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FAQs about Refugium Designs 8

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 5, Refugium Design 6Refugium Design 7, 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

All sorts of critters/organisms can/may be kept in a functional refugium. A Condy(lactis) gigantea in Jamaica.

Aquasystem, converting a wet/dry to a refugium... Good in theory!   1/11/07 Hello, <Hi Adrian, Mich with you today.> First off I want to apologize for asking a second question so soon after my first but I thought of the idea after I had already asked. <That's quite alright.> I currently have a 75 gallon Tru-vu Aquasystem aquarium. I am using 2 Rio 1100+'s for water flow in addition to the built in pump on the back (says 802 but no discernable brand) about 70 lbs of liverock and around 50 lbs of livesand 4x65 watt compact fluorescent light AquaC Remora Pro Skimmer Fluval 304 filter (with only carbon and mechanical filtration) 2 urchins (one has purple spines, the other has black spines that are purple at the base) 4 small snails 1 Brittle Star <Hopefully not a Green Brittle Star (Ophiarachna incrassata).  Cardinal fish are one of it's favorite snacks!  Please check on this.  Your cardinal could be in grave danger.>   1 PJ Cardinal Fish Ok, that said my question is as follows.  Would it be advisable to set up the built in wet/dry filter as a refugium?   <Yes, I think this has possibilities.> I have a 2x30 watt light fixture I can fit to shine down into the back (which is approximately 11-12 gallons)  and if possible I would like to have everything built in instead of a separate refugium (I live in a second floor apartment and already have two 55 gallon freshwater tanks, a 29 gallon freshwater, and the 75 gallon saltwater, afraid I won't be able to safely get any more water in here). <Yikes! Lots of water weight there.  I think your thoughts are valid.>    Thanks, <Welcome!  -Mich> Adrian

Disconnected Refugium....worthwhile?   1/3/07 Hey guys Happy New Year, <Right back at you!> One of my resolutions has been to improve the quality of life for the inhabitants of my reef tank and has led to the purchase of a DI and a new T5 lighting unit, but I have had another idea and wondered whether you thought it would be of benefit. <Very nice resolution.  These changes will benefit your tank.> I am thinking of setting up a remote refugium, but remote as in it is unconnected to the tank, due to the cost and space, however if I transfer a quantity of water between the two tanks daily would this be of some merit. <Possibly.  Obviously connected would be better.  Part of the benefit of a refugium is the microfauna that gradually makes its way the main system. Although it is possible to do this manually it will be much more difficult to do.  I think this will be less efficient and more cumbersome, though it still may be beneficial.  Be curious to see the results.>   Thank you for your time <Welcome.  -Mich> will

Using below tank sump for a refugium  1/2/07 Hi crew, <Hello, (Lynn?) Graham with you tonight.> I've been reading your site for some guidance regarding adding some functionality to my current below tank sump. <Good Idea! So many folks ask the question before looking for the answers themselves. So many of the questions asked *can* be answered my reading the FAQ's and articles.> Currently I have a 55 gallon tank with 50 lbs of live rock and fish and invertebrates. Below the tank, hidden from view from the cabinet doors, I have a 10 gallon glass tank I use merely as a sump. I put some additional live rock pieces in there and my EV 120 protein skimmer. Inside the sump I also have one mag drive pump that powers the protein skimmer and one mag drive pump that returns water from the sump back up into the tank. My thoughts are to try to also use this sump as a refugium by just adding some macroalgae and lights to help combat my green hair nuisance algae ( I aggressively do water changes, use RO/DI SpectraPure 5 stage water, feed sparingly but the hair algae continues). <Check these links out first: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algeatrcontfaqs.htm > My thoughts are to do this as inexpensively as possible by adding a light above the sump and buying some live rock pieces containing macroalgae and placing them into the sump tank. <That's one method, though the rock will take up space that the Macro would use...> Will this suffice? <I think you will benefit from some research on WWM. Check out the links, and the links they bring you to.> If so, if I buy a light fixture, I've read you can get an inexpensive one from home depot, what specific bulbs and wattage do I need to grow macroalgae and how often do I leave the lights on? <One useful Macroalgae of the family Caulerpaceae will do the job. They don't need intense light, and grow readily enough with medium to high-current flow over them. As far as lighting spectra and day-length, almost any aquarium light will do. Get a good 50/50 or a cheap daylight bulb and tailor your daylight hours to suit your bioload.> Thanks for your help. <You're welcome, and happy reading.> Help! (please). Refugium set-up, just read   12/31/06 I have a 55 gal reef setup, with a HOT wet/dry  trickle filter and a  HOT Remora Protein skimmer. This system is just "okay", and I would like to  upgrade by using a 10 or 20 gal tank as a sump/refugium, and if possible,  eliminate the HOT wet/dry system along with the bio balls. <A good move> The main tank has  about 40 lbs of live rock, with what I think is a fairly light bio load......1  bi-color pseudo, 1 algae blenny, 1 black damsel, 1 small flame angel. I also  have a serpent star, some Nassarius snails, one mushroom, and 1 hermit. All  are doing very well at the moment, but any time I try to add anything else, I  start having problems, with nitrates, ph, etc. I'd like to improve  water quality and flow, so I can possibly add another type of coral and/or  another fish or two, and at the same time, reduce algae (especially hair  algae). I'm thinking of setting up the sump/refugium right next to the main  tank, and it would be on a standard aquarium stand, at just about the same  height/level as the main tank (I cannot set it up under the main tank). <Can be situated next to it...> My plan  is to section off the sump, with one compartment used for filter media, the  middle section perhaps for macro algae, and then a third section, from which the  water will flow back to the main tank. I am assuming I'll need two pumps, one  from the main tank to the sump, and vice versa? <Uh, no... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the linked files above re circulation/pumps...> I consider myself fairly  intelligent, but I can't seem to fully comprehend the overflow system, to  prevent flooding (Maybe I'm really NOT very intelligent). <Mmm, likely just has not become live to your consciousness... I think you'll understand completely by reading the FAQs files above> If the tanks are  at or nearly at the same level, I guess I wouldn't have to be too concerned if  there is a power failure, but I am concerned as to what will happen if one pump  fails and the other doesn't. And what if the flow to and from the tanks is not  equal? <Rely on gravity my friend... it will always "let you down"> Finally, how many gallons/hr should I be seeking to pump in/out? <... posted>   I've read so many articles, here and elsewhere, but maybe you can explain in  plain, simple "sumps and water flow for idiots" type of language.  Any  other suggestions you might have, for the main tank and/or the sump would also  be welcomed. You guys/ladies are great, and I appreciate the help.  Thanks! <Read. Bob Fenner>

My Sump/Fuge design  12/23/06 Hello crew, I am new to the marine aquarium lifestyle <Heeeeeee!> and your site as well. I borrowed a sump/fuge design from another site and had a local plastics company make me one from acrylic. <Good> They did a beautiful job on it, but as I look at it I am wondering if I misunderstood something. My question is will my sump/fuge work as is? To start with I have a 90 gallon AGA rr tank. My fuge is 36"longx15"widex16"tall. <Good size> The first chamber is 11"x15". This will be used for intake and hold an ASM G-2 protein skimmer. Then the 1st baffle of a bubble trap. That baffle is 12"tall. There is a 1" space and the second baffle of bubble trap which is 1" off the floor of sump and too is 12" tall. That is followed by a 1" space and the 3rd baffle of the bubble trap which is also 12" tall. The 2nd chamber which will be refugium is 11 1/2"x15". This is followed by a 12" tall baffle that has 1" deep vertical teeth cut across the top of the baffle. Finally, the 3rd chamber for return is 10"x 15". I think my baffles may be too tall? <Mmm... not necessarily... there is/are trade-offs in having taller/shorter baffles... good to have the extra volume of water, but a need to have space for transit volume, should the pump/s go off... What you list is fine due to the overall size/volume of your sump, for the tank size mentioned> If you agree, can I Dremel out the material at the proper height? <Mmm, you could, but I would not modify this... At least "fill up, try out"... turning the pump/s off to see if there will be a chance of flooding> Also, whether or not I need to make adjustments, what size pump should I use for return? <Posted: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugpumpfaqs.htm and the linked files...> My overflow is rated for 600GPH. <Mmm... do read re such Reef Ready tanks, through-put sizes, number, placement... Such tanks have been "improved" in recent years... but some are older... not quite "ready", stock: http://wetwebmedia.com/thrhullsizing.htm> Thanks in advance for any assistance you may lend and keep up the great work. No doubt your efforts have helped the marine aquarium hobby/lifestyle improve to where it is today. Mike <Glad to be of assistance. Bob Fenner>

Refugium Design/Pump Selection - 12/13/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I am first of all very impressed with the quality of information on your web site. <<Ah, thank you for this...is a collective effort>> I have a 125g setup with some LR and crushed coral bed.  It's been up now for about 10 years with a wet/dry filter. <<I see>> The main problem with the tank is many scratches in the glass. <<Not uncommon...especially for a tank this age>> I am planning on a new 125g or 165g display tank and use the scratched 125 as a refugium in the basement below the display tank. <<Sounds great>> The display tank is built into a floor to ceiling wall open on three sides with only one of the short ends available for plumbing. <<I have a similar floor to ceiling installation, but my display is only viewable from two sides>> I want to have the new tank drilled to set up a couple of overflow boxes to drain to the refugium below. <<A fine idea...but you may want to have one drain go to the skimmer/skimmer chamber>> Any recommendation on hole-size and the type of return pump that can handle about a 10 foot rise to the display tank. <<Mmm, yes...nominal 1.5" bulkheads, with 2" bulkheads being better.  As for pumps, the larger Iwaki pumps or the GRI-520 should serve well...if you want to go with a submersible pump I've found the large Mag-Drive pumps to be good performers, even though it will take a larger-rated pump to move the same amount of water as the previously mentioned external pumps>> I am going to have a DSB in the display and refugium. <<Ok>> The layout for the refugium will have the tank water enter into an area adjacent the return sump box; each box would be about 12" x 9".  I would have a protein skimmer in the 1st box and divert the water thru a Y as needed to the return box to adjust the flow over the DSB.  The remaining water would flow thru some baffles and over the DSB.  I would like to split the tank the long way down the center so the water would flow over the bed and make a 180 degree turn to head back to the return box and be pumped back up to the display tank.  I would be creating a channel approximately 9" wide x 10 feet long x a depth I haven't determined yet. <<Mmm, you can do this...but I don't see an advantage to this over installing the DSB the width of the tank and placing the return chamber at the far end.  Any gain in "contact time" you think this will provide is negated by the reduced volume of the bed...in my opinion>> This is a project that I have plenty of time for and would greatly appreciate your comments. Thank You Dennis <<Your basic concept is fine...feel free to write back and bounce thoughts/ideas off me if you wish.  Be chatting, Eric Russell>> Re: Too much MH lighting? Actually Refug. des.   11/26/07 Again, thank you for sticking with me. fast responses, etc. <No worries> I will definitely visit my LFS where lights were purchased re: bulbs, etc. I'm considering a refugium about 24" x 12" x 16". I could run pipes over the top to the main tank. Question. Other than the basic plumbing issues, which I won't bore you with, could you break this down.... <Ok, I'll try> Sand bed? Miracle Mud type, live very fine sand? Lights? compact fluorescent? how much watts? Pump power? any good ones? Plant life? Chaetomorpha? or others Any other "critters" need be in there? Any "seeding" of copepods, or other organisms? <My suggestion would be the Miracle Mud product as the sandbed, as it provides a great deal of trace elements and health to the tank. Compact fluorescents are fine, even basic ones from Home Depot will do the trick. Chaetomorpha is a popular choice, and quite possibly the simplest macroalgae for this purpose. For seeding the 'fuge, I would recommend some well established live rock, a few pounds of it, in the 'fuge as well. This will provide the starting kick of biota for your refugium. Hope this helps you! -JustinN> Thanks again, George

Re: Too much MH lighting? Actually Refug. des.    11/27/06 Absolutely does help me! I'm going to do some research and try and setup the refugium. By all accounts, it seems to have only positives. I'll email you down the road a bit once it's set-up and working. I may have some questions along the way, but you're advice has been a great help already. Take care, Justin. George <Excellent! Very glad to hear I helped out! Do keep me posted, I have no doubts you will be very happy with the results on your tank! Any questions along the line, don't hesitate to ask!  Good luck! -JustinN>

Re: Follow up question re: refugium for JasonN    11/28/06 Dear Justin, <Hey again, George!> I am about to order parts for building refugium per our last communique, etc. My questions, if you would be so kind... <No problems, as always> Due to tight "closet space", I plan on using an in sump (inside refugium) like a 300 gph - 500 gph Magdrive. This would be the intake from the main reef tank, then, a gravity fed return down to my sump, which would then utilize the main pump to return to tank. <Could work, but may be difficult to control in-flow into the sump this way> My other option, and easier to build, is to have intake from main sump, and then back into sump again. <If your flow to the sump allows for this diversion of flow, this would be my choice> Small compact fluorescent 18W for lights. <I might go for a slightly higher wattage compact fluorescent, perhaps in the 40-60 watt range> Do any of these options (pardon the pun), hold water? Thanks very much. George <Admittedly, I'm no expert in plumbing, simply because I've not done much of it. The basic concept, regardless of how you plumb the refugium, is to make sure the transient water level in a shut-down doesn't overwhelm the sump. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Re: Follow up question re: refugium for JasonN    11/28/06 Justin, <George< Again, thanks for ultra fast response! <Just a matter of lucky timing, I guess> Ok, I just need to figure out a fail-safe for shut down. I have an in floor drain near the main sump. Perhaps an overflow drilled near top of sump, allowing any shut-down overflow to drain out. <This would be a good plan, IMO> I wanted to make sure the 'biology' concept worked...from sump to refugium and back to sump. Since return from main tank runs through 2 100 micron socks, will copepods, etc. circulate to populate main tank? <Do you mean the return flow into the sump, or the return into the tank? I imagine that a filter sock would likely limit the microfauna to some extent, how much I can't precisely say.> Finally, can you recommend a source of "live" copepods or others that could be used to "seed: refugium, or is this a waste of time? <Mmm, not a waste of time, but not completely essential if you seed the refugium with live rock. Alas, I don't know any sources off the top of my head, sorry. Perhaps a Google search or WWM search for such will turn up results?> Thanks again. I'm really close to putting this together! <Excellent, do keep me posted!> George <Take care! -JustinN>

Re: Follow up question re: refugium for JasonN    11/28/06 Great! I did find some sources online. Finally, regarding the light. Would a single 40W light do the trick? <IMO, it would likely be enough. That's the nice thing with compact fluorescents though, a new fixture is always cheap and available!> George <Good luck, George! -JustinN> Refugium plumbing I have a 50 gal reef tank with a 10 gal. sump below.  All of my filtration happens at the sump.   Water is pumped from the sump into the main tank with a 650 gph pump.  Anyway, I want to add a refugium, to supply my mandarin with copepods as well as add algae for nitrate filtration and to feed my hippo tang, <Needs more room than this> etc.  I want to maintain the sump as is, if possible, so I would like to use the closet behind the aquarium and create a gravity fed refugium.  My biggest problem is, I live in Florida and have a lot of power outages. <Yikes>   Right now, if the power goes out, my sump fills up to about 2 inches below the top. <Good... much better than above...> When it goes back on, everything automatically restarts and goes back to the way it was prior to the outage.  I don't want to impact the overflow amount of water the sump takes on when the power goes out. <You are wise to have this consideration here, now> My thought is to pump directly from the main tank into the refugium, and drill an overflow in the refugium, about 1" below the top level, that would be of sufficient size to balance the refugium water at that level at all times to that level.  That way, if the power goes out, or if either pump fails, it would not drain below that point and impact the water levels of the sump or main tank. <Yes, a workable plan> Would this be a recommended way to go about doing this, or do you have another inexpensive suggestion.  I really would appreciate your advice, prior to tackling this project.  Thank you very much. Michelle <The only item I'd like to add, is to test for where the water now will "settle" in the sump given a power outage, and mark the level on the sump at the "powered on" position to remind you never to fill the tank/s beyond this. Bob Fenner> Sump/refugium   11/24/06 Hello, <Hi there>             I have a question regarding a sump/refugium.  I have researched the site but haven't found any information on exactly what I would like to do.  I currently have a 55g with 55lbs of LR.  I have a 2.5in sand bed and I am slowly adding to it to increase the depth to acceptable DSB levels.  I have 2 Seio M620's and 2 MaxiJet 600's for powerheads, a Remora Pro, 1 blue damsel, 2 percula clowns.  I have decided to add a sump/refugium before adding more livestock but they both have to be upstream.  Here is my question.  I purchased a 29g tank and I was originally thinking that I would divide the tank in half.  I would put a 6" DSB, LR, and Chaetomorpha in the left half of the tank drawing water from the main tank through a mini jet 404. (I have tested this and I can get almost the full range it says on the box. I don't have to pump up more than 8 in.)  This would gravity feed through a 1" bulkhead back to the tank.  The other half would be the sump where I would store the Remora Pro, heaters, activated carbon at times, and a Magnum HOT at times, with baffles to reduce micro-bubbles.  I was thinking of a sock filter or something to catch larger stuff from entering the chamber. <Best to situate/place this on/over a fitting inside the first chamber line on the inside... fed by the pump/powerhead> I would also use a pump to draw from the display tank and a gravity feed back through a 1" bulkhead. <?... as a totally separate process I take it... a "return manifold" to use the parlance. NOT in association with this upstream refugium> I have read that a 1" bulkhead is realistically good for 200gph.  I will figure out what size pump to buy for that but here is my question.  Would it be better to design the sump/refugium like I explained above so that the fuge and sump are fed separately at different flow rates or would it be better to incorporate the fuge into the sump using 1 pump and 1 gravity feed back to the display? <This latter... one pump... not two here> Your site is incredible and filled with an unbelievable amount of good information.  There would be many aquarists who would have given up if it wasn't for your website and the time your crew has spent in answering questions. Thank You Paul Kelly <A pleasure to serve, help you in your successes. Bob Fenner>

Re: sump/refugium   11/25/06 Hi Bob, Thank You for your quick response.  I think I understand what you are saying.  You are correct in thinking that these would be 2 completely separate processes that would be housed in 1 tank with a glass divider in the middle.  The fuge would have a pump and a gravity drain and the sump would have the same but the water from one would not mix with the other.  I just want to clarify that you think I should make the whole tank a sump with a refugium housed inside? <Mmm, yes> If only having 1 pump and 1 return is the best way then I can look through the site in regards to the best way to figure this out.  I know there is a lot of info on that.  Again thank you Paul   <Oh yes. Welcome. BobF>

Upstream refugium  11/22/06 > Hello, <Hi Michael! Tim answering your question today after a very long holiday from answering questions to take time to sit university exams and find a proper job... but enough about me!> > I have a 75 gallon with live rock that I am slowly converting into a semi reef. <Very exciting!> The tank is built into a finished basement wall so hiding equipment is a luxury.  I use an Aqua-C Remora Pro <No personal experience with this, but an excellent skimmer I am told.> to skim and an Eheim 2227 wet/dry for mechanical filtration. <Eheim wet/dry filters don't do much in the form of mechanical filtration; they are more of a biological filter - hence the wet/dry mechanism which increase the rate at which ammonia and nitrites are converted to nitrates.> I have read recently that wet/dry filters are not good for reefs for the nitrate and phosphate they leach. <There is much debate about the validity of this argument. They do not leach anything per se - rather, they are so efficient at what they do that any "gunk" (for lack of a better word) that gets caught in the media will be converted to nitrates much more rapidly than without such a filter. As such, if you clean the media very frequently, a wet/dry filter only has positive consequences in terms of converting the dangerous ammonia and nitrites in your aquarium into much safer nitrates. They can not produce more nitrates than you introduce into the system by way of excess feeding or overstocking.> I have since removed the substrate and my nitrate levels are reducing, currently at 20ppm, but phosphate levels are constant at 1ppm.  I do frequent water changes with RO water that has tested at zero for both these levels. <Could be indicative of over feeding or over stocking> I have been battling hair algae for a few months and have decided to build an above display tank refugium.  The display tank is not drilled so I wanted to design a fool proof refugium that will not leak from a siphon in the event of a power outage.  I want to know your opinion on my design and what type of pump I should  use, acrylic thickness, etc. <Unfortunately cannot help you with that. The same rule applies as with any other type of refugium - the bigger the better! As such, the size will depend on how much space you have and this will then determine the thickness of glass or acrylic required. Do have a read through the general information on refugiums on the WWM site; I am sure there are a number of references to over tank refugiums and much other information that you may find helpful. In terms of the siphon effect, do bear in mind that the siphon effect may still occur, however in the reverse sense whereby the water from your refugium all flows into your main tank, so ensure that you have adequate free volume to accommodate the water from your refugium. Any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. And with regard to what type of pump to use, again this will depend on the size and desired flow rate but have a look at Eheim or Aquamedic Oceanrunner pumps that are both excellent investments.> I appreciate your time. <Always a pleasure! Tim> > Thank you, > Michael

Sump/Refugium Combo - 11/14/06 Sorry for the inconvenience but I forgot to attach the image in the last email I sent you. <<Hmm, don't know who picked up the original query>> The attachment is here. <<A very nice/workable setup, though I feel the filter material between the baffles is not needed/necessary, and only contributes to added maintenance (needs to be cleaned daily)>> Again, sorry for the inconvenience. <<No worries>> Christopher D. McCulloch <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Refugium question  - 11/13/06 Hello Bob.  Great Site!  It helped me with my success rate for 2.5 years with a 180g main tank and 35g refugium.  Unfortunately, I have to start over after a house fire.  I am down sizing to a 120g main and 50g refugium that I have not started putting together. <Okay> My first refugium was simple with no extra baffles.  I used a CPR overflow <Better by far to have/use two> that skimmed into a first chamber that housed a protein skimmer.  Water would flow over into my center/main refugium (sang, rock, and algae).  Then, the water would flow into the final/third chamber to be pumped back into the main system.  I like your sketch on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm because the baffles would allow me to use carbon/filter media without a canister filter.  What are the other advantages to baffles on both ends of the refugium? <Mmm, let's see... I'd list promoting overall flow (discounting laminar issues), allowing for coalescence of "tiny bubbles" (Blowin' in the sun... am out in HI currently... but not with Don Ho specifically), allowing for constant level functions, gear like many foam fractionators, contactors prefer... Being able (if you want/elect to, insert filter media blocks, bags... in the filter flow path...> Thanks, Benjamin J Kearns <Can you think of other benefits. Bob Fenner>

Mangrove Refugium  11/10/06 Hi   I currently attended Sparsholt College in Hampshire England, on a Fish Management course. As part of the course we are asked to design create and look after different types of systems. I have been asked to help design a refugium with the aim of growing mangroves in it for a marine system. <Is done...> The refugium tank is 4ft by 2ft by 2ft the same as the display tank. The question I wish to ask is are there any special considerations I should take into account? <Hmm, have you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mangrovetrees.htm and the linked files above?> Or are there certain methods that would be best for me to use? <Oh, yes> Could macro algae also be grown in the refugium as well? <Yes... posted> Also my lecture is interested in us trying to keep Cephalopods in the display tank. <Also archived on...> The tank is also filtered by two large canister filters. <Not the best available, most appropriate technology> Would this set up suit them? <Mmm... possibly... depending on the species involved, the amount of ongoing testing, maintenance one would be willing to provide... As stated, recorded, there are better methods...> Hope you can help and sorry for all the questions, just wanted your opinion and advice if you can give it. Thanks for reading this      Andrew <Read my friend. Your answers are already gone over... Bob Fenner> Refugium question   11/8/06 Hello Bob. Great Site! < Thank you for the compliment as all the WWM folks appreciate it! Emerson with you today. > It helped me with my success rate for 2.5 years with a 180g main tank and 35g refugium.  Unfortunately, I have to start over after a house fire.   < Sorry to hear that. > I am down sizing to a 120g main and 50g refugium that I have not started putting together. < Sounds good > My first refugium was simple with no extra baffles.  I used a CPR overflow that skimmed into a first chamber that housed a protein skimmer.  Water would flow over into my center/main refugium (sang, rock, and algae). Then, the water would flow into the final/third chamber to be pumped back into the main system. < Sounds very similar to the sump/fuge setup I ran on my 125g back in the day. It worked quite well for the 2 years it ran in that form. > I like your sketch on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm because the baffles would allow me to use carbon/filter media without a canister filter. What are the other advantages to baffles on both ends of the refugium? < The baffles in the diagram are great for placing media, but even better for bubble control.  When you spread out the flow over the width of your sump and force it to go through the baffles it allows for more bubbles to reach the surface and not the pump. Also the baffles before the refugium section allow the incoming water to 'slow down and spread out' which gives your fuge inhabitants a little more time to do their job. > Thanks, Benjamin J Kearns < Very welcome and I wish the best for you and your new tank. > Re: Sump Design  11/12/06 //The refugium would hold roughly 20 gallons of water. Then I have the 5-inch baffle simply to spates the sand from the return pump.  The small return section would be 4.75 inches long; however, with the refugium it would be 28.75 inches long, thus holding 23 gallons of water.  I would need to run 500 gallons per hour through this sump in order to power my skimmer. <Mmm, this is a bunch, perhaps too much flow/turnover through the refugium itself>// After some adjusting I was able to get the fuge to hold 23 gallons of water :)  For the return, maybe it would be beneficial to T some of the return with a gate valve back to the input line of the skimmer, thus slowing the return back to the tank (I think)... <A good modification. You only want a handful to ten times volume flow through a given refugium per hour. Bob Fenner> "Do not demand what you cannot take by force." <Mmm, western ethic... I say "Do not demand what is not yours to accept responsibility for"> Refugium Add on / Conversion  - 11/02/06 Hello, <Hi there> I have a Wet Dry filter now on an 80 gal tank with 50lbs of live rock. ( I know I need to add 30 lbs more and have my old hair ridden stuff in a tank hopefully re-curing now)  I have recently set up the system after replacing the frame of the tank which had broken.  I had, in the past, a huge problem with hair algae.  In efforts to not repeat this, I have read a lot about the benefits of a refugium to help consume the nitrates that feed the evil hair algae.  My sump is a wet dry with a 12 x 12 chamber dedicated to bio balls and another 12 x 12 chamber that houses the pump and protein skimmer.  I have a hang on the back overflow system with one 1" drain line as the tank is not "reef ready". <Heard, seen this... responded as such> I have no desire to place a filter in the room outside of the tank area and have about 15 x 12 footprint left under the tank that can house a fuge.  I could do one of three things... 1)  get a hang on the back refugium, but these seem costly and only hold about 6 gallons.  I am also concerned that the 40lbs additional weight is not good for the frame of the glass aquarium and reaching the thing for maintenance will require a ladder. <Agreed> 2)  Move my skimmer and pump to a separate vessel next to the wet dry and convert the wet dry to a refugium.  If I do this, I would gain the 12x 12 area that currently houses the pump and skimmer as a fuge area and would have to eliminate 50% of the bio balls as they would be submerged.  I could have it about  10 inches deep before I would risk overflow issues in a power outage.  This seems good, but the flow rate would not be controlled through the refugium very well since the this controls the total flow rate of my system. <One way... better than 1)> 3)  I could add a refugium next to my wet dry and leave the wet dry as is.  This way I could pump water from the wet dry to the fuge tank and gravity drain it back to the sump.  This leaves my other filter intact and lets me control the flow to the refugium.  This seems well and good, but I am having trouble finding a 12X12X12 vessel that I can cut a drain hole in.  Should I have one made from acrylic ($$), or can I use a opaque plastic trash can? <Either one can/will work>   The later is obviously cheaper, but would the white plastic sides cause a problem with light or heat? <Nope... a bit more algae growth on lighter colored surfaces, but no big deal. I would go with these choices in the opposite order of their ranking... The third is best... along with removing the bio-balls from the extant wet-dry. Bob Fenner> I suppose I'd like advice on which of the three solutions is best.  All of them only about 6 gallons on an 80 gallon tank, but I know some is better than none. as well as any advise on    Regards Russell Reef Upgrade/Refugium Setup - 10/31/06 Hello. <<Good Morning>> I wanted to say thank you for all your help in the past. <<A collective effort>> Your website is a great source of information and has saved me from making stupid mistakes many times. <<Glad you have found it useful>> I'm writing because I will soon be upgrading my 55-gallon reef system to a 135 with a 55-gallon sump/refugium and have a few questions as to what the best way of doing this would be. <<Okay>> First let me run my plan by you really quickly and see what you think.  I will be setting up the new system in a new house.  I plan on doing all of the plumbing and filling it with freshwater straight from the tap.  I will then run all the filters/pumps to make sure nothing leaks and a day or so later after everything checks out (hopefully) I will add the salt and substrate (0.5inch aragonite to the display tank). <<Sounds fine>> I will then order approximately 100lbs of cured Fiji live rock and place it in the tank.  After a good 6-8 weeks when the ammonia/nitrate/nitrite levels have stabilized and a healthy colony of bacteria has started growing, I plan on moving all the inhabitants of my 55-gallon tank in (purple tang, 2 brittle stars, hermits, snails, various soft and LPS corals, and approximately 80 pounds of live rock).  I was hoping I could do all of this at one time, but wasn't sure if it would overload the system with too many nutrient sources at one time.  Any idea? <<Hmm...with what you list, this would probably be fine.  You might consider leaving the old 55 up/operational (with some rock present) for the first 24hrs while monitoring ammonia/nitrite in the new system...to be safe>> I was also hoping to use the 3-inches of aragonite I have in the old 55-gallon system for a DSB (6 inches) in the 55-gallon sump/refugium on the new system. <<I don't see why not>> I will have to mix it with new aragonite to achieve the correct depth.  What would be the best way of doing this? <<I would place the new sand first, and put the "old" sand on top.  Do be aware, you will experience some die-off of the biota in the old sand bed when you move it>> Should I simply move the old aragonite from one system to the other and just throw some new aragonite on top? <<Other way 'round>> Should I mix the two first before placing it in? <<I wouldn't>> I was considering removing all of the old aragonite and rinsing it with tap water really well because I have seen some pockets of accumulated black organics in it before when I removed some of the live rock. <<You could...but aside from the hassle/mess, you will remove all the beneficial organisms that would otherwise seed/jump-start the refugium>> This would basically start the bacteria colony over of course, would this be ok? <<Up to you...but I wouldn't do it>> I was also wondering if a green brittle star in the 55-gallon refugium would significantly affect the copepod population. <<Indirectly possibly...by competing for food stuffs/detrital matter.  May also pose a threat to amphipods, other refugium fauna>> One of the reasons I plan on setting up the DSB refugium is so that it will act as a source of food for my corals and mandarin goby.  I have a green brittle star that recently decided to turn a few of my shrimp into lunch. <<Known to capture/eat fish as well>> I was planning on keeping it and simply separating it from my future shrimp and livestock by placing it in the refugium where it would help stir the sand bed.  Would this be a good decision or should I find a new home for it all together? <<I prefer to keep large predators out of a refugium...defeats the purpose of the "refuge" in my opinion>> Thank you for your thoughts. Jon <<Happy to share.  Eric Russell>>

Adding a "Small" Refugium - 10/27/06 Dear Crew, <<Jeremy>> I would like to thank you for all the advice that you give out. <<Quite welcome...is a collective effort>> Your website has been very helpful to me in setting up my new reef tank. <<Outstanding that you have found it of use>> My new tank is 60 gallons with a built in overflow, and I would like to do a refugium. <<Excellent>> Because of the design of the stand, I can only fit a standard ten gallon tank underneath. <<Better than none at all>> There isn't any way to put a refugium above or beside my new 60. <<Okay>> I also can't do a CPR hang on the back refugium because of the way the canopy is designed. <<The ten-gallon tank will prove to be cheaper/more useful anyway>> I was going to modify the 10 gallon and make it into a refugium,  I would first have my skimmer (AquaC Urchin Pro with MagDrive 3) then the actual space for the deep sand bed and Chaeto, next would be a two inch baffle, and then my return pump (Mag-drive 3). <<A lot of stuff in a 10-gallon tank>>   The problem is that the actual space for the sand and Chaeto is only seven-inches long by nine-inches wide and nine-inches deep.  It can only hold 2 or 3 gallons of water. <<Yep>> I have read on your website that having a small refugium is better then not having one at all but this is going to be very small. <<True>> Is it worth even doing? <<Up to you to decide...would provide some "small" benefit, but perhaps this small space could be better utilized for chemical media (carbon/Poly-Filter)>> If I do it, is a Mag-drive 3 going to be too much pump? <<Not for the refugium, no>> I am going to use a Maxi-Jet 1200 powerhead and an Eheim canister filter to help circulate the water in my main tank so I could go with a smaller return pump on my refugium if I need to. <<Ah, okay...so the canister would hold chemical media?  If so then press forward with the refugium>> Thank you again for your help. Jeremy <<Happy to assist.  Eric Russell>>

In-Tank Refugium Question - 10/15/06 Hi Crew, I have a question about In-Tank Refugium. I have a Sea Clear System 2 tank. It is a forty gallon and has a wet dry built into the back of the tank. A Sea Clear venturi skimmer is also installed. I read in Bob's book that wet dry filtration creates large amounts of nitrates. I also find this to be true with nitrates staying around 20 PPM and moving up to 30 PPM between water change time. Would adding a In-Tank Refugium into the mix bring the nitrate levels down? <Depends mostly on the size of the refugium.> Hopefully under 10 PPM levels that I see others writing in for their tanks. For now I would still maintain the tank as fish only other than what would be in the refugium and would hope to provide the best water quality possible. I am planning a 135 gallon and hope to have it up by December. <Given the time between then and now, would focus your resources on the 135. 30ppm of nitrates is not a huge cause for concern in a fish-only system.> The plan is to keep the small tank running and maybe try some soft corals. With the nitrate levels at 20 to 30 PPM I am not willing to chance it with corals. <Hmm... for you to decide. Could be that once you remove the fish from that system, the nitrate levels will go down on their own... time will tell.> Thank you. Tom <Cheers, J -- >

Refugium Design/System Design/Maintenance - 10/05/06 Greetings from New Jersey, <<Hello from South Carolina>> I am in the process of re-setting up a 110X that will be used as a reef tank with approx. 1" Southdown sand (your input on any aspect of this e-mail as you see fit would be appreciated). <<No worries mate, is what we/I do>> I know the extra-high tank is not ideal for this but it was chosen largely for aesthetic reasons do to the ceiling height of the room. <<I see>> The system has been apart for around two years but I did run it successfully for around five years, constantly evolving the system as time went on. <<Mmm, yes...I tend to "fiddle" with my system too <grin> >> I custom built the hood and have two 400w Ushio 10K  bulbs and two 48" URI VHO 03 actinics approx 12" off of the water line. <<You do realize the actinics will be/are mainly aesthetic at this height...and this is quite "fine" as the 10K Ushio lamps contain more than enough light in the "blue" spectrum for the coral's needs>> I ran the tank for years with 250w 10k Blueline MH bulbs which  were much bluer in color, more pleasing to the eye but I read the Ushios were better. <<A better bulb in my opinion as well>> I bought the 400w at the tail end of my last setup so I can't say I had a lot of experience with them. <<Likely more than you need even with this tank...but should be fine>> I bought them because although I had started with soft corals and LPS I was starting to get more into the SPS and clams down in the sand, and at that time was fearing not having enough light penetrating the deeper water. <<Yes, a not uncommon "fear" among hobbyists...though often unfounded in my opinion>> Do you think this lighting is appropriate for SPS and clams? <<Should be fine, but I think you could have gotten by with the 250s (utilizing Ushio 10K bulbs)>> Would it be too much for softies or LPS? <<Possibly...but you might be able to place these where they receive appropriate lighting (after researching their individual needs of course)>> I have read on WWM that it appears people were over lighting there tanks and nothing more than a 250w MH should ever be used but I'm not sure if this took into account for extra high tanks. <<But for few exceptions (VERY LARGE systems, extra-high fixture placements, deep anemone systems) I am of the opinion that 250w metal halide bulbs provide enough intensity/are completely adequate...especially where double-ended type bulbs are used due to their seemingly higher watt-for-watt output/PAR over single-ended bulbs>> I also have a calcium reactor built by a small local company called MTC controlled by a Milwaukee pH controller which seemed to work great. <<Indeed...MTC seems to enjoy a fairly good reputation among hobbyists...The Milwaukee controller appears to have mixed reviews, but I have used their ORP controller with no complaints>> But once again the more I read the more it seemed everyone was using Kalkwasser for top off (which I did not at the time, just  RO/DI going thru a cylinder of CaribSea Florida crushed coral for buffering before entering the sump), so I built a Nilsson reactor and it seemed in no time most of my plumbing was encrusted with a white-brown I assume calcium. <<Mmm, possibly...  I too use a DIY Kalkwasser reactor in conjunction with a calcium reactor (several years now) and have not experienced "excessive" calcium build-up.  But then my system is larger than "average" (500g en toto) and heavily stocked with SPS...perhaps your system will get by/do better with the calcium reactor alone>> My DKH  was always between 10&12 (Salifert) but I could never find a test kit that seemed to measure calcium right. <<Give Seachem a try>> I had 2 or 3 different ones that never read even close to each other. <<Not unusual...obtain a quality brand (Hach, Salifert, Merck, Seachem) and keep fresh reagents and you'll do fine>> Maybe you could suggest an accurate one? <<Ah yes!  ...think I just did>> Is Kalkwasser a must or would the calcium reactor be enough on its own? <<Will depend much on your stocking density, but the calcium reactor will likely be enough if tuned/used with quality media>> Now for my plumbing dilemma.  I am installing two 100 gal. stock tanks in the basement just below the tank. <<Cool!   Love the extra volume!>> One will be a refugium, it has about 6"-7" Southdown sand in it for NNR I would like to stay away from Caulerpa and keep Chaetomorpha and or Gracilaria to help with nutrient reduction and possibly food for Tangs? <<I highly recommend you choose one or the other over keeping two types of alga in the refugium.  If kept together, the alga will fight/compete for space...releasing toxins/using energy that would otherwise go towards assimilation of organic elements.  If you want "tang food" go with Gracilaria...if you want "ease of use and an outstanding matrix for plankton/epiphytic matter production" go with Chaetomorpha>> Naturally I want to encourage all of the life I can to help naturally feed the main display e.g.. pods, plankton, so I assume I may want a few pieces of live rock in there, a Brittle star and some snails? <<Mmm, the snails are fine/will find their way in anyway, but a brittle star will consume much of the detritus needed/utilized by the more "desirable" refugium biota...I would leave it out>> I will let the tank fill almost completely with sea water to increase total system water.  The refugium will overflow to the other stock tank which will serve as the sump running around half full to allow room for everything to drain down comfortably in a power failure. <<Excellent>> I am only going to be pushing around 750 GPH thru the main display overflow with Durso standpipe (an amazing device, it quieted my overflow down to almost nothing from insane gurgling due to high flow) and down to the  basement.  Additional flow in the display tank will be achieved through two closed-loop systems, each circling 1/2 the tank top (I got the design from your web site. great idea no power heads!!!) each loop has four flexible ball and socket return nozzles. <<Sounds good>> Each loop would be powered by a Mag 12(I have these pumps, might as well use them) this should achieve another 2000 GPH in the tank? <<Not likely...coming from the basement>> I would love to increase flow to the sump but if I drill one more hole in our beautiful hardwood floors my wife is going to kill me! <<Hee-hee!  No worries, 750 gph is quite adequate here>> At first when I starting researching refugiums it appeared all that was recommended was around 2x to 3x flow in the refugium so I was going to split the raw water between the tanks and valve it off to accomplish this flow. <<Ok>> The sump would have a baffle in it dividing the supply water and return water so the MTC HSA-250 skimmer would only skim the raw water coming in, and refugium would dump into the other section with the return to the display tank. <<Sounds good>> After days of reading up on WWM I now fear that even if I let all of the raw water flow thru the refugium it might not be enough. <<No need to fear...I would proceed with your original plan (very similar to my own setup)>> And assuming it is enough it raises another question, if I do that my fear is that the skimmer in the sump would skim off all of the pods/plankton that I am trying to feed the display tank with since I will no longer have a raw water feed to skimmer. <<As stated...go with the original configuration allowing the 'fuge to drain directly to the pump chamber.  If you want/think you need more flow in the refugium, place a small pump in the skimmer chamber to pump water back to the refugium thus increasing flow there.  Just make sure the bulkhead that drains the 'fuge is large enough to handle the flow>> I would prefer not to add another tank upstream of the refugium to put the skimmer in.  I guess I could pump water to the refugium from the sump and let all of the raw water go to the sump but now I have two pumps for any life to survive...not ideal. <<An overrated concern my friend.  Most of the "life" will survive a trip through the pumps, and even the small amount that might be damaged will still benefit/be utilized in the display>> This has brought my planning to a halt and I've spent hours reading on the web and seen so many conflicting designs it prompted this e-mail. <<Again...go with your first instinct/inclination>> I'm trying my best to not keep ripping things apart and buying new equipment this time in a constant pursuit of the perfect system, and spend more time enjoying the display instead of finding fault with the system. <<Indeed...>> For the most part the only other part of the design is there are three 250 watt heaters in the sump, a 1/4 hp chiller all controlled by a Medusa controller. <<Very nice>> The chiller probably won't run  much since all of this extra volume of water is in the basement. <<A benefit>> Auto top-off with RO/DI water. <<Be sure to buffer before introduction>> There will also be another closed-loop pump plumed into the skimmer section of the sump to feed a canister filter for carbon, Poly-Filter or whatever I see fit. <<Neat!>> Do you recommend running carbon at all times? <<I do...a small amount changed monthly or more>> I was planning on lighting the refugium with a Home Depot four bulb fluorescent w/65k bulbs or a PC fixture, is this enough or should I get a MH? <<This will be fine>> I have a lot of what used to be Fiji live rock from the old display I can only assume that it is not Live anymore since it has  not been in water in some time, should I not use any of it or can I use some as base/foundation rock under new live rock. <<You can do this, though best to use all new live rock if possible>> I assume in time it will become live from the seeding of the new live rock. <<Yes, though it will never be "like it was">> Will it always stand out in the tank as not quite the same as the new or will in time it all look like a continuous reef? <<Will not be noticeable in time>> Lastly I would like to run this reef as naturally as possible, there are always so many snake-oil additives and supplements being pushed on us aquarists, are there any that you see as a must iodine? strontium? <<Iodine maybe, calcium/buffer likely...but test for the need before dosing.  If you run the calcium reactor you probably won't need to dose the latter at all>> I have always used Instant Ocean salt mix, I read a lot on the web trashing it. <<A long time quality product...bashed in the current "fad" craze many hobbyists fall prey to.  No need to change in my opinion>> Should I use something else for a reef tank? <<Not in my opinion...is what I use>> I have been using WWM for years and have gotten a wealth of information from it. <<Ah yes...>> I have always refrained from e-mailing you instead of just searching and reading on your site, so I hope you don't mind this lengthy e-mail I guess I just got it all out at once! John <<Not a problem my friend.  Regards, EricR>>

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