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FAQs about Refugiums 13

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

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

Mike Giangrasso's refugium, pic by him.

Fuge question/s... not ready by a long shot   8/29/06 Hi Crew. Hate to bother you, but I'm pretty new to this marine   aquarium thing, and even newer to refugiums. Been reading a lot of the articles,  but still a bit confused. I have a small (55 gal) aquarium, and having  trouble with nitrate levels (about 30 - 40 ppm) and red slime. <Likely tied together...> The tank  filtration is an "A-miracle" HOT wet/dry with bio balls, and a HOT  Remora protein skimmer. <Might want to remove the plastic media> The tank has been up and running about 1 year. Never  rinsed or changed bio balls, and everyone seems to have a different opinion on  whether I should. <I'd remove> Anyway, tank has a light bio load. Just a Pseudochromis, small  damsel, a few fiddler crabs, about 10 snails, and about 25 lbs of live rock. I'd  like to add a refugium. <Ah, good> The only place I have room to do so is next to the tank.  Is a 20 gallon tank suitable?   <Yes> If the refugium is roughly the same  level or lower (lower would be preferable in my situation) as the main  display tank, do I need one pump for water flow from the fuge to the main tank  and one for return? <Ahh, no. Don't do this> what happens if one pump fails? I suspect I'd have a serious  puddle!!  I'd like to thank you in advance. Great  website!!! <Please use it. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Bob Fenner>

Feeding Water To A Refugium I am setting up a 30 gallon refugium with a gravity return to my sump. I have a choice between feeding the refugium from the sump via a pump, or splitting the return from the main tank and adjusting the flow rate to the refugium with a ball valve. Would one method be better than the other, or doesn't make a difference either way? Are there any particular pros and cons with either method? <Hmm...If it were me, I'd be inclined to feed the refugium directly from the tank. My rationale is that you'd be getting "raw", nutrient-laden water into your refugium, which will help feed the organisms and macroalgae that reside in the refugium. I do like the idea of gravity feed. I just assembled a new reef system using gravity to feed the skimmer and other system components, and it really works well. As far as the pros and cons are concerned, I personally don't see a down side to feeding the refugium water from the sump, but it just seems to make more sense to me to supply it with water from the tank itself. Either way, a well thought out refugium is a huge benefit to your system...you cannot go wrong using one, IMO.> Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns. Mark A. Kaczynski <I think that you're on the right track! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Refugium Idea Hello I want to set up a refugium but don't want to spend a lot of money on the plumbing and all the other things. I found my old Eclipse 2 gallon aquarium and thought that if I get a cheap 18 watt power compact fixture, and get 2 powerheads connecting each aquarium to each other, it would work. Will it work? I have a 10 gallon nano reef.  <If you're thinking pumping water into the refugium and then pumping water out of the refugium back to the tank, no, you're asking for trouble. If the return power head quit, you would have a flood. Anyway, it's almost impossible to get two powerheads pumping the exact amount of water. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks  <You're welcome> Refugium setup I am currently setting up a 180 gallon tank in my basement. I was going to use a refugium for nutrient export, but I was wondering if I need to use my skimmer still? There seems to be some conflicting ideas on the subject. I was looking on your site earlier, but couldn't find an answer.  <Eric, I recommend using a skimmer, it will only increase your water quality. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks In advance  <You're welcome>

Refugium/Custom Aquarium Hi again, <Angela> I wrote a while back about using a refugium as a seahorse tank.  I am thinking of building my own refugium tank, but since this is my first saltwater aquarium experience, I am a bit nervous.  I have a space beside my 30 gal. soon- to- be reef tank that would fit a refugium with a 15"x15" base.  I was thinking of making it 25" high.  This way, it would be higher than the display tank and be able to drain to it.  Is it possible for the skimmer to pump into the refugium? <Yes>   Would the pump that I would need to work the skimmer be too powerful for the refugium? <Mmm, likely not... there are "average" or suggested rates of flow... a handful per hour through refugiums... considering what you might have in the way of a skimmer... should be okay> I am also concerned about getting lights to fit it...any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help, Angela <Much readily available re these issues... posted on WWM... Please start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and sort through the linked files above where you lead yourself... keeping good notes... You will soon be much more confident re your choices, directions. Bob Fenner>

Sargassum weed in refugium Good day. Several months ago, I was pleased to see Sargassum weed growing from a section of live rock in my reef. <Hope you've got a rechargeable weed whacker!> After pruning in back many times, I decided to remove it by pulling it out by its roots. Since I know I should be thankful for having this appear in my reef I decided to place the weed in my refugium rather than simply discarding it. It has been about a month or so and it appears to be growing. The roots have grown and expanded and the weed has the usual seed pods attached. It has become slightly darker than it was in the main tank which I assume is due to the significantly lower lighting.  <Likely> I have noticed a little coralline algae growing on the leaves although this does not seem to be adversely affecting its growth. My question is, how common is it for this type of weed to be used in refugiums and is it recommended? <Not unusual... but needs a good deal of iodine/ide... and not as palatable as some others... Greens, Reds> Does it have the same nutrient export capability as Chaetomorpha? By the way I also have Chaetomorpha growing in the refugium as well. Sound like a good combo? Thanks for your input. Paul <Different in some aspects/degrees, but complementary... Bob Fenner> 

Bioballs or Refugium? I am getting ready to set up a 125 All Glass reef ready tank. I purchased a Pro Clear 150 wet/dry with built in protein skimmer. (2) Maxi Jet 900 powerheads and (2) Maxi Jet 1200 powerheads. Waiting for 200 lbs of live rock and 200 lbs of aragonite/live sand to arrive. Will be using (2) 175W 10,000K, (1) 175W 12,000K metal halide, (2) 96W blue actinic and 4 lunars for lighting. Now what do I do about the bio balls, use them or don't use them?  < I wouldn't use them. Pull them out if you ask me. >  If I don't use bio balls then how do I set the sump up?  < As a refugium. I would have recommended looking into this before making that purchase. But since you already have it, I'd search online for refugium set up designs and ideas. >  One of your crew members recommends live rock in the sump and one recommends live rock only in the display aquarium. If live rock goes in the sump then what lighting is required?  < Oh I think live rock in the sump is a must. It is a great way to go, especially with a tank that size. You don't need lights on the sump, but it can really help. Most people use cheap lights from Home Depot or old aquarium lights. I'm sure if you go to www.utahreefs.com/forum and search for refugium or refugium light you will find tons of info. Please read up before setting up this aquarium. >  Please help! Thanks, Angela < Blundell >  

Plumbing a Refugium Questions (Or, "Around Robin Hood's Barn") First of all, excellent web site and great response to our previous questions! Thank you! <Welcome> I have a 125Gal acrylic reef aquarium and I'm adding a 60Gal glass aquarium on the side for a sump with a refugium. We have two CPR USA CS102DX C-siphon overflows (1200gph each) to feed the sump, a Turboflotor T1000 Multi skimmer for use in the sump (now hanging on the 125), a used 30Gal tall acrylic tank (to be drilled for flow) for the refugium inside the 125Gal sump, and a Supreme Model 18 Mag Drive pump (1800gph) for the return to the 125 (with a 3/4" inline valve). <Mmm, this tubing diameter is too small> A 1/4" acrylic panel will separate the skimmer from the refugium on one end, and another panel will separate the refugium from the pump on the other end (Aside, should I epoxy or silicone the acrylic panels to the glass tank?). <Try siliconing some plastic strips to the tank and fit the acrylic panels in... or permanently silicone them in...> The overflows will be connected inline, with a union and a valve downstream from each box, in case one fails, or needs to be removed for cleaning or maintenance. Two outputs from each box are 1", and all four outputs will feed into a 1-1/2" PVC line to the sump.  <I would test, make sure that one alone can/will handle the flow of the pump and plumbing you end up with here> Each overflow will require a 1-1/2" valve and union, downstream in the 1-1/2" line from each box. <Mmm, a valve... union for the overflows? For what purpose?> From the FAQs, I see the recommendations for PVC gate valves, rather than ball valves, and I understand the reasons why. Unfortunately, even here in a large town like Las Vegas, NV, not even the plumbing supply houses, or garden nurseries, stock PVC gate valves, saying that one reason is that they're not as reliable as ball valves. Also found web reference to that opinion at: http://www.plumbingworld.com/slicegatevalves.html. I'm leaning towards a PVC slice valve for the overflow box disconnects, and a PVC gate valve for the pump return line  http://www.mops.ca/cgi-bin/SoftCart.exe/cshop/BHSS-GV07FF.html?L+scstore+hsmj9175ff6ffe6f+1112298765 . <Could work... the valves on the discharge side/overflows are not really necessary (as far as I know)... with lowered water level... > I apologize that I don't have a drawing to follow (anyone have a link for a simple drawing program with a short learning curve?),  <Wish I did know of such... my graphics expertise is extremely limited> and I hope you can follow this, but I'm open to suggestions, and I thank you for your kind attention. Tom in Las Vegas <Your plan sounds/reads workable... I would look to either enlarging the 3/4" ID line to one inch... or arrange an over the tank manifold of larger diameter. Bob Fenner> Sump/Fuge Design 3/31/05 Hi crew hope you guys are fit and well. <Adam here. Sadly out of shape, and none of us is completely well! Ha!> I am sending this in text form as I had previously (4 times) sent an image attached in various formats but got no replies, so I suspect that it didn't get thru.  <Sorry to hear! With all of the junk that we get it is hard to imagine that your message was rejected, although it may have been an issue of size. Do try to send images that are a few hundred Kb or less.> Anyway down to it. After having a FOWLR 40G (UK) successfully for the last 2 years, I have for the past 9 months been researching a full blown reef to the point of information overload. <The amount of (seemingly conflicting) information can be quite overwhelming! Local marine aquarium societies can be quite helpful. When you do find someone that you fell is providing up to date reliable advice, do stick with their "formula" until you are comfortable deviating from it. Mixing philosophies often leads to difficulty. "The Reef Aquarium", Vol's I&II are excellent resources as are books by Fossa and Nilsen. They aren't cheap, but the investment will lead to great returns in money not wasted on useless equipment and loss of livestock.> The boss has Ok'd it and the kids are looking forward to it, I have the cash so I'm just down to finalizing the design. Details: New tank is a 120G (UK) with sump/fuge underneath 70G (UK).  Sump is in three sections as follows: Section 1 (left side as you look at it) heaters, return pump (approx 1200g) up to manifold to display tank, a couple of baffles where I can occasionally put some carbon. Section 2 fuge area with 2" sand, live rock and macroalgae. Section 3 skimmer Turboflotor T1000. <Sound great, although I have two suggestions... first, up the depth of sand to 4-6" if you can. This will aid in denitrification and provide better habitat to various critters. Also, the sand will dissolve and settle over a fairly short period of time. Second, locate heaters in a section of the sump that will ALWAYS have water in it, even during water changes. This will most likely be the skimmer chamber. In case of spills, excessive evaporation or forgetfulness during a water change, it is easy for heater to become exposed, overheat and break. Also, my personal preference would be to use a more robust skimmer. Models from Deltec, H&S and others are more pricey (although not as bad as they are in the US!), but they will also put a proportionally larger smile on your face.> My question is my display will have two overflows with an internal diameter of 1.5 inches giving I guess approximately 500-600gph each. One overflow will go to the skimmer and my dilemma is where the second overflow will go. Do I send it into the skimmer section and let it overflow into the fuge giving raw water into fuge for algae, or send it directly into the fuge but I guess this flow will be too fierce for the algae to cope or do I send it to the return pump which I think may just be a waste of time. <If you have adequate water movement through the system, there will be little difference in quality of water that reaches the skimmer or algae regardless of where you place the second return. I would choose the section that is most convenient. Depending on which macro algae you choose, vigorous water movement should only benefit it once it is established.> Your comments would be greatly appreciated as always. Be safe. DaveG (UK)  <Best Regards! AdamC.>

Refugium Dear Bob, Anthony & Staff, Thanks for all your help! My tank has improved so much since I found this site and your books. My problem is now things are growing too fast (especially my Xenia) I have given a lot away but they still grow back on the spots of the rocks were I cut them off. They truly are like weeds. My question is I have recently added a refugium with a DSB & Chaetomorpha (after reading Anthony's book) Do you think it would add any benefit to the refugium if I started to stock it with the Xenia? Thanks again.  <I think it would be very insignificant. James (Salty Dog)> 

Stocking Questions & Refugium (Marine) Hi WWM Crew, <Hey, Mike G with you tonight.> Let's continue the tradition and start by saying you guys are the best.... <Thanks for the compliment. Of course, others here deserve it far more than I.> I have a 215 gal. with 200 lbs. of live rock, 2-3" inches of crushed coral bedding and 1200 watts of power compacts. My filtration consists of a heavy duty and large external "Beckett" style skimmer, a 50 gal. wet/dry sump with bioballs, 30 watt long throw UV sterilizer and 2 Sea Clear canister filters ( one pleated and one carbon). My bioload currently is as follows: 1. Arothron puffer 12" 2. Threadfin Lookdown 11" 3. Clown Trigger 4" 4. Niger trigger 6" 5. Naso Tang 6" 6. Yellowtail Coris Wrasse 6" 7. Black ribbon eel 26" 8. Emerald crab 2" (yes it has survived 7 months now in this tank). 9.Many snails and small hermit crabs. <Full house!> Given the size potential of the stated fish, is my bioload to high? <I would say that what you have now is just about as much as you want to have, maximum.> How about If I traded in the Niger trigger and ribbon eel for a tesselata or Hawaiian dragon moray? <You could do that, providing there are no aggression issues.> And lastly, Would adding a refugium benefit my system? Keeping in mind it could not be very big. (space issues). <Absolutely! Any size refugium can do wonders for any tank. I recommend adding it without hesitation.> On behalf of aquarists everywhere........ THANKS!! <No problem. Glad I/we could be of assistance.>

Multiple macroalgae in refuge 3/30/05 Hey crew, It has been over a year ago that I bought a Mandarin without knowing it's special eating requirements. With your help and hours spent reading the FAQ's, I still have a healthy and happy (guessing here) Mandarin. I believe this is mainly due to the refugium I added about 8 months ago. I am looking to complete this upgrade and wanted to bounce a few ideas off you. The refugium is a 75g (24" x 30" x 24") tank that sits above and to the side of my main display (150g). It is lit by 2 x 65w (10,000/6,700k and 460/420nm) Current SunPaqs.  The fuge is separated by two internal dividers that are 12" tall which create three identical chambers. The top 12" of the tank is open air. Each chamber overflows into the next and water is gravity fed to the display from the 3rd chamber. <Sounds very nice!> 1st chamber - filter feeders. Got this idea from Anthony's book. It has a 6" sand bed with a top layer of flat rocks for xenia, feather dusters, and rock boring crocea clams. Got the xenia started but lost two clams.  2nd chamber - mud filter/copepods.  The idea here was to cultivate copepods for the Mandarin. Blend of Miracle Mud and Carib Sea Mineral Mud form a 3" mud bottom. I tried growing Gracilaria in here but it kept being overgrown by Cyano.  I eventually want to add Thalassia (Turtle Grass) to this chamber. Is mud a good substrate for Thalassia? If so, I plan on adding 3" more of Mineral Mud after I plant the Seagrass. The water height in this chamber is only 12". Can the tops of Thalassia stick out of the water? If not, how high should I raise the water level? The reason I am thinking Thalassia here is for the epiphytic material produced. This is a good source of food for pods correct? <The mud is an ideal substrate for Thalassia and it will provide good habitat and food for tiny crustaceans. I suspect that it will grow to the top of the water and either stop growing or bend over. It won't grow out of the surface of the water. Gracilaria is difficult and requires quite a bit of water movement to grow well and so it doesn't get overgrown with other algae.> 3rd chamber - nutrient extract/amphipods Less that 1" aragonite sand with live rubble rock on top. The amphipods seem to like this chamber the best because of the larger substrate. I also keep Chaetomorpha in here which is doing great. I have started to give it away.  <Right on! Rubble makes great amphipod and copepod habitat.> I have had great success growing Mysis shrimp and amphipods in this refugium. I see copepods every now and then but I'm guessing there are tons I don't see. Unless, I have always wondered, do the larger Mysis shrimp and amphipods eat copepods?  <They may prey on them to some extent, but I wouldn't sweat it. The amphipods and Mysis will produce plenty of tiny offspring to provide food to tiny mouthed animals in your system.> If I have to raise the water level in the fuge, will I need to add more light to keep the Chaeto growing? I recently pulled the Gracilaria out of the 2nd chamber and put it in the sump which has specs similar to the refugium. The section that contains the Gracilaria is about 20" x 30" x 24" with a water column height of about 12". It is lit by 1 65w (10,000/6,7000k) Current SunPaq. The general consensus is for only white light on macroalgae right? <Chaetomorpha will grow in very low light, so you should be fine. White light isn't necessarily better, but appearance doesn't matter in a 'fuge and whiter lights generally produce more usable light per watt, so you get more for your money.> The air bubbles from the overflow keep the Gracilaria tumbling constantly so I hope to get some good growth to feed my Tang. I should mention that I have taken the covers off my refugium and sump to allow more light and aid in evaporation. It gets pretty hot in Las Vegas.  <Ahhh... good. The Gracilaria should do much better here. Good luck managing the heat!> To the most important question. I have read many responses that warn against putting different kinds of algae in the same refugium. The thought is that they will spend energy competing against each other and not exporting nutrients. **Deleted quotes from the FAQ's**  <I absolutely agree. In addition to competition with each other, the "soup" of chemicals produced may also stunt coral growth.> Does this idea of only having one type of Macro apply to the whole system. If the Chaetomorpha is in the refugium above the tank and the Gracilaria in the sump, will they still compete against each other? Can I add the Thalassia to the second chamber of the refugium even though it overflows into the chamber with the Chaetomorpha? Does Thalassia compete in chemical warfare even though it is a grass rather than an algae?  <The plants and algae that you are using are among the "friendliest" and the competition will be decreased by the fact that they aren't in physical contact. I think your plan seems reasonable. I would however, suggest that you use small amounts of carbon changed frequently to help reduce the amount of competitive substances.> One more question related to macroalgae. I have a 70g that I am setting up as a FOWLR predator tank. The tank is not pre-drilled and I don't want to use an overflow. I bought the largest CPR AquaFuge hang on the back refugium to use for nutrient export and threw in some Chaetomorpha. I figure with messy eaters I am going to have a nutrient problem. I have a 6" DSB, 90lbs live rock, and the AquaC Remora Pro. Do you think I will need mechanical filtration? I have stayed away from Caulerpa for my reef tank because of the negative things people say about it. However, most of the negatives apply to reef setups. Can I use Caulerpa since this tank will only have a few fish like a trigger and/or a puffer? Would this be a better nutrient exporter than the Chaetomorpha I have in there now?  <Caulerpa would be fine in a non-reef tank. Mechanical filtration would be beneficial if the filter is large enough and cleaned weekly or more often. I would also consider a clean up crew consisting of a few brittle stars and one or two sea cucumbers.> Any input would be appreciated. I sincerely thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. The only consolation I can offer is that I always make sure my LFS have the "CMA", "RI", and "BoCP" books on hand and are aware of their value. Mostly because they have been such a big help to me. cheers, Eric Nightingale  <Thanks for the kind words and support! AdamC.>

New Refugium <Hello> How long would a tank take to cycle if every thing you put in it is old? I transferred about 30 gallons of aged seawater from my 135 gallon tank, that's been up and running for 5 months. I cut a piece of sponge from my 135s sump and put it in my whisper 60, the filter for the 55 gallon, which is going to become a refugium. <Hmm a few weeks or so.>  Also should I fill the 55 gallon to the top? Or have a shallower refugium, like only 30-40 gallons? <depends on the sound level, I would fill it up so that it is quiet but not too high so the extra water from the 135 can drain to it.. The 135 is connected to it right?> How long will It take to cycle is the biggest question? I have a goby and pistol shrimp I'm supposed to pick up tomorrow, and my 135s only got a 1/2" sugar sand bed. The 55s got a 6"-7" crushed coral bed. Thanks a lot Tristan <Well Tristan, if the refugium is hooked up to your cycled 135 I wouldn't worry about anything and add the shrimp and goby after you q/t them for 4 weeks. if the refugium is no an inline one connected to the 135 now I would buy bio-Spira and add it when you add the goby and shrimp. that should be all you need.> <Justin (Jager)> 

Seahorse and More Refugium First of all, let me just thank you for the lovely site and all of the wonderful information. I have done months of research (most of it on your site) to make sure I do everything right. <Glad to hear our work can help you.>  I am setting up my first saltwater tank. It is 30 gallons with 2x95 watt 12000K lights (also a small moonlight), a plenum with 65 pounds of substrate (Seaflor special grade reef sand and GARF grunge), 30 pounds of live rock from Dale Barger's site, and 2 MaxiJet 900 pumps. <good setup, lighting good for mushrooms and some softies. Maybe up the LR when you can for the added filtration> I am saving for a good skimmer at the moment. It is to be a soft coral and peaceful fish tank. I am planning to add a multi-purpose refugium (beside the main tank--probably 10 gal size). The following would be housed in the refugium: Ulva lettuce plant, Chaetomorpha, Botryocladia sp., red mangroves, shaving brush plant, live rock and sand, Mysis, and other "food" critters. I would also like to house a pair of seahorses (Lined) therein. My questions are (finally!!): Is this too much for one refugium to do? <Possibly, I would pick one plant you like the most as the algae's will choke out others till eventually there is one winner, and those mangroves are too big (6ft or more after a while>  Is the size of the refugium ok, or does it need to be larger? <it is fine, though a bigger one is better, simply more water in general to act as a stabilizer.>  What pump size should I put on the refugium to give enough, and yet not too much, flow. <the flow into the refugium and out should be no more that 5x the tank size. I prefer smaller like 2x or 3x.>  Also, how long should I wait before adding the seahorses? <give it a few weeks, maybe three, during that time you can q/t the horses and watch them.>  Thanks so much for reading and answering my lengthy email! Angela <No Problem Angela, It's a labor of love. Yu might want to have a baffled section in the refugium or a floating breeder tank with a sponge to keep a part of the copepod population in the refugium alive and well from the seahorses who eat them. good luck and I hope it goes great.> <Justin (Jager)>

Using WWM, Not Abusing Us - Refugium Hi. <Hello> What overflow rate and how many watts of lighting for a twenty gallon sump/refugium on a fifty gallon tank? Thank you. Rob <Read the refugium FAQ's on WetWebMedia.Com, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm for greater detail, but flow rates are 1-5 times flow, the slower the better. As for the lighting, it depends on what's in the refugium. Please read on the site for particulars.> <Justin (Jager)> 

Flow In The Refugium.. How Much? Hello Crew. <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I've been reading about DSB on your site. I have a 135g tank, 40g sump, 29g refugium. 4" sand in the tank and 6" of sand in the fuge. It is mentioned to keep water flow at 10-20X tank volume. At the moment I have an Ampmaster 3000 connected and running at about 1600gph(CPR 150 controlled). There are 4 outlets, if I place one of my hands in front of one of the outlets it doesn't feel like there is much pressure. Does pressure = current or is my turnover sufficient? <I think that your flow sounds just fine! I am not a big fan of huge flow rates within a refugium. I'd like to see the animals and plants in the refugium have maximum contact time with the water, with a minimum of disturbance.> Should I add another overflow and crank up the pump to its 2228gph max? I've read that the turnover rate for the 'fuge should only be 4-5X hour. Does this change for a DSB? <Not in my opinion. The DSB should essentially remain undisturbed, so the flow is fine as is! Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Macroalgae for the Refugium Sorry to be a pain but I want to get my refugium set up right! I have some Halimeda growing in my display tank. It seems from reading your FAQ¹s that one species is recommend for a refugium. Is it alright, if I have the Halimeda in my display and something else in my refugium? (say Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria).  <Yes, the Chaeto or Gracilaria will be fine John. James (Salty Dog)> 

Dazed and Confused re Refugiums Hi, My kids recently bought me an Aquafuge 25" refugium with a 24" 36 watt 50/50 Aqualight. I have diligently reviewed the FAQ's (much to the chagrin of my wife) and since my primary goals for the fuge are nutrient export and fauna production purchased some Chaetomorpha.. I put about 2 inches of live sand in the bottom and added 4 pieces of live rock ( golf ball sized ).  <Sounds good!> The Aquafuge is baffled to eliminate disturbance of the substrate. I straddled my softball sized clump of Chaeto over the baffle near the inflow figuring that since the live rock would probably benefit from light, I needed a way to keep the Chaeto from overtaking the entire fuge. <Periodic harvest> Since the Chaeto sits near the inflow. I reasoned that water would have to flow through it rather then around it. My questions are: With the Chaeto straddling the baffle I get no movement of the algae.  Will this hinder the Chaeto and collect detritus? <Not much> How much live rock should I keep in the fuge for maximal pod buildup? <Mmm, about a third the volume maximally... shape and composition as important... want "holey" and carbonate based...> Is it important for the live rock to get light? <Mmm, generally yes... but ideally... this may seem confusing... best for some to be illuminated other amounts not> When I move the Chaeto to harvest some, small particles of dead algae and other detritus are released into the fuge. Is this a problem (reintroduction of nutrients) or is this to be expected? <Not a big deal> Should I "clean" the Chaeto occasionally by squeezing or turning it? <Can> Thanks very much for your help. I think your site is amazing and have turned three other aquarists onto it. I also will be purchasing some of your authors' books. <Thank you for your kind words... I do wish (as in "if wishes were fishes we'd all have full tanks") that I had even more time to devote, dedicate towards "completing" (Ha!) more of the content here... we are in absolute dire need of more articles, photos, graphics, even people to readily respond to folks' queries... Bob Fenner> 

Refugium flow rates Hello Crew, <Hola Chris> Thanks so much for the collection of expertise. I have been so impressed with your site, Mr. Fenner that I have pledged $5 for every time I employ information from WetWebMedia.com. Please accept my first contribution of $50 from this gracious fellow hobbyist. <Thank you very much. I'm sure Bob will be tickled.> I have built refugiums for both of my marine systems. (60 gallon reef /29 gallon refugium and 180 gallon FOWLR /75 gallon refugium). I have flow rates of 15-18 times turnover in each tank and want to maximize flow through the refugium. With all of the information available throughout the industry the formula for flow rate through refugiums does not seem to exist. What is the recommended flow rate through refugiums? Thank you for your time and help. Best regards, Chris Matthews Dallas, Texas <Well for a true refugium with a DSB and other denitrification properties, it only needs to be 2x-4x the turnover per hour. the slower on the refugium the better as the water needs time to be stripped of its impurities, and if you have a faster turn over, the substrate might be a cloudy mess as well. Hope this helps> <Justin (Jager)> 

Lighting For Refugium Hi James (Salty Dog), <Hello> I don't know if you are always the one to get my e-mails (seems to be). <It's the luck of the draw.>  About this refugium.....what lighting do I get? I have searched and can't seem to find the lighting that I need for a 10 gallon. All fixtures and bulbs seem to be for a 24 in. My aquarium length is 20 inches. I know I need a good intensity for the rock and macroalgae that I will put in there. Please, can you suggest something? This will be out and seen by people. I need a nice fixture. Please help me.  Thanks. Renee'  <Help is on the way Renee'. Drs. Foster & Smith has one for a 10 gallon tank (20"). They have your choice of a single PC fixture (half 10K, half 460 actinic). They also make a dual light system that size, but I don't think you will need that just for growing macro. They are selling the single fixture for $55.00. They are very nice, no plastic, a nice black aluminum fixture. I have the double on my 29 mini reef and really was impressed with the build quality. It is listed as "Satellite Compact Fluorescent Fixtures". They are actually made by a company called Current. James (Salty Dog)> 

My refugium Hi again. I'm so discouraged. I have been reading and reading and now I've come across a statement made that if lighting is more than 3 inches above water level it's no good! <What? No> I just bought a lot of additional lighting for my 90 gallon to get it up to speed for my desire of some hardy corals plus a BTA and now I feel like I've wasted my time and money. We mounted it inside the canopy but I'm sure it's a little more than 3 inches from the water.  Now what? If we put it any closer, won't it melt my acrylic top? O why must this be overwhelming? Feeling down, Renee' <Don't be overwhelmed... take all just in small bits at a time... ask for the rationale for what seems incongruent... the light can be very far away (many Japanese people mount their tank lights up near the ceiling!)... a few inches of transmission through the air is not of consequence... Think about el sol... Bob Fenner> 

Re: My refugium O thank you Mr. Fenner. And for your quick reply. I'm just so caught up in doing everything right and had a bad experience of a LFS man really ripping me off on some products and also giving me some bad information to start with. Now I'm having to re-do some things. I have paid double on some items he sold me. (For example, he charged me $500 for the Tidepool wet/dry and I saw it much later in the Foster and Smith catalog for 174.99). I've honestly been burned. I cannot say how much I appreciate your web site. I am learning so much. Every now and then things will catch my eye like the 3 inch rule for lighting and will take the steam out of my excitement with this hobby. There are many opinions and different experiences by so many......it can be overwhelming at times. <Actually... if for no other reason than "this is reality, and it won't change", I've developed an attitude of this obvious mish mash of ideas, opinions and larceny being "fun"... to decipher, ferret out...> If I may ask one more thing, my dear husband (so dear because he has been kind to my love for this hobby) and I are thinking through this refugium. We think we have it all figured out but one item. The 10 gallon refugium will get its water pumped from the sump under cabinet. The 10G will sit on a table next to mother tank, higher than the sump. We will drill a hole in side of 10G with a bulkhead fitting, elbow, and PVC pipe that goes to top level of water in 10G. This will overflow back to the sump. The big question: what size pump to take water to the 10G and what size bulkhead and tubing, PVC to match?  In other words, we can't have it pumping into the 10G faster than it can overflow out. How do you figure that out? <Mmm, there are "rules of thumb" per the size of through-puts, if there is any "horizontal" plumbing, difference in water levels... but a few times the volume of the transit volume sump (the ten) is about right... likely 10-20 times the rated flow of the pump...> That¹s the last thing we can't quite figure out. Please help. And again, thank you for your encouragement.  Renee' <Keep accumulating those data points Renee... you'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

Refugium questions Hello!  <Good Morning>  I have searched the FAQs on refugiums and am finding snippets of info but not in particular to my situation. Have a well stocked 90 gallon and would like to have a 10 gallon refugium on the side for macroalgae, and particularly a place to culture copepods, etc. I think I read I can't run this through my sump. But my aquarium is a completely closed acrylic with canopy, built in prefilter box, etc. I was hoping to pump water to 10 gallon from sump and then siphon it back to the sump... <You just have to make sure in the event of a power failure you won't have flooding. Easily checked by turning power off.>  ... where it can go to main tank. All my sump is full with UV and protein skimmer and heater, main pump to tank, etc. so it cannot be used as this type of refugium. Then I thought I read that live sand may not be a good thing.  I was just going to put live sand and some rock from main tank and good lighting, then start up with some macroalgae and culture or two of copepods. Can you please help me?  <I'm guessing a hang- on refugium won't work since most acrylic tanks have solid tops with little place to hang anything.>  My husband and I are also being thoughtful to should the power go off no flooding occurs. With the idea of running this through the sump, we will avoid this problem. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  <I think if I was doing this, I'd tie the refugium to the sump with bulkhead fittings and supply water to the refugium that way, then pump water back to the sump with a powerhead. James (Salty Dog)>  Thank you, Renee' <You're welcome, Renee'>

Too Small Refugium, Too Few Words.. Would like to keep running Eheim canister filter and add refugium to marine fish only system. It's a 75 gallon. I am building a refugium out of Rubbermaid container, unfortunately it will only be about 5 gallons that's all the room I have is this workable? <Nope... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm scroll down to filtration, refugiums... Bob Fenner>

Chaetomorpha Quandary...To Tumble Or Not? Hi there WWM crew <Hey! Scott F. here today!> Need help with getting enough water flow thru my refugium to get my Chaetomorpha algae tumbling. I have a 20 gallon tank that I have separated into 3 chambers by gluing Plexiglas walls inside of. The first chamber which houses items such heaters and carbon or anything else I may need to use, gets the water flowed into it via an overflow box from my 55 gallon main tank. It then goes thru a baffle to cut down on bubbles and into my 2nd chamber that acts as a refugium. <A neat DIY approach! Awesome!> It currently has a 2 to 2.5 inch sand bed which I plan to increase to at least 4 or 5 this weekend, and just got hold of a clump of Chaetomorpha about the size of a fist. My problem is water flow. From my understanding and readings from this site, Chaeto needs to tumble around in order to grow. <I have my own feelings on this topic. I am a big fan/user of Chaetomorpha, and I have never kept it in an area with lots of tumbling motion. I've had so much success with this macroalgae that I had to give it away!  The key, in my opinion, is to give it enough water movement to keep algae and detritus from lodging in it and interfering with its growth, as well as decent lighting. Gracilaria, on the other hand (my other favorite macroalgae), is one that you do need to "tumble".> This is where my problem comes into play. The only water flow that I have in the sump/refugium is whatever is created naturally, which doesn't budge the Chaeto. I've tried adding a Maxijet powerhead but the unit I have, 1200 is way too powerful. It gets the algae tumbling but also causes a sandstorm. <Yep- a problem that is more annoying, IMO!> I was wondering if perhaps something like the Mini jet model of the powerhead, which reads a 13 to 104 gph rate would be sufficient to get the Chaeto tumbling and not cause a tsunami in my little refugium? And can the Chaeto survive long if not tumbling? <As above, I'd try it without taking these measures first. If you are finding that debris is polluting the algae, or nuisance algae is fouling it, then you may need to try one of these options, just to get some movement in there. even then, I don't think that tumbling is a guarantee of success. However, as a macroalgae geek, I love the fact that you are thinking to go to so much effort to keep it happy!> I can't get out to the LFS till Saturday due to work to get whatever I need to help my problem. I am restricted on space and therefore decided on a sump/refugium combo. The refugium area is aprox. 12 inches in length x 12 inches in width (small I know but better than nothing). I plan to use the refugium as a way to help nutrient reduction along with the 5inch DSB I have in my main tank and some critter production as well. <Relax. Things sound fine!> Also a question on the lighting needs for a 'fuge this small. What size light would work well in this case? At the moment, I have a 13 watt fluorescent over the fuge lighting it on an opposite schedule from my main tank. Is this sufficient or do I need more? <Well, you could always go for more, but if the proximity of the light to the algae is low, then you could see how it goes for a while. Perhaps a higher wattage compact fluorescent (like 28 watts or so) would be better "bang for the buck".> Thank you all in advance for any solutions to my problem you can offer. This is the most informative and helpful site I've come across to date, so much so that my head feels like its going to explode from all the knowledge gained and still gaining from your site !! <Yea- my head exploded quite a while ago, so I wear a lot of caps! seriously, thanks much for the kind words. It's our pleasure to be here for you!> Have a great weekend all !! <You too! Regards, Scott F.>

Chaetomorpha Quandary: To Tumble Or Not? (Cont'd.) Thanks for the super fast response Scott. You've put my mind at ease. I see no detritus accumulating on it at all so I won't worry about it not tumbling. <Good!> Off the topic a bit here but I'm looking into adding some baby bristle worms and some mini stars to the system. Would the 'fuge be the best place to add 'em or can I add some to my main tank as well? <Well, there are a number of views on this. Some people feel that bristle worms are potentially problematic in the display, as they can attack corals. I personally like to have them in my display tank, as they seem to perform a function analogous to terrestrial earthworms, "working" the sand and consuming detritus. If they get to be a problem in the display, you can always employ fishes like Pseudochromis, which are adept predators of bristleworms. > All that's in my main tank at the moment is about 55lbs of live rock, a bout a 4inch DSB, 3 Mexican Turbos and bout 18 or so Astreas to keep nuisance algae in check. And a little damsel, not sure of the name but it's a pink to red color with a black spot on its back rimmed with electric blue and some electric blue streaks along its face as well. <Could be any of hundreds of species! Many juvenile damsels have a different color scheme than adults.> I'm trying to get a nitrate problem in check before I stock the tank anymore than it is. Nitrates at the moment range between 80 and 160 according to the color chart. <That is a pretty high nitrate level. There are quite a few ways to help get this parameter into check.> Before I added the deep sand bed the test color would immediately turn a deep red and now it's just getting a dark pink, so I'm happy that [I'm] on the right track here. Just added a Aqua C Remora HOT as well and waiting for it to tune. I'm getting skimmate already from it a day later. <Excellent! A great skimmer! A well tuned skimmer, quality source water, well-managed DSB, and regular small water changes will help you get that level down.> Heh, sorry bout the babbling, getting back to my question on the baby bristle worms and mini stars. My concern here is will they survive in the main tank? <Provided that there are no predators that will reduce their numbers!> When I got the Chaetomorpha, it had 2 what seemed to be dead baby bristle worms, I say dead because they didn't move while in the fuge, they were just curled up and rolled around. They got thru to the main tank I guess through the return pump. As they were floating down to the bottom the damsel spotted them and ate 'em up. <Happens!> Thanks again for the super quick response and advice on the Chaeto !!! Victor <Glad to be of service, Victor! Regards, Scott F.> 

No Lighting for Live Rock in Refugia? Dear Sir or Madam: <"Will you read my book..."> I am acquiring a large amount of live rock for a new 75-gallon reef aquarium with a 29-gallon refugium in the cabinet underneath. The live rock is coming from another metal-halide illuminated aquarium populated with corals and anemones. I plan to "cycle" the live rock for a period before introducing new organisms. <Okay> I plan to divide the live rock into two categories. The live rocks with anemones and corals will be placed in my main tank to enjoy 300-watts of DE-HQI-MH lighting. The main tank will also have a deep sand bed of oolitic aragonite that I will "seed" with SeaChem Stability. The live rocks that have no anemones and corals will be sharing a bare-bottom refugium with a hang-on-tank skimmer, a cooling fan, a heater and an external pump but no lighting at all. <Mmm> I have two questions: (1) Do I need to provide lighting for the live rock in the refugium if it has no corals or anemones?  <I would... many benefits> (2) Will the live rock and deep sand bed be sufficient for nitrogen export without the need for macro-algae? <Possibly... but I would culture this here... Much written, archived on these, and related issues on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm Bob Fenner> 

Lighting/Refugium Dear Sir or Madam: I am acquiring a large amount of live rock for a new 75-gallon reef aquarium with a 29-gallon refugium in the cabinet underneath. The live rock is coming from another metal-halide illuminated aquarium populated with corals and anemones. I plan to "cycle" the live rock for a period before introducing new organisms. I plan to divide the live rock into two categories. The live rocks with anemones and corals will be placed in my main tank to enjoy 300-watts of DE-HQI-MH lighting. The main tank will also have a deep sand bed of oolitic aragonite that I will "seed" with SeaChem Stability. The live rocks that have no anemones and corals will be sharing a bare-bottom refugium with a hang-on-tank skimmer, a cooling fan, a heater and an external pump but no lighting at all. I have two questions: (1) Do I need to provide lighting for the live rock in the refugium if it has no corals or anemones?  <If there is coralline on the rock, you will need lighting if you want to keep it.> (2) Will the live rock and deep sand bed be sufficient for nitrogen export without the need for macro-algae?  <All depends on stocking levels and weekly maintenance. I prefer macro in a refugium, just adds to water quality.>

Does (Refugium) Size Matter? My kids heard me talking about adding a refugium to my 180g reef tank and decided to buy me one for my birthday. <Wow! Talk about the family that plays together! That's great!> They purchased an AquaFuge RF24 with Aragalive as a substrate. I don't really have room for anything larger. Originally, I was looking to the refugium for nutrient export but I am not sure it is large enough to have an impact. I have been moderately successful reducing the algae problem in my tank that prompted my consideration of a refugium ( running RowaPhos in a fluidized bed filter) and I am wondering where you think I will get the most beneficial bang for my buck in improving my reef habitat with this admittedly small system. Thanks for your help, Dave <Well, Dave, I agree that a modest-sized refugium may have less capability of processing nutrients than a large one, it is still better than not having one at all! A well-managed refugium, even a small one, can provide some additional biodiversity, natural food supplementation (through planktonic growth and amphipod reproduction) as well. You can effectively grow many macroalgae in a small space, provided that other environmental requirements are met, and harvest them regularly regularly to export nutrients. The sand in the refugium can also help supplement the denitrification processes occurring in your display tank. In the end, the benefits are no less important with a small refugium. Enjoy it! Regards, Scott F.> 

Refugium and Euro-Reef Skimmer Hello guys,  <Hello Gary> I have a Euro-Reef CS12-1 Skimmer that I will use in my 75-gallon refugium that will be a 200-gallon FOWLR aquarium, however I have a problem with the water height in the refugium is 15", which is causing a higher level of water in the sump where the skimmer is located. The height under the aquarium is 30" and the height of the skimmer is 24". I cannot place the sump outside of the stand because a higher power (wife) says I cannot, everything needs to be hidden. The baffles in the refugium are 14", 16", and 14" before the DSB and then 14", 16", 14" on exit to the return pumps 2 - MAG-18. Here are my questions: if I lower the baffles in the refugium, try to raise the skimmer height in the sump could I possibly get the desired height of 6" - 8" for the skimmer, or will this be too low of a level for the refugium? If this does not work, should I switch to a Wet/Dry design, with LR in the tower and place the skimmer before the return pumps? Your help is really appreciated.  <Gary, why can't the skimmer be placed outside the refugium and pump the water to it? It would save a lot of fooling around. James (Salty Dog)>  Thank you <You're welcome> 

Refugium and Euro-Reef Skimmer - II James, The scenario you speak of is to:  1) flow the water from the tank to the sump with skimmer in it, to the refugium and then to return to the tank.  <Either to the tank or the refugium. Yes, what's behind door #1 was my thinking.>  2) Flow the water to the refugium, pump some of the water to the sump with skimmer and then pump it back to the refugium. <You could do this also.>  3) Or would the water to the skimmer be in a loop, water from the refugium going to the skimmer in its sump, then back to refugium. Did I further confuse you?  <Not confused, what you want to eliminate is modifying the refugium just to use your skimmer.>  I wish I could draw this for you, but my computer skills are not that good. <Either are mine.>  Right now I have the skimmer in a sump that receives water from the tank and then everything flows through the refugium to the return pumps, but the water height in the sump is above the suggested height Euro-Reef recommends. The skimmer sits in a sump, presently. I guess I do not have a full grasp of the refugium filtration.  <Now I'm confused, but I think I see the picture. Whenever you use pumps to equalize or try to equalize levels, it is difficult if not impossible to control. I'm thinking, why can't you connect the sump to the refugium with a 1 1/2 piece of PVC at the level you want, with bulkhead fittings on sump and on refugium. That way gravity will maintain the level in both containers. Then pump your water out of the refugium into the tank. I hope this makes sense to you, if not we'll keep going till it's right. James (Salty Dog)> 

Refugium and sump Hello <Hi Chris, Justin (Jager) here> ...and thank you for your help. <no problem tis what we are here for> I have a 75 gallon reef tank that is undrilled which overflows into 30 gallon sump using a single tube gravity overflow box. <Yes very familiar with those, I use two myself.>  The sump contains my EuroReef skimmer and a DSB. I have a 40 gallon refugium built and I want to add it to my setup. Would it be possible to use a dual overflow box that has two hoses, one to the sump and one to the refugium? <Yes, but you must drill both tanks or overflow one into the other to avoid flooding.>  I can see that balancing the flow rates may be a problem, <You won't ever get it right and keep it right>  or not, but have you ever heard of anyone doing this? <Yes, but their basement flooded with a lot of water.>  Is it possible? Thanks. Chris <Well it is a lot easier, safer, and cheaper to get the 40 gallon and the thirty gallon drilled and run a connecting tube between them so that the water runs into one tank then when that one gets to the drilled connector, it flows into the next where the pump is and then returns to the tank, running a dual hose overflow box is highly difficult without this connector, and I have only seen it work once. and only until one pump wore out a bit and then it overflowed. it lasted all of 15minutes. The only safe way to do it is to have the sump and refugium connected so that if one gets more flow it will not matter as they balance each other out. My personal tank with a sump and refugium is set up with two overflow boxes and two separate hoses but does what you want to. Water gets pulled from both sides of the tank and then both hoses flow into the sump(1 for the wet/dry and one raw for the skimmer and DSB) which then fills into the PVC connector that was drilled into the side and then that falls into the refugium, this allows both tanks to stay at a predefined level using PVC pieces to change the level the water is collected at in the sump, and it allows for an emergency in case the pumps fail or the electricity shuts off as both tanks can absorb the extra water from the main tank. If one of your tanks is higher than your other then you can use an overflow box on the higher one to drain into the lower one but it is safer and cheaper to get them drilled by a professional, such as a glass supply or glass contractor as they have the correct drills and other tools. Good luck on this.  Justin (Jager) >

Mussels in a sump Hi WWM Crew, <Hello Chris> First I would like to say what an excellent site you have, it has been an endless source of useful information to me since I started my marine aquarium last year. Keep up the good work, the hobby would be a lot more difficult without you! Now that the flattery is out of the way, to my question. I have been feeding my chocolate chip starfish live mussels which he/she loves and I buy in 1kg bags from the local supermarket. Last week as an experiment I placed one in the overflow box to see if it would live, if not it would be easy to retrieve before it died and polluted my system (a LFS told me that these can really pollute a system if left to rot after they die, is this true?). <Very much so>  I expected it to die as they are collected from the Orkneys North of Scotland, where the water temperature is significantly lower than the 28C of my set up. However after a week it is still alive, openly filtering water and reacts very quickly when touched by closing up tight. This lead me to think would it be possible to put the kilo of mussels in my sump firstly to give me a long term supply of live mussels for feeding the starfish and secondly, would there be any advantage from the filtering effect of having 40-50 live mussels in the sump?  I am intrigued to hear what your thoughts are on this.  <You have a few things going against you in this regard. As you say the temp is significantly lower where the mussels are collected from, so more than likely the warmer temp will not be suitable for them. Secondly, they are strictly filter feeders and the small amount of nutrients they get from your tank is certainly not going to sustain them. Then, as your LFS says, if one dies without your awareness, the problems that causes is not going to be worth the risk. If your interested in keeping them alive for a food source, I would put them in a tank by themselves, unheated. You would still have to provide phytoplankton for them to survive long enough to be used as food, and now we are getting into cost effectiveness of your end product. The choice is yours, Chris. James (Salty Dog)>

What goes in a refugium Hello, I've been reading, reading and reading, I just want to know exactly what to put in my refugium.  < Lots of sand, some live rock, and whatever algae you can find. > What kind of algae or none at all.  < Oh lots of algae. I'll say Caulerpa... anything to start. >  I had Caulerpa, but from reading your website I gather that it's bad. I can't remember what that plant is that rooted in sand underwater and grows out of the tank. Should I go with that?  < Mangroves. But no, I'd try different Caulerpas and try to find out why they didn't do well for you. I think if you get some Caulerpa racemosa that is growing on a rock, and put it in your refugium you should be set. > < Good luck, Blundell >

Refugium - It's out There! Hello, I've been reading, reading and reading, I just want to know exactly what to put in my refugium. What kind of algae or none at all? I had Caulerpa, but from reading your website I gather that its bad. I can't remember what that plant is that rooted in sand underwater and grows out of the tank. Should I go with that? <Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Refugium Hello, I've been reading, reading and reading, I just want to know exactly what to put in my refugium. What kind of algae or none at all. I had Caulerpa, but from reading your website I gather that its bad. I can't remember what that plant is that rooted in sand underwater and grows out of the tank. Should I go with that?  <Derek, they are called mangroves. Some people use them. Most use the macro algae called Chaeto for short. James (Salty Dog)> 

- Refugium Construction - Hi, I would like to thank all of the crew members at WWM for all of their quick and helpful responses they given me. I tried to search for a question similar to mine, but I couldn't find what I was looking for.  <Seems odd... I answered a similar question not three days ago.>  I am working on a 15 gal. sump, actually it is running, but I do not have it chambered so I can make it a refugium. I think to convert this I would just need to seal two panels, one on each side, so that the center would have most of the flow going over the top and not affecting the middle chamber. My first question is, what would the best material to use as panels?  <Glass or acrylic - either will do, would use the one that's easiest to get your hands on.>  I was thinking Plexiglas from Home Depot.  <Sure.>  Secondly, is there a silicone sealant that can be used underwater without adding any pollutants to the tank?  <None that I would suggest - you should really plan on doing this work in a dry tank.>  Or am I just going to have to drain the tank and use the sealant?  <Yes... this is your best bet.>  I know that your site recommends using 100% silicone sealants without additives, will the silicone package say that it is aquarium safe or am I just to assume that it is?  <If you pick up the silicone from a local fish store, you should be all set... even though Home Depot does carry silicone that will do the job, they have too many tubes of the wrong kind that would be too easy to grab. There is such a thing as "aquarium sealant" that can be obtained at your LFS.>  Thank you again for your help. <Cheers, J -- >

Refugium algae harvesting 2/22/05 Dear Anthony, After taking your advice I recently set up a 20 gallon refugium for my 90 gallon tank (I didn't have much space). I have a 4" sand bed with two types of macro (Chaeto & Gracilaria). When I bought the Chaeto about two weeks ago it was the size of a soft ball. Now it has tripled in size. <outstanding... truly one of the best genera for nutrient export/refugium use> It was tumbling around but now it is starting too get to big to move around freely. My question is how much should I keep in the refugium? Should I cut it back so it can tumble around again? <yes... exactly... do figure out your cycle of harvest (2, 3 or more weeks to halve it and keep it tumbling). And do be strict and habitual about harvesting it for long term success> Also It seems the fine sand that I used really compacted well and I was wondering if I should add more now or wait until it is below 4"? <not compacted... dissolved my friend. Oolite has a half life of about 18-24 months in aquaria. Do add more to maintain your desired bed depth> P.S. Is any one else amazed that you can buy a book and then ask the author questions. Well I am! Thanks again for all your help! <thanks kindly, but the honor is ours :) Anthony>

Refugium Lighting and Cabo Dive Operators Hello Crew, <Alan> I have an AMiracle sump with 6 gallons of water that I have turned into a pseudo refugium. It contains 8 lbs of live rock rubble and I added a nice clump of Chaetomorpha yesterday and some of those mesh like plastic kitchen scrubbies (found at Wal-Mart today, finally). No sand bed or mud. The intent of the refugium is to keep a gaggle of pods that I have purchased from Adelaide and the Reed Mariculture folks (very nice people to do business with). My question is how much light is needed to keep the Chaeto alive and well.  <Sounds great> I tried to find the "Lights of America" 13 watt CF's often discussed on WWM at Home Depot and Lowe's and they have both stopped carrying the fixture (but they still sell the bulbs). <Rats! Maybe they can be ordered over the net? As I recall L.O.A. has a site... maybe they could tell you where to get them?> At least that's the case here in Denver. What I did find was a clip light and a Sylvania soft white mini 60 watt compact fluorescent that has a color temperature of 3000K. Would this work or should I find a higher watt CF or higher Kelvin? <Higher...> Can you recommend a good dive operator you might have experience with in Cabo San Lucas to dive with. I'll be there in June. <Ah, I've used the four listed here: http://www.loscabosguide.com/diving/diving.htm  As is typical in the trade, many of the actual dive-masters, crew move "freely" amongst these outfits... they are all worthwhile> Thanks for all of your Brilliance. Alan <! Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Above-Tank Refugium Greetings Crew, Long time reader, first time writer... I have a question concerning the plumbing of an above-tank refugium setup. I currently have a 29 gal reef setup with 20lb of LR. I was looking to add a refugium to culture some live-food (copepods, etc) and some macroalgae. A hang-on refugium such as the CPR AquaFuge is out of the question due to space constraints, as is an in-sump refugium. I'm running with an Eheim Liberty 200 hang-on filter for chemical filtration and an AquaC Remora (powered by a MaxiJet 1200) for protein skimming. My plan was to build a 10 gallon refugium and hide it on top of cabinet which sits adjacent to the main tank (the cabinet top is engineered to hold at least 100 lb).  The refugium will be elevated (such that the base of the 'fuge is 18 inches above the main tank). My question then is: what combination of pump/siphon should I use? Should I even use a siphon for return water?  I'm assuming using a return pump for water would be inappropriate because if it were to fail, the refugium would quickly overflow? I suppose the trick is to maintain the same GPH input ration for the pump as the output siphon can handle? Would I simply have to use a valve (on the pump side) to tweak the water flow until it matches the siphon flow? Many thanks in advance for your help and thanks again for the excellent site!  <Chris, I would drill a hole in the acrylic refugium just below the normal water line and put a 3/4" bulkhead fitting in there and use this for your "return to main tank". You can use a power head to pump the water into the fuge, just size it correctly so it can't put more water into the fuge than the 3/4" line can remove. Do not submerge the return line from the power head. In the event of a power failure it will act as a siphon. Hope this is of some help to you. James (Salty Dog)><<RMF would actually drill two through puts... one slightly higher than the other... arrange for both to drain below... just in case...>>

Sump and Refugium Hello Guys, <Gary>             I have a 200 RR aquarium and I am using a 75-gallon tank as the sump and refugium, under the 200-gallon aquarium. The aquarium will be FOWLR, mostly angels and triggerfish. The protein skimmer I am using is the Euro-Reef's CS 12-1, with the two Sedra pumps. I will be using two Mag-drive "18" pumps to return the water from the refugium to the aquarium. My concerns are the heat associated if all of the components are housed in the 75-gallon aquarium and the space that will be devoted for the DSB and live rock, which is about 20" and 17.5" wide. Is this enough space for the sand bed? <You'll see... depends a good deal on the amount of livestock, foods/feeding...> Should I set the skimmer in a Rubbermaid container outside of the 75-gallon aquarium? <If you have room, I would... if not... in the 75> If so, how do I get the water from the container to the refugium? <Best to cut a good sized "equalizer" line, with through hulls twixt the two sumps... allow gravity to move it over to the 75> If I am to use the Rubbermaid container, should it also have a sand bed? Thanks, for you help. Gary <I wouldn't place sand there, no... best to keep sand/substrate away from, out of the Sedra. Bob Fenner> Refugium... "You've only just begun"... Bob I've been reading your articles and are very informative, I would like your opinion on building a refugium incorporating my existing wet dry, basically my inlet would flow over the bio balls with a skimmer in the same section then to the refugium chamber and on to the return chamber. the sump will be 50 gallons, and the tank is a 125. your input would be greatly appreciated. Chris. <What you have in mind can work. There's a bunch more to consider here... how to pump water twixt, arranging space for all... what organisms, substrate, baffles... to incorporate. You have MANY choices to make... and a need to understand what they are. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the linked files above where you lead yourself, TAKING good notes... When you work your way down to specifics, we'll chat. Bob Fenner> AquaClear Fuge input What do you recommend for the AquaClear fuge. I have a sand sifting star   and a couple of cerith snails which I find sifting the through it. I also have about 30 dwarf leg hermits, 5 scarlet reef crabs, about 6 Mexican Turbos, 10 astrea, and 6 margaritas. What kind of stuff can I put in the refugium to minimize phosphates and algae problems on the glass.<I would just put Caulerpa in the ref.  You don't want anything in there to gobble up the pods before they have a chance to multiply and provide a natural food source for the animals in the main tank.> I also read something from WetWebMedia's site about soft corals helping with ich since they filter out particles such as phytoplankton.<True, but they will never filter out all of it.> I don't know if this is true? How would I go about vacuuming my substrate because it is so fine? <Another crew member and I had a discussion about this.  It can be done with a long gravel vac.  Get the longest one you can find and try it.  You may have to keep trimming the vac part of it till you reach a happy medium.  As you know if it is too short it will suck the sand up.  James (Salty Dog)> thanks Joe

Confugion After thinking about what you said in the email about the AquaClear fuge <This is the 110 power filter, correct?> not being effective enough I have am debating whether I should send it back and get a CPR AquaFuge.<The choice is yours but I would certainly opt for one of those rather than use a power filter for a fuge.> I was looking at the biggest possible which is the 25" one. would this fit on a 55 tank since it has the center brace? Would this be better than the AquaClear and worth the extra money (AquaClear-$35.99 CPR-$114.99). If it wouldn't fit I would get the 18" version. I have no idea what I should do because it will cost money to ship it back and more money for a new refugium. Aahhhhhh help me out! <The CPR sizes are 13, 19 and 24" long.  You will have to measure your area.  For the 80.00 difference I would go with the CPR.  It also serves as a very nice bio filter as well.  You will need to buy (if you don't have) a small PC hood for the fuge since lighting should be on 24/7. This will run you another 30.00.  The choice is yours Joe.  I personally don't see the power filter working very well as a fuge since you will have to put a fine pad at the bottom to prevent the sand from getting out, and along with the sand in there, I don't think the water flow through this will be enough for that 428gph pump on this filter. James (Salty Dog)> thanks Joe

Aquaclear 110 for fuge http://www.californiareefs.com/tank7reef.htm That's the site were I found out about the AquaClear. The baffle is made from a piece of Plexiglas. I have also talked to the creator of the site and he said to shave off some of the impeller fins or buy a impeller for a smaller model to reduce the flow. Still what do you think I should do? <Joe, I thought this was a done deal.  You mentioned in your last email you were moving the tank to accommodate the CPR fuge.  If not, then I would go with the info California Reefs is giving you.  Obviously this guy built one and it works.  James (Salty Dog)>

Refugium Well I successfully moved the tank and I returned the filter to PetSmart and made money from it haha. Well I'm definitely looking into the CPR Aquafuge or just making one myself. Do you have any tips on make one myself or would it be better to spend 120 dollars on it. <Do a post on the WetWeb Chat Forum.  I recall a few people making their own.  There is a heading for just refugiums.  I think by the time you buy the acrylic, cement, something to cut it with etc, I think the $120.00 is well spent.> PS- I hope you aren't getting mad that I keep bothering you about this. <No, that's what we are here for. Good luck with the refugium.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Joe

Another DSB-LR-macroalgae-refugium question... Hi there! I have been reading through the WWM extensively for my project of starting a 90 gal reef tank. I have come a long way since I'm a beginner and am now fine-tuning my future set-up. Your feedback and answers are very important to me and I will not bypass any of your recommendations. Thanks in advance!  My questions and hesitations regard the refugium and the display tank DSB.  I'll start by explaining what I'm leaning to.   There would be a 4" DSB of aragonite (CaribSea Aragamax Grand Bahama Reef Sand: 0.2-1.2mm with some shells and bigger bits) in the display tank. I'm planning to put a small LR rubble zone as well as a cup or two of Chaeto in the display tank to help keeping the display tank's DSB alive. I guess I'll put around 90 lbs of LR in the display. Now the fuge would be about 30 gal with a 6" DSB of sugar-fine aragonite, a 20lbs rubble of LR and some macro-algae (I'm interested in Chaeto or Thalassia or Gracilaria or Ulvales). There will be a Wave2K device in the display tank and there would be a 600 gal/hour of flow from/to sump-refugium (a Quiet-One pump). <Mmm, a few things... if you can make the sump larger... I would... and do think about arranging the flow through the actual refugium part... to be less... what you have in mind pump, actual gallonage in flow, sump... will result in some thirty or so times turnover per hour... too much for the Chaeto, DSB> The fuge will be on reverse schedule and I'm planning to skim only at night when the fuge's light is on and the display tank is dark. I think it's important to mention that I would eventually (after min. 6 months of waiting) get a mandarin in there (display tank, of course). I want to produce a lot of plankton in quantity and diversity.  <It's obvious you've been doing your homework...> Here are my too numerous questions (sorry...): -After reading Dr. Shimek's article on setting up a DSB, I figured that the 0.2-1.2mm aragonite sand is lacking something. According to him, the DSB should include 40% of finer sand, that is between 0,06 and 0,12mm. Maybe it's not important enough to bother about it. Is it worth it or even useful to mix finer sand with the previously stated aragonite sand to get a better DSB? <Is of greater utility, yes... in the longer haul, a year or more, of minimal consideration... finer sand will be made otherwise> -For that matter should/could I mix some Biosediment from Kent of Mineral mud from CaribSea with the 0.2-1.2mm aragonite? If yes, do you have a preference for one of the two brands for the purpose of mixing it with aragonite sand? <You could use this material... I wouldn't... in the present circumstance (flow rates) this material is going to be "blasted" all over the place... If you can arrange to segment off the refugium part of the sump for lower flow, or better, place another sump/refugium in parallel... this "mud" matter can be placed... again, something very much like it will accumulate in time... from your LR... mulm...> -Regarding the macroalgae, I have eliminated the Halimeda because of competition with the corals for calcium and the Caulerpa for obvious reasons.  Now I'm hesitating between Chaeto, Thalassia, Gracilaria and Ulvales. Which one do you recommend best for my refugium? <Actually, all... If you had to choose just one? The Chaetomorpha... but if you could combine them, I would do so> Can I mix some of these? If not, can I mix them if there is one species in the display tank (let's say Chaeto) and another one in the fuge (maybe Thalassia or Ulva)?  <Yes> Maybe there is still a risk of chemical aggression and competition between the species when likewise "separated". <Yes, definitely... it's "in the water"> -I read on WWM that the water flow to the fuge should be fairly slow for the plankton but very strong for the macro-algae. What do you recommend in my situation? <Ahh!> Is my flow rate (6X volume of display tank per hour, meaning 18X the volume of the fuge) a good compromise? <Actually... the flow rate is a function of actual water volume (less than manufacturer estimate) per the REAL gallonage in your transit volume sump... this will NOT be 30 gallons... for one, the tank itself you will find is actually NOT thirty gallons (231 cubic inches in a gallon... go and measure), two, you won't be filling it all the way (as you will have a flood if/when the power or pump/s fail)... three, the contents of the tank (sand, rock, biota) displace some good part of the water volume... At any length, you will likely have less than ten gallons of actual water... My reason for encouraging you to upsize or add another sump> -I would like the system to feed the corals with plankton and not almost exclusively sustain the mandarin. Would it be wiser to give up the mandarin then? <Makes little difference... what goes in the Mandarin... will also help sustain your corals> Can such a system feed both the mandarin and the corals (and maybe two other small non-sifting-fishes)? <Yes> Shimek insists a lot on NEVER putting a sand-sifting creature in a system with a DSB. I want the mandarin very much but if you say to forget it, I will.  <Up to you... will add interest> -Can I feed the fishes with macroalgae from the refugium? Not everybody seems to agree on that. <You can> -Will I still get some benefit from the trace elements present in the aragonite sand even tough I'm on a reverse schedule (pH will be more stable and aragonite won't dissolve?)? <Yes> -Are the macroalgae I mentioned likely to compete with the corals for nutrients? <Yes, to extents> -Do you know where on the net I could find more detailed summarized info about each of these algae species? <Good question... no, I don't... but there is a HUGE amount of such data to sieve through in the scientific literature... and we have some articles on WWM re doing such searches> Here are three other questions that are not related to our subject, if I may take the opportunity to ask: -Is there a species of host-anemone that is not so risky to put in a reef tank? <Captive produced Entacmaea quadricolor number one> -Is it true that all LR that is not in full light are going to die? <No... it might surprise you to know that live rock is actually a good deal buried in substrate in the wild... that the "live" part folks "turn up" is actually "upside down" in the wild... out of the sun for the most part.> Some say to use base-rock at the bottom of the tank for that reason. I tough people were placing corals on the LV and that they would always be shaded anyway. Not sure to understand how to organize that. -Is there a way of organizing a somehow similar "micro-fauna-autofeeding-system" in a freshwater tank? <Yes... not commonly utilized in the U.S....> I again apologize for the long e-mail. Many thanks! Regards, Dominique Capelle <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Re: A short follow up... RE: Another DSB-LR-macroalgae-refugium question... Thanks for the quick and informative reply Mr. Fenner! <Welcome> So I will segment off a bigger fuge or place it in parallel (will discuss it with appliance person), reduce the flow with a valve, and mix a small amount of biosediment to the two DSBs. <Ah, very good> Now I still need to narrow down the choice of macroalgae I want in my system (fuge and display). I noticed that there somehow seems to be a friendly disagreement between you and Mr. Calfo about the use of macroalgae.  <Yes... and many others of us here (WWM) and the aquarium spiel world at large...> I remember some sentences from Anthony such as "please discipline yourself to use a single species of macroalgae... mixing is counterproductive... chemical aggressions...". Can you help me in my selection? <Yes... and in an effort to be clear/er... there are many species of algae on reefs in the world... mostly delimited in size, dominance by predation rather than competition... Similarly, in captive systems of size there is little difficulty of chemical competition problems...> As I said I'm interested in Chaetomorpha, Thalassia, Gracilaria and Ulvales. Are some combinations better (less competition and chemical aggressions)? <Yes... per unit... grams of organism let's say, the vascular plants (e.g. Thalassia), reds (Gracilaria, Chaetomorpha) are less toxic/trouble than greens (Ulva) in this order> My first concern is plankton production (don't know which one is better for that, best "epiphytic value"...). <All in all, considering what conditions prevail in most marine aquariums, the reds are better here> Of course, food source and nutrients export are also interesting "side-effects". Maybe it helps to mention I don't want to use more than 2-3 watts per gallon in the refugium (maybe not enough for Thalassia). I'll have 5 watts per gallon in the display. <The Thalassia has a much (likely an order of magnitude or less) rate of metabolism... it just doesn't "grow" compared to thallophytes... How to put this... we're back to the "argument" of whether to use more than one species... Which is what I would do... Will cc AnthonyC here for his (likely diverging) opinion... but I would place at least a macrophyte in addition to the embryophyte here... maybe one in the refugium, the other in the main tank> Regarding this: <<-Is there a way of organizing a somehow similar "micro-fauna-autofeeding-system" in a freshwater tank? <Yes... not commonly utilized in the U.S....> Is there information about it on the WWM, I didn't find any. If you had some reference (website or literature) it would sure be greatly appreciated.>> <There are no popular works/hobbyist in English as far as I'm aware. I would pay a visit to a large/college library for more information> Thank you so much! Regards, Dominique Capelle, from Montreal (Canada) P.S.: May I ask where you are located? <I am in S. California (San Diego). Anthony resides in Pittsburgh, Penns. Bob Fenner>

Re: Another DSB-LR-macroalgae-refugium question... Hi Mr. Fenner! Nowhere else do I get such complete and detailed replies. So it shall be Thalassia and Gracilaria in my refugium as well as Chaeto in my display tank. Nice of you to have cc to Anthony. Will be interesting to have complementary points of view. Am I right in saying that none of these (Thalassia, Gracilaria, and Chaeto) are likely to into a sexual repro phase? Thanks! Regards, Dominique <Seagrasses rarely "go to seed" under captive conditions... and algae... do reproduce by sporulation and sexually... but these genera, not a problem. Bob Fenner>

"Upgrading question" Hi, I have spent more money than necessary on my current marine set-up, and am hoping to avoid such errors as I move up to a 50 gallon from my current 30 gallon (30 gallon going to my snake). I currently have an Emperor 280 filter, Rio 800 and 200 powerheads, heater (dual temp), some live sand, lots of live rock - amount 45-50+ lbs, small clown, six line wrasse, Chromis (traded in my large aggressive clown for the latter two recently), 3 types of mushrooms, cabbage leather, clam, button polyps, snails, crabs, various "livestock" that has appeared over the past two years, and a 96w pc light w/ no glass canopy. <Your lighting is not going to be sufficient for the clam.>  I have ordered an overdue protein skimmer (Aqua-C hang on). <Good choice>  My problem...I want a refugium and am not sure which way to go- I am worried about getting a sump because I fear it will overflow in my rented apt., should I turn my little filter into a refugium and get a canister, get a hang on refugium, get over my fear of water damage, or some other solution? I will be getting the new tank within 1-5 months. Thanks for your advice, I feel lost with all the technology. Erica  <Hello Erica. No need to fear sump problems as long as the sump is sized properly. That is you don't want a sump designed for a 100 gallon tank. There would be too much water in the sump if you lost your siphon, and the return pump will empty out the sump into your tank, which would cause the tank to overflow. A suggestion for the refugium would be the Ecosystem Hang On 60. This would be the filter/refugium I would use in a 50 gallon. It definitely helps keep the nuisance algae down and creates an ideal breeding ground for copepods etc. I'll paste a link here for your reference. http://www.ecosystemaquarium.com/  Good luck on your transition. James (Salty Dog)>

Moving and Refugium 2/15/05 I am setting up a 20g refugium for my 55g FOWLR. I am going to be moving in about 2 months. Can I use the refugium to house my anemone and my clown fish while I set my 55 back up? <a good idea likely to keep the anemone fairly well isolate> Should I use the same substrate or would this be a good time to convert from crushed coral to sand? <either is fine if well cared for and with enough water flow> If so should I go with a deep sand bed, what sand do you recommend? <do a DSB if you need nitrate control> I guess I should add I have 60lbs of live rock. The tank has been up for 3years. And 1 more question then I will leave you alone.  What substrate should I use in the refugium? <coarse if you want amphipods... fine/muddy if you want copepods... with Chaetomorpha algae if you want Mysid growth> It will have a plenum. Thank you so much for taking your time to answer. Andy <best of luck and life. Anthony>

Refugium placement 2/15/05 - Del Antonio Good morning WWM crew. <howdy> First. Many Many thanks for all the kind attention y'all give to nurturing The hobby! I'm one of those Salt newbies (longtime reader, first time writer) who has enjoyed some measure of bliss/success because of your efforts.  <welcome my friend> On to my Question. I have a 50gallon display - Critters and Corals, and 20+ gallon sump under main tank with a chiller on a loop into a shed adjacent (on an outside wall) (with 20X flow for system). I'm thinking of adding a 100 gallon 4 chambered tank (scored used from LFS display) into the shed to increase total volume and refugium. <a good idea for stability and water quality> Can I / Should I move all flow/plumbing out to the refugium? <not needed... but fine if so> I'm thinking about plumbing 1 inch PVC to gravity feed from tank overflow into (outside refugium) and return to display. Removing the under display sump altogether. Or, pondering plumbing the refugium feed line into the under display sump. Then pumping from refugium, thru chiller back to display tank. Am concerned about having an extra 50 gallons in the system...with a 20-gallon open sump in the house, although I 'think' a 1-inch drain with 2(?) bulkheads would handle the flow. Thanks for your advice. Spencer Weiner, Santa Barbara newbie <I like the upstream, refugium idea (overflowing back down to the display) best FWIW. Kindly, Anthony> 

Refugium placement 2/16/04 Hi Anthony... alas, there in is the concern....it would be a downstream refugium. gravity fed from display to refugium, then pumped back up to display. still think it would be kosher? <yep... no trouble at all... very good either way. Give no thought/worry to the bunk issue of plankton shear with downstream refugia - the pods are just as edible on the other side of the pump :)> cheers to WWM! Spencer <kindly, Anthony>

Upstream Refugium - Del Jason <Morning.> Previous message (below) resending in hopes this arrives.  <My apologies for not seeing it the first time.> Good morning WWM crew. <Good morning again.> First. Many Many thanks for all the kind attention y'all give to nurturing The hobby! I'm one of those Salt newbies (longtime reader, first time writer) who has enjoyed some measure of bliss/success because of your efforts.  <Glad to hear... that you read first, ask questions later; and also that we're able to help.>  On to my Question. I have a 50 gallon display - Critters and Corals, and 20+ gallon sump under main tank with a chiller on a loop into a shed adjacent (on an outside wall) (with 20X flow for system). I'm thinking of adding a 100 gallon 4 chambered tank (scored used from LFS display) into the shed to increase total volume and refugium.  Can I / Should I move all flow/plumbing out to the refugium?  <You could.>  I'm thinking about plumbing 1 inch PVC to gravity feed from tank overflow into (outside refugium) and return to display. Removing the under display sump altogether.  <Sure... why not. My sump and pumps are in my garage.>  Or, pondering plumbing the refugium feed line into the under display sump. Then pumping from refugium, thru chiller back to display tank. Am concerned about having an extra 50 gallons in the system... with a 20-gallon open sump in the house, although I 'think' a 1-inch drain with 2(?) bulkheads would handle the flow.  <Would handle the flow, but you won't want to pump one sump into the other and then back into the tank... could be disaster if one stops pumping for whatever reason. Better to let gravity do as much of the work as possible.>  Thanks for your advice. Spencer W. Santa Barbara newbie <Cheers, J -- > 

Plumbing refugia + sand bed Hi guys. Can I plumb a 1" intake for my Iwaki pump directly into the one of my overflow( at bottom) for an upstream refugium I am setting up? Is this a sound plan?  <I think you're better off with the downstream ref.> Secondly, while I cure my live rock in a separate container can I go ahead and put the DSB in the main tank (new set-up) and seed it with micro inverts and/or live sand?  <Don't see a problem. You will have water flow in the system, right? Make sure you check the ammonia level in your curing container before adding to the main tank. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks a bunch. Sincerely, Stephan

Plumbing refugia + sand bed = part 2 Oops! Sorry for the lack of information. This system has two refugiums. The one in the sump (downstream) will house a DSB and live rocks. The downstream refugium will house Chaeto and perhaps a DSB too. The reason I want the intake in the overflow (shared) is because my bulkhead drains are pretty much maxed out with water entering the holes. I am using an Iwaki 40 for the upstream refugium. Thanks for your prompt and informative responses. P.S. Yes. there will flow in the tank for the sand bed.  <If your overflow is large enough to handle the return pumps without draining the refugium, you will be OK. James (Salty Dog)>

- Upflow Refugium - I currently have a sump/refugium under my 55 gallon tank. Can I turn this into a upstream refuge?  <Hmm... good question, I've not heard of the term "upflow" attached to a refugium before so I can only guess as to what that really means.>  I am having problems finding a diagram on the site of a well constructed upstream refuge. Could you help?  <My guess is that an upflow refugium would actually be placed above your tank... you would pump water up to it and allow it to gravity feed back into the main tank. You could use your existing 55g to do this but you'd need to have some holes drilled into it for the overflow, build a stand to get it above the tank.>  Thanks a ton Dominic <Cheers, J -- >

Bigger Skimmer/Smaller Refugium? (A Trade Off!) I have learned a great deal from your website and thank you so much for offering your invaluable experience and expertise to aquarium hobbyists everywhere.  You also have more patience that anyone should judging by the repeat questions you get and happily answer. <Thanks much for the kind words. we really love doing this and hope that it is of use to our fellow hobbyists! Scott F. here today!> I have looked in the forums and hopefully my question is specific enough to not classify as a repeat. This is my first post so be gentle. Whew, apologizing upfront JIC... <No need to do that, I assure you!> Anyway, I have a 65 Gallon show tank (not good) because it is tall and only 36" long. I have 80 lbs of live rock, 40# live sand, a Sea Clone 100 skimmer in the sump, a 200W heater, Coralife power compacts with 2 96 watt bulbs and Lunar lights, 2 Maxi jet 1200s pushing water around inside the tank, and a Mag 5 through a SQWD returning water from the sump to the main tank. Livestock consists of 2 Black Percula clowns, several Mushroom Corals, a Toadstool Mushroom, several Ricordea, a polyp colony, a feather duster, and a cleanup crew. <Sounds like an interesting mix. Your setup sounds pretty cool!> Okay, there is the background. I plan to replace my sump (made from my old trickle filter) with a refugium. Due to the limited size of my cabinet, I am getting a 24L X 12W X 14 H refugium that I will have the option of where to put the dividers. I apologize for being so long winded but I want to provide you with as much information as I could. <No problem, thanks> Okay, finally to my questions- another skimmer question for you. I like the Euro Reef based on the chatter I have seen here and was planning to get the ASM G-1X but am worried about the footprint (8 ½ X 11) and how much room it will take up in my small refugium. With the skimmer box and return pump box dividers installed, I will only have about 10 or 11 inches left for the refugium. Based on your superior intellect and knowledge of the game (sucking up here) <You talkin' about me? I didn't think so! :) > Will there be sufficient room for an effective refugium or should I go with an Aqua Urchin Pro (footprint of 8 " x 3.25") and gain 5 more inches of refugium space. <Hmm...sounds about right. I'm wondering, however, if the extra 5 inches of "floor space" is really going to result in a net advantage over using the larger skimmer in there. I think that these are both outstanding skimmers, but the ASM is a remarkably productive skimmer for the cost. If it were me, I'd accept the larger footprint of the ASM as a trade off.> Also, based on my setup, are there any other changes you would recommend? <Actually, the whole thing sounds pretty nice. I like the use of the SCWD to get some random current in there. Really sounds like a nice tank with neat coral that will really spread wonderfully given time, care and enough space.> Water parameters are good with the exception of the nitrates which I have not been able to get down below 10ppm yet (hence the refugium). <A refugium can help process excess nutrients if you utilize some macroalgae and harvest it regularly, thus removing it from the system altogether.> I follow your advice and do 5% water changes twice a week but only started doing those 2 weeks ago when I read the post where you advised this. <It's a really good habit to develop, IMO. It is relatively painless (I mean 3.25 gallons twice a week in your tank is easy!), and can help dilute some of the nutrients in your system before they have a chance to accumulate. It's easy on your tank's inhabitants, too. With good skimming, regular small water changes, and perhaps a deeper sand bed, you will hopefully see the nitrate trend down over the coming weeks and months. Keep at it!> Thanks in advance, Mike Henry <A pleasure, Mike! Sounds like you're doing great there, and the future looks bright for your system! Enjoy! Regards, Scott F.>  

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