My first salt water tank: Fluval EVO 5

MoshJosh

Got this Fluval EVO 5 today, threw in a heater, live sand (that sat in my garage for a year), and some live rock (had to smack it with a hammer to make it fit). Water is a LITTLE cloudy at the moment haha.

anyway I plan on cycling this and keeping it set up for a few months then adding some “easy“ corals. And maybe some inverts.

Will probably add some hermit crabs during the cycle, as recommended by my local fish shop.


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PAcanis

Needs more live rock.
Pile that stuff in there :D

That's a nice looking tank. 5 as in 5 gallons?
The LFS has an awesome Marineland Portrait 5g tank set up.
But I do my best to stay away from that side of the store ;)
 

MoshJosh

I have some not alive rock that I could add. . . It will become live eventually right?

This is a piece I glued together for a tank I never ended up setting up. I think I will throw this in.

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PAcanis

It's been a while since I had a reef tank.
Live rock back then was sold out of a plastic saltwater pond with aeration and wrapped in newspaper to stay wet. And you'd have small crabs and critters coming out of it if you were lucky. I'm not sure if dry or dead live rock can be rejuvenated or not.
But those look like some nice pieces. They would certainly give you more structure for corals and places for the fish to hang out.
 

coralbandit

IMO skip the hermits completely .
They are nothing more then a pest and your corals will eventually agree.
They will kill snails also even if they don't want the shell .
Look into brittle stars. They are a super cool non pest filter feeding invert . They hide a lot but will come out for food in an instant if they are hungry .
Snails or maybe a conch[ sometimes called fighting elephant conchs] if you can find them [very interesting ] .
For the most interesting creature that will work out look into shrimp .
1 coral banded or a pair if you can find them being sold as a pair .
Cleaner and fire shrimp are cool but more expensive .
2-5lbs of LR per gallon depending on how dense it is .
Your 'dead' coral will become live with bacteria ,but lack any wild type growth [half the fun of LR] that may be found on real LR.
 

PAcanis

Yeah, brittle stars.
Back in the early days of the internet you used to be able to buy a starter pack that would include brittle stars and other stuff to jump start your deep sand bed. I imagine something similar is still available.
If I was starting up a SW tank that's what I would look for. In an appropriate size for your tank.
 

ChrissFishes01

Live rock will become "live" eventually. The "live" part is just referencing all the life contained in the pores of the rock - all you really need to keep a tank cycled is bacteria that'll grow on any surface of the tank, including the pores on dry rock. Other life that you generally want (like worms, brittle stars, pods, etc.) will have to come in on frag plugs or be added manually. I've found that all that stuff tends to show up regardless of whether you intend to introduce it anyway, so I just kinda let whatever grows grow.

I keep hermits in my tanks, FWIW. They will definitely kill snails - I've got one in my desktop pico that's wearing a Nerite shell now. But they're good scavengers and keep the rock free of longer hair algae that snails typically won't take care of. They'll trample corals, but I've never had one actually injure a coral, personally. In my mind, grabbing 2-3 Nerites or something every couple of months from the LFS is well worth having the hermits in the tank - and if you don't want to do that, go snail-less. Cleaning the glass by hand is much easier than dealing with longer algae on rocks, IMO.

I second the fire shrimp idea - very cool little guys. If you're not so into that, maybe something like a Pederson's Cleaner Shrimp would be cool. Or, if you prefer some oddballs, a Bumblebee Shrimp and Pom-Pom Crab combo would be cool. Both are too cryptic to keep in large tanks, and will leave eachother (and corals) alone - awesome pico inverts.
 

MoshJosh

All right, since you guys recommended it I got a little bit more live rock from the local store. I also got a heater that actually fits in the back. It is a preset heater, but I’ve read about others using it. I did buy Ehiem surface skimmer thing. . . But it doesn’t actually collect any protein off the top, it just agitate the surface and it is a powerhead thing. Is this worth using? It’s pretty small which is nice but again since it’s not actually collecting anything I’m not sure it’s worth it

oh also my local fish store did not have any stars or snails for that matter


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PAcanis

Me like. Nice arrangement of the rocks.
 

ChrissFishes01

But it doesn’t actually collect any protein off the top, it just agitate the surface and it is a powerhead thing. Is this worth using?
I'd only use it if you're not getting adequate water movement from the built-in pump. Oil slicks can inhibit gas exchange, but it seems that it's mainly an issue overnight when photosynthetic organisms also begin to exhale CO2 - you get a rapid drop in Oxygen and a rapid spike in CO2, which causes your PH to swing downward. I've never had severe issues with it, but I've seen some pico tanks suffer from it on other forums.
 

MoshJosh

Just picked up some brightwell products, bacteria starter stuff and ammonium chloride. . . as recommended by my local fish store. . . Got a salinity meter as well.

maybe a dumb question but is it to soon to start thinking about macro algae? I’d like to add some eventually but what can I? In freshwater I would throw plants in whenever, but are macro algae more sensitive organisms?
 

ChrissFishes01

Just picked up some brightwell products, bacteria starter stuff and ammonium chloride. . . as recommended by my local fish store. . . Got a salinity meter as well.

maybe a dumb question but is it to soon to start thinking about macro algae? I’d like to add some eventually but what can I? In freshwater I would throw plants in whenever, but are macro algae more sensitive organisms?
Macros tend to do just fine in a cycling tank - I'd just have it running for a week or so to make sure your parameters are stable. The commonly-kept ones (Gracilaria Hayi, Caulerpa sp., Halimeda sp, etc.) would be a great place to start. Especially the Gracilaria Hayi - that stuff is bulletproof in my tanks, and it looks nice too.

Keep in mind that stuff like Caulerpa can be a little invasive, and once it attaches to your rockwork, it'll keep coming back - kinda like duckweed. It's amazing for nutrient export, but can be a pain sometimes. I've never actually considered it to be much of a pest, but plenty of people report it taking over their tanks - so YMMV.
 

MoshJosh

I love the look of the hayi, Will be on the lookout for some. Was gonna order from algae barn, as they sell mangroves and I wanted one of those too, but they are out of stock. Still, I’ll keep an eye out.

Speaking of mangroves, turns out my local Petco sells them. I was there for mammal related items, and couldn’t help but buy one when I saw it. It’s kind of just shoved into the tank at the moment.

I will find a more permanent home for it when I modify the lid, and cut a hole for it. I also plan on cutting a hole for a hang on protein skimmer. Was thinking about this aquatic life one, as I’ve heard good things, but I am open to recommendations.

AQUATIC LIFE Protein Mini Skimmer, 30-gal - Chewy.com

I also plan on adding a “auto top off” though that term may be a little generous for what I’m planning. It’s just a little gravity fed clip-on thing. I have heard of people using it for freshwater, but was skeptical for salt. But reading the reviews, it seems like a few people have done it successfully. One of the reviewer’s even tested the salt level in the tank and the bottle after a few days to ensure the salt wasn’t “creeping up” into the top off bottle. . .

https://www.amazon.com/WuyouChy-Fil...t=&hvlocphy=9029187&hvtargid=pla-802408353770
 

MoshJosh

Threw a black background on and tried to clean up the smudges:


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Found some hitchhikers, a bristle worm and a vermetid snail (I think). . . also some random snails I haven’t identified yet (maybe turbo?)


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still cycling, got ammonia and nitrites, no nitrates. . .


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(was told my freshwater test was fine)

Thinking about adding a bit more live rock. . . Cause I want one of those branchy ones haha

the water I’m using is from my LFS. They claim it’s salinity is 1.023, though reads 1.0245 on my cheesy plastic Instant Ocean thing. . . Regardless I’m trying to maintain that 1.0245 for now, taking about 500ml top of daily
 

Azedenkae

Best to get a refractometer, and then also to calibrate it yourself with a calibration solution to measure salinity.
 

ChrissFishes01

Best to get a refractometer, and then also to calibrate it yourself with a calibration solution to measure salinity.
Agreed. I got mine for like $20 off of Ebay.

That said, I still use both my refractometer and hydrometer if I'm testing. It's easy enough to let a refractometer get a bit off if you're not calibrating it every time you use it (IME, anyway) so having a hydrometer to check it with is nice. My hydrometer consistently reads .001-.002 high, so I'm able to get a fairly accurate quick and dirty measurement by adding a couple points to whatever value the hydrometer gives.
 

PNWAquatics

You should look into rock flower anemones. I think one or two rock flowers and a sexy shrimp or two would look really nice in that tank. Could also add some nice zoas.

Keep in mind anything you put in there is likely going to take up a lot of space. Kenya tree, Xenia, etc will quickly take over a 5 gallon. I’d also stay away from anything with a calcium based skeleton (wouldn’t want to worry about alkalinity fluctuations)

It looks nice so far!
 

MoshJosh

Hey, got a powerhead today, because I wanted more flow. But the way I have it mounted the little magnet piece is in the back of the all in one, so that piece is actually in the tank water. Is this OK??? It is covered in plastic, but not sure if it’s Tank safe?


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ChrissFishes01

Hey, got a powerhead today, because I wanted more flow. But the way I have it mounted the little magnet piece is in the back of the all in one, so that piece is actually in the tank water. Is this OK??? It is covered in plastic, but not sure if it’s Tank safe?


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It probably depends on the powerhead, but I wouldn't risk it unless you can find out for sure. Magnets can leach metals into the water which is definitely not good.
 

MoshJosh

So I have made some changes and added some animals. . . though I probably shouldn't have added some of them.

I took out the power head. Initially I thought the flow looked good. . . but turns out I was blasting like 90% of the tank.

I added a "surface skimmer" that only pushes 80gph which combined with the stock tanks 83gph pump I think if good rate of flow. Put a RFG nozzle on the stock filter and will add one to the skimmer in hopes of simulating waves. . .

I ordered a larger heater. . . found I was having temp fluctuations from like 75F to 80F. I Don't think its heater placement as the temp has been consistent in the "AOI" part of the tank and the display. Heater should be hear tomorrow.

Added this nifty auto top off thing. Just works of gravity and a float valve. It seems to work though it means I have to be carful doing water changes to make sure I remove or drain it prior to dropping water level. . . and have to make sure I fill the tank back up to the proper water level as not to affect the salinity. Also, this was made for a much larger tank and I had to add a riser. Initially I made this out of wood, thinking it was OK because it wasn't in the tank water, however, after a few days I realized water was wicking up onto the wood. . .hopefully I didn't leach anything into the tank. Made a new riser out of corrugated plastic.

Now for live stock:

4 hermit crabs
1 margarita snail
1 emerald crab
and
. . . 1 clown goby

So none of these were really on my wish list, but I got upsold by the LFS. . . and pressured by my wife to have a fish. . .

That said I am not to worried about the hermits as there are no corals in the tank ATM, and the store will take them back when I am ready. They are kinda neat to watch.

The emerald crab has since died. . . I was hoping it was a molt, but I am pretty sure not. I checked my water and ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate were all 0 (had done a water change 2-3 days before). I am not sure why it passed, though I imagine it may be related to the above mentioned issues i.e. temp and flow

And the clown goby. . . I have ready these are fine in nano and pico tanks, and the LFS was all for it. . . I am not so sure but we will see.


That was the initial stocking. . . I grabbed a few more critters prior to the emerald crabs death when I thought things were going swimmingly. . .

I temporarily added and aiptasia eating file fish as. . . surprise I had aiptasia anemones growing on my live rock. I know this fish cannot stay in this tank forever as it is far to active and will get far to large (right now it only about an inch long), in fact I plan on trading it in to my LFT next week. All that said. . . it ate pretty much all the aiptasia in like 2 days.

I added a fan worm. . . thing is awesome. . . but we'll see. I have read some conflicting things about their care and hardiness. . .

Plan:

Take the file fish and hermit crabs back to LFS and add

Trochus snail X1
Fighting conch X1
Nassarius Snail X1
Dwarf feather duster worm X2

Sexy shrimp X5
Or
Pom pom crabs?

Corals (still know nothing about these. . . but the “easy” ones, preferably flowy type ones haha)
Dwarf carpet anemone (once tank is mature)

Clow Goby. . . keep or back to fish store?



So yeah. . . if you read all that, what are your thoughts.
 

ChrissFishes01

The Clown Goby will do just fine in your tank, provided you can get it eating. I had good luck feeding mine frozen mysis, frozen brine, and live BBS. They stay around 1", and spend most of their time perched on the hardscape.

If you want to keep it, I would. It will mean that maintenance will be a little harder to stay up on, but some macroalgae and weekly/bi-weekly water changes will keep things in line.

FWIW, I keep an Orchid Dottyback in my 5 gallon currently. He'll likely need a bigger tank at some point, but does well.

Conchs will outgrow the tank very, very quickly - I kept one in a 55 for a while, and it kept the sand spotless. I'd imagine you'd have a tough time keeping it fed in a 5 gallon without fouling the water. I have a healthy population of bristle worms in my 5 gallon, and they keep the sand stirred and cleaned - some Nassarius snails and Cerith snails would help, if you'd like to add those.

Sexy shrimp have been known to irritate corals, and can supposedly eat soft corals at times. I've never experienced it, but keep that in mind. One pom-pom crab would be great, but I don't know how two would do - I've never seen people keep more than one at a time. They may get along fine - I'd do some reading on how they co-habitate, though.

If you decide to keep fish, I'd be careful with the dwarf carpet nem in the future. Some carpet anemones are known to (again, supposedly) eat small fish in small tanks, even small clownfish and damsels. I've got a suspicion that the fish were likely weakened to begin with, but it's a relatively common occurrence if you search around online.
 

MoshJosh

A lot has changed, and mistakes have been made, but here’s how we are looking right now.


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MoshJosh

So I wanted to start a soft coral only tank and ordered a new tank. . . unfortunately after paying for said tank I found one better suited for the shelf I have. . . so now I have a spare 7 gallon tank laying around. . .

Think I will replace the evo 5 with it. Will keep the sump and all livestock the same but more water volume and with a real stand haha.

Tank is a LifeGard Aquatics full view. I plan to drill it and add one of these:

INOUT Overflow and Pulsing Return System - XAqua

here is the stand so far, sump will sit on bottom shelf.


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