9 Best Fluval EVO 13.5 Upgrades (2021)

The Fluval Evo 13.5 aquarium is one of the best nano saltwater kits on the market. There are many different nano tank kits on the market today and the Fluval EVO 13.5 is a popular choice. One of the great features of the EVO is that it is upgradeable with many other types of equipment. This can really increase its capability and overall performance.

Many people who own this aquarium are looking for some upgrades to add to it. It’s a great kit right out of the box, but like many things in this hobby, upgrades are always great.

When you purchase the Fluval EVO 13.5, the following equipment is included:

  • Glass aquarium with cover
  • Integrated LED lighting
  • Safe, low voltage transformer
  • Circulation pump with an output nozzle
  • Foam filter block
  • Biomax and carbon inserts

As you can see, upgrading some of this equipment will allow you to have more livestock options and really turn your EVO into a showpiece!

Here are 9 of the best upgrades for the EVO 13.5 aquarium

1. In-Tank Media Basket

The In-Tank media basket allows you to really enhance the filtration capability of the Fluval Evo 13.5. These media baskets are very popular for use in many different tanks including the Coralife Biocube. This fits into the first chamber which is the intake.

The biggest benefit of using In-Tank media basket is the water is forced through the filter media instead of flowing around it. This greatly improves the contact time of water with the media giving greater performance. It includes the water director and plug.

These towers are 4 sided with a 1 removable side for access. They include 3 shelves so you can add different types of media. I recommend adding chemical or biological filter media in either the bottom or middle shelf and filter floss on the top shelf.

The dimensions are:

  • 11-1/4″ Tall
  • 3-9/16″ Wide
  • 2-3/4″ Deep

This will fit perfectly in the Fluval EVO 13.5. Here is a video showing the installation. The video mentions plugging the chamber hole first with putty or another means, but the In-Tank media basket I mentioned here come with the plug included.

inTank Chamber One Media Basket for Fluval Evo 13.5 | Fluval Evo 52L
  • HUGE Filtration upgrade, makes fitlration easy. Fits Fluval Evo 13.5 and Fluval Evo 52L in Chamber One (intake chamber)
  • INCLUDES FREE Water Director and Plug. Keeps rear chambers clean and promotes clear water. 2020 version with lower front wall and improved water director
  • Forces water through filtration media and not just around it. Media Basket is four sided with one being a removable door for easy and fast filter changes

2. Tunze Osmolator Nano Auto Top Off

With the Fluval EVO tanks, it’s a great idea to incorporate an ATO. Water evaporation is a problem for all saltwater tanks and an auto top off will really help to keep water levels stable. If you decide to use the Fluval EVO tank without the top removed, the water will evaporate even faster.

I have been using the Tunze Osmolator ATO for many years and never had a problem with it. For all nano tanks, it’s a great choice. The Tunze is easy to install, it’s compact and precise. It will keep your water level exactly where you want it automatically.

Tunze 3152.000 Nano Osmolator, ATO for Aquariums under 55 Gallon
  • Simple, complete, Auto Top Off System
  • Designed for tanks up to 55gals
  • Safety timer shuts off system after 1.8 or 3 minutes as set by user

3. Hydor Koralia Nano Circulation Pump

The return pump that comes with the Fluval EVO 13.5 kit is rated at 132 GPH. That will give you a turnover rate of around 9. Depending on what you are keeping in the tank, this may be suitable. But if you are keeping some more demanding corals like SPS or if you just want additional flow in the tank, you should consider upgrading by using a circulation pump.

I recommend a flow rate of 20X or more. Adding the Hydor Koralia Nano circulation pump will give you that added flow which is beneficial to your tank.

The Koralia Nano is very compact and won’t take up much space in the tank. The design is very durable and these pumps are proven to be reliable and long-lasting. Not to mention how affordable they are. It really is a great upgrade for the Fluval EVO.

Hydor Koralia Nano 240 Aquarium Circulation Pump, 240 GPH
  • In a world where nano tanks rule, Hydor introduced a more powerful nano pump added to the Koralia Nano line, with the Koralia Nano 240, 240 gallon per hour flow rate.
  • Patented Magnet-Suction cup support for free positioning in aquariums. Works on glass and acrylic
  • Safe for use with wave timers such as Hydor Smart Wave

You can also increase the flow rate in your tank by upgrading the return pump.

My recommendation is the Eheim CompactOn 1000 which I mention below.

Special deal: Buy any RODI water filter from Marine Depot and get 15% off replacement filters for life!

4. Flipper Nano

I am a huge fan of the Flipper products and believe it is the best aquarium glass cleaning scraper for your tank. The Flipper comes in many sizes and the Nano is perfect for the Fluval 13.5 aquarium.

The Flipper Nano is a huge time saver and makes cleaning the algae off your glass a breeze. No more putting your hands in the tank to scrape away algae. The Flipper has a durable polishing pad on one side and a scraper blade on the other.

You can use either side by simply “flipping” the algae magnet in the tank. It takes a little bit of getting used to but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to do.

Use the Flipper for all types of algae, even the tough to remove Coraline algae.

This algae scraper is a must-have for your tank!

FL!PPER Flipper Cleaner - 2-in-1 Magnetic Aquarium Glass Cleaner - Fish Tank Algae Cleaner - Scrubber & Scraper Aquarium Cleaning Tools – Fish Tank Cleaner, Nano
  • SCRUB, SCRAPE & FLIP: Clean fresh or salt water tanks with the patented dual sided magnetic aquarium glass cleaner that flips from scrubber to non-scratch scraper with no reaching into your tank.
  • MAJOR TIME SAVER: The 2-In-1 Magnetic Aquarium Fish Tank Algae Cleaner halves the time for daily cleaning. Ideal aquarium accessories for use on glass tanks up to 6mm (1/4") thickness / 25 gallons
  • SQUEAKY CLEAN!: These aquarium cleaning tools clean even the most stubborn Coraline Algae. The Flipper fish tank cleaner is made with rare earth magnets for incredible cleaning strength.

5. Fluval EVO 13.5 skimmer

You will hear many people say that a protein skimmer is not necessary to use in a nano tank. I say that they are a huge benefit and all tanks should have one if possible. No matter the tank size.

The Fluval EVO 13.5 is limited in space for a protein skimmer, but the Fluval Sea mini skimmer is the perfect Fluval evo 13.5 skimmer.

Like the Biocube 32 Gallon tanks, there are only a couple of skimmers that you can actually use due to the all in one tanks being difficult to fit a skimmer in place. If you have the Fluval EVO aquarium, consider the Fluval Mini skimmer. It works great in these tanks.

Sale
Fluval Sea Mini Protein Skimmer, 5-10 Gallon, Black, 14324
  • 32 needle-wheel impeller increases air-to-water contact ratio, creating ideal bubble size for maximum protein collection
  • Adjustable flow regulators control amount of air entering reaction chamber to produce perfect amount of "skimmate"
  • Adjustable water-level control valve regulates skimming performance

6. Cobalt Neotherm heater

The Cobalt Neotherm heater is the best choice for the Fluval EVO. There are other options but I find the Cobalt to work the best with this tank. The EVO kits do not come with a heater so you need to buy one separately.

The great thing about this heater is it will fit perfectly into the rear chamber and will stay hidden. It is not clunky or cheap looking which you don’t want in a heater. You want your heater to be reliable and durable and the Cobalt Neotherm has both.

For the Fluval EVO 13.5, you should use the 75-watt version as it is rated for tanks up to 20 gallons.

They are a bit more expensive than some other heaters on the market but it is well worth the few extra bucks. You want a solid heater that is going to be accurate and work well. Go with the Cobalt and you won’t be disappointed!

Sale
Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater with Adjustable Thermostat (Fully-Submersible, Shatterproof Design) from 25W to 300W
  • Super-flat design. Fully submersible, modern design for energy efficient Aquarium and terrarium heating. Includes reversible holster/bracket, which allows heater to face inward or outward. See the product images to determine the best neo-therm size for your tank.
  • Accurate, one-touch system. Simply set temperature between 66-96°f with one touch and the neo-therm electronic thermostat will maintain Tank temperature within +0.5°F. Led displays both set temp and actual temp, simultaneously.
  • Ultimate safety and reliability. Integrated thermal protection circuitry prevents heater from overheating. If you forget to turn it off, the neo-therm will automatically shut it down.

7. Aqua Illumination AI Prime 16 HD Reef Aquarium LED

Lighting is probably the #1 item that people want to upgrade on their tanks. If you are keeping corals in the EVO 13.5, you will need to ensure you have proper lighting.

The Fluval EVO comes with a hood that has integrated LED lighting. Although the included lighting may be suitable for certain low light corals like softies, it is not suitable for most LPS and definitely not SPS corals.

My favorite light upgrade for the Fluval EVO 13.5 is the AI Prime 16 HD. This is an amazing light that is suitable for all coral types and will really make all colors pop in your tank. Fish included.

The AI Prime is a well-known LED, and it is reliable and long-lasting. I really love the look of these lights and it’s compact and modern design will look great on the Fluval EVO. The other great thing about it is the price. You don’t need to spend a fortune to have a great light on your tank.

The AI Prime 16 HD is affordable and gives you a great quality LED that you will love!

AquaIllumination AI Prime 16 HD Reef Aquarium LED (Black)
  • Dimensions Length 4.88in. (12.4cm) Width 4.88in. (12.4cm) Height 1.34in. (3.4cm)

8. Temperature controller

I highly recommend that all saltwater tanks have a temperature controller. There are many ways you can control the water temperature of your tank. Heaters are not bulletproof by any means, and they can fail like any piece of equipment.

High-end choices like the Apex controller is a great option to monitor and control your heater. But I want to show you a very affordable option that I have been using for many years after my heater disaster caused me a small fortune. You can read about that by clicking the link.

For the Fluval EVO 13.5, I recommend you consider the Inkbird temperature controller. They will maintain your tank water temperature within 1 degree of your pre-set temperature and prevent the temperature from increasing in the event of a heater malfunction.

They are a very affordable and important upgrade to your tank. Although the Cobalt heater that I mentioned above is very reliable, any piece of equipment can fail and a heater controller provides peace of mind that your water temperature will stay consistent and stable.

Inkbird ITC-306T 10A 1200Watts Digital Temperature Controller, Aquarium Temperature Thermostat for Heater with Day Night Control Aquarium Sensor ONLY 2 Heating Outlets
  • 🐠【Aquarium Probe 】The Heating temperature controller comes with Corrosion Resistant Probe, perfect for saltwater & planted tank; «Plug and play design »Support Centigrade or Fahrenheit reading.
  • 🐠【Dual Display Windows】The digital temperature controller could display the mesaure temperature and seting temperature simultaneously
  • 🐠【Heating controllers】 NOTE that it is a ON/OFF Heating Controller. Both of outlets are only for heater devices, which be able to connect Two Heaters at the same time but totally load could not over 1200W.

9. Eheim Compacton 1000 pump

I mentioned earlier that the included return pump with the Fluval EVO 13.5 is rated at 132 GPH. If you are looking to increase the flow rate in the tank, you can upgrade the stock pump with the Eheim Compacton 1000.

One of the difficult things about replacing stock return pumps is finding one that fits the chamber space. The Eheim will fit the EVO 13.5 perfectly. This will increase the flow rate from 132 GPH to 260 GPH.

With this pump, you will be able to control the flow rate as well. There is a dial on the front of the pump that allows you to increase or decrease the flow depending on your needs. The minimum flow rate is 105 GPH and the maximum is 260 GPH.

Eheim is a reliable brand and this pump is a perfect upgrade for the Fluval EVO. The only complaint about this pump is that it’s not perfectly silent. Some people complain about the vibration noise but I have not experienced that. I have used all of the Eheim return pump models and have never had a noise issue with them.

Eheim COMPACTON 1000 Aquarium Pump, Black
  • Eheim compactON Aquarium Pumps are designed to maximize power and efficiency while keeping pump size and noise emissions to a minimum. With its versatile design and wide variety of available models, these pumps are a great addition to most aquariums.
  • Item Package Height: 10.0
  • Item Package Length: 10.0

So there you have 9 great options if you are looking to upgrade the Fluval EVO 13.5 aquarium kits. They are a great set up right out of the box, but are worth upgrading if you plan to keep some more advanced corals or even just have a beast of a nano tank!

Marine Depot Aquarium Supplies

David

David has been keeping saltwater tanks for over 15 years. Learning and writing about all things related to saltwater aquariums is a passion and there is so much to learn and enjoy.

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