Aftica's Fluval Flex 57L / 15G Nano Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2018, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Aftica's Fluval Flex 57L / 15G Nano Tank

It's been a long time, several years in fact since I have partaken in the Aquarium hobby - Life does often keep one busy... but I do miss it, as does my wife. 2 years ago we planned on getting a 180-gallon tank set up in the basement... even had it ordered... but one thing led to another.... a broken ankle followed by winter snow (which prevented me from getting it down the stairwell at the side of the house to get it into the basement.) Tank Plans postponed for another year I guess.

Fast Forward to today... The aquarium bug has bit again... I have still plans for the 180-gallon in the basement but I have a need!!! A need for instant gratification... Oh Hell!! I am putting a 15-gallon tank upstairs in the living room! It just HAS to be done!

Downstairs I go to sort through the multitude of spare tanks I have collecting in the basement... 10's, 15's, 20's 30's etc... perhaps I could clean the 55 and drag that upstairs? All the smaller tanks have no canopies... fine for breeding and the like down in the basement but not upstairs in the living room... No sir! This requires a little research to see whats available these days... TO THE INTERNET!

Looked around and since Fluval products are readily available locally where I reside... I settled on the Fluval Flex 57 liter (15-gallon) - it's plant capable (Kinda) with it's LED hood - it has a built-in filtration system hidden in the back capable of hiding pumps and heaters etc.. and hey it looks kinda cool... different if you will. Flex it is!


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Last edited by Aftica; 03-04-2018 at 06:02 PM. Reason: Fixed minor spelling error
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2018, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Ok - So I bought a new tank which I probably should have made do with what I already have but I wanted a hood. Heck, I cant buy a hood to fit a 15 for what I can buy a complete kit for these days... so I was able to justify buying the new tank. (Wife understood perfectly!) but I resigned myself to keep the rest in-house - meaning if I can use what I got kicking around the basement - that is what I will use.

So down to the basement I go! Lots of Seachem Flourite Red down here... Substrate solved (talked The missus into rinsing that ) Block Wood decoration as well... nice... No fishing ornament sign, think I will skip that.... Eheim Jager 100w heaters, lots of those... Test Kits - Got! Things are looking up!

Now for those not familiar with the Fluval Flex... as I said in the previous post... it has a built-in filtration system along the back wall... and it also comes with the pump to power it, a large sponge, a packet of biomax (Fluvals version of Ehfisubstrat or Matrix), and a activated carbon packet (Ill use for the start and replace it with more biomax once exhausted.) The back looks like this (flagrantly stole this photo as I can't turn the aquarium around to photograph it)



Placed the Ebo Jager Heater in the compartment with the pump (it is long but it fit just nicely) - placed in about 2 inches of the Flourite on the bottom of the tank, along with the "Stump" and filled it with water... set the heater to 78 degrees... and let it run for a while... tomorrow will get some plants. Where I live plants are a hit or miss type of endeavor... usually miss! I don't have the luxury of walking into a shop and seeing rows of Tropica plants laid out so that I can Peruse the menu so to speak. No sir! I will have to take what is available. More on that later.

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Last edited by Aftica; 03-04-2018 at 06:03 PM. Reason: Fix Image
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-05-2018, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Well ran the tank for a while and the heat went way up beyond the setpoint of 78... damn! Played with it for a while and no luck. Went downstairs and grabbed a second Ebo Jager 100w that I had... Long story short... that one was stuck in the ON position as well... had a few others of other manufacture kicking about but I decided on a different route... Temperature Controller!

Down in the Fish Tank Archives, I dug up a Medusa Temperature Controller I had bought about 20 years ago or so... Can't buy them anymore but this thing was/is a great controller! Turned the Ebo Jager up on 90 and re-installed it the pump chamber of the tank. Mounted the Medusa on the side of the cabinet where I got the tank placed. Plugged it all in and turned it on. The remote probe is in the first chamber of the filter. I have a very accurate digital thermometer from the kitchen (Thermopen) that I borrowed (Wife NOT advised of this transaction!). Wow, the Medusa was 99.99% accurate. I set the temp to 78 and waited to see how well it held.


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Last edited by Aftica; 03-05-2018 at 09:56 PM. Reason: Fixed Link
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2018, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Went and got some plants! Now where I live you either have to order them via the mail... or take what you can find locally. Unfortunately what is available locally is usually quite lacking in both selection and quality. I guess it's it's the price we pay when we live in remote locations...

Between both Petsmart and a small local shop I found the following;

Alternanthera Reineckii (Scarlet Temple)
Bacopa Monnieri (Moneywort)
Anubias Barteri (Of some form?)
Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig'
Lilaeopsis brasiliensis (Micro Sword)
Microsorum pteropus (Java Fern)


Most were in pretty rough shape except the Anubias and the Scarlet Temple. Not the first choice in plants but it is what I could find. The Micro Sword was in very poor condition and I am not sure if it will recover. I split it open a bit and planted 7 little tufts in the foreground. the Anubias I know should have been tied to something but I planted it in the Flourite and tried to make sure the Rizhome is exposed somewhat. The Scarlet temple I planted in the back, and it was a large bunch so I put half into a small clay pot and threw it into the tank as well to save for future use. I tied the Java fern in a couple of places to the wood; the Rosanevig I placed in the front corner, knowing it would require frequent trimming so it won't cover the entire front half of the tank. Lastly, the Moneywort planted in the far back right corner behind the wood.

Now I don't know if the light will be high enough to get any red/pinks from the Scarlet temple or the Rosanevig but I guess we shall find out. My apologies for the terrible photography... it's an old cell phone camera... but it works.





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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Was adding some Hagen Nutrafin Cycle, for what it's worth, to help along the biological filter etc... and added 5 small guppies (3 Females and 2 males). I figure that's a relatively small bioload... I guess we shall find out.

Also did some water tests today... Ill record them here simply so I have a reference to refer back to in the future.


pH Tank: 7.2
pH Tap: 7.6

TDS Tank: 338 ppm
TDS Tap" 125 ppm

GH Tank: 240 ppm 13.44 dHº
GH Tap: 120 ppm 6.72 dHº

KH Tank: 80 ppm 4.48 dHº
KH Tap: 100 ppm 5.60 dHº

------------------------------
Dosed 5ml Excel (Initial dose) and 1ml of flourish

It would seem that the Seachem Flourite Red does affect the GH / TDS of the water.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 03:54 PM
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I like the tank. Cool shape! Love the aquascaping! The pics looks great!

Yea, the plants available from some stores can be in rough shape at first, but yours look like they'll be lush in the tank with the fertilizers and light. What's the wavelength of the bulbs you're using?

Love the filtration setup. Reminds me of the "mattenfilter" the Germans use, where a space inside the tank is set aside with a sponge and a pump flows water through the sponge and gets pushed back out. Cool!
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by carbon384 View Post
I like the tank. Cool shape! Love the aquascaping! The pics look great!
Well thank you for that - I can't take credit for the shape of the tank - The folks at Hagen did that...

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Yea, the plants available from some stores can be in rough shape at first, but yours look like they'll be lush in the tank with the fertilizers and light. What's the wavelength of the bulbs you're using?
I am hoping they will be - I have ordered a CO2 regulator & Solenoid for this tank. The one I have is being saved for my 180-gallon (that journal will come in a few months) - so right now the carbon that I am dosing is Seachem Excel... I guess it's the difference of Plants vs plants on roids!

As for the light - right now I am using the stock Fluval LED light that comes with this tank. Unlike most kit tanks - this one does come with a fairly capable light. According to the box that is out in the garage it's a 7500K LED lamp(s) that promotes plant growth and enhances fish colors. it also has a small tidy remote control for the canopy for adjusting white + RGB LEDs for an endless bunch of color blends. It can also do a few special effects (i.e. fading cloud cover, lightning bolts). Now as for HOW capable - I guess time will tell.



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Love the filtration setup. Reminds me of the "mattenfilter" the Germans use, where a space inside the tank is set aside with a sponge and a pump flows water through the sponge and gets pushed back out. Cool!
Wow! A Hamburg Mattenfilter! Now, that's a name I have not heard in years.... and your right - that is exactly what it essentially is! I used to use them when I was breeding a few fish years back... it is very effective with a central air pump.

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Last edited by Aftica; 03-10-2018 at 07:26 PM. Reason: fix Grammar & Image
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Seen some algae growing on the anubis leaves and the Scarlet Temple as well... been dosing Excel and Flourish.... So I figure it's time to add some cleanup crew. 2 Ottos and 3 Amano Shrimp into the pool! the Guppies are looking quite healthy and 2 of the 3 females are... shall we say.... knocked up?

I also noticed on a Fluval Flex group on Facebook that there are a lot of folks talking about the size if the vents/teeth for the internal filter for the Flex being too large and small fish/critters easily slip into the first chamber of the flex... apparently Fluval have recognized this problem, and now the flex comes with vent covers for the aquarium. Unfortunately, my aquarium is an older model... no covers!

I went to Hagen Canada's website and contacted their folks in customer service about it. WOW! They were back to me within 10 minutes! Told me to send them a proof of purchase and they will send out the 2 covers I needed asap. I scanned my receipt as a PDF and sent it to them via email and they acknowledged getting it within an hour! I am now anxiously awaiting my filter covers!

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 08:00 PM
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Your tank looks great i love mine they are a brilliant setup do you know what the square thing is on the lid above the left side of the filter that you can cut out is

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Your tank looks great i love mine they are a brilliant setup do you know what the square thing is on the lid above the left side of the filter that you can cut out is
Thanks - still growing in at this point.

The cut out is, I think, for the Fluval Mini Protein Skimmer if you use the Flex as a saltwater aquarium. The Fluval EVO also has the same cutout in it's hood.

PECKTEC did a youtube vid on the EVO and the Skimmer.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 12:17 PM
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Ahhh cool thank you

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-31-2018, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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…the Guppies are looking quite healthy and 2 of the 3 females are... shall we say.... knocked up?
Well… One of the guppies decided to give birth the other day… the I would say about 10 or so of the little buggers are still alive now about 3 days later… hanging around near the bottom in the microswords – they are fast enough to evade the parents now – so I suspect most of them will survive from becoming snackables.

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… Flex vent covers… Hagen Canada told me to send them a proof of purchase and they will send out the 2 covers I needed asap. I scanned my receipt as a PDF and sent it to them via email and they acknowledged getting it within an hour! I am now anxiously awaiting my filter covers!
Well, Thumbs up for the folks at Hagen Canada – they were true to their word! In the mail a few days later were 2 vent covers for my Flex! Woot!

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Well - my intention when I started this tank was a small 15 gallon to have upstairs in the living room, mostly to wet my appetite and that of my wife. We missed having the aquariums running. We have had them running for the last 25 to 30 years, but not for the last 2-3 years. I thought the 15gallon Flex would be nice while I wait for the weather to improve outside. I need the snow to melt so I can get the new 180 gallon down the outside stairwell and into the basement door.

Ok, so 1 becomes 2... I know I want shrimp in my fast-approaching 180... I am unlikely to breed Amano shrimp... but Red Cherry... now, that's a possibility! My local Fish Monger sells small Red Cherries for $4.00 each... Hmmm, that's expensive I thought for snackables... best start producing my own. One always needs an excuse to start another tank. Right?

I grabbed a 10 gallon out of stock, Standard ole 50 watt Topfin Heater, a hydro sponge filter, and some black sand substrate and bought 6 of my mongers very best RCS. Some clippings out of the Flex with a handful of Java Moss and presto – a Shrimp tank is born.



Back to the Flex… as I just got sidetracked. My intention when I started this tank was a small 15 gallon to have upstairs in the living room (I think I stated that before) I placed the wooden stand up next to the fireplace… it’s rough but so what… There is no open back so any equipment would basically go down by the side of the tank between it and the cutout for the fireplace. I never intended for there to be much, if any equipment after all the tank has a built-in filter etc..

Hmmm… Somewhere I went awry in my thinking. I added the Medusa temp controller as I posted earlier… and I ordered the CO2… oh-oh… guess I will just have to add a PH Controller, another power bar cause the plug is inaccessible BEHIND the stand (of course!) – Oh Wait going to need a timer for this… Oh Crap – wasn’t this just supposed to be a simple 15 gallon?



I had the Milwaukee SMS122 PH Controller downstairs left over from the 77 gallon several years back. I had a brand new Pinpoint PH Probe so I hooked that up and calibrated it with 7 and 4 solutions. The Probe went into the back of the tank in the filter with the temp probe etc.. I decided to just have it on during the lighting hours only so the controlled plug is actually plugged into a mechanical timer. So basically the PH controller turns on and off the CO2 supply 24 hours a day BUT power is only supplied to the solenoid during a 12 hours period. I went with the Aquatek Mini regulator & Solenoid which I picked up on Fleabay and a 24oz paintball tank off of Amazon. I stuck a simple Fluval bubble counter on the side for easy reference, and a Dennerle CO2 Check Valve between it and the regulator. I ordered some Tygon Tubing for the CO2 but when it came in from Amazon they shipped the wrong size so it had to go back - so, for now, I'm just using Penn-Plax Silicone tubing. It Works, Drop Checker is Green. Picture of the tank a few days ago, along with the mess of wires and gear.

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