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FAQs about Refugium Designs 14

Related Articles: Get Thee To A Refugium by Bob Fenner, Refugia: What They're For And How To Build Them by Forrest Phillips, Pressure Locking Sump Baffles; Welcome to the World of Versatility! By Joshua McMillen, Reef Systems, Reef Set-Up, Refugiums, Reef Filtration, Marine System PlumbingFish-Only Marine Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Macroalgae

Related FAQs: Refugium Designs 1, Refugium Designs 2, Refugium Designs 3, Refugium Designs 4, Refugium Design 5, Refugium Design 6Refugium Design 7, Refugium Design 8, Refugium Design 9, Refugiums 10, Refugium Design 11, Refugium Design 12, Refugium Design 13, Refugium Design 15, Refugium Design 16, &  Refugiums 1, Refugiums 2, Refugiums 3, Refugiums 4, Refugiums 5, Refugiums 6, Refugiums 7Refugiums 8, Refugiums 9, Refugiums 10, Refugiums 11, Refugiums 12, Refugiums 13, Refugiums 14, Refugium Rationale, Construction, Hang-on types, Pumps/Circulation, Lighting, Operation, Algae, Livestock, DSBs, & Caulerpa, Marine System Plumbing, Holes & Drilling 1, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing NoiseMake Up Water Systems, Marine Aquarium Set-Up, Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, MysidsAlgal Filtration in General, Mud Filtration 1

Sump/refugium design 1/22/09 I've been working on this build of my 150 gallon reef ready tank for some time. At first, I thought I was limited to the under the cabinet space as there is no room for anything next to the tank -- a wall on one side, and a hallway on the other. After some measurements however, it appears as though I can drill through the back few inches of one of the walls and get through to a very large walk-in storage closet. <Great! Nothing like a bit of demolition work to get things going!> I already have everything I would need for this setup, but just wanted to send my plans your way for input on to whether this would work well or not. <Ok> Now the 55 refugium on the left would actually be turned 90 degrees, as in from the front we would see the short side; it was just easier for illustration to draw it this way. My main concern is height and gravity. I know the top of the 55 would have to be lower than the bulkhead on the 150 so that it would drain downwards towards the tank. <Yes.> Then it would flow either out of a drilled hole in the 55 or an overflow (leaning towards a drilled hole, just haven't done this yet) and would have to continue downhill into the sump below. The refugium would output into its own chamber in the sump that is separated from the skimmer so to allow all the beneficial stuff from here to have a clear path into the pump and back into the display tank. Could it become problematic that I am only technically skimming the water that overflows from the right side of the tank? <No, you will still skim plenty.> I had also thought of splitting the flow from the left to be 50% into the refugium and 50% back into the skimmer section. This would both slow the flow through the refugium as well as increase the amount of water through the skimmer section. Do you foresee any problems with this setup or the splitting the left overflow idea? <I would not split the flow, just how it is diagramed will be fine. Do keep in mind most 'reef ready' tanks use 1' throughputs on the overflow good for about 300 gph safely each. With the long horizontal run you will have I would plan on about half this flow through that line.> Thanks for all your help as always! Josh
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Please help! (refugium), des.  1/8/09 Hey, <Hello Mike, Minh at your service.> I don't mean to bother you guys with petty questions, but I'm in need of some help. <No problem, mate. That is why we're here.> I recently got a 30 gal tank (salt water). Dimensions: w 24", h 24", d 12"... I would like to set up a refugium under the cabinet I built (a 10 gal tank). I have a Fluval 205 filter/pump. My question is how would I plumb this system? I feel there should be some simple answer and the more I research the more confused I am becoming. I really appreciate this site guys! Its become my home page (ha ha) as I am new to marine setups. <There are two options for you to ponder. First, if you'd like to keep your current configuration and have your 10 gallon refugium under your cabinet, then it will essentially act as your sump. You will need a way to get water from the display tank above to it, such as a built in or hang on overflow (such as this unit: http://www.customaquatic.com/estore/control/product/~product=FI-TT1318). Then you will need a return pump to get water from the refugium back into the display tank. Obviously, this option would require much more effort. Second, this option is much more elegant and one that I would recommend. Essentially, you will use your 10 gallon as a "behind-tank-refugium" (such as this unit: http://www.customaquatic.com/estore/control/product/~product=FI-CVOCT-REF14) and it will gravity drain back into the display tank. You will need to find a way to elevate the 10 gallon tank above and behind your display tank. Then use the output of your Fluval filter to pump water into one side of the refugium, similar to the right side of the commercial model in the link. Then drill near the top and opposite side of the refugium and install a drain valve, similar to the left side of the commercial model in the link. This method has several advantages over the other. For example, you will not need any additional equipment such as overflow or return pump so it's cheaper and more efficient. Also, using a gravity drain to get water from the refugium back into the display tank will allow a safe path for micro fauna to enter the display tank as oppose to getting chewed up by a return pump. Here are two additional links for more information on refugium/sump designs: Refugium/Sump Primer: http://www.melevsreef.com/what_sump.html Excellent Refugium Bulb: http://www.melevsreef.com/fuge_bulb.html.> Thank you so much! -Mike <You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

Refugium Design  1/3/09 Hello crew, <Hello Jesse, Minh at your service.> I currently have a 220g FOWLR that has been set up for over 2 yrs. While I have not lost a fish in over a year and a half, I have had a constant battle with nitrates. I have a heavy bio load and occasional algae blooms. My wet dry has been successful, but I am thinking about creating a refugium that the sump would actually sit in. Eventually I will remove the bio balls overtime. <Removing the bio-balls overtime would go a long way in addressing your elevated nitrate issue. Likewise, adding a refugium will also add to the cause in the long run. For more information, here is an excellent read on Nitrate and the marine aquarium: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/august2003/chem.htm.> I have attached my thought of how to do this and would like any advice you may have. I plan to drill two holes into the sump where my skimmer would be located and to raise it in a Rubbermaid tub to enable more water to flow/accumulate for a deeper bed. <After reviewing your design, it appears to be a feasible plan. However, I do have some thoughts that you may want to implement in the final design. First, I have some concerns about the integrity of the new sump/Rubbermaid container itself. I'm not quite sure which one you have picked out but do be wary of the softer walled utility tubs that are available at department stores. I've seen many of these units warp under pressure over time. Space permitting, I highly recommend the Rubbermaid agricultural tub made in a flat design using rigid plastic (pictured here: http://media.mydoitbest.com/imagerequest.aspx?sku=741004&size=2&warehouse=C& newsize=200). This type of agricultural tub has been tested in aquarium application and its flat shape allows for maximum surface area which is ideal for macro/algal growth. Second, to maximize Chaetomorpha growth, you will need to have optimal flow and light for this macro algae. Chaetomorpha grows best when it receives sufficient flow and the drain from your sump/skimmer may not be enough to optimize its growth rate. You may need to implement a "spray-bar" to achieve this. The second part of the equation is light and the TCP P38 5100k lamp is ideal. You can find more information about this bulb here: http://www.melevsreef.com/fuge_bulb.html. Lastly, as your new refugium matures and you continue to remove the bio-balls from your wet/dry filter, you may want to consider using that area for another refugium or algal/turf scrubber. There are many plans for such a conversion available online.> This is my first attempt at this and I am trying to do it on the cheap if possible. I have been reading like crazy and decided I would take a run at this thing myself. Any advice would be much appreciated. <I suspect your plans will work well. The refugium will be a powerful addition to your tank if given plenty of time to mature.> Thank you for what you do the help us long time learners. Jesse <You're welcome and good luck with your new project. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

Refugium Setup 11/24/08 Hey crew, First and foremost, thanks for the wonderful and informative site. <Thank you.> I have two small questions regarding a new fuge on an existing system. First a brief overview of existing tank. 3 year old 75 gallon mixed garden reef with mostly SPS and LPS, and quite a bit of them, roughly 100lbs. mixed rock and a 3''-6'' deep Fiji pink sand (depending on my *%$#* wafting Tomato). At the moment I only have a 2" Tomato (who I plan on taking out after I catch him that is), a Lavender Tang, and a Sixline Wrasse. I have the BakPak system Rapids Pro PS3 (which in my opinion is junk). There are three compartments that house media, 1 for filter floss pad, 1 for bio-balls, 1 for glass cylinders and carbon. Hope that is sufficient info for my question. I am using a 55G I have laying around for the fuge. I read recently about cycling the new fuge before hook up. <Wow, awesome.> I was going to do a rather large water change to fill the fuge, cycle it long enough to clean all the sand dust out ( hopefully a few days), then all in the same day put the bio-balls and cylinders in the fuge (slowly removing throughout a couple weeks as I replace it with rock) and plumb it in. Every thing beyond that would be done slowly. Is that too much stress to put on my tank considering it's age and amount of rock and sand? <No, your rock is already doing the bulk of the work anyhow.> Also I plan on a much bigger skimmer being employed at the time of hook-up. I am using the return pump from the old in the new, so I can't run them both at the same time. The main point of this is to upgrade skimmer and nutrient export. I plan on a DSB and Macro in the fuge. In the future I am planning on putting a cool fish in there so I want to build a pod population. Because of these things is it OK to put the skimmer in the third compartment that houses the return pump so the fuge gets raw water from DT? <I would not, you want any pods to have a free and clear path to the return pump/display.> One more thing, like I said I am using the return pump from the old "sump" in the fuge. It is rated at 1000GPH (what a joke) but I will have about 8' at least of head. Do you think that will still be too high of a turnover rate for the fuge and skimmer to work their magic, considering I will have the water level in the fuge about 2''-4'' from the top? (since the tanks are so close in size I believe I can keep the water level in the fuge pretty high and just the fuge area alone should hold at least 30 gallons.) <The flow sounds like it will be fine at head height. Scott V.>

Re: Refugium Setup 11/29/08 Thank you for the speedy reply, Scott V.. <My pleasure to assist.> After some consideration I am making three compartments in the Fuge. The middle will hold the return pump and the water will be split from DT (half to Fuge and half to filter sock, skimmer, etc.) That way my fuge gets raw water and also pods will have a free and clear path to return pump. <Sounds good.> Through more sitting, observing, and thinking, I have another question on media choice in the fuge. I have seen reverse flow undergravel filters put course media on bottom and sand on top of that. I was thinking I would do the opposite. Roughly 2''-3'' of sand (not sugar fine but one step larger) on the bottom for my denitrification, and a course aragonite sand (sand not crushed coral) on top for the pods. Each bag is 20lbs. and is going in a 11.75''x28'' fuge portion of the 55gallon, so I should end up with 4''-6'' total depth of media. Does this sound like it will work or is there some reason I have never heard of this being done? <It is done, works fine.> Will the course sand on top make it deep enough to purge the bottom layer of oxygen considering the bottom layer will only be 3'' deep? (mind you there will not be a heavy flow going through fuge, approx. 200-300GPH on approx. 30 gallons of fuge) <I would go ahead and go 4" on the finer layer.> One more question. I have horrible city water where I live. (city water is taken from IL River) Will I be OK rinsing the sand with city water first to remove the bulk of the dust, then a final rinse with RO water, or do you think the sand will hold some of the phosphate and other undesirables through the RO rinse and make it in to the tank? <Rinsing in tap water first will be fine unless your water there is practically pea soup!> Thank you so much in advance. <Welcome, Scott V.> Again props to Bob on all the wonderful literature and a PHENOMENAL website. <He will read through this!><<Ahh, yes. Welcome. BobF>>

Sump/Refugium chamber order 11/15/08 Hi Guys, unbelievably in-depth and expansive resource you've put together. Thank you all for your time! <A collaborative effort; thank you!> I'm working on a sump design for my 90g reef tank. I'd like to use Ogo (Gracilaria?) <yes> in the refugium section since I'm a sashimi fan, which I realize will require some design finesse to keep it "tumbling". To help facilitate that I'm thinking of incorporating adjustable control of the flow through the refugium into my design. How I accomplish this will depend on the order of my sump's sections, which leads me to my questions that I haven't found answered after lots of reading. It seems that the recommended sump section order is skimmer and refugium on either end, with the return in the middle. Overflows draining into skimmer and refugium. <It is one way, generally allows for a larger refugium since the water level in the refugium can be higher, not dependant on skimmer chamber flow through.> -Wouldn't the skimmer catch more junk if all the tank's overflow was passing through it, instead of some passing only through the refugium at each pass? <It does to a point. Running too much water through the skimmer will decrease dwell time. This will also decrease skimmer output, to nothing if too much water is run through. > -Would the refugium (and therefore the tank) be happier with skimmed or unskimmed water? <I would go ahead and plumb one of your overflows over to the refugium, feed it raw aquarium water.> My gut tells me that ideally all overflow would pass through the skimmer, then refugium, then return. This would seem easiest to do by arranging the sump sections in the same order. If my gut isn't lying this time, do you know of any design ideas/plans/pics on allowing some skimmed water to bypass the refugium to facilitate the adjustability I feel I might need? <Do check out http://www.melevsreef.com/allmysumps.html. Marc has a number of designs posted here.> Thanks a ton! <Welcome, Scott V.>

Chaetomorpha refugium 10/27/08 Hey Crew! Who's at the wheel today? <Scott V. with you.> I've gone through the RefugDSB FAQ's, and found the answers I was looking for with the exception of a couple of questions. <Good, a wealth of knowledge there.> First, I have a 20g sump/refugium underneath my 65g tank, and I've been using Chaetomorpha in it for about 5 months now (alternate lighting cycle with 18w 6700k compact fluorescent). I bought less than a handful, and its now breaching the water surface! <Great!> Other postings have said to harvest it, but I haven't found anything that says what the best size to cut it back to would be (refugium is 18" long by 6" wide by 24" deep). Some say tumbling, some say not for chaeto. <You can tumble chaeto., but it is not a necessity. I like to harvest weekly, about that which grows in the week.> Am I just aiming for good water flow through the refugium? <Yes, the same principle as the display, to keep detritus from building up in any one spot.> Second, how do I know when my refugium is starting to produce zooplankton? <You will be able to see them, more so at night, to some extent.> I have some soft corals (green star polyps, Ricordia, green spotted mushrooms), and aside from weekly iodine and trace elements dosing, I've been lightly adding Marine Snow a couple times a week. <Not a product I would use nor recommend. See WWM re.> Thanks for all you do. I roughly estimate that you have saved me no less than thousands of dollars and one divorce in avoided stupid mistakes! Sean <Heee, quite a chain of events! Welcome.>

Refugium Setup 10/27/08 Hi Guys! <Hello Dean.> Thanks for a great web site. It's has helped me make improvements to my tank, many I would never have thought of. <Great!> The latest one is to add a refugium. First, my tank is a 55 gallon system, 36x18x18, with just a few fish and corals (two false clowns and a lawnmower blenny, a finger leather, and some star polyp). I plan to stick to soft corals - I know SPS and LPS are popular, but my first sight of reef while snorkeling was soft corals, and I am really hooked on them. But I digress. <We all have our taste.> I have read much of your information on refugiums, but I am not sure I have assimilated it all yet. So I would like to lay out my plan, and if you could tell me what you think I would really appreciate it. <Okay.> For my refugium I plan to hook up 2 systems - a 10 gallon tank, and a small Ecosystem refugium I picked up at a yard sale, holds about 5 gallons. The tank I plan to use for my plant refuge, with a sand bed and PC lighting, and growing Chaetomorpha. The 5 gallon system I plan for fauna. I have some filter pad material I plan to cut up, and place in it, with no lighting. If this works out, I will expand it, but that's the plan. Any thoughts? <Sounds fine. I myself would opt for live rock or even dry rock over the filter pad, but it can and will work.> Thanks for the help Dean <Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Refugium Setup 10/27/08 Thanks Scott. Will add the live rock, and feed with shrimp pellets per Calfo/Fenner's book. Dean <Sounds good, have fun, Scott V.>

Small Refugium Impact (can't hurt) -- 10/25/08 Hi all, <<Greetings Marc>> I was looking into making a refugium out of an Emperor 400. I was reading the article by Steven Pro about the Hagen filter being able to be converted. I was looking at filling it with just macro algae. My question is, do you think it will make an impact on a 75 gallon tank? <<Probably not a significant impact with a container this size, but it also can't hurt>> Or should I just wait off and get the CPR hang-on refugium that has a 4 gallon capacity? <<No reason not to go ahead with the Emperor conversion (although likely not significant as stated, it will provide 'some' benefit) now, and upgrade when you can>> These are the only two options I can think of, since my tank doesn't have an overflow, and I don't trust the siphon overflows. <<I see'¦and share your concern, but'¦have you considered 'two' siphon overflows. Utilizing a pair of these devices, with the return flow rate from the sump/refugium adjusted such as if you only had one installed, creates a redundant condition that can make the use of these devices much safer/reliable Any other suggestions? <<Just made one>> And if I was to convert it to refugium, would be alright to just have a few pieces of live rock in there with macro algae, or should I put some sort of substrate in there? <<Many ways to go about this'¦and what you propose is just fine'¦but I would probably choose the method that allows maximizing space for the macroalgae as I think this material is going to give the most bang for the buck in this small volume re nutrient reduction and as a matrix for 'critters'>> Thanks again, Marc <<Cheers, EricR>>

Re: Small Refugium Impact (can't hurt) -- 10/27/08 Thanks for the help, <<You're welcome>> seeing if you can answer another question for me. <<Okay>> I think the only solution for the immediate future, due to budget, would be to convert the power filter. <<Okay>> Do you think a regular florescent bulb (not a t5 or power compact) would be sufficient for the macro algae? <<It is possible, yes'¦be sure to position the bulb low towards the water's surface>> Or would I not need a light? <<A higher light intensity may increase growth'¦but like with the filter conversion, it won't hurt to try the NO fixture first>> And, I'm sorry, another question'¦ <<No worries>> Do you think using the filter would be more beneficial than using it with filter pads? <<A refugium provides filtration/benefits in a different way and is a useful adjunct to any system'¦but considering the small size of the vessel, the power filter'¦used as the manufacturer intended and cleaned/serviced regularly'¦is likely more 'efficient' in this instance>> Right now, for filtration, I have 80 lbs. of live rock, and a Remora Pro Protein skimmer. I'm just trying to make the best of what I have, or just make some minor adjustments. Thanks again, Marc <<Happy to share. EricR>>

D.A.S. Filtration Replacement Question -- 09/10/08 Hi, <<Hello!>> I currently have a 120g reef tank with all of the wonderful refugium benefits. <<Refugiums are good!>> I acquired a 75g D.A.S. that is FOWLR. <<Ah yes'¦the 'self-contained' units from Dutch Aquarium Systems>> My questions is: Can I remove the filter spool in the first chamber of the system and replace with LR and Macro Algae and place a light over it like a mini-fuge? <<Sure'¦ And though this 'spool' is also likely a large component of the built-in biological filter, this can be 'replaced' with adequate live rock in the display and maybe the addition of a small fluidized-bed filter to assist with the highly fluctuation bio-load of FOWLR systems (depending on species kept/stocking densities/feeding requirements)>> I would leave a small spool in the return chamber to catch miscellaneous crud. <<Should be fine>> Thanks for your advice. Rhonda <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Refugium/Sump Design 7/27/08 Hi folks, <Hello D.> I'm a bit confused and need some of your guidance if possible ( cue the angelic music ). I have inherited a 90g fishtank from my brother. Yay Bro! I have about 50lbs of liverock and an ETSS Reef devil skimmer (used good condition, new pump). I'm attempting to construct an under the tank refugium/sump with a 30g tank, my biggest problem currently is baffle placement/compartment size. I understand the concept but I'm having trouble with the skimmer and recommended water height and how to keep the level as stable as possible while retaining an adequate level for refugium area. <I understand, the typical skimmer/refugium/return setup does lose quite a lot of water volume in the refugium compartment due to the need for a lower water level in the skimmer compartment. Splitting your overflow lines up, running one to the skimmer compartment on one end of the sump, while running the second to the refugium on the opposite end, putting the return area in the middle with the other two overflowing into it will give you much more refugium volume independent of the water height in the other sections.> Perhaps 30g is too small? <Larger would not hurt, but 30 is fine.> My second concern is I don't have the means ( or money..dang spouse watches my spending whenever I say fishtank now :P ) to get an automatic top off system, and have concerns about running the system too low if I am away for a day or two. <Realize all your evaporation will show in the pump return section. The larger you make this, the better. Run the water level as high as you can in this section. Which ever return pump you use, put an elbow pointing down to draw water from the lowest point possible. Other than that, evaporation is going to happen. If you will be gone for too long, you will simply have to find someone you trust to top off for you.> Any suggestions you can provide will be greatly appreciated, right now my brain is ready to explode with all the different info I have gathered online, a clear and concise set of answers would help a ton!! <I know the feeling. Keep reading and keep learning!> Thank you, D. Jandron <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Sump/refugium question... more reading, contemplation  -- 07/21/08 Hi guys, <Sean> And thank you for the wonderful service you provide to get the knowledge out to the masses. <Welcome> My question is regarding a sump/refugium. I have read through your articles and FAQ's, and I would like to know if the set-up I have is OK, if I should add to it, or modify it. I am doing a 75 gallon reef tank, drilled for overflow, <Hopefully overflows, plural> upgrading from a 40 gallon due to algae problems and inadequate filtration, ie: canister filter. The tank was nice for about a year or two and then I slowly lost almost everything. <Ahhh> I now have a CPR Cyclone Bio-Filter with built in protein skimmer, around 20 -30 gallons of volume in the filter. I believe the filter is rated for 150 gal tank. I have modified the filter to hold miracle mud, mixed with peat <Like peat moss? I would not do this... too likely to get loose, be a mess> and topped off with culpeara. I have removed the original protein skimmer, I did not like the design, and added a Aquarium Systems, Seaclone 100 skimmer to the filter. <You'll learn. I'd replace this> I was getting too many stray bubbles with the old skimmer; although, it was much larger in diameter than the Seaclone. For the biological compartment, I have removed the Bio-Bale and returned to the ceramic rings. I have also added carbon for a few days to help remove some of the water discoloration from the peat. The way the set-up is now the ceramic rings are always submerged, it is no longer a trickle or wet/dry. My return pump it probably outputting 400 to 500 gph, but this is just an estimate. Could be lower, but I can't imagine by much. If you would like, I can include a picture of the filter at a later date. <Okay> Do you think this is a good set-up that will afford my fishies longer life and myself less maintenance to the system? I am new to the sump/refugium scene, so any information is greatly appreciated. <Mmm, I'd get rid of the peat... change-out the skimmer... look to some way to section off (to slow flow down) the area with the mud and algae, switch the Caulerpa out for a more appropriate species... rig up some appropriate lighting, RDP arranged> Also, what do you recommend the lighting cycle should be for the sump? <Posted as well...> At my LFS the guy recommended 8 hours of light, but in reading some of the FAQ's on your site, some people are saying 24 hrs. <Only for Caulerpacean culture under certain circumstances> It is currently set to turn on when my main Metal Halides turn off <Ah, good> so that something always has a light cycle. My MH are on for about 9 hrs and the sump lights for about 15. <Please do switch out the Caulerpa...> Again, thank you for the wonderful service, and any information to help this beginner is greatly appreciated. Kind Regards, Sean <I'd keep reading for now: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm The second tray down... Bob Fenner>

Refugium Technical Help / Copper Removal from Rock Please 7/11/08 Hello Bob and the great Crew at WWM-I'd like to start off by thanking you for the valuable knowledge you have shared with the reef aquarium community and the helping me create an amazing ecosystem (my super sized Rose Tip BTA just split into two to much amusement to my gold-striped mated pair maroon clowns who have spawned since). <Gorgeous!> I have been battling hair algae in my reef tank for over a year now since adding some live rock about a year ago (55 gallon, t-5 lighting, Eheim filter, red sea protein skimmer). Its a mature tank 3 yrs+ and I dare say is overstocked (see attached pics I have higher resolution too but I wasn't sure if they'd go through email). <They're here> My nitrates, phosphates are at continuously at zero (im sure their higher just not picking them up in the tests). <Mmm, no... much more likely these are being "scarfed up" by your photosynthetic, chemotrophic life/processes here> I try to perform bi-monthly water changes at 10%. I tried reduced lighting from 12 hours to 8 hours six months ago but then my BTA and corals don't seem as full or bright so I returned to 12 hour lighting and the hair algae has been growing. So I have finally purchased a sump which I am converting to a Refugium and have some technical questions which I could not find the answers to in the library: 1) I scored about 40 lbs of gorgeous Marshall Island dead rock from a former reefer who had used a large amount of copper in his main FOWLR tank. The rock looks okay from afar, but on close inspection there is a slight green tint of copper on all the rocks. <!?> I tried boiling it but the tint is still there. What can I do to remove all copper from this rock before I cure it into Live Rock? <Perhaps melt a good deal off with dilute (inorganic likely) acid... I'd try Muriatic (3 molar HCl)... diluted by at least five times... do take care to do this with eye protection, doing as you "outta, adding acid to water"... outdoors where there is good air circulation> (the least expensive method would be most suitable for me) 2) Should I place rocks that are heavily infested with Hair Algae in the refugium or keep them in the main tank? <In the refugium> Or will the Hair Algae go away in due time if I leave it in the main tank and add the refugium? <More likely in the 'fuge...> 3) Should I place Rock or Macro Algae in the first chamber where the water comes into the refugium from the overflow? <Yes> (I will also have an ideal mud bed with live rock and macro algae in the main refugium chamber area but I want to maximize all chambers). Thank you so much for your help. It is greatly appreciated. F. Alserri <Welcome. You might peruse this area: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm the second tray down; when you want a bit more re refugiums. Bob Fenner>  
Refugium Technical Help / Copper Removal from Rock Please*  7/15/08 Hello Bob and the great Crew at WWM- <Hello! Benjamin here today!> I'd like to start off by thanking you for the valuable knowledge you have shared with the reef aquarium community and the helping me create an amazing ecosystem (my super sized Rose Tip BTA just split into two to much amusement to my gold-striped mated pair maroon clowns who have spawned since). <Thanks so much, and I'm awfully glad it has benefited you and your livestock.> I have been battling hair algae in my reef tank for over a year now since adding some live rock about a year ago (55 gallon, t-5 lighting, Eheim filter, red sea protein skimmer). Its a mature tank 3 yrs+ and I dare say is overstocked (see attached pics I have higher resolution too but I wasn't sure if they'd go through email). My nitrates, phosphates are at continuously at zero (Im sure their higher just not picking them up in the tests). I try to perform bi-monthly water changes at 10%. I tried reduced lighting from 12 hours to 8 hours six months ago but then my BTA and corals don't seem as full or bright so I returned to 12 hour lighting and the hair algae has been growing. <mm...yes, will not treat the root cause, either. Unless you find and eliminate the source of nutrient the algae is using, it will only return.> So I have finally purchased a sump which I am converting to a Refugium and have some technical questions which I could not find the answers to in the library: <Ah! Good!> 1) I scored about 40 lbs of gorgeous Marshall Island dead rock from a former reefer who had used a large amount of copper in his main FOWLR tank. The rock looks okay from afar, but on close inspection there is a slight green tint of copper on all the rocks. I tried boiling it but the tint is still there. What can I do to remove all copper from this rock before I cure it into Live Rock? (the least expensive method would be most suitable for me) <Okay, some bad news: You've been had, perhaps unintentionally. Live rock that has been in a copper treated environment will never be suitable for use in a reef again; copper is absorbed deep in the rock and slowly leached if the rock is in water. There just isn't any way to clean and use this rock...sorry.> 2) Should I place rocks that are heavily infested with Hair Algae in the refugium or keep them in the main tank? Or will the Hair Algae go away in due time if I leave it in the main tank and add the refugium? <Species diversity will generally only drop in areas of disturbance. Leave these rocks be, and they should clear up as macroalgae in the refugium outcompete the microalgae.> 3) Should I place Rock or Macro Algae in the first chamber where the water comes into the refugium from the overflow? (I will also have an ideal mud bed with live rock and macro algae in the main refugium chamber area but I want to maximize all chambers). <I would put a bit of loose rock/rubble here. Water coming in will be saturated with oxygen, aerobic bacteria on this rock will break down ammonia into more useful nutrients for macroalgae, and in the process produce more carbon dioxide, also a boost to your algae> Thank you so much for your help. It is greatly appreciated. <No problem!> F. Alserri <Benjamin>

Using a BioCube 8 as a Refugium for a BioCube 29 6/10/08 Good Morning Crew Member! <Hi there Jim!> Thank you for your time. <A pleasure to help.> I ran a successful BioCube 8 gallon reef tank for six months and gradually upgraded to a BioCube 29 gallon. The larger tank is coming along splendidly, and I'd like to ensure its continued growth. For filtration I am currently using LR, LRR, a Tunze skimmer, a bag of Chemipure, and a bit of filter floss to polish the water. The tank inhabitants consist of mostly SPS corals -xenias, frogspawn, various mushrooms, star polyps, etc; and, a couple of clowns and a Scarlet Hawkfish (love that guy!). Also a CUC consisting primarily of snails and hermits. <Sounds like a lovely tank.> My inquiry regards whether the use of a refugium is indicated. Would the BC-8 make a good refugium with Chaeto, live sand, etc? <Oh yes, a fine sized refugium in relation to the main display, very beneficial.> I am unable to use the second chamber in the BC29 as a fuge because the Tunze is in there. <A worthwhile use of the space, a good skimmer.> My primary concern is to provide a healthier environ for my corals. I guess I'm a little confused in that the BC8 fuge would have its own independent filtration system going. <For the ease of things you may want to consider removing all filter media and just use the filtration for circulation within the refugium.> Perhaps the water into the 8 gallon would come from the 29 gallon and the water out from the fuge would be pumped into the 29 gallon? <Exactly the procedure.> I feel as if I've asked a couple of really dumb questions, although I really do understand the concept of refugiums. <It is something a bit abstract if you are new to the idea, it becomes clear quickly when you go to actually plumb it up.> WWM has such a huge plethora of information on refugiums; is there a specific area that talks about marrying up two, different-sized, all-in-one tanks? <Not on two all in one tanks in particular, but this will work as any other tank/sump configuration for plumbing. A hang on the back overflow in the display, or a drain hole drilled will drain water to the refugium. In the refugium you will just need a pump matched to the overflow (GPH) pumping back to the display. More information in the link below and related FAQ's.> Thank you so much. Jim <Very welcome, have fun, Scott V.> http://wetwebmedia.com/ovrflowboxfaq4.htm

Refugium Question 5/24/08 I have refugium set up with live mud and Caulerpa. The tank is about 9 months old but recently we have been having elevated nitrate problems. We do pretty regular water changes and just recently did total of 60% water change and the nitrates are still at 20. <After a 60% change, yikes!> I have been told that refugiums with mud can eventually crash and or create high nitrates. <No more so than any other refugium if detritus is allowed to accumulate within.> Should I get rid of the mud and just leave it with the Caulerpa. What are your thoughts on refugiums with live mud? ( I'm not trying to feed my main tank). <I personally choose a fine aragonite sand, primarily because of cost. The only real issue I have with the mud is the false belief some have that it eliminates the need for a skimmer. Although a skimmer is never required, it does go a very long way towards maintaining a good water quality. It simply makes things easier/less work.> Thank you Greg <Do look into other contributors here: flow, feeding, filtration, detritus accumulation (substrate, mechanical filtration), etc. The following link and related FAQ's will help you sort out which of these factors may apply to your situation. Welcome, Scott V.> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm

Refugium Setup 4/27/08 I've been reading through your site and cannot find an answer to my question. First let me explain what I have and what I'm trying to do. I have a 12 gallon Aquapod HQI. I changed the return pump out with a Maxi-jet 900 and added the Hydor Flo to the output to create a current and also added a Nano Koralia pump in display to add more current. <OK, sounds good.> I have a 50 watt titanium heater that I have set at 80. I want to add a refugium. I bought a 2.5 gallon AGA and had it drilled to put a ½' bulkhead fitting for the return. I was going to place it above the Aquapod and have a Mindjet 404 pumping the water up to it with ½ ' supply line. I was going to play around with the flow to get it right. <The draining capacity will be very low and easy to plug. Do check the drain line often for algae buildup or anything else that may be restricting it.> I think a Nano Remora will fit on the end of it and was going to build a rectangular chamber for the Nano Remora pump so it does not suck up any macro algae and have the Nano Remora return supply the current for the algae. <You will be better off with the skimmer on the main tank if you have the room.> The light will be a Coralife Mini 6700K and be sitting on stands that I built for it and will run on the reverse cycle of the main tank. I will be using Chaeto for my algae. <Sounds good.> If the Nano Remora does not fit on the end then I will hang it on the back of the main tank. <The better choice.> Here is my question: With such a small refugium will I need a heater in it to heat it or will the water being pumped into it be just fine for keeping the temperature at an acceptable level? <Your main system's heater will keep the temperature up in the refugium too, no problem.> Will you email me back or do I need to go and read your site to find my answer? <All emails are responded to, but reading the site will only increase your knowledge. I personally find myself constantly learning something new from WWM.> Thanks for any help that you can provide. Shawn <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Refugiums, des./filter media  4/9/08 Hello again, <Hi Shawn> My question for today is, in my refugium after the water goes through the area with the live rock rubble, sand and algae it overflows into the chamber where the return pump is located. Where the water overflows is a piece of foam to catch debris coming out of that section. Does the foam prevent any critters that the refugium produces from entering the next area, hence not making it into the main tank. Should this foam be removed or will the plankton pass through the foam. <I would remove the foam or at least replace with a coarse sponge to trap larger particles of waste. The plankton will then find their way (much more easily) into your tank and continue multiplying and providing food there.> Thanks in advance, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Shawn

Re: mystery growth, was Red Alg. Id, now refugium des. , 3/22/08 Bob, <... Mike> Thanks for your prompt and helpful response. I have another question. This one is about refugia. I have a 72 bowfront reef/75# of LR with a few fish. Specifically, three tank bred orchid Dottybacks and two tank bred clarkii clowns. Other livestock includes Gorgonia, soft corals and a variety of mushrooms and Ricordea. My tank has been up for about a year and all of my parameters have been stable. SG=1.025; T=76F; NH3/NO2/NO3=undetectable; CA++= ;alkalinity=8dkh. I also have an Eheim canister which runs carbon continuously (for allelopathy). After my refugium is well established I would like to keep a mandarin. I have not done a refugium yet and instead have lurked about WetWeb and read a variety of books (CA included). My intent is to have a refugium that will be worth looking at... I have purchased a 40 acrylic and plan to situate it in front of (and below-no way to place it above) my main tank. The plan is to begin with a DSB of 6-8", some live rock, a few pounds of GARF grunge <I'd save my money here> and the red algae from my display. The overflow from the display will drain into the refugium and be returned via a pump that came with the display tank. <Okay> Now to the questions (finally!) I would like to use Xenia for nutrient export. I would like to have other interesting species in the refugium. I'm thinking about Tridacna and a variety of tube worms. I know Xenia don't need as much light as the clams. Will bright lighting be a problem for the Xenia? <Mmm, no, not likely... but one might "aim" the more intense light at the Tridacnid> Will this combination of critters adversely impact my plankton production since they are mostly filter feeders? <Not much... the type/kind of plankton you're hoping to produce... for the Mandarin won't be consumed much by the listed life> If I want to try Hippocampus will they be a problem for food production for the display? <This might be so... depending on species, size, number...> My red alga is presently in a corner of my display which is not extremely well lit. <Rhodophytes don't need/want much light intensity> If I move it into the refugium do I need to worry about the sudden increase in light intensity? <Perhaps so> mil gracias Mike <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

120 Reef Sump/Refugium 3/8/08 I am looking to set up a 120 AGA reef tank with dual overflows. My question is I have a non drilled 210 in my garage where the back wall of my display tank is going to be located. The garage floor is 2 feet lower than the den room were I plan to put tank, I have this 210 which I can't seem to sell I was thinking of using it for a sump/refugium for my 120. Do you think this is too large for a sump/refugium? <Absolutely not, I think it is a great idea! The bigger the better.> If not, how would you suggest setting it up ,all 4 holes in 120 be the supply to the 210 then 1"going back as return to the 120? <Yes, actually exactly as you mention. Since you are coming through a wall you have no need to run the return through the bottom of the tank. Use those return holes for some extra draining capacity. Keep in mind that each 1' bulkhead will drain 300 gph or so, with the ¾' producing 150 gph each. One 1' or even a single ¾' return will handle this flow. Happy reefing, Scott V.>

120 Reef Sump/Refugium 3/9/08 Sorry Scott, I have two kids on my shoulders. <No problem, thank you for resending.> How would you set up the 210 as a sump/refugium, would I tie in the four drains? Should I bring them down under the tank into 1 one 1"pipe like a manifold <No, this will make it effectively a 1' drain, each line needs to be run separate or combined into a 1 ½' or even 2' line.> with the one 1" pipe going through wall to sump? <No, larger or more.> Should I drop it into the left side of tank with a skimmer? <I would run half to the skimmer and half to the refugium, with both chambers overflowing into the common sump return area.> I then was going to use 3 baffles 1"-2" apart for bubbles then into a middle area were return pump would be, the right side being the refugium. Basically the sump and refugium would drain into center were return pump would be. Also, what size return pump would I use, <Something that will yield 700-800 gph or less at your head height will be my choice. This will allow a little extra capacity in your overflows.> and skimmer thanks hope this is a little better, John!! <As far as skimmers my faves are the ASM or EuroReef lines, something along the lines of the G3/RS180 for this system. Hope this helps, Scott V.>

Re: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 3/9/08 Thanks a whole lot here, would you convert the 3/4 from the bottom of ?tank to a 1" so there all 1",then tie into a 2" manifold under tank? <You can, but running each directly to the 2' as is will work fine.> Are you saying then reduce to 1" through the wall into sump or keep it 2"? <Definitely do not reduce through the wall or anywhere else.> Or are ?you saying each over flow use a "y" 1" to 3/4" to 1"1/2 or 2" through the wall, ?doing this for both over flows then I would have two 1"1/2 or 2" ?supplies going through wall to sump. <This would be an even better way to go, having two separate lines in case one fails.> I hope this makes sense to you and ?thank you so much for your time and patience. <It does, you're welcome.> I'm using your web site as a ?model first sump with skimmer spilling into refugium then spilling into ?return bay how does this sound to you!? <This will work fine, have fun, Scott V.> Re2: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 3/9/08 Scott, I'm checking your web site and a little more confused ref to ?sump/refuge. I might of asked you already but I was wondering if the inlet ?side of sump should be for skimmer then would you spill over to return ?pump in middle and refuge on far right spilling into center right? <Was mentioned in our previous correspondence. This is my preferred setup, it allow a greater volume in the refugium, but either configuration will work.> Now I ?have it going skimmer to refuge to return pump. Would you "t"off supply ?to skimmer with valve to control flow to refuge? <Yes, just T off the overflow drain line to feed the refugium.> Thanks, your worst ?nightmare, John!!! <Welcome, Scott V.> Re3: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 3/9/08 Scott, John again, forgot to tell you the 210 6' tank I have divided first ?skimmer area approx 22", middle refugium area approx 33", and the right side ?return pump area approx 11". How does this sound? Thanks again a ?lot!!!!!!!!!! <Welcome again John. This configuration is fine, and large too!! All of it sounds good, enjoy, Scott V.>??

Re7: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 3/26/08 Hey Scott, my plan had changed regarding the return(s). I think you mentioned a return pipe size of 1" or 3/4". <From the pump, yes.> My plan was to use a 1" from return pump up the back of the tank, then I was going to put a 1" tee in middle of the tank, then split to right approx 6" then tee off to 3/4",then continue to end of tank with a 45 to a 90 reduced to 3/4".This would also be done on the left side. Basically there would be 4 returns on back of tank. <Too many for 700 gph. Luckily, PVC is cheap and easy to adjust. You can start the system up and play with it to achieve the desired flow pattern.> One on the left of over flow box, then two in middle of the MegaFlows, finally to the right of the right mega flow box. It would be all 1" then reduced to 3/4".If this is ok should I just change the four returns to 1/2". <I would personally make it two ½', three at most.> Or do you recommend 3/4"from pump, to back of tank, then each return being 1/2". <There would be little difference between ¾' and 1' at 700 gph.> My next question is regarding the drain pipes. I was planning using the Durso design. The 3/4" hole, should I make the pipe a 1"durso and the 1"hole should I make it an 1-1/4"durso. <This is the common application of a Durso, a slight oversizing. There is no benefit in my opinion, but no harm either.> Thanks. <Welcome, Scott V.>

Re8: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 3/26/08 Hey Scott, I am going to try to attach pictures of return plumbing. If you think its too much let me know. <I do for 700 gph.> I think you were saying to use a single 1" or 3/4" return coming over tank with a single 3/4"locline or use a "y"locline 1/2". <Yes, this will be just right for the flow.> I hope you get pictures. John. <They came through fine, have fun, Scott V.>

Re9: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 3/29/08 Thank you Scott for your time. <Welcome John, I have combined your three emails into one for simplicity.> Of coarse I have some other questions. <OK> What steps should I take when I am going to start to fill the tank? Should I start to fill main tank till the water gets to the return pump. <Yes, above the return pump.> Then what? <Start the pump if all the plumbing is done!> Or what do you recommend? What are the chances of the main tank overflowing, <Very little (there is always a chance) if your return is sized appropriately.> what's the best way to prevent this? <Appropriate flow for the drains.> The sump I'm not to worried about because it will be located in the garage. <You still don't want to lose water!> I was thinking of maybe using one of the 3/4"in the MegaFlows, maybe putting a 1"1/2 PVC pipe just below the tank rim, through wall to outside just incase the water rose it would just drain out of main tank. But then I'm loosing a drain. What do you think? <This would amount to very little. If you outrun the other drains one ¾' emergency drain will amount to very little safety margin.> Can I wait a couple of months until I get a skimmer to start running tank ? <To start it at all? Yes. You can stock the tank without a skimmer, but I always advocate for the use of a skimmer, from the start.> Thanks again for your time with my set-up, if it wasn't for you I wouldn't even attempt this. <Welcome John, it sounds like it is all coming together.> Hey Scott, it's John again. I am working on the plumbing under tank just wanted to know what you think. I'm using 4 "tees" 1"1/2" to 2", both the 1" and 3/4" drains are coming down from tank into the tees. <OK> My question is I have to go into wall to the immediate left of the outlet in the picture. I might have to put an elbow then out the wall. All the water will come down to left through wall into sump. Or should I divert the water from both over flows to middle then through wall, or is it ok the other way? <Whatever works to get the plumbing done. You will not lose much flow either way, you are well below the capacity of a 2' pipe.> The immediate right I put a clean out, and the valves are mostly for emergency shut down. <No reason for valves on a gravity fed line. Shutting off the return pump will shut down the lines.> I added some pictures for you to see. Of course they will be higher up, the main is a 2" as you recommended. The inlets to the "tees" are an 1"1/2. <Sounds fine.> Hey Scott, I just wanted to see what you think about the plumbing under my tank so far. This is the only possible way I can see doing it. I have both sides spilling into center, to go into wall. <This will work fine.> The center is about were its going to come out to drop into sump in garage. The black valve behind is the return, it's 1" up to tank, then reduced to 3/4"along top. Then I have 3 outlets at top, left, center, right of tank. Each will have a 6" 1/2"flex pipe, with valves. I attached pictures, almost there, thanks. Hope it looks ok, John. <All looks fine, welcome, Scott V.>

Thanks buddy, you are a great help. John <Welcome, enjoy finishing the setup, it is my favorite part! Scott V.>

Re10: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 3/29/08 Hey Scott, I just had a question re to the bulk heads, the 1" under tank is a slip fitting, I put the 1" PVC into with PVC cement, it just seamed a little loose to me. Is this supposed to be the 1" PVC slips into this bulk head and that's it? <Cementing it in is fine and advisable.> Also the 3/4"under tank is a threaded fitting. The bulkhead I used 100%silicone on both sides of gasket, I used plumbers putty below tank , hand tightened nut .Is this ok? <Hand tight is fine. What did you use plumber's putty on, the threads into the bulkhead? I would remove this and use silicone hear, much less likely to leak.> Or should I use a wrench. My next question is the stand I'm using is an AGA cherry wood cabinet. This was the cabinet for the 210 tank I had. I took the right side off the cabinet, was able to cut the floor of it and reattach the right panel, making it a 48" cabinet. I used corner brackets added vertical wood and horizontal pieces for further support. I then added more pieces along top inner rim. I put 1/2"ply-wood on top with middle support. I know its hard to say but does this sound all right? <It sounds like it will be fine.> I will take pictures to try to capture what I am saying. <Ok, sounds good. From you description it sounds as though you made the stand strong enough. Scott V.>

Re10: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 3/29/08 Hey Scott, I just came down from putting kids to sleep. Anyway, I just removed the plumbers putty from the bulkheads, I won't be able to sleep knowing this may be a problem. <You will be better off for doing this.> You don't know how much I must thank you for all your help, with my tank set up and even my writing and grammar. I know its not perfect, but I've learned to take my time (ha ha). <Thank you John, it is always a pleasure to help where and when I can.> Well good night. Time to work on plumbing the sump/refugium. I'm waiting for my 3/8" glass to be cut. Then I could start on that. So I wont bother you for a while. Thanks a million Scott, talk to you soon.. John. <Very welcome, do let us know how it all comes out, Scott V.>

Re: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 4/4/08 Hey guys, I just had a question or two. I was wondering if it was ok to use clear 1"flex pipe to plumb my return pump? <Hmmm, yes vinyl tubing? It can kink and restrict flow if you are not careful. Flexible PVC or nylon reinforced vinyl are a better choice.> I'm probably going to use rigid PVC 1"right at pump with 1"valve, then the 1" clear pipe approx 5' to rigid PVC were it enters the back wall. I wanted to use flex (white) PVC, but Home Depot, pool suppliers don't carry it. <Most do under the SpaFlex label.> Don't want to order on line because I don't need 50'.My next question is regarding the Durso pipes, the 1" is a slip and the 3/4" is threaded in overflow boxes. I feel it's going to be difficult to get exactly the same heights due to one being a slip and the other being threaded. When I build them out of tank they might be exact but when one is put into slip fitting then one being threaded might throw off there heights. It's also very difficult to measure them in the overflow boxes due to avail room. What do you recommend? <Build both and 'dry fit' before cementing anything this will make it easy for you to adjust the heights to match. You may have to install and remove the standpipes a time or two, but this is about the long run, a little extra effort is worth it.> While I have you here I just wanted to sum up what I have set up so far to see what you think. 2-1" AND 2-3/4" over flows being used as drainage coming down under tank to all 1" approx 10", then to 1" 1/2" "tee" to a 2" manifold. This is drained from middle approx 1"right into wall. When it comes out the other side it extends approx 1' then a 45 degree then down into sump. The sump area is approx 2' x 22",spills over 3/8 glass approx 16"high then under and over the third baffle which is 15". The refugium is in the middle, approx 33" x 2' then hits the second set of baffles 14" then 13" to the return pump. <This all sounds fine.> Returning water back to tank through 1" flex or PVC into wall. The 1" runs up the back of tank were it splits in middle I used a 3/4" PVC, then three 1/2" return nozzles along back, left, center, right of the tank. I will be using 1/2" flex pipe to direct flow to different areas in tank which will have little valves to control flow in tank. <I assume you are referring to Loc-Line, a good configuration.> I know this is a little lengthy but I just want it to all be right. Thanks John, PS, what size return pump did you recommend for this application, and what make of pump? <I would choose something in the 700-800 gph at your head height for this, a Eheim 1262 if it were me.> I was thinking mag. <You can go this route, a Mag 9.5 will do the trick. Good luck, Scott V.>

Re: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium Re: Sump/Refugium, Tubing found 4/5/08 Hey Scott, thanks for the response. <Welcome.> I found the tubing I needed. Yes the SpaFlex tubing. 6' for $11. <Great!> Also regarding the Durso pipes I found the "Durso" web site and ordered the 1" and 3/4" pipes pre made. I am using the LocLine in the tank for returns. I ordered (3) 6" flex line tubes with a valve on each so I have control of flow in tank. I also ordered flared ends. Should I drill a small hole in the flex pipe to break the siphon just below the water line, and if yes what size hole? <You certainly can, a few 1/8-3/16' holes in each line will do the trick.> I'm going to send you pics in my next e-mail of the sump/refugium. <Sounds good, Scott V.>

Re: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 4/5/08 Hey Scott, here's the pics of the sump/refugium. I hope they came out, John. Thanks for all the help. Hey Scott, I didn't know if you got my pics last night, ,here they are again. John <Yes, they came through this time. Although a little blurry, the design looks good, this will work fine. Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 4/7/08 Hey Scott, I just had a question. <Hello again John.> I was wondering if I should "tee" off the spa flex that's running over the refugium with a valve. <I would not.> Would this lesson the flow in the main tank returns? <Yes, this approach wastes power in my opinion.> Or should I put in a power head for more flow. <If you need more flow in the refugium this is the way to go.> I would like to put in some Chaetomorpha algae. Could I use a plant grow light from home depot for this? <Certainly.> If yes what type do you recommend? <I use, recommend and even sell a patio light from Costco for refugium use. It is a 6500 Kelvin 65 watt quad compact bulb for around $8. It does need a cord attached to it and has a photo sensor that needs to be removed. Any 6500K or so fluorescent bulb will serve you well here.> Should I wait to put in the Chaetomorpha algae when cycling or put it in immediately? <I like to wait until the tank is cycled and stable to add the macroalgae. Best regards, Scott V.>

Re: 120 reef sump/refugium MegaFlow Modification 4/17/08 Hey guys. <Hello John.> I have a couple of questions. First, I got my pump hooked up and tested, filled tank and sump. Seemed to work no leaks in plumbing. <Great!> I'm using the Mag pump 9.5 I know you suggested Eheim, but got it for a good price. <We all use different pumps, the Mags are a fine choice.> I drained all because I'm waiting for the Durso pipes to get here. Still need to get skimmer, light and rock. So my question is I was reading on the Durso web sight under mega flow modification. They cut out the teeth and put in a mesh face. They cut a piece of gutter guard and hot glued in place. This was done for more flow. What do you think about this? <I have seen this many places and find it totally unnecessary. The thinking is to increase the flow through the overflow, but the teeth are not the issue, it is bulkhead size. Fact of the matter is the bulkhead(s) limit the flow to just a bit more than 300 gph if you use the 1' and around 450 per overflow if you also use the ¾' as a drain. The teeth (I have actually tested this) are good for a little more than 900 gph.> It just seems good to me due to the teeth clogging up. <Yes, if you wind up with serious algae issues.> Would this be ok in my application? <It does not hurt, it is just not needed in my opinion.> My last question was I have an FX-5 canister filter from my previous set up. Could I use this at my sump just for carbon or other things. NOT <mechanical> filtration. Or would this also cause high nitrates? Just wanted your input on this or should I just scrap it and put directly in sump? Thanks again, John. <You could use the canister for this purpose. Although it is an inconvenient way to run carbon compared to making yourself a tray of some sort in your sump to hold it. You will still need to clean the canister and the carbon is just far easier to change out in the sump. Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 5/2/08 Hey Scott, I received the Euro Reef RS 180 today. <Christmas!> It seems to be working well. So I'm probably going to go for the light 2x 250watt HQI 4x54watt actinics not the 2x150HQI. My main question is I'm shopping around and reading up on your sight regarding a top off system and R/O system. Thank god for the 210 gallon sump/refugium!!!!. <A very nice, worthwhile addition.> Can you recommend a good system that will work well as for a R/O unit that will work with a auto top off. <Just about any R/O with an auto shut off assembly will work. I personally have an Aqua FX unit.> Does the R/o unit plumb into a float valve in storage container then into the sump via the top off unit sending R/O water back into sump? <This is one way, generally the least complicated to set up. So much to say here, this is one of my future product ideas (of many, developed slowly with much R&D). By far my favorite ATO unit on the market is the Tunze, for many reasons; reliability and safeguards being the main two. Price and stock mounting options being the drawbacks with this unit. By swapping a 12V normally closed solenoid out for the included pump you can hook it up directly to your RO without worry. No more hauling top off water!> Do you think I should go with the 2x250 HQI'S or 2x150's. I probably would like to add clams. <If you have any desire to go the clam or SPS route the 250's will serve you well in a 24' deep tank.> Thanks again for your time, you've been a great help in this entire set-up. John. <A pleasure to help out/share. Thank you, Scott V.>

Refugium/Sump design   3/12/08 Hello, <Kevin.> I am almost finished setting up a 210 with the following equipment: -Two 1200 MagDrive return pumps -Two Koralia 4 powerheads -150g RODI Reefkeeper Unit with ATO -Three 400w MH lights -100 lbs live sand in the main tank -200 lbs of live rock -Refugium -Protein Skimmer My goal is to have fish, live rock, crustaceans, and coral. I expect that initially I will have more fish than coral. <OK> I have ½ inch glass available and somebody that can assemble it into a tank 48 long, 16 high, and 17 wide. The plan so far is to have the pumps be internal. 1) Will this be of adequate size? <If your skimmer fits, yes.> 2) How wide should each chamber be? <Large enough to fit the skimmer in one chamber, large enough to house the two Mag Drives in the return and make the balance the refugium.> 3) What protein skimmer would you suggest? <An appropriately sized (see manufacturers recommendations) EuroReef, ASM or AquaC would be my three choices.> 4) What substrate would you suggest and how deep? <A fine aragonite sand 1' deep or less for aesthetics or 4'+ if you want to run a deep sand bed for NNR.> 5) Can you point me to a link or picture with a specific design for the refugium and any components associated with the refugium that I have not considered? < http://www.melevsreef.com/allmysumps.html has many sump/refugium configurations to choose from.> 6) Along with the design what would plumbing include between the tank and refugium and within the refugium. <First is your overflow drain lines, this is a whole discussion within itself. Do research the subject to be sure you have sufficient draining capacity for your pumps. Next, you can run plumb your return pumps directly to the tank. No plumbing within the refugium should be necessary, depending on the design you pick.> 7) Do you have any other suggestions that would help automate the system and provide me with an ideal setup given my plan. <My suggestion is to continue researching each aspect of your design. There is much useful information on WWM and other sites regarding the pros and cons of each.> Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Once I visited your website I changed from wanting to purchase a wet/dry system to knowing that I need a refugium. <This is a much better choice/way to go.> At this point I would rather make any suggested changes and do things right the first time. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with all of us who want to pursue this hobby. Thank You, Kevin Herman <You are welcome. You do have the basic concepts, just continue reading regarding applying different designs to your particular system. Each system is different, so you will have to decide! Have fun, Scott V.>

Adding Baffles to Sump/Refugium 2/23/08 Hello to all. <Hello, Scott V. with you.> Mike here I want to modify a DIY sump/refugium out of a 40 long glass aquarium. I had the sump/refug running for about 6 months now and have been fighting micro bubbles the whole time. <Frustrating, isn't it?> So I finally decided to modify it a touch, adding in some baffles. My Question is this how much would the number of baffles affect the flow rate? <It shouldn't have a bearing on your flow rate at all.> I have tried different things with my down lines I have tried filter sponges you name it I have tried it. The return pump is hard plumbed and I even went around and put some silicon around all fittings. I thought maybe the fittings were water tight but not air tight I know it sounds dumb but I like I said I tried everything. <This doesn't sound dumb, all are valid issues.> I have three chambers now down lines, skimmer, and refug. I was going to add three 1 inch chambers at the end where my return pump is. My pump is external and does about 1200 gph. I have read and read on your site but didn't truly find the answer I was looking for. Any info. would be helpful. Hopefully this is enough info. for you guys to help me. Thank you and hope to hear back from you soon. <Your plan will work out fine, it will not be a problem with your flow. Check out the included link below, this is a nice way of installing bubble trap baffles. It will allow you to do so without tearing down your sump and you can easily adjust it to suit your needs. Welcome, have fun, Scott V.> http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i1/Baffles/baffles.htm

Refugium Questions... des.  2/11/08 I'm setting up a 40 gallon refugium on my 180 gallon tank. My sandbed is about 4-5 inches. (Thoughts on this would be appreciated, but not the focus of my questions) <Sounds like a good plan.> What kind of flow should I have? My flow right now is pretty low. ~100 gallons per hour and this is just because it was the easiest way to set it up. <I would up this to perhaps as high as 400-500 gph in this size system and refugium.> I also thought it might be better to start slow to prevent my tank from cycling with the addition of all that sand. (Not sure if that would actually happen though). <Not unless it was true live sand that needed to be cured.> And do I need circulation in addition to the flow coming in from the sump? <You can, in this case I would opt to increase the rate of flow through the refugium a few hundred gph.> My other question has to do with lighting. Is a 65w PC enough? <Yes, preferably in the 6500K spectrum.> More than needed? <No, just keep the light as close to the macroalgae as possible.> Just right? Would I be OK with a 44W T5? I might be wrong on the exact wattage of the T5, but somewhere around there. <I would go for the PC in this case, more wattage while still using one bulb.> Thanks!
<Welcome, Scott V.>

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