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FAQs about Refugium Hang-On Models

Related Articles: Get Thee To A Refugium by Bob Fenner, Refugia: What They're For And How To Build Them by Forrest Phillips, Converting a Hagen Aquaclear 500 Power Filter into a Hang-on Refugium (or How to Promote the Peace in a Fish Household) By Steven Pro, Reef Systems, Reef Set-Up, Reef Filtration, Marine System Plumbing, Fish-Only Marine Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Refugiums, Macroalgae,

Related FAQs: Refugiums 1, Refugiums 2, Refugiums 3, Refugiums 4, Refugiums 5, Refugiums 6, Refugiums 7, Refugiums 8, Refugiums 9, Refugiums 10, Refugiums 11, Refugiums 12, Refugiums 13, Refugiums 14, Refugium In-Tank Types, Rationale, Design, Construction, Pumps/Circulation, Lighting, Operation, Algae, Livestock, DSBs, & Caulerpa, Marine System Plumbing, Holes & Drilling 1, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing Noise, Make Up Water Systems, Marine Aquarium Set-Up, Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Algal Filtration in General, Mud Filtration 1,

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

new to salt water. Set up, refugium choices in hang-ons     2/25/17
<Howdy Josh!>
A store owner gave me a link to your page and I have a question hopefully you can answer. I am setting up a 60 gallon tank I got from pets mart. I am doing a canister since the tank isn't set up for a sump and the stand is way too small for a sump in it. I am using a Fluval fx4 (meant for a 250 gallon tank), reef octopus hang on back protein skimmer (meant for
100 gallon tank). My question is really about refugium. I found a hob one. It comes in 3 sizes. But I was interested in the medium ( 3.60 gallons 19" L x 4.5" w x 12"t) vs. the large (4.70 gallons 25.5 l x 4.5" w x 12" t). I was told to go bigger and not sure if the 60 gallon tank could hold such weight and also was told that both refugiums there (CPR AquaFuge 2) would be too small for my tank. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you
Joshua Benson
<Well; your gear and set up ideas will work. The larger the refugium (of any kind) the better; but ANY is of great utility. Oh, and not to worry re the weight of the unit of whatever size you settle on being too much.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

CPR Aquafuge 2    7/2/12
hello crew,
i have a 30 gallon tank with 45 lbs live rock, live sand, one clown percula, and one royal gramma. my protein skimmer is a aqua c remora and my filter is a Fluval 305. i am thinking of replacing the Fluval with a CPR Aquafuge 2 hang on the back refugium
<A good unit; but I'd keep both... Run the Fluval for extra/back-up bio. and water circulation>

 that will have a 4" live sand bed or miracle mud with Chaetomorpha and some Liverock rubble. if i take this approach what would be a good plan of attack being that introducing newly added live rock and live sand to the system. i assume that making sure the live sand and live rock are already fully cured from my lfs would be best as they sell them already established in holding tanks.
<Don't know if I'm following you... again, I'd make sure the new substrate/s are cured elsewhere, keep both filters going>
 any input to this would be deeply appreciated. last but not least what if i were to eliminate the Fluval totally and just keep the skimmer and live rock/sand giving the tank numerous water changes let's say 5 gallons every 2 to 3 days?
<Changes, or having the water ready for them, are always a good idea>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Refugium... hang on 2/5/12
Dear WWM,
I have a 55 gal. reef tank that currently has three fish. Percula Clown, Yellow Watchman Goby, and very shy Four-Stripe Damsel.
<Keep your eye on this Dascyllus... can turn mean, territorial>
I have debated added a 'Scooter Blenny' or Mandarin Dragonet. I know that my Amphipod population is huge and my Copepod population is also incredible; but, it needs to be bigger for the Mandarin. I want to do something outside the box for a refugium. I was thinking about taking a large cheap filter; removing the media; adding some large crushed coral and some small rock rubble to it. Would this work for growing a ton of Pods?
<Should help. Do read here re such a system:
I cant really be drilling holes into the tank for a sump so I was trying to avoid that completely. I want to move everything to a 300 gallon tank in a few years and I would like to experiment before trying to go with something so large.
<Good idea>
Would you recommend something different that doesn't involve drilling holes, or having a bucket attached to the tank?
<I do all the time>
I am not worried about growing any algae I just want to increase my pod populations to have a mandarin. Thanks and enjoy your weekend, or at least whats left of it.
<And you, BobF>

would a hang on back refugium cover for a protein skimmer 2/4/12
Hi, I have a 46 gallon bow front soft coral reef. I have been reading on your site about how you need protein skimmers in a reef tank. The problem is the tank is built into my wall so I can't use a skimmer.
<Mmm, could a sump somehow be tied in? Perhaps through a wall?>
I have been looking around and found hang on back refugiums/w protein skimmers. Would this be a good compromise? Also how big should it be for my tank?
<There are some useful units. A fave maker is CPR:
Their new Aerofuge units in particular. Bob Fenner>

Re: would a hang on back refugium cover for a protein skimmer... sump, or sump-thing 2/13/12

Thanks, I meant if a hang on back regium would replace a sump my bad on that. So would a hob regium be a good compromise for a sump?
<... can be.>

Weight of hang-on items on tank 8/15/11
Good morning,
Searched this and couldn't find a definitive answer so here goes! I have a standard 6', 125 gallon AGA. My fears are probably unfounded, but I was wondering is a HOB 4 gallon refugium and 2 Aqua C Remora Pros too much weight, evenly spaced, across the back of the tank?
<Will be fine. Seems a bunch of weight I realize, but have hung MUCH more than this... even, Oof! climbed on the edges of such aquariums>
Thanks in advance for your answers and time, I truly treasure this website and look forward to reading it's contents daily.
Sincere thanks,
<Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Refugium Help, hang-on f' 7/12/11
Hello Again,
I have a 55gal SW tank, currently it has 40ish lbs crushed coral substrate and maybe 30 lbs LR left in it. I have been using it as a quarantine tank for my 120 for about the past 2 years. Unfortunately I have run our of space in the 120 FOWLR and I no longer have use for the 55 gal as a quarantine tank, I plan on cleaning out my 30 gal hospital tank if I can't help but jam that last little fish in the 120 that ruins the whole thing, just kidding. I want to put in a pair or two of Reidi seahorses into the tank and maybe some mushrooms and Zoas. That being said I have read that seahorses are partial to copepods and amphipods, I plan on feeding them frozen mysis but every little bit helps.
I do not want the trouble of a sump for the 55 gal, no room. I currently have a canister filter by Eheim,
JBJ UV filter, and a Corallife super skimmer.
Background done now on to questions.
1) So I was thinking of the octopus HOB fuge 24". It will have to straddle the center brace so I will have to call the manufacture for exact measurements. Will that be large enough to make food for the tank (unfortunately there is nothing bigger)?
Or would it be a waste of money?
<Is indeed worthwhile>
I saw that most of you guys said in their replies that the larger the better, but 20% of tank volume is a minimum for food production, the 24" is only about 10%.
2) Also what would be the ideal substrate for food production, I'm not too worried about nitrates so I want to get the most food out of it that I can.
<A mix of larger rubble, perhaps just some of the crushed coral in your main tank, and bits of live rock (thumb size) and macro-algae. One species will do. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugalgfaq2.htm>
3) I was leaning toward a 1000h reef octopus skimmer as well. I have heard nothing but good things about that company. Any suggestions regarding their HOB refugium?
<These are good units w/ many good features>
Or should I go with CPR's version with the black back (I will be buying their light system)?
<Also a worthy line. See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/refughangonmodelfaqs.htm>
4) I know this is mostly about the fuge and I hate to mess up the good system you guys have going but what do you think about the seahorses. I plan on getting them from seahorsesource.com as all theirs are tank raised at the least. They say that 2 pairs of just about any seahorses is fine in my size tank and they are reef safe. The Reidi are commonly found on stony corals in the wild so I'm assuming they will be ok with the flow for soft corals. Any input would be welcomed.
<A good choice of supplier and species IMO/E>
Thanks for all the help, (and sorry about the length I'm OCD an I'll probably send you another email with corrections for this one)
<No worries. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Refugium Lighting Overkill? (Hardly'¦) -- 07/16/10
I've ordered a small Aquafuge HOB refugium and I am kind of confused as to what to put on it for lighting. I was thinking maybe a JBJ Macro Glo 25 watt CF for lighting but 10 watts-per-gallon seems like overkill to me...so should I get the 15 watt instead? The fixtures that are designed for the Aquafuge cost more than these and I like to save money when I can.
<<I would forget about any watts-per-gallon measurement (is a useless formula for 'any' aspect of the hobby, in my opinion). Regardless of the size of this system, you need to provide enough light to power photosynthesis. I think 25 watts in a 5000K-6500K bulb would be the 'minimum' to employ here to maximize the refugium's potential (I'm making the assumption you will be employing macroalgae'¦thus the lighting)'¦with 40 watts or more being the better choice>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Re: DIY AquaClear 500/110 Refugium'¦Lighting -- 06/29/10
Ok, thanks.
<<Quite welcome>>
I also have a spare JBJ Picotope light...would this work?
<<Still 'too weak' to provide useful output here, in my opinion. You need 'at least' 20w of a daylight spectrum for what you propose...and 'double that output' would be best. Why employ the refugium, if you're not going to maximize its potential'¦ EricR>>

R2: DIY AquaClear 500/110 Refugium'¦Lighting -- 07/01/10
Again, thanks.
If the JBJ light doesn't work, what lighting fixtures would you recommend?
<<JBJ offers a '25w' refugium light like the one here (http://www.petstore.com/ps_viewitem.aspx?idproduct=JB9311&child=JB9313&utm_source=pscseggl2&utm_medium=pscse&utm_
campaign=pscseggl2&utm_content=JB9313) that would serve better than the Picotope light you have. Or'¦as mentioned previously'¦you could pick up a more powerful 'Lights of America' CFL fixture for the same or less money at Home Depot--though this latter will require some DIY, and electrical wiring skills on your part to set it up. EricR>>

A Possible Use For A SeaClone/Refugium DIY 2/11/10
<Hello Lanny>
I was looking for refugium options for a 30 gallon tank in a rather tight spot and a light went on in my head... what about that borderline useless SeaClone 100 that someone gave me?
What I plan is to remove the center tube and fill the reaction chamber with sand so that the water coming from the initial chamber enters just above the substrate. Depending on how much centrifugal motion there is, I might add
a bioball or rubble layer that the water enters into to diffuse the flow. I plan to illuminate it from the side (through the plastic) with one of those cheap clip-on 120v sockets with an aluminum reflector and a 6500k PC.
I have included my hilarious MS Paint rendition of it to aid my poor description, but it shows the light at the top...first draft and all that...
<A good enough graphic to visualize your idea.>
My concerns are the upwelling nature of the current and the algal film that would probably form and reduce light input since it would be illuminated from the side.
I searched far and wide for some forum with an account of another person re-purposing their SeaClone, but alas, I have to resort to pestering the masters. Since I came across your rather large SeaClone FAQ, I thought perhaps you had stumbled across the concept in the past. Think I'd be able to grow some Chaeto and 'pods in it?
<I believe this is possible but experimentation will be needed on your part for proper water flow/diffusion. Do report back with your results when you get this tuned in, we can post in our DIY section for others to benefit.>
Thanks for all the help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Lanny Flaherty

Re A Possible Use For A SeaClone/Refugium DIY 2/11/10 3/17/10
Hello James,
<Hello Lanny>
I just wanted to get back to you regarding the success of my SeaClone 150 experiment. I am currently growing Chaeto and Ulva sp. in it, and both are proliferating like wildfire. I am actually watching copepods ride over the
falls and into the display, no pressure shear needed. I ended up purchasing a 7w PC clip on fixture with a 6,700K bulb and it seems to provide adequate light for the minuscule volume. I also scaled back the pump quite a bit. I
purchased a Zoo-Med 104, mainly because its output was the same diameter as a Maxi-Jet. It is adjustable from 35-55 gph, and I have it running wide open without introducing any serious bubble action to the display.
<Geez, sounds good.>
Rather than use sand, I decided live rock rubble would provide a cryptic habitat and probably be more beneficial than a tiny sand bed. In addition, it is perfect for diffusing the cyclic flow into something more natural.
As you can see in the photos, adding substrate to the top of the intake takes up quite a bit of growing area, so I would suggest that anyone doing this themselves either cut or break the tube to a shorter length. It would be inconsequential for the flow and would provide significantly more volume for macroalgae. Perhaps some day when I am feeling bold, I will do this to mine, but it is functioning far to well for me to want to play with it yet. I have also since removed the bioballs, as they weren't necessary to prevent algae from flowing into the display, and were actually blocking stray light from the tank.
I have included some (poor) pictures I took to give some idea of the construction and setup. Feel free to post any of them. I can also whip the whole story into some sort of step by step thing instead of my rambling emails if it would help out.
<Photos aren't all that bad. You have uniquely discovered that the Sea Clone skimmer
is good for something. Bob or our on-line magazine (CMA) crew may be interested in publishing your Nano refugium story and will input here if so. Do check today's dailies.>
Thanks again for all your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Lanny Flaherty

Refugium Stocking, HOB -- 11/09/2009
Hey guys, Matt here.
< Hello Matt. >
How are you today?
< Very Well. >
I got a few saltwater refugium questions today and Ill try and make them short for you.
< Ok , fire away! >
I have a 26 gallon bow front reef tank that I'm considering putting a h.o.b refugium on it. If I do so, then what exactly do I need to put in it for copepods and amphipod population?
< Deep sand bed, macro, some live rock/l.r. rubble if room permits. >
What kind of macroalgae would be best, meaning easy to care for and just help my tank overall and help with some hair algae in my tank?
< Chaetomorpha. Easily maintained, non-invasive. Its the best choice for HOB applications. >
Once in there do I let the macroalgae grow wild or keep it small and trimmed?
< No, it should be pruned periodically to complete the "export". >
Also right now I am just running a hob filter with just carbon filter pad in it and a Deltec 300 skimmer on my tank. If I add the refuge do these need to stay on my display tank (I think the skimmer does?) or can they be hung on the back of the refuge I'm putting on?
< I would leave it on the display. >
Also what if I could pull water from the main tank into the skimmer then drain it back into the refuge? (if it can even be done)
< I would pull my refugium water from the display. >
All info or tips you may have to help me is much appreciated and thanks for your time
< Your Welcome. I apologize for the delayed response. GA Jenkins >

HOB refugium problem 10/4/09
Hello to all,
<Hello JP.>
Six months ago I decided to add a HOB refugium to my display tank. The purpose of this refugium was to grow copepods for my mandarin couple.
<Not really enough unless you have a fairly large, into the hundreds of gallons display to begin with here.>
The refugium is about 2.5G and contains macroalgae, live rock and sand.
There is no specific lightning system as it benefits from the main tank lighting.
For two months I've noticed that some parts of the sand were getting a crappy look, like a mix of black and white mould. I have no idea where that comes from. Set-up problem ?
<Not necessarily an issue, how deep is the sand? Either 1 inch or less or 3 inches and more. In between can be a "no man's land" that can cause problems.>
Now I'm wondering if I should remove the whole sand from the refugium ?
<See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm and the linked files above.>
Wouldn't it affect copepods growth ?
<Disturbing the refugium can.>
Thank you in advance for your response !
Keep up the good work !
<Thank you, Scott V.>

Quick Question on CPR Bak-Pak 3/7/09 Hey Guys, <And gals, hello Mark.> I've searched the site on my question and can't seem to find anything. I set up a 35 gallon hex as a mini reef. Due to space limitations under the stand I'm going to have to custom build an acrylic refugium to fit. Right now I'm just running a CRP Bak-Pak 2 with the Biobale installed and two powerheads with the Hydor flow deflectors for a little wave action. Until I get the refugium fabricated has anyone ever tried to replace the Biobale in the CPR with Chaetomorpha? <I have indeed seen this, it can work. The main thing to watch out for is the output on the skimmer back to the tank. It is very easy for a bit of the macro to work its way up and clog the thing, overflowing the skimmer onto your floor. Other than that your growth there may be a bit limited due to the light that will actually penetrate in and the little CO2 left in the water at that point.> I custom built a hood for the tank and installed a 175w 15000k metal halide. <Ahhh good, are you building the sump yourself? Acrylic is no more difficult to work with than wood, much less to IMO actually.> The back of the hood is open so it looks like the CPR gets quite a bit of light. Any reply would be appreciated. Thanks, Mark <Welcome, Scott V.>

Nano reef issue, maint. and Hang-on 'fuge f' 02/09/09 Dear Crew! I have a question regarding my 10G nano reef ecosystem. I hope you'll be able to answer ASAP because I am a bit afraid. Thank you in advance. I have a 3.5G HOB Aquafuge with 3" DSB and Caulerpa + Chaeto macros. About 2 weeks ago I noticed that my HOB refugium skimmer/CPR Aquafuge wasn't making any skimmate. At first I did not pay serious attention. After a few weeks I got suspicious. I did some troubleshooting and finally found when I took off the powerhead that runs the fuge (MaxiJet 1200) that there were 4-5 small scavenger snails at the intake. I cleaned the powerhead and reinstalled it, and the skimmer started to work again immediately. Previous to this my nitrate test reading was 0ppm. After fixing the powerhead issue the reading has been 15-20 ppm. I did a 20% water change this morning but it didn't lower the nitrate levels too much. I think nutrients have been pushed back from the fuge to the tank. <Hmm... it doesn't really work that way. But in any case, your 3.5G "refugium" with what you're calling a "DSB" is not functioning as either. I understand why these tiny HOT "refugiums" are tempting. I had one myself back before I knew any better. But basically, all you really have is a puddle of water with sand in it. The only good use for these things (imo) is macro algae growth (and maybe some gas exchange). But if you put sand in them, you're just asking for trouble. If I were you, I'd remove the sand, thoroughly clean the thing, and use it only for macro-algae cultivation.> I've never had nitrate problems with this tank before. What do you think? Will the DSB and the macroalgaes break down the nutrients again, or should I clean the fuge and introduce a "new" macroalgae colony? Should I wait a day or 2 and re-check? I'm very afraid because it is a fully grown 2 year old set up and I have put lots of work into it. <Again, if it were me (and it was me once upon a time), I'd remove the sand and just use macroalgae. If the macroalgae you have looks weak or dying (or is covered in debris)... maybe rinse it well, or get new macroalgae. That's your call.> Please advise! Thank you, Sonny <Good luck, Sara M.>

My DIY HOB refugium plans. Criticism please! 1/16/08 Hello WWM Crew, <Hello Sorin.> I have scoured your site for a bunch of info that helped me come up with my one plans but I still have some questions that were not addressed. <OK> I'm planning to build a "hang on back" refugium for my 55g reef to help with nutrient export (reduce nitrate and phosphate) and breeding of copepods/Mysid shrimp and brine shrimp. I have drawn up the plans (attached picture or link) and I have a few questions and looking for any suggestions. I know I can buy already made ones but I have the shop/materials to make it much cheaper. <DIY is a great way to go.> I will be making the Refugium out of 3/16ths Plexiglas (I might be able to use 1/4' if necessary) that I'm fusing with ethylene dichloride. After assembling I will wash out with warm water and vinegar. Besides hanging on the back of the tank, the Refugium will also be supported by a simple stand made by 2X4s. The tube in the middle of the fuge (in the drawing) will hold the centre from bulging, I would add more bracing if test show any bulging. The return bulkhead will be 1 1/2' PVC pipe and the divider on the pump side is eggcrate to stop the input pipe from clogging. The cross hatched panels are baffles. I am planning on using a $24 Rio 180 Aqua Pump 120 GPH pump with adjustable flow nozzle or a $18 Rio Mini 50 Aqua Pump 66 GPH pump. Which flow rate would be best/ are there any better pumps in that price range? <I would opt for the higher flow of the two. Do also check out the MaxiJet line. About the same price and much more reliable pumps.> My main concern hear is to combat detritus/micro algae and promote Chaeto growth. For lighting I want to use a $13 18' Aqua-Glo 15W T8 Fluorescent lamp (which according to Hagen is good for plant growth) since the ballast/reflector that I have is the perfect size for the fuge. Is this a good choice to grow Chaetomorpha? <I am a fan of more lighting for macros, don't let the light be the limiting factor in growth. If you can find one of the Lights of America 65W patio lights it would be perfect for this project.> I would like some input on what I should put in the Refugium , I am planning on a shallow sand bed of about 1-2" and a few small pieces of live rock to help grow copepods. I will also be putting in some Chaeto. Is it true that the amount of Chaeto I can get in there would be better at nutrient export then a DSB? <I would rather have the Chaetomorpha.> In terms of growing brine shrimp/Mysid shrimp, how can I do this, I know that Mysid shrimp eat brine, so which one would be easier to grow and more nutritious for my fish? Where can I get live shrimp or eggs? <This is really another subject, not the objective of a refugium. You will culture some amount of zooplankton, the more rock and volume the more that will be produced. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the linked files above.> I have a 350W heater in my main tank right now, would I be able to put this in the refugium? <You certainly could if there is room for it.> Lastly, what do I have to do to maintain a Refugium ? <Harvest the macro as it grows.> Do I have to worry about micro algae problems in the fuge or will the Chaeto out-compete anything? <It won't outcompete just by being there. The idea is to make the conditions more favorable for the Chaetomorpha.> Main Questions: What is a suitable powerhead/flow rate? What is a suitable light? How do I grow shrimp/live food? <All addressed above.> Please comment/criticize my plans and give me any suggestions that would help. <One last thing. Despite the fact that this will be sitting on a shelf, the ¼' acrylic gives you (and me) much more peace of mind for the nominal extra cost.> Thanks for you time! Sorin <Welcome, have fun. Scott V.> Plans: http://www.aquariumpros.ca/photopost/data/500/medium/refugium3.jpg

Hang on the back Refugium 12/28/08 Dear Crew, <Hello Chris.> We have a 72 gal FOWLR that we have had set up for about 7 years. We are looking into adding some polyps and soft corals after upgrading our lighting system. <The great leap, welcome to reefing!> The ammonia and nitrites have always been at 0 but the nitrates have kept around 12.5ppm according to our test kit. <Not horrible, but a problem to catch early.> Currently the tank has a Millennium 3000 hang on the back filter, Red Sea Prism protein skimmer, 304 Fluval canister filter and an undergravel with powerheads. We want to lower nitrates for the corals and are thinking of purchasing a Large HOB Refugium that is 24"x6"x12". Would this be a wise decision? <These do have benefit even at this scale.> We will have to remove the Millennium 3000 though to make room. We also read about removing the media from the Fluval, we were thinking about removing the sponge filters but leaving the ceramic bio media or would it be better to remove all media from the canister? <If you have other means of aeration and circulation you will be better off removing at least the media from the power filter and canister, if not removing the filters all together. Same goes with the undergravel system and gravel, these are detritus traps and will have a huge impact on nitrate in your system. Your live rock will provide the biofiltration here. For what it is worth do consider a skimmer upgrade with the money, maybe add the refugium later. The Prizm skimmer can be workable, but there are so many out there that far exceed its capabilities. Do look at the HOB skimmers from AquaC, great stuff.> Thanks for your time, Chris <Welcome, all these steps will make your life easier with a reef. ScottV.>

Aquafuge vs. Rowaphos 12/7/08 Hey Guys, <Gals too, hello there Steve.> I have been reading your site for information about Refugiums. I am going to add one on my 55 gallon reef. <Good move that you will not regret.> Currently I am using an Aqua C Remora Pro and 90 lbs of live rock with a lot of water movement for my filtration. I also have an Aquaclear 70 HOT filter running with some Rowaphos and filter floss to keep the phosphates down. After reading your site I am left with two questions. 1. If I add an Aquafuge refugium would you recommend removing the Aquaclear filter? <I would, it is of little use with your LR, skimmer and refugium. It just becomes a maintenance burden at this point.> I would no longer need to purchase that expensive Rowaphos. At the same time I need to get the phosphates a bit lower than they are now so I want to make sure that I am actually making headway. I don't want to buy an expensive toy if it isn't going to be any better than the Rowaphos. <These media can actually strip the water of too much phosphate. Do test your levels, but if water changes and the refugium do not keep them in check then it is time to look at the source/problem rather than treating the symptom.> 2. Would any of the 3 Aquafuge models be large enough to produce enough food for a Mandarin Goby? <Not with a 55 gallon display.> I know that refugiums can produce enough food for theses fish but even the largest Aquafuge model is pretty small. <This is one of those cases where many claim it works, with having the fish doing "fine" for 6 months...the same fish in another 6 months will be dead and gone.> Steve <Scott V.>

Hang on Refugium 6/15/08 Thanks for such a wonderful site, I've been reading for 4 years, but this is my first question. <Welcome to WWM!> (Couldn't find answer with a search) I want to add a hang on refugium to my 200 gal. set up, but wondered if I could hang it on my 30 gal. sump instead of the display tank. Thanks! Cathie <So long as you have sufficient light for any macroalgae you may want to grow (some HOB's rely on the tank's light), this will workout fine. Welcome, Scott V.> Re: HOB Refugium Break 6/4/08 Thank you so much! I was able to repair the refugium and the tank is all set up and cycling away! <Great, a pleasure to help out!!> Your site is absolutely wonderful...my only complaint is that I am now completely addicted and getting very little work done :) <It very much becomes a lifestyle very quickly.> Thanks again! Tamara <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

HOB refugium on a 10G nano 05/31/2008 Hello lifesavers! <<Hello Sonny, Andrew this evening>> Right now I have a 10G nano tank with 20 lbs of live sand, and approx 15 lbs of live rocks. For filtration I run a Marineland C-160 canister and a AquaC remora nano skimmer+ Hydor Koralia powerhead. The tank has been set up about 7 month ago. I have a six line wrasse, a cleaner shrimp, some Nassarius(or something like that:-) sand snails, few crabs. I have a trumpet and colt coral, a chili cactus, red and blue mushroom colonies, a GSP, some zoos and a clam. <<A very busy 10g nano there>> I am seriously thinking about set up a HOB refugium. What do you think about the Ecosystem 40? Sounds like a great, beneficial refugium. I've never had one before. Would that be enough for filtration? <<Yes, I think it would be very good for your system. A nice piece of equipment indeed>> In case I'll set up one, can I get rid of the canister filter? <<You have adequate amounts of live rock to provide the filtration, so, yes, you can remove the canisters>> The one I keep my eyes on has a built in modified Prizm skimmer. What about the chemical filtration? Can I place Chemi-pure or carbon anywhere inside the refugium? <<No, I would not. all you want in a refugium is sand, rock rubble and macro algae. You could remove the media from the filter, and run chemical filtration in that>> O.k., let's skip the crap.. The main question is : A HOB refugium with all the good microalgaes and sand inside + a skimmer would be enough filtration for my tank? <<Yes>> I appreciate your time, Sonny <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>> Re: HOB refugium on a 10G nano 06/02/2008 Thank you very much Andrew! <<No problem, glad to help>> Just one more thing I forgot to ask. Would that be ok to switch the canister to the refugium right away? Wouldn't it be breaking the biological cycle in my 10G tank? 3.5 G of new saltwater and the live sand added to the refugium might break the nitrogen cycle.. <<No, it wont, will be fine as the live rock can cater for dealing with bacteria levels on its own after this amount of time being in the tank>> Don't you think? Is there any beneficial difference between miracle mud and aragonite? (I know it's two questions, but hey, I love you guys:-) <<Personal preference. I am a sand lover, where as others i know are mud lovers.>> I really appreciate all the effort you folks put into this website! The Harvard library can do you a favor... Thanks again, <<Thanks for the follow-up Sonny. Good luck. A Nixon>>

Hang on Refugium 3/22/08 Hi, <Hello> I have yet another question regarding a hang on refugium. <OK> I have a 65 gal tank with 120lbs of live rock and 60lbs of Live sand. I am using a canister filter for mechanical filtration (Chemi-pure). I also am using a protein skimmer, Phos ban reactor, and uv sterilizer. I have a half dozen zoo's and yellow polyps I have a very small bio load, an Anthias, and a Flasher Wrasse (plan on adding a tang), <I would not add the Tang, they need more swimming space than this.> various shrimps, lobster and snails. I want to add a hang on refugium, I only have room for the small size, and I want to hang it on the side of the tank. Will this be beneficial to the tank? Will the weight be ok hanging on the side of the tank? <Yes, not a problem.> I have asked this question to various LFS in the area. Some have said that it will do nothing, and then others have said that it will definitely be beneficial, and reduce nitrates. <It will be beneficial, especially with the addition of macroalgae. Larger is better with a refugium, but something is also better than nothing!> Thanks in advance. I really enjoy your website and reading all the feedback you provide. Anthony <Welcome, thank you, Scott V.>

Tiny Refugium 11/3/07 Hello again, <Hello, love the name.> I was reading about refugiums in Reef Invertebrates An Essential Guide to Selection, Care and Compatibility today when I saw a small section that said a small refugium is better than none at all. My 50 gallon tank sits approximately 3" away from the wall with an Aqua C Remora Protein Skimmer hanging on the back already I was wondering if it would be worth building a hang off refugium in the same manner as the protein skimmer dimensions 24"wx18"tx3"d with the pump in the middle and a run off on both sides sort of like the larger bio-wheel filters. <You very well could do this, and worth doing. Check out Steven Pro's article on converting a Aquaclear 500 into a hang on the back refugium for some ideas. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hagenrefugart.htm You will need some sort of baffle inside to keep you macroalgae in the refugium and not your tank.> Something to breed pods for the mandarin is it possible/safe? What other possible uses could I have with only 3" depth between the tank and wall? I was considering putting LS either way but I'm not sure the extra weight/stress on the tank is worth it. <The weight will be fine for the volume we are talking about. Your tank is really too small to accommodate and feed a mandarin, even with the addition of the refugium. They require a large (on the order of 100 gallons plus per fish) rock filled tank to provide enough food to sustain these fish.> Thanks, Overly Creative <Keep innovating, thank you, Scott V.>

Bak Pak refugium 10/26/07 Hey guys, <Hello, Scott V here. > I was wondering if there is anyway to turn my Bak Pak BioBale area into a Refugium? I have searched online with no outcome so I am guessing not. <Could be done, but not much volume there. The problem I see is your macro of choice would grow so fast or be floating up in the water flow and constantly choking off the skimmer return. Also, with this design the refugium would only be seeing skimmed water. Possible, just tough to do safely and with limited benefit. You could consider buying or making a hang on the back refugium, or even an upstream (above the tank) type fed by a small powerhead. Please check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hagenrefugart.htm for more ideas.> I've been reading your FAQs for the last 2 months and this is my first time emailing you guys. YOU GUYS live ROCK! <Thank you very much, love that last line. Welcome to WetWebMedia.com, a refugium is definitely a worthwhile endeavor, Best Fishes, Scott V.> Hang on Refugium - Weight/strain concern 8/13/07 Hi There, <Hi Karl> I wonder if you could help me with a concern that I have? I have just purchased a Hang On Octopus Refugium with dimensions 14inch (36cm) length x 10inch (26cm) deep x 3inch (8cm). I have calculated the volume of this as 1.82 (US Gal) / 1.52 (UK Gal). I plan to use this on a Juwel Lido 120 (31.70 US Gal / 24.40 UK Gal) - the tank is nearly 24" tall. The glass on this tank I measure to be 6mm and the tank is not braced. My question is this, will this be too heavy to hang on the side of the tank - will this break the glass? This is the smallest refugium that I have been able to find, and whilst I know that it will not be full to the top - I am concerned that once it has some sand, small little piece of LR and water it could break my tank. If you could let me know what you think it would be much appreciated! <No problem here. These units are designed to hang on tanks.> Thanks very much! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Cheers, Karl Chemical filtration placement question for a hang-on refugium 6/24/07 Good evening, I first want to thank you for your site and all the great information, I don't know if I could have survived this hobby without it. My question is as follows: When adding chemical filtration, specifically Chemi-pure, where should I place it in a CPR hang on refugium/ skimmer unit. I just purchased Chemi-pure and had it in the compartment after the skimmer and now it seems that the Caulerpa in the refugium is turning white and breaking apart. I thought about putting it in front of the return portion of the unit, <Mmm> but I am fearful that the copepods and stuff that is supposed to leak into the main tank from the refugium wont. <Not to worry re this...> The only filtration I currently have is live rock and the CPR and would love to add the Chemical filtration, but the only option I have is to place it in the refugium. I used to use carbon in my Prizm and thought it really helped. I would therefore like to continue with the added filtration with my new set-up. Thank you in advance for all of your help!! Cory <Somewhere in the filter flow path, though not blocking same... toward the exit, return, though most anywhere in this unit would be fine... I would only switch such a product out once a month... using two would be best, leaving one in while changing the oldest each interval. Bob Fenner>

Ecosystem Product Quality, Hang-On-Refugium 5/31/07 Hi there, <Hello.> I read your web site, it's very helpful and comprehensive. <Thanks.> I plan to buy Ecosystem pro 40 for my 42 gal. glass tank with coral & fish, my tank is running the canister filter now, I plan to keep it together with hang-on one. <Sounds good.> Here is my questions: 1) Any feedback/idea about the Ecosystem pro 40. <A good choice for a hang-on-fuge, Leng Sy makes quality products.> 2) Should I cycle the hang-on separately with my existing tank? <It shouldn't need to cycle per se, however do keep the hang on fuge separate until the mud settles.> 3) Should I put sand & mud in the hang-on? <You can though I don't see the need for both.> You mentioned that it should stay away Caulerpa, <Not me personally...though I have other choices.> so what else of algae is more appropriate <Chaetomorpha is quite popular and effective.> ....Please name and the reason. <My thoughts on this and, the rest of the crews, is posted on WWM.> 4) The refugium light should stay on 24/7 as manufacture's recommendation or else. <Mmm...this depends on the algae in question many do need a resting period.> Thanks in advance for your help <Anytime.> Hanson <Adam J.>

Terrible mess!! Refugium Problems 3/22/07 Hi everyone! <Hello Pam> Now, I know there are a zillion articles on refugiums, <More than that:)> and I have even emailed you about this particular problem, BUT, the problem still exists! <Not good.> I siphoned all the water from my refugium, took out the scum, sludge and low tide stench goop, removed top two inches of sand, and started with new plants, Chaetomorpha algae. Not only are the Chaetomorpha algae turning brown with the same sludge, the entire unit has become brown with the same conditions as before. it took only one week for this to start turning bad AGAIN! <One important question. What are you using for light over the fuge?> This is a hang on refug. with 5 inches of live sand, and "MUD'' together. <Would not mix dissimilar products, grain size, composition, etc. I would redo and stick with Miracle Mud, about two inches deep will do.> The skimmer is producing but not to a great degree. <Cleaning the skimmer, especially the riser tube, will make skimming much more efficient.> I am also surprised by the lack of flow in the refug. It just seems to barely break over the built in partitions to flow back into the tank. I am so frustrated by this. <Refugiums should not have a high water flow, in your HOB, 100gph should be fine.> It is no easy task to break down a refugium. It's just a terrible mess. What's wrong? !! I hope you have the answer!!! <Wish you would have provided more info, such as water parameters, frequency of water changes, bio-load, ample supply of critters in the refugium, etc. Do provide and I may be able to steer you in the right direction.> thank you! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Pam

H.O.B. Aqua Fuge. Adding Refugium to Established Tank 3/15/07 Hello, <Hi.> I hope all is well with the "Crew". <Yes, thanks.> I have a question regarding a H.O.B. refugium. <Okay.> A good friend and fellow reefer is going to give me a H.O.B. refugium that is 18"x4"x12". <Neat gift.> I think it is around 3g. I maintain an established: 3 yr. old 55g reef SPS/ LPS, 70+# LR, 3" LS bed, Vanuatu mystery wrasse, blue streak cleaner wrasse ( 2.5yr), pseudo. elongatus, geometric pyg. hawk, Pacific candy hog, 48" Current SunPod 2x150w HQI 14K. Remora Pro-Mag 3, 2-Seio 620. Would it be better to add Miracle Mud or live sand <Either or your choice, the mud isn't cheap though.> and would either of these two items cause a mini cycle in the system? <Somewhat perhaps, I would counteract this with using sand/rock from an already established system or quarantining them prior to use in your display...of course extra water changes and having some carbon handy wouldn't be a bad idea either.> Also what would be the best algae to grow in the fuge that would be lit by a 24w PC bulb on a reverse cycle from the main tank? <Chaeto seems to be the popular, easy to get stuff, at the moment but there are other options, do read up on WWM and the Fenner/Calfo book "Reef Invertebrates" if you have a copy handy.> Any info and help appreciated thanks, <Anytime.> Mile. <Adam J.>

Re: NNR and Hang on Tank Refugium 3/5/07 What a great reply. Thanks. So should I even bother with the hang on? <I would not... too small, not a great savings in terms of what one can make themself...> You recommend a refugium that's 20% to 40% of the tank capacity. But that was for food production. <Mmm, not alone, no. Many benefits... that accrue with size> Do you recommend the same capacities for NNR? <Yes. Bob Fenner> By the way, Bob, I haven't gotten the Monty Python response in year. Excellent recall. <Heeee! "Is that an African or English Sparrow?" BobF> What have the Romans done for us anyhow?

So Confused (finding the right wet dry filter) Wet/Dry Sump/Refugium 2/15/07 In my recent questions ,Mixing, Matching, and Modifying a Stocking Plan, I asked you about a certain wet dry filter. I did some research and came up with hardly anything. Not a lot of people have bought it (being the skimmer and pumps). So now I'm on a quest, for myself, to find something like the wet dry filter I explained to you (with a protein skimmer, refugium, sump, light, and other needed accessories; all in one package). The filter's going to be for a 55 gallon aquarium and I'm willing to pay up to $500. Do you know of any Best Brands (BB's) that are like the system I explained to you ; all in one package, remember? If not, could YOU tell me what all I can put together to make the filter like the one I want (since you are the professional and all)? Sorry for the commands and thanks for answering (even if you don't give me the answer I want. LOL!) <Jeffrey, I do know of one. I believe CPR makes it. It is called the AquaFuge Pro Kit. It includes external filter/refugium, Rio 600 pump to run the protein skimmer (which is included), and a two PC (36 watt total) light fixture. The return pump and pre-filter return are optional. This unit sells for around 450.00 at various etailers. Foster & Smith sell it for 444.99. James (Salty Dog)> New Hang-On Refugium Setup - 10/06/06 Dear Sirs: <<Hello! Ladies here too...but no need to be quite so formal>> Thank you for your recent advice that I am now taking...Add a refugium to my tank. <<Ah, good>> I have purchased a 3 gal/18"L/12"D/5"W hang-on refugium and 24w light that I will run at night to counter pH shift. <<Ok>> I have 2 questions. <<Shoot...>> 1: Setup of the refugium -- I have received the following from an established reef: Five (5) pounds of Cultured Live Sand, Five (5) pounds of Live Refugium Mud, 50 Live Reef Snails (Ilyanassa obsoleta) <<Mmm, I'm not sure these are true "tropical" snails...>> Chaetomorpha - Spaghetti Algae (a football size ball), Many pounds of established live rock (small to large pieces) <<Can't be too "many" pounds in this size refugium...especially with 10-pounds of sand and mud already. But also not really needed here; I would leave the rock out of the refugium to leave more room for the macro-algae>> What order/method should I place these in the refugium and how much of each? (i.e. 2" deep Sand bed on bottom, 1" deep mud on top, Five 1" diameter live rocks, 3" diameter of Chaetomorpha algae floating above, 5 reef snails?) I am only guessing above, please let me know the proper setup. What ever I don't use, I can put in my fish only tank. <<Ah, I see now... I would add 4" of sand with 1"-2" of mud on top...6-8 of the snails...all the Chaetomorpha...a small pile of rock in one corner if you wish (but not necessary). This can all be added at the same time>> My goal is water perfection, minerals for my corals (polyps mostly), and copepods. Second question: I placed some Chaetomorpha in the return box (bubble filter inside the tank) of my protein skimmer, hoping it would have the water run through the algae. <<Hmm, probably of negligible benefit...but not going to hurt anything either>> Some detritus is starting to gather at the top of the algae, should I remove it or will it feed the copepods living in the algae (I'm sure there are some, it came from an infested tank) or should I sweep it off when I do water changes? <<Might as well remove during maintenance...more will collect...>> Thank you for any/all help and keep the great site going, John <<You're welcome...and we're trying. EricR>>

Re: New Hang-On Refugium Setup - 10/30/06 EricR, (or whoever on right now) <<Tis I...EricR again>> You had replied to an email that I had sent to you regarding a new refugium setup, first of all thank you. <<I recall...and you are welcome>> I have setup the refugium per your specifications: "I would add 4" of sand with 1"-2" of mud on top...6-8 of the snails...all the Chaetomorpha, EricR" <<Excellent>> I let the refugium sit (unattached to tank) with a powerhead inside it and 24hr light on it for over a week (the sand and mud came from an established tank so I felt this was long enough). <<Indeed...you could have plumbed this to the display from the start>> After attaching the refugium to the tank and letting it sit for another 3 days to let everything settle then I finally turned on the pump. Some initial cloudiness has occurred, but not too bad. After 4 days now the tank is still a little cloudy, but the corals look healthier than ever and the fish don't look bad either. <<Hee-hee!>> Will this cloudiness go away? <<Yes...as long as you aren't continually stirring the mud, and even then...eventually>> Is it normal? <<With very fine/mud substrates, yes>> Should I be concerned? <<Nope...will find a balance>> All water parameters check out normal, but I did a 15% water change anyway, it did not solve the problem. <<The Chaetomorpha in the refugium will act as a mechanical filter, causing the fine particles to "settle out" as they pass through>> The only thing that is out of place is the pH, seams to have gone from average of 8.25-8.32 during day (I have a constant monitor) to 8.16-8.27 now. <<Hmm...possibly from organic material introduced in the sand/mud...nothing to be concerned with at this point>> Nothing else has been changed besides the refugium. My skimmer seams to run a lot more and is collecting light brown water, not the normal dark green I used to get. <<Picking up some of the particulates in the water>> The water in the refugium does not look cloudier than the rest of the tank, and there is a huge ball of macro algae on top of the mud stopping too much water flow from stirring it up. <<Very good>> I only have a Maxi-Jet 600 pushing water thru it and seams to not stir up anything in the refugium. <<Ah, okay...good>> The refugium has a blast cover that forces the input water to rise to the top before it moves across the center so the bed doesn't get disturbed. <<Mmm...I'll bet if you look closely, some water is pushed down the face of the baffle to the mud bed>> It also has the same design on the output, forcing the water to top before exiting. I do leave the 24w PC light on the refugium 24hrs a day, could that be something? <<Not as far as the cloudiness, I wouldn't think. But with Chaetomorpha, I would set the lighting on a reverse photoperiod from the display to give it a chance to "rest." This alga doesn't need to be illuminated 24/7 like the Caulerpa species do>> My only guess is the snails in there are 'burrowing' snails and might be mixing it up too much? <<Nah...you probably just introduced/disturbed some VERY FINE SEDIMENTS in the mud that will take a while to settle out>> Any thoughts? <<Patience Grasshopper>> Thank you again, John <<Is my pleasure to assist. Eric Russell>> R2: New Hang-On Refugium Setup - 11/14/06 EricR, <<Hey John>> Hey bud, the saga continues with my refugium... As per your setup advice, the new refugium with mud/sand/crushed coral/Chaetomorpha is in place and seems to be fine and the cloudiness is gone. <<Cool>> I noticed though that the water flowing thru the Chaetomorpha is starting to cause the algae to 'collect' detritus as to the fact that the Chaetomorpha is so thick it's acting as a filter. <<Yep...as does mine>> The Ilyanassa obsoleta snails that you were not sure about, seem to be working out, they are literally sitting on top of the algae (outside the water I might add) eating the detritus. <<Excellent>> I have about 40 of them in my small 2-gal refugium, but they are slowly finding their way to the exit and into the main tank. <<Indeed, can't be helped...and is part of what is so desirable about an inline refugium>> They never have caused problems in the main tank before so I am not worried and they mix up the sand nicely. <<Excellent>> The only question about this I have is should I be 'mixing' the algae up to avoid the detritus to settle, or fishnet the detritus out of the refugium, put a rock on top of the algae to cause it to sink more and not let it catch anything, or just let the snails/copepods get at it? <<The latter...the biota in the refugium will benefit/process the detritus. If you wish, you can "flip" the algae mat when you periodically harvest the Chaetomorpha>> ------------------------Separate topic------------------ I am interested in a 2.5 gal Nano tank on my desk at my office with a single clownfish. <<Mmm...am NOT a fan of these small systems, especially in office environments where they frequently get left unattended for days at a time>> I know I'm going to get yelled at, but I really want to try a very small anemone. <<Can you hear me yelling!?>> My office has R.O. water that feeds our water cooler, and with 3/10ths gallon water changes every week and a 13w PC on 2.5 gal tank gives 5.2watts/gal lighting. I know you're just going to say 'sure it might make it a few months' but do you think with very adamant care (I am more willing to take care of my tank than work ;) it might be possible? (Just maybe?) <<John, John, John...I would not endorse putting just the clown in this tank, let alone an anemone. Please do reconsider...>> Again, thanks for your help, and enjoy the long Thanksgiving weekend coming up. John <<Ah, will do that...and the same to you. Eric Russell...currently enjoying himself on the Big Island of Hawaii>>

Refugiums/Selection 10/4/06 Hello crew, <Hello Mike> I have read though the questions on the hang on tank refugiums and did not find my answer. In the future I will be converting a 125 gallon fresh water over to FOWLR. I only have room for hang on tank refugiums. I was thinking about 2 of them on the back of the tank spaced out evenly. It will not be a heavy bio-load, maybe 10-15 small peaceful fish. My question is, are the protein skimmers that come along with some of the refugiums are of the quality to handle this or should I purchase them separately? <The CPR's incorporate their Bak Pak skimmer in their hang on refugiums. A decent skimmer, but I would rather go with skimmerless refugiums and an efficient hang-on skimmer. Seems to me like you are helping to defeat the purpose of a refugium by having a skimmer incorporated into it. Much better to surface skim water to the skimmer.> I have a Remora on my 46 gallon now it works great (thanks guys & gals ) on that one. Any input or suggestions will be greatly appreciated and put to good use. Thank you in advance and for all the help in the past, Mike, your fishin buddy. <You're welcome Mike. James (Salty Dog)> Re: Refugiums/Selection 10/5/06 Thank you for the lighting quick response Salty Dog. The way you explained it makes perfect sense. I will purchase a separate skimmer as suggested. Thanks again, <You're welcome, Mike. James (Salty Dog)> Mike. Hang on & in tank fuge? Refugiums/Selection 10/03/06 Hi there, <Good morning.> currently have a 55 reef setup with a Fluval 404, Eheim 2213, & Penguin 350 without the bio-wheels, and a Seaclone 150 skimmer. I'm looking to get rid of the Fluval/Penguin & Seaclone & replace with a CPR hang on fuge, BakPak 2 Skimmer, as well as this "in tank " fuge (the large one of course). http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=3621&Ntt=in%2Dtank%20refugium&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Np=1&pc=1&N=0&Nty=1 I do not have the room or $$$ to have any sump or fuge below or above my tank and I'm wondering if this is a good way to go or not. <If it were me, I'd go with a hang on the back fuge. Much larger/useful than the in in-tank model. In time the in-tank will become unsightly along with minimizing your space for rock work.> Also, any advice on what to stock/not stock in the "in tank" fuge would be greatly appreciated. <Read here and linked files above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm You may also want to read "Refugiums 101", which is shown on the link you sent us.> Thanks <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Small system - carbon, HOB fuge, and quarantine 8/24/06 Hi WWM team, <Jeff> Thanks for all your hard work. I've had a 29 gallon system running for about 8 months: AquaC Remora, vigorous water movement owing to two powerheads, 35+ lbs of live rock, and less than half an inch of CaribSea substrate (1mm). The tank is currently stocked with a single small mushroom, owing to a move I've long anticipated. (This is still a pretty interesting tank in its own right, as the various macroalgae have flourished absent predation.) I'm about ready to begin stocking this tank in earnest, but know I need to address at least two deficiencies first: 1. I'm not using activated carbon (having opted temporarily for frequent water changes given the low bioload). <Can use/add or not...> 2. I have no media in my tank ready to transfer to a quarantine tank for biological filtration. <Mmm, yes you do... you mentioned some substrate and macroalgae> I don't strictly consider the lack of mechanical filtration to be a problem, but perhaps it will be when I increase the tank's load. <Might> Now my questions: I've been eyeing some of the HOB refugiums lately and was hoping I might be able to place both activated carbon and sponge (for the quarantine tank) in such a fuge. Would this generate enough water flow through the carbon to achieve a reasonable level of chemical filtration? <Yes> Would sufficient bacterial colonies grow on the sponge? <Yes> Or am I better served by a power filter with activated carbon and filter media? <Nope> Of course, I could try both, but real estate is a little scarce. <Not here in S. California... and the price, along with the U.S. economy, will be dropping rapidly and soon> Also, how important is water movement in a quarantine tank? <Can be...> From some of Calfo's posts my sense is that a sponge filter will suffice, but Steven Pro's RK article (2004) suggests one may want additional water movement. Thanks. -Jeff <Need to have some of both. Bob Fenner>

Water Flow Through Hang-On Refugium 06/09/06 Well I've read through lots of threads on this wonderful site and have come close to finding the answer I need but not quite. So I am forced to bother you with yet another question. <<No worries mate...ask away>> I have a CPR 24" hang-on fuge with the small pump it came with. This fuge has a couple 2 or 3 baffles that keep water flow going slow through the fuge. <<Mmm, not really slow...but more diffused>> I am battling major Cyano in there while trying to rear Chaetomorpha (sp?) <<Chaetomorpha>> I've read on wetwebmedia.com to simply increase the water flow. <<Sometimes helps, yes...possible detritus accumulation>> But I have heard from a knowledgeable fella at my local fish store who has a successful reef of his own that because of the baffling setup in these 'fuges, even with upgrading to faster flow, she still goes through slowly. <<I don't totally agree. The baffles will diffuse the flow, but they won't "restrict" the flow any more than if you were flowing the water through a pipe/round hole with the same void space. As long as you don't exceed the 'total volume" of water the baffles can handle/process, you can likely implement an increase. Be sure to test carefully/maybe install a valve to temper flow if you install a larger/more powerful pump>> In order to rid the Cyano, we need more flow. Shall I break off the baffles or will a larger pump actually do the trick? <<I'd try the larger pump>> Seems to me, logically, unless you have a powerhead blowing at something directly, you won't get proper water flow strong enough to actually "blow" the nuisance algae off surfaces. <<In the small hang-on device you describe...likely true. So why not add a powerhead to the refugium chamber?>> What are your thoughts? <<As stated>> Thanks for the clarification, Jason <<Hope it is useful. EricR>>

Hang on Refugium worth while? 3/7/06 I'm so confused. I have a 75gal reef tank w/Fluval Canister running bio-ceramic noodle, phos-remover & carbon. <<I am not so much a fan of canisters on reef tanks. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i5/Filtration/Filtration.htm>> I want to add a fuge, but am nervous about building one-baffled by baffles!! Many people on the boards say that a hang-on fuge will do very little. I basically want it as a bio-filter (no mechanical-I can put that in my FLUVAL), as a place for macro-algae to lower nitrates & as a food source for my coral and fish. <<In my opinion, some fuge is better than no fuge. However, you may also see significant denitrification by simply removing the canister filter. Also consider that by removing particulate, your canister will filter out the very food items you are trying to add with a fuge.>> Is a 3 gal hang-on worth it or should I dive in and build a 30gal sump/fuge?? I live in NYC so am limited in space-and a tank overflow would be disastrous in my pre-war apt building. Also-a fuge underneath the tank is an invitation for my kids---would hate to find a magic marker or Playdough in there one day!! <<Floods and kids can do just as much damage regardless of a sump (especially with a HO fuge). Good engineering and child-proofing are key. Well designed drains and careful maintenance will help prevent floods and locked cabinets will keep kids out. That said... A HO unit may help you sleep better at night! As for the baffles, I probably wouldn't even use any. Use a very small powerhead to pump water from the fuge to the tank and a "J" tube to siphon water from the tank to the fuge. That way, if the siphon breaks, the fuge volume pumps into the display (no flood) rather than the other way around (big flood!). Small RIO and Mini-Jet brand powerheads have excellent inlet screens to prevent sucking up living critters and work well for this purpose.>> What to do what to do!! I spend more time obsessing about equipment than coral! Help! Brant <<You didn't mention a skimmer. If you don't have one, I would trade the canister for a good HO skimmer (I am a fan of the CPR remora pro) before adding a fuge. Your water quality will improve and your nitrates will fall. Best Regards. AdamC.> CPR Aquafuge and red Algae - 01/23/2006 I have a 50 gallon SW tank set up for about a year and I've always had some kind of Algae in my tank I do water test and they seem ok NO3 is 10 and PO4 is 00.3 to 0.1 My wife is always wanting to remove the rocks and scrub them clean. but that is problem doing that isn't it ? <Only stop-gap... but I would do it> I am looking in to getting a CPR Aquafuge Hang-On Refugium. and putting some live sand and rock rubble and Chaetomorpha Chaeto Macro Algae to aid in phosphate and nitrate absorption. <A good/worthwhile addition> I would like to get the 25" but my tank is 36" so I'm going with the 19" to give me some room on the back of my tank I have this red Algae that is loose and like a sheet in small patches. is it Algae or something else. it's not all red some small hair and some green and brown. <Is likely a Blue-Green... Cyanobacteria... little doubt, slimy to the touch> 50 gallon tank 1 tomato clown 50 lbs of fine sand not beach fine sand 1 6 line wrasse 50/60 lbs live rock 1 diamond watch goby CPRs Bak-Pak 2R protein skimmer 1 yellow tang 2 Maxi-Jet powerheads 1200 1 brittle star Fluval 404 canister filter ? hermit crabs 18 watt Emperor Aquatics UV sterilization and a thriving bunch of button polyps that came as hitchhikers 130 watts power compact of light that are reproducing <I encourage you to go ahead with your plans. Bob Fenner> Hang on Refugiums 12/12/05 Hello again. <I'm here again.> With Adam J's advice I have been looking at the AquaFuge Hang-On Refugium 18, is this the right size for my 55 gal tank or would you recommend a different size or brand? <Great brand, they do make different sizes though, all I can say on that is, "The bigger the better."> What kind of equipment would I need with it? <I believe it comes with all the necessary equipment except lighting, most folks I know who use it go with a PC fixture. Like a 32 watt strip should cover the 18" area.> The one I'm looking at online is $99 but no light is included. What would I put in the refugium (live sand, etc.?) <I would either put some Miracle Mud in it or a Deep Sand bed along with a pound or two of live rock rubble. For macroalgae I prefer Chaetomorpha.> Would I run my Prizm skimmer and emperor filter with it as well? <Yes that's fine, but once the refugium is established I would remove the bio-wheel from your emperor.> Also no local Petco or PetSmart Stores have these items what would you recommend? <I would order online, I trust Marine Depot.> Thank you in advance for your help. <Welcome, Adam J.>

CPR Aquafuge HOB - too heavy??? 11/3/05 Hello crew, <Anthony> I have a 60g acrylic tank and was wondering if it could support the medium CPR AquaFuge (19x4x12 approx 3.5 gal.) My tank is 48" long and 18" tall so the fuge would cover a third of the back. You advised someone with a 120g glass tank to be concerned. Should I be? I can get the smaller size. Or is my acrylic tank stronger. Thanks, Anthony <I do think you'll be fine here... is likely forty some pounds total weight, but acrylic is tough, and the support is spread out... If you have further concerns you might contact the folks at http://www.cprusa.com/ re. Bob Fenner>

Replacing Emperor 400 with Large AquaFuge Hang On 10/20/05 Hi Crew, I know this is going to sound like a no brainer when I ask this but I always like to get a second opinion from the experts. I have an Emperor 400 and an AquaC Remora Skimmer on my 55g tank. I was considering replacing the Emperor with a Large AquaFuge HOB. I know of the great benefits of having a refugium. I am doing this because the Cyano is driving me to my wits end. The strange thing is despite the recent purchase of an RO unit and carefully monitoring of feeding as well as 5 gal weekly water changes. It has only been slowed slightly. <Takes time... the Cyano insidiously/cleverly modifies its environment to favor itself...> The only thing I can think of is a more aggressive method of nutrient reduction. All parameters test fine: Amm. 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, pH 8.3 and SG 1.24. I do not have a phosphate test kit but just from what I am doing I figure they are fairly low as well. An just on last thing, anyone with experience with this unit please tell me how long the input and return pipes are so that I can be sure it will fit my aquarium, <See CPR-USA's site re...> because I have a wooden frame around it. Oh yeah, are there any opinions on the AquaFuge as far as performance and any reported problems. Thanks, Mike <See WWM, the various BB's for input here. Bob Fenner> CPR Aquafuge 8/17/05 Kind Crew, <James here> I'm in the process of looking into purchasing the Aquafuge 24 for my 75 gallon. My current filtration consists of a Remora hang-on, three Maxi jet 1200's, and a old Penguin 160, mostly for charcoal, (no sump), about 80lbs of live rock, including the 30lbs below and a 3" sand bed, south down about 2 years old. I'm looking to replace the Penguin with the Aquafuge and have a passive sack of black diamond charcoal in the inlet side of the AquaFuge. I just recently purchased 30 lbs of Gulf-view rock and 10 lbs of their live sand. After curing I put about 20lbs in the display and in a separate tank I still have the 10 lbs of live sand mixed with some south down and about 10lbs of the live rock. My questions are concerning the Aquafuge. Is it possible/or a good idea to provide the charcoal in the first chamber? <I think I'd let the AquaFuge process the waste to start with. Put a few pieces of live rock along with some Caulerpa in the fuge. You will want a light over the fuge.> I'm not sure about the weight in the AquaFuge being supported on the tank, but can i get away with about 30 lbs? <I'd contact CPR to be on the safe side, but I'm sure it is more than capable of having a sand bed with live rock rubble.> A 3 inch sand bed along with the 10lbs of rock, possible more rubble from LPS added at a later date. The tank is FOWLR with the possibility of adding a few corals in the future one the Aquafuge is established. Any help would be appreciated. <If you go this route, keep me posted as to your success. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Dave

CPR refugium light 07/01/05 Bob [or assisting minion]: <Mmm, just the common progenitor minion> I saw the post from the fellow who was asking about lighting for a CPR refugium. The company offers lights for each size of fuge, and they are available by order through any CPR dealer [which can be identified on their website]. There are, in fact, two distinctly different mounting feet available--one set is arched, and fits on the width end of the fuge, while the other is comprised of acrylic brackets that go across the fuge top. One's choice can be dictated by the dimensions of the canopy, wall clearance, and so on. I have successfully ordered one for my wife's 38gal, which has the medium sized unit hanging on the back, and am waiting for another one for mine. The price is generally in the seventy dollar area. Nice housing, nice fixture, internal ballast--overall, a very satisfactory product. Best regards, Rick <Thank you for this Rick... The owner of CPR, Suk Kim, is a very thorough, conscientious manufacturer... and a friend. He would not leave off having all the components needed for his products. Bob Fenner> Refugium Question - 06/03/05 Ok I recently bought a large CPR refugium. I currently have a DSB in it with Chaeto growing in it. <<Super!>> My main and on going problem is the issue with Cyano I cant manage to get rid of it and since the water flowing through the refuge is so little it seems to grow like a wildfire in there. <<Solution is simple...step up the flow. Chaetomorpha algae is appreciative of high water flow...Cyanobacteria is not.>> I have a 75 gallon system very lightly stocked with fish heavy LPS and soft corals. ETSS Reef Devil and all my other specs are in line as to where they should be. <<OK>> I only feed maybe 3 times a week and my fish scarf everything up. <<I would feed more often than this...at least daily.>> I have tons of flow going through my tank but I still can't manage to kick the Cyano. <<But you stated the flow through your refugium was little.>> And the Cyano in my refuge seems to keep killing chunks of my Chaeto. <<Yes...large/heavy amounts will cover/smother.>> I use RO/DI water and I will be changing the filters on it soon. But how can I get rid of the Cyano in my refuge. <<As already stated.>> Some ppl have told me that this is where you want Cyano but I don't want any at all. <<A small patch or two is no real problem.>> Main question over all is how do I get rid of the Cyano in my refugium because it is disgusting and it keeps killing my Cyano? <<Kick up the that flow through your 'fuge.>> Thanks hope I was clear. <<Clear enough, yes.>> Stephen <<Eric R.>>

Refugium Lighting - 06/12/05 Greetings all. Am adding the medium (19 inch) and large (24) CPR hang on refugiums with Chaetomorpha to two of my tanks. Would 40 watts of PC be enough light for the medium, and 65 watts for the large? Thank you. Rob <<Hi Rob! Others will argue differently...but I use two 65w PCs over my 55g Chaetomorpha refugium and my algae grows like crazy. I think your lighting scheme will be just fine. Regards, Eric R.>>

Hang-On-The-Back Refugium Thanks Scott. <You're quite welcome!> Will go with medium Aquafuge so all three filters fit on the back of the tank. Sorry, I meant changing the Rio on the refugium for a Maxijet; already changed the Rio on the Remora after it ceased to work, after a month. <Ahh...I understand. If you have any concerns as to the reliability of apiece of equipment, then it certainly makes sense to start out with one that you have confidence in!> Incidentally, the damsel is one of the most timid (relatively) of the species that I have kept; it is usually found alongside the blenny. <Ahh...good to hear. Fish, like people, are unique individuals, and it's hard to generalize, but you will get the odd fish now and again that does not conform to our expectations of them!> May try a clown or two spot goby. <Fun, colorful fish that you will definitely enjoy!> Thanks again for your help. Elvis <My pleasure! Glad to be of assistance! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting for a CPR hang-on fuge 29 Jun 2005 Hi. I am considering a 20 inch CPR hang on refugium and am having trouble finding an appropriately sized light strip. <Mmm, there are plenty about... See the fish mag.s, the Net...> Would 28 watts of pc suffice for growing Chaetomorpha and either Gracilaria or Ulva, or should I go with 40? Joe <I would use the smaller wattage of these. Bob Fenner> AquaClear Fuge input What do you recommend for the AquaClear fuge. I have a sand sifting star and a couple of cerith snails which I find sifting the through it. I also have about 30 dwarf leg hermits, 5 scarlet reef crabs, about 6 Mexican Turbos, 10 astrea, and 6 margaritas. What kind of stuff can I put in the refugium to minimize phosphates and algae problems on the glass.<I would just put Caulerpa in the ref. You don't want anything in there to gobble up the pods before they have a chance to multiply and provide a natural food source for the animals in the main tank.> I also read something from WetWebMedia's site about soft corals helping with ich since they filter out particles such as phytoplankton.<True, but they will never filter out all of it.> I don't know if this is true? How would I go about vacuuming my substrate because it is so fine? <Another crew member and I had a discussion about this. It can be done with a long gravel vac. Get the longest one you can find and try it. You may have to keep trimming the vac part of it till you reach a happy medium. As you know if it is too short it will suck the sand up. James (Salty Dog)> thanks Joe

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

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

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

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

Refugiums, and Stocking a Reef Tank Hello- Sorry to bother you again! I decided that I want a refugium for my 55 gallon tank, and was wondering if the large Aquafuge external HOT refugium would be enough to filter my whole reef tank, or do you recommend the use of a sump/refugium? <Either work fine... you may want more mechanical filtration> If I used the hang on tank refugium how often, and how much would I need to do water changes, keeping in mind that I want to do few water changes a month? <About the same... see WWM re> Also I was wondering if I would be able to keep 1 percula clown, 1 mandarin goby, 1 firefish, and 5 green Chromis in this tank setup? <Should be fine> If not how many fish could I keep? If so could I also keep a hippo tang in there too, Keeping in mind I want to do as little water changes as possible. Thanks so much for your help, I greatly appreciate all the help. Will <I would study, set your mind on about what this system is going to take in the way of your time, before committing to the hobby. Bob Fenner>

Refugium Hello, <How goes it?> just a quick question on the refuge I recently installed on my 72G bowfront. It's one of those small CPR hang on type refugium units w/ compact lighting.. I have about 4 inches of fine sand and a small piece of liverock on the bottom. I have some red Gracilaria and a few dozen pods or so in now. I have had it on my tank for about 3-4 weeks now, and have just recently started to see red slime algae building up on the insides of the refuge. I don't have this in my main tank now. What would be the normal cause of this in my refuge? Possibly not enough water movement? The refuge comes with a very small RIO pump, something like a 2, 3, or 400- cant recall what size. The refuge looks like there's no water flow through it, although the pump is doing it's job, and the water is re-entering my main tank fine. Any ideas? Thanks in advance. <Heavy water flow isn't necessary in a refugium, so that shouldn't be the problem. What is the light cycle on your refugium? Are you keeping it lit 24 hours? If so, the light + excess dissolved organics could be allowing the red slime to grow more readily. Let me know your water parameters, light cycles, and filtration\skimmer info and I'll try to give you a better answer> p.s. Have you guy's fixed your system not being able to receive pics yet? I still can't submit pics. <Not sure I'll have to ask Bob. M. Maddox> <<Some are coming through... don't know what's the dealie-oh. Bob F.>>

- Hang-on Refugium - hey I got a question for you guys I have a 65 gallon reef tank I was wondering do you recommend a hang on refugium for my tank if so what is the decent size for this please help thanks <I am only aware of the CPR hang-on refugiums, and I would recommend you use the largest one that will fit on your tank, leaving room for whatever else you have hanging on. Cheers, J -- >

Hang On Refugium In addition to my earlier questions, thanks by the way, <You've got MikeD this time> would a 5 gal hang on the back refugium be too much weight for a 120 gal reef ready all glass aquarium to hold?<I'd be very leery of it myself. While it MAY support the weight initially, long term stress and occasional minor impact of any kind is a potential for disaster on a major scale.> Refugium problems Dear WWM crew, about three weeks ago I after a Cyano problem I decided to add a CPR AquaFuge to my 55 gal mostly softy, reef. In the fuge I put about 2" CaribSea Aragalive sand, a couple small pieces of live rock from my tank, and a couple handfuls of Chaeto macro algae. Since adding this my leather corals are closed more than open & they have shrunk in size. <Possibly nutrient issues related to the addition of the uncured sand...what are your ammonia/nitrite levels?> Before ,everything was doing great with super polyp extension and good color. The refugium went from a white stingy mucus inside to now a brown algae ( diatoms( & the sand bed is covered with dirt & debris. It seems to be working correctly as far as flow goes. Today I pulled the inside output tube off and threw in a couple snails. Oh yea, there is also a film now on the surface of my main tank that never has been there before. My question is all this a cycle, break in problem & will it clear up and how long before. <That's my best guess. Should clear up fairly soon...are you skimming, running activated carbon, or any other chemical filter media?> I am about ready to pull this problem off my tank before more problems begin in my main tank, but have heard many good benefits about refugiums, & would some day like to add a mandarin. Should I wait it out or what??? <A 55 is a bit small for a mandarin, even with a refugium, but it will definitely help. It shouldn't be added in the first year your tank is set up, in any case.> <The initial Cyanobacteria you experienced thrive off of dissolved organics in the water. Best way to get rid of them is to limit the nutrients available--don't overfeed, use RO/DI water for top off and water changes, skim, use activated carbon, and manually remove as much Cyano and detritus as you can with airline tubing. With dedication it will go away, I promise.>

-Refugium & Macroalgae question- Hi, Larry here. <Hello, Kevin here> I have a 120g FOWLR tank with a remora pro skimmer and 2 BioWheel 400 filters and power heads for extra water flow. I have about 40lbs of live rock as well. I just purchased a CPR 19" AquaFuge which hangs on the back of the tank to help with nutrient export and help keep my nitrates down which are running around 30ppm. <Remove the bio-wheels, problem solved!> My goal is to lower the nitrates to 15-20ppm. <Why not to undetectable?> My fish are all healthy and I am not feeding too much. The tank is stocked with a blue tang, purple tang, flag fin angel, false eye puffer, Heniochus, tomato clown and a cleaner goby so I don't think its over stocked. My nitrites and ammonia are always 0. My questions are what type of media do you recommend for the refuge- live DSB or mud and what type of macro algae are most efficient at using up the nitrates? <My preference has been to use a DSB, but mud 'fuges work well also. Chaetomorpha is my favorite macro as it is not nearly as much of a pain in the butt as Caulerpa is.> I know that adding more live rock to the tank would help but I don't plan on adding more than another 15-20lbs. Currently I change about 18g of water every 6 weeks and don't plan on changing more often because I have enough work to do maintaining a 75 reef tank. My tank is 1 year old and all the fish have been doing well. Thanks, Larry in Minnesota gearing up for the 4 month deep freeze. <Good luck1 -Kevin>

20 gal with a refugium? I have a 20 gallon Nano reef tank with 40 lbs life sand and 35 lbs of live rock. I am currently using an Eheim wet/dry filter. I am looking to get rid of this unit and switch over to a hang on refugium. << Great idea. >> I am wondering if a fluidized bed filter would also be a good choice or would this provide increased nitrates as the wet/dry does? << I think the fluidized bed is unnecessary with the benefits of a refugium. >> If this would not be a good choice of additional filtration, what might be? My tank is fairly heavily stocked with fish and several corals. << Blundell >>

Refugium I have a 20 gallon reef tank set up. I am going to add a refugium in hopes of getting rid of all non natural filtration, aside from the skimmer. I am wondering what kind of substrate, plants, rock, etc would be best to accomplish this. The refugium I purchased is a CPR hang on model. Thank you for your assistance. <Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the many Related FAQs files (linked, in blue, at top) and/or through the hundred or so pages of the recent Natural Marine Aquariums, Reef Invertebrates book by myself and Anthony Calfo re these valuable tools... There are many options, alternatives with their champions, rationale to consider here. Bob Fenner>

CPR Refugium set up What a great web site! I just read Bob's book and was ecstatic to find out he will answer questions! << I too am amazed. >> I am basically new to SW, had some sea horses and a dragonet 15 years ago, but so much is new now. I have had Fancy Goldfish for years, do well with them as I don't overstock. Even after reading much on the website I am still struggling with the "best" way to set up a new CPR Pro Refugium under my 72 gal bow front tank << Well, I'd put in on the back of the tank, add about 3 inches of crushed coral, a couple pieces of live rock, and add a clump of Caulerpa. Simple as that. >> (used to have Goldfish, moved them to 50 gal) that we are just setting up for SW, fish only at first with LR and LS (not sure exactly how to get good LS), << The best live sand can be found by asking a friend for a handful of sand from their tank. >> but would like to go to more advanced stuff as we learn. Thanks! Anne << Blundell >>

Ramblings on Refugia! Big hellos to the Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> One month ago I placed an Aquafuge on my nano, I put some LR, Chaetomorpha, macro, 4 inches of sand and some Xenia. My question is about the 4 inches of sand. I know it decreases water volume of the AquaFuge but I still have around 20% of refugium to tank volume. Do I need that much sand and will it help with decreasing nitrates? <My opinion is that the sand at that depth will certainly assist with denitrification. I feel that just about any refugium setup will assist with nutrient export if it is set up and maintained appropriately.> How long before the refugium is considered fully operational. <Well, the sandbed is "operational" from the start; whether or not it is contributing in a meaningful way to nitrate reduction and nutrient export will become obvious over time...> My sand is developing small dark spots that I can see through the sides of the refuge, what might that be? <Could be areas of anaerobic activity- could simply be algae seen through the side of the 'fuge...> I placed above the refuge an 24 watt/pc, I have it on a timer with my main tank lights, I've read in your articles to leave the refuge lights on 24/7 but it lights up my main tank and disturbs those inhabitants. If I don't leave it on 24/7, will that throw the balance off in the refuge. <I've done it 24/7, and I've done it "reverse" of the display tank lighting...I think that either way is beneficial. A lot of people feel that there is no advantage to 24/7 lighting in the 'fuge, and they are probably right! I'd go for the "reverse daylight" photoperiod. The stray light will not be too much of a problem, IMO. If it is annoying your fish, perhaps you can block out the light that is straying from the refugium...> Thanks for your help and your site. <A pleasure! Regards, Scott F.>

More Refugium Ramblings! Hi, <Hello! Scott F. with you today!> I have a question about using AMiracle Mud vs. live aragonite in my hang on CPR AquaFuge. I currently have a 120g FOWLR tank. I have about 40lbs of live rock and about 25lbs of grotto rock. The tank is stocked with a Purple Tang, Regal Blue Tang, False Eye Puffer, Flagfin Angel, Tomato Clown and Cleaner Goby. <A pretty sizeable population- even for a tank of this size...> I plan on adding a Navarchus angel and possible a Long nose Butterfly. <I'd pass on new additions at this point, especially fishes of this size...> I am currently using a Remora Pro skimmer, 2 Penguin BioWheel 330 filters ( I have removed the BioWheels from one of the filters) and a power head for water flow. All the fish are healthy and have been alive for 1 yr.. I recently bought the CPR Aquafuge to help with my nitrates which are running about 30ppm, and to cultivate pods and macro algae. (my ammonia, nitrites and phosphorous levels are 0, I do monthly water changes and feed sparingly). <Good to hear...Perhaps more frequent (like weekly, smaller) water changes will help reduce the nitrate level further...> What substrate do you recommend for the Aquafuge to help best to lower the nitrates? (I have about 4 inches of live aragonite substrate in the main tank). Would live sand be any better than the mud or live aragonite? <I don't personally see any advantage of one over the other. "Miracle Mud" is rich in minerals, providing nutrients for the macroalgae that inhabit the "fuge". Their subsequent growth and regular harvest will contribute greatly to the nutrient export process..> Do you think adding another skimmer would help with the nitrates or should a remove one of the last of the 2 remaining bio wheels? <Multiple skimmers are cool...A great way to contribute to regular nutrient export, especially if you clean them regularly. I like the idea of ditching the BioWheels, myself...They could be counter-productive to your nitrate reduction efforts. Excellent nitrite removers, but potentially contributing nitrate to the system...> Also, would you leave the lights on the AquaFuge 24/7 or 12hrs during the night? <I've done both- I would go "reverse" of the main tank photoperiod.> Thanks for the help, Always learning and freezing my .... off in Minnesota! Larry <Glad to be here for you, Larry! Keep those tootsies toasty! Regards, Scott F>

CPR Pro Refugium Thanks for your reply, but I guess I was not clear enough. The CPR Pro Refugium is not a hang on the back style, it is a 19 gal sump style with a built in Protein skimmer before the refugium - sorry - assumed you were familiar with this product. << My bad, I know that product but was thinking of something else. >> After more reading, I am leaning towards setting this up with a DSB of 4", using oolite aragonite, getting some live sand (don't know where to go for LS as I don't have any "friends" with SW yet, don't trust LFS's - local reef store doesn't use any substrate - bare bottom tanks only) putting in as much LR as will fit and adding cleaning creatures (can you suggest good ones to use?). << Wow, no salt water fish friends? If didn't have them, I wouldn't have any friends. I'll bet there is a local club in your area. I think the oolitic is okay, but I'd probably use about 4 inches of crushed coral. Oolitic goes anaerobic fast, within 2 inches, and anoxic in about 4. Also, I'm not sure why you want to pay the money for a CPR sump? They are great sumps, but for a lot less you could just make your own 20 gal or use a Rubbermaid tub. >> Does all of the above sound correct? I am also considering using a 3" DSB (is that enough? - seems to depend on who you ask...) to the main tank, as we are thinking about some fish, lots of LR, moving into corals, etc. as we go. << Yep 3" of deep sand bed is great. And also, as much live rock as you can get. >> Thanks! Anne << Blundell >> Refugium Hello Crew: As always I can turn to your great wisdom and advice to guide me, a new aquarist through this great adventure of marine aquariums. <Wow! After reading that statement, I suddenly aged 50 years, grew a long white beard, got a walking stick and a white robe and was transported to a distant mountain top! Seriously though... thanks for the kind words, but there is no great wisdom, just a lot of learning the hard way and desire to help others avoid the same.> I just upgraded my tank to a 75 gallon fish only tank and am itching to replace my existing CPR wet/dry unit with the CPR Aquafuge Pro Refugium Sump. <Wonderful choice!> My question is, what is your opinion of this product and are there others that you would recommend over this one? <CPR has a great reputation, so I am sure it is a fine product if you are the kind of person that prefers to pay a premium for a pre-made product. If you are handy and enjoy tinkering, you can probably build your own with a stock all glass aquarium, some pieces of glass and some silicone.> I plan to just harvest Chaetomorpha algae, throw in some live rock and sand. I was told this system is far better than the current one I have. Is this true and is this something I just replace the old one with? Thanks again! Siaty <This question is somewhat subjective, but in my opinion, a refugium will be a far superior method to the wet/dry. You will still have some maintenance to do, but it will be simpler and you will not have the problem of accumulating nitrates like you will with a wet/dry. I also would suggest managing your FO tank like a reef tank (powerful lighting will or course NOT be necessary). That would include maintaining high calcium and alkalinity levels and brisk water movement to keep wastes suspended. All will lessen algae issues, increase oxygen saturation and generally make your life much easier. Best Regards. Adam>

Refugium Question Hello, <Hi Scott, MacL here.> I have a 75 gallon tank and am buying an on the back refugium, so I could try to keep a mandarinfish. <Mandarinfish require a very large amount of copepods to keep them alive. Theoretically, you could keep the pods multiplying in the refugium and feeding the tank, but should this stop happening you will need to have an idea of where you can buy new pods to start a new colony. With all the trouble, I think you'll find there are plenty of other wonderful fish that are much easier to keep.> What should I grow though in the tank. <So much to choose from Scott. Lovely live rocks, some of the more light tolerant corals. Caulerpas or other types of sea grasses.> Such as what sand, plants, etc. <Its really all a matter of choice. Most people use Caulerpas or sea grasses in the refugium as a place to encourage the pods to grow so they can keep some of the more difficult fish.> Thanks a lot. <You are welcome> Scott. <Good luck Scott, Sound like you are on the right path. MacL.>

Aquafuge pro Dear Sirs, I wrote earlier today w/ a question on flows for a 100 gal. reef tank which Anthony promptly answered. I have the greatest respect for your team and hold your opinions above all others, <Thanks for the kind words!> please do not misunderstand me but I've just recently ordered a $990 tank thinking I had a good handle on things, but now I'm wondering if I'm getting in over my head (no pun intended). <Has happened to all of us.> Basically Anthony answered that I need 10x the system flow thru the sump to keep it from getting stagnant. <I am not sure what Anthony's exact comment was, but I am not sure that this was his intended interpretation. 10x water flow is ideal in the display. 10x would is also a good ideal for the sump, but that is 10x it's volume (~250gph min in the case of the Aquafuge pro). Many systems are designed so that all of the display flow also goes through the sump, but in this case that may not be ideal.> The sump is the Aquafuge Pro from CPR. I had e-mailed CPR earlier asking what pump they recommended and received a reply just a few minutes ago saying no more then 400 gph thru the sump, use a Rio 1700. <This sounds like a reasonable recommendation based on the size of the product, although I would recommend a similarly rated Mag Drive, Sen, Sedra, or Eheim pump over the reportedly less reliable RIO.> My dilemma is this: I have a very bad feeling that the tank builder is going to cut me short on the overflow capacity if I need 1000 gph for the sump alone. <Indeed, a tank with overflows that can actually handle that kind of flow is rare (and often impractical). This is largely why powerheads and closed loops are so commonly used.> I'm also heeding Anthony's advice on no power heads. So if I go closed loop w/ a separate pump and run it from the sump I will also need overflow capacity for that. <By definition, closed loop circulation does not pass through the sump. Water is drawn directly from the tank, through the pump and back. There are many design possibilities, and most do not require the use of a pre-existing drain.> Before I go back to my LFS tomorrow and say hold everything the tanks gonna be wrong, I would like your feedback on this situation. I do not want to offend anyone, I do not want to offend CPR or take any credibility away from anyone, but as you can see I'm getting some conflicting info. <Yes and no. Sometimes it is hard to see the "big picture". 400gph through the aqua-fuge is a good recommendation. 1000gph total in your display is a good recommendation. Since you can't move 1000gph through the 'fuge, you will have to make it up another way. Which way is best depends on your budget, how badly you want to avoid powerheads and other details of your system and hardware.> I want his tank to be right from the start, no band-aids or jury rigging if it can be avoided. <Kudos on trying to plan well! All to often we set things up just to get it done and then are stuck with poor choices.> What would be the recommended size of overflow holes for 2000 gph <You would probably need at least 3-4 1.5" drains to handle that kind of flow, which most folks would consider to be impractical.> or more and what are your thoughts on CPR saying 400 gph thru the sump? Maybe I'm way off on the whole thing, should I run some other type of filtration? Can it be that mud in a sump can't handle 1000 gph? I'm guessing the CPR system would run similar to the ecosystem are the flows that low for those? If you feel this note could cause some problems w/ CPR or whomever maybe it shouldn't be posted. I just want to have the best experience possible w/ this new adventure, but having some trouble w/ the foundation. Your the only ones I know that have the experience to provide and educated answer. Respectfully, Sam Marrone <I removed the reply from CPR since it wasn't really relevant to the discussion and they made a good recommendation that is already covered here. My personal preference for a "typical" system with a refugium placed under the stand is to provide appropriate flow through the refugium (in this case 400gph) to the display with an appropriate pump. A single 1-1.5" drain will handle this fine. Then, apply a closed loop to provide the additionally flow desired to the display. A second drain can be plumbed directly to the inlet of the circulation pump (drain hole must be submerged at all times, no sucking air!), and the return line plumbed as desired. I hope I have explained all clearly and adequately. Best of luck, and feel free to write back for clarification. Adam>

- Hang-on Refugium Modifications - I just bought a CPR hang on refugium for my 55 gal salt H2O tank. I was wondering, instead of there powerhead bringing in the water what about hooking my inlet to my Fluval304 canister filters outlet? In my canister I have 3 buckets 1 with carbon , the other 2 bio-material. Does this sound feasible? <It is feasible, but not something that I would pursue. The water coming out of the canister would be sufficiently filtered that it wouldn't be of much productive use to a refugium. Much better for the refugium to get raw water from the tank... I'd leave the powerhead on. Cheers, J -- >

- 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 -- >

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>

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>

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

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>

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

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

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

Question on the Aquafuge Hi, I am looking to purchase the Aquafuge RF24. Would this be ok to add to my 90g. tank that already has a wet/dry and a Fluval 404 and 204 <Sure> i am going to be removing the Fluvals very slow. I would also like to know if i can add this unit where would be the best place to hang it? Should it be in between my intake and return on my wet/dry? <I'd place the hang-on refugium on your tank itself. Much better for viewing, keeping water level constant. Bob Fenner> Thank You Chris
Re: Question on Aquafuge
Bob thank you for your quick response. The question on where i should hang the refugium is, on the tank should the refugium be place in between the intake and the return from my wet/dry or is there a better place to hang it? Thanks Again, Chris <Please see the previous response... the best place to hang is on your main/display tank... Not on the wet-dry sump. Bob Fenner>

Question on Aquafuge Bob, Sorry i understand that it should hang on the tank. My wet/dry is a hang on for my intake. What I'm trying to say is should the unit be place in between the return in the main tank and the intake in the main tank. If that's not good how should the 2 units be set up on the back of the tank. Sorry, Thank you Again Chris <Ohhh, this arrangement is fine... but matters little how they are arranged in relation to each other. Bob Fenner>

Refugiums Good evening gents. <Hi Ron, How can we help you?> I have a question that I hope you can help me with. I have a 55g mini reef with a 5g sump. I am looking to add a refugium to this set up. Have you had any experience with the CPR Aquafuge Hang-on refugium? <Many in use, small buy useful for smaller tanks.> Also I have read about putting the refugium on the opposite day-night cycle as the main tank. My closed brain feeds at night, won't this be counter productive? <How will providing natural food when this organism feeds be counterproductive? If you are referring to the residual light, this is usually not a problem in standard refugiums located separately and above the main display. You might try a barrier to block the light, regular aquarium backing or contact paper will work.> One last q... If I do go ahead with the refugium I may have to place it below the tank, is there a way to minimize the death rate from the return pump? And are there any DIY plans for making a refugium on the site? <Try: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm Look into low shear pumps for refugia located below the display. Also, follow the links to plumbing marine systems for more useful info!> Thanks, Ron <You're always welcome Ron! Craig>

Small refugiums Anthony -Thanks for the advice. In regards to the refugium, I do not have a sump, <oops... my mistake. I should have mentioned that I distinctly prefer and recommend upstream refugiums... almost never sump style. This refugium could simply be a drilled 10 gallon aquarium on a shelf just above the main display, decorated attractively and hopefully fishless for optimum plankton culture> and I am unwilling to drill my expensive glass tank and void the warranty. <your warranty is easily voided by the manufactures who rarely back them up anyway (I don't blame them either with the variances in floors/stands, etc)... for starters, if you didn't buy their stand to go with their tank: your warranty is voided> Having made the initial mistake of not having a drilled tank, I am trying to find ways to create the most stable reef environment possible. The CPR Fuge is the only option that I have seen w/o going to box type overflow that will sooner or later dump twenty gallons of salt water into my house. Do you think there are better options with my limitations, <yep... the upstream 10-20 gallon fuge> or do you think that the incremental gain given by an inferior refugium is not worth the added expense. <I sure don't think you will be getting enough bang for your buck with it, but you may feel differently> If you have DIY ideas for a hang on style refugium (or any other commercial options) I would be interested. <I do not recommend any hang on refugiums... by nature and need they are too small to be effective><<RMF has the opposite opinion>> Thanks again for your great advice. James <best regards! Anthony>

Refugium Questions <<JasonC here, Bob is away on a diving excursion.>> Bob, I have a couple of quick questions regarding a refugium. I have a 125 gallon reef tank and an old 30 gallon tank that sits underneath the main tank which acts as my sump. All I am really using the sump for is to house my protein skimmer, filter, heater, and return pump. I set up the sump to get all that equipment out of my main tank and now use it to top off the water and drip my Kalkwasser. My main problem seems to be keeping nitrates down. I only have about an inch of live sand in my main tank which tapers to about nothing towards the front because I have a bunch of mushrooms and polyps ground in the front on the floor of my tank. I was thinking of placing some egg crate and about 3 inches of live sand with some small pieces of live rock in the sump to create a plenum. Do you think this would be a good idea to reduce my nitrates? <<even without doing the egg crate thing, which is a little short of a plenum, would definitely help work on the nitrates.>> If I put some lights on the sump do you think I would be able to use it as a refugium also? <<don't see why not.>> Does it matter that my return pump and protein skimmer would still be in the sump or would this be stirring things up too much? <<oh, there's a reason not... you might want to work on this so it can be possible. Sand in the pumps will wear them out. Anyway to get the pumps outboard?>> Lastly, what kind of maintenance is there in keeping a plenum or refugium? <<very little once they are up and running - prune the macro algae, make sure anything big that dies gets yanked - the usual stuff, it's a lot like a second tank with only sand, rock, and little critters. I can tell you though that I stare at mine almost as much as my reef tank. Interesting things happen in refugiums.>> Do I need to siphon the sand or anything to remove any detritus? <<in a refugium, no - one might stock it with some sifting stars, small cukes, things that would unsafe in the main tank, but out of harm's way in the 'fuge.>> I have found plenty of articles on setting up plenums and refugiums but nothing as far as what to do to maintain them. <<that's because there's really not much to it.>> The reason I am trying to set all this up in my existing sump is because I would really like to avoid setting up a separate container for a refugium because of space limitations. Any help you may have on the subject would greatly be appreciated. Thank you, <<CPR [a site sponsor ;-)] is the only company I can think of that currently makes a Hang-On-Tank refugium that requires only 4" between the tank and wall to fit. You may also want to look into what you might replace that 30 with, perhaps a genuine sump which would also get those pumps out of there. You could use the 30 for... I don't know - a Xenia grow-out system or something. Cheers, J -- >> Gianluca

Hang on? Bob, I just wrote concerning the refugium . Alternatively would it be possible to have a separate hang on overflow to a 10 gallon tank? Thanks for your thoughts. Jim >> Wowzah, absolutely.... My friends and I have been working on developing such devices the last couple years....! Ours also have an in-tank pumping unit (to a skimmer) a denitrifying bed (in media we cast...at the bottom middle), a yeast-driven simple calcium reactor, and a mechanical filtration area last... the middle with a light over it continuously, growing.... Caulerpa! Bob Fenner

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