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FAQs about Refugiums 8

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 7, 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

Refugium detail

10 gallon refugium Hey guys. <IanB here today> Kudos on the fantastic site, it is a great place to spend one's free time.<agreed>  Onto the question now.  I realize that a lot of info pertaining to my question is already on your site, but I have a question about a smaller system that I would appreciate suggestions on.  I have a 20 gallon reef, with all components inside yuck), and I want to install a 10 gallon sump/refugium, for obvious reasons.<yes, it is a good idea to do so>  My first question, and the one that most concerns me, is the location of the sump.  Due to space issues, this unit will be below the aquarium, as most are, but it has to be located on a diagonal from the main tank.  Is this ok?<yeah it should be fine>  Will I run into drain/return issues with this type of setup? <probably not>   Basically, I'd like to keep this setup as simple as possible (ha...don't we all), and I wanted to run my ideas by you guys to see what you thought of them.  I was planning on using pvc "J" tube in the tank, with the drain just below the surface, as opposed to an overflow box. <yes this is the way I would do it>   I would like to use a section of flexible tubing for the drain, instead of constructing a solid pvc unit with elbows and such, and I was wondering if that would be ok. <yes, it should be fine. use something like the plastic air tubing that is attached to your pumps>  I plan on draining the tank (using a 1" id tube) into the corner of the sump (which will have 3 partitions), the first of which will hold my skimmer/heater, and then using a baffle to drain into the refugium area (with a lower water level), which will be the second partition, and then another baffle with a sponge to help cut down on bubbles going into the final partition, which will hold the return pump (at a lower water level still). <all sounds good> Basically, this unit will appear as a series of "steps", if you will, and I plan on using 3/4" id flexible tubing as the return line, not splitting as many would do (small system, not necessary?).  How does this sound? <pretty darn good!>  What recommendations would you have for me in regards to return pump size?<a smaller pump. depending one what your LFS has available>  I have a large powerhead that I am currently not using, and I was wondering if this would suffice as a return pump (quite powerful, and adjustable to boot). <should be fine>  Should I use a larger drain pipe, or will the mentioned diameter be sufficient? <for this small aquarium it should be ok>  Also, should I install a valve to control the return pump rate, or at least a swing valve to prevent back siphoning? <yes> If you can't already infer, I am relatively new to this concept and I want to make sure I do it right (and don't end up with gallons of water on my floor).  The only thing that scares me a bit is the level that I plan on using for the first partition, which will hold my skimmer.  I have a relatively tall skimmer, and after taking some measurements I have concluded that the level needs to be almost at the top (Sic mean top) of the tank in order for the skimmer to have the correct water level in this section.  It scares me because I am unsure of what will happen if the pump fails or the power goes out......am I correct in being fearful of a potential problem here? <yes> Is it safe to say that the lower water levels in the other sections will allow for some extra water to enter the sump, without it flooding over this first partition? <the only way to avoid this is to get a taller aquarium>  Will these hose specs work without sucking in air, etc?? <they should>  And finally, one last question.  Is there any way to set up this system to allow for the pump to be shut off without breaking the siphon? <probably not>  I was thinking of running an airline from the venturi on the powerhead in my tank to a hole bored in the peak of the drain elbow to hold the suction, but I'm not sure if that will help or not.  To sum it all up, my main question is the use of flexible tubing all around (with the exception of the pvc tank drain) and the diagonal location of the unit.  I can't put it directly below the tank without a major tank move, and I'd rather not do that right now.  Please tell me this is ok :) <it should be ok.. you might run into some minor problems (I still do all the time believe me!!!), Good luck, IanB> Thanks a bunch guys.  I love this place! -Dave Conners P.S-I know it would be ideal to have a separate refugium with a low water flow in comparison to the sump area, but due to lack of space and size of system, I have opted to go with this hybrid set-up.  I don't plan on having a huge amount of flow anyway, as it is such a small system. <we are in agreement>  

'Pod Factory - 8/27/03 Dearest Crew Folks: I am dying to set up a refugium, but I haven't been able to convince my wife yet (living room 55gal setup).   <do consider making it a dramatic focal point with a mangrove seedling and small spotlight on it. Very exotic. Tell her it will turn into a palm tree in 20 years <G>> Is there a way to have a remote, detached refugium to grow pods and stuff?   <yes... in fact, it is the best type of refugium IMO - AKA "Upstream Refugium" (use that term in a keyword search of our website from the google tool on the index page wetwebmedia.com)> If so, how could I make this work?   <Hmmm... nothing much to it. I will have to dig for the diagrams my brother-in-law did for us for our new Book (have them in AutoCAD... need to find jpegs). Bob and I dedicated about 100 pages of 400 in the new book "Reef Invertebrates" to refugiums, love sand/rock, plants and algae... do check it out if you get the chance: http://wetwebfotos.com/store/nma-ri.html > I've searched, but since there are mentions of pods on almost every page, you can imagine how it went.  Can you point me in the right direction? <indeed... use a more refined search phrase like "upstream refugium"... and a helpful tip: when a long page of text comes up with the hit, copy the entire page to a blank Word doc page, and use the windows search tool to find what you are looking for on it> Is anyone doing this?   Yes... for many many years. My first one was just over 10 years ago ;) > I was thinking DSB, LR, regular fluorescents, yes/no?   <for heavy pod growth and vegetable filtration... use Chaetomorpha algae and brighter light> How much should I feed it, a pinch per day of dry food?  What about harvesting (that sounds like the bigger issue)?  Any help is appreciated.  Rich <excess pods will overflow nightly. As long as you feed them regularly, provide a dense matrix (the book mentions this at length) and keep the refugium sans predators (no fish or coral)... the brood population will not wane easily. Best of luck! Anthony>

- Under-Tank Refugium - Hi all, I want to add a refugium to my nine month old system for food production primarily. <An excellent idea>  I am pretty much regulated to placing the refugium underneath my main tank which is a 65 gallon FOWLR with a built in sump in the back (IFS). Does this built in sump present additional problems in design?  <There are only two main problems with sectioning off part of a sump for a 'fuge. The big one is if you raise the water level in the 'fuge part; will you still have enough overflow capacity in the event of a power failure? The other potential problem is space, so just make sure everything fits before gluing!>  My  plan is to drain the tank down and drill one hole (how big?) straight through into the sump and out the back of the aquarium.  <Out the back of the sump, right?>  Then using what I think is called a standpipe in the first sump section, where the tank water drains into it, to drain into the refugium and then a return pump pumping the water back into the main tank through the hole that was drilled into the sump.  <Alright, so the sump will stay intact for the most part with two holes on the back (one to drain into the 'fuge, and another to get pumped back in?)>  With my built in overflow will I need regulate the pump flow or will it equalize itself as long as I pump more water back into the main tank than I drain out of the sump?  <The overflow can only drain as much as is it is being supplied.>  Or will I still have to worry about pumping the refugium empty?  <You need to clarify what you want to do here, as I'm a bit confused. I think I understand, but you may want to sketch something out in MS paint and shoot it over>  I am shooting for a 38 gallon refugium (30 gallons water/8 gallon overflow capacity) which I want to build myself.  Would I be an idiot if I built it inside the stand (and could never get it out)?  <Haha, only if you ever needed to remove it. It would be best to build one that is removable, but then again, how would you get it in if the tank is full?>  Would I need to upgrade my protein skimmer?  <Probably not, unless the one you have is already inadequate.>  I found an equation to determine the flow of water. Do I need to use this?  <An equation? It's simple, just don't exceed your overflow capacity.>  I think I am  trying to make it too complicated but just wanted to hear some expert advice before I start cutting and drilling.  <Hehe, I hear ya. Why don't you send over a sketch so I can help you a little better.>   I don't want to have homeless fish!  Thanks so much,  Andrew <Good luck! -Kevin>

Thanks and Some More Questions.... Hello Kids! I wanted to thank you for the info that you previously gave me about installing a protein skimmer. I installed it in the sump and it's busy making cappuccino now! Fortunately I have more questions to ask! Just to give you another overview of my tank, here goes: 75 gallon tank w/ 70 pounds o' live rock and some soft corals (Xenia, Zooanthids, mushroom polyps, colt coral and a finger leather) and one SPS (hammer) blocked by a piece of LR from the rest of the tank and no soft corals close to it.  One Sebae anemone that is in a corner by itself, no corals close to it (at least 15 inches). Two perc clowns that live in the anemone, 1 yellow goby, 1 cleaner goby and 1 mandarin goby. 20 gallon sump with bio-balls in a column with additional 10 pounds LR and Caulerpa. It is full of amphipods and other good stuff that would bite you if you were to put your hand in. 1- I asked about adding a hippo or sailfin but you (being Anthony) said that the tank is too small. If I were to add Banggai Cardinals (tank raised o' course), how many could I add and not be overstocking? <A pair at the most> Currently I do 10% a week water changes and nitrates are zero, and things in the tank look happy to be there. 2- Will running the skimmer 24/7 be detrimental to my filter feeders? Are there optimal times during the day or night to run the skimmer? <not really, and the skimmer ultimately foams better at night> 3- Currently I am running lights in the refugium 24/7. What would a benefit be of running the lights on the opposite lighting schedule of the tank? <Running lighting 24/7 can be very detrimental to photosynthetic machinery in the refugium algae. Benefits of running lighting on opposite schedule are a more stable pH and higher O2 concentrations at night> 4- Should I place the zooanthids at the bottom of my tank so that they don't spread close to my other corals, or just wait till they get close and trim them up? <I would place them relatively far away> 5- Would it be a problem to add clams to the tank? Is there any merit to the claim that bristle worms eat clams? <Shouldn't be a problem as long as your lighting is sufficient, definitely do some background research on the species you are most interested in keeping. In general, no, bristleworms will not eat adult/sub adult clams> 6- do you people have a good time doing this? I have a great time reading your postings so know that you have a fan here in Colorado who really appreciates the time that you put into doing this work. <I very much enjoy it :) > thanks!  Miguelito

Refugium Lighting - 8/21/03 I just finished my new sump/refugium. The dedicated fuge area is @6.5 gallons. Would a 13watt PC with mirrored reflector be enough light, or do I need to double it? <almost certainly double... near 5 watts per gallon> Originally I was going to culture hacksaw Caulerpa and Codium, <cool on the latter, caution on the former> but after reading the new Reef Inverts. book , I will probably switch to Chaetomorpha, or Gracilaria. <much safer choices... also both edible for your fishes to recycle nutrients unlike the Caulerpa and Codium (noxious)> Thanks again for a great book guys! <much appreciated :) > Next time get the publisher to use a hard cover. <alas... it was too expensive to produce on the first run... very few aquarists actually buy books and even fewer are willing to pay for hardcover. We have hopes though of producing them regardless after the 3rd volume is complete - as a box set> This is a reference book that is going to get lots of use. <ahhh... very redeeming to hear. Thanks again, mate> Regards, Ken <Anthony>

In-Sump Refugium - 8/18/03 Hello!  Great site!  Great advice! <thanks kindly> My question concerns the feasibility of an in-sump refugium considering the flow requirements of a large reef system.  I'm setting up a 375 gal. reef with a 75 gal. sump and was considering using part of the sump as a refugium.   <it would be better to have a small vessel sitting next to or above the sump on a separate dedicated water circuit> The sump is a 75 gal. glass tank I will be modifying for this purpose.  With the flow rate required for this setup I would think rock rubble rather than sand would do better but can I sufficiently baffle the flow, or do I have to consider a separate refugium?   <the latter as you have suspected> Also, after reading through many of your FAQs I'm turning away from adding Caulerpa, but will a refugium with only rock and light still afford PH stabilization?   <not likely... simply look to any of a number of other/better macroalgae like Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria. We give about 100 of 400 pages of coverage in our new book Reef Invertebrates (Calfo and Fenner) to refugiums, plants and algae. Do consider> Back to flow.  Can you recommend a brand/size of external pump/pumps for this system that is quiet and "relatively" inexpensive (i.e. - not Iwaki).   <sorry... you get what you pay for here. Iwaki is your best investment in the long run IMO. A first choice and far away leader> I've been eyeing the Dolphin Ampmaster pumps but I'm a little concerned about noise once you get above the 3000 series. <understood and agreed> Thank you and much appreciation for the advice and opinions. Eric <if you need cheap and quiet and can deal with the heat imparted... do consider 2 large Mag drives. Anthony>

Refugium Conversions - 8/14/03 To the gang, <cheers> I have a rather large, working sump with bio-balls underneath my 75 gallon tank. Also, an old trickle filter. Is it possible to convert either of these to a refugium to help feed my corals? <indeed... rather easy> If so, how? <starting with a sealed divider that retains a high water region. Many DIY plans across the 'Net on various message boards and web sites.> What do I have to add?   Marion <that depends on what you are trying to specifically achieve if/in addition to plankton production. Alas, it's such an enormous topic that it cannot be answered in a brief e-mail. In our new book "Reef Invertebrates" ( https://secure.wetwebmedia.com/order_form.jsp http://wetwebfotos.com/store/nma-ri.html ) we dedicate ~100 pages of 400 just to refugiums, plants & algae and live sand/rock natural filtration methodologies. You need do some more research at large here, my friend> <kind regards, Anthony>

Refugium Q I currently have a:  45Gallon, 35Lbs LS, 45Lbs LR, 2 False Perculas, 2 Chocolate Chip Stars, 1Peppermint Shrimp, ~15 blue and scarlet leg crabs, 3 Bumble Bee snails, 1 Nassarius snail, ~2 Queen Conchs, Equip: AquaC Remora Skimmer w/ MaxiJet 1200, Magnum 350 Canister, ZooMed PowerSweep powerhead, Coralife 96W 36" 50/50 10,000 Kelvin/Actinic Blue VHO lights.  In the next few weeks, I am planning on setting up a refugium...so that I can just use the Magnum on a very occasional basis to clean the particulate stuff in the tank, set up MH lighting in the main tank, move the stars and current lighting to the to the refugium so I can place some corals in the main tank.  My question is this...space is very very limited, and I was wondering what the smallest size of a refugium I could setup...and still get all it's benefits, and how much LR, and LS should be in it? <I would use a 10-15G tank with 4-6" of sugar fine sand and a mixture of macro algae. You might consider an inoculate kit from inland aquatics or indo pacific sea farms. I would not put an predators in the refuge. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm. Don> Thanks in advance!! Cheers! Steve

Breeding bugs in my refugium 08/06/03 I have a large system,450 gal fowler in house, draining into a 500 gal predator tank and a 300 gal refugium in the garage, they in turn drain to the sump, then back to 450 to complete circuit. I feed both the fowler and predator tanks heavily and the system has been running as set up for 6 months and is working to perfection. No water or algae problems. Refugium has deep sand bed,8 inches, live rock. It's only resident is a small Fimbriated moray that I removed from predator tank and put in the refugium as I was concerned he would be eaten by the 3 foot tessellated moray that lives there. After about 6 months as set up, I was hoping to see a huge population of bugs in the refugium by now, but even with a flashlight, I only see a few. I am assuming that with the fowler with heavy bioload draining directly into the refugium and the messy little Fimbriated moray, that there should be ample food to sustain a huge population of bugs. Lots of rubble on bottom. oyster shells etc. along with the live rock. Was thinking of sinking a plastic milk crate stuffed with filter pads in the refugium to see if this home may be more to their liking, plus giving me a way to harvest the little buggers, and maybe asses their population better. Any ideas? Refugium has NO residents other than the small eel. Thanks in advance. <Well, actually, your idea sounds really good. Have you thought about lighting the refugium and adding macroalgae (I'm very partial to Chaetomorpha myself)? I'd say try both, and see what you get. You may also want to try direct feeding the refugium too, something finely ground. Hope that helps, PF>

Algae for fuge 7/31/03 I know it has been addressed endlessly, but I can not surf for the answers anymore. <Okey-Dokey> OK ...90g mixed reef. 40g above tank fuge... Question....... Best algae ( mixture) for tang food, pod reproduction, and nutrient export. <Gracilaria because of your desire/mention of "tang food" being of importance. Chaetomorpha instead if having a pod disco and nutrient export were/are more important> Question..... at which point after (or during cycling of new tank with 2lbsper g of Fiji rock does one stock fuge ( Starting with what first Algae or pods or ???? <ASAP> Thanks All. .... Will send Pics. <rock on my brother! Anthony>

MH Lighting on Refugium 7/30/03 Dear Anthony, <cheers, my friend> Thanks for your response regarding MH lighting for my refugium. I have not been able to find a 100 watt system with a parabolic reflector and either of the double ended bulb brand names you suggest. I would appreciate your opinion on a system I have found at a reasonable price. <I was thinking more along the lines of a DIY canopy... but if you prefer a finished product, we'll find something..> It is a Sun System Blue Wave 150 watt, 10,000 K, double ended Ushio bulb in a sealed "box" (rectangular, not parabolic) with remote ballast. $395. <a fine choice... and do consider modifying it yourself with a better reflector if the stock one seems mediocre> I am happy to go with 150 instead of 100 watts. <agreed> I just can't find a unit with either of the bulbs that you like and a parabolic fixture. <no worries> Any vendor suggestion would be useful. <again... it was a DIY assumption. My bad :) > As always, my appreciation, <and my kind regards> Howard in Wisconsin <yes... be seeing you and piles of cheese at the Wisconsin reef club 3rd week of September as I recall>

Refugium for reef? (7-21-03) Good evening.<Howdy, Cody here tonight!> I have a 30g reef and I just got a Fluval 204.  Before I open the box I was wondering if I should keep it, or just use my Seaclone 100 skimmer by itself, or build a refugium. <Get rid of the Fluval as they need almost daily cleaning and become a pain.  I would go with LR and a skimmer.  The refugium would be great and a very good filter, nursery, etc.  There is a chapter on refugiums in WWM new book that explains how they work and the many things to put in them and so on.  There is also much on them in our facts on the WWM site.> If the refugium is the best idea, would 10 gallons be good enough?<Yep. Cody>

Lighting over Chaetomorpha 7/21/03 Dear Anthony, <cheers, Howard> After reading Reef Invertebrates, I feel that I should replace the refugium lighting. <Okey-dokey> What is the ideal lighting system over a 30 gallon refugium with the purpose of cultivating Chaetomorpha along with copepods and amphipods?   <a single 100 or 150 watt double ended HQI lamp (say 10K) would rank very high in my book. Do use a parabolic reflector if possible. Seek 4-5 watts per gallon here at any rate> There are so incredibly many options, I would appreciate your personal opinion regarding spectrum, watts, and cycle of the appropriate pendulum metal halide light including your favorite brand. German? <for MH in general... I like Iwasakis, Aqualines and Ushios. Not inclined to take most others for free <G>. Radiums are also very good... but the 20Ks are scary blue (too much so for shallow water algae and some corals). and 8-12 hour photoperiod will be fine> Many thanks, Howard in Wisconsin <best regards, Anthony>

One HOT Lookin' Refugium 07/12/03 <Hi J.T., PF with you in the bright and bleary> Good Afternoon (whomever I get routed to) - hope all is well in the SD area. <Well, I hope all is well in SD too, here in Eugene, it's nice and cool.> Just received the new book and I'm well into it - great reading as usual. I have a 45 gallon reef set-up several fish, clean-up critters and corals in the octocoral category. The tank has been set-up for almost 12 months and is doing quite well, thanks, in part, to this web site and your thorough books ;-). I've actually had to separate and take Red Sea Pulsing Xenia stalks back to the LFS since it was overtaking my tank. In setting up the aquarium, I strived to keep it as simple as possible...not only for simplicity, but in my past FO endeavors, I've had problems and didn't want to spend huge amounts of money until I knew it would be successful. I have approximately 12-15 turnovers per hour, almost 5 watts/gallon of lighting, ~55 lbs. of LR - a 2-3" layer of LS and a CPR Bak Pak Skimmer. Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrate & Phosphate levels are all either non detectable or almost so. All other levels are within acceptable parameters but I've been reading and considering the addition of a refugium. I don't have a lot of room so I was considering the hang on CPR Aquafuge. I don't have a sump so my heaters, power heads and skimmer all hang off the back of the tank. I will only be able go as large as the middle size (18") Aquafuge, which from my calculations is approximately 4-5 gallons in volume. Is this large enough or should I consider something larger under the tank in the stand (where there is a footprint of approximately 10" X 30")? My main concern putting the refugium under the existing tank is, of course - like everyone else, flooding. My other question relates to the circulation through the refugium. I have read where effluent from the skimmer is optimal for the refugium thus negating the power head that comes with the Aquafuge (I would keep the power head for future use/replacement). Is this the most beneficial set-up? Lastly, I have heard and read about leaving the lights for the refugium on 24/7 but have also read of the benefits (reducing alk./ph spikes associated with the light cycle) of running the refugium light cycle opposite of the reef light cycle. Any thoughts here? I plan on putting a layer of sand from the tank in the refugium and adding LR and Caulerpa. Thanks again for all of your help - I may not have returned to the hobby without it. Looking forward to the next installment in the book series. J.T. Craddock <Well J.T., I never heard of attaching the skimmer to the refugium before, guess I learned something today. While a bigger refugium is always better, unless your tank is drilled, or you can get it drilled, I wouldn't advise it. You would have to use an overflow kit, and while some people have had no problems, others have. In order of your questions: even a 4-5g refugium will provide some benefit, and there are other makers of custom HOT refugiums out there, do some searching on the web, or ask over on the chat forum under the dry goods section http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ . My worry with the skimmer return being in the refugium would creating a sand storm in there from the return. I have 2 refugiums, one my converted sump, the other an Ecosystem40. I have the sump on the opposite cycle, and the Ecosystem on 24/7. Even before setting up the sump, I didn't have much of a swing with the Ecosystem on all the time. Your stocking plan sounds good, except for the Caulerpa. I just don't like it. It took me months to get it out of my tank, it strangled out my xenia! From your own experiences with xenia, you can imagine how virulent it is then. I would advise using Chaetomorpha instead, Chaeto is much easier to control and an excellent grower. You could also use your xenia as a nutrient export, with the added benefit of using it as a trading material with your LFS. Xenia feeds on dissolved organics, just like macro algae. Hopefully this gives you some more ideas/facts to work with, have a good weekend, PF>

Finessing Refugium Macroalgae - 7/14/03 Thanks, Anthony: <always welcome mate> I'll go with sugar-fine substrate & Chaetomorpha. BTW, I've had trouble with getting algae other than Caulerpa to grow. <very common... especially in systems that mistakenly equate refugia with low(er) light and low(er) water flow. Nothing could be further from the truth for some cultivars. Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha are prime examples. They definitely need better light and especially enough water flow to keep them tumbling/in motion> Gracilaria just wasted away. <one of the most light intensive indeed> Ulva & Chaetomorpha just hanging in there in Caulerpa refugium. Any hints? <as much or more water flow on the latter issue/species> If I keep Caulerpa out of the new refugium, will the others grow better? <Oh, my goodness... most certainly! I had not realized they were mixed. Caulerpa is one of the most noxious and dominant algae. Indeed inhibiting to many other forms. Especially if it is that horrible grape Caulerpa (C. racemosa)... no joke, one of the worst (documented at great length)> Steve Allen <ciao, bub. Anthony>  

Sump vs. refugium I am setting up a 29g tank, and am looking to possibly place a 5g sump or refugium under the cabinet (space restricts anything bigger, but 5g tank will just fit).<Should be fine.>  The tank will either be fish, or seahorse, haven't decided between yet.  I am planning on a live sand bottom, w/ maybe 20-25lbs of live rock, and skimmer which would probably be setup on the 5g tank if I decide on seahorses (less water movement).<Good idea>  If just the fish then I'm planning on adding a few corals, types to be decided later.<Ok>  I have been researching on the benefits/downfalls of each, but would like advice on which of the two would be "best suited" to my needs, and to my space restrictions.  also any skimmer choice and additional filter advice (I wasn't planning any) would be appreciated.  Patrick  <Well if you are to get a seahorse I would definitely get the refugium (culturing micro crustaceans). If it were me either way I would get the refugium...even if it's only 5 gallons, Good Luck, IanB>

- Pod 'fuge and a macro 'fuge? - hi crew; <Hi there> trying to set up a refugium for my 180 reef and fish tank. Trying to provide food for the fish and the LPS and SPS corals I have. And at the same time, trying to get the side benefits of getting my main display tank rid of some nuisance algae that I encounter from time to time.. My q is this: Do I have to set up 2 different refugiums to do this, or could i just set up one that does both? <Stocking a single 'fuge with lots of nutrient-reducing macro algae encourages all sorts of pods to take refuge inside. It's the best way to do it.> In other words does one large enough refugium (was thinking of setting up one about 40-50 gallons) can do both?.. <As above...> It might seem like a stupid question, but been reading FAQs from your site for 5 days nonstop; and i got the impression that a lot of people DO set up multiple refugiums for different purposes. <Yes, but in this case, one comes free with the other! This is also not to discourage you from building a second refugium as it would help the tank tremendously. Good luck! -Kevin> OZZ

Refugium Flow.... Thanks for all the advice, Scott!  I know a lot of this stuff can be done different ways, and it's personal preference, but I appreciate the info. <My pleasure...And it's so true- there are tons of different ways to approach these systems. The best strategy is to look at other people's systems, listen to their opinions, and make your decisions based on what you feel comfortable with. Remember, you can always rework it if you want down the line!> I need a bit of additional advice on Question/Answer #4.  I'll probably have the refugium below the main tank, but above the sump.  My question is, "Should the water coming out of the refugium enter the sump before or after the skimmer?"  My concern is, if the refugium overflow water enters the sump and returns to the main tank (unskimmed), is that putting too much unskimmed water back in to the main tank? <Ah- I see your concern. Your call on this one. As I mentioned, you could split water flow, even on the "outbound leg" of its journey through your system, diverting part to the main tank, and part to the skimmer compartment. Or, if you feel better about it- you could divert all incoming water into the refugium, then the skimmer...There are soo many opinions about it! I am not as concerned about returning unskimmed water back into the system, as long as the skimmer, wherever it is located, puts out regular amounts of dark skimmate...> Thanks again for all your help! Bob Dusin <My pleasure, Bob! Good luck with your planning! Regards, Scott F>

Macroalgae 6/23/03 Hi, crew: <howdy!> In the Conscientious Marine Aquarist, Bob Fenner states that "Caulerpa are best."   <correct> Yet recent postings from Anthony Calfo state that a marked preference for Chaetomorpha, which doesn't go sexual.   <correct... if that "threat/inconvenience" in Caulerpa bothers you, than other such macros would likely be better> Aren't you guys part of the same crew?   <yep... the WetWebMedia crew... not the Stepford crew, the NRA or the Republican party collectively> Sure team members have differences of opinion, <good of you to notice mate <G>> but is there a consensus?   <there are many benefits and risks to Caulerpa... and they are overwhelmingly documented in our WWM archives free for the perusal (largely in the FAQs if seeking the cons. Else, we describe the "modern" consensus on the subject collectively in a nearly 50 page chapter on plants and algae in our new book if you'd care to pursue it> What should I do? <weigh the merits and demerits of the various algae that appeal to you, my friend. Caulerpa can be a tremendous boon or scourge depending on how strict you are (or not) as an aquarist with husbandry. No worries :) Kind regards, Anthony>

'Fuge, FOWLR, and a reef sharing a common sump. Dear Crew: <Kevin here> I am currently running an 80G FOWLR and would like to expand next month. I am going to buy a 108G All-Glass as a FOWLR. <They're changing their overflows, check with your dealer to make sure you know which one you're getting. The new ones are really cool and come with a Durso type mod in the overflow accessory kit!> Please take a look at the attached preliminary diagram. <Done and done> I plan to put the 80G (as a reef) and a 55G DSB/algae refugium next to the ends of the 180G at right angles. The 180 would also have a large sump underneath with a skimmer. <From the diagram, you have the sump labeled as 30g, it will likely overflow in the event of a power outage since all the tanks will drain into the one sump. Pick something much larger or calculate how much water will drain and go by that number.> Water would be pumped out of the 180 into the 55 and then flow on to the 80 (set up to flow by gravity) and then back into the 180.  Does this sound like a good idea? <Yeah, this is the best way. The pods won't get shredded in any pumps and can freely drain into the reef; coral food hurray!> The alternative plumbing would be to pump water out of the 180 separately to the 55 and the 80 and then let it flow back from them. The two circuits then mix in the internal flows of the 180. What do you think? <Go with the first idea, you could even setup a surge device from the 'fuge into the reef. -Kevin> Steve Allen

- What? Some help? - <Good morning, JasonC here...> I have found your website invaluable and in appreciation for the volumes of information I have learned about saltwater tanks, I would like to help in some way. <Thank you for the offer.> I am a VP of product strategy for an internet company (that's still in business!).  I am also the lead designer for our product suite.  I have used Frontpage over that last 4 years to build hundreds of web pages and it doesn't include complete redesigns to improve the user interface and process flows.  I include JavaScript when needed.  I think I can help you here if you need it. <Well... I might have just the problem for you. Please contact me direct with your contact info and I'll give you a call at your convenience - jasonc@wetwebmedia.com > I have a 125 that was originally a "high-tech" planted freshwater tank (south American), complete with high lighting, CO2 injection and ph controller, etc..  I realized that the high tech approach puts huge stress on a closed system and I was constantly having to keep hardness, pH, magnesium, iron and other additives.  Fluorite wasn't really doing the trick and I was in need of an overhaul if I wanted to reduce the effort.  After reading a wonderful book called the Ecology of the Planted Aquarium by Diana Walstead, in which she advocates a very simple approach using actual potting soil, limited lighting and overfeeding to provide dissolved CO2 for the plants, I realized I needed to do a change. I decided to switch instead to saltwater and it has been up and running very stable for 1 year now.  After reading your website, I have been correcting some mistakes that I initially made.  I am adding aragonite sand over the crushed coral bed to create a DSB and have increased the water flow through the tank.  I have also added 2 refugiums 4 months ago (CPR hang on).  I would love to increase the size of my sump (only 10 gallons) but the DIY sump designs aren't really clear enough to feel comfortable creating one (could be another area for your website). <Indeed, although OzReef has a pretty good collection already: http://www.ozreef.org/diy/index.html > Your website is wonderful and doing a great service to keepers, fish and corals alike.  If you would like my help, feel free to email me and I can give you my cell to discuss in person, if needed. Victor Berg <Look forward to chatting with you. Cheers, J -- >

Refugium First I must say it is an honor to receive knowledge from all of you and your site. My 30 gallon sump houses a Biorocker, Protein skimmer with pump, heater, return pump, bio slabs all this equals no room for refugium. ( I know I know I was better off doing without the bio rocker but the LFS said it was the best Just like bio balls used to be?)....sigh....So....Can I hang a eco system fuge to my sump and "loop the circulation" from my sump to fuge and back?<Well normally people hang these ecosystems on the back of their main system. I don't think there will be a problem with hanging it on your sump, except you won't be able to see it unless you open the cabinets etc. Good luck with the refugium, IanB> Thank you Richard

Caulerpa lighting 6/22/03 I have also read many things about lighting. Some say lights on at night and some say lights on 24/7. Can I use this stuff with lights on 12 hours a day or should I leave them on 24/7. <I would recommend lights on 12 hours per day on an opposite photoperiod to the main display with hopes for assisting pH stability for it. Else... the 24 hr constant light cycle is an attempt to keep the algae in stasis with the hope of preventing a potentially dangerous or devastating act of sexual reproduction/vegetative fission from this noxious species. There are pros and cons to both. I would still suggest you consider alternate species of macroalgae for stability and safety issues. Best regards, Anthony>

BUILDING A REFUGIUM 6/19/03 I am building a "hang-on" Refugium, as I have no sump. What size should I make it? <20% of tanks volume minimum... towards 40% is it is to be a primary means of food production (as for corals, seahorses, gobies, etc)> Keep in mind I only have 6" clearance from the back of the tank to the wall. <do consider the slim profile of the commercial CPR brand BakPak refugium>   50 gallon tank   75 lbs LR   Sand/Arag bottom   2x96 powercompacts   Few items of fish and coral (starting over)   Basic design: Powerhead pumps to skimmer - which dumps into   Refugium - which overflows back into tank. Also, can you give a quick list of what should go in it? <that depends on what you want it to accomplish... deep sand for natural nitrate reduction... Chaetomorpha algae for nutrient export and zooplankton production... Gracilaria algae for growing food (algae) to feed herbivorous fishes, etc>   Thank you very much Stacey <Also... do check out our coverage on this topic in our new book, Reef Invertebrates... almost 100 pages dedicated to live sand, refugiums, plants and algae. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>  

DIY: Acrylic thickness for 'fuge. Would 1/4" acrylic be suitable to build a 32l x 11w x 14h refugium/sump. <Should be fine, just use top bracing as well.> Manufacturers sites only consider tanks fully filled in their calculators, in which case this would call for 3/8. But The sump is essentially 3 smaller tanks( 2 dividers) plus baffles and a lid. <The dividers and baffles will help keep the tank from bowing, but you'll still get more bow than if you used 3/8. No biggie since it's going to be a 'fuge.> Just wanted your 3cents worth before I started gluing. <Good luck with the 'fuge! -Kevin> Thanks, Ken

Changing Refugiums Hi: <Hi Tracey, Don here tonight.> I've been reading past articles on refugiums. They are very enlightening, but none of them quite my situation. I currently am using an ecosystem hang-on refugium. I personally think it is a poor design. My Caulerpa grows just fine, but I do battle Cyanobacteria due to poor water flow through it. the water just wants to flow over the top not creating enough movement. Anyway, I want to setup a 20 gal. refugium beside my main tank. I am sumpless but use the space under my tank for my automatic top-off system. I know that you like the refugium slightly higher than the main tank, but this really isn't feasible do to the height of my main tank(45gal.). I'm working on ideas on how to plumb it so that it not only is functional, but also aesthetically pleasing. I want it to be of display quality. I also plan on incorporating my aqua-c remora hang on skimmer. The overflow from main tank will spill into first chamber which will be higher than the return chamber where the return  pump will be located. I plan to use acrylic to box in from the sides to the back instead of from front to back which would expose that chamber. I'm going to go with a deep sand bed, live rock and some turtle grass instead of Caulerpa. Any and all input will be greatly appreciated. Thank You For Your Time <I am having a difficult time envisioning the setup you describe. Maybe you could sketch a simple drawing and attach it for review? I like the idea very much, but then go figure, my refuge on the 75 is VERY similar <G>. I like the DSB and I like the turtle grass. Maybe some spaghetti algae as well? Works very well for me. The live rock is really unnecessary unless you really want to have it for looks. I think you will be happy with your basic design.> Tracey

Refugium Questions <Hi Stacey, PF with you today.> Not sure if I asking my question in the correct location... I see that there is also a "forum". What's the difference? <The forum is a bulletin board style system, and this is an email response system. Simple as that.> QUESTION: I am building a "hang-on" Refugium, as I have no sump. What size should I make it? Keep in mind I only have 6" clearance from the back of the tank to the wall. 50 gallon tank 75 lbs LR Sand/Arag bottom 2x96 powercompacts Few items of fish and coral (starting over) Basic design: Powerhead pumps to skimmer - which dumps into Refugium - which overflows back into tank. Thank you very much; Stacey <Well Stacey, as long as possible, and say 12" deep, and as wide as you can fit it, probably 5". You can light it with standard fluorescents, as for an algae species to use in it, I'd recommend Chaetomorpha, it doesn't crash like Caulerpa, nor produce allelopathic chemicals. Hopefully this helps, have a good evening, PF>

Refugium >Hello Bob, >>Hoping not to disappoint, you've gotten into Marina's inbox. >About 2 months ago I put a 6" DSB into my existing 120gal Reef Tank. I removed the bio-balls a few each time over a period of 3 to 4 weeks and I have been trickle filter free for 3 weeks and everything is excellent. My question is that I would like to turn my sump into a refugium. >>Great idea. >As you know, getting gear in and out from a tank stand is a real pain in the you know where, especially when your sump is all glass. I am now thinking of making my sump in a modular fashion from acrylic. There would be 3 sections: 1.First section receives water from overflow 2.Second would be my refugium 3.Third would be holding volume for skimmer and return to tank. Each section would interlock by having pvc pipe mounted through a end bulkhead of 1 & 3. The middle section (refugium) would have the correct size holes (For PVC pipe) drilled in both end bulk heads. This would allow for the PVC pipes to pass through the bulkheads of section 2, thus allowing water to flow from one section to another. In designing the sump this way, you can just pull apart each section or just one for ease of removing for maintenance, etc. I want to make each section large enough to add more water volume to the main tank. I will be placing my heaters in section 1 and having alternate holes drilled on the outward end of section 3 to allow bulkhead fittings for external connection of main return pump and protein skimmer. Do you think that this idea has merit and worth pursuing? >>I, personally, am not an expert in the design and execution of sump/refugia, but I think this is fantastic. >Maybe there is something that I have missed. Also, I plan on adding a fluoro to the refugium which will be housed in a normal fluoro reflector. Would this be sufficient and what sort of lighting would be appropriate? >>I've gotten EXCELLENT macro growth using standard fluorescent bulbs (that were over my reef tank).  I had to contact the manufacturers to get fluorescent spectrum and output information, and then used that to mix the bulbs.  Just be sure that you're not using warm daylight bulbs (too high in the red end of the spectrum).  What I had over my tank was a mix of three standard 4'-40W bulbs, plus one actinic for looks.  The closer you can put them to the water, the better penetration you'll have, in my own opinion you've got a great plan.  Best of luck to you, Lee!  Marina

Refugium and skimmer paths II - Ecosystem 6/16/03 Hi Anthony, Guess who? <hey, bub> I understand and agree with what you said about going with the skimmer in the first chamber. My problem here is that the sump (plexi-glass) has a top (permanent) which covers the first chamber with only an 1 1/2" hole in it where my overflow line (flexible1") dumps in.   <if space allows you could tap a small skimmer box/aquarium inline before this unit to catch all raw water before flowing "downstream". All to avoid a top-mounted display model> I therefore began thinking about  a HOT skimmer vs. the in sump type.  The Aqua C Remora Pro looks to be a decent unit. Just read some comparisons and then some threads from your site about it.  Would it be feasible to remove the bio-balls from the chamber, put in a Maxi-Jet 1200, Rio 1400 or comparable pump and run a line from it up to the hang on (about a 3' run)?   <seems reasonable indeed... be sure to draw water from as close to the surface of the water in that chamber as possible, though> Another concern regarding this approach is the two slots (each 3" across by 1" high) in the bulkhead (6"off the bottom and 6" down from the top of the partition) I mentioned earlier between 1st & 2nd chambers of the sump, and whether the turbulence of the water coming into the first chamber from the overflow would have an adverse effect on skimming from this area.  Would skimming from the top of the chamber & 3' of head still be effective or should I just use the  skimmer as intended, i.e.;  keeping the pump in the aquarium at the skimmer?  Thanks, once again.   <I have no strong preference for either mode... wonder if drilling the top lid wouldn't be a better idea. Heehee... or selling the ecosystem and having a nice, simple and spacious sump instead for $30 <G>> Let me know if I'm abusing the privilege with all these questions.  You have the patience of a saint.  Maybe we can have you canonized some day. <heehee... maybe I can get bronzed too... know anybody in micro-metallurgy?> Greg, a.k.a. Al Bundy, a.k.a. the pest, Binder Berkeley, IL   <ciao, bub. Anthony>

Refugium Confusion Hello! <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I was reading up on things on your site, which I check daily, and have been thinking about adding a refugium to my reef tank. However, I am confused about how to do so? <Wow! Lots of different ways to do so> I have a 7 month old 75 gallon reef tank, in which i only run a hang-on emperor filter (carbon). Other filtration consists of 50 lbs of live rock and 3 inches of crushed coral. I am awaiting a bonus at work for a skimmer. <A good goal!> How can I add a refugium? I guess I am asking, how does the refugium attach/hook into the main tank (plumbing)? Do you have any instructions or web sites where I can scope out some set-up instructions. <Tons of different ways to do it...Even premanufactured "hang-on" units! I'd look into a few DIY sites, such as ozreef.org, and pick up a copy of Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" for more ideas.> Thanks!  Its funny, seven months in and I still know so little. I do know that whatever I can do for my livestock to increase their quality of life, is worth the time and effort. <My pleasure! Ya know what- you never stop learning in this hobby- that's the best part! Even after a lifetime! Have fun, and good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Refugium in Sump - <Good morning, JasonC here...> Sorry for what must seem like yet another in a series of endless questions on refugiums. Your FAQ pages are endless. My problem is with trying to fit one in a stand of a 55. An above tank is out of the question and 2 separate sumps would be too tight. That said there are 2 basic designs I can use for an all in one. 1) An ecostyle sump <? I'm guessing you mean an Ecosystem-style?> 2) A basic 3 chamber design(chamber1 water input and skimmer) (chamber 2 water out) chamber 3 refugium with its own feed from tank, with water flowing back into 2.) Which of these do you prefer? <I don't really have a preference - both are viable, and depend as much on what you are trying to accomplish.> What depth for sand bed in refugium if I am putting in a 4-4 1/2" sand bed in the display tank? <I'd do something similar.> Does it matter where I put the heater? <Not really.> ( I know that it might sound strange, but ecosystems recommends not putting one in the refugium section. <Because the flow in a 'classic' refugium is low compared to the circulation in a tank, the flow may not be high enough to keep the tank heated.> ( When was the last time you saw a nicely planted freshwater tank without one? Thanks for the help. Can I send along a diagram for critiquing? <If you would like.> Thanks again, Ken <Cheers, J -- >

Refugium tweaking & scary overflows 6/10/03 Hello Anthony, How is it? <still hairy, thanks for asking> Well I hope! <sure... easy for you to say. People don't think you are wearing mohair pajamas when you are really stripped to the waist at the beach... but I digress...> I wrote you twice about a sump turned refuge (you may remember!?!), <I do...> at any rate, 1 1/2 days after it was up & working, the face of the tank cracked (Major bummer). <that part sucks... caused by a twist or torque of the stand... or simply a stand that was not level from Go most always> Now I've got a new, DIY 15 gallon design working. I'm using two Maxi-jet 1200, to get water to & from the refuge. <yikes!!! Cease and desist my friend! Never try to pair pumps to move water in and out of a vessel... it is truly a recipe for disaster. All pumps are not exactly equal... and even theoretical "identical ones may clog at different rates. Yikes again! Please do take the time to drain, drill and refill this vessel using a bulkhead fitting. Else, I personally would not run it at all... we are talking flood and fire hazard here> I didn't realize how touchy trying to balance the two was going to be! Would a siphon tube of the J variety, <alas no... truly outdated and unreliable if not unsafe. A drilled overflow hole is really the only way to go> work better to put water into the display tank without bubbles, or, is there a way to have a switch of some sort to turn the return pump on & off, at two different levels in the refuge (low & high), so the tank won't over flow or keep the pump from running dry? <you are overthinking this one bro... simply drill/install an overflow hole that is large enough to handle the pump you choose... it's foolproof after that> That would be cool if, when the water level in the refuge rose to a selected point, the pump would switch on adding an extra "wave" in the display. Then shut off at a low point, then back on, you get the idea! <very neat idea, my friend... but it would chew up pumps... especially the non-industrial hobby quality ones> I really wouldn't know how to do these types of projects, do you know where I could buy a clue? Thanks for letting me pester you, Stormbringer (Scott in Denver) <hmmm... not a lot of coverage on fuges in modern texts yet. Our new book has perhaps the biggest section to date (almost 100 pages on plants, algae and refugiums). Local aquarium societies and regional and national aquarium conferences are really the best place to learn these new techniques bud. Do follow the MACNA conferences. It is the best money you can invest in your aquaristic education... bang for your buck! MACNA this year is being held by www.lmas.org  Best regards, Anthony>

- Gracilaria - <Good morning, JasonC here...> To the Best Crew There is: So, I mail-ordered some Red Gracilaria, mainly for nutrient uptake.  I get the thing, and it's a huge "portion". I only have a 10 gallon QT, and it takes up like half the tank.  My problem is how do I keep it in place? Would a mesh bag or women's hose restrict it too much? <I'd think the bag would work better than the panty-hose.> I will have a sump on my 55 gallon display by the time it is ready to come out of QT, but either way I am going to want to keep it in place. <I'd go ahead and place this stuff in the sump. If the algae is from a reputable source, then you probably don't need to be so rigid about quarantine with is.> While I am here, any other fish besides tangs (i.e.: small/peaceful/community/reef-safe) eat this stuff? <The algae-eating gobies and blennies might eat it, but I'm not certain. Same goes for pygmy angels. Best to do some reading on those fish in the various sections on WetWebMedia.> Thanks, Rich. <Cheers, J -- >

Refugium Confusion! Hi there- <Hey! Scott F. at your service!> I hope all is going well, and frankly, I wish to apologize for this- there is every chance you have answered this/these question(s), but I can't find it in the pages and I have trouble searching for the match of all these variables. I've had an 80 gallon set up for about five months with few inhabitants and I decided to add a refugium to it. <A good move!> I went out and got a 20 gallon glass aquarium and had it drilled to maintain a constant water level (thinking ahead to the next big purchase, a protein skimmer).  The water drops from my main tank into the refugium, and then overflows into my wet/dry.  I know this is not the ideal condition, but I have read that it has been done before. <Yes it has...> My questions are: 1) The LFS has said that this design is bad and is useful for little more than increasing the water volume; further, they said the protein skimmer won't work inside it, but instead should be placed in the wet/dry after the bioballs.  I've read quite a bit about this, and it seems that you disagree with placing protein skimmers after the biological filtration; who's right here? <Well, there are tons of opinions on this, as you have discovered! I like the idea of the protein skimmer placed where it will receive a steady flow of "raw", unprocessed water from the display, ideally before the water is subjected to further "treatment" downstream. Frankly, I'd dump the bioballs, and rely on the live rock/sand within your system (and the refugium) to do the work. Why accumulate nitrate when you have the rock, sand, and refugium to help process it?>   In this case, should I put the skimmer in the wet/dry, or should I go ahead and partition off a section of the refugium for it like I had planned? <I'd put the skimmer in the sump, in an area of steady water flow and steady water level. Alternatively, you could construct a dedicated "level flow" box for the skimmer to be housed in...> 2) I have a few medium sized bivalves attached to my live rock, and I want to make sure they get enough food, so I would love for this to become a breeding ground for microorganisms.  Also, I like tangs and dwarf angels, and in preparation for possible additions, I was thinking about using Gracilaria in the refugium. <One of my favorite macroalgae...It does need to be kept in motion for optimum growth> Would the algae also work to sap out nutrients from micro algae, or should I add Halimeda, too? <If you have enough macroalgae in the system, it will definitely compete with the microalgae for available nutrients. Halimeda is a wonderful macroalgae, too, but, being calcareous, it tends to consume calcium for growth (in fact, it's a great indicator of calcium levels within your system). I'd look to a more prolific "general purpose" macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha ("spaghetti macroalgae"), which has the added benefit of being attractive to creatures such as Mysis and amphipods.> Will this grow too fast and pose the same risk of toxins as Caulerpa? <No, but Halimeda can go into a sexual phase when it turns white and essentially crumbles, forming the basis of aragonite...> 3)Is the water flow going to be a large problem? <Just don't make it too high> I was thinking about trying to put together a deep sand bed or even a plenum for hardcore denitrification.  What would you suggest? <I like the simple "static" sand bed, myself> If I did this, would it still be recommended to put some small rocks to encourage microorganism growth? <Sure; it couldn't hurt!> 4) The wet/dry has a primary "blue" filter before the bio balls.  Would the beneficial microorganisms be caught in this and never make it to my bivalves? <Well, many will make it through. It's important to change the filter media frequently. or it will become a "nutrient trap".> 5) I have thought about the flow rate, and have come up with a design to split the flow so that a percentage of the water goes into the refugium and then overflows into the wet/dry while the rest bypasses and goes straight to the wet/dry. <Sounds nice> 6) (random and unrelated) I had a skunk cleaner for about three months, and recently added a second.  After a week (maybe they like each other) the original one is sporting eggs in her swimmerettes.  Are these likely fertilized?  Is there any way for me to try and raise these guys? <Hard to say...As far as raising them- it's tough, as they require very minute planktonic foods to feed the larvae...> Would it work to move the shrimp to another tank with air/sponge filtration until she lets them go? <Unless you can meet the specific feeding requirements of the larvae, I'd leave the shrimp where it is> Wow... that was a heck of a lot, and I appreciate your time. Thanks -Brendan <My pleasure, Brendan. Remember- there are tons of different ideas out there, and even more opinions on what's best...Take them all with a grain of salt, and do what's best for you. By the way, you'd be doing yourself a great favor to pick up a copy of Anthony Calfo's "book of Coral Propagation" for tons of good ideas! Good luck with your system! Regards, Scott F>

Refugium questions Greetings, A couple of questions that I'd like your help on while I'm in the final stages of planning my new reef tank. First, I am planning a second tank 55 (gals) plumbed off the main system (150gals) with a DSB and live rock. I've read on your site that you recommend turn over rates of around 2-3 times per hour for the refugium.<Finally, in address of the specific amount of water flow needed for corals, we cannot only say that more is better. The type and volume of water flow in the aquarium must be tailored to suit each collection of corals that have hopefully been assembled with regard for their similar needs. The old "rule of thumb" for water movement was 4 to 10 times a tanks total volume. In modern aquariums however, a 10-fold turnover of water is mediocre at best. Now enlightened to avoid laminar flow for most corals, aquarists will find that 10 to 20-fold turnovers are common and appropriate. Some systems with various stony corals or programs targeting fast growth will likely employ even great flow. Judicious experimentation is the only rule to follow here." by Anthony Calfo><Read this article by Anthony Calfo  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm >  Is 2-3 times the refugium capacity or the total system capacity? Second, when I start placing live rock in the display tank should I set the rock on the bottom of the tank and then put the sand around it or put the sand in first and then the rock on top.<I would put the sand in first and then put the rock on top> Thanks in advance for your continued help and support. Your site is extremely helpful.<IanB> Regards, Dave.

Down stream sump/refuge, turned upstream? 6/2/03 Hey Gang, I trust y'all are livin' large!, (life is good!), <always> Anthony, I need your advice on that "downstream refuge" picture/question sent to you last week. In order to put it under the display, I'd have to raise the tank enough to maintenance the Remora Pro protein skimmer, which has been off the tank for a couple of months. <bummer... compensated with extra water changes and chemical filtration I hope> As you can see in the photo, the "sump" in the top right side could function as an upstream refuge, <to be specific... a sump is the lowest vessel inline, be that the display proper or an empty vessel. In this case it is your trickle filter chamber. Agreed... the upper right vessel would make a fine upstream 'fuge> it's easy to feed it with a maxi-jet 1200 from the display, into the Remora chamber, over the sand bed, the into the over-flow back into tank. I've got another 20 gallon tank that I was going to put an 8" DSB in, then put it where the sump now sits as the refuge.  I'm still waiting for the sand to arrive, the Rocky Mt. Reef Club placed a large group order that's taking forever to get here. Question, should I go ahead and run this set-up as is, and use the spare 20 gallon as a quarantine tank? <if you have no other, QT then yes, please do> Do you think the 40lb, 8" DSB will do much for filtration if I run it as is? <sounds excellent for denitrification> I picked up some Halimeda Macro-algae today that's going on top of the sand. What would you do, drain & raise the display to accommodate the "plan", or leave as is? (I really want to get the protein skimmer going again) Thanks, as always, your bro in Denver, Stormbringer (Scott) <I favor upstream refugiums and the use of a skimmer. Given to choose between the two, I'm inclined to see you get that skimmer rolling ASAP. Best regards, Anthony>

Refugium lighting I need a cheap fuge light. I saw some power compacts - the ones that screw into incandescent sockets and look like a coil/springs.  They use 25w to output 100w at over 1600 lumens and a color temp of 6200k. There was no CRI or spectrum information on their website. If I used one of these on a clamp on reflector (the ones that look like bowls with hole in middle) and clamped onto fuge, would I be able to grow macros? I have heard some allege on Reef Central that they have success growing macros with similar type incandescent socket power compacts. On one of the lighting articles I read on this site, there was a statement that some "old timers" swear by incandescent. So what do you think? Thanks for the time. <There is a good chance that these will work for you, algae does prefer the warmer end of the spectrum.  For the price I would definitely give it a shot before purchasing a more expensive lighting setup.  -Gage>

Downstream refugium 5/28/03 Hey gang! Hope y'all are doin' well, A question for Anthony concerning the DSB chamber in the sump. There's 4 1/2" of space remaining in the DSB area, after the 8" sand was added. I'm thinkin' about placing live rock on top of the sand, here's the question, would the sand bed function better if there's a space between rock and sand? <it would function better without the rock impeding water flow above it IMO. No rock at all for me, here. At most, some tumbling Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria algae> I have a 18" NO strip light that could be placed over the sump as well, I was thinking that the reverse timer, light cycle (sump lights as display goes dark), the way the refuge does, might add to the system a bit. Every little bit helps! <agreed> What's your opinion? <I think that Kordell Steward will not be the starting quarterback in Chicago in the 3 year picture. Pittsburgh made the right call releasing him. Pre-season starts soon. Thanks goodness, too... golf and baseball bore me to tears.> Thanks for the advice! Peace & incense. Stormbringer <always, welcome mate. Anthony>

Want to replace my Caulerpa in refugium 5/22/03 Hi all! <cheers> I recently had a little tank breakdown that was green cloudy water and fish not happy.  I did a large water change to fix it, but I am now suspecting that I need to replace the algae in my refugium filter.  It is currently a big mat of Caulerpa.   <many benefits and limitations to this family> This was initially set up a couple of years ago under Bob's recommendations (already the tank was 6 years old before I did this), but now I read that he has changed his opinions of Caulerpa.   <hmmm... actually, Bob still favors Caulerpa that is maintained properly... I'm the one that is outspoken against it. I find it to be too laborious and more work than it is work for me and fellow lazy aquarists <G>. There are much more stable choices/algae for folks like us> My low bio-load tank has done okay until now.  I am finally starting to stock up and even my relatively new bubble-tipped anemone looks great, so the water quality must be okay. The online store I use has red Gracilaria (cheapest, by far), Halimeda, Grateloupia sp, Botryocladia sp, Chlorodesmis sp., and shaving brush.  I would like to know which would be best for my sand bed, deep narrow refugium (12" deep, 6" wide).  15 watt light is on 24/7.  I tend towards neglect every now and then, if that helps with the choice. <the lighting here is frighteningly low... Gracilaria is the best algae choice listed above, but none will survive under 15 watts. You may have to stay with that rat weed Caulerpa <G>> As far as removing it, I am thinking that during a water change I turn of the circulation pumps and take the water down in the sump as much as possible to minimize the amount of toxins that might be released during this effort from getting into the main display tank.  Then, I will replant with the new algae and hope it grows!!  Or, should I just float the algae since my refugium is so deep? <with enough light and tumbling water flow... the Gracilaria grows very nicely free-living> Will the copepods and/or Mysis miraculously reappear? Linda <yes, indeed. Kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Want to replace my Caulerpa in refugium 5/22/03 Actually, it is 18w power compact.   <the difference 15 and 18 watts is insignificant, my friend... still not enough light for most plants and algae in a refugium/vegetable filter... by a factor of about 4 or more> The refugium also gets some extra light during daylight hours from the display lighting (36 inch Smartlite).   <also low light and even less makes it through the glass and water transversely> The refugium light is really cheap and the wiring is starting to fall apart, so an upgrade is probably in order.  How do I size the lighting?   <by the needs of the species you target... somewhere around 4 to 6 watts per gallon for a good vegetable filter/refugium> The light is only about 3" from the surface of the refugium.   <excellent. Actually... it should not be any more than 3" off the surface (intensity degrades)> It is a really small refugium, I know, but it seems to work okay.   <no worries :) > The tank has been in service since 1995 and the sump was converted to a refugium about 2 years ago.  My live rock is loaded with freebie critters. <all good> I am also worried because the refugium has about 12" deep of water.  I can take it down to maybe 11" deep.  Will the Gracilaria make it with such deep water? Linda <its not deep at all, my friend. Do enjoy as it is. Best regards, Anthony>

Refugiums and Reef Books  5/22/03 HI GANG I CHECK OUT YOU GUYS A LOT AND I MUST SAY THIS SITE IS THE BEST THERE IS. <thanks kindly, my friend> NOW MY ?  90GAL REEF TANK SETTING UP. 30 GAL SUMP. I WANT TO HAVE A REFG. UNDER TANK & INSIDE STAND.  LOOKING AT THE REF. FROM RIGHT TO LEFT, SHOULD I START W/ THE REFG ON RIGHT, CHAMBERED OF COURSE, THEN THE SKIMMER, THEN THE PUMP SITTING OUTSIDE THE SUMP.? <skimmer is always first, then refugium, then sump proper> IS PLASTIC SCREEN A GOOD IDEA FOR THE COMPARTMENT?   <depends... but a solid divider (the highest of any in the sump if first) will be necessary to maintain stable a water level and consistent skimmate performance> UNRELATED--I TRIED TO ORDER ANTHONY'S PROP BOOK, BUT THERE WAS A SECURITY PROBLEM. <no problem... just did not buy the bully certificate yet <G>. Heehee... > I EMAILED HIM, BUT JUST IN CASE HE DOESN'T GET HIS MAIL, COULD YOU PLEASE INFORM HIM OF THE PROBLEM?   <thanks for the interest, bud. You can actually order the book from our secure server on WetWebMedia by following the link for ordering the new book (there is an option at the top of the page to order only the Book of Coral propagation): http://wetwebfotos.com/store/nma-ri.html order page: https://secure.wetwebmedia.com/order_form.jsp > THANKS FOR ALL YOUR INPUT, YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST THERE IS.  BILL    <always welcome my friend. And do consider the new book as well... it has almost 100 pages dedicated to refugiums, plants and algae/live substrates. Best regards, Anthony>

Refugium + Bio Balls Necessary? I've been researching setting up a marine aquarium for a few months now as I gather up the funds to start diving into the hobby.<I/We here at WWM admire people who research before just "diving" into this hobby, good job> I'm fascinated and excited by the hobby and can't wait to jump in. At the same time I'm intimidated and confused and wonder when and if I'll ever be fully ready to get started.<you will, don't worry> I plan on starting up a 110 gallon tank, with a refugium sump underneath the tank followed by a protein skimmer before the water is pumped back up into the tank.<sounds good> My question is a simple one, is it beneficial to have bioballs prior to the water dropping into the refugium? Or does the refugium completely eliminate the need for bio balls? <the refugium will eliminate the need for bio-balls. I would purchase some nice LR for your main tank and for your sump. Your gravel. sand/aragonite, LR and your refugium will provide the biological filtration for your aquarium. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bioballfaqs.htm-this link should help IanB> Thanks! Gregan Adding Mud to Refugium Hey guys, one more question.  My new refugium and miracle mud just arrived.  I plan to add the mud in the fuge to my established reef.  How would you recommend I make the introduction?   Will the addition of mud cause an ammonia spike? Thanks again, Adam <Hi Adam, I would isolate the refugium from the main, add the mud, run separately until it settles, then run as part of main system.

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