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FAQs about Refugium Pumps, Plumbing, Circulation, Flow Rate 3

Related Articles: Get Thee To A Refugium by Bob Fenner, Refugia: What They're For And How To Build Them by Forrest Phillips, Pressure Locking Sump Baffles; Welcome to the World of Versatility! By Joshua McMillen, Reef Systems, Reef Set-Up, Refugiums, Reef Filtration, Plumbing Marine Systems by Bob Fenner, Myth of the One Inch Beast (Why Relying on One Inch Overflows... or Overflow! Is foolhardy) by Scott Vallembois, Fish-Only Marine Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Macroalgae

Related FAQs: Refugium Pumps/Circulation 1, Refugium Pumps/Plumbing/Circulation 2, Refugium Pumps/Pb/Circ. 4, Refugium Pumps/Pb/Circ. 5, & Sump Pumps/Plumbing/Circulation 1, & 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, Design, Construction, Hang-on types, 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

Plumbing a Refugium 6/10/08 Hello, <Art> I have a 20 gallon long glass aquarium that sits on a stand next to but lower than my main tank, and higher than my wet/dry filter. I've been told that it is best to feed the refugium directly from my main tank, and then let the water drain back into my wet/dry. <The preferred method, ideally draining into the return area of your wet/dry.> In order to accomplish this I was thinking of using two overflow boxes to move the water through the refugium. One on the main tank to deliver water to the refugium and one on the refugium to return water to my wet/dry sump. <Yes, you will need two overflows for this.> Then the pump in my wet/dry to return water to my main tank. First, does this sound like a better way of moving water than using a powerhead? <Yes, using a powerhead will require balancing the flow, something that will fail in short order. Let gravity do the work!> Second, if I use overflow boxes would I be able to control the amount of flow going through the refugium? <Yes, tee the overflow above the refugium and run one section to your sump and another to the refugium. You can put a ball valve on one leg to control the flow to one or the other. Do not use a valve on both, this is a recipe for a wet floor!> Finally, I know the overflow boxes must be capable of moving more water than my return pump or I could end up flooding my sump. <You will flood your floor.> My return pump is rated for 600 gph and has a 36" head at this time. I'm trying to determine if 300gph overflow boxes would be sufficient? <If your pump is rated for 600 at 0' then you should be fine with a 300 gph box once head height and plumbing are accounted for. If you need to you can restrict the pump output if needed to lower the flow. But, bigger is better with overflows, if you get overflows that can handle the full 600 gph you will have some safety margin. Do note that many hang on the back overflows use a single 1' bulkhead and claim 600 gph. Plan on just a bit more than 300 gph with these in the real world.> Thanks in advance for your help. I spend a lot of time researching here. Art <Welcome, keep reading, it is fun! Good luck, Scott V.>  

Refugium/Plumbing 5/31/08 Hello Crew! <Hello Esther!> Thanks again for all the hard work you do for putting together this website! It has been a valuable resource for me. <Great! Thank you!> I am in the process of working on my second tank, but it will be my first sump. <A good, logical step forward.> The stand is built and ready to go. It will be a 30 gallon long biotope display with a 29 gallon sump/ refugium. <Nice.> After reading oodles of pages about plumbing I think I have decided to go with two 1" drains (fed by an entire length overflow box) which in reality should give me 600 gph total. <Yes, or consider one 1.5' drain. One hole, more flow (750gph+)!> Then in the sump combo, one of the drains will feed the skimmer (left side) and the other drain will feed the refugium (right side) with the pump in the middle for the return (hopefully into a closed loop with 5 output nozzles). I also am making the pressure locking sump baffles as described on your site, to help control bubble issues. Does anything seem out of whack? <The design sounds great, you are letting gravity do the work for you. Do consider fewer outputs, maybe two ½' outputs to get a dynamic flow to work with. The beauty of this is that PVC is cheap and easy to work with, so experiment to find what works for you.> Additionally, I have the sump tank already, but it will be another month or two for me to get the display tank, order drill bits from Glass-Holes, drill the tank and get it set up. Would it be of any benefit to fill the sump (without the baffles at the moment), put in some of the live rock I have been seeding from my other tank, and run the refugium for a couple months with out a display tank attached to it? <It wouldn't hurt, could be beneficial to add an established refugium to a new tank.> I have enough extra equipment around to heat it and filter it (although I don't have a skimmer for it yet) but there wouldn't be anything but rock and, hopefully, a growing population of zooplankton to maintain anyway. Or would running it not be worth the electricity versus a long-term benefit? <There would be more of a benefit with some sand in the refugium. This will allow you to begin culturing the sandbed (if you plan on one) in the refugium and provide you with sand to help seed the main display once set up. Fact of the matter is you have to keep the rock somewhere, I see no real reason why not to keep it in its intended home.> Thanks again! <Welcome!> I am sure that I will have more questions when I actually get the display tank ready to plumb. -Esther- <No problem, we will be here. Have fun, Scott V.>

Re: Refugium/Plumbing 5/31/08 Thanks Scott! <Very welcome.> I regards to the suggestion for one 1.5" hole... when reading through the plumbing pages, I read often the suggestion that two drains were better for redundancy in case one gets clogged. Does the increased water transport volume of the 1.5" drain outweigh this benefit? <A matter of opinion, but I do feel so. The larger diameter is much less likely to be clogged (it will pass most stuff, but not a large, dead fish!). We personally (at Glass-Holes.com) have people asking for a box with two 1' rather than one 1.5' bulkhead. We have actually tested, throwing different things into the tank, and the 1.5' very rarely clogs. The 1' actually clogs very easily. Fact of it is, if you run to 1' drains at over 300 gph and one clogs, you have lost the redundancy. To truly have redundancy you need to run your multiple drains at half the overall capacity!> Also with having two drains, I can feed raw water to the skimmer and raw water to the refugium, can you do this with just one drain? <Yes, just split the flow with a PVC T or Y fitting.> I thought it is best if they both got raw water? <Yes.> I also know that a lot of plumbing ends up being about person preferences as well, I just want to make sure I understand as much as I can before jumping in. <It is much personal preference. What you initially had planned if fine. I just want to make sure you know all the options open to you before you drill. The fact of it is if you intend to drill, the price difference between a (or even two) 1.5' bulkhead compared to a (or 2) 1' bulkhead is negligible. The benefit of choosing 1.5' is huge!!> -Esther <Let use know how it goes, Scott V.>

Re: Refugium/Plumbing 6/2/08 Scott, Thanks again, again! Hee hee! <Very welcome!!> This is what I needed, to talk with someone who has dealt with this in real life experience. So often things look great on paper, only to not work out so well in reality. <Believe me, I have had and bought into many theories only to disprove them with actual real world testing.> I like what you have said about the 1.5" size and I will plan to go with that diameter. <Kind of the 'sweet spot' for aquarium drains. Not unnecessarily huge, but provides ample flow.> You suggested possibly using two of the 1.5" drains, would this be even better or make it more quiet? <If you are still talking about 600gph, it will not really make things quieter, but will provide redundancy. > I just don't want to go into overkill in a little 30 gallon tank. <Two 1.5' drains is a bit overkill for a 30. It won't really hurt anything, it is just a lot of plumbing behind a 30. I personally have one 1.5' on my 30 gallon tank. My main point about the drains is if a person is going to drill, why not go 1.5'? It takes just a bit more room and the cost is almost the same as 1' (actually cheaper when you consider one 1.5' can outflow two 1').> Not that this tank doesn't deserve a little overkill, it is just that this tank is my learning experience towards a (someday) future big tank. So now I am also re-looking at the overflow box . Would you still run this along the entire back wall if there is only 1 drain? <You can, again one of those theories I no longer put too much towards after actual testing. A long overflow box is fine for surface skimming, but you only get so much return on this (law of diminishing returns, sort of). If you start out with a short box, say 4' wide and go to 8', you will get twice the surface skimming ability (in theory). Add another 4' and you now only get a 50% increase. It is proportionally less, but it does add up to more surface skimming. My long winded point is, go with a long box if you wish, but a shorter one will work fine!> Hee hee, ok, I'll stop asking questions now. The more I learn the more I want to know, and making a mistake with the plumbing materials is one thing, but I want to get the drains drilled right because they are harder to correct (if they can be corrected at all). <There are tricks, better to err on the side of putting the holes lower, your box will ultimately set the water height.> -Esther- <Have fun, Scott V.>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 4/21/08 Hey Scott just wanted to let you know I received the Durso pipes yesterday. When I put them in they stuck up from the rim approx 1"-2" inches. They said to measure from the top rim to bulkhead. So I cut them down around 3" now the top cap is level with the overflow box. I don't know why they said measure to the tank rim. <It's just a standard reference point for your type of overflow.> Well any way, it's all filled up again all seems to be working well. Just adjusting the hole in Durso a little bit you can still here water swishing, little noisy but not gurgling, the water sounds smooth. <Sounds good.> No bubbles or micro bubbles in main tank, just a little ripple at top of water. I'm just waiting for my skimmer, compact flr light; thinking about an orbit 96x4 high output fixture? <Depends on what you want to keep.> Then I'm going to stock with some live rock. Then wait, wait, wait some more. You mentioned putting carbon directly into tank on a tray. Should this be put right under water flow from supply line? <No, this will grind the carbon up on itself. It needs to be behind some sort of diffuser such as a drip tray, not beneath any kind of forceful flow.> Or can it just be placed on the bottom of sump? <Yes, in an area where water will pass through such as between baffles.> Which section, the first skimmer supply side or last return side? <Closer to the last.> My supply side is 2" with a 90 degree approx just below the water line. Should I raise it up out of the water with a tray below so the water falls onto carbon or and filter pad tray area? Or just leave as is? <Leave it the way it is.> Other than these little things I let it run over night for the first time so far so good thanks again to you. <Great to hear! You're welcome.> YEP, I am also re searching your web site for info. <Good.> Sorry to bother you again, John. <No bother, best of luck, Scott V.>

Re: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 5/7/08 Hey Scott, its John again. <Hello John.> I just wanted to give you an update. I received my light fixture today orbit 2x250 HQI 65x4 ho actincs,18 moon lights. <Wow! Eighteen? Some moonlighting!> All's I can say is WOW! This thing is BRIGHT!!! <I bet.> The tank looks awesome. I have approx 120lbs Fiji live rock in it right now I didn't go with the base rock from Dr. Fosters the shipping was going to be around $200. <The issue with ordering live rock from most Etailers, the shipping kills them too!> So I went local lfs got $3.99 lbs over 50lbs for premium not base rock. <A fair price.> The Euro Reef RS 180 is working great, right out of the box. <As it should.> I have a couple of questions about the lighting. How should I set up timers for lighting, in morning the actinics what time to start and for how long? Then the HQI'S, what time should they turn on and how long should they be on? <What time is relative to when you want to view the tank, so long as it is the same time everyday. Ten hours with the halides while having the actinics come on an hour before and stay on an hour after will work with this lighting, if that is the sunrise/sunset effect you would like.> Should the actinics be on from start of morning to night. <Generally, yes.> Then HQI'S go on for around 6 hours middle of day then turn off.I m gonna run the tank for a few months with just the rock. <You will want a more natural photoperiod in the range of 10-12 hours a day. With lower light corals you may be able to get away with 8 using these lights.> Should the lighting be off during initial cycling, or should just actinics be on for a few hours a day? <Some light curing rock, some don't. I am firmly in the category that does to preserve as much life on the rock as possible. The argument for not lighting is the potential for algae blooms. This is just a phase that requires good skimming and frequent water changes.> Sorry for all the questions I'm throwing out at you. <Not a problem.> Last question should I put in a couple of green Chromis to help cycle or the rock will handle the cycle alone. <It will be fine alone. Adding fish while cycling can be detrimental to the fish if the rock has much curing to do.> I know you frown against any live stock during cycling. <Yes, better to wait until your water quality is good and stable.> I will be testing water daily now that all is up in running to monitor and log down the readings. Well thanks again Scott I have been researching all of this also, I just prefer specific answers from "you" because you've got me this far all your answers have been dead on. Thanks again <You are welcome John. Thank you and enjoy the new set up! Scott V.>

Re: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium/Sand 5/10/08 Hey Scott, I have a quick question. <Otay.> What's better sand from an established tank from the local fish stores system or the bagged Caribbean live sand. <The former, the bagged stuff does not qualify as a truly live sand in my book.> I opted for the system established sand around 5 lbs with rubble rather than the bag of live sand. <Good choice.> I thought I read that the live sand is not really live sand. <Not the bagged and sealed stuff.> Also I had around 50LBS of old Caribbean live rock from my old tank it has dried out. I wanted to use this in my tank under my new Fiji live rock. Is this ok? Its to just build up under the good rock. <This will be fine combined with your newly acquired live rock. As far as the sand goes, either will populate in time from the rock. Getting sand from an established system will just give you a little head start. Enjoy, Scott V.> Re: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 5/10/08 P.s. I thought you might find this funny. I'm at the LFS and the guy asked me what I'm cycling my tank with, I said just live rock. He tells me they have a sort of fish rental a large, looked like a 8 lb fish for $350 bucks <Geez, I hope the price is a typo!> you actually buy him to cycle your tank then bring him back to replace after the tank has cycled. He said he's been in many systems for cycling purposes. What do you think of this practice? <There are far better ways to cycle a tank, and it is wholly unnecessary for tanks with live rock (other than curing the rock). I am of the firm opinion you only cycle a tank with fish you intend to keep, hence caution against using Domino damsels for this purpose. I guess renting the fish is one idea, one way to introduce disease too! Funny stuff, Scott V.>

Re: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium/Flow 5/17/08 Hey Scott, how's it going? <Hanging in there.> I just had a quick question, if you remember my set up, I have the (3) 1/2"returns left, center and right side of tank. I have the loc-line on each you were saying I have around 900-950gph returning to tank. <The appropriate flow for these returns.> My question is I just added today (2)Koralia #2 power heads rated at 600gph each, does this sound ok for flow in tank (reef), total of 2,100gph.I'm in slight diatom mode all levels are at zero. Thanks John. <This of course entirely depends on what you wish to keep. But, this amount of flow in a 120 will put you in a good range, yes. Talk soon, Scott V.>

Re: 90 gallon AGA, to become reef. Re: Refugium Plumbing 3/3/08 So upon making my choice of Refugium (I ended up going with ADHI model 45) I'm now down to the annoying task of plumbing. <An accurately described job.> I'm trying to plumb the ¾' return from my Mag drive using 3/4 inch pvc as opposed to vinyl tubing. <OK> Problem being, AGA's bulkheads seem to be more of a hindrance than anything. I cannot for the life of me get the pvc connected to the bulkheads. Can I get new bulkheads without the barbed fittings at the base of the bulkhead that will still be compatible with the return pipe and MegaFlow "Durso"? I'm very confused. <You can easily get standard bulkheads and plumb them up to suit your needs. Everything is sold as a kit, but uses standard PVC parts. All will work with new bulkheads.> Jason
<Good luck, Scott V.>

Sump Plumbing 2/29/08 Hi WWM Crew, <Hello Paul.> I was wondering if someone could take a look at the drawings I sketched for my sump/refugium and my closed loop/return system. I hope they came through. <They surely did.> There will be valves (union/ball/gate) in the appropriate places. The closed loop will have 2 manifolds running from one Sequence ReeFlo Snapper pump (2400 gph) propped up right underneath the tank.. I was hoping to run one manifold with 2-3/4" outlets sticking out of the DSB and the other manifold will be 4-1/2" outlets around the top facing in different directions for random flow. Does this sound OK? <Yes, although I would opt for all being ½' for six outlets off this pump.> My other question was the set up of the refugium/sump. These will be in my basement with 9' of head. (all vertical) Should I split one of the lines from the built-in overflow and have an all gravity feed the fuge and a gravity feed into the last chamber of the sump? <As per your diagram, yes, this will be fine. A ball valve on the lower portion of the split overflow will allow you to control the flow through your refugium.> It sounds reasonable to me as long as I leave enough room for back flow during power outages. My last question was plumbing a calcium reactor. I'm not sure where this would go. Would I use a diverter from the main return line and divert a line to the calcium reactor and use another sump? <Yes on feeding it off the return line, but there is no reason to add another sump for these. The calcium reactor itself does not need to be in a sump, it can sit beside. > Would I also split the drain line from the overflow and divert into a sump holding the calcium reactor. <No need.> I was thinking of a Knop. I'm just not sure how they work. <Do research the basic principles on how these work, all will become much more clear with the unit in physically in front of you. You can start here and the related FAQ's http://wetwebmedia.com/calcreactors.htm .> Should I also have a bypass line from the return back to the sump to help regulate flow anyway? <No, this will waste power and can create bubble troubles with the increased flow in the sump. An appropriately sized pump or a slightly larger one throttled back a bit will be better.> You have been so helpful in this hobby and I am very appreciative of the time you put in to this website. Everyone who reads this is appreciative. Thank you for all of your help, Again!! Paul <You are welcome Paul, thank you for all the kind words, Scott V.>

Running Protein Skimmer Outside Sump 2/28/08 Hello <Hello.> I have a new 65 gallon reef ready all glass set up. I also have a 11.5 gallon refugium. <Great! A refugium is a nice addition to any tank.> My problem is that my skimmer is too wide to fit into the compartments... how can I plumb the skimmer outside the refugium or use a container to place it into? I have a 38 gal reef set up I am moving to the new 65 gallon. Thanks <As far as externally plumbing the skimmer, it will depend on which skimmer you have. Some simply cannot be run like this. You can easily get a container (tank, plastic bin, 5 gal bucket if it will fit into it) to run it in. You will need to have your overflow feeding the skimmer container and then have the container overflow into the rest of your sump/refugium system via a bulkhead (Uniseals are nice if you use the 5 gal bucket) and PVC. There are many ways to do this, all different for each situation. It all just requires a little innovation. Good luck, Scott V.>

Remote Refugium 2/24/08 Dear WWM Crew, <Hello William.> For starters I would like to say what a wonderful resource WWM is and hope it continues indefinitely into the future. Many of my "unique" questions have be asked and answered countless times on WWM, and for that I am already in your debt (along with a national home loan company). <Heee, me too! Thank you for the kind words.> My current question pertains to locating a remote refugium in my bedroom (romance any one), I am sure this is not a novel idea and has been asked and answered previously, but I was unable to find it and will proceed. The display tank is in the living room and has been running for two years, my former tank (running eight years) was destroyed during the 2005 hurricane season like so many gulf coast aquarists. <Sorry to hear this.> My current setup is a 170-gallon (4'L x 3'H x 2'W; beautiful to behold and impossible to reach the bottom) soft coral reef with eight fish, highlighted by two rabbit fish, which are my personal favorites. Water handling is similar to most, center overflow with a thirty-gallon sump which contains an ETTS reef devil skimmer, a small refugium, heaters, and return pump. The lighting is accomplished via a 400 watt metal halide and 4 65 watt actinic power compacts while water flow is enhanced by an in tank maxi jet 1200 (I am planning to mod the maxi as I hear it is all the rage in Paris these days). <I am a fan of those mods, I have rigged many of these up over the years. The new kits are nice.> I would like to create a more natural and stable system by adding a seventy-five or 120 gallon refugium to the mix. The common problem of space and décor comes in to play and there is no possible way to put the new tank in the same room (and stay married). <Yikes!> So I would like to plumb through the wall and attic into the bedroom and put the refugium in there as a fuge display. What is the best method for doing this in a leak and over flow proof way? <This is not going to happen without relying on siphons, float valves and/or balancing pump outputs. None are flood proof, all are bad ideas in my judgment.><<Agreed. RMF>> I have never had a problem with any drilled tank and sump set up (knocking on wood) and will only pursue this idea if it seems fool proof. <I would not pursue this; you will not see it in my house!> Gravity feed is impossible because I live in a one-story slab house; basements in south Louisiana are very uncommon. A closed loop setup with dual pumps seams guaranteed to fail. <It will.> At any rate your input will be helpful in deciding if this is a reasonable project or turn my attention in another direction (like doing a water change). <It is easy to find something to keep busy with a reef tank!> Thank you, William B Wood <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Refugium Flow 2/23/08 I currently have a CPR hang on the back refugium (the large one, I think 24" long). My main question is what should the gph be for this unit. The powerhead it came with doesn't seem like it's pushing the water fast enough. <The powerhead that comes with the unit is rated for 230 gph, this should be plenty of flow through this refugium. Sometimes it is not about the amount of flow, but how it is directed. Have you tried cleaning the powerhead?> On the top of the water, in my fuge, there is like Cyano and it looks like little bogs. There is like Cyano on all of the acrylic of the fuge as well. There is NO Cyano in my main tank, only in the refugium. <Good sign.> I'm thinking about upgrading to a better power head, the macroalgae doesn't even tumble or anything. <You certainly can do so, this could help.> Also, my refugium has a lot of what looks like debris on top of the sand. Is this detritus? <Or algae, Cyano.> Should I remove it? <You can, this will be a treatment and not a cure.> I've heard that the little amphipods with eat it, and don't worry. <Not all, algae and Cyanobacteria are likely.> I don't want this being a nitrate booster for my tank. Should I add a cucumber to the refugium? <No, little benefit to and many down sides to adding these, please see the linked article below. Perhaps consider adding a Nassarius snail or two to help stir the sand.> Or will the new flow rate just blow it into my tank then my skimmer can take care of it. <It sounds like it will help out.> Any advice on these two situations is always helpful from you guys/gals. Thanks <Welcome, please read the links below, good luck, Scott V.> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seacukes.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/refugpbfaq2.htm

Refugium Plumbing Questions ('Not' Rocket Science) -- 02/21/08 Hi crew, <<Hello Karina>> I have spent hours reading your website, as well as other articles online. I re-read my Reef Invertebrates even, yet I still cannot find a simple answer to my question. <<Mmm, okay'¦let's see if I can help>> It's like this refugium stuff is rocket science! <<Hee-hee! Not really'¦a little science maybe'¦but not 'rocket' science>> I've had a 50 gallon reef for about 6 years, and after reaching my stocking max, both fish and coral, I've decided to spend even MORE money and add a refugium! <<Ah well, a very good move. Most any system will reap benefit from the addition of such>> I've never had problems with corals or fish dying....but I do still get diatoms on my glass and a little on the sand....so I figured the refugium was a good thing to add, plus feeding my brain corals is getting to be a tad tedious! Here are the tank specs: 50 gallons 0 ammonia and nitrite, 10ppm nitrate (this is what I'm hoping to lower) <<'¦to about 5ppm or less>> SPG is at 1.026 Temp 77 5 gal water change every week 50lbs live rock, about 1 inch to 2 inches (where my wrasse has redecorated) of sand I have 2 black clowns, I think they're saddle backs as they do not have complete lines on them. 1 yellow wrasse 1 Flame angel <<This tank is a bit small for this angel'¦may lead to behavioral issues>> 1 bicolor blenny Corals are mostly soft corals: xenia, Zoanthids, yellow polyps, mushrooms, Ricordea, a toadstool leather that I got as a quarter sized piece and is now huge and split into 3. <<I do hope that you employ some good chemical filtration for this noxious collection>> Plus the two brains, one open and one Favia. There's my first question. I feed the open brain at night, when the tentacles are out, and it eats well. However, I have not seen any feeder tentacles from the Favia. <<Hmm, this species is quite voracious, and aggressive (employs sweeper tentacles). But in my experience this coral doesn't usually extend feeder/sweeper tentacles until the lights have been off and the entire 'room' darkened for some time. Perhaps a 'middle of the night' peek will reveal these to you. Do also check early in the morning when you first get up and before the light in the room is too bright>> I bought it about a month ago and had it in QT for two weeks. Should I expect it's still acclimating and just not hungry? <<May still be acclimating, yes>> Now onto my refugium question. Here is my plan so far. I don't have room for a sump. The only filtration I have is an AquaC Remora protein skimmer, and have relied on the live rock and sand. <<This is often enough (given reasonable stocking levels), but as mentioned, this tank also needs some purposeful chemical filtration (do a keyword search on our site re 'Allelopathy'). A small canister filter with some carbon/Poly-filter would be a big benefit>> It's worked well since the tank isn't terribly overstocked. I do replace the live rock every couple of years or so. <<Ah, yes'¦have heard/seen Bob recommend this often'¦though not always easy to accomplish once corals overgrow the reef structure>> So the plan is to set up a 20 gallon next to my main tank, water line 2 inches higher so gravity will bring the water back into my display. <<Excellent>> I would like a 5 inch sand bed, plus either Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha to suck up some nutrients, and also serve as a home for some pods. <<Either will work'¦ I find Chaetomorpha is exceedingly easy to keep and provides an excellent matrix for the micro- and macro-fauna to populate I want to order them from IPSF or Inland aquatics. I know what I want, but for the life of me, I can't figure out bulkheads, gph flow and all that! <<It's simple'¦you want a hole in the refugium that's big enough to drain water faster than the supply pump can feed water up to it [grin] >> The refugium would be fed water from the display via a powerhead, but I'm not sure how many gph it should be rated in order to serve my purpose. <<Okay'¦this will depend on the size of the bulkhead used to gravity drain the water from the 'fuge back in to the tank. There's really no need to pump more than a couple-hundred gph through this small refugium, so figure that after headloss a powerhead that is rated for 240gph should be about right. Given this flow rate, a 1' bulkhead (300gph) will suffice. But'¦for an extra margin of safety, as well as some room to increase flow if desired, I suggest you install a 1.5' bulkhead>> I want to set up a spray bar for water movement in the fuge, and also drill a 1 inch hole to attach the bulk head to feed back down into the display. <<This will be fine. The spraybar will greatly reduce the output of the powerhead so you can go bigger if you wish. You could also consider going with a larger-than-needed powerhead and install a valve on the output side to allow adjustment of the flow for 'fine-tuning' of the system>> I'm just concerned about power outages and floods, plus the water levels not balancing out. <<As you should be, but what you have proposed sound fine thus far'¦as long as you keep the feed rate of the pump in mind (the valve I mentioned would let you make needed adjustments in the event of a miscalculation)>> Please help. <<Am trying [grin]>> If you know of a mathematical equation or something to help me figure out what kind of powerhead I need, or if my return bulkhead needs to be bigger....let me know!! I'm at a loss. Any info or advice you could provide would be great. Even a link to where this is discussed in detail would suffice. I just haven't found that yet. <<Digest what I have given/suggested and write me back with further questions/for further clarification if you wish. No need to stress over this'¦it really 'is' simpler than you realize>> Thanks again for all your help. <<Quite welcome>> I wouldn't have made it 6 years if it hadn't been for your site and the books by Anthony Calfo and Bob Fenner. <<Fine reading indeed. Am sure both would be pleased to know>> Karina <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Refugium Plumbing Questions ('Not' Rocket Science) -- 02/21/08 Hi Eric R! <<Hi Karina!>> Thanks so much for helping me out!! <<You're quite welcome>> I was seriously pulling out some major hair here. <<Ack! No need to do that!>> Of course if it were the algae kind maybe it would've been OK, but bald spots really aren't a good look for me. <<Indeed'¦I do hope your stress level has come down some since our last exchange [grin]>> A couple things I wanted to add, now that I received your response. I tested my nitrates yesterday, after a water change the day before. They were at 0, but that was using those dip strips, so I'm not sure how accurate they are. <<Mmm, yes'¦please do find/switch to better testing methods. Seachem offers a quality product at a very affordable price'¦Salifert, LaMotte, and Hach also offer very good test kits>> The ones I used are made by JUNGLE. So if this is right, and I'm still getting diatoms, I'm assuming I have excess phosphates in there? <<Maybe so'¦among other things (Silica)>> Would macroalgae take this up? <<Yes'¦and more'¦>> Also, about my flame angel....I realized this was borderline for tank size. <<Actually, is a bit more than borderline'¦in 'my' opinion. The common description (dwarf), and the small size (relatively) of this genus of fishes belies their real need for space for their long-term well-being. I don't recommend keeping these fishes in anything less than 75g>> It was my last addition and I've had him 2 years already, no problems SO FAR. But I do want to upgrade eventually....just waiting to find the right tank for me (and one maybe not so expensive). Perhaps Santa will be kind this year. <<I'll keep my fingers crossed>> As for allelopathy, I am familiar with this and do employ a hang on filter with Chemipure and PolyFilter, every 2 weeks for a week. <<Excellent'¦though this should be employed continuously. It's not like the corals take time-off from their aggressions'¦>> I have limited electrical outlets so I have to alternate here, <<Oh, I see'¦hmmm>> I switch off a powerhead to be able to connect this one up. <<Is the issue limited electrical 'outlets' or limited electrical 'capacity?' If the former, the addition of a plug-in type multi-outlet strip will resolve your problem quite economically (get one with a built-in GFCI if your outlets are not already protected by such). These can be found at any Home Depot/Lowe's/hardware store, or at a myriad of online dealers. If the problem is the latter, and simply plugging in an additional low-consumption powerhead trips your breaker then you obviously have a more serious problem that will require the addition of another electrical circuit>> The Favia does have 5 inches of empty space around it. I will check at night to see if any tentacles appear....I'm hoping it's just acclimating still. <<Me too!>> Switching out live rock does get tedious, mainly what overgrows are the mushrooms, zo's and xenia. Luckily I can trade some of these rocks or sell them back to my LFS. <<Ah, yes! And a smart way to offset the recurring expense of changing out the rock. But for those of us with large encrusted SPS colonies'¦>> I started switching out after a serious battle with hair algae, and I came across an article by Robert Fenner (or it could've been a simple statement!) that talks about switching the live rock because eventually it loses it's buffering ability as well as the ability to out-compete nuisance algae. It worked wonderfully and I've made this a priority ever since. <<Smart fella, that Fenner dude>> Onto the refugium! Do herbivores, such as my blenny and angel, eat Chaetomorpha? <<Maybe'¦I know some of my Tangs will gulp it down if/when a few small bits get up to the display during 'pruning' time>> I know Gracilaria is quite palatable to them, which is why I considered it. <<The give it a go'¦ I utilize Chaetomorpha because I find it very user-friendly and I like the very dense matrix for housing/promoting the refugium fauna, and I don't bother with it for feeding my herbivores. But Gracilaria will also serve very well and is more palatable, as you stated, if you want to use it as a food supplement>> I was thinking of a 65 watt 6500k bulb to place over the refugium. <<This should be fine'¦ I have two such bulbs over my 55g vegetable refugium>> I contemplated keeping a Jawfish in the 'fuge. <<Mmm, no'¦such macro-predators defeat the purpose of the 'refuge'>> I know it would sort of defeat the purpose of the 'pod colony...is this feasible or should I expect the little guy to decimate the population? <<The latter>> I've always liked them and there isn't enough sand in my display for one, and I seriously doubt my fish would allow a newcomer at this point. <<These fish are better kept in a species-specific system designed just for them>> I've decided to take your advice, and install a 1.5 inch bulkhead. <<Yay!>> I am leaning toward a maxi jet 1200, which has a 295 gph flow rate. <<Perfect'¦>> Keeping the spray bar in mind, do you think this would be enough? <<Maybe'¦I might be inclined to go larger'¦with the before mentioned valve installed. Else, if you find it hinders flow too much, removing it and directing the output along the surface of the 'fuge will still work quite well. As an alternative, consider installing a glass or acrylic 'baffle' at the end of the refugium tank opposite from output bulkhead. Space the baffle about 2' from the end of the tank and size it to extend just above the top of the outlet bulkhead. By directing the output of the pump feeding the 'fuge in to this baffle chamber, the water will 'spread out' along the width of the baffle and flow 'down' the outside of the baffle and across the bottom of the refugium without any 'hindrance' to the flow volume such as that imposed by a spray bar. Here's a great reference article on very easy to apply 'adjustable' pressure-lock baffles'¦take a look and see what you think! (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i1/Baffles/baffles.htm)>> If not, are there other pumps you would recommend? <<Size/hideability may well become an issue since you will be feeding water to the refugium from your display but take a look at the powerheads in the 400gph range'¦or'¦for the ultimate in performance/reliability here (important if you're stacking rocks to hide the pump), take a look at the Eheim Hobby pumps (1250 and 1260 models)>> I went to my LFS today hoping for an answer or some advice, and the guy just stared at me with a blank look. Ahhh well. <<Hmm'¦obviously not as hip and up-to-date on this as you and I [big-grin]>> I am glad for you guys, for sure! Karina <<And we for you! Do keep me posted/let me know how it goes. Cheers mate! Eric Russell>>

Refugium Flow Rate 1/29/08 Hey Crew! <Hello Dean.> I am in the process of setting up a refugium. I have been reading the FAQs here at WWM, and I am a little confused on the flow rate. Without going into my whole tank setup, here is what I think is pertinent. It is a 55 gallon tank (36x18x20) with a built in overflow. It drains into a sump through a Durso overflow. The sump is a 20 gallon tank, with a section to catch the water, a compartment for the skimmer (EuroReef RS-80P Skimmer), and then a compartment with a return pump, an Eheim 1260. <OK> I am adding a refugium to this, an Eco System Reefugium 100. I plan to place it behind the tank on a stand and connect it to the sump. Now, this product comes with Rio 2100 (cough cough) water pump. This pump is rated at 6 or 7hundred GPH. That seems too fast to me. If I don't use the Rio, which in my experience won't last that long anyway, would I be better off using an Eheim 1250 at 320 gph (which is what I am leaning towards) or a 1048 at 160 GPH? <I tend to agree here, the Eheim 1250 would be a fine choice. You could also split your overflow in two and have half go to the skimmer compartment and half to the refugium, eliminating the need for a pump altogether. > My plan is to connect it like this: Compartment 1: Overflow from Main Tank, pump to Refugium, bubble trap to Compartment 2 Compartment 2: Skimmer, bubble trap to Compartment 3 Compartment 3: Overflow from refugium, return pump to main tank Do you see any problems with this setup? <Nope, sounds good.> I might add that a 24" sump is about as large as I can squeeze under the tank, and that the sump is a DIY job. I have the baffles cut, and can arrange them in any manner I choose. I thought I would check before the silicone starts to fly. Thanks a million Dean <Welcome, it sounds like you have a good grasp on what you need and what is practical. Have fun setting up, Scott V.>

Re: Refugium Flow Rate 1/29/08 Thanks Scott. I gotta say I didn't think to split the overflow. I like it. Simpler=less entropy. <One less pump may not be much, but does help. Have fun, Scott V.>

Thoughts and Suggestions on a Combined Refugium/Sump'¦and Pumps -- 01/07/07 Hi Crew! <<Hiya Doug!>> I've been in the hobby just a few months now, and am excited to step up from my 20G to a 120G! <<Neat! Bigger 'is' better>> I'm planning for mostly FOWLR, but may add more inverts/corals as I slowly gain experience. <<Mmm, then do keep this in mind when making your stocking selections'¦you will want to collect 'reef friendly' specimens>> Here are my current plans: - 120G tank, 48x24x24", acrylic. - Stand 40" tall, 9" canopy. - 2 corner overflows -- each with 2" inner diameter bulkhead at 20" height. <<Ahh, very good'¦I see you've been reading!>> - 2x 1" inner diameter bulkheads for return from sump. For a sump/refugium below, I'm thinking of a standard 55G tank following your diagrams. <<'Standard' glass tanks work quite well as sump and/or refugium vessels'¦and are a whole-lot cheaper than the purpose-built retail alternatives. Add a few baffles, drill and install a couple bulkheads (when/if necessary), and you're 'golden''¦with money saved/ready to spend on other areas. My own system incorporates a modified 55g tank for a refugium, and a modified 75g tank for a sump>> - Skimmer: AquaC EV180 w Mag 7 pump. - Aiming for 15x water flow gives 1800gph. <<Indeed'¦but I expect you will find that trying to process this much water volume through a 55g sump will be problematic>> - Two sump return pumps, internal Eheim 1262s (want it to be quiet), should be about 1600gph at 5" head. <<Very good pumps'¦and the 'redundancy' of two pumps for your return can be a lifesaver, literally. About a year ago a faulty GFCI tripped and shut down the return pump on my heavily stocked 500g reef system (was off more than nine hours before discovery). The ensuing anoxic condition resulted in the loss of more than $1200.00 worth of livestock (fish and corals). Let's just say 'lesson learned''¦ I now have two return pumps on separate circuits for this system>> Questions: 1. Is that too much flow through the refugium? <<Yes'¦ A couple to a few hundred gallons per hour is generally sufficient for a refugium. Obviously, utilizing 'separate' vessels for sump and refugium make plumbing for the differing flow rates a bit easier>> 2. If so, would it work well to use just a single Eheim for the sump return, ~800gph, with an internal powerhead like a Tunze Stream in the tank? <<800gph through the sump would be easier to accommodate (and a LOT less noisy), and some creative work with the baffles could provide a 'raceway' to allow the full force of the flow to circumvent the refugium section on its way from the skimmer chamber to the pump chamber, while allowing you to divert a few hundred gph to the 'fuge'¦if you choose to keep with a single combined vessel. I still like the idea of two return pumps'¦perhaps a couple Eheim pumps of lesser size'¦>> Then maybe reduce the drains to 2x 1.5"ID? <<A pair of 1.5' drains would handle a flow of 800gph quite well, with a healthy safety margin>> Your thoughts and suggestions are very welcome! Thanks, Doug <<Is my pleasure to assist. EricR>> Upward Flow? (Refugium Setup) -- 01/06/07 Hi crew, <<Hello Kevin>> I currently have a 70g SW FOWLR tank with a 30g sump/refugium. <<Neat!>> My refugium is setup as a DSB (5") RDP with live rock and Chaetomorpha with a 60w 5100K spiral CF light clipped on the side. <<Hmm'¦do you find this to be enough light? I'm finding Chaetomorpha does better with a bit more light than this>> So far it has been doing fine and the Chaetomorpha has been growing steadily. <<Ah, I see'¦ If it does 'stall out' then do consider increasing the amount/intensity of the lighting>> The refugium has been up and running now for about 6 months. I have read some of your other FAQs and noticed you mentioning the term "upward flow" in regards to refugium setup. <<Hmm, doesn't ring a bell with me at the moment>> What exactly is this? <<Dunno'¦can you be more specific?>> I am concerned my refugium may not be setup ideally. Currently the main source of any water flow is a MaxiJet powerhead running a tube into the refugium then the refugium overflows into the main sump where the return pump is. <<Where is the powerhead located? My preference is to feed 'raw' water from the display to the refugium and then let it gravity-drain to the sump'¦but, if you are pumping water from the sump'¦this is acceptable>> What do I need to do to have ideal "upward flow" in my refugium to fully utilize my DSB/RDP Chaetomorpha setup? << No need to make this more difficult than it is, mate [grin]. If you've got a couple hundred gallons per hour from the powerhead going to the refugium, and the macro-algae is growing as you stated'¦I don't see where you need to do anything>> Also, in the next month or two I will be venturing into learning how to hard plumb my aquarium. <<Okay>> The water will be split from the overflow pipe coming down to the sump/refugium. <<Excellent>> Ball valves will be used to make sure there is more flow to the main sump then to the refugium. <<Consider using 'gate-valves' rather than ball-valves. They will cost a few dollars more, but will provide much more precise flow adjustment>> Keeping in mind my setup, what considerations should I have as far as pipe placement into the refugium and sump? Should the pipes go straight down and deep? Or should it end in a small 90 degree towards the surface? What would be the ideal way to have the water enter into the sump and refugium via PVC? <<I find a 45-degree ell on the termination end, a couple inches below the surface, works well>> I am sorry it is partially a two part question on two topics though hard plumbing into the refugium will inevitably effect the "upward flow" and the lay out in my refugium so I needed to understand better the impact of what "upward flow" was and when hard plumbing into the sump and refugium and how I could make sure I account for this. <<No worries>> The part about plumbing into the sump won't affect the refugium or "upward flow" but I figured since I was asking I would ask about that too :) Thanks in advance, Kevin <<Happy to share'¦ Once you are ready to hard-plumb, do feel free to write back to discuss if you like. Regards, EricR>>

Above Tank Refugium Design 12/6/07 Dear Crew, <Hello Nick.> Thank you for all of your help and a wonderful website! I am writing to ask about a refugium/sump I plan to construct out of a 29gal tank. <Great!> My tank has been running for a few years now and is not drilled, and I don't feel comfortable using an overflow siphon in my house (too many potential problems). <I couldn't agree more.> Therefore this will be an 'above tank refugium' with a DSB and Chaeto algae that will feed into my 55gal main system . I have attached a drawing of my plan, and have a few questions. First off, I plan to drill two return holes in the 29. I was thinking 1' holes, but would like your thoughts on this size. Also, as you can see in my attachment, where would you recommend these be drilled? I was leaning towards diagram #1. Any thoughts? <For the kind of flow you are proposing, go with 1.5' bulkhead(s). More is better here. Unless you plan to run other equipment in this upstream, you may be better suited drilling higher up and running this as another tank rather than a sump, skipping all the baffles/chambers. As far as overflow, any of your three diagrams will do, consider a PVC elbow pointing down on which ever setup you choose. Also include aspirating the elbow (drill an airline into it) to prevent the overflow from siphoning. These two considerations will keep your overflow quiet.> For a pump, I have a Quiet One 3000 (I know, isn't the greatest in SW, but it's what I've got for now) which pumps about 780 gph. I imagine with head loss that this rate will be cut at least in half if not more. <Likely around 600 gph per your graphic.> I am curious if you think this rate will be too much/little for my design? <Just fine.> Also, I plan to run it externally instead of submersed. Do you see any problems with this? <Just priming the pump at start up and power outages/service.><<RMF would insert a swing-type checkvalve just anterior to the pump intake here>> If you see any other problems, or have any suggestions for me in regards to my design, I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you for your time and all of the help you offer enthusiasts in this hobby! -Nick
<Worthwhile project, have fun with it, Scott V.>

Tank Configuration, sump/and fuge chamber pb des.  12/4/07 Hello Again Professors, <Hello, only a few of us are, not me.> I'm in the middle of setting up my 125 gallon (72inch long) tank. I'm trying to figure out some of the plumbing aspects and want to know what you think is best. My tank is an AGA with two Megaflow chambers. I have a 46 gallon Oceanic Sump and implementing a 15 gallon refugium. I was wondering if I should use one chamber solely for the intake/return of the refugium and the other chamber for the intake/return of the sump.........or have one chamber dedicated with the intake to refugium and intake to the sump, while the other Megaflow chamber would have another intake to the sump and the return from the sump. The return of the refugium would go to a side bulkhead in the sump where it would bypass the bio-balls but be filtered by the mechanical and chemical areas of the sump.? Which setup do you think is better for my future livestock. Thank you so much. <If I understand you correctly you have two chambers in your sump and an external refugium? Consider one overflow line feeding the sump and the other one feeding the refugium with both overflowing into a common return chamber. Saves you use of a pump. I would skip filtering the refugium return through the mechanical/chemical media to allow any pods from the refugium back into your main tank. If this is a reef tank or a FOWLR with a good bit of rock, I would not use the bioballs. Welcome, hope this helps, Scott V.>

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