip the Chaeto, unless you have too much nitrate in your tank somehow. As far as selecting macros, in my opinion, all are fair game as long as you research. You do take a risk with all of the Caulerpa species (they can go sexual, and can kill small tanks), but I think that risk is overblown. That said, it's still there. I think you'd be fine though. I have found that you'll probably want to be careful if you want a lot of variety in colors with macros, as not all macros can do well in the same tank. For example, some species of Caulerpa (usually not very common ones, but they exist) need extremely high flow and light, since they hail from shallow seagrass plains near the shore. There are some macros who need low flow and lower light, and in general, it might be difficult to keep those two macros together. As long as you research what you're getting, you shouldn't have any issues.
 

DCJ

stella1979 Thank you 'stella'!

I'm going to see how it goes with the stock light, but I think I may have to end up replacing it after all having now seen it on the tank.

I'm gutted, RFA's are around £75/85 ($95/108) WITHOUT shipping here - it's going to be slow going. Thank you for the info about their lighting needs, I'm secretly pleased you have them so I can pick your brains if needs be

In an ideal world I'd put the RFA in before anything else, but not only is it going to take me months to put enough RFA in there, I also want the tank a little more mature before I add them in, as you say. I might put some mushrooms on the small chunk of rock until I get some RFA in, so that I can lift it out if needs be. Things to think about!

That's a good point about having macros in the tank as well as in the sump - I'll probably go without for this one.

Lol, but that was my plan!

PoorBigBlue Thank you for the info on that, it's REALLY helpful! I was looking at the Dragon's Breath for sure. I'll definitely check out your thread for help before I pop any algae in there. I'll skip the chaeto, unless my nitrates spike. That's good to know re: the different environments for the different algaes, I haven't done a lot of research yet, but I have yet to see anything about that, so I'll keep it in mind.



So, update: I've added some live rock (my first encounter with live rock) to the little tank and topped up with water from my other Saltwater tank water change because I didn't have any fresh to hand - erk. I wasn't planning on getting live rock but because it's such a small tank and I only needed two pieces I went that route. I don't particularly like how it looks as it is, but I think with nems and shrooms etc in there it'll look a lot better

FEJZs8A.png

Please ignore the wildly hanging thermometer, it's just temporary. I made sure to get rock with a lot of holes and crannies for the RFA to stick it's foot in. I'm toying with the idea of putting some blue xenia in the bottom back right hand corner which has no rock in it - I've got some in my 13.5 that I can move over easily. I may just do that while there's nothing else in it, once I've checked that the thing is cycled.

Thank you, as always, for your input everyone!
 

DCJ

Another update!

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I moved some blue xenia over from my 13.5 and it's grown a lot. It looks strange and flat in the pic but it's not usually like that, and there is some standing up it's just carefully camouflaged against the live rock ><

I also added some dragon's tongue/breath algae, three little pieces which I glued to a shell. I'm hoping, fingers crossed, that it grows into a nice bushy thing at the back there.

Finally, this pic was taken with the new light from LuminI and I have to say it sucks right now. The remote is broken so I only get two channels, this one and a slightly bluer one. I've spoken to their customer support and I'm waiting for them to get it sorted for me. I may just have to go back to the former light and ask for a refund for this one though. Merp.
 

DCJ

I've finally obtained a couple of nems for my nem pico!
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I have a large green rock flower nem for £25 from Maidenhead Aquatics - score considering the cheapest I've found them online has been £90.

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And this blue with green and pink/purple centred minI maxI anemone which was £18 from their display tank - I couldn't be happier
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