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FAQs about Live Sump/Refugium Lighting

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All refugiums need some lighting... if for nothing else for your viewing.

Lighting refugium from side glass      9/24/19
Hi crew
<Hi, Srinivas>
I am facing issues with evaporations from my refugium. The sump is covered and there is limited space on top. I place the lights for the refugium on top.
<Is the tank placed in a well-ventilated area?... what is the system’s water temperature?>
However, due to evaporation, the light fittings become moist and gives away. I tried with water resistant panels which lasted more but eventually ended up same way.
<Ah yes, saltwater in particular is very corrosive and always ended up damaging nearby equipment even if it is not splashed directly.>
I was wondering if I could place the lights on the side glass
<You could >
Was worried about
1. Glass being heated
<Not likely if you use LED’s>
2. Algae issue on glass
<Perhaps >
Please advice . I would be using a LED set with heat sinks.
The sump dimensions are 20”x12”x15” ( LxWxH)
<I’d add additional ventilation to the tank’s room if needed. Cheers. Wil. >

Lights for Chaetomorpha       7/16/19
Hello Team
< Hello Srinivas>
I have gone through many mails in this very forum for the captioned topic.
However, the more I read; the more am getting confused. The sites and posts are full of technical jargons relating to PAR and lumen effects, which to my average brain, is too much to absorb as of now
In a simple layman language, Considering the current budget issues, I need to know if I can maintain Chaetomorpha with 6500K CFL lamps
<Yes, in fact you can maintain Chaeto with a simple, inexpensive 6500K light bulb from Home Depot or Wal-Mart, as long as you provide the required nutrients and proper magnesium and calcium levels to make it thrive.>
I would be upgrading to a 9W ChaetoMax LED from Innovative Marine shortly.
Until then, what should suffice to keep the algae alive and going.
<As mentioned above>
Warm Regards,
Srinivas Manian
<Have a nice day. Wil.>

Refugium lighting 11/8/2013
Hello! How are you? My name is Shawn. I've written in before asking for advice. Thanks for all your help. I have a new question. I'm setting up a 20 gallon long refugium that will be plumbed into a system with 40 gallon breeder display and 29 gallon sump. In the process of looking for a light.
Today leds seem to be the way to go. My display will be led lite to help with any temperature issues and help with electric bill. So I was thinking if doing a DIY kit from rapid led for my refugium.
<Sounds good>
Was looking at the 12 led kit they have driven at 2 watts a piece. Should be plenty bright. My question is which color leds will work to grow macro algae?
<Mmm, the "apparent light" is deceiving... need to either read others evaluations/testing, or use a PAR, PUR meter to discern>
I've been reading up on marine algae and from my readings it looks like they use both chlorophyll a and b which each have their own wavelength if light they like.
<Can utilize>
A is 420nm and 660nm. B is 460nm and 650nm. So that Being the case from what I've read this is the plan I came up with. Need to know if it will work. 6 x 10" heat sink with 14 leds. 4 660nm deep red, 1 460nm royal blue, 1 470nm blue, 2 420nm violet, 2 cool white, 2 neutral white, 2 warm white.
All whites and blue are Cree models. I believe this covers both chlorophyll types. Correct me if I'm wrong please. If I'm right does this sound like it will work? Thanks for your help.
<Should work; IF these wavelength ratings are reasonably accurate. Bob Fenner>
Re: Refugium lighting 11/8/2013

Thanks for your response Bob. Does the light requirements I wrote look correct for macro-algae?
<Mmm, yes>
Are their any wavelengths I left out or don't need from my list?
The site I'm going to buy these from have a spectral graph of each led and they appear to be right on. Should I leave the 3 different whites in and add more of other leds?
<If you like the looks; leave them as be>
Advice? I plan on only building once so what one that will work.
<Read here:
Re: Refugium lighting 11/8/2013

Thanks for your help. On with the build.
<Excelsior! B>

Bob, The tanks  are about ready to receive the live rock. i have had lots of problems getting it all up and running which I will discuss later. Right now I have a question which I b need to resolve before I  put uncured live roc into the tanks.
i have a large refugium one story above the DT and sump which is fed from the sump and returns by gravity to the sump and then from the sump to the DT.
I have read that 5500 -6500k is optimal for Chaeto, do you agree?
<Yes; for hobbyist sized systems (not deeper commercial) this temperature area is fine>
The refugium is L 4' x  W 2'4" x  D 1'My question is what sort of lighting would be optimal for this size of refugium.
<You may want to read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugltgfaqs.htm

Will over-lighting a refugium greatly reduce algae problems   12/15/11
Hi Crew,
<Hey Mark>
I am considering the purchase of a 180 gallon acrylic tank with an internal refugium (dark partition between refugium and display portion of the tank).
 My plan is for a fish only with refugium (FOWR).
I would like to light the refugium horizontally through the acrylic (which if I am correctly reading the response to Light Panels, canopy... design 4/26/08 would be possible).  I read (http://www.sdplastics.com/acryliteliterature/1213FUVtransTB.pdf ) where clear acrylic (ACRYLITE specifically) 1 inch thick only attenuates 0.5% of visible light.  Is this true of acrylic typically used to construct fish tanks? 
<Mmm, no; the loss of useful light is much more... and this is when new, clean... and depends on the fixture/reflector employed... Better to light from the top... with only air twixt the water and light source>
Also, to ensure minimal nuisance algae growth should I have more light in the refugium than I do in the display portion of the system? 
<Mmm, good question (as in I don't know and it makes me wonder re). Again "it depends" on the species of macroalgae employed... Like most photosynthetic life there is low usage, some ideal degree of lighting, then photo-inhibition at some point where the light/ing is too intense...
Besides, the lighting/photonic input may well turn out at times to not be the rate-limiting factor. Often some chemical aspect proves to be limiting...>
When I had a reef tank I had algae issues I couldn't resolve and I think in large part it may have been because there was 5 times as much light in the display tank than there was in the sump/refugium.  I think that if I had decreased the lighting in the display tank and increased the lighting in the sump I may have been able to eventually over come the algae problem.
<Maybe... but there is much more to this equation... best to employ a handful of strategies of limiting and exporting nutrient, predators, competitors to limit nuisance algae proliferation. Such a large, prevalent topic, you can imagine we have much written/discussed and archived on WWM re>
So if I do go through with this project I was thinking of using a bank of 3 40watt (2 tubes each, 4 feet long) fixtures for the refugium (24/7; Caulerpa)
<Mmm (I swear for the last time), I wouldn't use this genus of Green Algae for reasons/rationale gone over and over on WWM. Instead, read here re algae sel. for refugiums: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugalgfaq2.htm
 and 1 bank of 60W (6ft long) for the display.  Does this seem like a good starting point?
<Mmm, oops, I guess one more Mmm time... Depends on the size, shape of the refugium... Do read the above, search on WWM re Caulerpa>
 Thank you for your time, Mark
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Will overlighting a refugium greatly reduce algae problems  12/15/11

Thank you for your response, Bob.  I wasn't sure about the Caulerpa
<I am, and would not use this in almost any hobby set up>
 as I have seen some posts promoting its use and I had also read in one of the posts where Caulerpa doesn't need a dark period (I figured 24 hours of nutrient extraction/oxygen producing is twice as good as 12). In your opinion would 1 square foot of surface area illumination be enough for a heavily stocked (powder blue tang, yellow tang, imperator angel, flame angel, 3 different butterfly fish) 180 gallon tank (and if so what species of algae could do the job)?
<... posted>
 I also have a Tunze Protein skimmer (9002) to reduce some of the waste load. Thanks, Mark
<Again, please review the "refugium algae" and refugium lighting FAQs files on WWM. BobF>
Re: Will overlighting a refugium greatly reduce algae problems  12/16/11

Thanks again for your help.
 It turns out that Inland Aquatics site suggests the need for 1 square inch surface area of algae per gallon (so lighting from the top with this set up would be sub optimal). 
<Sounds/reads as about right>
However, I think adding waterproof LED lights/fixtures to the refugium will work out well.
<I do agree>
Really love your site,
<Thank you, BobF>

Another Chaeto light question . 3/29/11
A 24 gallon Aquapod: The refugium is in the back first chamber . Rubble rock 4" the Chaeto and sponge on top . 10", 6", 3" aprox " for Chaeto". The back glass I have removed the plastic backing. I plan to use a cf bulb in a clip on reflector facing through the back glass.
<Mmm, MUCH better over the top... w/ no barrier twixt the light/water>
I looked at the cf spots and they seemed hot : I believe 70 w replacement.
Should I use a flood or a regular cf and what actual wattage ?
<Regular and whatever (length) will fit>
As opposed to replacement wattage . Heat is of definite concern . 6500 or 5100 K ?
<The 6,500 Kelvin. Bob Fenner>
Re: Another Chaeto light question . 3/30/11
Thank you so much for your prompt reply . I really appreciate what you do .
I have thoroughly benefited from your endeavor's .
<Ahh, thank you for your kind words Bob. Cheers, BobF>

Sump/Fuge Light, for algae  12/23/10
Sorry to bother you but I had one last question (for this month anyway). I have a 18 gallon partitioned section in my sump just for Chaeto which doesn't seem to be growing.
I have at least 15x GPH (non-filtered) flow into that small section. The Chaeto doesn't tumble it just sits on the bottom glass which is 16" deep.
I hear it is easy to grow so I'm questioning my light that runs 12 hrs opposite the display. It is a new 65 watt Fluorescent Area Flood Light, 500W Light Output, 6500k color temp that sits 3" to 4" above the water line. Is this enough light?
<Yes, should be sufficient quality, duration and quantity of photonic energy... Perhaps summat else is missing/rate-limiting>
Note: the Chaeto is about 6 weeks old with no noticeable growth.
Thank you,
<Let's see; where to start? You do have measurable NO3, HPO4? Enough alkalinity, biomineral (Ca, Mg) content in your water? Do take a read here:
and the linked file in the series (above). BobF>
Re: Sump Light 12/23/10
Thanks so much Bob. I read all the posts but did not see anything concerning water chemistry for Chaeto- probably missed it. As per your response, here are the water parameters for my two month old 175g reef display w/ 40g sump. I am also running two small Phosban reactors -
<Ditch this>
one with carbon and one with Phosguard, both changed every two weeks.
Also, Reefdynamics 250INS skimmer. Everything is "good" except my battle w/thread algae that I contacted you about this week,
<Whatever this algae is, it may well be chemically competing, poisoning the Chaeto>
diatoms, and the Chaeto not growing.
Sal. 1.024
PH 8.2
Alk 3.5
NO2 0
NO3 near 0
<Needs to be measurable>
PO4 .1
Ca 350
MG 1100 (slowing incr w/additives)
NH3 0
Does anything give a reason for the Chaeto not growing?
<The above mentions>
Maybe I should slow down the (15x sump) flow as expressed in some of the WetWebMedia posts.
<Yes I would>
PS: The only critter problem I've had, is a toadstool mushroom that closed up.
<Mmm, could be due to the lack of NO3, the "algae" as well>
I did a 20% water change but no response yet. How will I know if it died?
<Slime city... and stinky if not removed quickly. You'll know assuredly>
One last question, I have been occasionally adding "fuel" by Aquavitro and Marine Snow
by two Little Fishes to feed a few small mushrooms and zoo's - Is that OK?
<Am decidedly not a fan of the "snow"... tis the "Emperor's new clothes/fish food"... at best a placebo; worst, a scam>
Thanks so much for your help Bob.
<Welcome! BobF>
Re: Sump Light 12/24/10
Thanks again Bob, I will follow ALL your suggestions. I really appreciate your comments on the "snow",
<Hmm, yes. Jules/Two Li'l Fishies I count as a friend (me to him), but a few of their products are shams>
(1) Did you also mean that "fuel" by Aquavitro is worthless?
<No, this is a real product... i.e. actually does summat what it's stated to do. SeaChem's products are almost all exemplary>
(2) What then should I feed the mushroom's, zoo's and coraline algae?
<Ahh, please see/read on WWM re. All is archived re>
(3) I thought it was a good idea to run a little carbon as long as you changed it frequently as a method of removing organics?
<Is... more valuable as such than UV, less so than Ozone... to try to put in perspective>
(4) At what point of Phosphate PPM do I consider using Phosguard or other chemical phosphate removers?
<Mmm, more than 1-2 ppm. I'd be using other means to deny/exclude, "use up" ahead of this benchmark>
On nitrates, please excuse my ignorance. I understand that I should strive for .1 or .2ppm.
<Mmm, really too low. Depending on the "type" of mix of species... some like a good deal of NO3... e.g. Goniopora... all can tolerate 5-10 ppm>
I use a Instant Ocean Reef Test Kit, the test vial color chip goes only goes down to <10ppm and my water test shows clearer, so I guessed NO3 was near zero, but it could be <5 to 0.
(5) Is there a better test kit that is more precise?
<Oh yes... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/martstkitfaq3.htm
and the linked files above. Hach, Merck... much more accurate AND precise>
(6) Do the toadstool mushrooms sometimes close up, or only when they are stressed?
<Mainly due to negative influences>
Bob, thank you so much for your help. Is there any way I can return the favor, does WetWebMedia seek contributions?
<Welcome, and yes to accepting contributions (as my father used to say, "Never turn down the cash!".) There is a "Donate" button at the bottom of every page on WWM... all 12k plus of them! Cheers! BobF>

2 Lighting questions   9/19/10
Hello all,
<Hello James>
I hope everyone is well.
<Yes, thank you!>
I have 2 quick lighting questions.
1. I have a 55 gallon tank with a 4X65 watt PC fixture. It currently has 4 50/50 bulbs. My corals include Ricordea, xenia, star polyps and a few mushrooms. From a health of my coral perspective are the 50/50s ok or would they be better under different lamps? Perhaps 4 10000k lights.
<I would go three at 10,000K and one actinic here, or two at 10,000K and two 50/50>
2. I added another refugium for macro algae growth. I have had 2 lights recommended to me for it. First a 24" florescent grow light or a 75 watt CFL flood light with a 5000k rating. Both cost about $10 and are available at local home or hardware stores. What are your thoughts on these for macro growth.
<Difficult to say without knowing more about the 'grow light', but with the lack of this data I would veer towards it. I have tried growing macros with domestic 5000K bulbs, and had far better results when using 10,000K. If you can get anything over 6500K you're onto a winner. There are a few good smaller units (try Solaris) that will do a better job than cheap versions you can get in the DIY stores>
Thank you again for your help,
<No worries>

Changing light cycle and Changing algaes in refugium   9/16/10
Hello, long time reader first time writer!
<Well welcome in!>
Thank you so much for all the information and what you all do for the hobby. I have a quick question that I have searched for and can't seem to find the answer. I am going to change my setup to my refugium which I am currently running a 24 hour LED light cycle with Caulerpa as my macro algae. The refugium has been set up with this cycle for about 14months now.
I would like to change to a 12 hour light cycle with only Chaetomorpha as my main macro. After reading what you all have said in regard to this type of algae, I believe this will be the best move for my tank and setup.
<I personally like Chaeto better for a number of reasons.>
I want to remove all the Caulerpa in one sitting and immediately place in the Chaetomorpha and start running a 12 hour light cycle opposite to that of the main display light cycle.
My question is will this have any side affects doing this drastic of a change of light cycle and the removal/addition of two different species of macro algae? Nitrates, phosphates etc...Or should I slowly make the change?
<I would do this all at once as you describe. You will be far better off than having a mix in the refugium for a period of time. I would use this as an opportunity for a water change. Shut off the return pump, then
carefully remove the Caulerpa. Any stray little bits that stay or get blown into the tank can be a headache. Then just pump the water out of the refugium and carefully replace it. This will minimize the "dust cloud" you will get when you turn the return back on.>
Thanks again for your help!
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Refugium LED Lighting 7/17/10
Hey Crew,
I was looking into refitting my refugium with LED lights and was somewhat surprised to the lack of real options. I stumbled across this pretty good CF alternative and am wondering if you guys know anything about doing something similar using LEDs?
<Sure, plenty of options out there for DIY'ers. Take a look here for starters.
These LED's are very reasonably priced but will require a DC power supply to provide necessary voltage and current.
Radio Shack would be a good place to find these devices. Also try Googling LED components.
James (Salty Dog)>

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>>

Refugium Lighting 05/20/09
I would like to get my 39G refugium lit properly for as little money as possible. I find a lot of info about the proper light spectrum to use, but I have yet to see a light spectrum on a box of the bulb. I have read that for only a few bucks you can get a light at Home Depot / Wal-Mart. What exactly should I look for?
<Look for a daylight bulb, anything from about 5000K to 6500K is ideal. Some manufacturers you will actually need to call to confirm the color temperature of their bulbs. Melev has a great review on hardware store here: http://www.melevsreef.com/fuge_bulb.html.> 
Is there a conversion table of some kind?
<Not that I know of, but some manufacturers mark bulbs in Kelvin temperatures and some only use descriptions.>
Thanks in advance.
<Your welcome
Josh Solomon>

Macroalgae question. Lighting in a tied-in sump     2/18/09 Hello Bob, <Hey David> I hope all is well with you and your family and that you had a great holiday season. I have a question regarding lighting over the macroalgae on the grow out system in the clownhouse. My question is there any negative reasons to run the lighting over the refugium 24hrs a day. <Mmm, a few... mainly the exhausting of the photosynthates ability to do the forward light reactions... What algae are you using?> I understand the reasoning for running the lights on an opposite schedule for ph stability and other reasons but couldn't the lights be ran for 24 hours a day for additional nitrate and phosphate removal? <W/in reason. Only Caulerpaceans can "do" this 24/7 as far as I'm aware> I was not sure if the macroalgae needed the dark time <Almost all do> or not but I have asked some fellow reefers that have refugiums and it seems to be 50/50 as to people that run 24/7 vs. opposite time. <Just with the genus Caulerpa> I have acquired a different sump that has a much larger footprint for the grow out system and will be changing the sump out sometime next week so I thought this would be the perfect time to shoot you an email. I have been reading that you are speaking in the tri-cities this summer for the midcolumbia group. I believe that there will be a group (myself included) heading over to the conference. Maybe we could visit for a few minutes. I am still planning on going to MACNA this year but we are watching our budget pretty closely right now. Rob Allen has moved to Portland now and is helping manage the PNWMAS site. <Ah, good> I believe that he has spoken to Matt Wittenrich about coming out to Portland in October to speak to our club. <A fine speaker, petfish person> The meeting will be held here at my house again so it would be exciting to share my setup with him. We are anticipating and expansion in the clownhouse later this spring. <Ahh! New species being added as well?> I am planning on removing the wall to the left as you come in and expanding so that I can build another grow out system. Well that is enough babbling for now Take care, Dave Durr <I would run the refugium lighting overlapping, but reversed to the main system lighting (during the day), but have it off a good eight hours a day. Bob Fenner>

LOA <Lights of America, brand... fuge lighting> install instructions if you want them, Standard Durso Issues <noise, flow...>  2/11/09 Hello, <Hello John!> Well I'm getting there on my 65g as a first timer. I have the sump and fuge running and have some rock on order :) <Great!> ------------------------ On the LOA fuge light: ------------------------ Thought I'd pass on how I hooked it up as it's probably a little different, and more detailed, than what I've seen on your sight. It a very safe implementation, as it keeps the light off of the fuge cover and offers a toggle switch for convenience. You need the following: 1 Plastic Outlet Box w/threaded knock outs 1 Cord strain relief (via compression fitting) liquid tight connector w/male box threads 1 Box cover with plastic switch toggle on it (usually red in color) that has a 'marine' mark stamped on it. 1 15 amp toggle switch w/ground screw 1 Cord w/plug (Has to be 3 wires Black, White, and most importantly Green!). Instructions: Remove box knockouts first, one on the back and one on the side. Attach box, using the back knockout hole, onto the light stem w/silicone. Attach strain relief connector into the side knockout of your choice. Insert cord into the strain relief connector leaving 4-6" of cord in the box and then tighten the nut on the cord forcing a good compression fit. This connector is critical as it prevents cord movement and will also end up being water tight. Install switch by connecting the black wires to the screws on the switch, connect the white wires together via wire nut, connect cord green wire to the green screw on the switch. Install box cover by placing the red switch toggle on the back side of the cover, over the wired switch's toggle. In this case the cover serves as a switch for the switch and keeps your salty wet hands away from the real switch itself. The enemy here is not getting a shock, but rather corrosion within the switch, which eventually means a fire inside of the plastic box. You now have a liquid tight working light with a big red toggle switch on the box for turning it on and off. <Nice.> You can now use the 4 holes on the outlet box to run string, cord, etc.. to hang the light from your stand, so it hangs 1" away from your acrylic fuge cover. Attach your string to an eyelet above so when you work on the fuge you can simply grab the cord from the eyelet and move it away. You can now use the light's stem screw to adjust the angle of light entering the fuge. Finally, silicone over all metal screws once you have it adjusted to extend their life span from corrosion. Plug your light into an outlet w/GFCI protection. I hope this helps someone. <I have no doubt it will, these are great inexpensive refugium lights. Thank you for sharing your instructions.> ------------------------------ On my Durso overflow gurgling: ------------------------------ Sorry to trouble you with this very common problem, but I was not successful in using the aspiration trick. It's the crappy 1" drain thing. Where were you guys when I bought my tank! I blame you all ;c) <Well if the things would just flow as advertised there would be no problems!> Kidding aside - I'm running a puny Mag5 and I inserted air tubing (smaller than the standard 1/4" ID) down the air hole and moved it around to various depths and it seemed to make no difference. Do I really need to back down the flow from a mag5? <Hmmm, you may have to from what you describe about your overflow line below. These longer runs do have an impact on the flow ability of the drain.> Sheez.. I did not go below the bulkhead in terms of depth as I was afraid of the air tubing coiling down at the bottom, resulting in eventual overflow clog/block. Do I need to go below the bulkhead joint? <On a bottom drilled tank with a standpipe? No. The line should end within the first few inches of the standpipe, near the top. This is where you need to introduce the air, break the siphoning.> My return line is far from ideal, it has 2 90's and a horizontal flow, with a decent slope however. This is because my sump is in another room. If I could do a redo, how many times have you heard that one!, I'd drill 1.5" holes in the back... <Well, think of how long you will have this tank, how much more comfortable you would be with larger drains. You don't even have rock in the thing yet, the time is now if you have any inkling to drill larger holes! Not just for more flow, but for redundancy.> Anyhow, as a side note the water line is consistent so it's not siphoning. <Good.> I'm wondering if I should try a larger ID air tubing?, or maybe even rigid air tubing? There is quite a bit of noise coming from the inserted air line, making me wonder if the ID is too small? <It that the noise, the aspiration line? If so check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbnoisef4.htm, the fifth query down or so. It is a simple and cheap silencer that will quiet that line down to a whisper.> Not sure why this isn't working based on the success of other WWM posts? <It sounds like it is working fine if your water level is consistent and stable. If the line noise is the issue, try the silencer, it works wonders.> Thanks as usual for any help. John <Welcome my friend, and thank you again for sharing the Lights of America tips. Scott

Sump Question, lighting use 10/9/08 Good morning to all, <Shawn.> I'm planning on adding a sump to my 75 gal. mostly reef tank. I presently have a lighted refugium with live rock and it houses my protein skimmer and heater. I have been reading through your archives and remember reading that you can set up a sump with out lighting which would help produce plankton. Did I read this correctly or am I wrong about this. <It can, but so can a sump with a light.> Would there be any advantage to setting up a lightless sump. <There can be. Many use lightless sumps set up as biofilters with sponges or Aiptasia. For the most part it is hugely beneficial to set up a lit refugium with a macroalgae. This will aid both the pods and your filtration.> My main intentions are for culturing more food for the corals as well as adding capacity to the system and additional filtration. I have been adding live Copepods to the refugium and tank to try and get a reproducing population going but have not been very successful as of yet. <Try the macroalgae refugium, lit on a 10-12 hour cycle. > Thanks in advance for your help and advice, Shawn <Happy to share, Scott V.>

Refugium lighting 08/19/2008 Hi Crew, <<Good Morning, Andrew today>> I've probably missed the obvious here so please excuse my ignorance in advance. <<He he he...we shall see >> I use a 2 x 24" T5s to light my refugium which is on a RDP to the main tank. The bulbs are almost 6 months old and due for replacement; but then I started thinking. [grin]. My 200l refugium has a 6" DSB, 20kg of live rock rubble and macro algae galore growing - the most notable being Caulerpa verticillata which I harvest every fortnight. <<Sounds great>> As I understand, it the bulbs lose most of their light intensity around 7 months or so and drift towards the warmer end of the spectrum, which I believe has a tendency to favor the lower order algae. If one of the purposes of my refugium is to grow more algae, then do I need to bother changing the bulbs? <<This is correct. Yes, I would change, as even though this is a refugium, we still do not want plague algae growing there, hence why we use macro algae's like Chaeto or Caulerpa to out compete plague algaes>> I guess one of the possible answers is that it will encourage more nuisance algae growths; but even so, if these are harvested regularly won't it be achieving the same end goal - i.e. export of nitrate? <<Yes, from a certain point of view, it will. However, once hair algae ( plague algae ) takes a hold, it can be very troublesome to eradicate and the potential is there for it to pass through plumbing and into the display tank, where it can take a hold. So, in my personal opinion, bulb changes should still be done>> Cheers Dave <<Thanks for the questions, Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Lighting a sump. 6/25/08 Color Temp For Growing Algae/Refugium Lighting What temperature would you recommend to best grow Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha in a sump? <<Something in the range of 6,500 to 10,000 Kelvin.>> I plan on using just normal output fluorescents... <<This could work with the Chaeto but in my experience the Gracilaria is more demanding, on both light and water flow'¦must be kept in a constant tumble. Depending on the output of the fluorescence you use and the depth of the tank, this could be an issue.>> My question in simply what temperature range best grows algae? <<See above.>> And this is a sump/fuge mix, so hopefully the light is compatible with all the micro life I want to flourish. <<Should be fine for the average microfauna.>> Grant Gray <<Adam J.>>

Re: 120 Reef Sump/Refugium 4/7/08 Hey Scott, I just had a question. <Hello again John.> I was wondering if I should "tee" off the spa flex that's running over the refugium with a valve. <I would not.> Would this lesson the flow in the main tank returns? <Yes, this approach wastes power in my opinion.> Or should I put in a power head for more flow. <If you need more flow in the refugium this is the way to go.> I would like to put in some Chaetomorpha algae. Could I use a plant grow light from home depot for this? <Certainly.> If yes what type do you recommend? <I use, recommend and even sell a patio light from Costco for refugium use. It is a 6500 Kelvin 65 watt quad compact bulb for around $8. It does need a cord attached to it and has a photo sensor that needs to be removed. Any 6500K or so fluorescent bulb will serve you well here.> Should I wait to put in the Chaetomorpha algae when cycling or put it in immediately? <I like to wait until the tank is cycled and stable to add the macroalgae. Best regards, Scott V.>

Light Bulb (For Refugium) Question 3/2/08 Howdy Crew. <Hello Andy.> I have a question about light bulbs with which I'm hoping someone might be able to provide some help. I have a 30g refugium that is lighted by 2 Lights of America 17W Grow Lamps. The bulb designation is RB17T8/GL. I have had my lights for about 9 months and was thinking it's about time to replace the bulbs. <I would, it is time to.> The problem is no hardware store carries this size/wattage. I can get the bulb on-line for about $6 each, plus a considerable shipping cost. The fixtures, with bulbs, are sold at Wal-Mart for $10.99, so it makes more monetary sense to simply purchase new fixtures, but I hate to do that/think it's irresponsible. <I do too, although I must admit that I use fixtures that are in the same boat, the fixture is cheaper than the bulb!> I can tell from some on-line snooping that this fixture previously was sold with a T8 20W bulb--RB20T10--but this bulb has been discontinued and all the sites say to use the new RB17T8 as a replacement. <OK, the RB20T10 would be a slightly larger bulb.> So, today I'm in Lowe's and I find $6 "saltwater aquarium" bulbs "for coral" that are 18W T8s. My limited memory of the electrical engineering classes taken long ago seem to tell me that I shouldn't use a 17W fixture to drive an 18W bulb, but I was wondering if anyone with more knowledge than me about lighting might know whether this setup is dangerous/imprudent. <As long as the ends on the bulb are the same, I see no issue. They are both T8 bulbs with similar wattage/output and length. The difference in wattage is likely due purely to the manufacture's specs, rounding up or down being the difference here.> It appears that these fixtures previously drove a 20W T10 bulb so . . . (but why has the bulb been discontinued with this fixture I ask . . . ?). <Likely a more cost effective replacement with the T8 bulb vs. the T10.> Thanks for the help. Andy <Welcome, happy reefing, Scott V.>

Re: Light Bulb (For Refugium) Question 3/3/08 Thanks so much, Scott. I was glad to hear your response because I bought the bulbs thinking I'd return them if WWM and/or my web searches turned up a thumbs down. I don't mind dying in a fiery inferno, but I have a little one in the house. <Heee, I hear you my friend.> Just some props . . . I know you guys hear this every day, but I look so forward to the daily updates so I can see/learn what everyone else out there is doing/not doing. You guys really have a unique and extremely helpful site. <Thank you Andy.> Take care. Andy <Best regards, Scott V.>

Re: 10 Gallon DIY Refugium 2/1/08 How long do I leave the lighting for my fuge? Same as my regular lighting? Mike <10-12 hours will do the trick, ideally have them on when the main system is off. Scott V.> http://wetwebmedia.com/refugltgfaqs.htm

Water Clarity and relationship to refugium lighting... Micro fauna   6/25/07 This question is for Bob Fenner or Anthony Calfo. No offense intended to any other Wet Web crewmembers please. We all have out favorites. :0) <Well, you've got Mich today. Anthony is no longer actively responding to queries and RMF will see the response. Not to forget, this is free service, provided by a volunteer organization... What's that quote? Oh yes, Beggars can't be choosers> 200-gallon half cylinder with 70-gallon refugium and 70 gallon Sump. <Sweet!> My question is about clarity of the water. Why does my tank go absolutely crystal clear after the refugium lights are on for about a half hour. I can tell when the refugium lights go on just by looking at the water. After the refugium lights go out, about an hour later the water again develops a very slight haze. What process is causing this phenomenon? <The light/clarity relationship is likely related to the micro fauna present in your refugium. When the lights are on, the micro fauna (read fish food) are in hiding. When the lights go off, the micro fauna come out to play under the guise of safety, only to be sucked up by your pump and into your main system.> The water looks very good all the time, but absolutely stellar when the refugium lighting is employed. Your thoughts? <See above.> Thanks for all that you guys do.... <On behalf of the crew you're welcome.> PS. Enjoying "C" the Journal Mr. Calfo <Anthony can be reached on the forums at www.marinedepot.com.> Bob Writing anything new, you know, book size? <Bob and many others in the crew are constantly writing. See the "what's new on WWM" in the index. Here's the link: http:// www.wetwebmedia.com/Latest%20Articles.htm As far as books go... perhaps an update of CMA at some point. <<Well-stated. RMF>> Cheers, Mich>

Lighting a Refugium used for Zoo-plankton Generation  -- 06/07/07 Hello Crew! <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I am planning a refugium primarily to be used as a zoo-plankton generator for my main tank. I will add coarse sand and live rock rubble to it. <Excellent. This mixed substrate provides ideal support for such organisms.> I know there is a benefit to reverse lighting the refugium to stabilize the pH of the tank when there is algae present, but my question more specifically is - would lighting the refugium (without any macro-algae) be beneficial to produce micro-algae for the zoo-plankton I hope develops in it to consume? <Certainly. I would definitely light the refugium, either on a "reverse" schedule like you're contemplating, or just on a schedule that matches the display aquarium's lighting.> Thanks, Erik <Glad to help! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting Question for LR/Chaeto  6/3/07 Hi crew, <Hello Ian, Mich here.> Quick question. <Sorry for the slow answer... I'm currently in Chicago attending the International Marine Aquarium Conference.> I've been reading about lighting needs for live rock and Chaetomorpha for placement in my sump (I assume even without live sand, this will be a benefit to have.) <Most certainly!> I read that full spectrum lighting is preferred, but when I research this, I find that full spectrum can vary in Kelvin rating. At Home Depot, I found a "Full Spectrum Desk Lamp" with an 18watt, 6400K rating. Will this be sufficient for keeping Chaeto and live rock (assuming use of ~10hrs at night)? <Yes.> Or do I need a higher Kelvin bulb? <No, this should be fine.> Thanks, <Welcome! Mich> Ian

Mini-refugium lighting... Recommend Compact Fluorescent over Halogen. -- 5/25/07 Hello Crew, <Hi Casey, Mich here.> About a month or so ago, I removed the Biobale media from my BakPak2 skimmer and I replaced it with live rock rubble. I had an abundance of Chaetomorpha growing in a different refugium, so I decided to add some to the BakPak center chamber along with the live rock rubble to create a mini-refugium.  It seems to be working as I'm seeing some copepods on the glass in the main display and the nitrates have dropped from between 10-20 ppm to 5-10 ppm.  Currently, I have no light over the Chaetomorpha. The Chaetomorpha looks okay, but I'm sure it's not growing much. <Likely not as much as it could.> I'd like to add a light.  I've found two clip lights that I think might work.  One is 5W halogen, and the other is a 13 watt compact fluorescent.  Would either of these work? <Yes, I personally would avoid the halogen.  They tend to get to warm/hot for my comfort in this application.  I would go with the compact fluorescent.  You should be able to find a full spectrum bulb, 10K bulb, or 50/50 bulb to fit the lamp also. If not, do you have any other suggestions? <The compact fluorescent sounds good to me.> Thanks for all of your help! <Welcome!  Mich> Casey

Refugium Causing Cyanobacteria and Nitrates?  3/28/07 Hi, <Hello Brian> Thanks, as always, for your great site! <Welcome> I have a 75 gallon tank (fish, live rock, 2 clams, 1 anemone, lots of snails & hermit crabs) with a CPR Aquatics AquaFuge Pro underneath.  The refugium has a DSB comprised of miracle mud, a cheaper type of generic miracle mud, and some coarse sand/crushed shells. <Mmm, all mixed together? I would NOT do this>   About two days after I installed the refugium, I put in a big mat of Chaetomorpha (sp?) algae.  I ran the lighting 24/7 <Mmm... this algae is not able to "do" the light reactions of photosynthesis constantly... needs a daily dark phase...> (I believe it's an 18w 10000k).  After about a week, the algae started to turn brown, then it started to come apart (small pieces were accumulating in the mesh between the main compartment of the refugium and the sump), then red slime started to grow on the algae, then the red slime spread throughout the refugium, then the algae almost disappeared entirely.  Now, the red slime is out of control in the refugium, the algae is almost gone, and the nitrates in the tank are at 40 ppm (they used to be stable under 10 ppm at all times).  What's going on?  Do I need to add some kind of critters down there to keep the slime under control and to keep the nitrates lower? If so, sand-sifting stars, snails? <Uhh... Please read here re Refugiums: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm ... and re-read my comments above. Bob Fenner> Please help. Thanks, Brian

Lighting Period for Refugium -- 3/2/07 Hi, <Hi Linda, Brenda here> Just a quick question.  Is it necessary to leave the lights on in a refugium 24 - 7 and will this affect PH?   <It is not necessary to leave lights on that long.  I also recommended a reverse lighting period.  Refugium light should go on after your tank lights go off.  Alternating refugium and display lighting will help keep pH stable.  There is more information here.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm > This is for a 75 gallon reef tank. Thanks, Linda C <You are welcome!  Brenda> Re: Reef Systems And Skimmers And Maybe An English Tutorial 2/28/07  - 03/02/07   I need to make a comment here about one of your postings.  I do not have a question, just an observation.  I was reading your website and came across the posting "Reef Systems And Skimmers And Maybe An English Tutorial 2/28/07."  I am getting tired of seeing people trying to play "GOTCHYA" with the WetWebMedia staff. <Heeeee! Thank you> We are all here to learn.  Constructive criticism is another matter. Taking care of aquariums is a never ending learning process. <Ah, yes... Agreed... and usually a delightful, ever-wonderful one as well> I have learned so much over the past couple of months reading your articles and responses.  There is so much conflicting data out there and the Wet Web Media staff have done so much in terms of clarification.   I also wanted you folks to know that since I found your website my tank (90 gallon) has been doing much better. <Ahhh!>   I have always had a problem with nitrates (>60 ppm) even with water changes.  I kept losing my inverts (I think) because of the high nitrates. I ended up getting rid of the bioballs and replaced them with rock and some Chaeto algae.  This brought my nitrates down to 40 ppm.  I then decided to put a temporary (bigger) refugium in and completely get rid of the wet/dry filter.  I transferred the live rock and algae (not too difficult).  I added more Chaeto.  This brought my nitrates down to 20 ppm.  I finally found a very good refugium to permanently go under my tank.  I installed it approximately 1 week ago and my nitrates are floating between 5-15 ppm.  They seem to fluctuate based on the tank light cycle as well.   <Ah yes...> I went with the Chaeto algae and I made sure I have the right lighting along with keeping it on 24/7 <Mmm... I would definitely have the light off some hours per day... this genus, group of algae need the "dark period" of photosynthesis... I encourage you to use a timer... to have an alternating RDP (reverse daylight photoperiod/icity) with your main system's lighting regimen... Both the main tank and refugium lighting can be on simultaneously/overlap... but have them not on permanently> because of all the reading I have done on your site.  I have to start taking out some of the Chaeto because it is starting to really grow. <A good "trade in" item...> This refugium has greatly stabilized my tanks as well.  My Alkalinity and PH are very stable now (read about that on your site as well. I know the difference now).   I have one coral in my tank right now.  It is a colt coral.  It had bleached itself probably due to stress when the tanks had high nitrate problems which affected the buffering and caused algae problems. <Yes>   Since my tank has stabilized. The coral has gotten its nice tan brown color back.  I was worried all the algae inside the coral had been expelled because of the stress (read that on your site as well), but it seemed to have made it through OK.  It has doubled in size in just the three weeks since converting over to a refugium.   I bought a feather duster last week and I buried the base of it in the sand.  Well the little sucker decided he didn't like it and left his home. I saw him the other day worming around (still had his feathers).  I read your Feather Duster FAQS. I realized he is like just looking for a home.  So I am letting him be.  It has peaceful tank mates.  I also was going to pull out the tube he was living in, but after reading about how they will split in two sometimes when departing their old homes, I decided to leave it in the tank and see if a new feather duster pops out later on.   Well, that is my story.  Keep up the great work.  People out here really rely on you folks. Don't let the "GOTCHYA" people out there get to you.  It is nice to know there are a lot of aquarium freaks out there like me (that's what my wife calls me anyways). R/ Jeff <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. I will share with James/Salty (who responded to the original email, brilliantly) and the rest of the Crew... Cheers, Bob Fenner> Timer for refugium algae lighting   3/3/07 Bob, As a follow-up, I will be adding a timer to the refugium tonight when I get home. I have the MH lights, the actinic lights and moonlighting on a cycle already.  Thanks much. R/ Jeff <Ah, good. BobF>

About one of your articles on lighting and marine inverts   2/20/07 Mr. Fenner, I must say, in a hobby where its hard to get direct answers, its nice to know someone/people are willing to give out the answers, and I thank you.  Anyhow, recently I read an article on your website  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm Title: Marine Lighting: Quantity Quality and Duration.  In it you gave the recommendation for "reef-building organisms"  is 50-100 lumens per gallon.  The 18" vita-lite T8 Fluorescent light bulb is 610 lumens.  This bulb is only 15Ws.  However according to your article for a 10gallon tank this light fixture should be good enough for reef building organisms.  e.g. 10x50= 500 lumens. (the 10G tank is used as a sump, but I am interested in growing macroalgae so I'm looking into fixtures.)  I am sure I missed a fact somewhere, because from everyone I talk to, I need a stronger light fixture and more watts.  Any help in this matter would be appreciated. -Joe Coov <You are correct... this is an ancient piece... Dura/Vita-lite has been out of business for years... I would go with similar high CRI, color temp. lamps of a few (2,3 times) more intensity nowadays for this application. Bob Fenner>

Fuge Lighting Question  1/18/07 Hello to all, <Hi Randy, Pufferpunk here> I have a few quick questions regarding lighting for my new fuge setup.  I have been searching thru WWM for the correct wattage for my setup and have found no definite answers.  My fuge is 1/3 of a 55 gallon sump at aprox 12"x 14".  I have read that some people go with a "Lights of America" brand from home depot.  I checked these and they have a 27 watt model and a 65 watt model.  Do I need the 65 for a fuge setup with Chato. and Hal. algae?  Or will the 27 do fine?  (With a MAG 12, 2 Iwaki WMD30's, heater, lights, etc. on my 120 I am constantly trying to cut watts where I can).  Are you familiar with these lights?   Are the spectrums correct for algae? <I'm using the Sylvania 13wt (comparable to a normal 60wt bulb) power compact twisted bulb (big-time energy saver).  I have it installed in a small clamp-on reflector lamp & the chaeto's growing great.>   Should it be on 12 hrs or 24 hrs?   <I have it on overnight, while the main lights are off.  I found a fantastic electrical strip that turns on the fuge light & moonlights as soon as the tank lights go off.  Also has separate plugs/timers for daylights & actinics: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=11379&N=2004+113351 > My fuge is separately fed from a main overflow with an adjustable valve.  I have a 2" base of MM and 3.5" of live sand and rubble rock on top for aprox. an inch.  I have also added 1 bottle of live tiger pods.   <Another great way to restock your pods is to ask friends for a cup of sand from their tank/fuge.> Thanks as always for you support for our hobby. <Yup, I'm hooked!  ~PP> Randy

Re: Follow up question re: refugium for JasonN    11/28/06 Great! I did find some sources online. Finally, regarding the light. Would a single 40W light do the trick? <IMO, it would likely be enough. That's the nice thing with compact fluorescents though, a new fixture is always cheap and available!> George <Good luck, George! -JustinN> Lighting and coral compatibility    11/27/06 Hey everyone! Great site, I read it every night! <Hello, and thanks for the kind words>       I apologize in advance for the long email! <S'ok, details are good>    I have a standard 75 gallon glass aquarium with an 18 gallon refuge/sump. No mechanical , a DIY skimmer that am pretty happy with, aside from maintenance( constant tuning), I run carbon and poly filter, faithfully do 10 gallon water changes a week. There is 104#'s of live rock, 2 to 3 inch live sand bed in the display. In the refuge I have an 1" of live sand and a huge mat of Chaeto.( no rubble, should I add this?) <Not necessary, but likely wouldn't hurt anything... more biota to take root> On the refuge I run one 65 watt 12k pc light. I can run two, does Chaeto need it? It seems to be doing fine...I just answered my question didn't I? <Indeed> There is a pair of gold banded shrimp, an emerald crab, a few blue leg hermits, and some snails breeding like crazy!) No fish yet, there is an abundant population of little shrimp, stars, worms and snails that I don't have the heart to let fish eat! <Hehe> The tank has been running for 3 months since I moved, before that about 5 months. I carried some of the water with me so it wouldn't be as much of a shock and actually kept the live rock/sand under water in about a thousand rubber maid containers! <Oh, yes. I just made this adventure myself, with a 40 gallon and 20 gallon saltwater tank> I use only distilled water, is there any problem with that, is R/O better? <Distilled can work, but usually requires more buffering than RO... RO or RO/DI is usually recommended> Here's where you will cringe...I have a red open brain in the sand bed, fed every other day and doing well. A red/brown sinularia fl. a green toadstool, and brace yourself. a huge LTA. <I take it you know the general consensus on this type mixed garden, then. I'll leave that be. *grin*> I know, a bad mix. The open brain is blocked off from the anemone getting to it by live rock, also helps keep excessive current from hurting it. <Likely won't stop the anemone if it decides to go on a walkabout> The LTA settled in a spot and hasn't yet moved, I know at some point he will. My questions are; I have two 175 watt 20k metal halide. Should I incorporate two 12k 65 watt pc.s also for dusk/dawn, will this be too much for the leathers, open brain? I am switching from 520 watts of pc lighting because I like the metal halide shimmer, don't have to buy bulbs as often, or nearly as many. I am hoping to find a happy median for the corals and the anemone. <I would use the PC's as actinic supplementation, if it were me/mine. As long as the leathers are acclimated to the new lighting, all should be fine.> My other question is , how can I go about getting more corals without messing up the mix much more horribly? From what I understand, a mix of LPS and softies is possible with good skimming, poly filters, carbon, good water flow, water changes and distance between them, as long as there are only a few of one and a majority of the other. <You've hit the idea on the head, here. Starting frags small, adding what you want, and then not adding anymore also has a great deal to do with success here.> I am willing to part with the Sinularia fl if I have to, but that's about it. Are there any zoanthids I can keep? Would I be better off sticking with more softies or LPSs at this point? Any suggestions on corals I could try would be appreciated. <...All posted on WWM.> My sinularia fl is growing well, polyps are extended and religiously sheds its skin, been in the tank for 2 and a half months. But is sagging, I have tried different current patterns around him and nothing seems to work, he is far from any other coral, low in the tank and gets pretty good current. He was the first in the tank and has never stood upright, except at night when he shrinks up. <Perhaps its too low in the tank? Not enough light getting to it?> My water; 1.026, ph 8.1/8.2, am, nitrite 0, nitrate 0 to 5 ppm. No detectable levels of phosphate, alk 11, cal 480, mag 1500, temp 78/79. I use instant ocean salt mix. What can I do!!? Thank you so much for your patience with me! <No problems, is what we're here for. I went ahead and removed run-on sentences and questions stated in paragraphs improperly for you. In future queries, please do try to use proper English convention for writing, as all queries are posted for all to see. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Refugium light   11/26/07 Hi. <Greetings to you in Alaska!  Mich here.>  Great website.  <Thank you.>  My days not complete without browsing at your site.  <And again.> I just bought a HOB refugium primarily to lower down nitrates. I am planning to make a 4 inches DSB without macroalgae.  <OK.>  My tank is 55 gal.  FOWLR with 4 small fish and few inverts.  My question is, can I get away not lighting the refugium since there is no macroalgae in it?  <Yes.>  Since its only a DSB, I am thinking to not light it because my tank has like 9 electrical device to run it. Just trying to save some $$ for electrical bills. And also I live here in Alaska where Chaetomorpha is scarce.  <No need for macro algae, but it is a nice addition.  You may want to make a post requesting macro algae on one of the forums on this site or on another reef related site.  I have often seen other hobbyist help one another out.>   Thanks for your time.  <You are quite welcome.>   Larry

Refugium Lighting Options -- 11/25/06 As always, your advice is great & I do appreciate it. <<Quite welcome>> I have a quick question I know you can help me with. <<Okay> I have a 180-gallon reef aquarium along with a 55-gallon sump/refugium.  The 55-gallon tank is 21" high and the dimension of the refugium part is 13 x 29.  I have a 6-inch sand bed and the distance from the water to the top of the aquarium is 6 to 6 1/2".  I have Chaetomorpha macroalgae along with copepods, mysis shrimp, brittle stars, etc. <<Excellent>> The refugium is for nitrate control and to aid with growing the numerous corals and a food supply for the mandarin fish.  At this point, money is not the issue, so what kind of lighting for the refugium would you suggest? <<Several options here...with primary concern for the health/growth of the macroalgae.  The cheapest and very simple option would be to install several down-facing light sockets over the refugium and use this lamp in them ( http://www.lightbulbsdirect.com/page/001/PROD/Reflectors/1P381951).  Three or four spread above your refugium should do fine.  The next option up the economic scale would be to install PC fixtures/bulbs over the refugium.  You could use fixtures/lamps made for (and priced accordingly) the aquarium trade, or you could use the 65w fixtures from 'Lights Of America' and carried by Home Depot for about $35 a pop, including 6500K bulb.  Another option is to install a small metal halide fixture.  The 70w spot fixture from IceCap would serve well here.  The first option I mention is the coolest running (very cool by comparison) with the halide obviously the hottest.  But only by a small margin, those 65w PC get quite hot themselves.  Any of the three options will work (I use a mix of option 1 & 2 over my 55g Chaetomorpha refugium, presently), just be sure to keep bulb Kelvin ratings between 5000K and 10000K with lower Kelvin ratings probably working best for the algae.  Do also read through our FAQs on refugium lighting for other's perspectives re (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugltgfaqs.htm)>> Thanks so much for your advice. Robin       <<Happy to share.  EricR>>

Re: lighting 20 gallon refugium   11/15/06 Hi all, It's been way too long since I have been to WetWebMedia. Excellent site as always!! My lighting took a nose dive over my 20L refugium and am getting ready to order new lighting fixture. I have been reading about the recommendations for lighting again and was under the impression that 5\6 watts per gallon for chaeto was needed. <should be plenty> I had two 65 watt PC's over the 20L. Has this changed to less watts in the last year as postings are saying less watts will work fine? Would a fixture of a quad tube 96 watt work?<quad 96 watts...should be plenty...you will have Chaeto growing out of that refugium lol...hope you have some hungry tangs!! good luck, IanB> Thank you for your time as always. Dave Reverse Daylight- or 24/7 Refugium Lighting?  10/31/06 I have been running my refugium for a few months now and have gotten over the curse of Cyano outbreak and it's now limited to just a bit on the top of one of my foam sponges in there.   <Glad to hear that! Good job!> I had a decent sized hunk of the Chaetomorpha (sp?) macro algae in there and it has seemed to stay the same size all along.  I was waiting for growth for weeks and weeks with very little change.  I had been using a small 15 watt daylight bulb (power compact) that I kept from my freshwater lighting.  I recently upgraded to the CPR 36 watt bulb/fixture.  This is a 7,300 K bulb.   It didn't seem to make too much difference either after using it on 24/7 for about a week. Last night I turned that light off and left it off until the next day about the same time.  Then when I turned it on, I noticed significant growth in my Chaetomorpha.  Would this be because of the new, more intense light? <Quite possibly...And perhaps because of the dark period...> Or would this have something to do with the lights being off for 24 hours? <Hard to say; I'm just speculating.> With my previous light, I had been in the habit of having my lighting setup on a "reverse lighting" schedule.  But I got tired of not being able to see the going's on in my 'fuge during the day, so now the nights are on 24/7. <I hear ya...> Macro algae doesn't need rest to grow, right?  We just turn the lights off for the purpose of balancing PH and so forth, right? Thanks, Jason <Correct, Jason. The theory behind "reverse daylight" refugium lighting is that it will minimize, or even eliminate the day/night pH fluctuations in our systems. I have employed both the 24/7 and reverse lighting schemes, and I always preferred the "reverse daylight" method over continuous lighting, myself. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Refugiums...Chaeto Without Sand?? - II - 10/20/06 Follow up from the second message.  I am using a 14 watt mini spiral fluorescent floodlight type bulb in a clip light which is equivalent to 65 watts. Is this enough light for my refugium. <It is enough light providing the color temperature of 5500-10000 is there.> And also, should I use a small power head in my refugium?  My sump is the same exact design that is in the refugium article And I have been reading things about upward flow. <There should be some flow across the sand/mud, but not enough to stir it up.  The return pump from the refugium to the tank should create enough flow to satisfy the refugium.> Thank you again. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Refugium Lighting - Chaetomorpha - 09/30/2006 Hi folks, <Hi, Dave!  I'm sorry this is so late in coming to you....  Our webmail system wouldn't let some of the Crew reply to you.  Though I am able to do so, I have unfortunately been out a bit.> I need lighting for my Chaetomorpha in my refugium.  The refugium is a little more than a square foot within my 33gallon sump with intentions of nutrient export from my main 90 gallon soon-to-be reef system.  I have an inch of miracle mud in the refugium and the water level is about 14", the light fixture would be approximately 6" - 8" from the water surface.    Given that my refugium is tiny, will either of the lighting systems below suffice?   <You don't need a whole lot of light for Chaeto....> Option A:   I'm looking at the CoralLife 9" MiniAquaLight Fixture.  It comes with a 9W 10000K and a 9W Actinic Lamp.  I'd replace the 9W actinic with another 9W bulb. should I be using 6500K for both?  Or can I use the 10000K in conjunction with a 6500K?   <Oh, sure.  No problems with this at all.> Two bulbs totaling 18W of lighting over a square foot refugium?   I could incorporate the two 13W bulbs as mentioned below.  Option B:  I found at Home Depot a 'trouble light' that takes two small 6" power compact bulbs.  Each are 13W and I can easily get either 7000K or 6500K bulbs for it.   <This would probably be perfectly functional.  Please, though, be VERY cautious about the ends/connections where the bulbs meet the fixture, and any other areas that might be undesirable to have exposed to saltwater or evaporation.> I'll have to be creative with the trouble lamp to get it fixed overtop of my refugium.  From reading through your lighting FAQ's for Refugiums, all I picked up out of the material was that 5,000 - 6,500K bulbs would suffice and approximately 5W per gallon for Chaeto.   Am I concerned with just lighting the Chaeto I'm assuming?   <Pretty much.> If so, the area would be less than 4 gallons.. ???  Would it matter much that the 9" light system from Option A does not fully span the width of the refugium as far as the lighting is concerned?   <That's probably just fine.  Just be sure to concentrate the light above the macroalgae.> -Dave <All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

Fuge Lighting  9/23/06 Hey guys. Thank you for your help selecting the right CaribSea <Mmm, was out with Toni from C till all hours drinking... this AM!> substrate for my DSB plenum. Now onto lighting. Have read all your refugium lighting FAQs and they have helped me dramatically for my previous installations. My refugium is only small and it is all I can squeeze into (am allowed to by my better half!) my cabinet. It is basically a 3ft sump with one area for a small amount of SeaChem matrix bio white rocks (sorry if that is vague, I can not remember what it is called). This will also house the AquaClear 70 pump powering my remora pro skimmer. Then there is the fuge section which measures 16" X 12" x12" deep. Seeing there will be a 6" bed with a 1" plenum beneath, that leaves around 6" of water depth in the fuge for higher algae. I currently have a nice 2ft power compact fixture I am not using. It is a 2 X 18W 7100k with a parabolic reflector. Due to the relative shallow waters of the fuge, do you think this sufficient? <Yes> I know its not helpful, but I am unsure what species of algae I can find in Australia. I have been told to strap on my tanks and just grab some on my next dive. But I have no idea of what I would be grabbing. Sydney water temps are not exactly tropical. Any suggestions? <Have dived in Sydney Harbour and outside... the species there will indeed work out. Try to gather just one... perhaps in a thick zip-lock bag... and do quarantine/isolate it before placing in another (even static) tank. Bob Fenner>      Thanks a lot       Garth

Refugium Lighting 9/22/06 ALOHA! <Hello JB> Okay, I just setup a new 125G with a 100G sump.  I have a 75G reef ready tank that am going to use for a fuge (SOOO excited, I love fuges but never had one larger than 10 - 15g)  The problem is that there a lot of opinions out there in regards to success and gear choices over a wide range of crazy configurations.  My question is short and simple (although so far this e-mail is not) -75G Fuge with sand and live rock.  Going to load it up with IPSF goodies.  I plan on keeping Chaeto, <Chaeto> Ulva, tang chow seaweeds, but the priority is going to be on the Chaeto.  So, those are my intentions, here is my question.  I have a single 400W halide pendant type thingie or an 8X54w zTdv-5 type thingie to choose from and I can't decide.  I want the Chaeto to grow, so I wrote you in hopes that you could tell me which fixture would be best for this application and maybe suggest a light spectrum for a bulb. Once I make that decision am ready to rock and roll! <My choice would be the 8x54 with two 420nm actinics and six 6500K tubes. Thanks for taking the time to help me! <You're more than welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Refugium Question  9/15/06 HELLO James :) <Hi Randy> Just got everything set up and a question arose.....The new CPR refugium has a black Plexiglas back, will this still work using the power compacts from the main tank?? I have 2  96W 10000k White Powercompact Bulbs on the refugium side, with 2 96W Dual Actinic on the far side... <I'm thinking you mean there is no light directly above the refugium.  If so, I don't believe you will have enough light for growing macro.  The back of the tank usually becomes covered with coralline and will block out much of the light. Small power compacts are available for the CPR, and I'd get one of those.> Thanks again bud for ALL the help! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Randy

Re: Water Parameters and New Lights  9/9/06 Hi WWM crew, (especially Bob since he replied to my previous two emails) <Hello again... sorry for the delay... am out on holiday in Jamaica... and diving, eating and drinking too much...> I took your advice and made some changes. attached are some photos~ I went to W-mart and purchased a 10 gallon tank then started drawing up a schematic for a refugium that will work for me with my preexisting Fluval system/setup while also using many light parts I already had laying around the house.  I opted for the 10G because the 20G/tall would have been too big for my stand by a little more than a 1/4 inch and 15's aren't anywhere I shopped! <Are a bit longer and wider, but the same height... as a stock ten> The idea is to use the refugium as a place to grow marine plants and use them to control water parameters so I can stop with all the unnecessary chemicals already. <Good> Refugium Specs: 10 gallon tank/refugium underneath the main tank in the cabinet 10 lbs of live sand in refugium 2lbs. of crushed live rock (not pictured) Overflow box <Siphon style> from main tank with 1.5" diameter hose to refugium (ball valve cutoff added - not pictured) Seaclone skimmer in 10 gallon tank 200 watt heater in 10 gallon Fluval hose from 10 gallon to Fluval canister Fluval return hose from Fluval canister to main tank Refugium questions: I am using two separate light fixtures for the refugium. Both light units rest about 6 inches from the surface of the water. One is a 15watt N.O. fluorescent 50/50 and the other is a twin socket 2x20 watt 50/50 compact fluorescent setup. Is this sufficient for the refugium or should I make a modification to the height or lighting itself? <Mmm, either one or both will work fine here> Which lighting schedule is better, 24hr or reverse photosynthesis? <RDP, reverse/overlapping with your main system> Do you have any suggestions regarding plant life and which types would be better off keeping with the lighting that I have? There are so many types out there (including Mangroves here in S. FL) that it is a daunting task to pick. <Nor mangroves in a tank this small... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugalgfaqs.htm and the next linked file in the series of FAQs> I've been told that Chaetomorpha Sp is the best way to go for many reasons but I want to run this across your desk (PC) first. From what I read, many plants such as Caulerpa go sexual each month and start gamete production with accompanied mass die-off that causes a releasing of all stored nutrients right back into the system. This is bad. so why would people use these plants? <Mmm, perhaps all they have available... maybe the risks, downsides are outweighed by gains... could be ignorance...> Do you share the same opinions or is it okay to mix the plant life up a little for other reasons that perhaps I do not understand yet? <In such a small volume, best to go with just one species> How much plant life is suggested in a 10G? Should I remove the sponges, Biomax, and/or Carbon from the Fluval now that I will have a refugium and live food running from the refugium through the canister? <I'd leave all as is> I've been reading the "Refugium" sections of the site as well as some other sources and cannot seem to get a straight answer regarding the "amount" of critters I should seed my refugium with. What specific detritivores (types and/or quantities) work well with this size refugium and/or what critters I should stay away from despite their possible popularity in general/ or with bigger refugiums? <All posted on WWM> Main Tank Update: - Adding 20lbs. of live rock to the main system today totaling about 65lbs. Will add another 15lbs soon. - Installed the 4x96 watt lights and the corals are acclimating very well thus far and the system appears to be fine (IE: Water Parameters perfect) The Golden Polyps and Red Brain have shrunk a bit but I suspect that they'll be fine because I moved them even lower until they adjust. - Am seeing a diatom bloom in the form of green and brown substrate but ONLY on half of the tank. but it keeps me scrubbing glass all around. Why is this happening this way (half tank) and aside from reducing the lighting; is there another more appropriate solution? <Posted> Will the refugium plants assist in controlling this? <Yes> Is this a result of losing the Fluvals hoses to remove the water from the lower part of the main tank in favor of the overflow box's (only removing surface water) or is it purely as a result of the stronger lighting? <Perhaps a bit of both and other influences... the "aging" of your system. Succession> New lighting schedule (please correct my method if it appears too sudden). The goal is to run them from 12pm to 12am concurrently. <The ones for the refugium? Should be fine> Start times: 12pm - 10000k 1pm - dual Actinic Stop Times: 8:15pm - Actinic (increased by 15 minutes every 2 days) 10pm - 10000k (increased by 30 minutes every 4 days) As always, your replies are met with great anticipation. and thank you again for the wonderful suggestions thus far! Regards, Gerald <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Refugium Lighting... Mr. Fenner's Recommendation - 09/08/06 What are your recommendations for a refugium light? <<Are we talking a vegetable refugium?  The 'Lights of America' 65w PC fixtures work very well>> Mr. Fenner suggested a grow light in his book.  Will this suffice for most macros/mangroves? <<Indeed it will>> Thanks, Mike <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Refugium Lighting...Mr. Fenner's Recommendation - 09/10/06 Thanks for the help. <<Welcome>> Is this what you were talking about? 9166B - Lights of America 65 watt fluorescent replacement bulb Wattage: 65 watts Light Output: 4,500 lumens Incandescent Equiv.: 500 watts Dimensions: 9" x 3" Lamp Designation: 4U/65 (9166B) For product #: 6065, 6165, 9165, 9166, 9265, 9266 <<Indeed it is...but be aware it requires a PC ballast (LOA fixture) to operate>> I'm asking because I didn't see any specs indicating that this was a full-spectrum bulb. <<No worries...is a 6500K full-spectrum bulb>> Would you recommend this over a Coralife Mini-Compact fluorescent light (10w, 50% 10,000K daylight/50% Actinic 03 blue)? <<I would, yes.  The LOA bulb/fixture will provide much more "punch" for growing macro-algae>> This is the light my LFS recommended.  I want to be able to grow a mangrove as well as a variety of macro and coralline algae. <<Do consider selecting/going with a single species of macro-algae for best results.  Just like everything else on the reef, alga compete/fight for growing space...and alga is right at the top of the list for noxiousness/chemical aggression>> The growing compartment of this refugium is about 10 gallons (30" x 8" x 10"). <<I think you'll be quite happy with the light output of the LOA fixture/bulb>> Thanks! Mike <<Regards, EricR>>

Reversing Daylight?   6/22/06 Hey Guys! <Scott F. your guy today!> I have been reading a lot and have come across many <<sic>> of sites rather majority of them who suppose <<support?>> reverse lighting in the refugium i.e. in the day the lights in the tank and on and at night the when they go off the refugium lights come on. I tried thinking  a lot but could not find a scientific reason for the same, except saving the electricity. Could your guys help me as to how the same help as I was planning to keep my sump lights on 24 x 7. Thanks Regards You guys rock! Big time! <Thanks for the kind words! The rationale for reverse lighting is that it helps stabilize the day/night pH swings that naturally occur, especially when plants are used. When they are lighted, the plants are giving off oxygen; the opposite happens at night... Lighting the refugium 24/7 is not essentially harmful, but it is not really necessary, IMO. I'd just go with reverse daylight lighting. And I suppose, you will save some electricity by lighting 12/12 instead of 24hrs in the refugium. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>  

Refuge lighting and use 5/31/06 Hey everyone hope all is well over there (getting colder down under) <And warmer up here...> I am on the verge of buying a light for the refugium I set up (15" x 20" x 15" deep). I have narrowed down the choices to: 1. An energy efficient globe: 5000k, 25watts (125 watts equivalent output) - picture attached 2. Power compact 2 x 40w globes 6500k What would you suggest as the better option? <The latter... a bit warmer, more watts... better light dispersal...> Also could I store corals (LPS, Soft) in the refugium under either light for a period? <Yes> Thanks everyone. Keep up the excellent work. <Are endeavouring! Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Refugium Lighting Choice - 05/30/06 Hey everyone hope all is well over there (getting colder down under). <<Hello Marc, just the opposite here in South Carolina...getting (is!) hot and steamy>> I am on the verge of buying a light for the refugium I set up (15" x 20" x 15" deep).  I have narrowed down the choices to: 1. An energy efficient globe: 5000k, 25watts (125 watts equivalent output) - picture attached. 2. Power compact 2 x 40w globes 6500k. What would you suggest as the better option? <<I think either option will "work" though I would use "two" bulbs with option #1 as well.  Option #2 is likely to provide better health/growth for macroalgae, especially Chaetomorpha sp.>> Also, could I store corals (LPS, Soft) in the refugium under either light for a period? <<If the corals have moderate lighting requirements, yes>> Thanks everyone. Keep up the excellent work. <<Will try, Marc

Lighting...In The Dark ... CPR lamps in the UK  - 05/19/2006 Hi guys - a quick question!  Do any of you guys, know of a UK based distributor (or US distributor able to post overseas) for replacement CPR Aquafuge bulbs and starters? <Off hand I know of none.  Have you contacted CPR by email in regards to this?>  My fuge lighting has given up the ghost after only 2 weeks use and of course taking it back to the shop (in the US) is out of the question!  Secondly, any idea if UK spec bulbs and starters would be compatible (bearing in mind the voltage difference)?   <Another question for CPR.  I'm guessing their most cost effective way to market these products in the UK would be by incorporating a step-down transformer into the lighting unit.  Check the bulb to see if there is a part number on it and see if a local dealer can get this for you.  Do contact CPR re this at www.cprusa.com> Many thanks in anticipation <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> <<And CPR is distributed in the UK by TMC/Chorleyside. RMF>> - Steve Morse.

Refugium Lighting - 04/09/06 Dear Crew, <<Hello Scott...EricR here this morning.>> First, a big thank you to all of you for your contributions to this hobby.  This site has helped me in numerous ways already.   <<Quite welcome my friend.>> However, I have a question which I have not been able to find an answer to by cruising the FAQs. <<Ok>> I am preparing to add a large CPR Aquafuge to my 55 gal mixed invert tank. <<Excellent!>> I plan on having LR rubble and Chaetomorpha only in this HOB fuge, and run a reverse photo period.  My question is surrounding the lighting.  It seems most Crew members recommend PC lighting, but I was wondering if 1 or 2 14watt T5 bulbs would work over a 'fuge this size (24.5 in x 4.5 in x 12 in)? <<I think a pair of these could suffice, yes...in the 'daylight' spectrum.>> If T5 would not work, and I use PC, should I use 1 x 36w or 1 x 65w? <<Your choice really, any of these should work.>> Finally, since this light would be over a fuge with Chaetomorpha, would it be best to use a bulb intended for planted tanks?  Something in the 6,500K range? <<Ah! Yes, exactly.>> Thanks for your time and help. Scott <<Very welcome.  Regards, EricR>>

Refugium lighting?   3/21/06 Hello Wet Web Media team member, <Good Morning!> I have reviewed the FAQs and articles on refugiums <Great thing to have, good for you!> and have not been able to determine what a "rule of thumb would be for lighting a refugium dedicated to macro algae (Chaetomorpha). <Usually around 6-7 watts per gallon should do you.>   I am setting up a 10" x 20" refugium that is 19" deep.  With a 5" deep sand bed the depth will be 14" and about 12 gallons.  Based on discussions with some at the local club I purchased a PC 18 watt fixture (50/50) now that I see it running it just does not seem enough.  What would you recommend for lighting a 24/7 refugium?  Is there a guideline such as the watt/gallon estimate? <Above> This will sit under the stand for a 90 gallon reef. <Remember, you can always reap the benefits of an alternate light/dark cycle too. It helps with the inevitable pH drop when the lights in the show tank go off.  Enjoy, Jen S.> Thanks for any input Robert Dudek

Refugium lighting ... James Go  3/21/06 Hello Wet Web Media team member, <Hello Robert.> I have reviewed the FAQs and articles on refugiums and have not been able to determine what a "rule of thumb would be for lighting a refugium dedicated to macro algae (Chaetomorpha).  I am setting up a 10" x 20" refugium that is 19" deep.  With a 5" deep sand bed the depth will be 14" and about 12 gallons.  Based on discussions with some at the local club I purchased a PC 18 watt fixture (50/50) now that I see it running it just does not seem enough.  What would you recommend for lighting a 24/7 refugium?  Is there a guideline such as the watt/gallon estimate?  This will sit under the stand for a 90 gallon reef.  <Three to four watts per gallon.  You will be fine with your 18 watt tube.  5500 to 6500K works best.> Thanks for any input  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Robert Dudek Re: Benefits of refugium ... light and LR there - 03/12/2006 Thanks James. No problem. <You're welcome.> I'll make sure I keep on top of it. By the way, I've been researching throughout the WWM faq but I still can't find a definitive answer on whether I can place LR in a sump with no exclusive source of light? Do I need to place a Light on top of the LR to keep it biologically effective? <Not needed to keep it biologically effective but any coralline will soon disappear.  Refugiums with Chaeto/Caulerpa do increase water quality by removing phosphates/nitrates from the water.  Lights should be on 24/7 in this regard.> Thanks,  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Joe

Live Rock In Sump/Lighting Or No - 03/12/2006 Hi Bob, <Hello Joe. You've got Josh this time.> A quick question if I may'¦ I've read through all the FAQ's on lighting and live rock but still haven't found my answer. <Let's see if we can come up with something.> I was wondering if you could advise me on my plan: I wish to add live rock to my sump to increase biological filtration and I am confused as to whether I need to place a light above them so as to 'keep them alive'? <Don't have to light it. Will still function as LR.> There is minimal room light that penetrates through and around the stand in which the sump is placed, is this enough? Before you recommend a refugium, I have plans for that as well, although still in planning stage. <Good stuff.> I am wishing to utilize as much space as possible for live rock, without cluttering the main display. <You're plan sounds fine.> Also, is it advisable that I remove the filter pads from the bottom of my sump to allow the skimmer to work on 'raw' water? <If the pads are only physical, not chemical, then it doesn't matter so much. I would place the skimmer first, pads later though.> Grateful as always, Joe <Glad to help Joe. - Josh>

Aquafuge and transformer...  Maintenance/Operation   2/17/06 Hi guys! <Hello Steve.> Really short question - I live in the UK and am wishing to purchase a CPR Aquafuge from the US.  Do you know of an alternative to the dedicated light fixture available here in the UK?  I'm concerned about constantly running the aforementioned lights on a transformer you see - or would this not be a problem? <No problem Steve.  We are all running off a transformer of one type or another.> Many thanks in anticipation, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Steve Morse.

Refugium Lighting - 02/09/06 Would a regular fluorescent strip fixture (not sure what watt bulb) be adequate on an under tank 40 gallon sump/fuge combo for growing Chaetomorpha algae? <<I may keep it alive, but you'll have better results with something with a bit more intensity.  A 65w PC lamp would probably suffice.  In fact, one of the 65w 6500K 'Lights of America' fixtures from Home Depot would be ideal and nets you the fixture/ballast/bulb for about $40.  I use two of these over my 55g Chaetomorpha refugium.>> This would be on a 90 gallon tank which I am setting up and also plan to move my HOB CPR Aquafuge small from my 36 gallon onto the 90 so that I can get a bit better pod population. <<A 40g Chaeto 'fuge can yield lots of "pods."  Do remember to toss a small bit of food in the refugium a couple times a week if you want to maximize the population.>> The fixture that I have on the CPR is an 18W Jalli light.  I would like to purchase some type of light that I can pick up locally at a Home Depot or similar but want to make sure that I am purchasing something that will allow the fuge to continue to thrive as well as not have any safety issue with it resting on the fuge and being exposed to salt creep. <<Mmm...Everything/anything would/will be affected by salt creep...eventually.  The LOA fixtures from Home Depot have proven quite durable in my experience if you take the time for periodic maintenance (a simple wipe-down with a damp cloth every couple months).>> Also, is it OK to run the lights on the HOB during the daylight hours and then run the below 'fuge lights during the nighttime or are there any negatives to this.  Reason being is that I don't want the light from the HOB shining into the tank during the overnight hours? <<Your plan sounds fine.>> Thank you in advance for your response. Andy <<Welcome Andy...EricR>>

Marine algae I have a 55 gallon reef tank set up for 4 years now and is pretty stable.  I have added a refugium to my system but I can't seem to keep algae there.  When I add Chaetomorpha, Gracilaria stuff? or Caulerpa it disintegrates within a week. <Mmm, a few general questions come to mind re water quality, lighting...> The refugium is about 8 gallons and I have a 9x2 (18 watt) pc AquaLife mini fixture that is about 6 " above the water. I leave the light on for about 15-18 hours. <Except for the Caulerpa, which should be illuminated continuously, I would have a steady, alternating (with the main tank) twelve hour (or so) light period here> I am telling you about my lighting because that is what I think my problem is but before I run out and get better lighting I wanted your opinion on anything else I should be looking at.  I know my alkalinity is high and calcium is a bit low , <... this could be, likely is a problem here as well...> all other tests come out better than good and I can tell you the results of a test or 2 if you maybe steer me in the right direction. <Need real numbers, not subjective evaluations> What would make algae just fall apart in a fishless stable environment, especially when this stuff is supposed to grow like crazy anywhere. Thanks Mark <Many possibilities. Most are covered on WWM... Bob Fenner>

Re: Marine algae (for refugiums, lighting also)... tell me everything you know about aquariums in ten sentences... Not possible Hi, That wasn't very helpful, was there something that I left out in my email?  I tried to give you my lighting specs and tried to ask you what levels would you like to see that would cause problems in algae growth in my refugium. <Mmm, too many "other variables" to be more specific... The intensity, duration, quality of light used here (in refugiums) is a function of the types/species of algae used, nutrients of different sorts presence, overall water chemistry and physics, flow-rate, circulation patterns, the use of other gear...> Do you need levels like ammonia (do elevated levels of ammonia cause disintegration of Gracilaria?) <Ah yes! A very good example.> but my levels of ammonia are zero.  I don't thing high phosphates would cause the algae to wither away. <Actually, soluble phosphate coupled with low or vacillating pH can/will do this> So what I am asking is what levels would you thing would cause a problem that I am describing? <... levels of what?> You also mention that I should have my lights on 12 hours alternating, which would mean only 6 hours in my refugium? <... If you would but read... invest your time... the long/short of this, I would have the hours overlap during the "dark phase" of your main system... Have the lighting on the refugium on when the main tank is off... the lighting on the refugium can be on simultaneously as well> I leave it on when the aquarium is off and also some overlap (both lights being on) so at all times there is some light on the water somewhere.   <Bingo. Good> Should the refugium light be on all the time? <... only if you're culturing Caulerpaceans... and not other algae in addition> Should there be more wattage and if there is less wattage does more time on make up for the difference or if you don't have enough wattage that leaving it on all day wont help. <Extending photoperiod can/will only do "so much" to make up for wanting intensity... like an extra hour or two per day for ten percent too little wattage> Would low calcium levels cause this (I didn't think so) <Yes... and alkalinity mis-matched just as importantly> Anyway, what you can do is point me in a direction or let me know which levels would cause this problem <... perhaps a few general aquarium books... All this takes time, careful communication... I assure you> Mark <Bob Fenner> Wattage for Narrow Deep Refugiums Dear Crew, I have a 75-gallon reef aquarium with a 29-gallon downstream refugium. Currently, I am controlling nitrates with 20% weekly water changes and all water quality parameters are excellent.  To reduce the frequency of water changes, I am placing Chaetomorpha between my refugium baffles as an macroalgae filter. The water volume between the baffles is only 5" wide x 12" long x 15" deep. Over this relatively small 5"x12" surface area, I can place either a 13-watt or 18-watt compact fluorescent fixture for reverse daylight photosynthesis (RDP).  Which wattage will be better?  I am concerned that over lighting will produce diatoms as it had in my main tank before I cut back my metal halide lighting period. <Paul, the 18 watt would be my choice on a 15" deep refugium.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks very much. <You're welcome> Regards, Paul.

Remote Refugium Lighting  12/13/05   To start, I commend you on the great website which has been an invaluable tool in setting up and maintaining my many aquariums. <Thank you for the kudos. It's certainly a labor of love!> I am a long time reader but this is my first question. I am planning on converting part of a twenty gallon DIY sump of a 50 gallon FOWLR system into a refugium where I intend to grow macro algae for food and filtration purposes. <Almost always an excellent addition.> I have been unable to find much information on what sort (Spectrum) <Full, perhaps spike at 6500k or 10000k> and power (Watts) <Depends on too many factors to make a blanket recommendation, including the shape and size of the refugium, depth of the water, species of algae...> of lighting would be necessary for the successful cultivation of said macro algae. Your response to my inquiry is much appreciated...... Sean <This depends a lot on what species you want to cultivate. Caulerpa (illegal in California) and Chaetomorpha (a fine choice) do well under strong, full-spectrum fluorescent or compact-fluorescent lamps, which will also help keep temperatures under control in your cabinet.  Essentially use as much as you can comfortably afford and practically fit. Halimeda on the other hand seems to do much better under stronger lights, even metal halides. Have fun with the 'fuge! -Zo> Re: Macro in Refugium, Going with Chaetomorpha - 10/23/05 Thanks for the feedback I found a great place that sells Chaetomorpha so I believe I'll try it out.  <Awesome.>  A question though is that one you would recommend to run 24/7 or a on/off?  <With Chaeto its fine to have resting periods, so a reverse light cycle is preferred.>  And is Mineral Mud still good to use with this form of macro? <Substrate does not matter with this macro, it's a floating tumble weed of sorts. Does not use hold fasts.> Thanks, Nathan M <Adam J.> 

Refugium Light Cycle  10/21/05 Hey guys, <Hi Nathan.> I just purchased a CPR hang on style refugium for my 30 gallon reef tank, and I was wondering what you'd recommend for a lighting cycle; I hear different things all the time, some say 24/7 and others say off when main display light is on and on when its off. <Depends on the algae you are growing some need a resting 'night' time, in which case I would recommend having the lighting on a reverse (on when the display is off). Other algaes can be held in stasis (Caulerpa for instance) and thus the lighting can be left on for 24 hours a day.> Also what type of plant life would you recommend for me to find that would serve the best purpose, <I am a fan of Chaetomorpha, great at nutrient export and a good home for pods to 'get busy' and populate.> and would having a refugium control algae enough to leave a UV sterilizer out of the picture? <Some people use UV's some don't, they destroy the good with the bad, on your tank size I would say its optional not really needed.> Thanks Nathan M <You are welcome, anytime, Adam J.>

Refugium Questions 10/13/05 Hi once again, I have been looking up on a refugium, I was looking into the AquaFuge External Hang On Refugium, and I have a few questions. In my main tank there is 2 actinic blue and 2 actinic white fluorescents producing a total of about 6 watts per gallon on my 75 tank, since the refugium is hanging onto the back of the aquarium will it still need it's own lights, or will the lights on the main tank be enough (I know about the lighting the refugium at night thing but...$$$)  <The light coming from your tank will be marginal for the refugium. Also, there is a lot of benefit from lighting the 'fuge while the tank lights are off. If you shop Wal-Mart or Home Depot type stores, you can find many choices of fairly inexpensive small compact fluorescent fixtures that will work well for a refugium.> Also my tank has a wet dry 125 gallon capacity and a sea world systems protein skimmer, My tank has been up and running for 3 weeks, is it too late for a refugium? ( I always thought it was never too late for a refugium!!) Also once I got the refugium set up, would it be wise to remove the bio balls from my wet dry.  <It is never too late for a refugium! As long as you have at least 1lb per gallon of live rock, you can certainly remove the bio-balls from your wet/dry (independent of adding the 'fuge).> The hang on refugium states that it is 19 1/2 by 4 and 1/2 by 12 high (inches) how am I going to fit LR into that refugium, and if so, how much would you recommend. My intended use for the refugium is for all of its nutrients, pH, Nitrate, Nitrite, and Ammonia, the pods' would be fine too even though I don't plan on having a mandarin. I was looking into some assorted Caulerpa packs, but have since heard some conflicting stories about this macro, any suggestions on other types of good ol' macroalgae? <Many dealers will sell "Live Rock Rubble", and often at a discount. These small pieces will fit easily into that space. Do keep in mind that rock is not mandatory in the 'fuge. As for macro choices, Caulerpa is not so much of a problem in FO tanks as it is in reefs where it's noxious chemical defenses can stunt coral growth. It can still become invasive in the display though. Chaetomorpha is an all around better choice, if not quite as fast growing. Macros are available for free or for trade at most local marine aquarium society meetings.> Last question, I swear, since the refugium is a hang on the back, how could it be connected in any way to the main display, I don't exactly want a bunch of hoses in my main tank, do you know how these work? (sorry, I thought of another question) And other than the maintenance of cutting the macroalgae you put in there, are there any other maintenance issues involved with a refugium?  <Connections will vary with the exact model, but ideally water should be pumped into the refugium and passively drain back into the tank to spare microcrustaceans a trip through the pump. That said, you may want to consider placing the fuge in/on your wet/dry where it and it's plumbing will be out of sight. Although this means a trip through a pump for the critters, this is a minor compromise. Unless you find that sediment and detritus is accumulating in the refugium, very little maintenance is required.> P.S. I plan on having a 6 or 7 " sand bed of Marine BioSediment, good brand? Thanks a million, Clare  <I don't know anything about this brand, but any fine grained (sugar fine) calcium based substrate will work well. Best Regards. AdamC.> 

Refugium Lighting Selection  9/5/05 Hi crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> I built a refugium similar to the picture diagram on this site. What amount of lighting would work for this set up. Thanks. <Personally, I favor power compact lighting for most refugium/sump lighting needs. There are numerous systems and retrofits available; choose one that is appropriate for the animals that you intend to keep in your refugium, and you should be just fine! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Unidentified Green "Grass" Macroalgae, lighting 8/14/05 Hello, <Hi again> Thanks for the help identifying the Chlorodesmis and the link to the page about the other green macroalgae.  It was very informative.  BTW, do you think that it is advisable to run the light (32 w PC) in the refugium 24 hours a day on the Chlorodesmis or would it benefit from a "dark period?"  Many thanks! Best, Christopher <Almost all other life other than Caulerpa spp. should be afforded a "dark period"... I would run the light during all the hours when your main systems lighting is off, overlapping a few hours with the sump/refugium. Bob Fenner>

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

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

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

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

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

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

Refugium Lighting Hi guys awesome site. Quick question I currently have a 400litre tank with 2 x 150w MH and am planning to add a 100 litre refugium, unfortunately money is a bit tight at the moment, what lighting do you recommend for the refugium can I use lights from a hardware store as I don't have the money to purchase another 150w MH ? <Simple fluorescents of good CRI, Kelvin rating... this is posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Refugium Lighting Scheme Hi everyone at WWM. <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> A lighting question here. What do you suggest I light my refugium with? Either one of those 13 inch lights or the ones that you can clip on the sides? Since I know that your suppose to keep them on at different times of the day, I would not want to ruin the moon light effect it has at night with bright lights. Any suggestions? <I like PC's...You can use one of thee many lower wattage, highly efficient systems, like the fine Coralife units.> Plus how many Emerald Crabs can I keep in a 55g reef? <Hmm...really depends. I would not keep too many in there. Maybe one or two. Potentially aggressive towards each other, particularly in smaller quarters.> Thanks for your time. Teddy <A pleasure! Regards, Scott F.>

Lamp colors and Refugiums 11/9/04 I have a couple quick questions.  I'd like to know what the difference is between the 7100k lights and the actinics.   <actinics are a single wavelength (around 420 nm for some) and 7100K lamps are a full(er) spectrum akin to daylight. This latter lamp being much better for PAR for corals> I know the actinics are specific to 420nm which I've heard doesn't do much for photosynthesis, however, great for aesthetics.   <Doh!... I should read ahead. Yes> The 7100k lights I've seen out on the market look pretty similar in color to the actinics, but I've been told they're much better for photosynthesis.   <correct... do look at PAR values in charts and analysis... articles by Sanjay Yoshi for example> Another confusing thing is that a 6700k looks yellow and a 10k looks more white but a 7100k which is in the middle of the two looks blue??   <different brands and even interpretations by individuals (we all do not see color the same)> I just would like to know what the deal is with all this. One thing that I've been looking forward to is the next book in the natural aquarium series.  Could you tell me what the schedule of releases are?   <we are getting into layout and pre-press now... hoping for the first of a 2 part-volume on Reef Fishes for early next year> I've learned a ton from just the invert book.  It's inspired me to get a refugium.  I don't have one yet but it's in the works.  BTW have you had any experience with the ecosystems refugium method? <yes, and many refugium styles> Is it really that much better than a standard refugium growing less dangerous algae.   <of its many benefits I would not count that as one. Water flow is more of a factor here> I've also become a firm believer in the quarantine tank as well. <this is a critical lesson... it will take you far> I tell all my customers to quarantine quarantine quarantine!   <all will succeed better for it. Thank you for this effort!> Well this has turned out to be quite long so I'm  going to cut this short.  You guys are great thanks a mill. Chris aka fishtank <best regards, Anthony>

Refugium: To Light or Not To Light? First a sincere thank you for the great resource your website provides.  <Our pleasure! We have a great bunch of people here who are thrilled to bring it to you every day!> After reading through your website, I've decided to remove the bio-balls from my 75 gallon Tenecor Simplicity Plus system (the Simplicity Plus has the filtration in the back of the aquarium). This was precipitated due to a rise in Nitrates (approx. 50 ppm) despite the fact that the tank is relatively new (2 months) and has a protein skimmer (AquaC Remora - collection cup fills up with about a quarter inch of dark green water each day - does that sound like enough?) <Yes- an excellent skimmer for this sized tank, IMO> and a relatively light bio-load - Blue Damsel, two small clowns and a Yellow Tang - along with 80 pounds of live rock and live sand (no DSB yet, although I'm thinking about it). <Removing the bioballs and contemplating a DSB are excellent moves for your tank. Enhanced nutrient export provided by the DSB will really help improve overall water quality.> My plan is to take out the bio-balls (after reading your site I plan to remove them over a period of 2 weeks) and replace with live rock rubble. I would rather not, however, have to add a separate light for the refugium portion of the tank. I've seen some references on your site to a "Cryptic" refugium that requires no light so that's the route I'd like to take.  <Yep. You'll get different types of organisms in such a "cryptic zone". Perhaps sponges and other life forms that will really benefit your tank through biodiversity, natural nutrient export, and production of food sources in the form of planktonic life.> So I guess my primary question is how do I create a cryptic refugium? Is it as simple as replacing the bioballs with smaller live rock pieces over a couple of weeks or is it more involved? <It really is THAT simple...You could also stock the "zone" with carefully selected or "harvested" (from your tank) sponges, tunicates, and other creatures that like this environment> Is a cryptic refugium as effective as a conventional lit refugium? If not, do you recommend that I bite the bullet and figure out a way to light the back part of the tank so the refugium is more effective? <Both types of refugia can perform similar functions. It's really a matter of what you want to keep in there and whether or not you choose to light the refugium. In the end, practicality may dictate that which route you take...You can find some pretty interesting stuff on cryptic zones and the animals that reside in them in the writings of Steve Tyree, who has done a fair amount of research on this topic.> Thanks so much for your time and assistance. Kurt <My pleasure, Kurt! Best of luck with your new 'fuge!>

24 hour lighting in refugium with fish? 5/31/04 Adam, Thanks for the advice.  I moved my lawnmower blenny to the refugium but I did forget to mention that I have only a 20 gallon refugium.  This should be large enough for a blenny though - correct? <It should be fine for a while, and this shouldn't be a permanent arrangement.> This does bring-up one more question:   I was told I would not need to be overly concerned with the Caulerpa "going sexual" if I keep the refugium on a 24 hour light cycle, so this is how I currently have the lights set. <I have heard this too, but I am not sure how reliable it is.  The best way to avoid these problems with Caulerpa is to not use Caulerpa.  Chaetomorpha is very fast growing and has many advantages over Caulerpa, including the fact that it does not "go sexual".> I think I read that most fish require a light / dark cycle though.  Is this the case and, if so, what is the minimum number of dark hours the blenny needs?  Do you recommend providing some dark period for the blenny? --Greg <Yes. This is probably a good idea.  Keep the Caulerpa well pruned and you should avoid any problems.  Alternatively, eliminate it in favor of other less problematic algae  Either option should be fine.  Best regards.  Adam>

24 hour lighting in refugium with fish? 5/31/04 Adam, Thanks for the advice.  I moved my lawnmower blenny to the refugium but I did forget to mention that I have only a 20 gallon refugium.  This should be large enough for a blenny though - correct? <It should be fine for a while, and this shouldn't be a permanent arrangement.> This does bring-up one more question:   I was told I would not need to be overly concerned with the Caulerpa "going sexual" if I keep the refugium on a 24 hour light cycle, so this is how I currently have the lights set. <I have heard this too, but I am not sure how reliable it is.  The best way to avoid these problems with Caulerpa is to not use Caulerpa.  Chaetomorpha is very fast growing and has many advantages over Caulerpa, including the fact that it does not "go sexual".> I think I read that most fish require a light / dark cycle though.  Is this the case and, if so, what is the minimum number of dark hours the blenny needs?  Do you recommend providing some dark period for the blenny? --Greg <Yes. This is probably a good idea.  Keep the Caulerpa well pruned and you should avoid any problems.  Alternatively, eliminate it in favor of other less problematic algae  Either option should be fine.  Best regards.  Adam>

Refugium size 6/13/04 I have a 300 gallon reef tank with a 100 gallon sump. I just purchased a 20 gallon tank and stand for my new refugium. I have 1 65watt compact/actinic lighting <you will have trouble in the long run keeping some of the better macroalgae under light this dim and blue. Little or no actinic is needed here... macros tend to favor warm/daylight (5,000-6,500 K)... and 3 watts per gallon is well on the low end of recommendations for growing plants and algae. Do consider an upgrade if you can... else use a more forgiving macro like Chaetomorpha (one of the best)> and the 6 pack macro algae from indo pacific sea farms (great products) inside with a 5" live sandbed. <great company (IPSF) and great sand bed depth... but the mix of more than one macro species in such a small refugium will not work in time my friend. One will outcompete the other and you may be creating a bit of trouble in the meantime as they chemically duke it out with each other> I am planning to operate lights offset to main tanks lights as indo pacific recommends. <agreed> Is this enough to keep nitrates in check and PH stable <definitely a help with pH I suspect... but not a prayer of this sized refugium being the primary nitrate reducing mechanism for such a large display> or what do you recommend to tweak it better with what I have. <nothing much to change with the refugium other than brighter light, a single species of macro (Chaetomorpha) and probably better water flow (200-300 GPH minimum in this refugium) to optimize its function as a vegetable filter for nutrient export. For nitrate control, you could add to the system (next to the sump below perhaps?) a five gallon bucket filled nearly to the top with fine sand, drilled above the sand level with an overflow and fed by a slow stream of water from the sump/tank. This is one of the easiest, cheapest and least expensive denitrifying filters :) > The room I have is the reason why I can not go over 20 gallons. <understood... no worries, we make do with what we can. You may just need to finesse other aspects of the tank to compromise... lighter fish load, careful feeding, more aggressive skimming and water changes, etc. if you see nitrates increasing. Anthony>

In response to 6/13/04 refugium? 6/14/04 I have a 300 gallon reef tank with a 100 gallon sump, and after reading your response to my question on my new refugium I made some changes. First now because of room I went from a 20 hex to a 35 hex. And lighting I am going from a 65 compact to a 175 Hamilton 10k halide with a fan. and I have the overflow going to my sump and a Rio 1700 with a dial to tone it down. And I added more live sand. Well what do you guys think? I really value your opinion. Thanks,Tanker240 <the upgrades will serve you well. The extra volume int he refugium certainly increase your potential for mass (algae) for nutrient export as well as surface area to cultivate microcrustaceans. The halide is an excellent long term investment and good value (light produce per watt consumed). It doesn't approach the 5 watts per gallon necessary for some fo the more demanding macroalgae (like Gracilaria) but will be just fine for equally desirous or better types like Chaetomorpha. All good :) Anthony>

Lighting the 'Fuge >Hi guys, >>Hello. >Have a question on lighting for growing macroalgae in my sump (refugium?).   >>A sump should need no lighting.. eh? >My sump is a 20 gal. aquarium. Next to the AquaC EV skimmer, PVC in line, and inlet return line there is very little room leftover. After reading many times on your website about the benefits of having liverock/Caulerpas in your sump, I'd like to try it. >>Sounds good!  Do check out places like Inland Aquatics for other options in macroalgae, too. >I saw a light that's 4 1/2 x 9  called a "mini might double'. It has a 9 watt 6700k and a 9 watt actinic described as 9 watt super PL lamps. Do you know if this fixture if left on all day would be strong enough to grow Caulerpa in my sump? >>Hhhmm.. the important thing here is not only color temperature (the 6700K indicates color temperature in relation to sunlight, IIRC it's about 5,000K (Kelvin)), but also the lumens, or light intensity.  My own guess is that it would be sufficient if not placed too far away from the water's surface.  I managed just fine having Caulerpa inhabiting 1/3 of my reef tank, and that was at one end, under normal output fluorescents.   >By the way the place where I would have to put this would be fairly turbulent. Thanks again for your input/advice/expertise. Kevin >>Turbulence shouldn't cause any problems other than if a lot of water might be splashed onto the fixture itself, in which case you must take precautions to protect it, and be sure to use a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter).  Marina

Refugium (macroalgae) Lighting This question is directed at Bob Fenner (unless someone else would like to answer)...when you spoke November 21, 2003 at the Sacramento MARS meeting you included some information regarding macroalgae.  Maybe I misunderstood you, but did you say that Caulerpa was the only macro that could be lit 24x7? <Yes, did mention. As far as I know the Caulerpaceans are the only continuous photosynthetically active macroalgae> I mentioned this to a friend of mine that has Ulva & Gracilaria lit 24x7 in a refugium.  I looked through the information in your new book and it did mention that Caulerpa could be lit 24x7, but there wasn't anything saying that the others couldn't be lit 24x7.  Can you please elaborate why Ulva and  Gracilaria shouldn't be lit 24x7. <I would separate the area where the algae are into two compartments and only illuminate either side 12 hours a day>   I know you mentioned it during your presentation, but I think our table was on the 3rd pitcher by the time you did so. <Hee hee! Most photosynthates require or at least do best with a "dark phase" period... and so would grant these other algae such... either by turning their light off some hours during the "day" of the main tank... OR dividing and lighting only part daily. Bob Fenner> Thanks Marc Daniels

Lighting Chaetomorpha (1/22/04)    Hi, and thank you for your good work !! <A pleasure>    I'm searching for a couple of days on the web what is the amount of light (in lumens) the Chaetomorpha algae do need and how many hours/days at most can we light it?  <Don't know how many lumens. Standard output or PC fluorescent lights should be fine. I light mine with 46W of PC. W would not recommend more than 12 hours per day.> Is it the best choice of algae to put in a refugium with a deep sand bed  and to do nutrient export ?! <A matter of opinion. There are pros/cons to all algae. Read the FAQs on Chaeto & Caulerpa and choose which is best for you.> Thank you ! Steve Timmons  <Hope this helps. Steve Allen>   

Reverse daylight question 1/28/04 Hi guys, Thanks again for all the useful info. <Always a pleasure!  Adam here today, BTW.> My question is on my refugium I am setting up.  I am setting up a display refugium that will sit next to my 75 gallon display.  Water is being fed from my sump to the refuge and back to the sump.  I have had a 20 gallon high drilled with 3 holes and bulkheads on the back and on the top.  2 - 1" for overflow and 1 - 1" for the return.  I have 60 lbs of Natures Ocean "Live" sand for my substrate.  I did not buy this overpriced stuff for any other reason than this refuge is being hooked up to a tank that has been running fine for years and I did not want to have a sand storm for days waiting for things to settle.  So I spent the money for "clean" sand. <Sounds like a nice set up.> Anyway my main question today is on my lighting.  I want to have macros and some LR in the refuge for nutrient export and food for my tank.  I have read allot about the benefits of running my lights on a reverse cycle from the main display.  I will have a PC unit I believe it is called Moonlight lamp.  It has 2 - 65 watt PC bulbs and two Moonlight bulbs.  Since this tank is in my office at work and located next to my display with it's 2 - 175 watt 14K MH and 2 - 40 watt 50/50 actinic / daylights it will never be dark during the day in the refuge.  Does this overflow of light cause problems that I should be concerned about.  I could possibly create a dark "boundary" between the two tanks however, room light etc will still be an issue.  Obviously, I may be worrying to much about this but in my quest to not have problems I figured I would ask the pro's... Thanks, Dave Thanks and have a great day! <I don't think you will have any problems.  I would recommend Chaetomorpha over Caulerpa for a wide variety of reasons including the fact that it doesn't crash, it makes better habitat, and it doesn't produce as many toxic metabolites.  If you are concerned, paints designed for glass are available.  Painting all sides but the front viewing panel will help keep out extraneous light.  Best Regards.  Adam>

-Refugium lighting- Hi, What would you recommend (lighting (what wattage/type?) for my 6" DSB with some Chaetomorpha.  The sump is 20"Lx16"Wx18"H and situated underneath the display tank. <A few 18" NO lamps would get the stuff to grow, but you'd experience much faster growth under more lighting (i.e. PowerCompacts).> Would you recommend putting some of the Chaeto in the display tank or not. <Well, since it doesn't attach to anything, you'll have to wedge it in some crevices and deal with it when it starts blowing around the tank.> I currently have a FOWLR and some mushrooms, green star polyps, and a candy cane coral. <Not a FOWLR anymore!> The lighting for my 60 gallon is 4x65 PC's <I hope this helps, -Kevin> Thanks again.

Unlit Refugium 2/14/04 Hello WWM Crew, <howdy> I am a week or so away from plumbing my new set-up which will include a 50 Rubbermaid stock tank plumbed upstream and gravity fed back to the display (120g).  The plan for this tank was for it to be used as an unlit refugium with LR and a shallow, med - large grain aragonite substrate.  Predator free, this tank's purpose would be to provide a safe haven for pods to live and breed while constantly supplying plankton to the display tank.   <agreed with all of the above... although the addition of a dense matrix like scrubby pads, coarse polyester fiber pads/foam blocks... or living Chaetomorpha algae with light would provide a much better realm for the cultivation of microcrustaceans than  shallow gravel and LR> Simply put, I want a mandarin fish someday and I want this refugium to supply it's food.   <yes, do consider the above> Is an unlit refugium the right environment for such plankton?   <correct> Would I be better off lighting the refuge?   <nope... not necessarily. Although you need to delve/research deeper here... mandarins eat copepods and not large microcrustaceans like amphipods and mysids. Your coarse media is geared to growing the latter. For copepods, you need a supply of fine sand (deep at 5=") and source of phytoplankton> I don't intend to use this for nutrient control and don't want to constantly prune algae.   <understood and agreed> By the way, does 300gph turn-over (through the refuge) sound good? <not even remotely enough... you will struggle with algae problems in this and any tank with such low flow. 10X is a fair minimum for refugia. Towards 20X for display tanks for best results (even higher for SPS tanks)> Thanks in Advance Mike <kindly, Anthony>

Lighting Cycle for Algae and Heat Issues? >Hello, >>Hello. >I started my refugium with Caulerpa around 2 months ago and during that time I had my two 65-watt power compacts on 24/7. >>No need to light 24/7, my friend. >About 3 weeks ago I removed the Caulerpa and replaced it with a good sized piece of Chaeto using the same amount of lighting. >>Amount AND duration?  Again, no need. >During this time the Chaeto is growing like crazy which is a good thing and my nitrates have been a constant 0. >>Low nitrate readings are indeed a good thing. >The bad thing is my water temperature is varying a couple of degrees throughout the day due to the heating from the power compacts. >>Not really, a couple of degrees is certainly tolerable.  I will ask you one thing, and it's the most important thing: do any inhabitants in the display show ANY negative reaction(s) to the slight change in temperature?  Many folks get so caught up in monitoring parameters that they forget to simply use their own powers of observation, which are often much better than they realize.   >My question is do I still need to have the lights on 24/7 for the Chaeto? >>Not for either. >If not what would be a good cycle to use? I have heard that a good scenario is to have the refugium lights on opposite of the main tanks. >>Only if you're having big pH shift issues is that necessary.  With my own first system I devoted a full 1/3 of it to Caulerpa, which meant that it was lit when the corals were lit.  I had NO problems whatsoever. >If this is the case should I gradually switch to that timeframe or will an immediate effect not cause a problem. >>I don't think you'll cause the algae any great stress should you decide to go this alternating cycle, it's not got a nervous system with which to react to such changes.  Plus, if you think about it, many of the animals we buy come quite literally from the other side of the world.  The time zone is quite different, and after a period of adjustment, they can fare quite well.  This would be even more true of algae. >My concerns are if I turn the lighting time down I will get nuisance algae growth in the refugium. >>With no excess nutrients you shouldn't.  Nitrate would not be the only issue, of course, but this is part and parcel of WHY you are growing the macros, isn't it?  ;) >Thanks, Tom >>You're welcome.  Marina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Refugium lighting 3/5/03 Waz up again Anthony, <not much G-money> I have a 90 gal. reef, and I just purchased a 20 gall. long acrylic tank to make into a refugium.  Its used so it has bulk heads drilled already, and i plan to put it above the 90 and gravity feed it back like you recommend. <excellent> Its dimensions are 36" x 12x12 , of course i will need to glue some baffles in there but what height would you make these baffles?? <I don't see why any baffles are needed at all. Enjoy a full sized refugium my friend. Just use a high water over flow (drilled holes)> I will put in a 5" aragonite sandbed and couple pieces of live rock with lots of macro on it that I've been holding in my main display.  Also what light fixture do you recommend and how many watts to insure the survival and growth of the macro algae and plankton??  I know you'll steer me right , thanks bud <the light you need depends on the species of macro you keep. Most need very bright light hailing from shallow water. Somewhere around 5 watts per gallon would be a minimum IMO for a vegetable filter/refugium. Kindly, Anthony>

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

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

Refugium Lighting Hello, I am setting up a marine system with a 90g display tank, 10g sump and 15g refugium.   <A good idea, but 15 gallons is very small for a 90 display. Should be around 1/3 to more of the display volume.> I've been reading articles and FAQs but am still not clear about the type of lighting I should have for the refugium.  It is not my intention to make a reef tank out of the refugium, just to fill it with 3-4" aragonite, live rocks and lots of macroalgae to deter the growth of microalgae in the display tank and help filtrate the system naturally. What lighting do you recommend for this purpose?  I was considering an Aqualite single-strip 65w, 24" straight pin fixture for $59; will this work? Any other suggestions about my refugium plan?  Thanks, Jeff <Refugiums just need enough light for plant growth, not the intensity required for reefs, not that it hurts. A 65 watt PC would work fine for 15 gallons, maybe more, but do consider a larger refugium. There is much more on refugiums at WetWebMedia.com, search on refugium in the google search engine. Sounds like a lot of fun!   Craig>

Refugium Lighting I recently purchased Anthony's Book of Coral Propagation.  Excellent book. <thank you, my friend! Please share what you learn in kind with others> I have read the first 80 pages religiously and impatiently scanned through the rest looking for answers to my current dilemma. I'm currently setting up a 240 gal display tank (1st floor); overflow to 180 gal refugium/sump, housing sea grass, mangroves and sponges (basement). <very cool already> Refugium has 4" mixed CaribSea sugar sized and fine aragonite sand. Regarding lighting a refugium, I have heard someone suggest: 70 Watt HPS light at 95CRI and 2900K. Others tell me that lighting will grow unwanted algae, out of control. What type of lighting would you suggest for the Refugium? <lighting will not grow unwanted algae easily without nutrients. Nutrients really are the limiting factor for nuisance algae species. With that said... I must admit that 2900K is obscenely warm colored and may very well contribute to undesirable species of algae more easily. Please don't bother with fancy or expensive lights here. Simple daylight fluorescents from URI (6500-7500K) will be very fine. Even plant type bulbs as warm as 5500K would work well. Approaching or dipping below 4000K is not sensible IMO for the big picture> Anthony also recommends a (Tunze) return pump to minimize impeller shear. <true... but I also admit that impeller shear is really over-rated. I would not worry about it> I don't see a high head Tunze return pump.  Could you recommend a external return pump for a 14' head return, to be used at the refugium? <Japanese made Iwasaki gets my vote almost every time... they last forever (have seen more than a few over 10 years old) and are near indestructible. Low power consumption, modest heat imparted, very quiet. Time-tested. Just avoid the dual pump series (noisy). Find one that satisfies your flow and the allowances of the bulkheads/overflow you have drilled.> Thanks, GREG <best regards, Anthony>

RDP refugium and CO2 Hi, it's me again. I hope that everything is going well, sunny skies and all of that, it's cold as heck here.   I went ahead and set up the refugium last night, and I was re-reading the reply that you sent me and I was wondering...When you were talking about the reverse light cycle, I thought about something.  It will help the pH remain stable, true.  I was also thinking, "If the two were on a reverse light cycle, since plants become primary producers of co2 at night, would the main tank produce enough co2 to discontinue supplementation, and vice versa?  Or would I still need to do that? <good question my friend, but it is one that cannot be answered here  by Yes or No. I/you have no idea what the net demand is on your tank from the bio mass. We cannot say that if met now that the growth in either vessel will not continue to support the process. This is simply something you must monitor in your specific aquarium. Is you display filled with two one inch corals... or fifty (follow, my friend). A good question, again... but not possible for me to answer from this end of the computer. Do enjoy experimenting with it though <G>! Best regards, Anthony>

- Sump/Refugium Construction & Lighting - Hi guys! <Greetings, JasonC here...> I sent this last week but haven't heard back so am assuming it may have gotten lost when I had some mail problems. I also have some questions on lighting so thought I'd add them here. SUMP/REFUGIUM: I am interested in setting up a sump/refugium for my 72g bowfront tank that I will be converting to FOWLR later this week. I have a 29g All-Glass that is not being used and would like to use this as the sump/refugium. I would like to do this without drilling the tank and have some ideas but I'm not 100% positive that they'll work and am still at a loss on a couple of things. I've checked out all of your sump FAQ's and have also checked http://www.ozreef.org/diy/index.html but none of the designs there look like they'll work for me and they don't address my concerns. I've attached a drawing of my basic design, this is a front view w/ approx measurement of a 29g. I'm figuring on just using a tube with gravity siphon to get the water from my tank to the sump which will be located in the stand below my 72g. This way the siphon can be set so that if the water in the tank gets too low it would drop below the end of the tube and would stop the siphon. The first section would be 6" wide and is where the water would enter the sump. It is also where I would place the heater and possibly the skimmer but I ordered a HOT type skimmer so am not sure if it will work here. The first divider would be glass or plexi positioned 3" from the top (this is to provide an overflow in case the water level gets too high) and 3" from the bottom of the tank. The second section would be 3" wide and would be a place for filter floss/carbon/etc and would have a plastic mesh top at a height of 8-9" to prevent the filter media from overflowing into the refugium part. The second divider would again be glass or plexi but positioned flush with the bottom (sealed) and 9" from the top of the tank. The third section would be 15" wide and would have a sand bed with live rocks and Caulerpa. The third divider would be the same as the second in position and composition. The fourth section would be 6" wide and would be the area for the return pump. So far, does this sound like it would work? <Yes.> Are there any things I should change? <Consider seriously drilling your main tank - siphon overflows are destined to fail, and if Murphy has anything to do with it, you won't be home at the time.> My major stumbling block is what to do about a return pump. I'm not sure how to do this without risking the pump pumping too fast and overflowing the main tank. <Part of the problem with using siphons - in a gravity overflow, the tank will only overflow as fast as you pump water in.> Any suggestions? <Use a valve on the output side of the pump to regulate it.> Are there any pumps on the market that have an auto shut-off so that it would shut itself off if the water in the return area dropped below a certain point? <Not that I know of, but there are water sensing devices that could probably be adapted.> LIGHTING: This 72g tank currently has the original strip light on it. It's a 48" 40w and I know I'm going to have to upgrade this. I'm not able to spend more than about $150-$200, is there anything decent I can get in this price range? <I'm sure there is, but I'm not familiar with prices, so it's hard for me to make a recommendation based on price.> I've looked at/considered several options but just can't make up my mind. One thought was to get a Helios 4 bulb/220w strip. This will run about $156. Another was to get an extra strip light that would house 2 40w bulbs and run it along with the current strip light that's on the tank. By the time I replace my current bulb this would cost about $110 (I really dislike the idea of running 2 strips on there!). And the final was to get a PC SmartLite with 2 65w bulbs which would be about $170. If necessary the SmartLight could be run along with my current strip but again I'd like to avoid 2 fixtures if at all possible. Do any of these sound sufficient or am I overlooking a better option that would work for me? <I would work the problem backwards - what is it that you want to keep, and what are its light requirements - that will necessarily move you in one direction or another.> The tank measures 48.5x18x23. Thanks for all the help! I look forward to hearing/reading your thoughts on these items. Ronni <Cheers, J -- >

Lighting the productive refugium and tang compatibility Dear Bob, <Hi Howard, Craig here...> Here's Howard again, now having started up the new "fauna production refugium" in series with the Caulerpa refugium. Following suggestions from you and several of your associates it has 5 inches of sugar fine oolitic aragonite along with 2 pound inoculations of live sand from Florida, Fiji, and Inland Aquatics' filters. I have put in Mysis, Gammarus, and mini-brittle stars along with other tiny stars and a variety of worms and other life (some that I must research to identify) that came with the live sand. I will add peppermint shrimp for their egg strand production and continue to look for other sources of "plankton". <Sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe work the brittle stars out of there as they take the "refuge" out of refugium for your amphipods and sand inhabitants and you want to grow and reproduce them.> On Anthony's advice no Caulerpa but I have found Codium, Chaetomorpha, a red grape, Halimeda, and Ochtodes. My question is what level of light I should maintain? (the Caulerpa refugium is on 24 hours, 40 watts). I can't find anything on the lighting needs of these more interesting slower growing plants. For now I have rigged a spare dual 55 watt power compact 50/50 actinic/white on chains so I can put it at any height from 2 inches up. I would like your advice as to how close I should run this fixture to make both the plants and the amphipods happy? Should I get a different fixture - halide or fluorescent? Should lights run more than 12 hours? <Twin 55's, that's 110 watts of PC? Depending on the size/depth of the refugium this should be fine. I would use the growth of the plants as my guide. This can be run anywhere from 12 to 24 hours depending on pH stability and if that benefit is desired along with good plant growth which will happen with more hours of light.> I am looking for a blue addition to my peaceful community - have re-read your wonderful material including the chapter in depth about tangs. I have a Zebrasoma flavescens yellow tang, one of the first 4 fish that I acquired for the reef. (along with sleeper goby, flame angel, and clown and have added neon gobies, Anthias, convicts, and fire fish gobies) In 100 gallons, would a smaller xanthurus or Paracanthurus hepatus be at risk? These are beautiful fish! Or would the smaller size and different color make it an ok addition? Macro algae food source is plentiful. As always, Bob I appreciate your advice. Wondering if this departure might work out. <My bet is on the Yellow having difficulties with a new Tang addition if there is a problem, but this is a purely individual reaction. If you go this route do prepare for possible problems and returning the fish if necessary. Craig>

Re: Refugium Lights Hi Bob and WWM crew, <Hello Razi,> I have setup a refugium after reading 1/4 of your book "conscientious marine aquarist" within 2 days. I am following what ever is in my abilities to the best but have some questions for you. 1. Can I use blue light on the hang-on refugium. I have an 18 inch hang-on from CPR. Will this disrupt the refugium life cycle in anyway. I am turning the lights on in night time which is opposite to my tank lights. <I would use a normal white spectrum bulb. Refugium plants aren't demanding in this regard, however, I doubt they will do as you wish with just the blue spectrum.> 2. How many hrs of lights should be good in a refugium. <Anywhere from 12 to 24 depending on your choice of plant material and own choices, i.e; pH stability.> 3. I am using Jalli 13 compact fluorescent lights. Are these ok for AquaFuge 18" refugium for a 150G reef ? Did not have any room to put bigger refugium than this. I hope it will be ok. <Jalli is alright for this size hang-on. These hang-on refugiums aren't really the best size for large tanks in the 150 area. Maybe for 55-75 on the upper end. I would be looking at a 55-60 gallon refugium over the top of a 150 myself if I was planning on it providing sufficient food for a 150 and exporting waste for such a volume>.  4. I have some small live rock pieces, Caulerpa and 5 lbs miracle mud in it and it has been up for about 2 weeks now. I am not seeing much happening in there yet but how much time am I looking for before I start noticing some growth in the refugium? Your response is much appreciated.  Regards, Razi Burney <You should be seeing growth anytime now. If your lighting is just blue, then that is surely your problem and you should replace the bulb with a full spectrum bulb optimized for aquatic plants. I would run lights over Caulerpa 24/7 to help prevent vegetative degeneration and related issues. Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the related links at the top of the page. Think 1/4-1/3 total volume to work like you want, i.e: 40-50 gallons minimum. Craig>

Refugium lighting hi bob <Anthony Calfo in your service> I am now building a refugium for my 130gallon reef tank. It is 48x14x18. It will hold about 45 gallons of water, sand and Caulerpa. <have the discipline to keep it fishless and enjoy great amounts of zooplankton too> I was wondering what intensity of light should I use and also what kind of lighting. <depends entirely upon the symbionts being kept. Warm colored light for shallow water algae species, heavier full spectrum for deeper water (but not deep) species. Still... 6500-10,000K will do the trick. At Eighteen inches deep you are getting near that point where fluorescent lights will be only moderately effective and too weak for some plant and algae species. PC or VHO's would reparably be your best bet. 2-4 110watt daylight VHOs would be one fine possibility> should I reverse the lighting with the main tank or should I leave it on 24hrs. <RDP would be nice for pH stabilization but not necessary> Ecosystem surest 24hrs,kent marine 12hrs reverse with tank. What do you suggest? <I favor 12hrs, and not necessarily RDP. In a tank with mild pH swings I like the slight dip for extra dissolution of oolitic sand. But keep in mind my perspective as a coral farmer. You may want to trade that slight advantage in growth for the stability> also if I hatch live brine shrimp, can I put them in the refugium? will they survive? will they reproduce and supply food to corals and fish? They'll service for a while, but are not likely to breed or live long. Simply keep the 'fuge fishless and encourage copepods and amphipods with various grades of rubble> thanks big d <your welcome, big T: cousin to Joey bag-O-donuts>

Refugium Bob, in a refugium with Caulerpa, why does the light need to be on for 24/7. <The 24/7 light cycle is supposed to keep the Caulerpa from going sexual.> Ii it because of slowing down growth or oxygen consumption? I would like to try 12 hours on 12 hours off. <If you do so, have the light on opposite your main tank. This way the Caulerpa is consuming the CO2 that your main tank inhabitants are producing at night.> Some of my Caulerpa seems to die off after a while and then come back. Thanks <No problem. -Steven Pro>

Refugium lighting question Hi Anthony/Barb/Bob/Jason/Steven/anyone I missed, <Yep... Dave and Zo> I feel like I'm reliving Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail in trying to find a decent, affordable refugium light. <for $50 punch a hole in your roof and mount a chimney pipe or light tube <VBG>. The best light> I found one, Bayco's Bookworm light come with waterproof end caps (just where are these people reading books that you need a waterproof light?), <Turkish bathhouses> an anodized reflector, a 13w PC bulb that's 6500K, perfect... and I can't find one closer than MI. Unless, I'm willing to pay about twice the cost online($20 vs. $12), not including shipping($5-$6). That defeats the affordable angle. While AH Supply makes a nice product, I'm trying to stay under $20, and by the time you factor in building or hacking apart an enclosure to make the refit fit, the cost of the refit kit, and the bulb, we're well over what I'm aiming for. I've checked the local Home Depot type places, and while there are cheap shop lights, they're all in the wrong color (like 1025K). <ya.... about as yellow as Mountain Dew> So... whilst buying filter pads for my cats' water bowls (their even more spoiled than the fish) I saw that Petco is now carrying a clip on 7w, 6500K light. It's kind of pricey IMO ($17.95), but would it do for a DIY'd refugium based on an Aqua Clear 300 HOT filter?  <Nano or not... the wattage is just too low to be useful IMO and the color is an aesthetic semantic at that point> The refugium area would be approx. 6"w*6"l*5"d. Would this be sufficient light to support a population of macroalgae?  <not even close... get your teeth whitened instead and reflect a flash light off of them while reading the daily paper for a better source of light> Or, do I need to bite the bullet and go over my limit? <yep... or shave your head too and bounce a spotlight off of that to supplement the flashlight> Thanks for your efforts, PF  <and thank you for the question <G>! Anthony>

Refugium What is the reason that it is recommended that refugium lights are to run opposite the main lights or all the time???  <Not always recommended... but when so, it helps to temper fluctuations in pH. pH drops at night due to respiration in photosynthetic animals (CO2/carbonic acid) and a reverse daylight photosynthesis (RDP) refugium or display can counter this effect> And what creatures should be in there (currently green brittle star, 2 snails, 1 red/1 blue hermit crabs)? <for it to work you will need photosynthetic material (coral, reef invertebrates, and commonly plants)> the refugium is 8 gal with a 20 gal sump. The refugium is slightly above the sump.  <I personally prefer my refugiums in-line above the display so that plankton produced overflows nightly right into the display for coral and fish> Water is pumped into the refugium from the sump. Then there is a drilled hole with a siliconed tube to return the water to the sump. Does this seem OK.  <yes, fine> Last question does UV work against the idea of a refugium <little harm...but little need for it if you are properly quarantining all new fish and coral in a separate hospital tank. Put the UV on the QT tank instead. Kind regards, Anthony>

Refugium Lighting Hi Bob, I read the questions and answers from the person who is converting their sump into a refugium. As you may recall, I have also been working on the refugium idea. Like this person, I was considering using PC lighting, too. But then I asked myself -- isn't that overkill? We're not trying to have corals in the refugium -- just algae. I was thinking of using a cheap T12 24" double bulb fixture from Home Depot, along with some NO fluorescent bulbs, say one Coralife 10K and one of their "plant" bulbs. Wouldn't that be more than enough to propagate some macro-algae? <Yes, a good use of technology. HD even has a small "Lights of America" fixture/lamp combo that is a PC... also appropriate. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Dale.

Refugium Bob, I have a 55 gallon tank with a 15 gallon sump (only partially full and want to grow Caulerpa in the space where my wet dry media is. Because of this I cannot provide a substrate. Will this be a problem and what kind of light do you need to provide to grow Caulerpa? thank you in advance for your advice. Jim >> Either grow the Caulerpa on top of the wet dry media, or replace the media with live rock, mud instead and place the Caulerpa there...  Any source of full spectrum light of whatever type output will do. I use small compact fluorescent hoods, but regular output fluorescents on up will do. Warm lamps (5k plus). Bob Fenner

Lighting for macroalgae in a refugium Hi Bob, Once again, thank you for the prompt reply. I will look into Sylvania Chroma lamps and good electronic ballasts. With regard to ballasts, I know that the IceCap ballasts are good quality - how about Coralife ballasts for two normal output fluorescent bulbs? <They're fine.> You stated in your last message that CF lamps are less expensive per unit PAR than for other types of lighting. What rating for a CF lamp would you choose to grow macroalgae in a sump refugium?  <Just any small, inexpensive fixture and lamp... really. There are some units sold at the hardware stores by "Lights of America" that are very reasonable.> Also, how would a redder spectrum plant light perform watt per watt against a CF lamp for growing macroalgae? For example, would you estimate that one 55 watt CF bulb could out-perform two 36" T8 Gro-Lux lamps (60 watts total)? <Good questions all... but apparent spectral mix have little to do with function... redder would not be better. The CF would grow more of whatever and what's more be apparently much brighter.> Bruce Grant >> Many many things about EMR, lighting... Bob Fenner

Lights on a Refugium Hello Mr. Fenner, I have been doing a lot of reading on your wet web site about refugiums. So about 2 weeks ago I purchased an AquaFuge made by CPR. http://www.cprusa.com/products/citr.html I have also read that you say leave the lights on the refugium opposite of the main tank. Although I have been, but a lot of light is coming into my main tank at night via the CF I use on the AquaFuge. Is this ok? Or should I just run the lights the same hours I run the main tank, what has me wondering is cause you say opposite of the main tank, would it be bad to run both at the same time? Thank you very much, Kathy <Hmm, how much is "a lot" of light? Not to worry, if it were me, I'd actually leave the lights on as they are now... the amount of "ancillary illumination" is likely not excessive or real trouble to your main system's occupants. Many places leave their lights on continuously as you describe... including our experimental filter tanks (CF lights over hang on's have been on for years... the fishes still sleep, corals still grow... Bob Fenner>

Re: Question regarding w/d use as refugium Hello, Mr. Fenner, <Howdy> And thank you for the quick response! <You're welcome> I have started this refugium project, and realize that I do indeed have a few things confusing me. heheheh- I thought I had it all figured out. <Don't know anyone who does... including myself> I read somewhere online that using play sand (sand for sandboxes, etc) is okay for a project such as this. Is this true? <Well... actually only a few types are advisable... you likely want to avoid the ones that are silicates... and use one that is carbonaceous (made of calcium carbonate) of all about the same grade...> I bought a 50 lb bag today for under two bucks, then before I added it starting thinking... just what's IN this stuff? <Question of the hour> Another thing- I went to purchase the PC lighting today (would you believe that Home Depot had NO PC fixtures that aren't for outdoor/motion sensor applications?), and I realized that I had utterly no idea what kind of wattage I'm looking for. I'm looking to light my sump, which is at most 10-12 gallons. And it's only 1/3 full at any given point, so I am thinking that 60 watts of light may be serious overkill on this. What would you recommend? <Sixty watts would likely be okay...> I think that's about it for now. I truly appreciate the help. /john
<Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

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