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FAQs about Refugium Designs 5

Related Articles: Get Thee To A Refugium by Bob Fenner, Refugia: What They're For And How To Build Them by Forrest Phillips, RefugiumsPressure 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 6Refugium Design 7, Refugium Design 8, Refugium Design 9, Refugium Design 10Refugium Design 11, Refugium Design 12, Refugium Design 13 & 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 (Overflow?) Confusion - 04/08/06 Hey folks me again. <<Hello "me">> I have a Perfecto 125 gal reef ready with two corner flows.  I called the company and they said each overflow is rated at 700gph. <<Mmm, yes..."rated" indeed...but expect only about half that before incurring problems (excessive noise, surge, air entrainment issues, etc.).>> This gives me about 1400gph to use. <<A lot of water to try to push through a sump...hope it's not in your living room.>> I would like to use a Mag 18 for my return and according to spec it will give me a little less than 1400gph with the head length. <<As I've intimated, I think this will be too much flow for your overflows/sump.  Go ahead and give it a try...just be prepared to make adjustments/downsize the pump if things don't turn out as you expect.>> I will use a "T" and a gate valve on the return. <<wise>> My question is this.  First question I have is can I run a "T" off one of the drains, put a gate vale on it and let it drain into a refuge chamber in a sump. <<You can>> The water would then flow over a baffle to the second chamber.  This is where I will be doing the skimming. <<I would design the sump/refugium to skim water 'before' the 'fuge to keep from trapping/removing beneficial plankton/epiphytic matter on its way to your fish's/coral's mouths.>> Then I will pump the water back into the display with the Mag18.  If this sounds ok what size should I have for the refuge. <<As large as physically possible.>> I want the main purpose for nitrate reduction.  If macroalgae is suggested then what type could I use and feed the extra to the fish. <<My personal fave is Chaetomorpha (is what I use), it provides an excellent, dense matrix for pod/plankton production.  But if your looking to feed your fish with the algae, Gracilaria is probably a better choice.  Though excellent nutrient export mechanisms, I tend to keep away from Caulerpa species due to their inherent risks (toxicity, sexual events, et al).>> Would it be a problem with the raw water going directly into the refuge portion? <<Nope.  I have separate vessels for my sump and refugium...the 'fuge receives raw water from the display which then flows to the pump chamber in my sump.>> The last and biggest question is, I have been looking all over the internet and can not find a sump/refuge that will do the above.  Any suggestions. <<Have a look here and among the indices in blue:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumpusefaq10.htm >> I don't know if a DIY project would be appropriate with my skills. <<Not all that difficult...really.>> If you have other suggestions for the sump/refuge let me know as I am confused on how to do it right.  I know 'right' is a matter of opinion but I trust your opinions. <<Indeed my friend...for a combined unit, my "opinion" is to have raw water flow in to the skimmer chamber (first chamber), then overflow to the refugium, which then overflows to the pump chamber.  Baffles to help eliminate excessive bubbles can be installed between the skimmer chamber and refugium chamber.>> Thanks a bunch and I am still reading your site. <<Excellent...lots of material/help abounds.>> With all this knowledge I am starting to look like I am on steroids (hehe). <<Heee!  EricR>>

Refugium Questions...Size/Methodology - 04/07/06 Greetings to all and thanks in advance to whoever I am fortunate enough to get to "talk" to. <<Hello..."talking" to EricR tonight.>> I have recently gotten addicted to this website, and am trying to make my way through the "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and "Reef Invertebrates" at the same time.  Awesome information.  When are the other two volumes of the Natural Marine Aquarium Series coming out? <<Hmm, Bob would have to say for sure...but I think I heard they may be stalled at the moment.>> So I have a refugium question.......here is some background info: <<Ok>> I have a 65 gallon tank (36" x 18" wide x 24" deep), with probably 40-50 lbs of rock (a mix of purchased live rock and some old base rock from another tank, though all of it has been in the tank for about 4 years and has some good algae growth and some cool microorganisms, at least from what I see at night.....) <<All good, though you might consider changing out ten or so pounds of rock for renewed earth/bio elements.>> I have a wet dry on the tank, with an Aqua C Urchin in the sump, I run about 50 gph through a carbon reactor (replace carbon every 6 months), <<Useful life is 'maybe' half that long (have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chemFiltrMar.htm), and some even advocate shorter (weeks) periods between change outs.>> and I run about 50 gph through a 9 watt Turbo-Twist UV sterilizer. <<Neither necessary or wanted on a reef system...in my opinion.>> Both drain back to the sump.  I run an air stone in one corner of my tank (figured it never hurts to aerate some more), <<No problem with salt creep?>> and have a couple of powerheads, with some PVC piping in the tank for distribution, etc. to generate some current within the tank. Fish - 1 Sebae Clown, 1 Keyhole Angel, 1 Coral Beauty, 1 Blue Chromis, 1 Firefish Goby, 1 Yellow Clown Goby, 1 Green Clown Goby, 1 Pearl Jawfish Goby <<Pretty much full-up...you are aware the Keyhole gets about as large as a Foxface?>> Corals - Yellow Toadstool, Star Polyps, Pavona Cactus, some small polyps (Zoanthids?), and some mushrooms.  A torch coral that's not doing too well (I read what Bob wrote about elegant corals after my purchase and learned my lesson about researching first before buying - I've since begun my transformation into a more responsible aquarist :-) <<Ah, excellent to hear!>> Misc. - One serpent star, one Condylactis gigantea anemone <<Mmm...>>, a few blue leg hermit crabs, one cleaner shrimp.  I have a 96W Jalli 36" power compact fixture with one 36" actinic blue bulb and one 36" 7100K daylight bulb - on a timer, 11 hrs on for daylight, 13 hrs on for blue, (hour before, our after daylight).   I'm very interested in a refugium, but this tank is in my living room, on a stand, and the only places I can make this work would be below the tank in the stand (wet dry down there, very limited space) or off the back of the tank. <<How about another stand next to the tank to hold the refugium?...make very interesting displays in their own right.>> I am not ready to abandon my wet dry bio-balls and turn the filter into a refugium, especially since the skimmer, carbon etc, are in there.  I could engineer some neat larger tanks to put adjacent to my tank per some of what I've read/seen from others, but we really don't have the room and I won't get the support from the family to turn our living room into a marine experiment, if you know what I mean. <<Yeah...I know...bummer dude...>> Something silly about it being a place to entertain people or something like that.....and I like having a place to sleep so I'm stuck with the small refugium! <<Might want to reconsider yanking the wet/dry...can "engineer" a combo sump/refugium under the display to hold your gear, et al.>> In reading through this site, books, etc, I understand that I can't get a real big refugium with the space I'm restricting myself to. <<Indeed>> I figure the best I can do would be 5-7 gallons, and this is only about 10% of tank volume if I account for the volume occupied by rock (I'm estimating I have 55 gals water plus rock volume for 65 total - estimate).  I guess I was really interested in a DSB refugium for nitrate control, and with sand at 4-6" deep, that will take up a lot of the volume!!!  Plus I've learned from you that a DSB should be 20-40% tank volume. <<Bigger IS better.>> I had also considered a plankton refugium, but is it necessary if I already see some evidence of lots of microorganisms at night in the main tank? <<Not necessary probably, but beneficial all the same.  Coupled with a macro algae as the matrix for the plankton you have both a place for plankton refuge/production 'and' nutrient export.>> When I started thinking about refugium types, I felt I would like to a) control nitrates a little better or lacking that b) supplement my fish/corals with a natural food supply to get away from foods like Phytoplankton additives , or zooplankton additives....What do you think? <<Am much in agreement...I consider many of these type additives to be no more than pollution in a bottle.>> I want to make the best use of the refugium, given my limits in size- i.e. what's best for small refugiums in a tank that's slowly converting from FOWLR to reef status.  Also, if I did do a DSB (which I only will do if you think I'd still get benefits at 5-7 gals), is it ok to throw some pads/media like Scotchbrite or foam in there, to try and culture zooplankton in an unlit DSB refugium? <<Given your current limitations, I would probably go with a lighted (RDP) vegetable refugium (Chaetomorpha).>> I know you've commented on limits to combining refugium types at the small volume end of the spectrum. <<Yes...best to 'maximize' the small volume with a single methodology.>> Based on what I read I thought these two types might be ok together? <<Most times, yes.  I employ a lighted vegetable refugium WITH a 6" DSB on my system...in a 55g tank.  But I think your situation warrants the veggie 'fuge and maybe...put the DSB in the display...>> Thanks for your time and the wonderful service you provide! Chris <<Is a pleasure to assist.  Regards, EricR>>

Refugiums - 04/01/06 I'm sorry to bother you folks but either I'm really stupid or I'm not looking in the right places. <<Mmm, okay...I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and go with the second choice for now <grin>.>> I'm planning my first reef tank and I'm trying my best to provide for the well being of the animals I wish to keep from the beginning, although many will not be added until the system is well established. <<wise>> I don't want to have to re-design the system over and over again. <<I understand>> The tank will be 90 G, with a 4-inch oolitic sand bed and about 100 lb of LR. <<ok>> I am most interested in SPS and Clams with a secondary interest in LPS  and fish.  The fish I am interested in are Synchiropus <<Synchiropus>> splendidus, Yahsa <<Yasa>>  Hashe Gobies/Pistol Shrimp and Fairy/Flasher/Rainbow Wrasses. <<Sounds like a pretty good mix for this tank...you'll want to wait at least a year before adding the mandarin...and of course, the addition of a plankton producing refugium to benefit all.>> I  realize that I will probably have to culture pods to ensure that everybody is fat and happy. <<Will help greatly, yes.>> What kind of refugium do I need to establish? <<I'm quite fond of/favor the RDP vegetable refugium with Chaetomorpha macroalgae AND a deep sand bed.>> The SPS are going  to require vigorous current but the refugium will not (If I have understood what I have read correctly). <<Differing opinions here...turnover/flow in the range of 3x-10x the volume of the refugium will likely suffice.>> Would a hang on be best? <<Better than nothing I suppose, but not "best" in my opinion...bigger is definitely better.>> What is the best way to accomplish my objective? <<Start by reading here and among the many links at the top of the page:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm >> As an aside, I noticed the little button on your site that  enables users to donate to the cause. <<yes>> I want to say that it is sad that so few people have donated so little money to a site that provides such great service.  To date WetWebMedia has saved me a huge amount of money by keeping me from costly mistakes.  I was paid today and as soon as the check clears I will be donating the amount I have spent on the two most expensive books I have purchased to date.  I hope that I can make additional donations throughout the year to support your efforts.  I urge all users to assist you in your endeavors.   <<Ed, many thanks for your words and contributions.  While we are a volunteer staff who do this because we want to help others/the hobby/save lives...running the site does incur expenses.  Thanks so much again!  Regards, EricR>> Best regards, Ed CPR BakPak to overflow conversion   03/9/06 Hello, <Hi Craig.> I am wondering what your thoughts are on plumbing my CPR BakPak to a new refugium I would like to add to my tank.  I am thinking I can plumb a stand pipe though the bottom of the BakPak which would flow to a newly placed refugium tank and plumb a return line back into the display tank. Have you heard of anyone else doing this? Are there any obvious reasons why I would not want to do this? It seems to me that I can save a good chunk of money by using what I already have laying around. <Seems to me like very little water would be processed through the skimmer itself rendering the skimmer close to useless.  Other problem is  what if your return pump in the refugium quits...how much water are we going to pump into the refugium before the CPR pump starts cavitating from lack of water.  I'd think about it my friend.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you! -Craig Your thoughts on my in tank macroalgae garden concept.   03/9/06 WWM Crew, I am planning a large concrete tank, a few thousand gallons. <Whoaaaa, I'm getting jealous now.> It will have a standard refugium, but I am toying with the idea of an in tank macroalgae garden that will give me all the benefits of the macroalgae [either Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria] and will also serve as a constant food source for the herbivores. My concept is to build a pvc frame,48x15x12,then cover bottom and sides with 1/2 square plastic mesh. All preliminary dimensions.] The pvc will be end capped so the frame will float. <Aw, no hiding places for the fishies?> It would be positioned towards the back of the tank and secured in such a way that I can pull it forward for easy harvest and maintenance. It would have a dedicated light source.    The fish will be able to nibble at it thru the mesh, but most of the macroalgae and pods within would be protected. What are your thoughts on my combination floating refugium, pod house, veggie garden concept? <Well Rip, it sure sounds like a good plan.  Try it, isn't going to cost much to build it.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Rip

Sump/Refugium Set Up - 02/22/2006 Hello, I am setting up a 10 gallon sump\refugium for my 20 gallon tank and I was wondering how should I set it up. At first I was thinking of having 1 baffle 3" below the top but then the water would have to go 3" below the top. I definitely want to have my baffle at one side of the tank so my refugium will be smaller than my sump. The question is where do I position my baffles? <Well, you'll really need baffles at both ends. For such a small tank, perhaps you should consider the different hang-on types available. - Josh> Refugium/Sump Design 2/20/06 Hello, I am new to the Saltwater hobby and I am currently designing a set up for a 75 gallon display tank. Your site has been a great resource for getting information to plan for success!! The tank is a All-Glass pre-drilled w/ overflow. I plan to use a 27 gallon Acrylic tank for the Sump/Refugium as that is the limit of space under my tank. I am having the dealer drill the holes for me. I wanted to get your opinion and advice on my first crack at my set up design. <Alright!  Welcome to our addiction!> I was a home brewer (beer) some years ago and I have various equipment remaining from that hobby. (Stainless vessels/Little Giant pumps) I figure I might as well try to use this equipment where it makes sense. <Ahh!!  I sold my 10 gallon all-grain system along with a bunch of Cornelius kegs, grain mill, etc. to buy another fish tank!  Unfortunately, any metal (except titanium and very esoteric grades of stainless) are acceptable for contact with marine aquarium water.  Corrosion is a problem and so is leaching of heavy metals.  This is true even with "food grade".  I would advise against using any of these items.> The location where my tank will be is in a convenient location for basement plumbing. (Return air vent) - I'd like to use this to my advantage for more convenient water changes, top offs, and disaster avoidance.  I have attached a AutoCAD drawing (Converted to JPEG format) of my system design.  I am interested in any feedback of whether my water change plumbing, RO top-off, and emergency overflow ideas will work. - And also any feedback on the refugium/sump system is adequate for a lightly stocked FOWLR. <<Everything looks good, although I am not sure where you will find such small bulkheads.  Basement pluming rocks!!  So much of the noise and mess associated with the tank is away from your living area (and the scrutiny of your spouse!).>> Do you think the valves in the plumbing between the tank and sump an advantage for maintenance and flow regulation. Do you see any problems with my water change pump being able to handle the flow and distances? Is my emergency overflow idea even necessary? Thank you for any feedback Andy <<I always recommend AGAINST any valves in train lines.  It is just begging for something to get lodged in there and cause a flood.  A valve in the return line is a great idea.  You will need a larger pump if you are pumping up from your basement.  The emergency overflow is a great idea, but may be unnecessary.  Once the tank is set up and running, you can test the system by shutting off the pumps and seeing how high the water level rises in the sump.  Also... if water overflows out the safety, when the pump comes back on, there may not be enough water left for the system to run.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Refugium/Sump design part 2 3/7/06 Thank you very much for your reply!!  Maybe I should look into selling my brewing gear! <<Let me know if you do... I am getting the itch again!>> I must have been unclear - You seem to have gotten the wrong idea about the sump being placed in the basement.  It was actually to be under the display tank in the stand.  But this is awesome, I am now scheming on putting the sump in the basement - It will be less work in the short and long term and will save me some $$.  I can now use an old 55gallon tank as a sump and forego the purchase of an acrylic tank with holes drilled in it. Plus I will not be limited on space. <<You were clear.  I just misunderstood, but alas, serendipity!  I am glad you are thinking about a basement sump.  All the other benefits aside, you will LOVE the silence!>> A few questions about your reply: - About the Stainless vessels, I believe you meant to say that to say that they are not acceptable for use with salt water.  These are 316L Pharma grade vessels - but to be cautious, I will just pick up a plastic drum. <<Hmmm.. I chose my words carefully.  Although salt water (brine, cooking, even water from a marine aquarium) may not visibly corrode the metal, I would be concerned in the case of marine (meaning salt water) aquarium water where even tiny traces of heavy metals can be lethal. Although 316 is very considered "salt water resistant", I would still be very wary of using it as a storage vessel.>> Upon your advice, I believe I will not valve my drain line and the emergency drain line should be unnecessary since the sump will be in the basement near a drain.  I will have much more room to tinker. <<Ahhh... good. You will sleep better at night with wide open drains!>> When you said that I will need a larger to pump from the basement, were you referring to the Mag 7 (In the diagram) being to small or the Little Giant 3-MD-MT-HC (in the notes) being too small?  With the 55 gallon sump, I hope to use it as an external pump. <<You will have to decide on the amount of flow that you want to actually have in the tank and then look at the flow/head curves for the pumps you are interested in.  Even a pressure rated pump will probably only get about half of it's rated flow by the time it pushes up from your basement, through all that pipe and around a couple of bends.  A google search for "aquarium pump head calculator" will yield some helpful tools here.>> Thanks again for your reply.  You've caused me to rethink my plan. <<Glad to hear!  Let's hear it for basement sumps and no metal!  AdamC.>

Sump Design/Filter Socks - 03/08/06 Hi WWM Crew: <<Hey there Tom!>> Thank you very much for all the help so far, you've been huge. <<Our pleasure>> I have another question:  I'm just not understanding how best to provide raw water to the sump skimmer, because I also thought I needed (and would rinse at least weekly) a filter sock for incoming sump water to remove as much detritus as possible from our 120G mixed reef system.  Is the sock really needed? <<Opinions vary...but I don't use them on my reef.>> I've attached a top and front view of the new sump I'm planning.  It's as big as can fit under the tank, otherwise I'd have a larger refugium section. <<Nice drawings...very helpful.>> If I were to remove the filter sock, how could I then physically filter the water before it gets to the return pump? <<Mmm, not always necessary, again, in my opinion...but even without the filter sock much will settle out in the baffles and can be vacuumed/siphoned out periodically.>> Could you also review the diagrams and tell me what's good (and not so good)? <<Happy to...  I would move the skimmer to the first chamber and let ALL the raw water from the tank enter here to be processed by the skimmer and overflowing to the refugium in the middle compartment.  This way plankton/epiphytic matter from the refugium doesn't get sucked in to (and wasted by) the skimmer, but rather, has a free ride to your return pump and up to the display tank.>> Thanks,
<<Regards, EricR>>

Sump Design/Filter Socks II - 03/09/06 I guess now I have a couple of follow up questions, appreciate your patience. <<No problem>> I'm sure inclined to go the route you suggest, without a sock, but I would not have any physical filtration in the system other than the skimmer, is that right? <<Correct.  Ideally you will have enough flow in your tank to keep detritus in suspension to be utilized by the tank inhabitants.>> Just curious...about how often should the sump detritus need to be siphoned out of the baffles and skimmer compartment? <<Depends, maybe 2-3 times a year...but you'll likely find this area densely populated by bristle worms, amphipods, other micro-crustaceans, and may not have to bother with it.>> Also, with the refugium section in the middle, would the 1000 GPH going through it be too much? <<Most any refugium methodology will do fine with the flow.>> Thought of a new question, still related.  Would you say I'm better off going with an external sump return pump (like a GenX Mak4), or a similar capacity internal pump (like a Mag 12 or 18)?  I'd like to get an actual 1000GPH through the 1" SeaSwirl.  A submersible internal pump would allow me to make the sump a few inches longer, but I'd like to avoid the added heat of the submersible Mag. <<If you were to use an Iwaki or GRI pump I would say go external.  But given the choices listed I would use the Mag-Drive pump.  Noise will be less and the difference in heat transfer negligible.>> Thanks, in advance! Tom <<Always welcome, EricR>>

Combined Sump/Refugium Design - 03/11/06 Good Evening Crew, <<Morning here>> I have a follow-up question to a submission posted by another querier (Tom) titled "sump design/filter socks" from the WWM daily FAQs of 03/08/06.  The submitter of this initial query provided very nice drawings of a proposed refugium/sump design (side and top views).  Distinguished WWM responder, Eric R., provided an answer that suggested switching the position of the refugium & sump.  Eric's answer is perfectly clear/understood.  However, seeing the submitted drawings mentioned above, reading Eric's response and having read some of Mr. Fenner's (and other Crew member's) comments about sump/fuge design has me wondering about another element of sump/fuge layout. <<Ah yes, I recall the exchange(s) well...EricR here...again.>> I believe in one of Mr. Fenner's archived answers on the topic, he indicated that sump/fuge design might be optimized by incorporating some ability to implement carbon and/or Poly-Filter when/if necessary. <<No might/when/if about it in my opinion <G>.  Virtually any/every system would/will benefit from the addition of these media.>> I am wondering, referring to the design drawings mentioned above, where in this design would one place such (carbon/Poly-Filter) bags/pads, etc? <<Anywhere along the filter flow-path.  In the sump mentioned, the media could be placed in amongst the baffles.  Some manufactured sumps incorporate a dedicated "media chamber" for this purpose.>> Would one envelope the output pipe from the skimmer in a carbon-filled or Poly-Filter type bag? <<Could, but I wouldn't.  Aside from being a pain to employ, it would likely wreak havoc with your drain's output/flow.>> Or, would it be better to direct the skimmer output to a higher-level, drip-tray type device or compartment (similar to Marineland's filter-drawer-style sump) wherein carbon material and/or Poly-Filter pads are placed in "drizzle path" to achieve necessary chemical filtering if/as necessary? <<Mmm...me thinks it would just be easier to place the media somewhere along the filter flow-path...>> In addition, acknowledging the fact that there are greatly varied opinions in the hobby on this subject, my reading of the FAQs re sump/fuge design has led me to believe that "parallel" flow systems here (i.e. a specifically determined volume & turnover-rate-based % of tank output going separately but concurrently to both sump and fuge, with the two coming together again at the return) are better than a "series" method of sump-into-fuge-to-return design? <<I absolutely agree!  Employing a separate sump and refugium is always better IMO/E.>> If one is running, for example, an Aqua-C EV-240 using a Mag 1200, wouldn't the output of that into your average fuge cause total destruction in an average setup unless (even if) manifolded? <<Mmm, no...many refugium methodologies benefit from high flow rates.  I have a 55 gallon vegetable refugium (6" sugar-fine DSB w/Chaetomorpha algae) with a flow through of more than 1,000 gph.  I'm not saying it has to be that high (though some authors might disagree), but it does tolerate the flow well and could easily stand more.  The high flow rate also assists with getting planktonic/epiphytic matter out of the refugium and in to the display tank.>> It would seem much more logical to divert tank output to the sump and fuge compartments separately and have skimmer output going directly to main return, bypassing fuge. <<More logical to have separate vessels/inputs/outputs, yes...though for "combined" vessels, focus should be on having the 'fuge output bypass the skimmer chamber else much of the benefit re (IMO) is wasted.>> This is what I am planning in my design, anyway....am I mistaken?   <<As long as you aren't flowing from your refugium to your skimmer I think you are on track.>> Part of the reason I am trying to design/build my own sump and fuge is because I haven't yet found any manufacturers that produce (at least what I can tell is) a "parallel" system. <<Agreed>> I am wondering why truly parallel-style systems aren't more widely commercially available?. <<Good question, would appeal to me...perhaps folks/manufacturers are just "comfortable with/complacent about" current design.  Perhaps you could use your design to spark a change!>> Or, are they, and I've just not looked in the right places?   <<Don't think so.>> Highly regarded (apparently) sump/fuge systems such as those offered by Ecosystems (those that I've seen) seem to be of a "series" nature...unless I don't fully understand their design/functional flow? <<My experiences match yours.  Commonly available sump/refugium systems employ designs where water flows through a "series" of chambers from one end to the other.  I envision a parallel system employing a lengthwise center panel/plate allowing the formation of two longitudinal chambers, with both terminating at a single pump chamber.  As you stated each chamber could be fed individually, with flow tailored to suit, and each side customized /compartmentalized for its intended purpose.>> Thank you very much for your time/advice here. Best Regards, Brian <<Cheers, EricR>> Refugium/Set up  2/18/06 Dear Crew, Your advice has been such a help.  After reading the website for hours on end and Bob's book, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, I've learned so much that I feel the need to start all over again. <Aw..> In my last email I wrote to you explaining that my fish were quarantined so now my tank has some down-time with which I can reconfigure my system. <Good time to do it.> Here is my plan:  the tank is 180 gal All Glass aquarium with twin corner overflows with sponges.  I want to exchange the wet/dry for a sump/refugium type system. My plan is to install two 20 gal refugiums under the main tank in the display stand.  My past experience has taught me that redundancy is often a good thing.  Each refugium would work independently off its own corner overflow and its own return pump.  This way if one pump fails for any reason I still have a back up.  The only difference in the two refugiums would be that one would have a protein skimmer in use prior to water entering the refugium and the other (and this is where I need your advice) would have bio-balls in lieu of the skimmer.  I feel the need for more biological filtration as the aquarium will be FO including a very healthy majestic angel and some other small grazers.  Therefore, I'm not sure if I should use LR in the main system.  The return pumps would be rated at approx. 800 gal/hr each.  Am I on the right track?  Any input would be greatly appreciated. <The choice is yours to make between the bio balls or live rock for denitrification.  I prefer live rock myself, helps control nitrates where bio balls does not.  As far as flow rate, I'd shoot for 1800 gph total flow so if power heads aren't going to be used you will have to go with larger pumps.> Thanks again all your help and to all the crew for running such a great site. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jeff

Refugium Methodology...Reverse Flow DSB? - 02/11/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I have a 210g reef tank (200lbs. LR and a large number of corals) with a 40g sump and a 40g refugium. <<cool>> Lighting is an Aquamedic space light with 3-250W 20K HQI.  My skimmer is an Aquamedic model, not sure of the model number but I have found it to be excellent. <<ok>> The pump for the return is a Dolphin 3000gph.  I have been toying around with various ideas to try to improve on the refugium because it's not doing what it is supposed to do which is act primarily as a nitrate reducer. <<I see...>> In talking to various people, I came across an idea that intrigued me but have not been able to verify it.  In a nutshell, it uses a plenum (~2"tall) and has approximately 5-6" of sand on top. <<You don't need the plenum...>> The interesting part is that a pipe is run under the plenum and water is slowly pushed thru the sand and then returns to the main tank. <<Hmm...ok>> I have not been able to verify the effectiveness of this, and while I don't mind experimenting, I would prefer not to do anything that would have a truly detrimental affect.  Any ideas would be great. <<I'm not familiar with this methodology...for my two cents, I would employ a simple lighted vegetable refugium with a 6" sugar-fine DSB and Chaetomorpha algae.  But if you're interested, do set up a test system as described, and let us know your findings.>> L <<Regards, E >> Refugiums   2/7/06 Hello crew, <Hi Matt> Hope all is well. <Not bad> I am setting up a 125 gallon glass reef tank equipped with two overflow boxes at the rear corners.  Each box has a been predrilled with a 1 3/4" drain and 1" return.  I will be running a 2400 mag drive pump unit for the system.  I have two options for a sump/refugium system below the tank: (a) a single 40 gallon long glass tank with partitioned chambers to house everything (skimmer, refugium, return submersible pump), or (b) two connected 20 gallon glass tanks (same height and width) with the first tank housing the skimmer/prefilter media and the second tank housing the refugium and the return pump.  My question is this, are there any benefits to having a single tank system as opposed to dividing the system into two tanks (aside from the need to drill additional holes for tank connections)? <Generally you only want to have about 4 to 5 times tank flow going through the refugium and this isn't possible using one sump.> My reason for asking this is that I have custom built the stand for the 125 gallon, which at this point, is just framed.  Right now I have the luxury of inserting a 40 gallon long and finish the stand around the tank.  Based on the style of the stand, I would prefer not to have doors at either end, therefore, I will lose the ability to remove the tank in the future without doing some damage.  Based on the size of the doors of the stand, I will however have the ability to remove two individual 20 gallons (plumbed with unions) if need be. <I would go this way.>  Is it common or uncommon to have situations requiring the removal of an entire sump/refugium once in operation? <I always like the ability to be able to remove anything in the cabinet.  Murphy's Law will come into effect here if you just have an irremovable 40.> If maintaining access for removal is not a issue, then I would prefer to go with the 40 gallon long.  If the opposite is true, then where and how should the two tanks be connected?  Would drilling two 2" holes at the base end of each tank for the connections be appropriate, or should the connections be made further up the sides of the tanks?  Are there any problems associated with maintaining a constant, adequate water level within the double tank system? Any info would be much appreciated.  <Go with two 20's.  You may have to feed the ref with another overflow.  Without any output restrictions <90's/45's etc) on your pump you would need a minimum of a 2" drain pipe to keep up with the Mag24 so both overflows may be needed for the main sump. One of your overflows will handle a maximum of 1800gph with no restrictions in the line. It's possible to get away with one overflow depending on how much head loss you will get from the pump.  I can't find any charts for that particular pump so I can't help you there.  It may be in the manual that came with the pump. Thank you. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Matt

Re: refugium(s)   2/8/06 Thanks for your help. A question related to your comment regarding recommended refugium water flow -- 4 to 5 times the volume of the tank  --  does this mean the size of the tank housing the refugium (20 gallons = 80-100 gph, or, the main tank (125 gallons = 500-625 gph)?   <The main tank> I think I understand the setup you describe as I have seen some designs where a small pump is installed within the main sump.  Water is pumped by the small pump into a separate refugium (at the flow rate discussed above). <... not pumped in this fashion> The setup is a simple overflow system, maintaining a higher water level in the refugium than the sump; allowing continual overflow back into the main sump.  This would actually work well with the two 20 gallons I have to install.  Let me know if this sounds appropriate. <Not enough info.> The only risk to this setup comes when the main return pump fails and the smaller pump continues to provide overflow into the sump. <I would not use/rely on this... see WWM re refugium designs, pumping...>   One way to deal with this I am guessing is with an additional emergency overflow drain drilled into the top side of the sump. Thanks again, Matt    <... please see WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm See the linked refugium files? Read. Bob Fenner>

Display Tank Water Level and Refugium?    1/25/06 Hello Crew: <Ernie> I have been doing a lot of reading in the refugium section. Really want to thank all of you for such a wealth of information. <Thank goodness for good help and folks writing in... easier to re-sort, make categories of useful info.> My question is if I put a gravity feed line from above display tank refugium, return pump in the display tank back to refugium. When the power goes out which will happen sooner or later. To keep display tank from overflowing I assume the water level in display tank has got to be lowered the amount of water that is in the return line plumbing. <Yes... either that or other means applied to prevent overflowing... e.g. an overflow fitting to below from the main tank> I plan on putting a Durso stand pipe in the refugium for the gravity drain. What is the best way to minimize the amount the display tank water level has to be lowered. Should I possible insert check valve in pump discharge line from display tank to refugium to minimize drain back there. <No> The more I read the more confused I get. <Mmm, try making drawings... share these with folks familiar and not with what you plan...> LOL  With set up I would guess I could maintain a higher water level in the refugium which is 30 long 14 wide and 16 deep 3 chamber setup there by adding more volume of  water. <Mmm, consider the value of having larger through-hulls, openings near/er the surface... such that only this transit volume drains, but readily... rather than smaller, lower overflows...> The display tank is one year set up and equipment are 55 gallon, 48" long, 12" wide, 20" high, 5" deep aragonite sand bed (.5 mm to 1.0 mm grain size), 60 lbs. live rock, 3 maxi-jet 600 power heads for circulation, Aqua-C Remora protein skimmer with maxi-jet 1200, Penguin 400 with bio- wheels removed. Chemistry, Nitrite 0, pH 8.4, ammonia 0, nitrate < 10 with Saltwater master kit from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. I really would like to add the refugium to the system but just don't like the idea of flooding the display tank or refugium. I have a mag 5 pump to use as a return pump to refugium. What size piping would you recommend to get good flow but minimize the drain back to the display tank. <1 1/2" inside diameter... two of these> I would like keep water level as high as possible without the risk of flooding it. The bottom of the refugium will be level with the top of the display tank sitting right next to it. Hope I have described my situation well enough and once again I would like to thank you all very much. Ernie from Kansas <You're doing fine Ernie... do try drawing all this up. Will become clearer, I assure you. Bob Fenner>

Canister to a refugium 1-25-06 Hi, <Tom> I have a 75G reef/fish combo w/ about 50lbs of live rock that has been up and running for a little over one year.  My question, I want   to switch from a canister filter (Fluval 404) to a sump so that I can house my protein skimmer and heater out of the display tank and down   below. I bought a ProClear Aquatics Pro 150 Series Wet Dry Filter with Prefilter before I read all of the articles on how its better to   let the live rock do the work, "Grrrr" so I've got this wet/dry. <A mistake nearly everyone makes...> Can I use it with out the bioballs, or replace them with live rock   (convert it to a refugium), <You could, but I suggest selling it on eBay and buying/building a sump specific for your needs.> and if so how should I wean the tank of   the canister and on to the best new filter set up? <You will want to allow the refugium to cycle and establish itself before plumbing into the main system. Once it is stabilized you should be able to just switch it over. If you are uncomfortable with a quick switch, slowly remove media from the Fluval over the course of a few weeks. Travis> Thanks Tom

Refugium Setup - 01/24/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I recently installed a 27g (20Lx16Wx20H) on my 220g reef tank. <<Excellent!  I love refugiums...installing one is one of the best things you can do for any marine tank in my opinion.>> The refugium is gravity fed by my overflow water (~500gph) and then gravity feeds into my main sump containing an ASM G4+ skimmer. <<Mmm...would be better if you could separate feeds to the 'fuge and skimmer, and have the outflow from the refugium feed directly to the return pump chamber to maximize introduction of zoo-/phyto-plankton/epiphytic matter to the display tank.>> I have a 5in sugar grain aragonite sand bed, a small pile of live rock rubble, Gracilaria, and two softball sized portions of Chaetomorpha. <<Best not to mix macro-algae in the refugium.  Alga competes for space/food just like anything else...no need to have these two battling each other.  Also, be sure to provide "intense" illumination.>> The main goal of this refugium is to produce pods for the large amount of planktivore fish (Anthias, fairy wrasses, gobies, etc) in the main. <<Chaetomorpha excels in this...>> My tank is pretty heavily stocked, so I have to feed them a good amount.  Anyway, the refugium has only been set up for two weeks and I have to constantly stir the algae to prevent detritus and sediment from covering the algae. <<Try "upping" the flow through the refugium.>> I know the Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha should be slowly tumbling, <<Not really necessary for the Chaetomorpha in my experience, enough water flow to make it move "slightly" is fine.  Usually about 10x the volume of the refugium.>> and I thought my flow rate would be adequate, but I don't think it is. <<I would think 500gph for this size 'fuge would be plenty.>> The algae doesn't move much at all.  I plan to add a 160gph powerhead with a Flo rotating nozzle, but I'm still not sure if this would be adequate. <<Try and see.>> I know I won't know until I try it, but I'm not sure how the ideal set-up will look. <<Ha!  When you figure this one out let us all know! <grin> >> I've read the Reef Invertebrates book several times, <<Me too!>> but still have trouble envisioning it.  Will all stagnant Gracilaria perish or just not thrive if not in constant movement? <<Likely the latter...but I find Chaetomorpha to be more "forgiving"...and a better matrix/media for "pods.">> And at what point is detritus accumulation too much on a deep sand bed? What should I look for to know there is too much? <<Hmm, shouldn't really be a problem...the critters in the refugium should/will thrive on this.>> I know the sand needs to be stirred, <<Um...no>> I have allot pods and mini stars that came with Chaeto, <<Neat!>> but should I add some Nassarius snails to keep the sand bed stirred and detritus low? <<Can...I have them in mine.>> Sorry for all the questions, I've done my homework believe it or not, I'm just still confused. Thanks, Brandon <<No worries mate...hope I've been of some help.  Regards, EricR>> Things are Looking Up!  - 01/24/06 Thank you for your response!! <Anytime.> I got the Refugium, but have nothing to put in it! Stupid me! So tomorrow I guess I'll get some Caulerpa? <There are other macro algae choices, look into Chaetomorpha.> And some live sand???? <Wouldn't hurt, though it doesn't have to be live...could use "dry" stuff and seed with sand from your display. Also throw in a few pieces of Live Rock rubble for good measure.> Thanks Guys and Gals!! <Mmm-hmm.> Pam <Adam J.>

Refugium help   1/21/06 Bob,         I have some questions about building a refugium and need some straight answers. My current configuration is a 135 gal acrylic tank, Ocean Clear canister filter, Pan World 100PX  790 gph (main pump), AquaC EV-180 skimmer, Mag-7 (for skimmer), (3) Zoomed PowerSweep powerheads 270 gph each and a Tidepool2. The flow path is as such, overflow to Tidepool (skimmer and Mag-7 are in the Tidepool sump). Pan World pump takes suction from sump and discharges thru the Ocean Clear back to tank. <I would rig a Tee'd by pass (with two valves) to and around the cartridge filter... you will find that it clogs too easily, decreases overall flow too much...> I have a 30 gal. glass tank that I want to use for the refugium. I would like to attach two Rubbermaid containers with bulkheads to the glass tank, one for the skimmer and one for the return pump. Does this sound wise? <Mmm, it's okay... is there some reason (space?) you don't want to situate this gear in the thirty itself?> Would the Pan World pump have to much flow for the refugium? <Likely so, yes... can/could bypass some...> Also, what would you recommend too put into the refugium for the best results, LR, LS, mud, type of critters, macroalgae and such? <... posted on WWM> Also, I still want to incorporate the Ocean Clear as secondary filtration, what do you think of that? <A very good idea... as stated above, cartridge filters are high maintenance...> The pump I would use for it will have a flow rate of 1170 gph.. I want to increase the turnover of my tank and using that pump would help. The inlet/outlet fittings on the pump are 1" but the Ocean Clear is 3/4", do you see a problem with that? Thanks for all your help in advance.                      Lee <Mmm, not so much a problem to bush up/down the plumbing here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Refugium help   1/22/06 The reason I want to use the Rubbermaid containers is so I can use the whole 30 gal tank for the LS, LR and macro, would that work? Thanks <... yes. Please see WWM re refugium Design, Algae... Bob Fenner> The Next Step... refugium design   1/18/06 Hey guys and girls, just want to start off by saying thanks for all the shared info and experiences. My girlfriend can't understand how I can read FAQS for hours and leave with more questions than I started with. I don't really get it either, but I just keep on reading. <Good... you will> Anyway, here's the basics. I have an undrilled 125 gallon FOWLR tank that has been up and running for about 3 years. Weekly I change 20% with premixed water thanks to you). In the tank I have a 4" Passer Angel, 4" Red Sea Sailfin, 6" Volitans Lionfish, 2.5" Spotted Hawkfish, 4" Rainbow Wrasse, 3" Foxface, 14" Snowflake eel, and about 25" Black Ribbon Eel, who by the way I've had for about a year and was much easier to get off feeders and take frozen food than the lion was. <Interesting> I'm talking about a long food strike here. Also, there is about 100 pounds of live rock that I'm slowly adding to. There are few turbo snails, two starfish(es?) a chocolate chip and a sand sifting star and an urchin. Since finding your site I've added a skimmer, and new lights. The next thing that I want to do is add a sump and a refugium. Here is my problem, stand space. In the stand there are cabinets on the end with draws in the middle. I really, really, really don't want to cut my stand. You know the saying if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well it ain't and I don't want to. I'm looking into having 2 custom made tanks to fit in the small cabinet space, but its going to cost around $800 for the fuge, sump and overflow. Do you think that it would be worth the cash? <Relative to? What else might you spend the money on?> The largest size tank that I can fit for the fuge would be 20Lx11Wx18H that would equal 15 gallons when full and for the sump it can only be 20x11x14" high equaling 13 gallons when full. I'm not sure that all that money is worth it for an extra 10-15 gallons when leaving space for drain down during power outages. <Is there some other space? Through a/the wall, above, to the side... to set the refugium?> Also in the refuge I would like a 6" DSB of fine aragonite. Any suggestions?? <Mmm, posted... on WWM> Does any of this sound right or am I just as confused as my girl thinks I am? Would 2 small wet/dry filters work better because of the messy eaters? <Not likely> If so use the bio balls/bail, or more live rock? Like I said before, it seems like the more you learn, the less you know. Thanks again, -Mike <Keep reading for now Mike... jotting down notes... cogitating furiously. All will be clear/er soon. Bob Fenner> Building A Refugium - 01/17/06 There is a lot of information on how to design an in sump refugium but I still have a few questions on the mechanics. <<Ok>> 1. What materials should be used and where do you get them? <<Acrylic or glass usually...whichever you feel comfortable/most comfortable working with.>> Is it better to use a pre-made tank and add inner walls or is a home made tank strong enough? <<If you're confident in your skills a DIY tank is quite reliable, and has the advantage of letting you customize it to fit your purpose/space.  But I have found using manufactured tanks to be quite suitable, and a lot more convenient.>> 2. What dimensions equal the correct volume? <<?>> For example what dimensions would make a 20 gallon sump/refugium (not including the additional height to prevent overflow due to a pump malfunction)? <<I have no idea what your transient water volume is so I can't say, but it's easy enough for you to figure...multiply length X width X height (in inches) then divide by 231 to get the volume in gallons.>> 3. When it is recommended to have a refugium of at least 20% of the main tank, is this only the refugium volume or the entire volume of each section including the intake and sump? <<Bigger really is better when it comes to sumps and refugiums.  Anything is "usually" better than nothing...don't get wrapped up in percentages but rather maximize on your available space/resources.>> Thanks, Ann <<Cheers, EricR>> Custom refugium WWM crew, I have a 75 gallon reef tank that has been running for about 8 months now. It houses a black saddle back clown, purple tang, tail spot blenny, and blue devil damsel.  It also has about a 2 inch sand bed and 60lbs of live rock.  Since my tank is not drilled and I've heard of the headaches associated with hang on overflows, I will resort to building my own refugium that will sit next to the tank.  I want the refugium to be about 25 gallons and I was hoping I could use my Eheim 1260 pump about 602gph). Will this be too much circulation in the refugium and will it hinder pod/macroalgae growth? <I would use a smaller pump... or...> As for the return on the refugium, I want to acheive the best circulation possible, to benefit nearby hard corals. <The extra flow can be diverted to and around your main tank via a tee, two valves...>   What kind of attachment would you recommend for the return tubing? Thanks, Tim Jernberg <...? I would rely on gravity, a large diameter through-put in the refugium, a difference in height... Bob Fenner> Refugium  1/13/06 Hello Crew, I have a 30 gallon display tank and a 25 gallon refugium. The tank contains a reef crew of snails. crabs, coral banded shrimp, peppermint shrimp, emerald crabs, one sponge, one gorgonian, and two sally Lightfoots.  In the refugium, I have a an undergravel filter, three mangrove plants, one 6 inch Gracilaria, some clams, Christmas tree worms, a blenny, and an in-tank whisper filter.  Does this refugium sound ok to you? Should I shut off the UGF and turn it into a plenum? <No real need for the UGF, other than that it sounds OK.  Don't believe there is a real need for the Whisper filter either.  James (Salty Dog)> Peace, <And to you> Armand

"Brute" Refugium? - 01/12/06 Hello to all. <<Hello!>> I've got a couple quick questions. <<Shoot>> I've read on the site that a 5gal bucket filled nearly full with sand can serve as a good NNR filter. <<Yep>> If that's the case, would a 32 gallon Brute Rubbermaid, with say 10"-14" of sand, serve me well on my 150 tank? <<It would, yes...though I think 10" would be plenty.>> Bob suggested that I pull my BioBale from the W/D -it's now gone.  I have 1600gph flowing through my sumps, <<A lot of water...>> with my bio media gone, I now have an empty 18x14 section with tons of flow.  Is there anything that I could put there? <<If you can light this area...a ball of Chaetomorpha algae.>> I've seen that Chaeto likes high flow. <<Indeed...some even advocate it needs to "tumble" though I've not found this to be absolutely necessary in my experience.>> My tank is 3 wks old, 100lbs of LR, 120lbs of "eventual" LR, 1" of medium sand, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, and Nitrates at 15. <<Sounds like you're on the tail-end of the nitrogen cycle.>> Currently housing a cleaning crew, dragon goby, and new yellow tang in QT. <<Kudos to you on the use of QT!  Regards, EricR>>

Re: "Brute" Refugium? - 01/16/05 Eric, Thanks for the guidance. <<I hope it was helpful.>> The refuge is in production, and should be up and running in a couple days.  Since pulling the Bio-Bale, my water has become hazy, a whitish haze.  After trolling over the FAQs I'm convinced it is a bacteria bloom. <<Curious>> This morning it does seem to be a little clearer, is this one of those deals that takes care of itself? <<A partial water change might be beneficial.>> I've checked my parameters daily and the only thing that's changed has been my nitrates, they have actually dropped to zero. <<Not atypical in this situation.>> I skim and change about 2 gallons per day, <<Less frequent but larger water changes may be of greater benefit.>> and I've also added carbon. <<A small amount exchanged weekly is best.>> I also have micro bubbles.  I've located the source by way of tubing to the ear and connections, and its "gurgling" at the impeller.  I'm using an Iwaki 100 at about 12' of head.  When I throttle the ball valve back to 3/4 or less I am nearly bubble free, but at full speed I'm getting NBA (Noticeable Bubble Annoyance).  I've taken the thing apart and have found no noticeable causes, I've sealed the housing with silicone, and I've tried turning it off and on a couple of times.  Any suggestions? <<Perhaps a pinhole leak in the plumbing.>> I am using 1.5" PVC for my inbound and outbound, and I have no whirlpool effect going in so I'm not sure how the air is getting there.  I hate the NBA but I also don't want to operate a less than full capacity.  Is there a solution for this problem? <<Does seem like a very tiny leak...try smearing Vaseline around the joints (one at a time); both incoming and outgoing, to see if the bubbles stop.  Regards, EricR>> Converting A Wet/Dry - 01/02/06 I know that you get this all the time but here goes...you folks are to be commended on your insight and help that you provide to amateurs like me. <<Yeah, but we still like to hear it <grin>.  But seriously, we're here because we want to be here...to help...to make a difference...>> I realize I am probably being redundant but here goes, I have a Coralife 75 Wet/Dry system on a 65 gallon tank. <<Mmm...can't find any info on this...only thing close I found is a Pro Clear Aquatics Pro Series 75 Wet Dry Filter like this one: http://www.petco.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=946230&cm_ven=lnk&cm_cat=82&cm_pla=946230&cm_ite=946230&SiteID=rhg4V7cAWWM-S0gU8kvgc4SrDgRMn1Dkaw&CMReferringUrl=&CMReferringUrl= >> It is divided into 3 compartments and I was thinking about converting it into a sump. <<Ok>> I realize I will have to upgrade the present skimmer that came with the system, that is a given, but my question is would I put the rock into the center section? <<Should work fine, yes.>> My tank is over 8 years old and is not drilled and not reef ready by today's standards.  It has a catch basin in the tank that pulls to an outside catch tank that is then fed down into the wet/dry. <<Ah, the standard siphon overflow...>> Also would it be better to get an outside pump to pull the water back into the tank? <<Not sure I follow...but a submersible pump in the last compartment of the sump to "pump water TO the tank" is a good/reliable method.>> I realize that I will have to move the heater down into the lower area and since this is an 8+ year old system would it really be cheaper to take another tack? <<Cheaper?...I doubt it.>> If so, what?  You folks are way cool in the advise that you give and if there is something that I missed in your notes please feel free to point me in that direction. <<If you haven't been here there should be some info about converting your filter to a sump:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wetdryfaqs.htm  And more good info here as well:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumprffiltfaqs.htm  Be sure to follow the indices in blue at the top of the pages.>> Carol
<<Regards, EricR>>

Refugium setup 1/2/06 Hello- I'm still a little confused after reading so many articles on the site about these issues.  I have my first 100 gal marine setup (FOWLR) that is going on its 6th week.  My glass is covered with brown algae and what I assume is green hair algae (little hairy green clumps about 1" long right now).  If I just let it grow, will it starve itself and disappear as part of the cycling of the tank? <Maybe, but in my opinion, it is much better to manually remove it.  Scraping followed by scooping with a net or siphoning works well.  Also, if you haven't already, it is probably a good time to add a few snails to help process this material.> In 2 days I should have a Wave2k center unit for the main tank.  I have a wet/dry box syphoned with 1 1/4" tube to a 10 gal tank (for eventual "extra" overflow and larger pump) with a return pump rated at 700 GPH and a 5' head height.  I'm getting ready to add a 55 gal refugium tank.  My plan for the refugium is nitrate reduction (3"-4" fine sand bed and seagrass, no Caulerpa I know), a tank for seahorses (many months from now), and just to have a nice planted tank. <All sounds good.  In order to maximize success with nitrate control and sea grasses, I would suggest 6"-8" of sand to start.  It will compact and dissolve over time, and sea grasses need a minimum of 4" to thrive.> My real question is about the plumbing setup.  I want it to be as failsafe as possible in terms of power outage/pump failure/water overflow so I want to try and stay with one pump.  I'm thinking of feeding both tanks with a new 1200 GPH pump (placed in the 10 gal tank) outputting to a T-joint with ball valves or something to lessen/control flow to the refugium tank.  The main and refugium tank would each have an overflow box connected to a T-joint and empty into my wet/dry.  Would this type of setup work?  Do you foresee any problems?  I have attached a pic to illustrate. <Hmmm... foresee scary problems.  First and foremost, a 10 gallon tank would never handle the drain down from the other tanks if the pump stopped (maintenance, power outage, pump failure), especially since the 10 gallon would have to be run full to keep the pump from sucking air.  Another issue is the siphon overflows.  They are fairly reliable, but the siphon can break causing a flood.  Drilled tanks are much safer.  It may be too late to drill your display, but perhaps the refugium tank can be drilled for added safety.  I am not sure what your space limitations are, but a better general solution may be to have water drain from the display, through the wet/dry and then into the refugium tank.  A partial wall can be placed in the refugium tank to divide it into roughly 3/4 refugium, 1/4 pump chamber.  You would have to run some kind of screen and/or sponge filter on the pump inlet in case any refugium contents spilled over.> What I would REALLY like to do is have my reef tank overflow into my main tank for food as well.  But the ref tank is 4" shorter than the main tank. Thanks, Brenton <This isn't a bad idea either... consider building up the refugium stand to accommodate this.  In this scenario, the wet/dry would be the only sump, and should be able to handle the drain down.  Best Regards, AdamC.>

Don't write, do read... on WWM  12/30/2005 Last question, I promise (er, I think..) <Okay...> I want to setup a Refugium because I cannot control nitrates.  I am back to 40PPM after doing a water change less than a week ago - no matter what I do they still remain. <Have you read on WWM re?> I have no bioballs at all - I only have live rock and I keep the tank very clean. Can I convert the bottom of my sump into a refugium?  I would remove the skimmer, but the only concern is the return pump being submerged. Any suggestions on the pump? <This is posted...> As well the sump is 14" deep, x 21" high x 23".  There is a 4" section glassed off at the overflow area full of live rock, which overflows into a small 4" overflow for filter media, then it all falls into the sump. The first section also has a hole with some plumbing for a protein skimmer, but I could always block this off.   I just don't have enough room for another tank in the bottom of my tank, and I really want to find a good solution to the nitrates issue. Rahul Sood. <Please... learn to/use WWM... the indices, search tool... BobF>

Should this sump work?   12/29/05 WWM, <Bryan>   I am taking Bob's advice and building a sump for my 72gal reef.  After a little research on your site, other sites, and talking with the LFS; I wanted to run this idea past you to see if I am on the right track.  I have included an image (should open with windows picture & fax viewer or paint). It's about time I get off the canister and bio wheels and improve my filtration.  In the 29gal sump, I will use my AquaC Remora skimmer, bio-balls, active carbon, and a live sand bed with live rock and macro algae.  The overflow is rated at 700gph and the return pump is 500gph.  To avoid overflow mishaps, I plan on porting the overflow and return line just below the water surface in the tank in addition to using gate and check valves.  The vertical distance between the return pump and the top of the tank is 4.5'.  Not sure what else I am missing, but does this sound like an effective set up, or what am I missing? <Looks good to me Bryan.  James (Salty Dog)> Bryan

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