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FAQs about Refugiums 7

Related Articles: Get Thee To A Refugium by Bob Fenner, Refugia: What They're For And How To Build Them by Forrest Phillips,Pressure Locking Sump Baffles; Welcome to the World of Versatility! By Joshua McMillen, Reef Systems, Reef Set-Up, Refugiums, Reef Filtration, 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 8, Refugiums 9, Refugiums 10, Refugiums 11, Refugiums 12, Refugiums 13, Refugiums 14, Refugium Rationale, Design, Construction, Hang-on types, Pumps/Circulation, Lighting, Operation, Algae, Livestock, DSBs, & Caulerpa, Marine System Plumbing Holes & Drilling 1, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing NoiseMake Up Water Systems, Marine Aquarium Set-Up, Live Rock, Live Sand Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, MysidsAlgal Filtration in General, Mud Filtration 1

One of the hundred or so species of Gracilaria sp.

Refugium Lighting And Macroalgae Use Hey Guys, <Hello! Scott F. with you today!> A couple of questions. I have read a lot of the FAQs pages but I have yet to see a definitive answer. Do you think 24/7 or a reverse cycle lighting is better. <Well, I personally favor the 24/7 lighting in the sump; it's just plain easier to do, and it has worked well for me (I am of the school that says, "If it isn't broken- don't fix it!"). However, it is certainly not "natural", and people have theorized that the constant light keeps the macroalgae in a sort of "stasis"- much more definitive research has to be done in this area. The "reverse daylight" technique has worked well for many hobbyists. The primary function of RDP and 24/7 is to maintain a more stable pH in the display tank. It really is open to debate and experimentation as to which is better> Also I am using a combo of grape, prolifera, and feather Caulerpa. My Nitrites are 0 my phosphates are 0 also. I see that you do not recommend Caulerpa why? <Caulerpa tends to be an extremely invasive macroalgae, even in a refugium situation. Also, it has a propensity to "go sexual", at which time gametes and cellular material are released into the water as part of the algae's reproductive cycle. This can cause a depletion in the tank's oxygen levels, and a substantial degradation of water quality as these materials decompose. Also, studies by hobbyists seem to have implicated that Caulerpa produces substances which may inhibit the growth of corals in closed aquarium systems. Some of these substances can be leached when the runners are broken, as they may be during "harvesting" of the algae> If you had one Caulerpa to choose which would you use or is a combo good. <If you are determined to use Caulerpa, I'd use a single species. I have always favored C. prolifera, myself. Frankly- I'd recommend an equally hardy, productive, and useful macroalgae, Chaetomorpha linum, which has many of the "benefits" and none of the downsides of Caulerpa. I use this macroalgae exclusively, and am very satisfied with its results> My refugium has only been active for 2 months but so far so good. Should I expect any problems in the future? <If your refugium is well thought-out, and a compatible combination of creatures inhabits it- there should be no difficulties> Also lots of amphipods in refugium, how can I get this life in tank? Fish eat all in seconds before they can hide. <You could simply net collect the "pods and feed them that way. Or- simply allow some to be carried into the tank via the refugium return...Maybe not the most efficient way- but it works> If you were to 86 Caulerpa what would you use (mangrove?) what are your thoughts? <Chaetomorpha, as outlined above, or possibly Gracilaria> By the way I am using a protein skimmer. Thanks Jim <Well, Jim- lots of controversy here. Make your choices based on your needs and concerns...Hope this helped. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Refugium Solutions... Scott, Thanks for the input.  I really appreciate the advice and love learning more about the hobby. <The learning and sharing is one of the best parts of the hobby!> I do have one more quick question...for now (I am not shy about asking questions). I am new to this so I don't know how to balance the inflow of water to the filter with the outflow of water back to the tank.  Amiracle says that the overflow box can do up to 400 GPH (I don't know how to verify that since it it gravity operated). <I'd trust the manufacturer on that one!> The filter literature recommends certain size return pumps for certain size tanks. For a 125, it recommends a 625 GPH return pump and for a 150, it recommends a 725 GPH pump.   I figured since my tank is a 135, it would probably be better to get something a little larger so I can scale it back.  Given the inflow rate of 400 GPH (?), does a return pump of 725 sound about right? <I'd go for a pump like the Iwaki MD40RLT, which is puts out 750 gph, is seriously reliable, and is quite efficient. There are a number of other models available that can do the job as well. Of course, you can always "dial down" the flow with a good ball valve. Do a little research, and you'll find many good alternatives in the 750 gph performance class...> Sorry, just thought of a second question from your response below. If I feed the refugium from the sump with submersible pumps, how would I determine the size of the feeder pump?  Should it be close to the 400 GPH coming in from the overflow box? <I would try a slightly larger pump and dial it down with ball valves as necessary...There will be a serious amount of tweaking and "wet runs" that you'll need to engage in to get it down, but it will be well worth it. You should check out the OzReef site for lots of good information on these types of setups and configurations. You may also want to talk with some fellow hobbyists about their setups- consider posting on the WWM Chat Forum...Lots of talented, helpful fellow hobbyists there!> By the way, I know it would be better having the refugium above the main tank so food could just fall into the tank instead of going through a pump, but I don't think there is any way I can get it above the tank.  This new 135 is big enough for a bedroom in my smaller house now :) Thanks again, Paul <Yep- that's always the tough part... Most people cannot configure the "ideal" refugium setup (overhead), but you could position it in many different ways...Be creative, and you'll come up with lots of good ideas for your system. Good luck! Scott F>  Refugium Scott, <Hi there!> I wanted to run something by you.  This was a suggestion from a friend. "It would be best if you treated it (the refugium) as a separate sump. That way the macro algae & critters won't be over filtered, and it would act as a back-up if the other pump (filter) failed, and vice-versa. I realize you would need a second overflow and pump, but I think it would be worth it." What do you think of this? Paul <Well, I agree that a refugium can be used as a sort of "second sump", but I'm not sure what he means by "over filtered". The refugium should be positioned in the system where it can receive "raw", unprocessed water from the main system, as this will provide nutrients for the animals that you are attempting to culture there. I do agree, however, that the extra sump will help handle some water in the event of a "drain down" incident, and that a well-designed refugium can offer many, many benefits for your system. Definitely an important consideration when designing your setup. Scott F> Re: sea grape Hello to All! <All of PF with you here tonight, Jason> I have a refugium that I've been wanting to put some macro-algae in.  One of my local fish stores have now started selling sea grape by the pound.  Would placing this in my gravity fed refugium be beneficial to my tank?  Its a 65gal.  75lbs of LR; toadstool, xenia and button polyps are my only inhabitants.. <Well, it sounds like they're selling Caulerpa racemosa. I'm not fond of Caulerpa as it made quite an effort to take over my tank, strangling off my xenia before I got it under control (thanks to a hungry tang). I prefer Chaetomorpha to Caulerpa - it doesn't crash, it doesn't try to take over the tank, and it doesn't produce allelopathic chemicals - all major pluses in my book. Check w/your LFS and see if they'll order it for you. OTOH, if you have a tang (or other herbivorous fish such as a rabbit fish) then you could try the Caulerpa and feed it to the fish. Personally though, I'm much happier with Chaetomorpha.> thanks, Jason...Surfs Up! <It usually is on the coast I live on, but not much fun to play in the Oregon surf, too cold for my blood. ; ) >

Adding a Refugium Good morning. Craig  I had sent a question to you the other day and would like to thank you for the very quick reply. <My pleasure!> I had sent info about whether I should start the refugium at a later date or right away.  Although I believe I didn't do the best job of describing my sump/refugium.  I should have written that the refugium and the sump are plumbed so that both have separate supply's.   Main sump 1 1/2" pipe from tank.  The refugium supply is a 3/4" pipe wedged off the main supply.  The refug. has a block valve, the feed to the sump does not.  This is why I have the capability to run the sump independent of the refuge.  Is your information still relevant with regards to starting the refug. right away or does this additional info change things?  It sounded like you thought that I could not use the sump without the refugium running. <Yes, then you can start the refugium at your leisure and bring it on line as it is ready.>   Thank you again from one dog show/ fish person to another.  I also was involved in the world of dog showing.  Conformation and obedience, showed an American/British bred greyhound and currently own 2 Italian greyhounds both retired now, hence the salt water tank to occupy my time.  Thx from Krista in Cold Lake Can. <Ah yes, we participated in conformation and herding events, then just herding events. Have lots of friends with Greyhounds and IG's. A little breakable for around here...the IG's anyway! (Too many cattle dogs) IG's are lovely dogs. Hope this helps!  Craig>

Blue/Green Algae in Refugium Hi Guys, <Hi Steve, Don with you today> I've spent a lot of time reading material on this site.  A lot of valuable information I must add.  My question today is as follows: <Yes indeed> I've built a refugium a while back ago and managed to bring my nitrates down to about 5ppm from 50+.  The refugium has been running for just about 2 years and is stocked with a hearty culture of grape Caulerpa only.  It is a 33 gallon lit 24X7 with dual daylight compact fluorescents and has a lot of strong current from the use of 2 larger powerheads.  For the first year I had BGA and Cyano Bacteria breakouts, but they'd eventually die off after a couple of months - at which point I'd get great healthy, dark green Caulerpa growth. My problem is that for almost the past year I can't seem to get rid of this stubborn breakout.  I try combating it by constantly mixing it up and having my skimmer try to remove it all, siphoning just about all 30 gallons out of the refugium once every 2-month large water changes. <I would recommend weekly smaller (10%) water changes. Have you tested your source water? Make sure it is phosphate and nitrate free> I'll siphon off as much of the organic die off from the bottom as possible here.  My tank is a 75gallon with about 85 lbs of live rock, so a 30 gallon water change makes up almost 30%. Anyway, I'm a little concerned with problem, because it is trying to grow on some of my corals and the display aquarium glass gets covered in only a few days.  Plus, of course, it is hindering the growth of my Caulerpa.  Some general background and water params are: <Yes, this stuff can be a chronic problem> 75 gallon display w / dual 175 Watt MH and 4 X 40-Watt Actinics DAS Impellor Skimmer removing about 1 cup per week of dark brown skimmate <This may be part of the problem. I would expect to get 1 cup per day with a good skimmer that is adjusted correctly> 1 X Magnum 350 Canister 1 X Fluval 440 Canister <These can be nitrate sinks if you don't clean them daily.> 1/4 pound of Marineland Carbon once a month Tank is 3.5 years old Ca (is this my problem?) was well under 300 for (I assume) months.  My SeaChem test kit had a problem (rock hard reagent B) so I used weekly doses of Ca Chloride which I NOW know has long term side affects.  I may have gone close to a year with low calcium. Bad move, I know. Ca and dKH for the past few days have been balanced (380Ca and 10dkh). If I maintain these parameters will the favorable conditions for other forms of competing algae help reduce the BGA?   <Yes, along with the above> Any long term implications of cultivating Caulerpa in a refugium?  I heard from some that the die-off can put too much nutrients in the system.  Is this something I should be concerned with?  Will activated carbon more frequently help? <Caulerpa has shown chemical warfare with some SPS corals. If you keep it pruned and in control, it is less likely to go sexual and cause a problem.> The overall health of my system seems good.  I have many soft and LPS corals that are doing well and the BGA seems to not attach to any live rock or areas with coralline growth.  Just heavy on the glass and my purple gorgonian until it decides to molt once a week to remove it.  I'm only concerned about this because the first year with my refugium, I never had this problem. Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated! <I hope the above helps. Don> Regards, Steve

Re: Blue/Green Algae in Refugium Thanks for the reply Don, <My pleasure Steve> Just one response to comment on.    I am guessing I'm skimming about a cup per week of dark brown skim about the thickness of chocolate milk, could be more than a cup, have never measured it.  My collection cup is about 5" diameter less the chamber portion of the cup which is about 3" diameter.  In this I get about 1" of skim twice a week from thick dirty bubbles overwhelming the collection cup.  Now there are periods during the day where it's not skimming at all, which from my understanding is a good sign that I'm removing most of the proteins. <If your bioload is small and you don't have any dirty eaters, this is OK. But to give you an example, I have a remora pro on my 75 and get a cup a day with 5 small fish and a few soft corals. Your call here.> I may just go out and buy a small Tunze Comline 3110 to stick in my 30 gall refugium.  I'm hoping this should help clear up the crud in there and help improve the lack of nutrient contents of the water returning to my display. Do you agree? PS, I failed to mention that I am using good RO water produced from well maintained Kent full-size HI-S unit. <Ah, yes, the ro/di will help with water questions I posted previously. Steve, if it were me, I would start regular, weekly 10% (7-10G), or even bi-weekly for a while, water changes with well aged water and I will bet you get rid of the BGA in a couple months time. As Anthony is fond of saying dilution is the solution to pollution! Hope this helps, Don> ...Steve

Re: New reef set-up questions I just saw another design  for a sump/refugium, which makes better use of the sump's space as a refugium. <true... but they illustrate the very thing that I despise about downstream refugiums... they consume a significant portion of the sump proper. Without the reservoir of a large sump area (where the return pump is) you will be a slave to evaporation for fear of burning out your sump.> I am attaching both designs. My target is to have a DSB in my sump (I'll go without the plenum), which will be able to keep my nitrates as low as possible, with some live rock in it as well as some macroalgae (I do not yet what king of macroalgae my LFS can provide me). Can you please comment the pros and cons of these designs? Thanks Thanassis <Thanassis... I want to help you my friend... but it seems like I'm answering the same question over a bit. In the last two e-mails regarding your sump plans/designs, I have referred you to what I feel is the best and most direct/simple yet effective sump design ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm). This depicts a primary chamber that receives raw overflowing water first and then a  large sump reservoir. The refugium can be treated in a downstream application (but separate small vessel) from the teed line off the return pump under the stand... Or... it can be fed (as an upstream refugium) above the display from the termination of the return line. Alas... I cannot state any more passionately how I feel this is best. Kind regards, Anthony> Blue/Green Algae in Refugium 4/28/03 Hi Guys, I've spent a lot of time reading material on this site.  A lot of valuable information I must add.  My question today is as follows: I've built a refugium a while back ago and managed to bring my nitrates down to about 5ppm from 50+.  The refugium has been running for just about 2 years and is stocked with a hearty culture of grape Caulerpa only.   <if the sand hasn't been added to or freshened (mineral depletion from the dissolution of aged aragonite) then you may have part of your problem solved. The other problem is that Caulerpa racemosa is one of the most noxious and toxic macroalgae... aquarists commonly report problems in the tank after about 12-18 months of use with it. Sounds like you made it longer <G>. Do consider Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha instead for better/safer vegetable filter matter in refugia> It is a 33 gallon lit 24X7 with dual daylight compact fluorescents and has a lot of strong current from the use of 2 larger powerheads.  For the first year I had BGA and Cyano Bacteria breakouts, <usually a lack of adequate water flow or a poor performing skimmer> but they'd eventually die off after a couple of months - at which point I'd get great healthy, dark green Caulerpa growth. My problem is that for almost the past year I can't seem to get rid of this stubborn breakout.  I try combating it by constantly mixing it up and having my skimmer try to remove it all, <the mixing of it spreads it rapidly... never stir> siphoning just about all 30 gallons out of the refugium once every 2-month large water changes. I'll siphon off as much of the organic die off from the bottom as possible here.  My tank is a 75gallon with about 85 lbs of live rock, so a 30 gallon water change makes up almost 30%. <all good here> Anyway, I'm a little concerned with problem, because it is trying to grow on some of my corals and the display aquarium glass gets covered in only a few days.  Plus, of course, it is hindering the growth of my Caulerpa.  Some general background and water params are: <water flow in the tank should be 10-20X... do consider the pumps have aged or become clogged too and are not delivering what they used to> 75 gallon display w / dual 175 Watt MH and 4 X 40-Watt Actinics DAS Impellor Skimmer removing about 1 cup per week of dark brown skimmate 1 X Magnum 350 Canister 1 X Fluval 440 Canister 1/4 pound of Marineland Carbon once a month Tank is 3.5 years old Ca (is this my problem?) was well under 300 for (I assume) months.   <wow... scary... and incongruous with the good water change schedule you mention> My SeaChem test kit had a problem (rock hard reagent B) so I used weekly doses of Ca Chloride which I NOW know has long term side affects.  I may have gone close to a year with low calcium. Bad move, I know. Ca and dKH for the past few days have been balanced (380Ca and 10dkh).   <very fine on the new Ca an ALK> If I maintain these parameters will the favorable conditions for other forms of competing algae help reduce the BGA?   <in part... pH needs to be high too... not below 8.3 at night... closer to 8.6 by day to hinder nuisance algae> Any long term implications of cultivating Caulerpa in a refugium?   <yep... its terrible for coral growth unless you are very systematic about thinning (never cutting or tearing it)> I heard from some that the die-off can put too much nutrients in the system.   <it can be dangerous... there are much better algae choices IMO> Is this something I should be concerned with?  Will activated carbon more frequently help? <weekly carbon does help> The overall health of my system seems good.  I have many soft and LPS corals that are doing well and the BGA seems to not attach to any live rock or areas with coralline growth.  Just heavy on the glass and my purple gorgonian until it decides to molt once a week to remove it.  I'm only concerned about this because the first year with my refugium, I never had this problem. Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated! Sorry, I forgot to add that I am using RO for all top-ups and water changes via a Kent full size unit with HI-S membrane. All replaced recently. I am also not dosing iodine. Regards, Steve Bihari <best regards, Anthony>

Nutrient-cycling... or lack thereof in his refugium Thanks Anthony, <always welcome, my friend> Just to follow-up, I tested my Nitrates yesterday.  And they remain very low still.  Less than 5ppm.  I've seen other reef tanks who are not using a refugium and they seem to have quite a bit of hair algae accumulating.  Since my refugium I have none ! <a good reading... but it does not mean that you don't have a nutrient problem in the tank... it can (likely) means that your excess nutrients are tied up in biomass somewhere... likely the waxing and waning BGA and/or the Caulerpa? I have never really been exporting any of the Caulerpa.   <Yikes!!!! A tank wipe-out waiting to happen! Please do research more on Caulerpa in our archives and beyond about events of Caulerpa "going sexual" or "vegetative" (wipe-out) for lack of thinning (not pruning... thinning)> Are you saying that I should avoid exporting since tearing may cause die-off?   <avoid tearing yes... but do thin by pulling unbroken (as best as possible) fronds out> Even with low nitrates (phosphate was low too last time I checked), could there still be other nutrients in the system as a result of the Caulerpa? <indeed... bound in bio-mass as evidenced by the waxing and waning of your problem> Thanks again, Steve   <best regards, Anthony>

Refugium sizes and nitrate reduction Greetings, I have a 300 gallon SW tank which has evolved over the past 8 years to the point where I would like to add a refugium, but have little room to do so. I bought the tank used, which was set up by the prior owner as a fresh water tank with overflow boxes to a wet-dry filter inside the cabinet.  I set it up after purchase as a SW, FO tank.  In doing so I removed the overflow boxes and drilled holes in the tank bottom and plumbed it with PVC pipe.  I thus have water coming to the sump at each end of the tank via the PVC pipe, and returned by a large pump in the sump to the tank.  I also have a large protein skimmer outside and next to the sump. Over the years the inhabitants of my 300 gallon have evolved from a community of very large fish to the following: a 12" horn shark, 7' sohal tang, a 7" niger trigger, a 4" flagfin angel, a 3" rusty angel,  a 3" coral beauty, a lineatus wrasse, and a few damsels.  I have two pieces full of mushroom rock that are doing quite well, and about 200 pounds of LR.  I would like to add some soft corals now but am concerned about my nitrate levels.  I change about 70 gallons a month, and my nitrates hold pretty steady at 40-50 ppm.  I would like to reduce that level before adding soft coral pieces.  From all the researching I have done, it appears that the best way to do this is with a refugium. Herein lies my problem. I have no room behind, above, or on the sides of my 300 gallon tank to add a refugium tank.  This leaves under cabinet space.  As things now stand, I have room only for a 10 gallon tank beside the sump (unless I put a 10 gallon refugium tank next to both the left and right sides of my sump --- the sump has 3 compartments: the center and right compartments is where the tank water drains into the sump, and the left compartment is where the protein skimmer returns water and the water gets pumped back into the 300 gallon tank).  If I replumb, which would be a pain considering the existing cut-to-size PVC pipe, I could fit a 20 gallon tank in the cabinet. Question: I know "bigger is better", but will a 10 or 20 gallon refugium make an appreciable difference in my nitrate levels to be worth the effort here?  Is there a better option available to me?  Thanks for your help. Elliot Segel <You need more biocapacity than 20 gallons to off-set 300 gallons. I wouldn't think it is worth it.  You make no mention of substrate, but if it's crushed coral, it and the wet-dry are the culprits, along with possible overfeeding/leftover food. I would look into more LR, a deep sand bed (like 5-6" fine aragonite) slowly weaning off the wet-dry and using the mechanical filtration in the W/D, perhaps with carbon but no bio-balls or wet/dry to produce nitrates. Clean all sponges, filter media at least bi-weekly to prevent nitrate production, rely more on rock and sand which will reduce nitrates. Also think of base rock in sump for de-nitrification, place to put more rock/sand. Hope this helps!  Craig>

Refugium 20 gal <Good evening, PF here.> I have a 75 gal tank I bought for $120. <Nice price, I'm almost embarrassed to say what I paid for mine.> It came with an oak stand, canopy, a medium sized powerhead, an undergravel filter, a small air pump (old whisper), and a magnum 350 canister filter. I'm making it a reef tank hopefully. <Ok then, you can skip the canister filter. Canisters need to be cleaned frequently, like every day frequently. If you don't, they turn into nitrate factories.>  I just ordered a sea clone protein skimmer that is 100 gph < That's rather under powered for your system. I would recommend an AquaC Remora or Remora Pro, you get more bang for your buck.> , 2 maxi jet 1200, versa - top, disconnect valves for the 350 <see above about the canister>,  300watt heater <I'd recommend a second heater as back-up>, and a natural wave timer <Such wave makers are very hard on powerheads and vastly shorten their working life. I would recommend you look at SCWDs instead.>. I plan on ordering at least 85 lbs. of live rock <Most recommendations are for 1-2 lbs. of LR per gallon, so that sounds good> and 80 lbs. of live sand <Skip the sand. Your live rock will seed your sand bed. Also, look into using a DSB.  Here's some info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dsbfaqs.htm > when I'm ready to set up. I m not going to use the undergravel filter. <Good> I want to put both maxi - jets on one end on the wave timer to circulate the water. <See above about the SCWDs, if you don't like that idea, then I would recommend just placing them on opposite corners of the tank and point them at each other.> One question <Well, I've seen a lot more than one question. ; ) > is how much watts per gallon is recommended, and what's best metal halide, etc...? <Ok, first things first. You need to decide what kind of a tank you are going to have first. There's many kinds of reef tanks, and that's where you need to start. Before buying anymore, I would recommend you read the following books: Mike Paletta's The New Marine Aquarium (a good beginners guide), Bob's Conscientious Marine Aquarist (a good all around book), and Tullock's Natural Reef Keeping (a good guide to ecotope type tanks). The more you know before you put in that first drop of water, the more prepared you will be to cope with any problems you may have, and the better your long term success. Read first, then decide what type of tank you want. That will guide your future purchases. > Second is I have a 20 gal tank with a medium size powerhead, undergravel filter, air pump, and a power filter. I want to make it into a refugium  (diy) under the tank but I will do a side by side. <Then you don't need the filtration system for it at all.>  I don't want it to leak or overflow is my main concern . <Leaks are bad, I lost my mantis tank to a filter leak.> What's the best way, I can use my 2 medium powerheads for the refugium? < It would take an act of divine intervention to balance two powerheads, you'll have water on the floor so fast your head will spin.> I really need to know plumbing  <Go forth and read young one: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbfaqsmar.htm > I have no overflows in the aquariums. <Overflows can be drilled (and now, before you have anything in either tank is the perfect time to do it. >  I'm going to put live sand in the refugium too. <Again, skip it. Planktonic larvae will settle there on their own, or you can seed it with some small pieces of LR, or detritivore kits from a commercial source.  I'm also planning on running the light times opposite of each other. <Good way to balance pH.> Does this system sound like its going to thrive? <Well, if you do some research and planning first, then you should be successful. Since you are interested in reefs, I would add Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals (a very thorough guide, lots of nice pictures and great info) and our own Anthony Calfo's Book of Coral Propagation, Vol. 1 (lots more than just coral info, also some very interesting display tank ideas). I know it's hard to let your tank sit empty, but it's well worth it. The return on your investment in time will be a beautiful tank that you can be proud of.>

Re: Refugium >Thank you very much for the advice Marine(a). >>You're welcome, Michael.   >Also, what type of algae plants that work good for the refugium? >>Oh my goodness, what an assortment you have to choose from.  Just about any macro algae, Caulerpa spp. often being the most easily acquired, cultured, and harvested.  I suggest you start here (take a look at ALL the links, I think you'll be amazed at the variety!) http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm >Thanks again!  Michael >>You're welcome!  Marina

Refugium - 4/17/03 If I do set up a refugium, what would be the best way to set it up? Utilize a DSB, some live rock, and some sort of macroalgae? <One method of many> Not Caulerpa though, not a good choice IMO. <Go with what you are comfortable with> With some reef type lighting, like a small PC? <Yes> I have also read about using Miracle Mud, would that be a better choice? <Not familiar with the product per se. Have seen it and read about it. I must say, I like the idea of it, but just not sure of the product claims. But a mud substrate is a good choice here as well> I was thinking of a small, perhaps in the 5 gallon range, hang on refugium. <Would work if you have the space. There are many wonderful ideas, DIYs, methods, as well as products, available not only on our site but also many other reef sites, forums, and vendors.>   I would think the water would be siphoned in the refugium and returned via pump. But would the propeller's in the pump slice up the pods enough to make them useless? <Not likely> Would it be possible to set up some sort of refugium in the sump, without lights? <Well, light is obviously important for macroalgae growth but I have heard of a 5 gallon aquarium with pumps to move the water, a deep sandbed of either crushed coral or oolitic sand, some sponges suspended in a tank or on live rock with no lights that seemed to be quite successful, but there are so many methods out there. My recommendation is to find what works for you, your space, and budget> Or would it be better to just grow some macroalgae in the tank? <You could do that anyway, as I like the look of it. You would need to be sure to crop/"harvest" it from time to time to maintain growth and the health of the plants> I am trying to think for the future. <And there is nothing wrong with that> I want to make sure that my system will be able to support the filter feeders for a long period of time. <Very good idea, and I applaud such thinking> My system may have some balance right now, but will the nutrients provided by live rock, live sand, dissolved fish food, and excrements be able to support the life of these inverts in the long run? <Hard to say. In some ways I want to say "I can see how that might work as long as you continue to feed appropriately and have plenty of places for the various life forms to live and hide", but then I do realize that the long term outlook is not good as the likelihood of the adults to be able to reproduce prolifically without predation (whether deliberate or accidental) is not realistic. Nature always seems to have a way of "happening" if you know what I mean. (Sometimes a cat, no matter how well fed, always seems to go after that bird. Not to eat it but because of a natural instinct. A poor example but you get my meaning.) I do feel that in time there just won't be enough adults to support the needs of the tank by way of larva as well as the various phases/sizes of "pod" growth. I think it best to give them a "safe haven" so to speak. With that, please take a look around the various sites out there and look in a few books. I don't know about you but I can think of a few knowledgeable authors to start with <VBG> Start here on your quest for knowledge if you have not already: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm  Later, Paulo- >

- How Often Should I Mow the Lawn? - Hello, <And hello to you, JasonC here...> I have a 23 Gallon refugium on my 60 Gallon tank. I recently added 1/2 lb of red Gracilaria and 1/2 lb of green Gracilaria. I have read that I should be harvesting this periodically. What exactly is "harvesting"? Is it just removing a small portion? <Exactly.> Thank you. <Cheers, J -- >

Refugium >Hello Bob, >>Not Bob, Marina here, greetings this morning. >I am thinking to purchase a refugium with a DSB, Miracle Mud, and light to use on my 105 gallon reef - is this worth to get one Bob? >>Bob would say that, yes, a refugium is DEFINITELY worth the investment.  However, Marina says nix the Miracle Mud, and just use a deep sand bed (sugar-fine sand, please, and if you need the buffering use something calcareous in nature such as Aragonite/Southdown (available at *some* Home Depots). >Thanks, Michael       >>You're welcome, and good luck!  Marina

Refugium question 4/14/03 hey there Anthony, how's it going?   <like a dog and I'm wearing Milk-bone underwear <G>> Anywho,  I plan to set up an above tank refugium for my 90 gal. reef.  I plan to use about a 30 or 38 gallon to do this, and gravity feed it back to my 90 as you recommend.  Well if I go with the 5 inch sand bed like you recommend , and use Halimeda , <all good> what kind of spectrum of light and how many watts would be good for this?   <depends on the depth of the tank. If this is a standard 30 gall at 18" deep... then 100 to 150 watts of PC or other fluorescent light would be fine. For a deeper aquarium... a single 150 or 175 watt MH with a parabolic reflector would be ducky> Also do I want to have actinic on this along with the daylight? <not needed unless you desire the aesthetic> Another thing is that in my display tank I have a bunch of Sargassum macro algae growing , I have to trim it cause it grows rather quickly, but  I didn't want to remove it completely, I wanted to put it into my refugium when I set it up.   Is it recommended to mix the different types of algae I mentioned?? <not recommended here... the Sargassum will outcompete most> Next here, I just bought another elegance coral after researching and looking carefully at the next one before I decided to buy, looks pretty good as far I my judgment goes.  Its a purple tipped with a light green body, I placed him about midway in my tank under a very shaded area provided by the Sargassum algae,  I know there supposed to be on the bottom, <if the skeleton is conical, they should be placed in the sand... deriving food/nutrition from the placement (DSB bacteria, etc)> should I put him under a dark on the sand instead?  My lights are 2 -175 MH on a 90 gal. <the sand would be best? I feed him a piece of silverside to see if he would eat and he has a very strong grasp while i tried to pull it away.   <the food is too large... smaller pieces please. Minced silversides, krill, plankton... or simply smaller whole prey like mysids> He is staying open all day and night , out of the other 2 elegance I 've had, none have stay open as long and fully as this one, and that he ate with in 10 minutes of putting him into the tank was not to bad a sign I would like to think.  Maybe my research and you're guys help may have paid off  with me finally making an educated choice on one of these.  Anyhow, on  the refugium lighting you have thankfully recommended to me above will this elegance survive for me if i take him out of the display and put him into that  refugium??   <I'd suggest t hat you simply leave the elegant on the sand bottom under the MH to live/grow in piece. Fear of being overgrown by algae in the refugium> thanks a lot. <best regards, Anthony>

A Good Book? (for refugium info.) Hello Guys and Gals, I'm setting up a 30G marine tank, with hopes of keeping 2 or 3 small, compatible fish along with a few hardy, low-light requiring soft corals. I'm researching designs for a sump/refugium for this tank. Are there any good books (in your opinion) that deal with this subject thoroughly? <About the best currently is Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation". A review of which can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bkcoralprop.htm along with the link that you can order it from). A new book by this same fellow and I has even more coverage... and should be out in a month or two... And I encourage you to peruse Ozreef.com for good DIY input here as well> I would like to acquire a mandarin after the fuge was established about a year or so, but still looking into it. The 30 might be too small even with a good supply of pods from the live rock and refugium. <Yes> This is not a must have fish, but very interesting indeed! I am, however, very interested in the benefits and fundamentals of a healthy refugium for my tank. A tank this small can use all the help it can get. Thank you so much for your continued volunteer tutoring of us all.             Respectfully submitted, --- Dave Adams <Do share your experiences. Bob Fenner>

Refugium? (in a hang-on power filter) I guess this is more of an observation than a question. I have a 55 gallon reef tank, DSB and LR. On it I have a Penguin BioWheel 330 filter (with one wheel removed, actually I could probably remove the other one too). I had noticed that I had not needed to change the filter cartridges in over 2 months. Normally I would expect overflow at the center of the unit long before then, indicating clogged cartridges. I decided to change them anyway. Upon removal, I found that they looked practically unused! I then noticed, on top of and through the pads, about a gazillion bugs! Talk about a "biological" filter! Of course, I couldn't throw them out. I guess I will keep these pads as long as the material stays intact, using the auxiliary media containers to hold my fresh carbon instead. Is this common?   <Not common enough, and very fortuitous. Bob Fenner>

Cyano in my refugium Hey guys, excellent site.. hours go by reading through the pages, like seconds. I recently attached a 20 gal refugium to my 90 gal established aquarium. the tank it's self had been an established Fish only tank for 4 years. the fish were removed to another larger tank, substrate reduced to 1/2 inch and 150 # of live rock introduced in two installments over a 2 week period with 2 175w halides w 2NO actinic on 12 hour cycle and  constant skimming with a Turboflotor (I love this skimmer, am I alone?) after 2 months of "cycling the rock" all checked out well, (test levels near nil)     I plumbed in the 20 gal refugium to have it's own overflow supply from the tank, and direct pump return thereto (no sump involved) there is 6+ inches of sugar aragonite, and about 15# of live rock, with PC prism pendant 96w on same 12 hour cycle as tank. (for now)     The flow rate is about 60gal/hour. ( I'm guessing there is only about 10 gallons of actual water in the tank) I placed one Halimeda sp. which doubled in size in the first week, along with 3- 1" snails from the main tank. (the main tank has a clean up crew of misc snails, red and blue legged hermits and one abalone,  pro-rated for 100 gallons.) Problem after about 2 weeks, the refugium is coated in red slime (Cyano) and requires daily siphoning (sometimes twice). I stir the top layer of sand, siphon off the plant, but to no avail. it's always back. your thoughts, comments and advice are greatly appreciated. <Physical removal (siphoning as you are doing now) and nutrient control will help manage Cyanobacteria. Small (10%), frequent water changes for several days or more will help with nutrient control. Have you tested the source water? Additional flow may help as well. See here and the links at the top of the page for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm.> Thanks for all the help so far! just think if only a fraction of the people reading your site write in with questions or comments, the number of people getting all this advice must be staggering. excellent for the hobby. <Amazing isn't it Blair, thanks being a part of WWM and for the kind words. Don> Blair

Populating a Refugium I was wondering if it is ok, or not to use a refugium (10 gal. 2 32w PC lights, as a propagation tank for soft corals such as star polyps and xenia? <I don't see why not...I've seen people experimenting with xenia in refugiums and raceways as a means of nutrient export...interesting stuff. Besides, when you think about it, if a refugium's purpose is to provide a safe, undisturbed environment for animals to propagate and grow, then why not include some soft corals?>   Fuge is in an area that it is actually displayed, and I have some big softies. Want to frag them out will this take away from the effectiveness of the refugium? Thanks <I don't think that this will detract from the effectiveness of the "fuge". Once again, it's all about what you want to accomplish-providing a safe place for coral frags, growing macroalgae, etc. Just plan and execute accordingly. There are few "rules" here, really...Using a refugium is really a "cutting edge" concept...Have fun with it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Refugium strategies 3/19/03 Yo guys, <yo dude> The WWM crew is the best (but) I sent in a question regarding the possibility of setting up a combo protein skimmer/refugium. My logic was that the "dirty" water from the tank surface would spill into the refugium first since this is the most nutrient dense water, which would benefit the refugium inhabitants. The "leftover" water would then be skimmed and returned to the tank. <there are many ways to employ a refugium... this is not one of my favorites in general (I prefer upstream). If you use a skimmer and believe in it at all... then it should always receive raw, overflowing water first to export organics before they can be mineralized (as with a trickle filter and to a lesser extent, refugium animals and biotic activity). Furthermore, an upstream refugium overflowing down in to the display suffers less impeller shear (minimal albeit) of plankton> I received two separate replies from you guys, both of which were in direct contradiction (one answer confirming my logic, the other suggesting the opposite, that the skimmer comes first, then refugium, then return to tank). What's the straight scoop? <either can work... based on the limited info provided, we can only share opinions. If you said your fuge was an animal filter (Xenia, Aiptasia, etc), I'd say keep it downstream for catching particles of food... if you said it was to be a plankton generator... I'd suggest upstream (for overflowing plankton and epiphytic matter). All have merits and limitations... there's no one best answer> It seems to me, IMHO, that having the refugium spill into the main tank would run the risk of possibly contaminating the main tank with nuisance algae. No? <not correct... frags and spores of nuisance algae make it throughout pumps and the entire system at any rate. No worries here.> Some clarification would be helpful... Silicon Valley Steve <best regards, Anthony>

Crab Boil Hello guys... <Hi Mario, Don here today> It finally happened.  After 2 years of clear sailing, something has finally gone terribly wrong in my reef.  My siphon overflow stopped overflowing (these things are constant trouble IMO).   <I don't believe that anyone here will disagree with that> Luckily, I have a float switch that stopped the return pump from the refugium, so the tank did not overflow.    Unfortunately, my heater is in the refugium and the temperature sensor is in the main tank.  Without circulation between the two tanks, I came home to find the main tank was about 76 F and the refugium was HOT... well over 120 F (that's as high as the thermometer goes.)  I can't describe how terrible it was to walk in to the smell of cooked seafood (actually smelled sadly delicious).   <So sorry to hear> I had about 35 lbs of live rock and some Chaetomorpha in the refugium.  Should I junk the rock or do you think it's still got some life to it?  Keep in mind, this stuff cooked for probably the better part of a day.    I have put it in a big Rubbermaid to re-cycle, but if you think this is futile, I'll just trash it.   <You are on the right track and the rock will be useful in the future, 'restocking' with beneficial life over time.> Luckily, the reef itself seems unscathed.   <Indeed, the aquarium angels were with you> To anybody reading this email I can say two things: 1) put your temperature sensor and heater in the same tank and 2) siphon overflows are an accident waiting to happen.   <Well said> Thanks for this opportunity to vent and share my sad story with somebody.  You guys are the closest thing to therapy I have. <Well, as long as the topic is marine aquaria, I will try to help, just don't start me on that meaning of life stuff <G> > -Mario

Thalassia refugium setup 3/15/03 Hello Bob and crew! After reading your articles on the benefits of Thalassia, I've decided to convert my refugium to use Thalassia.  A few quick questions: 1) My refugium is 20" tall.  With a 7" DSB and ~2" overflow protection, this leaves ~11" for the Thalassia.  Is this enough vertical space? <not really... but no worries... sea grasses need to be cropped for vigor/health. Many of the current diseases of seagrasses are theorized to have been migrated by the lack of predation from over-fished grazers (sea turtles, manatees, etc) which leads to overgrowth and decay> 2) The DSB is composed of a mix of fine aragonite sand and some leftover epoxy-coated silicate sand (from a freshwater setup; mixed in before I knew what I was doing).  Will this sand be okay for the Thalassia, <not sure... in seawater it sounds a little shaky. Probably OK> or should I dump it and replace it with all fine aragonite? <for how small the tank is... the latter gets my vote> 3) I'm currently using 2x18W "Eclipse daylight" (5500K?) bulbs for lighting.  Is this adequate?  (or rather, what lighting would you recommend?) <not even in the ballpark, alas... you need at least 100 watts over a 20 gall for sea grass. Select warm colored lamps around 5500-7000K temp> 4) Can I run the lights 24x7 or is there a recommended photo-period for Thalassia? <24/7 can only be done over Caulerpa... none others commonly available. Employ a normal photoperiod of around 12 hours> Thanks!  Your website has been truly invaluable! David <best regards, Anthony>

Refugium selection Hello guys, >>Hello Frank.  Marina here. I have a 55 gallon reef tank , 4 inches live sand 90 lbs LR, CPR BakPak2, 260 watts pc lighting.  All is well, I have been keeping a small bunch of Chaetomorpha in the corner of the tank an am getting  of pruning it.  So I figured a CPR refugium.  There are three sizes to consider.  I am not poor, but I am thrifty and try to save money where I can, possible.  Should I get the biggest one?  Is it really worth putting a sand bed in it, or should I just get one that will accommodate my macro and my heater?  I have no nitrates in the aquarium (at least undetectable) so the present amount of algae is working, is there any other advantage of getting the largest one other than sand bed?  Thanks. >>Well, truth be told I'm an advocate of going bigger when you can, especially in terms of filtration.  Yes, in my opinion the sand bed is worth it, especially if you currently have or may be getting any filter feeding critters, or other animals that will appreciate the microfaunal ("pod") growth for feed. >>If you get the largest size you'll have room for upgrades in the future, including any stock additions.  Having that extra room for any unforeseen disasters is ALWAYS a plus in my book, too.  If you just don't want to go for the biggest one they're offering, then consider just going one size up to give that extra breathing room.  I think you'll be more glad that you did that in the long run.

Refugium plants and algae mixing 3/13/03 I have a question regarding mangroves & other micro algae's in a refugium. Must you use one or the other or can you combine mangroves and micro algae in the same refugium. Many Thanks, John <you may certainly combine algae with mangroves in refugia, bud... mangroves are more ornamental- the macroalgae will be a better vegetable filter for you :) Best regards, Anthony>

Refugiums, macroalgae and reef plumbing Hello, <cheers> Can you tell me the best set up for a  ecosystem mud filtration unit, my tank will be a 125gl with twin overflows. I need to know what is a good pump, and how should I run the lines from the pump to a heater/chiller (aqua-Therm) and back to the return. I want to have at least 1000-1200 of gph for the sump and I need at least 600gph for the chiller so it will not freeze up, that is the manufactures  states. I was thinking that I could use a mag drive pump rated for 1500 or 1800gph to do the job. <please view the illustration and following links to get an essential take on the matter: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbfaqsmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reeffilt.htm how do you rate the Kent marine Biosediment to the miracle mud( I hope you are liquored up to tell me about it)? <I find them both to be equally useless and overpriced and would advise a deep bed of fine oolitic/aragonite sand instead (6" or more) :) > I also need to know why you said sea grass is a better choice than Caulerpa and why don't ecosystem tell you why. <actually... seagrasses are not the only or best alternate for Caulerpa. But Caulerpa is frightfully noxious if neglected and has been shown scientifically to impede coral growth. They are not found naturally together on a reef. Other algae like Chaetomorpha and Gracilaria are more stable and less toxic if neglected> They don't have the patent on plants, right so why promote a species of plant when  there  are ones that are better for filtration, <because Caulerpa was one of the very few "plants" available in the hobby when Leng Sy first developed his mud system and they are the only common macro that can remain in stasis if lit 24/7> how  can I get some of this sea grass. <seek Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria instead from IPSF.com (AKA "Tang Heaven" or Hawaiian "Ogo")... or from inlandaquatics.com ("Spaghetti algae")> thank you, and I appreciate you site .   Mr. McCoy   <kind regards, Anthony>

Refugium Questions Hello to whomever is at the helm 2day.  Once again just wanted to thank you all for the time and dedication that you put into the website and answering what must be an immense number of questions every day. <Ha!  You have that right!> For all us beginners and experience alike your help and knowledge you provide is invaluable.   <We are happy to help!> I plan on having a 4-5" DSB in my main 75G reef tank that I'm assuming will take care of any nitrate problems and a 20G sump for all the mechanical and chemical (carbon) filtration.   1. I read in one of the FAQs that a refugium can be used for nitrate control, vegetable filtration or zooplankton production.  I understand how to setup a refugium for nitrate control, but I'm not sure how or why you would want to setup one for the other 2 options.  I'm assuming it has something to do w/ livestock. <Vegetative filtration uses nitrates/nitrites for plant growth, then removal from system. Also provides pH consistency if lit on reverse photoperiod from main. Zooplankton is for fish and coral food.  All good and helpful.> 2. I also read in one of the FAQs that Caulerpa can be a problem and that Seagrass would probably be a better choice.  Would either of these choices become a problem in the main tank w/o pruning or having herbivores? <Use these in the refugium, not the main.  Caulerpa is a good food source for Tangs, herbivores, but can become a problem w/overgrowth in main. I would use either in refugium and harvest to remove nutrients from system. Light Caulerpa on long/24 hour cycle.> 3. I was planning on a 10G refugium above the sump in my cabinet. <This might be a fun project, but really too small and in the wrong place to be of much use. Please read the refugium articles on WetWebMedia.com, these will help!> The pump for my return line is probably going to be a Mag 18 which will give me ~15x turnover. My question is, could I tee off of my main return line and have a valve to control flow to the refugium or would you recommend a separate pump in the sump to feed the refugium? <You can tee off the main, but I still recommend reading up on refugiums to see the best set-ups. These are usually over the main, pumped from a tee on main pump line, and draining passively into main, then from main to sump, and around again.  Thus your 15X turnover is maintained with refugium in-line.> And if option 1 will work, will it take too much from the pump to maintain the 15x water turnover. <The added head height will need to be factored in.> I believe that's it. (until next time)  Hope all my questions were clear and I anticipate your reply. Thanks so much once again for your dedication to life and this wonderful (EXPENSIVE) hobby. Best regards, Jeremy <Hope this helps Jeremy! Wish I could wave a wand and makes us all a bit wealthier!  Craig>

Refugium design I have been reading a lot bout refugia. Every article seems to leave out critical info I need to fully understand its purpose for the reef system. I'm wondering about a couple things regarding my infant 90gal system. I have a trickle filter, a Prizm skimmer, and hot magnum. I'm also using Chemi pure. I have like 150 lbs. of Fiji Live rock, and live sand as well. Lots of crabs, snails, and shrimp for cleanup, and rarely have to put my hands in the tank. Its really maturing well, I think.....What will a refugia do for me to boost my reef, and exactly HOW do I go bout attaching one to my system. i.e: Size, how to attach it, how to incorporate it with current system, pumps......what to put in it? I'm basically asking you to give me a run down, or step by step procedure, and the benefits for spending yet another couple hundred on an otherwise already large investment. I forgot to mention....I have a yellow tang, blue jawed trigger, midnight angel, one percula, one yellow bellied damsel, and a black goby of some kind, along with one very large leather coral, one brain, and a Fungia....assorted crabs, and shrimp/snails....They all are getting along just fine! Thx in advance for your response      <Hi Tim, Don here tonight. I prefer an upstream refuge. The tank should be 20-25% of the main volume (bigger is better) with water flow around 5-10x refuge size. Have the tank drilled for an overflow gravity return to the tank. Use a power head in the main tank to deliver water to the refuge. A DSB (4-6") with some type of macro algae, like Chaetomorpha (spaghetti algae) and some type of daylight lighting over the refuge tank. The benefits are many. See here for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm> Sincerely Tim

Heavy Bio-load and Aiptasia scrubbing 3/10/03 Anthony, Thank you for the response. <always welcome my friend> I can see your point about using the Aiptasia for only heavily stocked tanks, <indeed... they are a boon or scourge <G> At this time I think our tank is packed, and we do feed a lot. One of the reason why I am sure we have such of an out of control infestation. <agreed... I've done the same thing of course. In fact, it was a corrupt interpretation of the old Adey (Smithsonian) style algal scrubber in a heavily stocked public aquarium that spawned the realization that these anemones could work as animal filters> We want to change that when the tank is setup again this coming spring. <agreed... better to not have lemons than have to make lemonade that you don't even like :p > We had thought about a copperband butterfly but in our area they are never found. I hope that will be a different story in Las Vegas. <you will find them in time... no worries. All in the US come through LA> We do have a xenia farm in our tank so it might worth the effort ((if Amy will help out)) to ship it and use that instead. <yes... awesome!> Thank you so much for clearing things up. We will look into a better refugium scrubber idea in the next two or three months. <heehee... when Amy gets her copy of our new book after it is released, borrow it <G>... refugiums, plants and algae take up 20% of the book!> Clair Jones <with kind regards, Anthony>

Refugium predators 3/6/03 Thanks for the reply....HMMMM No macro organisms huh? Such as Sea grass, Gracilaria algae etc??? <no Peter... a misunderstanding. I was responding to your question about putting crabs, snails and the like in... not the algae or plants. By macro-organisms, I meant predaceous animals. Too often folks, put shrimp, crabs, corals, small fishes, etc in the refugium which eat the plankton that you are trying to culture with your "vegetable" matter> So ...not to combine a fuge for food production and nutrient export? <food production (plankton) and nutrient export (vegetable filtration) are done ideally and very successfully together here. Just be sure that the animals you add to the 'fuge are merely microalgae grazers to be safe> Perhaps you are getting at food production upstream and export below...prior to sump as in a raceway scrubber??? Please reply When is the book ready... Would love to chat more about the breeding/marketing of crabs snails critters and the like Peter <excellent, my friend. Best regards, Anthony>

Refugium seeding 3/5/03 Hi Ant... How are you today. <good, my friend... with hope you are the same> Was hoping you could help me clarify a few things. <no worries... I'll just make up something convincing if not <G>> I am just filling my 90g and 40 g above tank refugium. Live rock going in tomorrow. Now after cycle is done, (4" sand bed in both) I will probably be getting some items from IPSF. Having said that aside from the algae species in the fuge, what should I seed the fuge with for planktonic growth to feed the reef inhabitants. <I would seek some fellow hobbyists & aquarium societies that can share live sand samples with you to get you mysids, copepods, amphipods, and polychaete worms (Terebellids, errantiates (including bristleworms), etc). Some of this can be obtained from live rock that has not been kept with any/many fishes... more comes from sand in mature tanks and refugiums. Please also check out Morgan Lidster's goods at Inlandaquatics.com  He has cool bugs, sea stars, algae, seagrass, etc. Nice kits like IPSF> As well, should additional life of identical species also be placed in main tank? or just let it flow down stream? <the latter> As well, Do snails and the like (hermits also go in fuge.... Hope to hear from you. <snails are OK is strictly herbivorous... but no crabs at all (!) or other carnivores like most shrimp. Do keep your refugium very simple and plain (without macroorganisms) if the purpose is to produce plankton> As well seeing that the market is saturated with those selling and propping frags and the like it seems to make sense to try a possible venture in offering packaged  Fuge kits and the like ... <yes... very much so!> of course there is inland and IPSF. Yet was wondering if you could steer me toward info on breeding this sort of life be it micro stars hermits Trochus Nerites Mysis Gammarus etc. <all worthwhile ventures for certain. And there is plenty of room in the market for all for years to come. Chatting about culturing these creatures will take time. Bob and I wrote almost 100 pages on plants, algae and refugiums in the new book (384pp). At the risk of making a shameless plug <G>... let me suggest you check that out first and follow-up with questions. Heehee... in fact, our last minute additions to the editor for this book in part are what have delayed the delivery by a month as well as added 84 pages to it (no change in price though). Kind regards, Anthony> Refugium lighting 3/5/03 Waz up again Anthony, <not much G-money> I have a 90 gal. reef, and I just purchased a 20 gall. long acrylic tank to make into a refugium.  Its used so it has bulk heads drilled already, and i plan to put it above the 90 and gravity feed it back like you recommend. <excellent> Its dimensions are 36" x 12x12 , of course i will need to glue some baffles in there but what height would you make these baffles?? <I don't see why any baffles are needed at all. Enjoy a full sized refugium my friend. Just use a high water over flow (drilled holes)> I will put in a 5" aragonite sandbed and couple pieces of live rock with lots of macro on it that I've been holding in my main display.  Also what light fixture do you recommend and how many watts to insure the survival and growth of the macro algae and plankton??  I know you'll steer me right , thanks bud <the light you need depends on the species of macro you keep. Most need very bright light hailing from shallow water. Somewhere around 5 watts per gallon would be a minimum IMO for a vegetable filter/refugium. Kindly, Anthony>

Adding refugium to control hair algae I have a 150 gallon glass tank - bought everything from financial advisor (used). Two external pumps - Little Giant's  2MDQ-SC and 4MDQ-SC. One on each side of sump. Left side has 4MDQ running Berlin skimmer and going back to tank, right side just return to pump.  Lights are 3 250 watt 12000K MH and 2 VHO Actinic (Blue).  Being color blind doesn't help.  Anyway I like the effects.  I believe the water temp is too high - gets up to 84 sometimes.  Large amounts of hair algae all over.  Have bought various amounts of turbo snails and blue-legged crabs.  Turbo snails are doing fine, cannot find crabs at all, usually gone after 2-3 days.  Have cinnamon clown, yellow tang, and dragonet.  3-5 inches of aragonite with 20-30 pounds LS, 40 pounds of LR.  I know I need more LS/LR.  The other problem, I work 250 miles away from aquarium, only come home on weekends, wife adds fresh water daily, about 2-4 gallons per day.  LFS tests water on weekly basis, say everything ok.  I can't believe this because of the hair algae.  What do you think about putting a mangrove refugium (or whatever you call it) in addition?  I have a 10 gal tank sitting around, would this be big enough or should I go bigger.  How would I plumb this to work properly?  I'm getting confused with all information available. <OK, Sit back, take a breath...now let's continue. <G> The algae is a problem of nutrients. If you remove (or don't introduce) nutrients you can control the algae. The LFS says the water is 'OK', we need numbers on the source water. Specifically phosphate and nitrate. Phosphate should be 0 and nitrate should be very low if not 0. If not, you might consider RO/DI water. The refugium is a good idea for nutrient export. You need a tank at 15-20% (bigger the better here) that of the main system volume. Chaetomorpha (Spaghetti algae) is all the buzz right now for nutrient export. Mangroves actually grow too slowly to be of much benefit, but are a nice visual addition. You don't mention other livestock? Overfeeding will introduce nutrients as well. See here and the links at the top of the page for more about algae control: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm. See here and beyond for refugiums: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm. As far as plumbing the refuge, set the refuge tank a little higher than the display. Have the tank drilled for an overflow return and use a small pump to deliver water to the refuge. Put a light on it, 4-6" of fine aragonite sand for substrate and off you go. Water changes will help as well, 5% a couple times a week would be good. For the heat problem, try a small desk fan directed over the top of the sump to provide evaporative cooling. Take care, Don>

Foam on The Macro I have yet another question for the experts! I have a refugium with various macro algae's mostly grape and feather Caulerpa , I harvest weekly and the lights are on 24/7. <Good nutrient export if you harvest weekly!> I have noticed that on the water surface in the refugium a white foam that collects around the algae, the surface is agitated by the water flow from the main tank.  Any idea on what this is and what needs to be done if anything. As always your opinions are appreciated. Mike Winston <Hey, Mike- I know exactly what you're talking about here...I've seen it too. Sounds like some organic foam, possibly analogous to "skimmate" from protein skimmer effluent (but not as concentrated). I'd remove it by using a net, or a piece of paper towel placed on the surface of the water in the refugium, then quickly removed. Hope this helps! regards, Scott F.>

Micro-Refugium - 02/26/03 Hi: <Hi Chris, Don tonight> I have a 55gal (48") FOWLR setup with 5" DSB, 25lbs. LR, Bak Pak 2R Skimmer, 800gph circulation.  I am interested in a refugium, but I am currently out of cash.  I was wondering if I can use an in-tank acrylic breeder that I have laying around and put some crushed coral (again, laying around) in it and get some sort of copepod, amphipod thing going?  I read in the daily's recently that CC is a good substrate for their proliferation.  Maybe stick a piece of algae in there too?   <How big is the breeder? A gallon or two? You could set this up if you wanted, but won't have a real big affect. You really want at least 10G and 15G would be better. Now you could setup the breeder with the intent of using it to seed a larger refuge later? Hope this helps, Don> Thanks, Chris.

Hang on Refugium and inhabitants Hey guys... I've left you alone for a while, but I'm baaaack...  ;) <Welcome Jeremy, Don tonight> Since my tank is not drilled for an overflow, I will be installing a custom-made hang on the back refugium.   <Sounds good> In the interests or reducing the number of "things" inside the tank I am considering having the refugium being fed by the return from my Eheim 2217 canister filter (flow rate is about 260 gal/hour).  I thought I had read in a FAQ somewhere that you recommend the refugium be fed by raw tank water, but I was thinking that my setup idea might be better for a few reasons: 1) save money on buying another pump, 2) reduce the number of artificial items inside the show tank, 3) the water the most likely to be highest in nitrates would be from the canister filter... the macroalgae in the refugium could tackle this as it's produced and before it enters the display tank.  What do you think? <All good reasons to move forward. Forge on!> Also, what inhabitants would you recommend for this refugium.  It will be 21" X 4" X 16" with a 4-5" DSB.  I plan on having Caulerpa and Hailmeda (sp?), and was wondering if I need any snails/shrimp/crabs etc to maintain the DSB?   If so, what species would be best? <I would stay away from crabs and shrimps and stick with snails. A mix is good, Nassarius, Cerith, Trochus, Astrea, etc. You don't say if this is reef or FOWLR. If reef, I would stay away from Caulerpa and use Chaetomorpha. Have fun, Don> Thanks in advance, Jeremy

Refugium Confusion! Hello again... <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I wrote earlier with a battery of questions about my refugiums...sorry if you thought I might be done.  Refugiums are complicated beasts ; ) <It's always good to ask more questions...don't apologize about that!> This question is in regard to my 10 gallon, soon to be online, under tank refugium.  I have no choice but to use a below-tank system this time (too bad...my gravity feed works so well).  But alas, I am too short to reach a tank above my 120 gallon, so I see no other options. Okay...the question...Wouldn't it be just as effective to have the refugium feed into the last chamber of my sump or should I plumb it directly into the tank with a pump? <In my opinion, it should go right to the tank. One of the main purposes for utilizing a refugium is to supply nutrient processing and serve as a supplemental food source. By not returning the water from the refugium into the tank, you'll be depriving your system of the best benefits> I can't see any disadvantages to sending the refuge water up to the main tank with the sump return. <You can- but I think that the "processed" water is then being dumped back into the sump with the "unprocessed" water, further reducing the possibility of potential food sources (plankton, pods, etc) being released into the main tank> Either way it will have to go through a pump to get to the tank.  Maybe I am wrong (quite possibly), but I rarely hear people talking about feeding their refuge into their sump...is there a reason?  The benefit of less visible plumbing seems obvious. Perhaps I am just confused. Thanks again, Heidi <Heidi- you're not missing the point-just looking at it from a different angle! There are many ways to accomplish the same thing, but the prevailing thought is that a refugium should receive "raw", unprocessed water from the main tank, and return the "processed" water directly into the aquarium...But that doesn't make it the only way...Be innovative, try something different-but be sure that the configuration that you're using takes advantage of the refugium's potential. For much more on refugiums, see Anthony's "Book of Coral Propagation", and the upcoming "Reef Invertebrates" by Bob, Anthony, and Stephen Pro. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Refugium Setup Hello... I have been reading your site for 7 months now.  Nearly every night, I comb through your FAQS pages and learn little bits of information on everything from copepods to anemones.  I have whole text files filled with cuttings from your site!  Thank you so much for all of your wonderful work in educating us stupid masses ; ) Anyway... After many years as an amateur aquarist and pond keeper (I dug my first Goldfish pond in my front yard when I was 7 yrs old...much to the surprise of my parents), I finally dived into the greatly feared saltwater realm.  It is a truly magnificent lifestyle  ; )  And I thought ponds were a big project!  After much debate, my husband and I added a 10 gallon, fish free, refugium to our 30 gallon reef tank.  We have stocked it with one piece of  live rock, a bag of live sand, Grunge (from G.A.R.F.- another absolutely essential site for facts on reef tanks), critters (copepods, worms, etc.) from Indo-Pacific, and plants (Ulva, several varieties of Caulerpa, and a, yet unknown, brown floating, seaweed).  It has a 4.5 inch sand/coral/grunge base with 2) 11-watt fluorescents on a 12 hr cycle, opposite the main 30 gallon tank.  The only filtration is a Bio-Wheel/carbon filter system.  The tank gravity feeds into the main tank and is returned via a Visi-Jet pump.  Whew...all those words just to get to the questions! <Sounds like a nice setup> Here's the questions... 1)  Should I pull out all of my Caulerpa?  I have been pruning it every couple of days, however I have become increasingly aware that it is inevitable that it will go sexual and do very bad things to my tank.  If I do pull it out what should I replace it with?  Turtle Grass??  Is the Grape Caulerpa as bad as the Feather, if kept in a small quantity?  I also have Red Tang Heaven which is doing quite well, and Ulva (hard to tell it's state...it just seems to Be).  Will this be enough plant to do the job of purifying the system? <Caulerpa is showing a nasty side by waging chemical warfare with corals. I would remove it. Caulerpa is Caulerpa regardless of shape/size. The tang heaven is good and Ulva is ok. Chaetomorpha is the current choice of many> 2)  What is a small or large quantity of plants??  Is there a point where the refugium plants become overwhelming to the system?  Likewise with the bugs...is there a point of too many bugs??  (I doubt my 4 mth. old Mandarin believes there is a point of too many bugs). <Let the life in the refuge be your guide. Nutrient export is the goal, hard to have too much of that.> 3)  Should I remove the carbon filters from my systems?  I fear they may be counter-productive to the plants beneficial enzymes, etc. <Carbon's advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Change often (every couple weeks or so)> 4)  I am also setting up a below tank refugium on my 120 gallon reef tank.  I have no experience with bug transfer.  Is there a good way to get the little critters from my refugium to my main tank?  My Dwarf  Lion anxiously awaits their arrival ; )  Is there a special net...some kind of bug call or something?? <Your return pump will handle the movement of 'stuff' from the refuge to the tank> Okay...I leave you to answer everyone's questions.  I know you are all over-worked and under-paid ; ) <No problem, Don> Thanks so much for your endless, vital information...I couldn't have done it without you! Sincerely, Heidi Petty

Downstream Refugium for Small Space 2/16/03 Anthony, Could you pass this on to Bryan and Dana? <great thanks for the tip, Bryan! We do not save e-mail addies at all for privacy (alas.. I cannot send it directly to them)... but will post this on the dailies for all to see/share> I just added a sump below my 39 Gallon tank and had similar space constraints.  I replaced my AquaC Remora with an Urchin Pro in the sump and used a Lifereef Single prefilter/skimmer box, Slim-line 3" that is as small as the Remora for the overflow.  It works great!  The web site address is http://www.lifereef.com and it was $100 delivered. Bryan White <an excellent tip for those not DIY inclined! Much appreciation :) Anthony>

Refugium nuisance algae 2/16/03 Dear Anthony, I have a 30 plus refugium with gallons of regularly harvested Caulerpa brachypus and a 6 inch sand bed. ORP is steady at 360 or so. R/O unit is backed by double D/I units. I haven't been able to measure any nitrates or silicates for 18 months. But still, the newer refugium ( also with DSB) grows a steady supply of the fern like green micro algae and still some red slime. <Hmmm... the fern stuff could be Bryopsis and would feed the lettuce nudibranch as long as you could grow it> Could it be that since this tank gets the overflow water right out of the show tank it will have the micro algae unless something eats it? <Not at all likely... more a matter of misdirected or inadequate water flow that allows more nutrient/detritus to accumulate here. A local nutrient issue... not system wide> Howard <kindly, Anthony>

QT and refugium Hey guys and gals, <cheers> I have wrote about my 55 gal corner bow with Aqua C remora skimmer and magnum 350 filter. We are in the process of changing to a DSB and more live rock and also leaving the tank fallow for a month in case something in there killed Piggy the lionfish.  Is there any reason not to move all the sand and rock into the display now and let it cycle there?   <good heaven's... please don't. Understand that there are practically no exceptions to the 4 week QT rule. We could talk for hours why it is bad to evade the full QT/cycling period. In this case... what is a pest or predator gets into your sand in the display and reproduces? Many many reasons not to cure rock in a display tank> There aren't any fish and the current live rock in the tank is only 1 piece.  The reason I ask is I have buckets, trash cans and small tanks all over the living room. <understood... if the display is bare-bottoms, I could concede to using it to sure the rock so that you could screen all matter in search of pests and predators before doing a large water change and adding sand> Also is there any method for adding a refugium to a glass tank that has no holes in it?  I will eventually need to add one to support the green mandarin we would like to have.  There is no room behind the tank, the Aqua C Remora barely fit. Thanks for your help Bryan and Dana Flanigan <actually... there is a common solution and the best type of refugium in my opinion: upstream. Have your refugium above your tank drilled and fed by water pumped from the display below. Such refugia have no problems with plankton shear from pumps since they gravity overflow. If you want to get fancy <G> you can put a single mangrove seedling in it and shine a spotlight on it. Bets regards, Anthony>

Refugium Flow Rate Hello to all, <Hi, Jim, Don here today> I am in process of setting up a 20 gallon refugium with a 1" bulk head to sit above and drain back into my sump. My question is I tried to use a Sedra pump rated at 350 gallons per hour and it seems to want to over fill the tank (real close). What size/type of pump should I use ???? <depending on what you are putting in the refuge (macro algae, Gracilaria, Sargassum, etc) 5-10x turnover is sufficient (100-200gph for your setup). Maybe a gate/ball valve on the output side, so you can fine tune the flow. Don> Jim

CPR Hang-On Refugium Hi Bob,<Don tonight, at your service> I'm adding an experimental CPR AquaFuge refugium to my 72-gallon bow front.  I don't have much substrate in the 72 and would like to use live sand in the refugium.  I've been considering the CaribSea live reef sand.  Would you care to opine on this product and how deep a bed? <I have heard good things about the CPR Refug. The sand bed needs to be 4-6" deep. I would use plain old sugar fine aragonite and seed it with a cup or two of existing live sand, maybe from your own tank or a friends? You might check IPSF.com or inlandaquatics.com for refuge startup kits that have all kinds of beneficial critters and plants/macro algae.> The AquaFuge is 12 inches tall, 4 front to back, and 18 long.  I have some macro algae going nuts on some live rock I have, and I'd like to put some in the refugium to experiment with nitrate/phosphate reduction, etc., in the main system, as well as harvest it for feeding to my big fat tangs. <I think you will be happy with this addition> Thanks for your time. <My pleasure, Don> Peggy

Substrate for Refugium - 2/12/03 Hi at Wet Web, <cheers, my friend> I'm adding a refugium to one of my reef systems and am planning to use CaribSea's live reef sand.   <I'm quite certain that any/all so-called "live sand" in a bag products are a poor value. Dry live sand will meet their "potential" in mere days, proven time and again. Buy the cheapest dry aragonite you can find (like Southdown sand at Home Depot). Its all literally the same> How deep a bed do you recommend, <over 3" (pref 4-6") for goof denitrification> and do you have an opinion on the CaribSea live sand? <save your money and buy their dry sand or anybody else's :) > Many thanks, Peggy <best regards, Anthony>

Refugiums - 2/13/03 I want to slowly stop using my wet dry and switch to a refugium. <I agree with both ideas, but one is not a substitute for the other. A refugium is unlikely to provide anywhere near the level of nitrification that a large wet/dry can. And vice versa... a wet-dry provides no denitrification but a refugium can be outstanding in this regard. But they do two different jobs> I have been looking at several things including making my own. <the very best way indeed> However, my tank is in a lobby area of an office so I don't really want to chance a problem. <no worries... they are simple strategies> So I am thinking of buying an ecosystem or AMiracle mudd filter. <overpriced and undersized IMO> Would either of these work well for a reef as the filtration. <reef aquaria with a lot of live rock do not need a wet/dry or a refugium for bio-filtration. They will benefit from a refugium for its plankton culture and natural nitrate reduction (NNR) though> I like the idea of all natural style <you are already getting the best of it from live rock> but would like some feedback from you guys (and Gals) about those two systems if you are familiar. <Very familiar... have been to Germany with Leng and to visit his place in Cali with our mutual friend Bob Fenner> Both manufacturers say no skimming is needed <actually... Leng Sy now puts skimmers on his systems at the big shows. I would strongly suggest you use a skimmer or at least do large weekly water changes if not> and I don't think either really has room for an in sump as I have now, <skimmerless is possible, but challenging> but I don't think it would be hard to set up an out of sump skimmer on either. <agreed> Any thought on those systems? <save your money (especially on so-called "magical mud" products) and build a bigger and better refugium with aragonite sand in a deep sand bed (DSB) and definitely no Caulerpa (anything but Caulerpa!)> Am I crazy for thinking of going down this path?<nope... refugiums (seagrasses, Chaetomorpha, Gracilaria, etc) are outstanding benefits with DSB> Paul <best regards, Anthony>

Refugiums - 2/13/03 Oh my went to Santa Ana? Leng's shop in Cali. <Leng is a wonderful man with great ideas... its the marketing claims that many aquarists take exception to> No I don't know him but was a cop there. Anyways, thanks for the information. I will do some research on building my own, but not sure I will have the time. Its a business right off so I don't mind the money. <understood... my concern is that the size of either is inadequate for their ratings> Can you do L/S and L/R sea grasses in either the eco or AMiracle mudd instead of their mudd? Would think so. <absolutely> Also which is easier to use a skimmer with and how would you do it?  Thanks again. Paul <I believe either would take a nice plug and play skimmer like the Aqua C Urchin. I've never tried though. Best regards, Anthony>

Ready made refugium do you know of a good brand ready made refugium set up? <Hi, Don today. CPR makes a hang on refuge that has gotten many good comments/reviews. Pump, container, light all in one that hangs on the back of the tank. You add sand, macro algae, some snails and off you go. You might check local and internet resellers to find one. Good addition.>

Best Algae for a Vegetable Filter/Refugium Hey Gang, how's it going!  Here's a list of algae available thru "Inland Aquatics" Flora kit, which ones would Anthony utilize I wonder? Dictyota sp. C. brachypus (delicate)* Gracilaria sp. Halymenia sp. Ochtodes sp., Ulva. Thanks for your time, Scott <IMO all are excellent except for the Dictyota and Caulerpa (nuisance potential). If you have enough light and water movement, the Gracilaria may be the most utilitarian choice. Some Ochtodes and Halymenia can be very attractive though. Ulva is nice but needs pampered a bit. Chaetomorpha spaghetti algae was not on your list but should be perhaps. It is very hardy and durable... weakly noxious and quite stable. Best regards, Anthony>

New plankton refugium/red algae/ozone Dear WWM Crew, This is Howard in Wisconsin again looking forward to the new book and once again trying to learn a bit more of what I don't know about this hobby <Me too!> With a two year old set up circulating about 160+ gallons, net - set up and modified 100% in accordance with TCMA and WWM and never a disease process, I should be satisfied. However, several months ago I added a second refugium with "non-Caulerpa" macro algae, peppermint shrimp, worms, copepods, and amphipods. <Okay> First refugium has 6 inches of fine sand and is packed with often harvested Caulerpa. Fish bioload is about half the "rule of thumb" level but I know that the large 'convicts' living under the rock and sand in caves have created a space that can't be cleaned and gets little circulation. <Yes> Deep sand (5 inches oolitic), inoculations from 3 sources, and fully cured live rock completed the second refugium which I hoped would be the last step in my little ecosystem. I figured  I could grow natural food and perhaps enough other macro algae to later swap out the Caulerpa in the first refugium. <Sounds good> Well, the live sand brought with is a plague of red algae which slowly killed off the 4 species of macros and infected everything else in the system. A very productive Turboflotor, lots of carbon, poly filter, 1600 gph circulation, and my "only when needed" 25 micron - 700 gph mechanical filter all proved inadequate. <Thank goodness> Frequent chemistry checks continued to show 0 ammonia, nitrate, and silicate (I have R/O and D/I). Nitrates ranged from 0 to 0.4. I used two different low range test kits  to confirm nitrate. I just couldn't figure out what was feeding the red algae! <... could be a few sources> Last week, after reading tons of advice from the web and re-reading sections of TCMA I decided to add the only bit of technology in that book that I did not have - an ozone generator and ORP monitor. This is an addition that I know Bob is very high on but I thought I could do without. <You could> The ORP monitor read 60, yes SIXTY while chemical tests still showed no chemical pollution. How is that possible?? An ORP test solution standardized at 200 - 250 mv read 205 so I assume the actual reading may have been even less than 60! How is it possible to have so much dissolved organics and/or low oxygen and still be shown that all is well by the chemistry panel? <It is likely the dissolved organics are at the base of the low ORP> By the way, my fish and corals have been fine through all this but now that the ozone has produced a steady ORP reading of about 350 the red stuff is fading. I didn't think my water could get any clearer but it has. <Great> If your there, Bob, thanks again for the ORP/ozone advice. Now I have it all. <We'll see...> I'll be starting over with the new refugium concentrating on Anthony's "non-Caulerpas". I'll wait for the new book and follow you guys' advice on doing so. <You'll really enjoy the algae section... the book could be labeled "Marine Refugiums and reef invertebrates..."> There is a mass of tiny bubbles on the walls of the tanks which I hope will subside? <Me too> I didn't have those with the Turboflotor breathing air only. Are there any creatures or plants that may not like the 350 mv ORP? <None that you'll likely want to keep> The Red Sea generator/controller lets me set it anywhere I wish + or - 5 mv, ozone per hour up to 200 mg. (I'm running 150)With a carbon pad on top of the Turboflotor and a bag in the discharge there is no ozone smell at all. <Shouldn't be. Thanks for writing. Bob Fenner> Howard

30 gallon tank glass refugium question? I'm currently running a 72 gallon tank. I'm building a stand for it and I want to place an older 30 gallon tank Above it to use as a refugium which will house live sand , live rock, and Caulerpa.    I'm looking to drill a hole into this tank about 1 inch in dia. to use a Gravity feed overflow to the main tank to feed this tank with the live copepods and so on.  Now I do not have any glass drilling diamond bits or anything like that.  What I'm looking to find out is,  would it be a better deal to strip down this tank and replace the back glass pain with a Acrylic panel and reseal the tank?  This way I could easily drill the hole into it?  Or could I use a cheaper drill bit to do the hole drilling,  the glass is not tempered.. Thanks  Michael <I would take the tank to someone experienced who can drill the hole with the proper diamond bit or sandblast the hole. There is no shortcut here......  Craig>

Fish Story? (Tales From The Refugium...) I have a thriving 18G upstream refugium hooked up to my 80G FOWLR. It's been running for nearly a month with a DSB and a nice big chunk of Kupang Island LR covered with all kind of interesting algae (alas, mostly Caulerpa) including coralline and some other green, red & brown. There is lots of life in there--worms, tiny brittle stars, tiny crustaceans, etc. <My kind of place!> I find this tank fascinating in its own right, and spend nearly a much time observing it as I do the main tank. <I hear ya!> Tonight, I saw what appears to be a baby fish darting around in there. It is maybe 3/8" long an has the body shape of a Firefish. It darted around the tank very quickly. Coloration is two-toned--creamy on one end and dark on the other. It sure looked like a fish to me. It hides somewhere in the LR. II have no idea how it got there. Any theories as to what it could be? Any suggestions on what I should do to nurture it? Thanks as always, Steve Allen

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