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FAQs about Refugium Designs 11

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Refugium make-up   8/15/07 Hi Gang, <Dave> I'm installing a refugium (250mm w x 800mm l x 500mm h = 100l) for my 650l FOWLR tank (I have thoughts for an anemone and some corals later). <Mmm, do read re these mixes...> The baffle heights to and from the sump are set at 400mm reducing the actual water content to 80l. My plan is for a predominantly nutrient export refugium (nitrates and phosphates). After reading through the entire refugium posts (many days of work!) <How'd you like to write them, come up with a/the scheme to re-organize, move?> I am planning to populate it like this. 1. A 250mm (5") DSB using Red Sea's Reef Base (aragonite) <Mmm, fine coral sand would be better> 2. 10kg of rubble live rock (I have more if you think it necessary) <Mmm, depending on transit volume issues, the "more the merrier"> 3. A fistful of Chaetomorpha. <"And a Few Dollars More". Shades of Clint Eastwood spaghetti flicks> 4. Alternate light cycle from the main tank. The specs for the lighting are... 1 x Glo T5 HO Lighting System 24 1 x Hagen Power-Glo HO T5 22" lamp 1 x Hagen Life-Glo HO T5 22" lamp 5. Possibly a small power head for circulation? <Mmm... okay> Q. Is there anything else I should (or rather you would) consider adding or altering to this make up. <Well... to make the sump much larger if you can fit it in somewhere... and to not have the baffles so low... to increase the overall volume... and to "practice" with whatever you end up with to prevent an accident with overfilling the system total, should/when the power/pump fail...> ---0--- The design of my combined sump/refugium allows me to very simply isolate the refugium so that it effectively becomes a stand alone tank in its' own right; and equally as easily incorporate in back into the main system. This is achieved by simply lifting a glass divider which will allow chamber 1 (overflow from main tank) to flow directly into chamber 3 (the sump) and then returned to the tank, effectively bypassing the refugium. This design wasn't deliberate - it was based on maximizing the space in my cabinetry under the tank, but it has led me to another thought. <Neat!> Q. Once established, do you think this could be used temporarily as a quarantine tank for introduction of new fish? <Mmm, if they're small, yes> Q. What about using the same for a hospital tank to individually treat/isolate a poorly fish? <If they're not involved pathogenically, yes> Thanks in advance Dave <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Refugium make-up  8/16/07 Hi Bob, <David> Thanks ever so for the quick response. [Had a quiet chuckle with your Chaetomorpha (i.e. spaghetti) western quip :-)] <Wish the present Net would allow me to whistle the theme tune...> No questions this time just a few responses to share. I will now use fine coral sand instead of the aragonite for the DSB. I have heaps of live rock rubble so I will throw more in to the refugium. <Good times two> Unfortunately the sump/refugium is as big as is practical to fit under the display tank. Aesthetics (or rather my wife) <Heee!> prevent me from situating it outside the cabinetry. It will have 80l in the overflow chamber/sump and another 80l in the refugium. Once up and running I will perform a transit water overflow test and increase the size of the baffles accordingly. <Well-stated> By my rudimentary calculations I believe I will be able to increase these by a further 50mm (2") and still leave enough volume for pump failure. This will add 10 litres to the sump and another 10 litres to the refugium bringing the total to 180l. This represents roughly 20% of the main display tank (650l). <Mmm, yes> Further down the track I have a plan to introduce an outside sump/refugium which will receive overflow from the main display first, which will then gravity feed to the under the display sump/refugium, before being returned. I am not limited by space here so I have thoughts on a largish 500l tank split 100l for overflow capture and 400l for the refugium. This will mean I will effectively have 2 refugiums and the water volume by comparison to the main display will effectively be doubled. <Nice!> This is probably as big a project as the main display itself which is underway. It will involve erecting a purpose built housing adjacent to the outside wall, more holes in the wall (I already have plumbing going to/from an external chiller and separate plumbing for automated RO water top ups and 10% weekly water exchanges, more holes for external electrics, and then the whole tank sits on a tin base which has separate floor level plumbing for emergency flooding to an outside drain.), so many holes in fact I'm considering removing the wall. :-) <Might be best here... and not to kibitz too much... wouldn't a walk-in space with power, water/sink and drain line be great there?> So now to your question of me. Re "How'd you like to write them, come up with a/the scheme to re-organize, move?". Sadly my life is full raising a family of 4 kids between the ages of 5 & 10. <Yeeikes! I have a hard enough time keeping up with our dogs! Oh, and Pete, our roomie> What little spare time I do have will be preciously spent resurrecting my marine hobby which I hope to introduce the kids into. However I do have one small suggestion for the advice on posts on your 'Ask the WWM crew a question' page. I notice that many of the emails start off on one subject and then drift off into other non-related areas. This means that valuable responses can be missed if someone is researching a particular topic and the response has been filed under a different category. <Yes... getting "corrected" with time, efforts to sub-divide, make the headings/categories more focused, limited> Whenever I post I send separate mails for each topic knowing that they will likely end up in different areas. Would it be worthwhile maybe advising others to do the same? <Mmm, yes... unless the input, other info. is related somewhat... I do place such "FAQs" in more than one "box" often enough...> Maybe something like "e. Have more than one topic? - then send more than one mail." or such like. As I say just a thought, but do keep up the great work - yours is an invaluable resource to good fish keeping husbandry as are your books (I have the lot). Cheers Dave <Thank you for this valuable input and your kind acknowledgments Dave... Bob Fenner>

Refugium Layout Question. Not clear to RMF    7/30/07 Hello Crew, Your site and team members continue to amaze me on a daily basis, please keep up the great work! <We're trying!> I have a question about how to setup a refugium. I'm planning on having a two-chamber setup as follows: The refugium will be setup behind my main display tank. <Mmm, higher or lower in elevation?> 1. The first chamber will be 24" high, and will suck water from the main tank via a powerhead <Hopefully this will become clearer... Powerheads don't suck... they're centrifugal devices... they push!> 2. The second chamber will be about 20" high, and water will flow from the first chamber to the second via an overflow lip (waterfall) <To where?> 3. The second chamber will ditch water into the main display tank (18" high) via another waterfall-type overflow <...?> The thing is - I'm interested in setting up a sponge filter, as well as an area to put other filter media between the first and second chambers where the overflow waterfall is. I'm interested in doing this mainly for mechanical filtration (Cat hair, dust, stuff that settles on top of the water). I plan on having a chamber to culture macro-algae, and another to culture pods. <Okay> One chamber will have a shallow substrate, most likely CaribSea crushed coral substrate with some live rock rubble. The other chamber will have a DSB, 4-6" (Depending on how much sand I've got left) and it will house the macro-algae Should I put the algae in the first or second chamber? <Am sorry to state, but I can't make out what you have in mind here... Could/would you send along a graphic representation?> From what I understand, growing pods is beneficial because they will be exported eventually to the main display tank. However, if I put the pods in the first chamber, will the pods even be able to get past the sponge/poly filter, and eventually into the tank? <Depending on how this is all arranged, yes to not easily> If I put the algae in the first chamber, is anything beneficial from the algae going to be filtered out before it reaches the main tank? <Not much, no> I know the main purpose of the algae is to use up nutrients, but are there other benefits to getting bits of algae into the main display tank? <There are a few other notable uses/functions...> And secondly, I've read about Chaeto, Gracilaria, Caulerpa, Sea Lettuce, as well as "Tang Algae", but I'm not totally sure about their differences. <Are posted on WWM> I will do some more research, but is there one more beneficial for nutrient export? Can all of them be used for feeding herbivorous fish? <Some more than others, but the genera you list are almost all palatable> Thanks in advance, I will continue to read more in the meantime! --Adam <Ah, good. Bob Fenner>

Question From Kuwait About Large Refugium Plans -- 07/28/07 Dear WWM crew, <<Hello Faisal>>I am planning to set-up an upstream refugium (250cm x 50cm x 50cm = 625L) with 4 sections; <<Wow, impressive! If I figure this correctly, this vessel has a capacity of about 164-gallons US. A very nice 'upstream refugium' indeed>> "darkened" DSB, then another "darkened" section with LR on a shallow sand bed layer, then another section with Chaetomorpha with a sand bed layer, and the last section will be a bare bottom with Chaetomorpha. <<Some unnecessary redundancy here'¦in my opinion>> Where I am sending you this e-mail (Kuwait), your website is so precious for the knowledge you can offer us in our area. <<We are very pleased to be of service/benefit to you>> I have 4 questions: 1- What do you think about this set-up? <<I think you would be fine with a 'single' section with a DSB and Chaetomorpha'¦and a bit of live rock piled up at one end if you wish. I really feel the 'darkened' section is unnecessary/provides little if any benefit'¦and utilizing the entire space for the DSB and Chaetomorpha will maximize the benefits of these methodologies>> 2- I have been reading on your website that the flow rate in a refugium should be 2 to 4 times, 3 to 5 times, and 5 to 10 times the refugium's volume. Which one is more correct? <<Mmm, indeed'¦matters of opinion. I have tried all and honestly, 'anything' between 2 and 10 will suffice nicely/make little difference'¦in my opinion>> 3- How much should be the correct flow rate (gph)? <<'¦? As just stated>> 4- According to this flow rate, what would be the best bulkhead size of the drain to the display tank? <<You will need a 2-inch (50mm) bulkhead if you go for maximum flow, but it you plan to keep the flow rate to 600gph (2200lph) or less you can get by with a 1.5-inch (38mm) bulkhead>> I hope my English is good enough. <<Yes, very good my friend>> Best regards, Faisal Abbas <<Life to you. Eric Russell>>

Re: Question From Kuwait About Large Refugium Plans -- 07/28/07 Hello Eric, <<Greetings again Faisal>> I would really like to thank you for the quick reply. <<You are quite welcome>> I am pretty much sure that you have hundreds of e-mails to answer. <<We (the crew/Bob) do handle a goodly number>> Just for clarification, what I meant by "darkened" 1st & 2nd sections of the refugium is to have a home for sponges, tunicates & tube worms. <<Mmm, these life forms will foster in a lighted refugium as well>> This is what I exactly had before using the Tunze Aquarium Cabinet Kits (it is more like a sump holding all the equipments inside). I discovered it by chance when I was dismantling my aquarium to go back to my country (Lebanon) when I found out that the sump was full of these creatures that love dark & gentle areas which took me a couple of days to clean all the equipments. <<Aside from the possible/probable species differences between lighted/non-lighted environments, the major contributors to proliferation of such biota here are the accumulation of food/detritus and the dearth of predators>> Again, why I am separating the 3rd & 4th (lighted) sections of the refugium is to have Halimeda & Chaetomorpha because of a chemical "warfare" in case I was convinced about adding the Halimeda in the future (Halimeda in the 3rd section & Chaeto in the 4th). <<I see little benefit to having Halimeda in the refugium'¦it will suck up Earth elements essential to your stony corals with little if any benefit to the system as compared to the Chaetomorpha'¦in my opinion>> I am not sure if one will separate these 2 macroalgae by baffles then the chemical warfare will stop. <<No, the baffles will make no difference when it comes to chemical warfare between organisms. The battling entities can/will still 'sense' one another in the water itself>> I know this is a big refugium but my tank is 250cm x 80cm x 70cm / 1400L (100"x32"x28"/370g) which gives me peace of mind because I travel a lot between Lebanon & Kuwait. <<The bigger the better!>> This e-mail is only for clarification & I know you are so busy. <<Thank you for clarifying'¦and we respond to all so do please always include any previous correspondence>> Warm regards, Faisal <<Be chatting. EricR>>

Refugium Design 7/19/07 Hi, <Hello Dave> My first post to you guys, although I've read virtually every other on your excellent site. Keep up the great work. <Thank you> I've finally gotten around to resurrecting my fish/coral keeping hobby after a major disaster a few years back when my 6' x 2' x 2' tank cracked spilling 100+ galloons of salt water all over the lounge. <I hate when that happens..> Fortunately most of the fish and corals found good homes. With that saga behind me I've ordered a new replacement tank which will be delivered soon. I notice over the recent years in your posts that a refugium seems to be the next big ticket item to have, much like a skimmer was for the 90's. Would you agree? <Yes, they do help control nitrates/phosphates, etc.> As large as the new tank I have on order is, the cabinetry it will sit on doesn't allow me to build a classic style refugium where the chambers run consecutively left to right. So I've come up with the design attached and would like your thoughts and comments. The design is metric I'm afraid (NZ here) - as a rough guide 25mm = 1"in real money. So the sump/refugium dimensions are 34"w x 20"d x 18"h. The baffle is 12" high. Basically the questions I have are... Q1. Will this design function OK for the purposes of a refugium? <Looks like a workable plan to me.> Q2. Have you come across such designs before? <Not quite like that, but your design appears to be very feasible.> I also note that bio balls and the use of dry aerobic filtration techniques seem to get bad press due mainly to the increased nitrate levels. Is that fair comment? <Set up properly, no, not a fair comment. The design of bio-balls makes it a very effective trap for uneaten food, waste, etc. When no prefiltering is used before the bio-ball chamber, steady accumulation of uneaten food, etc, will occur, gradually raising the nitrate levels of the system. The same holds true with mechanical filters if they are not cleaned on a regular basis.> When I turned my Amiracle trickle filter into a regular sump in my last tank, I threw the bio balls into the overflow chamber of the main tank and built a colander style device to spread the water evenly over the balls. I never really thought too much about the science here, but it didn't seem to do any harm as my nitrates were near enough zero most of the time; but then it may not have been performing any useful function whatsoever. It was performing denitrification, a very useful function. Bio-balls are more effective if not submerged, but positioned where the water just flows over and through them.> I was planning to do the same again in my new tank setup. Would you care to comment on this? <If live rock is used, there really isn't a need for bio-balls. If not, then yes, go with the bio-balls.> Thanks in advance <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Dave

Plumbing Question(s), refugium...  -- 07/18/07 Okay, I have a 20"x20"x16" acrylic cube that has already been drilled. 2x 1/4" and 1x 1/2" bulkheads (2 drains - 1 return). This will drain into a 12g that will be under the stand. <... are these... one quarter and one-half inch... internal diameters? They're way too small> Any suggestions on PVC size, arrangement and the best way to setup a sump/fuge? Also, what pump for a return - tank will be a 'reef' mainly soft corals and LPS. Thanks so much! Dan Janes <Heeeeeeee! Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm The blue tray on refugiums... Pumps/Plumbing/Circulation FAQs... and further down... the tray on Pb period. Happy reading! Bob Fenner>

DIY Refugium 7/17/07 <Hello Melanie> I completely respect every word you write so I knew when I started planning my sump/refugium, I had to come to the experts. Background: I have no plumbing experience; no DIY experience; and very, very little saltwater experience. (I DO have a very handy husband though!) <A big plus.> I have a 72 gallon bowfront with an existing wet/dry system and bioballs. I also have a 10 gallon quarantine tank that is holding 7 lbs. of live rock, a firefish, scarlet reef hermit crab, emerald mithrax crab, small serpent sea star, and 2 snails for the next month or two while I upgrade and cycle my display tank. I'm converting it from a FO to a reef tank. My display currently holds about 125 lbs. of live sand, 12 lbs. of base rock, and water. Eighty lbs. of uncured Caribbean live rock will arrive this week. Here is my plan for a custom-built, acrylic sump/refugium. Please let me know if you think this will work. On the left I will have removed the bioballs so the water will rain down in empty space. <You may have some splashing going on here, I suggest cutting slits in the drain pipe and capping the bottom of the pipe.> Hopefully for added oxygenation. The little bag-shaped item is a compartment for chemical media such as carbon. I haven't purchased the skimmer yet, but I'm looking at an Octopus NW-110 if that will work in this set-up. <You may also want to look at the Urchin Skimmer made by AquaC. It has a small footprint and is hassle free, and very efficient. I believe these etail for around $155 with pump. For five bucks more you can upgrade to the Maxi-Jet 1200, which I would recommend if you choose this skimmer.> Baffle then a hang-on UV sterilizer then baffle again. <I would not want a UV in a refugium system. Any pods or critters that flow through the unit will be zapped.> Then the refugium with Chaetomorpha and copepods etc. A simple fluorescent fixture on a timer for light. Two baffles then a return pump at 400 GPH. A thermometer/heater and a small, clip-on fan on top for cooling if necessary. This sketch is not to scale. <Looks like a workable system to me. Have you read Bob's article on refugiums. If not, go here and read, and browse through related linked files above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm> Thank you for your help, Melanie

I had inquired about setting up a sump/refugium in a basement directly below a main tank on the main floor of my house.  7/2/07 My question relates to a response from one of your crew members to an email that I had sent previously. I was hoping to get another's opinion. <Please let me try to clarify my previous response. If that doesn't help, I'm sure someone else here would be happy to give you another perspective.> I had inquired about setting up a sump/refugium in a basement directly below a main tank on the main floor of my house. Since I am in the research stage, and do not have any experience with a sump, I am unsure of how a water change regimen would work with this setup. <There's really no one way to do it. In my last response, I explained why many people with sumps prefer to do water changes from the sump. As for the size and frequency of the water changes, that's going to depend on your tank's needs (depending on bioload, filtration methods used, etc.). However, most would recommend something like at least 30% water changes once a month (or better yet, at least 15% twice a month). To a point, more is usually better.> I don't know if it is performed from the sump, or the main, or both. <Like I tried to explain in my last email, there are pros and cons to doing the change from the sump or the display. Doing the water change from the sump is less likely to cause an inadvertent overflow or dry-out (please see my previous response for an explanation of why this is). Doing water changes from the display has the advantage of being able to "vacuum" the tank as you change the water. So it really just depends on what you personally prefer to do.> Ideally I would like to make all the water and keep all the "stuff" in the basement (ie - out of sight). The response from one of your crew members seemed to say that when performing water changes I would be running up and down the stairs to avoid either an overflow, or pumping the sump dry. <Ok, I apologize for not being more clear. When I was talking about running up and down stairs to avoid overflow/dry-out problems, I was trying to explain why people do water changes from the sump. I didn't necessarily intend this as a reason why you shouldn't put your sump in the basement.> The overall impression from the response was to avoid the basement setup and go with a sump in the stand. Do you agree with that? <I'm sorry, I didn't mean this at all. There are pros and cons of both set-ups. As I mentioned, many people very much enjoy having their sumps in their basements. Theoretically, you should be able to do all the same work with a sump in the basement as with a sump under the tank.> Would I be doing as much work on the main as I would in the sump? I am fortunate to have a house with a basement, a spouse who loves the end results of this hobby and who is willing to let me use whatever space I need in the basement. It seems to me that many of the people posting on WWM would be jealous of this situation! <If you want to put your sump in your basement, then that's what you should do.> Would you please provide your thoughts on basement sumps? Pros/cons in your opinion? <In terms of being able to care for your tank, it really doesn't make much a difference. The pro of having the sump upstairs is the convenience of having everything in one spot. Also, if your "sump" is going to be more like a refugium, sometimes people become quite proud of their refugiums and actually prefer to have them upstairs (almost as an additional display). The pro of having the sump in the basement is, as you've pointed out, having it out of sight and with more room. You also have less noise upstairs if most your equipment is in the basement. Another thing to consider is the temperature of your basement. Most people have basements much colder than the rest of the house. If you tend to have problems keeping your tank cool, this might be another pro for having the sump in the basement. However, if you have trouble keeping your tank warm, then it would be a con for having the sump in the basement. As you're going to find with many things in reef keeping, no one can honestly tell you with certainty which way is always better. The hobby is filled with choices that have equally weighted pros and cons and depend a lot on personal preferences. The choice of putting the sump upstairs or downstairs is one of these choices.> Does Anthony Calfo's Book of Coral Propagation get into setup/plumbing such as this? <I don't know if it specifically talks about the pros/cons of sumps under the tank or in the basement, but it's probably a good book to have anyway. :-) > Thank you for thoughts. For some perspective, I will be upgrading my main tank from a 55 gallon to a 75 gallon, and using the 55 gallon to create the sump/refugium. <Congrats. :-)> Kind regards, Kim <Best, Sara M.>

Refugium Confusion! Design   6/30/07 Good morning Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> I bought the Calfo/Fenner Reef Invertebrates book, which I love. I have not put it down since I bought it. <It is a great read!> So, after reading the section on refugiums I'm back on a refugium kick. This is the thing I am discovering about this hobby--it is analogous to the Ring to rule all rings; once it gets in your blood, you have to seek it out, you have to find new ways of spending your precious time and money; it's inevitable; I'm an addict; I'm turning into the marine aquarium equivalent of Gollum. <I'm the aquarium equivalent of...oh, never mind!> As background, I have a relatively (5 month) new 110g marine tank on which I run a wet-dry trickle filter (bio balls), a Coral Life Super Skimmer, and an 18W UV sterilizer. Circulation is through a Little Giant Pump 1225 gph, and two internal power heads running at least 300 gph each. Right now, I have about 50lbs of pacific live rock and 15lbs of Florida aquacultured live rock, 1.5" of course aragonite substrate, two cleaner shrimps, a gold stripe maroon clown, a BTA, and the normal cleanup crew. I intend to focus mostly on smaller fishes and add some of the hardier soft corals in the future. Lighting is 6 54W T-5s (4 10,000K daylights and 2 460nm actinics). I do a 10% water change every week. I dose calcium, iodine and buffer and regularly test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, alk, calcium, and phosphate. <Good... part of our "mantra" here at WWM is to only add things to your aquarium that you can determine a need for by testing.> I've looked at the hang on the back refugiums, but 5 gallons just doesn't seem worth $150. My sump is likewise too small and converting it would be a hassle. So, I've decided to move to a stand alone refugium that ties into my existing setup. <Always the best way, if you can swing it.> So now to my dilemma. I've read the various options several times and I'm just having a hard time figuring out which refugium path to take. With my tank setup, I'm thinking that nitrates will be my most significant issue. So obviously, the most simple refugium would be a $13 29g clear plastic tub from Target with a 6" DSB and no light. One thing I didn't get from the book and the web is whether this type of DSB should be the only thing in the fuge or whether one should also add sand sifters, hermits, snails, etc. (are these valuable and, without a light, do these things survive)? <Well, you're referring to a "remote deep sand bed", which is essentially a stand-alone vessel filled with fine sand, over which water from the display flows. The only goal here is denitrification, with the collateral side benefit of buffering due the aragonitic sand that is generally used in such setups. No sense in adding any creatures, IMO. The bacteria in the sand will do the work. It's not really a refugium- it's a supplemental biological denitrification "filter"> Do DSBs produce anything but bacteria? <Well, typically they can house lots of small creatures, worms, etc.> The main problem with this option is that, if I'm going to have something sitting next to my tank, I really like the idea of it being aesthetically pleasing. In my case, aesthetically pleasing means a system that employs Starfish, Urchins and other neat sand sifters, live rock, and macroalgae that you can watch and enjoy and that aren't necessarily good to have in my display tank. <Sounds like a classic refugium to me> I have a 30 gallon tank that I've been using as a QT. I was thinking of using this as the refugium and buying a simple 20g replacement tank for $35 (is 20g sufficient for a QT?). <For small fishes, a 20 gallon tank is fine for quarantine, IMO.> Can I have the best of both worlds? In other words, can I have a lighted DSB refugium in which I place some live rock, sand sifters and macroalgae, or is the concept of a DSB not compatible with these other elements? <It is, but keep in mind that some of the "sand stirring" creatures that are used commonly can decimate some of the desiraable microfauna that reside in the sand bed.> With my setup (mostly fish, some soft corals), would it be better to setup a fuge that produces plankton and other food sources for my fish/corals, and, if so, which is the better setup for this? <I like the idea, myself.> I'm also mindful that I don't want to spend tons of money on a refugium. Right now, my priority lies with getting a RO/DI unit, which I think is pretty important (I'm buying RO/DI water from my LFS for $.50/gallon, which is fine but schlepping water containers back and forth is a pain). <Yep.. an RO/DI unit is a fine investment, IMO.> If I opt for the simple DSB, is there any magic to setting it up? I mean, do I just dump in 6 inches of sugar fine sand and let it run, or do I need to add anything to it? <Nope...that's about it!> As always, thanks for your help. Andy <My pleasure, Andy. Keep reading about refugia on the WWM site, and you'll find that the concept is pretty simple, and there are literally dozens of options to create a beautiful, functional refugium. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Refugium Confusion (Pt. 2) -- 07/01/07 Thanks Scott. It doesn't sound like you *love* stand alone DSB vessels. <Actually...nothing could be further from the truth! I really like the concept and have utilized one myself in the past with great results. Sorry that I gave you the impression to the contrary.> So I'll put you on the spot. If you were in my shoes, had my tank and planned stocking list (small fishes and some softies), what type of refugium would you likely install? Andy Bulgin <Well, Andy- I still like the idea of using your old quarantine aquarium as a refugium (of course, replacing the quarantine aquarium with a new larger one is a great idea!). Seems to me that you could easily accomplish nutrient export and supplemental plankton production by lighting it and growing some macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha, in there. Hope this helps. Regards, Scott F.  

29 gallon sump, new SW, another MegaFlow re-do    6/16/07Hello Crew- In July, if everything goes well, my new home purchase will go through. This of course means now is the perfect time to upgrade my system. <Lots of changes!> The current setup consists of a 29 gallon marine. All of the beginner mistakes were made and the project has cost me far more than it should have had I done more thorough research on WWM. SeaClone, Berlin Airlift, and a myriad of other devices drained my wallet before learning the better way to accomplish my goals. <Ah, yes> My plan is to setup the system approximately one month before the fish and I pack our fins, and the accoutrement of keeping house. This will promote proper cycling with the addition of BIO-Spira and allow the live rock curing time. The tank will be either an All-Glass or Oceanic, leaning to the Oceanic if the budget supports such luxury. Naturally this will be a drilled tank with an overflow to a 29 gallon sump/refugium. I do realize the MegaFlow moniker is a bit of a misnomer and expect roughly 300GPH flow rate. <We are in agreement> The sump will be a DIY based on the pressure locking baffles article on the website. I have calculated/researched the pump volume and with about 5 feet of head on a 3/4" return am thinking about the Eheim 1262. Although this may be overkill, the gate valve with the return T to the sump should mitigate flow rate concerns without taxing the pump. <Good design... but might I ask re the function of the check valve pictured? Likely the overflow/s will be at the same level... I would likely leave this off...> Additional turnover of 10-20 times will be handled by diametrically opposed Tunze Stream 6000's placed in the display in lieu of a closed loop system. Skimming will be accomplished with either an AquaC Remora Pro or AquaC Urchin Pro. <Okay> An RO unit will be the principal purchase and installation. I have not decided which unit yet, but something in the range of 30 gallons per day for both human and fish consumption is a must. The use of Tropic Marin PRO-REEF has made dramatic improvements in my existing FOWLR and now it will be purchased by the bucket. <A savings there> Lighting is still in the early days and the current agenda calls for a T5 retrofit to be placed in the custom hood of my building. No corals or other heavily phototropic will be placed. 4-5 watts per gallon should suffice in my estimation, and is on the current setup. The sump will have a reverse light cycle to the display aiding in pH stability. <Okay> Automatic top off is indicated in my diagram and is high on the wish list. I am not certain how this will integrate into the sump, or if it will function properly where it is located. <Could be made to work in the tank or sump/refugium> I would appreciate your thoughts and input on my plans and "design" which I have attached as a small JPEG. My apologies for the long email, but wanted to be certain you have a complete picture. This venture, dubbed 'Fish II' looks like it will be in the neighborhood of $3,000 but will be worth every cent. Kind regards, Jake in NC <Sounds like you're cogitating furiously... and are good at making plans, contingencies... Moving into new digs, esp. ones that are purchased tests one's mettle... Do consider the value of flexibility... and please read here re the possibility of having the new tank p/re/drilled for more through-puts of size: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbholessizeplace.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

MegaFlow? My plan is to setup the system approximately one month before the fish and I pack our fins, and the accoutrement of keeping house. This will promote proper cycling with the addition of BIO-Spira and allow the live rock curing time. The tank will be either an All-Glass or Oceanic, leaning to the Oceanic if the budget supports such luxury. Naturally this will be a drilled tank with an overflow to a 29 gallon sump/refugium. I do realize the MegaFlow moniker is a bit of a misnomer and expect roughly 300GPH flow rate. <We are in agreement> <Heeee! Will do! B>

Re: 29 gallon sump... not quite so RR -- 06/16/07 Hi Bob- <Jake> Thank you for your input. I feel much better knowing you think my plan is sound. I will do some upgrades as time/money permit but want to get as close to the mark as possible on the first round. <Ah, good> As for the overflow(s), it seems to me it would be best to avoid so-called Reef Ready tanks altogether. <I agree... the "big boys" co.s that now own such a large part of the trade have done precious little (other than improving their ads) to innovate, or for that matter, to even listen, participate in the hobby... These tanks are FAR from "reef ready"> A standard tank with holes drilled in the back panel would be less expensive anyway. 4 x 2" holes perhaps. <About right for this size/volume...> This way the overflow will perform better and the fittings will be in place for closed loop later. Better to have to valve down overflow output than wish it were more. <Bingo> This project plan done, now it's on to the kitchen, bath, and flooring remodeling plans..... Time to get my head examined! <Heeeee! Take your time Jake... as mentioned... these moves can "try your soul"... Let's put "soles" on the back burner for now. Cheers, BobF> Thanks-  

Refugium Set Up   5/19/07 WWM Crew, <Steve> Thanks again for all the great advice making this a most enjoyable hobby! I have a set-up idea for a below tank refugium that needs to be picked over. My wife likes the idea of a display refugium that contains seahorses and pipe fish. <Can work> The 55 gallon reef tank sits on a typical 2 door base cabinet. I was planning on removing one of the doors and placing a 16x16x24 acrylic tank on roll out bearings. <Interesting> On the other side of the cabinet a wide-mouth 5 gallon jug. I would immerse one high powered submersible pump to feed water from the jug to the tank, returning via a c-siphon overflow. <Mmm, am not such a fan... perhaps two of these, of capacity... for when at least one fails> A second smaller pump would supply the refugium and I would install a bulkhead fitting to return water to the jug by gravity flow. <Much better> Water changes would be a snap, turn off the pumps, wait a few minutes, and then withdraw both pumps from the jug and replace it with a second jug waiting at the correct temperature. <Better to vacuum "gunk" from the bottom of the main tank> Now the questions; 1. Does the plumbing idea 'work'? <Yes, but... don't like the siphon... Covered on WWM> If so. 1. What should be the substrate in the refugium? I was thinking 4 to 6 inches of fine aragonite and miracle mud combo. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugdsbfaqs.htm> 2. Is there and ideal GPH flow through the refugium? <Mmm, a range: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugpumpfaqs.htm> 3. Any suggestions on the main pump that returns water to the reef? <... please... learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM...> 4. Lighting suggestions (Chaetomorpha) ? I was going to mount retros to the underside of the reef cabinet 5. Could I run my Remora Pro just off the refugium? 6. What else am I missing? Thanks Steve
<Reading. Bob Fenner>

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