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FAQs about Refugiums 9

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

Related FAQs: Refugiums 1, Refugiums 2, Refugiums 3Refugiums 4, Refugiums 5, Refugiums 6, Refugiums 7, Refugiums 8, Refugiums 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

A refugium can be a great place to raise frags... like Euphyllia divisa.

Refugium Confusion! Hi gentlemen, <Scott F. your guy tonight!> I emailed you about setting up a 75 gallon fish only tank. You   suggested a refugium, and I am taking your advice. I would like to know if a 20 gallon  Rubbermaid container would work, or do you suggest a glass tank? <A Rubbermaid container is just fine, as long as it can hold water!> Also, can I put the protein skimmer in the same sump? It would make it easier for me if I could. <You could. Ideally, a skimmer should be placed where it will receive direct inflow of nutrient laden water from the system> Also, how much light does the refugium need, or can I set it up without light? <Well, most refugia contain photosynthetic animals that will need light to survive and function.> I am  a little familiar with them but could use some reference. <We have some excellent information here on the WWM site about refugia. Look on the WWM home page for more...> Also, would you suggest continuing using the Eheim Pro 2 canister filter or removing it? <There is nothing wrong with using the Eheim. The key when using any mechanical filter is to replace or clean the media very frequently, or trapped detritus and matter will decompose, degrading your water quality.> I was considering using powerheads. Thanks for listening. Ron <Powerheads are very useful for moving large volumes of water with relatively little electrical consumption. Certainly worth a look! Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Quick refugium questions 4/7/04  Hello Crew!  <howdy!>  Thanks again for all the wonderful help you have given me in the last 5 months. My little ocean family is doing wonderful!  <outstanding>  My CPR hang-on refugium is finally on it's way from backorder (YAY!!!!). Gonna be setting it up tonight.  Have 2 quick questions.  1. I have 5 sand clams in my main tank. Would it be helpful if I dug one or two of them out and placed them in the refugium?  <not much difference either way I suspect>  2. I have read that you should place an inch of aragonite sand on top of the mud layer in the refugium.  Is this helpful?  <perhaps yes... I do favor deep sand beds (over 3-4")>  If so, I can buy a 10# bag of sand, which is more than I would need so the extra would go into my main tank. Any suggestions for how to do this without making a huge cloud?  <really easy, my friend... place the dry sand in bags and soak it in seawater for a few days to saturate it. Then sink the soaked sand bags into the tank and slice them open gently and pull the bag away>  Well, that was 3 questions actually. Sorry. Thanks again for all the help!  <no worries... Anthony>

Re: sump/refugium setup 12/12/03 Hello again! <Hi Eric. Adam here today> I emailed you a few weeks ago about my sump refugium setup and wanted to run another idea by you. I have attached a schematic of my proposed layout in a MSpaint file. A few questions about it if you don't mind... <Nice diagram.  One major suggestion is to use a smaller main pump (Mag 7 maybe) to save heat and electricity and have a drain from the display feed the refugium.  You could also eliminate the "bleeder" since risk of overwhelming the drains would be lower.  This would also make your plumbing much simpler and cheaper (all those valves are expensive!).  A single valve coming out of the pump could serve to limit flow in case the drains are over driven.> -Is the Euro Reef ES5-2 sufficient for my 55G Reef/LR/Fish setup? <Yep.  I will say I am a fan of "light" skimming.  If you plan on a heavy load of fish, you may consider a 6-2> -Is it ok to leave the DSB out of the display and put one in a small 12"x12" refugium section in my sump? The reason I ask is because I am afraid of having to move in the future and a DSB will be very limiting. Also, my fish may be too messy for it. <I like the idea of a remote sandbed.  A certain sandbed expert disagrees strongly, but I happen to share your concerns and have used the exact approach.  I don't think that the fish mentioned below will necessarily be "too messy". Obviously such a small sand bed will not process the amount of waste as one in the display, but wise stocking levels along with occasional vacuuming of the bare bottom display will make this a non-issue.> -Is the small fuge that I plan on making worthwhile? I can go back to the drawing board if not, but I am limited by the 9x9 footprint of the skimmer. <Some 'fuge is better than no 'fuge.  If you want it to be bigger, do consider creative (remote, above the sump) placement options of the 'fuge if possible.> -Due to financial reasons I may have to start out with only 45lbs of Fiji LR. Is this a major problem? <Not a problem at all in my opinion.  My advice is to seek particularly open structured rock (think Marshall Islands or Kaelini).  Such rock may get you 50% more volume and surface area per pound compared to relatively bouldery Fiji.  In any case, stock slowly and monitor water quality as you go.> -Is my 20G sump (probably only 12-15G full at any time) going to be enough for my application? <I don't see why not.  Be sure that if pumps stop, the sump won't overflow.> -I am planning on using a shallow 1" sand bed in my display. Any thoughts on substrate? (CC for ease of siphoning but sand for aesthetics) <CC warrants caution and as you indicate must be watched for detritus accumulation, but it supports a lot of macro life (pods, mini stars, worms).  Fine sand also supports a lot of worms, etc. and is better for digging fish like wrasses, but is easily disturbed.  Anything in between (like Carib seas "special grade reef sand") isn't appropriately sized for many critters, but is aesthetically pleasing and stays put.>   -What configuration do you recommend for my powerheads? I will not be investing in a wave maker, so I wondered how you might set up the powerheads for adequate flow in the display? Rear top aimed at front bottom...etc? <You may be able to get enough current from your return pump to get away without power heads (at 500gph, which is below your drain rating, you have nearly 10x turnover).  If you aren't satisfied, I would recommend experimentation with placement until you get the desired effect of well distributed random current. Where that might be is hard to predict.> -Is this enough filtration? Bottom line I could rig up a wet/dry of some kind. I just want to make sure my fish and coral will be healthy and happy. <A wet dry would likely be counterproductive since they move nitrification away from the live rock where the resulting nitrate is most effectively broken down.  If you are realistic about stocking and monitor water quality carefully, I don't foresee any filtration deficiency.> I plan on housing some soft corals, a flame angel, a yellow goby, a Sailfin tang (plan on returning this specimen when he becomes too large) and probably 2 or 3 other small reef fish. I will also have cleaner shrimp and some hermits and snails. I will use one maxi jet 1200 (295 GPH) and maybe 2 maxi jet 900s (230GPH) for circulation coupled with my 600GPH return line (is this overkill and will I need calm zones in the tank?). <All sounds appropriate, but beware that you won't have that Sailfin tang long!<G>.  As discussed above, the powerheads may be unnecessary and may indeed be overkill.  Get your main pump running and judge from there.> For lighting I have found a great deal on a 48" CSL w/ moonlight 260W PC setup that I will use over the main display. I will run the actinics 14hrs and the daylights 12hrs. I will run the light in the sump for 16hrs a day, slightly overlapping but mostly when display lights are off at night. <sounds totally appropriate.  You should have plenty of light for all but the most demanding corals or clams.> Thank you so much for your time, <My pleasure.  Adam>
Eric Witschen

Refugiums (12-11-03) Is there any benefit to a refugium without corals?<There is but not as much.  It will take out nutrients through the algae you grow and the fish will also eat the larger copepods that it produces.  If you do go with just fish I would spend the money for the refugium on the best skimmer you can buy and add the refugium if you ever decide to get corals.  Cody>

Refugium placement and surface "scum" 12/11/03 Kudos- WWM site has been a huge factor in my enjoyment of this hobby/way of life. <Thanks for the kind words, although I am too new to take any credit!  Kudos to you for realizing that this all becomes a way of life!> Please comment on refugium placement pros/cons: gravity feeding sump vs. display, ease of installation. <In an ideal world, the refugium would always gravity drain into the display.  This ensures that any critters passing from the refugium to the display do so without a perilous trip through a pump.  In the real world, a refugium above the level of the display creates some serious logistical issues in terms of access to both the 'fuge and main display, aesthetics, etc.  Refugium sumps solve those problems, but microcrustaceans must travel through a main return pump to get into the display.  IMO, this is a minor downside for two reasons. First, a trip through a pump is probably not a dangerous to the critters in question as you might think.  Second, even if some critters are damaged or killed, they still are a nutritious and delicious prey item.  Hang on or in tank refugia often have the best or worst of the two previous worlds.  Essentially the choice comes down to which of all the choices works best for your and your system, and the fact that any refugium is probably better than no refugium.> I also can not seem to rid the surface of the display of "scum" (brown stinky floaters).  72-bow FOWLR, EuroReef skimmer, wet/dry, about 30-40lb. rock, Sailfin, goby, clown, damsel. <I am assuming by your use of a wet/dry that you are employing some kind of surface skimming device (drilled tank, spillway, J-tube overflow).  If this is the case, simply manipulating the current devices in the tank so that they direct the scum toward the overflow should suffice.  If this is not possible or practical or doesn't work, a strategically placed powerhead should work too.  Best regards.  Adam>

Propelling 'Pods Hey, <Hey there! Scott F. with you!> Right now, I have a 10 gallon reef ( all zoos) with 80 watts of pc in the coming week or 2, I am getting a 55 gallon tank with once again is going to be for zoanthids only- I'm going to use cured rock as to cycle the tank quicker. <Hopefully!> I plan on getting a couple of gobies including a Green or Target Mandarin so I want to get a head start for a couple of weeks at least before adding the Mandarin. <I'd wait a longer time than that before introducing this fish. Mandarins historically fare poorly in newly established tanks with limited microfauna for them to forage> I know the question I'm going to ask has been answered and you can go ahead and refer me to another link, but I assure you no matter how much I read I am still illiterate in the topic. <Cut yourself a little slack! I'm sure that you know a lot more than you think you do> I'm going to have no room behind or on top of the 55 at all except for the AQUA C Remora I'm getting-this also means the fuge will be under the tank. <Sounds fine so far...> I plan on using my 10 gallon and the 80 watts of pc. I still don't understand how the piping goes to get the pods etc from the fuge to the main tank. Telling me to use the return pump etc means nothing. Can you please explain to me how this works in layman's? terms. <Well, in many configurations, this is exactly how it works...The pods and other planktonic life are "sucked up" (or down, if the refugium is over the display) into the return to the tank. Really pretty simple. Sure, there are other possible means to accomplish this, but this is the most common way. As a simple person myself, this is how I'd explain it!> Thanks a lot. Mike <My pleasure. Regards, Scott F.>

Refugium Hi Folks, <hello> I am hoping you can help me make the best decision regarding a refugium. Firstly my existing set-up: > 350l reef tank, 6 months old. > Biological filtration provided by 55kg of Fiji live rock combined with 30x per hr water movement. No detectable nitrate. > Eheim canister containing floss (changed weekly to avoid biological build-up), chemical media (RowaPhos and carbon), with the return going through a UV. > Deltec MCE600 skimmer combined with 35mg/hr of ozone. > Deltec calcium generator. Calcium 420, dKH 11.2. <awesome equipment. I use there products myself and love them.> > Combination of metal halide and actinic lighting. > All corals, fish and inverts settled and growing nicely. > I would like to add a refugium, with overnight lighting. I want to stop my pH falling to 7.9 by morning, provide some natural food for my corals (throw away those chemical additives!), perhaps provide a few small critters for my mandarin fish to chase and chew! Now my problem . . . the tank is (a) a corner unit and (b) has not been drilled. My options: 1. refugium under the main tank, served by an overflow box. I am worried about potential flooding hazards and don't like the idea of the "critters" having to go through a powerhead to return to the main tank. <I don't trust over the tank overflow boxes either. I have had them fail to many times> 2. refugium next to corner tank, or above it. Plumbing would be "safe" (i.e., powerhead from tank to refugium, gravity brings it back down again), but the refugium would either be in the way of the corner tank or look cluttered in my wife "pride and joy" dining room) - divorce would surely follow, she would get ownership of the tank, would feed the fish to the cat, the get rid of the tank. Not the win-win situation I am looking for! <you could put a nice corner shelf above the tank and get a custom tank for it, but it is not worth getting divorced over.> 3. hang on refugium (I have a 5" gap between tank and wall). This could be a 24" x 12" x 4" CPR unit, or perhaps even better a specially made 24" x 24" x5" tank to fully utilize the space. <this looks like your best bet.> Getting the tank drilling unfortunately just isn't an option for me. Being pragmatic I honestly believe option 3 is my best bet; Do you agree? Now the key question - will a 5" by 24" by 24" hang-on refugium, containing a 6" aragonite fine sand bed, appropriate algae / planting and appropriate lighting give me the benefits I outlined above? or is this refugium just too small for a 350l tank? <Any refugium  is better than no refugium. For what you want it for, it should be big enough. Good Luck MikeH> As always, thanks for your help. It is very much appreciated. Andrew Senior

Refugium -12/5/03   Hi again! I am wanting to build a refugium for my 75 gallon tank. <OK. I think this would be a very good idea>  The problem is I have no clue how to! <C'mon, you can't find that kind of information somewhere?? There are books, our website has quite a few exchanges regarding this and many others as well, local reef clubs, and also many forums. No need to re-invent the wheel, so to speak.> I've checked your site, but there is not much on building one. <Huh?? Start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and read the refugium FAQs. I see many links and information on how best to design and plumb refugiums. Here is yet another site with some links for refugiums (did a search with Google: http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/refugiumsetups/ oh....and here.... http://saltaquarium.about.com/library/weekly/aa041400.htm also here: http://www.3reef.com/refugiums.htm> I would mainly like to get a steady growth of amphipods <Amphipods> and copiods <copepods> to feed my psychedelic mandarinfish. <Needs a lot of live food stuffs. I think a refugium is a great idea!!>  Just to let you know the tank has many amphipods and copiods but I would like to grow more. <A refugium is a great idea. Peruse our site and look around the links I gave you. I think you will have some luck finding something that will work both in functionality and that will fit your budget as well. Thanks for the inquiry. ~Paul>   Thanks a lot again. Scott

- AquaClear Refugium - Hi, I've heard some talk about people turning HOB power filters like an AC500 into refugiums. Have you heard of this, do you think it would work, and do you have any DIY plans? <Yes, I've heard of it. I think any refugium is better than none, but certainly less and less practical if the percentage of water in the refugium is tiny compared to the system volume. Larger is always better with refugiums. And sorry, I don't have any DIY plans for build one. Imagine is would be pretty straight forward.> Thanks, Zack <Cheers, J -- >

More about 'Pods - 11/26/03 Crew: I noticed the question and Paul's reply regarding buying copepods. <Oh yeah!!!> I wanted to put in a good word for Inland Aquatics in Terre Haute, IN. <Yeah, that was my second choice, but having not bought from them before I was unsure of their abilities. Now I know! (and so will everyone)> They sell a wide variety of aquacultured products, including amphipods, copepods, Gammarus and Mysis. <I do like their site and their mission statement>  I have bought his fauna kit before & was very satisfied. <Great!!> It helps to call rather than e-mail if you're desperate for something. <Unfortunately, Gerald doesn't make that very easy with IPSF. His policy is email only in my experience> I called yesterday at 11 AM MST and received 4 bags of excellent algae at 9 AM this morning. <From IPSF??> BTW, I have found that it is easy to get these creatures to grow in a refugium. I suction-cupped a few of those plastic dish scrubbers to the wall of my refugium as suggested by Anthony. I then added the fauna kit. I soon had hundreds of 'pods & shrimps in the refugium. When I wanted to transfer some 'pods to my new 25" CPR AquaFuge on another tank, I tried to catch some and could not. Instead, I removed one of the pads & shook it in a bowl of saltwater. I was amazed to find at least a couple of hundred 'pods & shrimps in there. Now the AquaFuge is full of them too, This is a great product. I put a 65 watt PC (10K/actinic combo) over it and threw in a wad of IPSF's Tang Heaven Red (red Gracilaria). A month later, I've gotten at least 500% growth. I have tried other means to grow Gracilaria, but this is the first time I have succeeded. <Great information. Similar to how I do it as well. Good on ya, mate. Be chattin ~Paul> Steve Allen

- Setting Up a Refugium - Hi guys, I have read numerous articles on your website in regards to refugiums, however am still trying to figure out the easiest way to set one up for my tank. Currently I have a wet dry sump with a skimmer that sits inside of it. I have a prefilter that hangs on the back of my tank with 2 tubes feeding the sump. Can you give me the step by step to set it up. I can have one of my outputs of my prefilter pour into the designated refugium but how would I minimize the force that it would coming in at. <With a valve, or perhaps baffles in the tank/sump you will be using for your refugium. The baffles would buffer the turbulence but still allow good water flow through the refugium.> It also mentions that I should use gravity to transfer the water to my sump... can I use a filter to do this... <No - not without many hazards, siphoning your tank onto the floor being the primary one.> My reasons are that the space underneath my tank is limited so do not have the ability to raise it up to clean @ maintain etc. The LFS indicated that I would need to drill holes... I am guessing that this is the reason why... I believe I need a empty tank 20 - 30 gallons with a light running reverse sunlight... <That's a good start.> Should I use normal glow bulbs that are used for growing freshwater plants... <Those will work fine.> I believe I need a substrate such as miracle mud or plays and... will aggregate work as well. <Probably so, although the smaller the particle size, the better it will perform.> I know I need a bunch of living rock not an issue besides cost... can you give me the minimum requirement <Really, the live rock should be in your main tank, although you can put some in the refugium you're better off concentrating the quantities in your main tank - to the tune of one pound per gallon.> The cause of this discussion is that my trickle is causing significant nitrate levels in my FO tank and I need to get them down. All suggestions are greatly appreciated. <The refugium is a good start, but you might want to consider replacing your sump/filter entirely and replacing it with a larger refugium.> Chris <Cheers, J -- >

Sump to 'fuge Hi, <hello> I have a 110 gal reef using a sump with only live rock and a skimmer in it with about 80-90 lbs. of live rock in the tank itself.  I have not always had the best luck keeping the corals alive and well and have been doing a lot of reading on your phenomenal site.  I have been using A&B with other weekly additives like Trace Elements, Lugol's, Magnesium and a few other things in the recipe.  The direction that I would like to go is to convert from a sump to 'fuge and add a Korallin c1502 reactor.  My plan is to possible make a 'fuge out of a good old Rubbermaid tub and plumb it through the back wall of the tank like my chiller is.  So if I do this, change to a 'fuge and reactor, will life be easier for both myself and my tank mates? <YES>   Also, what would an ideal 'fuge consist of for a 110 gal tank?  My thoughts have been a 30 gallon tub with a DSB, algae and a few bio balls. <30 gallon sounds good (always go bigger if you have the room) no need for bioballs>   I obviously plan to make it myself and it doesn't need to be pretty just keep the tank pretty.  So, have I done my homework? <yes>   Also, what is the switch over strategy from a sump to a 'fuge?  Do you run both simultaneously to acclimate or what? < I would plumb in the refugium first .Then fill it up. let it run for a couple of days then add sand and last what ever else you wanted. let sump and refugium  run for a couple months and then if you want to remove the sump you can, but I would let them both run more water volume. good luck MikeH> Thanks so much Sean

Adding A Refugium to grow Plankton 11/18/03 Guys, <and gals... don't forget Marina, Sabrina and Ananda :)> How do I go about adding a simple ABOVE THE TANK refugium to grow plankton ? Regards Lyndon <simple enough... take your refugium vessel (small aquarium, Rubbermaid bin, whatever) and drill a  small hole for a bulkhead fitting in it. This refugium is to be fed with water returning from the sump or from a powerhead in the display. Water gets pumped up to it, and overflows through the bulkhead back down into the display aquarium. For pod culture you will want a dense matrix like spun polyester (coarse pond filter pads) or if you light the sump, living Chaetomorpha spaghetti algae. Its that simple. We have extensive coverage on this topic too in our new book Reef Invertebrates by Calfo and Fenner. Anthony>

Refugium care 11/12/03 Anthony,  Thank you for answering my lighting question. I believe Jason was talking about the heater, being 250 watts. <yikes... I do see now. My apologies, I am back from a recent trip and reading through mail too fast as I answer. Doh! Fortunately the numbers still jive: 5-8 watts per gallon for growing bright-light loving macroalgae> I understand your new book deals a lot with refugiums, I am goring to order it this week for sure. <much appreciation... I trust that you will not be disappointed> Could you check this over and see if I have this right please. My main tank wont be running till mid summer, in the mean time I would like to use a tank that is 30'' long 15''wide by 15 deep for a grow tank to raise zooplankton, I was goring to put in a 3'' bed of south down sand, some live sand on that and some live rock. <a little more sand needed here for a good DSB. Seek 4-6"> This tank will have to be on its own till I can tie it into the main later on. You suggested for the lighting about 5 watts for this tank, 250watts for a heater, Now I was thinking of using of using a cheap triple corner filter to supply the filtering and water flow, its run by air ,that way I thought it wouldn't sheer the zooplankton as much. <true... but you should have few worries about plankton sheer (its over-rated)> Jason suggested I also add a power head to, for more movement. <agreed> Would a small filter like a whisper or Eheim work just as well, some shearing I guess. <very nice, yes... no worries. The plankton shear studies are flawed by use of brackish brine shrimp as targets (very unlike marine plankton)> I thought the power head would make a sand storm in my tank. Please give me your opinions. Charlie <a small powerhead will be a great benefit here to keep the macroalgae moving/tumbling adequately. All good. Anthony>

Flow in to a refugium... Hi everyone at WWM.  Hope all is going well.  I have a question about water flow into a refugium. I have a 55g main tank and am setting up a 10g (I know small but is all space will allow for now...) Water will overflow from the 55 down to the 'fuge.  In the center of the 10g 'fuge I am planning a DSB and eventually to grow macroalgae and copepods etc., to "help" feed the main tank and to reduce on nitrates. The pump I bought is the Quiet One 4000 which will give me about 750gph @3 ft head, not considering the T's and elbows inside the tank.  When it reaches the main tank it will be split into 2 custom pvc closed loops -4 T's per side-  run by a SQWD to alternate current to each side.  I guess my problem is that for the water flow into the closed loops I'd like a good amount of flow (I should get about 12X with this pump although I'd rather more).  But, is this going to be way to much flow to consider my refugium? <yes>   I do have baffles inside the 'fuge to hopefully keep everything from being blown away.  I really don't want to do this wrong and have to redo it because flow is waaayyyyy too much.  I read in Anthony & Roberts RI book that high flow is ok in a fuge but it didn't say what was considered high flow.  I think I would have about 60 or70Xs the fuge volume turning over per hour.....I'm thinking I'm trying to kill 2 birds with one stone (flow in tank and also the 'fuge) but it just can't be done together.  Some guidance would be greatly appreciated. < when you install the squid put a valve before it so you can regulate how much flow goes in the tank. the animals that live and grow in there can not live with that much flow cut it in half hope this helps Mike H> Jannell

Re: How much is too much?  Flow in to a refugium... Hi again (Mike H if it's still u), Just wanted to clarify one thing from your reply.  I'm pretty sure I figured out what you meant but to be sure: When you said to cut the flow in half on the return before the SQWD to keep the creatures alive,  I'm assuming that you didn't mean the 12x in the main tank volume was too much right,  u meant for me to do that to cut the flow going back into the refugium, right? <right sorry for confusion> Can you tell me for future reference, so I don't have to email again,  about how much flow should be given to a refugium...3x fuge size or??? <for your 10 gallon tank I would say 30-60 gallons per hour> If that's the case:  Could get your advice again....I'm thinking that it would be more beneficial to my tank at this point to not forgo the total amount of current into the tank to have the 10g refugium.   I'm thinking I may just use the 10g under the tank to just recirculate the water and not use it as a refugium at all (would it even be considered a sump, its so small) <any out side container holding water is a sump I once used a 5 1/2 gallon tank as a sump for a 10 gal display tank>  Do you think that would be the best bet for the tank? < I would use as a refugium>  The lack of properly aimed/designed water flow is worrying me.  Right now I have 2 filters, an Emperor 400 and a Magnum 350, running  and 2 powerheads with about 350gph together.  In preparation of removing the Emperor 400 totally, (to make room for the overflow for the fuge or whatever it turns into) I removed one of the bio-wheels a few weeks ago and have suddenly run into a red, stringy, mat type algae covering most of the sand. <  this is Cyanobacteria type this on the search and will give you info on how to get rid of it>   I continue to siphon it out daily with a turkey baster.   I was hoping that added circulation from the 12xgph loop would help the algae problem. < more circulation will greatly help  with the algae problems. Also test your phosphates if they are high find out were they are coming from and get rid of them (ROWAphos works great). hope this helps Mike H.>   Thanks again Jannell

- Starting with the Refugium - Hi crew, want to thank all of you for your time and patience. My question is this, I will be setting up a 135 gallon reef tank over summer, I will have a 30 gallon sump with mud and Chaetomorpha, and a 30 gallon refugium to raise little critters like amphipods and copepods. Until I get my tank going, I would like to use my refugium as a grow tank. I would like to put in a 3'' sand bed, live sand, live rock and a starter pack of amphipods and copepods. I know I need a heater, would 2 or 3 watts per gallon do? <I'd like to see something a little stronger - about 250 watts for this tank. If you size the heater smaller and it ends up being 'on' most of the time, it stands a higher chance of failure.> Since there will be no plants, do I need a light? <I think you should have some - promote growth of other useful fauna on the live rock.> I saw you can get a triple flow corner filter that runs on an air pump, would I need any more flow then that? <Hmm... hard to say. Typically flows generated by air-lift and the like are very weak. A small powerhead in addition to that filter would probably work very well.> Thank you so much Charlie <Cheers, J -- >

Refugium II 11/11/03 Thanks Jason for your reply. I forgot to ask you about the lighting, What would you recommend?   Thanks so much, Charlie <I see that Jason did answer your lighting question in his last reply: 250 watts over this 30 gallon refugium. I'm inclined to agree. 5 watts per gallon is a fair minimum... and closer to 8 watts per gallon for deeper refugia (over 12-16") and in those which you hope to cultivate vigorous algae for nutrient export (as is the case here with Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria). I would also add that your 3" DSB is a start with a low minimum and really should begin with closer to 5-6" IMO or you will find that you need to add more sand within mere months from dissolution. Best regards, Anthony>

Grow tank Good Morning every one!--Newbie here. My 135 gallon reef tank wont be ready for a couple of months, In the mean time I have a 30 gallon tank just setting empty, I would like to use it as a grow tank ,slash refugium. I thought about putting in some live sand, Chaetomorpha, and a live rock or two. So I can add this to my 135 gallon tank when I start it up in a couple of months. How does this sound .I was goring to use a cheap whisper sponge type filter I had laying around, for lights a pair of 6,500k,and a small heater. Hoping to have a real smorgasbord of little critters to add to my main tank ,later on. Any suggestions would be really really be appreciated. < sounds good do water changes and check water Mike H> Thank you so much, Charlie

Refugium  Hi, I bought a 15 Gallon refugium off EBay for 60 bucks for a 38 Gallon tank. The tank is cycling right now. Can I use the same aragonite in the refugium that I used in the tank or should I use mud or rock?  <I would use the sand you are using now if you can get little bit of different sized sands would be better.>  If I use rock (this would be pricey, can I use dead rock  that will eventually become live?), how do I do it.  <yes you can place dead rock in tank add a few pieces of fresh live rock and in a couple of months the critters will transfer into the dead rock>  Does the Caulerpa grow on the rock?  <yes>  Are Mangroves good or is Caulerpa and Halimeda good enough?  <Caulerpa and Halimeda is good enough but mangroves are cool to just add one for the effect>  I plan on having my Fluval 203 feed the refugium and then having a ViaAqua return the water to the tank. Is this OK? If I do gravity feed I am worrying about flooding the house if I lose power.  < gravity feed much idea if one of your pumps would shut off it would either keep pumping water from the tank to the refugium or drain the refugium I have plumbed many tank and trust me drilling a hole and putting an intake screen over the bulkhead is a way better idea Use a big bulkhead and it will not overflow >  better With my system if I lose power the both the Fluval and water pump shut off together and when power comes back on they should both re-fire.  The refugium will be under the tank in the stand. I am going to try something weird. My refugium has three compartments. In the first one, I plan on the Fluval feeding a tiny 12X3X6 reverse flow undergravel system with Matrix and Eheim Lava rock and maybe a few bio-balls. I think this will give me massive filtration. What do you think?  < don't think it is needed>  I will stir this up a couple times a month with a stick. The water then goes through two holes in a divider and across the Caulerpa.  The water then tumbles over a divider. The guy selling them has a sponge here. Is this a good idea? I read where big sponges are great to reduce nitrates and will keep things clean, but the sponge here will prevent organisms from being returned to the tank, right? I can squeeze in more bio-balls or Matrix on top of the sponge. The next compartment is for the water pump to pump the water back up to the tank. Is a ViaAqua 1300 powerful enough. I bought tubing and a ball valve from HD to control the flow rate. I can buy another ball valve for the Fluval if needed. Any advice will be appreciated and if there are any web-sights or books devoted to refugiums let me know. Thanks  <Hope this helps Mike H.>

Refugium  >Hi guys,  >>Marina here.  >I've been running a 40 gallon FOWLR for several months now and I have been planning on adding a refugium for some time. While reading on your website, I have run into some articles in which people have taken off all filtration methods except for refugiums and protein skimmers and relied completely on macro algae filtration. I was wondering what your recommendations were. Thanks for all your help.  >>Can be tricky, but my own opinion is that if running a 'fuge, why remove the small creatures (planktonic in nature) with a skimmer that you're culturing in a 'fuge? I/we do like very much natural filtration methods, and I honestly recommend you try to find the latest book published by Bob Fenner and Anthony Calfo, "The Natural Marine Aquarium--Reef Invertebrates", which has an EXTENSIVE section on refugia technologies, as well as an extensive section on macroalgae that would be suitable in such, and pertinent creatures to round out the well-functioning setup. Marina 

Refugium size 11/5/03  Hi, Currently I have a tank only, no sump or refugium. The tank has a DSB and undetectable nitrates.  <good... but know that a small amount of nitrates is beneficial or even necessary for keeping corals (target 1-5ppm)>  However, I have more algae than I would like and would like to start a refugium with macro algae as a nutrient export. Having read the info on your site, I have decided to go with spaghetti algae, rather than the Caulerpa that most people have.  <very good choice>  However, my reading on this algae describes it as a slow growing algae, so as I need enough to grow enough to be a worthwhile nutrient exporter,  <hmmm... not true/the case at all with Chaetomorpha. Rather that most people don't care for it optimally. If given high light and high water flow (keep it tumbling) it will grow excellently>  I am wondering what sized refugium to install. Is there some ratio I could use, i.e. 1/2 size of display tank, or something like that? Thanks.  <yes... 50% would be very fine for a home tank size/ratio. Public aquariums use a ration of 1:1 Also, do consider reading our coverage in our new book "Reef Invertebrates". It has the most comprehensive how-to chapters on live sand and refugiums to date anywhere (nearly 40 pages). Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

-'FUGE!!!- Hi all, I wrote before about adding a refugium to my tank.  The problem from last time was the sump in my 65 is built into the back wall.  My new plan is to add a 46 gallon tank side by side with my 65 gallon FOWLR (the top of the 46 will be approximately 5 inches higher than the 65). <Sounds good, provided you find a way to overflow the water from the 46 (drilling?)> I will disconnect the pump returning the water to my tank.  Then I will pump water out of the sump into the 46 gallon.  The 46 gallon will house a DSB and Chaetomorpha.  So I will be shooting for 650 gallons to flow into the 46 gallon tank (I believe that is near the limit of my overflow in the 65 gallon). <I would leave an option to bleed off some of the return line directly in to the 65 should the 650gph be too much for the refugium (which it is).>  That would be about 14X turnover.  Is that enough for Chaetomorpha? <That's A LOT of flow, it would be good to keep algae like Gracilaria tumbling, but if you want to grow lots of pods and other stuff, you'll want to tone down the flow.>  Now the big question...Will I be able to place a bulkhead at the top of the 46 gallon tank and gravity feed that much water back into the main aquarium or will I just flood the 46 gallon tank? <Too much for a 1" bulkhead on the side of the tank, or at least too risky.> And a follow up question.  If this would work I am intrigued by the return manifold Anthony Calfo describes in his book.  If you have an acrylic aquarium with top bracing are you supposed to build it inside the aquarium? <It can be modified to fit your needs!> Can this be done once the tank is running or would it need to be drained? <If you need to drill, you'll want to do it with a dry tank just in case you crack it (eek!).> Thanks again, Andrew  -  PS You guys are great! I tried so hard to get the right tank a year ago and now I just want to toss it because of this built in sump.  When I finally purchased my tank the fish store guy referring to me, says to the owner, "He did his research BEFORE he bought the tank." HA! <Haha, one of those customers, aye? The ones w/ a clue :) >But if I never found your site I might not even want the refugium...Heck might not even do water changes...;) <Ah, wicked overrated ;) Good luck and happy reefing! -Kevin>

Macroalgae and DSBs 11/2/03  Hi, I am looking to add macro algae to a new sump. Can you tell me the best kind to use?  <that depends on many factors... but Chaetomorpha (Spaghetti algae) is hands down one of the best overall. Gracilaria is also quite good. Avoid Caulerpa in my opinion. See about all and why in the FAQs and archives of our site at wetwebmedia.com>  I thought about mixing a few kinds together, but I read one  response in a reef forum, and it said that you can make a mistake adding different types of algae together (maybe Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha?...  <all algae fight (allelopathy) and one will ultimately succeed all at the expense of considerable energies. Pick only one species per tank>  I don't remember for sure). They actually compete against each other and can become toxic.  <yes... to each other, to invertebrates... and even to some fishes>  I didn't know mixing macro algae could do that. That's not  what I had in mind to do :-) This response also said the grape Caulerpa being one of the most noxious of all of the algae. Is that true?  <very true by a remarkable scale of magnitude>  I thought it was a good kind to have?  <Caulerpa can be a boon or scourge. I dissuade folks from it because it is too labor intensive for most folks>  The response also talked about macro algae going 'asexual' and becoming toxic. What does this mean? I have never heard of this either.  <please do a keyword search of this topic and any other that interests you with the google search tool from our home page at www.wetwebmedia.com and all will be revealed to you my friend>  Secondly, I read in another forum where a lot of reefers were talking about having reef tanks with bare bottoms (either no sandbed at all or a very small sandbed. They ripped deep sand beds talking about DSB crashes and really messing up tanks.  <removing DSBs is a knee-jerk reaction by aquarists that have improperly installed them or have poor tank husbandry overall (usually inadequate water flow). We explain this dynamic at great length (tens of pages) in our book "Reef Invertebrates">  I have never heard of this and have never thought  of having a tank with no sand at all. Everything I have ever read talks about live sand being a very important part of biological filtration.  <agreed... there are tremendous benefits to live sand and rock methods>  I am confused.  <just need to read/research more my friend... and not so much from message boards with much opinion and inexperience (or limited experience) but from tenured and objective sources/authors>  Can you tell me your take on having deep, medium, shallow, or no sandbeds?  <I wish to help here my fried... but a proper answer cannot be relayed in an e-mail less than 20 pages! Please do simply read through our archives or if you feel frisky, that new book of hours is months old and covers all of these topics at great length. The most comprehensive in the industry to date>  Thanks, Paul  <best regards, Anthony Calfo>?

Wet/dry to Sump/Refugium? I just purchased a CPR cr300 wet/dry, and want to convert it to a sump/refugium. I want to take everyone's advice and get rid of the wet dry, but I don't know where to start.  Currently I have a 120gal reef tank with fish and assorted corals and am running an AquaClear 200 pro wet dry.   I'm going to make this into a in wall tank with a sump room behind it.  The cr3000 is not in use at this time.  I'm trying to plan ahead.  Can you help me? thanks in advance. <Dave, I suggest that you go to the WWM site and search for refugiums and read the information regarding them. Also do read the FAQ's on the topic. Anthony Calfo's and Robert Fenner's book Reef Invertebrates covers refugiums very thoroughly and I hope that you purchase this book to help guide you. Good luck, IanB>

"In Tank" Refugium? Dear Crew <Scott F. your Crew member today!> I haven't written to you for sometime. I wish to share some theories with you concerning water changes and algae in my nearly 3 year old 130 gallon reef tank. I have not done a water change for nearly three weeks in my tank, plus my skimmer pump went on the blink (aqua bee Turboflotor). Yes I know its bad (work commitments etc). I have a mixed reef garden tank. Soft Sarcophytons and various SPS hard corals; low fish stock. <Okay...> Now while you may think this would cause nutrient build up and yellowing water, you would be right. I have corrected this balance, and my corals are on the up again. As you will agree, Xenia especially suffers with a lack of water changes, as it has done in my tank. It does however seem to be coming back with a bang, despite being next to a Caulastrea colony (also due to a fresh bag of carbon). <Well, the old "dilution is the solution to pollution" jingle holds true here...> Anyway to my point. I did notice during my lax maintenance schedule (we have all done it don't deny it) a build-up of hair algae on the back of the tank. A scourge to most of us aquarists. <Or at least, the cause of lots of headaches!> I am, however, going to be controversial and say that during this lack of maintenance my copepod (zooplankton) population went crazy. Putting the torch on the algae at night displayed how busy the zooplankton were in this colony. My SPS couldn't get enough. I have since kept purposefully a crop of hair algae out of display behind some rocks in my aquascape to allow these critters to go at it. <Sort of like an "in tank" refugium. I'm not a big fan of allowing nutrients to accumulate, but you can see that amphipods will tend to thrive with abundant foraging in a predator-free (or "low predator") environment.> Its an idea that works well for me as I don't have time to set up a refugium, as my pump outfeed is connected to a UV. Plus, as we scream ahead for completely clean sterile tanks (as some of us Europeans strive for); I think it gives pause for thought that we should understand that a tank full of coralline-covered live rock with no other algae isn't natural. <Very true!> I've snorkeled on reefs in the Maldives & Mexico and it's not like that in real life; some areas are covered in brown slime algae, quite naturally. I'm not condoning poor maintenance, but zooplankton live and thrive in hair algae. Plus it's natural in areas where flow is not so fierce. <All valid points, and well taken. I guess the bottom line for most hobbyists is to avoid excesses of accumulated nutrients, which lead to degraded water quality in closed systems. Nothing wrong with encouraging algae to grow if desired, just keep water quality high...> A refugium will provide this I know; but I think a mini refugium out of site in the main display works wonders. As long as it is kept under control of course, and water parameters monitored. <Wow- we just said the same thing! Good point> Speak soon guys Jim Griffin <Well done, Jim. Thanks for sharing! Regards, Scott F>

Plumbing design, skimmer first? Regarding the email titled "Plumbing Designs"...the proposed setup that I emailed you about previously is very similar to this. However, I'm curious as to why the skimmer is plumbed after the Miracle Mud/Algae section. You replied that the setup "looks good," but wouldn't it be better to have the skimmer first? <By and large, yes... there is some advantage in having the skimmer later in that the water level in its chamber is easier to keep stable, but some disadvantage in the removal of life that might otherwise be transported to the main/display system> I know that Ecosystem doesn't recommend that use of a skimmer, but I'd probably use one too, so I'm interested in your thoughts on the correct order (if any) of the plumbing of the skimmer. Regards, Walt <In actual practice, the order/arrangement of the skimmer usually is not of major consequence between these two alternatives. Bob Fenner>

Refugium Lighting Cycle Hello all. My question concerns refugium lighting.  I see that the usual refugium lighting configurations are for 24/7 or reverse.  Would it be detrimental to light a refugium during the same photoperiod as the tank (i.e., noon to midnight).  My tank currently resides in my bedroom and having the light on all night long will wreak havoc on my already too-short good night's sleep. <Can't you pull the sheets over your head, or sleep on the couch?  Just kiddin, keeping the fuge on the same lighting cycle as the tank will be just fine.  The reverse lighting helps to keep the pH from swinging at night time.  Depending upon what you put in your refugium, and what you expect our of your refugium, the same light cycle as your tank will be fine.  I recommend Chaetomorpha as a good macro algae for your fuge.  Best of luck, now get some sleep. Gage<-_-> Thanks in advance. Annette :)

- Refugium Questions - Hi I want to start a refugium. <Ok.> I have a wet dry in place and I want to replace it.  Does a refugium need time to "cure"??  I will put live rock and plants in it at start up with the sand bed. Am I in danger of any type ammonia spike at startup?? <I'd say only if the live rock is uncured, but for certain it will not be ready to go on the first day. You should replace the wet/dry very carefully as you will be likely removing your source of biological filtration. I would run both in place for at least a month to two months before removing the wet/dry.> I have an existing wet dry that is 13.5 gal total. Is it to small to be an effective refugium?? <Most wet/dry filters are designed for exactly that, and don't really make for effective refugiums. You're much better off acquiring a sump made specifically for this purpose.> Joe <Cheers, J -- >

-Wet/dry to refugium- Hi, I'm thinking of making my turning my sea life wet dry to a refugium. <I did this once...> It is set the usual way with a bioball divider, a little slot where a prefilter sponge goes. It is a 90 gal overflow set up with about an 8 gal wet dry.. would putting the sand and rock and bioball chamber along with other goodies and leaving the last 1/3 of the sump for the skimming. <I took out the balls, and on top of the eggcrate that supports the balls, I put a few layers of really dense filter pad (felt-like). On top of that I put a few inches of sand and a few small pieces of live rock. The problems w/ this setup are as follows: My sump had a few holes on the side of the bio-chamber right under the drip plate, these had to be drastically widened so the 'fuge wouldn't overflow. The other, and much larger problem is that the other half of the sump could no longer accommodate all the water that would drain from the display in a power outage.> Is that enough room. The total area is 13.5 gal availability <It might work, but I'd calculate out how much water will be drained down and how much you'll have to spare. Good luck! -Kevin> Joe Culler, Asst Mgr, Lakeland

Lighting Vegetable filters (planted refugiums) 10/18/03 One last question regarding lighting in my downstream refugium in which I am keeping Chaetomorpha & Gracilaria only. Can the lighting be a combo of actinic and 6500k or am I better off with just 100%-6500k day lights? Thanks Ron <most marine algae will fare best with heavy daylight illumination at 5,000-7,500 K. Best regards, Anthony>

Refugium, Mysidopsis bahia 10/14/03 Dear Anthony, Thanks to your guidance, my second refugium continues to thrive. <to your success/husbandry above all> Even after re-reading several specific chapters in Reef Invertebrates, I still have a couple more questions: Can Mysidopsis Bahia be mixed with the smaller copepods and amphipods or will the bigger guys just eat the smaller ones. (about 30 gallons, net of sand and rock) <hmmm... not a matter of predation so much as competition for space/resources... fewer groups will ultimately survive in the end. Best to focus on providing a specific matrix to encourage your target group rather than trying to "go for all" and failing> I find that these shrimp are bred worldwide and are very available as they are used in environmental testing. <correct> I found that the addition of 6 large Mexican Turbo snails has pretty much eliminated all sign of Cyanobacteria. Will these animals affect my "pod" production? <not much or at all, assuming the copepods find adequate algae to eat (they will)> I am feeding the refugium crushed freeze dried krill, soaked so that is sinks. Thanks again, <this will be better for the meat eating amphipods... but not for your vegetarian copepods/rotis. Do consider a phyto drip for the latter unless the macroalgae is sufficiently buck-wild.> Howard in Wisconsin <Anthony in his chair>

Refugium lighting One quick follow up to the 13 watts PC-  Am I correct in saying it will be sufficient to grow Chaetomorpha & Gracilaria a refugium of these dimensions? Or do I need to step the light up like 27 watts? Gracilaria <these macros (like most) are shallow water species and require as much light (watts/gal) as full reef displays. You should aspire to provide at least 5 watts per gallon in this case to keep them successfully. Anthony>

Microbubbles...Big Trouble! Hello <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I recently added a downstream refugium to my sump for my 75 gal reef ready tank. I realize I need to remove the mechanical filter items like all of my sponges so that beneficial copepods & such can pass through to my display tank. I mainly used these sponges in the past to keep out the micro bubbles from entering my display tank. I also added 2 baffles and one bubbles trap which is about 2 inches off the bottom of my sump and 2 inches above the water level in my sump. This helped but I am still getting a ton of micro bubbles in the display.  What can I do correct this? <A couple of thoughts here: First, I'd search your plumbing for the obvious...any loose seals or connections that are not 100% airtight. Even the smaller break in seal can admit air, which causes microbubbles. Another step that works is to employ large chunks of live rock (which is quite porous) to help "catch" some of the stray bubbles, or you can use a dense growth of prolific and beneficial macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha, which forms a dense, yet permeable matrix, allowing some microfauna through, but perhaps trapping bubbles in the process.> I have tried adjusting the pvc pipe where the water enters the sump so it is below the water level, above the water level and I even tried drilling a couple of holes in the pvc pipe to let out air before in dumps into the sump but I continue to get a lot of bubbles. I should mention , when the water comes from the display tank, it comes down & enters pool hose which links directly to some pvc pipe in my sump. The pool hose dips in the middle (from the wait of the water) where it suspended in the air and then rises about 4 inches because the hose needs to connect to the pvc connection on my sump. This pool hose is constantly shaky from the force of water flowing thru it but also it gurgles & hick-ups quite a bit. I think this is from to much air getting caught in it. <Sounds like it...Exactly> I am just not sure why this is happening. I hope I am explaining myself clearly.  Do you think this is the cause of my problem? <A very good possibility> Do I need to find a way level off the hose (eliminate the dip) to make the water not rise & essentially flow smoother? I am not sure if this will eliminate the gurgling/air in the hose or not. <I think that this adjustment is certainly worth the experiment on your part...try it and see> I also have a question about mushrooms. I recently purchased a mushroom rock that has about 10-15 mushrooms on it. How can I transfer these mushrooms to my main rock in the display tank. Is it best to break this rock into several small pieces & glue them to the rock in the display tank? <If you don't want them all on one rock-yes> I don't think I should pry them off the rock they are currently attached to. <No, you shouldn't> Is there better way to get them transferred/attached to the large piece of rock in my tank? Please let me know- thanks for your time -Anj <I like the idea of carefully chipping off small pieces of rock on which the 'shrooms are attached, then carefully gluing the rock in place where you want them on your reefscape. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Downstream refugium 10/7/03 I just completed adding a downstream refugium in my sump. I sectioned off a small area of my 24 inch sump. The refugium area is 12inch high by 6 inches long by 12 inches wide. It probably holds less a little under 5 gallons of water. <still helpful. Aspire to 20-40% display tank in volume for future> I added about 2 inches of crushed coral and will add 2 inches of crushed live rock as a substrate. <very good for zooplankton production> I am going to be using a 13watt PC light. My display tank is a 75 gal w 80lbs of LR. I would like to know what type of macroalgae I should add to this refugium that would do ok with this light. <even if this refugium were not so small... you would still be restricted to a single species of macro for optimal health/vigor and utility. Seek Chaetomorpha IMO here to assist with plankton production and nutrient export> I am a little scared about adding Caulerpas because of what I have reading on your web page. <many scientific papers on the subject... I can share a couple dozen references on the toxicity of Caulerpa or you can search the Net abroad for references to Caulerpene and Caulerpenyne for starters> What else could I add beside Turtle grass and Halimeda? <neither are recommended here... Halimeda does less for nutrient export or plankton production... and Turtle grass is too large for this vessel> Could you please give me a few ideas? <other than Chaetomorpha... Gracilaria is an excellent choice. Ochtodes is fine too. All of these and more are detailed extensively in our new book Reef Invertebrates> I should mention that I am really interested in keeping soft corals like Colts, Xenias and Cladiellas. <if looking for the upright and branching Cladiella "colt" corals, know that they are not called Klyxum (2000 Alderslade)> You guys have convinced me that a refugium is a better way to go than adding Kent's Phytoplex and Chormaplex. What Macroalgae should I use to benefit these types of corals. Thanks Ron The Gracilaria may have some slight edge here for lending epiphytic matter to the Alcyoniids you intend to keep. Much to read/learn/explore... enjoy the journey! Anthony>

Rigging A Refugium Howdy Bob and Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> I have been reading the FAQ refugium and want to build one.  I want it to be very simple, no drilling, and cheap. I have a 26G and planning to build a 10G refugium.  There's not enough information on building this 10G refugium. Need help.  Space is limited so I can only place it next to the 26G tank. My plan was to get 2 Maxi-Jet 600(160g/h) w/ plastic tubing to Pump to and from the 10G. What do you think?<<Think Scott missed this part... can't pump to and from... RMF>> <Sounds like an elegant, simple solution. You may have to adjust the flow to get it right, but it should work out fine> Since there's no drilling involved, the tubing will be fixed w/ suction cups.  Any advice? I want to lower my Nitrate and add additional volume.. this refugium is the answer, Right? <Well, a properly stocked refugium can assist in the processing of organics, including nitrate. A deep sand bed in your system or in this refugium can help. Lots of great information about refugia construction and implementation on the WWM site, and in the great new book by Anthony and Bob, "Reef Invertebrates". Excellent stuff, IMO. Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Refugium considerations 10/3/03 In follow up to your suggestion to add a refugium. I have decided my best option would be to convert a portion of the current sump I am using to a refugium. I basically added a divider to the rear portion of my sump to create a Downstream refugium. My sump is 15 inches high by 12 inches wide and I used AllGlass silicone to add a 12x12 piece of Plexiglas to the rear section of my sump.  I could only let it dry for about six hours since I am currently using my sump and I needed to get my system running again. <likely not a problem> The silicone seemed to solid up pretty good. So when it came time to restart my system, I decided I wasn't going fill the refugium portion with water just yet because I don't have the live sand yet or the tee/splitter that will direct a portion of the inflow water to both the refugium section & the regular sump area. So for the time being I let the inflow water fill the portion of the sump that is not being used for the refugium. The silicone held except for two pin holes in an area where I had to cut two 1/2 inch notches in the 12x12 Plexiglas to accommodate two lips manufactures design) on the sides of my sump. I wasn't sure if this was a major problem? <hmmm... not sure... doesn't sound like it if the sump is large enough (concerns for backflow during power interruptions)> When I looked at it this morning the water filled up in the refugium section enough to level off with the water level in the sump area. <ahhh... I see... no worries> Which I figured would happen. Finally to get to my question: Do you think I need to fix the two pin hole leaks in my refugium divider or when do think it won't make much of a difference when I start divert/split my inflow water between my refugium & my reg sump area? <seems like a small matter> My concern was the stress to my system of having to shut it down for another 6 hours plus while I fix the pin hole leaks. <really not a concern at all... do make such corrections/improvements in the future in due time without fear. The water flow in the main display with all of the live rock and live sand is all that was/is needed. The sump not running for hours/days (!) is no big deal. Do consider>  Please let me know if you think the refugium will still flow "downstream" with those pin whole leaks. Thanks for you time -Ron <without a pic or diagram... I/we have no way of knowing my friend. At face value... all sounds 'bout right. Best regards, Anthony>

Refugiums 9/25/03 I have never done refugium before. <do consider... they are of tremendous benefit! Many styles too... do not limit yourself to just a plant/macro refugium... we have extensive coverage of this topic in our new book Reef Invertebrates (Calfo & Fenner)> I am concerned about hanging it on the display tank (might not have enough room). Is it possible to add it to my sump where I house my protein skimmer underneath my tanks cabinet. <yes... called a "downstream: refugium> Does it require a light? If so, how much wattage? <that depends on if you are growing plants and algae for vegetable filtration... or just using deep sand for nitrate reduction... or a coarse matrix for zooplankton production> I see the AquaFuge by CPR seems to the better model. Do you know of any others? <CPR is very fine... homemade works just the same with a drilled plastic bin or small aquarium. It is simple a flow through vessel that is kept fishless for plankton production, etc. Read on my friend. Anthony>

Refugium Plumbing - 9/20/03 Hello: <howdy> Great web site and great new book, can't stop reading Reef Invertebrates.   <ahhh... thanks kindly> I just finished the chapter on refugiums.  I wanted to ask about a modification to the schematic that appears on page 53 of a downstream refugium water flow diagram.  This is my water flow plan.  The 240 gallon display aquarium with internal overflows will use gravity to supply the first sump which will contain activated charcoal, heater and an in-sump protein skimmer.   <be sure to direct all raw water from the overflow first into a skimmer box/compartment for the concentration and collection of protein rich water at a standing level to insure optimal skimmer performance> This sump will then gravity supply a DIY 100 gallon Rubbermaid non-lighted refugium containing a deep sand bed of oolitic sand. <all good> The main focus of the DSB will be natural nitrate reduction.  The DIY refugium will have a bulkhead for the external return water pump placed approximately 12 to 18 inches above the sand.  The pump will then return water to the display aquarium.  My main concerns are, do you think all this gravity feed water supply will keep pace throughout the entire system or do you think there will be a "bottleneck" in the flow along the way?   <easily solved... if the display is drilled with enough holes to keep up with the pump/flow desired (a common flaw to have inadequate holes)... then you simply need to follow through on the other inline vessels. Namely, if the display has 4 holes... then the skimmer sump needs four holes to feed the true sump (the DSB refugium in this case with the return pump)> Secondly, is it acceptable to have the external return water pump supplying the display aquarium from the refugium or will the action of the pump prohibit any activity in the refugium? <no trouble at all... minor (and moot) concern regarding impeller shear on plankton. No worries :) > Thanks for you time and help. Joe <best regards, Anthony>

Addition of a refugium and sump 9/13/03 Hi crew at WWM...I was hoping I'd be able to figure this out on my own but the more research I'm doing ( have read every refugium/sump faq, have both CMA and RI books) the more confused I'm getting. <no worries... easy to resolve> What I'm hoping to do is to add a refugium and a separate sump to my 55 gallon saltwater aquarium.  (I'm only 3 months into the hobby...I'm actually the lady who got M. marinum (Doh) from my tank last month and got some advice from Anthony about it- which is not a bunch better by the way lol but I do have a great pair of arm length gloves now that my kids and myself find hilarious whenever I wear them)   <Yikes! Do ask the doc to reconsider the med-pak if necessary> Anyhoo here is basically what I'd like to accomplish; I'd like to put a refugium possibly under my display tanks stand...I could probably fit a 20 gallon glass tank there.  (or if you suggest, place in basement beside sump?) <either would be fine> This refugium would have a DSB, LR and algae for the purpose of NNR and to EVENTUALLY feed the main tank.  Then in my basement, roughly a 15 foot straight drop down,  I'd like to place the sump....plenty of room so I am not too limited by tank size, what size would you recommend?   <there is no minimum for sump size... the larger the better> This would house all the loud equipment and heaters etc..  I've also been looking at a "Berlin" sump premade from MarineDepot, I think, for like $150.00 - would I be better off to just buy this premade- they seem small tho- or try to use acrylic and separate the chamber in a glass aquarium myself? <agreed... a simple large plastic or glass vessel for a sump reservoir is all that is needed> - I feel like a Mcguyver wannabe lol - hold on what was I thinking? I have a book of matches, a stick of juicy fruit and a bottle cap,  I can build this tank!  ;-) <heehee...!> I think in the sump I would have my (ordering a Precision Marine bullet 1 later this week...u like or AquaC or Euroreef better?) <yes... much better. Euroreef for easiest tuning> protein skimmer in 1st chamber, and then maybe another DSB, or possibly MUD with LR etc.. in 2nd chamber then another area to hold filter media if needed, like carbon before going into the 3d "clean" chamber which would pump back up to main tank.  Is it overkill to have 2 DSB's, one in the refugium and then another in the sump?   <perhaps... does sound more complicated than need be. An empty sump would act nicely as a settling chamber> I was thinking this 2nd refugium area in addition to the separate refugium would come in handy to maybe grow  different macro-algae or whatever?  I don't know......  I guess my area of confusion (well, lol, pertaining to SW tanks that is ;->) is: <again... perhaps making this harder than it needs to be> 1. Would I overflow from the main display down into the refugium then overflow that into the sump, then pump that back up to the main display (using Anthony's drawing of a closed loop {think its called that,  the pvc goes around the entire edge of the tank with openings for water to flow out} for lots of water circulation in the display)?  Or should I overflow the display down to the sump, then up to the refugium then to display. this way would seem logical to me to have "clean" water going into the refugium but have seen different advice on this. <either will work... depends on how heavy the bio-load is (need to skim more... or need to feed the refugium more)> 2.  In the refugium where the water comes "in" to the tank should I have that separated with a piece of acrylic with no sand on bottom to keep the water from disturbing/blowing the sandbed around?  Is that something I should be worried about? <adjust on the fly if necessary... little to worry about here> 3.  The pumps/overflow gph and size of pvc piping.....huge area that is  actually holding me up...I know I want the Iwaki brand pumps but have no idea on sizes that I will need for this type of set up.  I was looking at the LifeReef overflow boxes.  What gph should I get, the 600gph or larger?  Then would the PVC would be 1" running from that,  how large should the return lines be...I've seen 3/4" mostly used but should I go with 1" returns as well? should ALL the Iwaki pumps be rated for 600gph to match this overflow rate (I know I'll have to accommodate the head on the distance for the sump coming back up to display) I'm confused because the flow to the refugium I've read should not be so strong but wouldn't that empty or fill the tank before it if its not even?  Errgh.... cross-eyed again! <you are confused because you are trying to put the cart before the horse so to speak...  your aquarium size and its inhabitants (must pick them first in mind) will determine the flow needed (around 20X or 1000gph in this case)... the flow rate will dictate how many holes are needed... it will also dictate the pump needed (with regard for head from elbows, tees, etc)... once you pick the pump, the mfg specs say clearly what kind of plumbing you will need for that model, etc> Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  I know this has been covered a zillion times on WWM archived FAQs but I just can't seem to put this together mentally and I'm afraid to buy anything for fear of getting the wrong size or setting up backwards.  I have been reading and researching patiently, hoping to not bother u guys, but It's not helping me and I'd really like to start purchasing some things to get the tank set up.  I got up at 6 this am and have been reading this site (or Rereading I should say) to hopefully clarify things but....nope, it ain't sinking in. <you really are at risk of not enjoying this beautiful hobby for worrying about minutia> So, there it is, my setup dilemma in a nutshell.  I don't know why this seems like such a big deal to me, I've read it shouldn't be this difficult to do.   <correct... do relax dear!> Can you guys help at all or did I cram way too many questions in here? <Yes <G>> Thanks once again, I totally appreciate all you/this site does for all involved with this hobby/obsession.  Thanks a million!! Jan <aim for more hobby... less obsession :) Anthony>

Filter vs. recirculation 9/12/03 To the Crew... <howdy> I am expanding my current 300 gallon reef set-up to include a 250 gallon sump/refugium/deep sand bed.  My goal is to have a total water turnover rate in my tank of about 20 times per hour.   <very good> How much of that flow should go to the sump/filter.   <that depends on the needs of the organisms in your refugium... but do know that most refugia require the same or better flow than the main display, contrary to popular misbelief. Especially so if you want aggressive vegetable filtration (macroalgae)> I assume the majority will come from my separate recirculation pump. I searched the FAQ's, but couldn't find anything specific to this. Thanks, Bob McCook <we have the most extensive and complete coverage of this topic at length in our new book "Reef Invertebrates"... about 100 pages dedicated to plants, refugiums, live sand, DSBs, etc. In general though... you will need at least 10X turnover in your refugium filter. Best regards, Anthony>

Refugium water flow 9/12/03 Anthony, Does the 10x represent total flow through the refugium or could I use a slower rate of flow through (5X) and do the other 5X as circulation within the refugium itself? <as stated previously, I cannot say for certain without knowing what you will be growing. 10X was a conservative minimum (total flow through 'fuge). But with macroalgae (the most common refugium stock), you will need much more than 10X... and 5X by almost any measure will be difficult if not dooming (allowing excessive particulates to accumulate and turning the refugium into a miserable basin for nuisance algae. More flow is generally better... aim for 10-20X in the refugium. Anthony>

Refugium and sump sizing 09/09/03 <Hi Eric, PF with you tonight> Hello Crew - I have a dilemma!  I'm in the setup phase of a large reef system that I've mentioned here before (375gal.).  I have two tanks available for the sump and the downstream refugium, a 75 and a 55.  I'm unsure which to use for which.  I like the idea of the larger of the two for the fuge but not sure the 55 would provide enough safety net (evaporation, equip. room, etc.) for the display. <I'd say use the 75 for the 'fuge, but then I'm biased in favor of refugiums. Have you thought about using something like a feed trough for your sump? You can find them at farm supply stores, inexpensive and easily drilled.> If I use the 55 for the fuge will it be large enough to make a difference?  Anthony's book recommends a refugium size of 20% of the display size for effective NNR, and although I will use a DSB in the refugium I will also be employing a DSB in the display.  Am I wasting my time deliberating on this? <No, always better to plan things out now than look for a solution latter.> Also (if I may?) <Just this once... ; )   >,  I'm intrigued about the use of an "animal" filter as opposed to a "vegetable" filter in the fuge.  I'm planning an SPS biotope for the main display and was wondering if some of the hodge-podge of animals from my previously ill-advised "reef garden" could be employed in the refugium? This would consist of various mushrooms, zooanthids, pulse xenia (pom-pom I think), anthelia, cabbage coral, and a large and fast growing colt coral. <I'd say yes to the xenia, there are several members of the reef club I belong to who use it as a nutrient export. I'd say no the rest, for allelopathic reasons.>  Could I (should I?) still use macroalgae in the fuge with the corals? <Chaetomorpha is my plant of choice> any pros-cons of one over the other? <Chaetomorpha grows faster and will harbor more life (worms, pods, etc. Xenia sells better to your LFS for credit though. Nothing says you couldn't divide the 'fuge for an area of each.> Let me say again what a valuable service this site provides.  I've literally spent 3-5 hours a day (honest, my boss will testify <G>) for the last 6 weeks reviewing/researching information and opinions, and buying "updated" literature of Anthony's, Bob's, and others to "soak up" as well. <Glad you're doing research, I waited 18 months myself (but then, I'm a research junky)> Even joined the local marine aquarium club. <Great, you can also swap frags, a great way to get nice animals for your tank.> Thanks in advance (again!) for your time and dedication.  Eric <Happy to help, let us know how it turns out, PF>

- Sump/'fuge Sizing for a 375g - Hello Crew - I have a dilemma! <Howdy, Kevin here> I'm in the setup phase of a large reef system that I've mentioned here before (375gal.).  I have two tanks available for the sump and the downstream refugium, a 75 and a 55.  I'm unsure which to use for which.  I like the idea of the larger of the two for the fuge but not sure the 55 would provide enough safety net (evaporation, equip. space, etc.) for the display.  If I use the 55 for the fuge will it be large enough to make a difference? <It's always better to be bigger, but if you can't fit your basic equipment in the sump in order to have this larger 'fuge, the answer should be apparent.> Anthony's book recommends a refugium size of 20% of the display size for effective NNR and although I will use a DSB in the refugium I will also be employing a DSB in the display.  Am I wasting my time deliberating on this? <It's not that big of a deal, you will be successful either way> Also (if I may?),  I'm intrigued about the use of an "animal" filter as opposed to a "vegetable" filter in the fuge. <Sounds cool, aye?> I'm planning an SPS biotope for the main display and was wondering if some of the hodge-podge of animals from my previously ill-advised "reef garden" could be employed in the refugium? This would consist of various mushrooms, zooanthids, pulse xenia (pom-pom I think), anthelia, cabbage coral, and a large and fast growing colt coral. <This may take away from the SPS dominated display as the softies will release growth inhibitors into the water along with other nasties.>  Could I (should I?) still use MicroAge in the fuge with the corals? <I think a xenia 'fuge would be a good idea, in combination with macro algae.> any pros-cons of one over the other? <Mainly about having colts and Sinularia in the 'fuge, I'd stick with fast growing xenia and macro algae.> Let me say again what a valuable service this site provides.  I've literally spent 3-5 hours a day (honest, my boss will testify <G>) <Haha!> for the last 6 weeks reviewing/researching information and opinions, and buying "updated" literature of Anthony's, Bob's, and others to "soak up" as well.  Even joined the local marine  aquarium club. <Great, can't wait to see pictures! -Kevin> Thanks in advance (again!) for your time and dedication. Eric

-Refugium placement- Hi Kevin, Here is a sketch of what my aquarium looks like.  Basically I want to drill a single hole that will go into the sump then out the back of the sump, which is also the back pane of the entire aquarium unit. <Alright, this is why I was confused. Your filtration setup is in a large overflow-style compartment built right into the back wall of the tank.> I will then feed a line into the sump area and connect it to the hole between the sump area and the aquarium proper.  Water will flow into the tank from the refugium through this line.  The other hole, in the very back, will be used to drain the water from the built in sump down to the refugium.  So one concern is having two pumps delivering water into the aquarium.  And another is making sure the protein skimmer will function normally. <Ok, so I think I get it. What you're doing here is pretty much adding a true below-the-tank sump which will be a refugium. The problem with how you have this laid out is in the event of a power outage, your tank is going to drain down until it's below the 'fuge intake you drilled on the back of the tank. To get this done you would have to drill just in the overflow compartment of the "sump", but even then it would be risky because the water level in there may drop too low. Am I correct in saying this?> The advantage of doing it this way that is drilling the hole between the sump and the aquarium sections and then pumping the fuge water back into the aquarium, I believe, is that I would only have to drain the tank one third to one half the way down.  Otherwise I need to drain to almost empty and move the aquarium away from the wall so I can drill alternate holes. <I've lost you again... sorry!> Also, will 1 1/4 inch lines be enough to drain 300gph? <More than enough> Btw, after reading over some directions on working with acrylic, I am abandoning the idea of building the refugium inside the stand. <Ok, so does that mean that you're scrapping the whole project then? For this setup, the best way to install a 'fuge would be to mount one on a shelf above the tank. It could be fed by a small pump and freely drain back into the aquarium. Trying to incorporate a 'fuge underneath or beside this tank is best accomplished by simply adding a hang on style overflow box. It is a much less permanent solution since drilling is forever! Good luck, -Kevin> Thanks for the help, Andrew

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