Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Refugium Pumps, Plumbing, Circulation, Flow Rate 2

Related Articles: Get Thee To A Refugium by Bob Fenner, Refugia: What They're For And How To Build Them by Forrest Phillips, Pressure Locking Sump Baffles; Welcome to the World of Versatility! By Joshua McMillen, Reef Systems, Reef Set-Up, Refugiums, Reef Filtration, Plumbing Marine Systems by Bob Fenner, Myth of the One Inch Beast (Why Relying on One Inch Overflows... or Overflow! Is foolhardy) by Scott Vallembois, Fish-Only Marine Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Macroalgae

Related FAQs: Refugium Pumps/Circulation 1, Refugium Pumps/Plumbing/Circulation 2, Refugium Pumps/Pb/Circ. 3, Refugium Pumps/Pb/Circ. 4, Refugium Pumps/Pb/Circ. 5, & Sump Pumps/Plumbing/Circulation 1, & Refugiums 1, Refugiums 2, Refugiums 3, Refugiums 4, Refugiums 5, Refugiums 6, Refugiums 7Refugiums 8, Refugiums 9, Refugiums 10, Refugiums 11, Refugiums 12, Refugiums 13, Refugiums 14, Refugium Rationale, Design, Construction, Hang-on types, Lighting, Operation, Algae, Livestock, DSBs, & Caulerpa, Marine System Plumbing, Holes & Drilling 1, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing NoiseMake Up Water Systems, Marine Aquarium Set-Up, Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, MysidsAlgal Filtration in General, Mud Filtration 1

Woulda, coulda, shoulda... put true-unions in places where you'll be making/un-making connections.

Same level refugium 11/5/07 Hello Bob and crew, Thanks for all you do, I feel I have found a real treasure on the internet. <Thank you Jesse, Scott V. here.> The clowns seem to be settling into the new tank, although still not eating what we throw at them; they seem to be finding a lot of small crustaceans to eat. I am now going to add a refugium and it brings up a few questions that I can't find answers for even after hours of reading. First off maybe I should explain what I have: 60 gallon reef tank that is 2 months old now 62 pounds LR getting beautifully purple on much of the rock, although some green too 2 inch crushed coral (I wish I would have done sand). Should I remove some down to just one inch or less? <I would take it down to ½' or even remove it entirely.> 1 power filter hanging on the back for carbon 1 Bak Pak 2R+ protein skimmer 1 heater (the tank stays very near 77 degrees F) 1 Power Sweep 214 1 Penguin powerhead 1140 Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates 0. Phosphate test kit is on the way. Stock so far: 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 2 skunk cleaner shrimp, 15 snails, 15 hermit crabs, 12 different tiny corals, some feather dusters (came on rock and I fear for their well being in our new tank) <More than good for a cleanup crew.> Things seem to be going well but there is a lot I wish I would have done differently. I really wish I had found your site before I started this endeavor. While I was writing my girlfriend pointed out some red spots on the crushed coral (red algae?) <Likely diatoms or Cyanobacteria.> Stuff I have to set up refugium: Used 20 gallon tank with light, filter and heater 40 pounds of oolitic live sand 20 pounds of fine Tahitian moon black sand (had on hand) 12 pounds of live rock 1 Maxi-Jet 600 powerhead Some ½ inch tubing I am planning on setting up this used tank and then letting it cycle before adding macro algae. So now to the questions: I am planning on making the tanks level on top, or should one be slightly higher? Should I use two or three tubes for return and do they need a screen? <One tank will need to be lower than the other. The higher one will need and overflow either drilled through it or added (a siphon type overflow, not my recommendation though). The lower tank will then need to pump into the higher tank, water will then flow back into the lower tank via the overflow. A screen or box can be used to keep things where they belong. I prefer a box, it is less prone to clogging.> I am going to use the fine black sand to get the sand bed to at least 4 inches deep, hopefully. Is this a good plan? <This will be fine.> I am planning on using spaghetti algae in the refugium. Should I put this extra live rock in the main tank or refugium? Do I need to support the live rock on PVC? <You can put the extra rock where you want, I always put some in my refugium. You will read differing opinions on supporting the rock above the sand. You can if you want, no harm.> I am planning on using no dividers and just pumping with the power head from the main tank to one side of the refugium and then letting the water flow back from the other side. Sound good? <You will need an overflow in one tank or in both with a common sump. Without an overflow(S) there will be no way to keep one tank from flooding.> For now, all I can afford to use is the stock light. Should I use the heater and filter (extra carbon or phosphorus pad and added flow) that came with the used tank after I connect it to the main system? <You can use the heater if you need the extra heating capacity. The filter can be used also, but will be more to maintain and unnecessary if you have sufficient filtration already.> Could I add a mandarin goby to this system after it is all set up? Should I wait a year? Or never? <No, not in this system. It is just too small to support one long term.> Thank you for all your help. Some of these questions I think I know the answer to but am double checking and some I just don't know. The LFS is helpful, but not near as knowledgeable as you. Also they suggested crushed coral when I wanted to use sand for my main. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesse <You are welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Re: Same level refugium 11/6/07 Hello again, Thanks for the quick response. <You're welcome.> I'm going to take some of the crushed coral out of the main tank. I have read some say don't mix substrates and I have also been told to put some crushed coral on top of the fine sand. Should I put any of this crushed coral into the refugium? <You can mix substrates just fine, although I would still leave out the crushed coral (in the refugium too).> About the over flow box. Are you saying that I need an over flow box and a volume of space for water to flow incase of a power outage, just like a sump? <Yes, the lower of the two tanks would function as the sump in the event of a power outage, so you would need extra volume in that tank. The only way to have them the same level (reliably) on top would to have them both drilled and either sharing a common sump or connected to each other, in which case the tank being pumped into will overflow back into the tank being pumped out of. > I had imagined that if they were equal level nothing would happen if the power went out. Both tanks would equalize. So all I would have to worry about was if the siphon got plugged or stopped. In that case about 5-10 gallons of water would spill and I could make a catch for that amount. Is this a bad idea? Thanks, Jesse <Relying on siphons is just not a good idea. You will have constantly fluctuating water levels as the siphon equilibrates the tanks and then slows down and does not start moving water again until there is enough of a difference in water levels (assuming the siphon has not been broken). It is just immensely more reliable to use a simple gravity fed overflow(s) here. Even overflows on the market that rely on siphons require either one tank be lower or they share a common sump. I hope this helps, Scott V.>

Same level refugium, additional water tests 11/6/07 Hello again, I'm still waiting on a response from you but I thought I would add some new information I just acquired. <Hello again Jesse, I just got to my computer.> Water quality- PH-8.2 to 8.4 Ammonia-0 Nitrite-0 Nitrate-close to zero Phosphate-close to zero Silica-less then .25 KH- very low and I'm going to get that fixed today Calcium-420 Thanks again, Jesse <All your numbers look good, assuming you are remedying the KH reading. Adding the refugium will only help. Have fun with it, Scott V.>

Refugium Setup/Overflow Prevention -- 10/06/07 Hello WWM Crew, <<Hiya Jackie>> I am interested in adding two refugiums to my current setup (diagram attached). <<I can't get this to open>> Here are my questions. <<Okay>> Keeping in mind that I don't have a creative bone in my body...is it a good idea to use a siphon overflow to get my main tank water to the refugium? <<Though not the 'best''¦these devices are used by many hobbyists'¦just be aware of their shortcomings (tendency to lose siphon)'¦and perhaps utilize 'two units' for an added margin of safety>> Also, how do I connect my refugium to my sump? <<It is best to drill throughputs/install bulkheads and position the refugium to 'gravity feed' in to the pump chamber of the sump>> Do I need a pump and bulkheads? <<No pump'¦trying to equalize/balance a pump in the refugium with the return pump in the sump will only end in disaster>> Should I be concerned about overflow, in the event of a power outage, with this setup? <<This is a serious consideration'¦ You will need to configure plumbing components such that all transient water flow is contained>> If so, how can I prevent an overflow? <<You will need to adjust 'running' water levels in the sump and refugium, and position the depth of the overflows such that, by the time the water drains down enough to break the siphon in the overflows, the sump and refugium had enough 'empty' space to contain the transient volume. Much to be related here'¦please do start reading here and continue among the links at the top of the page (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm).>> I am getting an AQUA Fuge PS2 hang-on refugium to house copepods, and I will use the below tank refugium for Chaetomorpha. <<Excellent'¦and be aware this excellent matrix will to house copepods'¦and more!>> What is your opinion of the Aqua Fuge? <<Is okay for a small hang-on'¦>> Is the pump that comes with it sufficient, or would you suggest upgrading? <<I would just use the pump supplied for now>> I know little to nothing about bulkheads, baffles, etc...any suggestions you can offer will be greatly appreciated. <<Do start reading where I have indicated>> My goal is to reduce Nitrates and Red Slime Algae, as well as provide a natural food source for my tank inhabitants. <<All good reasons/uses of a refugium>> Thanks, Jackie <<Please read through our marine plumbing material and let me know if I can be of further assistance. EricR>>

Re: Refugium Setup/Overflow Prevention - 10/09/07 Hi Rick, <<Hi Jackie...and...it's Eric, actually (no 'Rick' here [grin])>> Thanks for the information. <<Happy to share>> I wanted you to see my rudimentary diagram. <<Ah yes, thank you...it opened for me this time...and seeing this will help me to better help you>> From the info you provided I need to drill a whole in my sump (plastic) & refugium (acrylic) to install the bulkheads. <<Not exactly... I would drill and install a couple 1.5' bulkheads a couple inches down from the top of the refugium and then elevate the refugium just enough (if necessary) to allow it to gravity drain in to (going over the 'top') of the sump>> After the bulkheads are installed, what should I use to connect the sump to the refugium? <<A length of PVC pipe extending from the refugium bulkhead and over the top rim of the sump, with a 90-degree ell on the end, will suffice for the configuration I just outlined>> Keeping in mind the bulkhead on the refugium will be higher than the bulkhead on the sump (for purposes of the gravity feed). <<Indeed...but no need to drill the sump/complicate the installation any further...just extend the drains from the refugium over the top of the sump>> Also, when purchasing the CPR Fuge, would you recommend the one with or without the skimmer? <<Without... A good skimmer will pay huge dividends versus the high initial investment...I very much suggest you look at the quality offerings of Aqua-C and Euro Reef...the latter being my current fave>> My sump does not have any baffles, and my setup is such that I can't move the skimmer to the left side of the sump. <<No worries...simply use a long enough piece of pipe from the refugium bulkheads to reach the pump chamber at the other end>> I have one corner overflow. Thanks, Jackie <<Quite welcome...and do let me know if I need to clarify further. Eric Russell>>

Refugium Installation'¦Avoiding Biota Loss To The Skimmer -- 09/30/07 Dear Wet Web Media Crew, <<Hello Eric>> I have been reading your website for a few years now and it has provided me with all the information I have needed to set up and maintain my first reef aquarium! <<Excellent!>> Thanks so much for all of your hard work. <<We're all pleased to be a party to your success>> My question is regarding plumbing a refugium. <<Okay>> I recently purchased a 20 gallon tank to be added as a refugium to my 72 gallon aquarium. <<An always worthwhile venture>> I brought the tank to a gentleman who owns a LFS to be drilled, but upon arriving I noticed he was getting rid of a 90 gallon tank predrilled for the same price as the cost of the 20 gallon plus the drilling. <<Sweet>> So naturally I decided to buy the 90 and return the 20. <<Naturally [grin]>> The problem is that the only way I can conceptualize the plumbing is to add a submersible pump in the sump and have the fuge overflow back into the sump to be returned to the main tank. <<Yep'¦and is how mine is plumbed>> I am concerned that if I allow the water to be delivered into the sump the various life forms will be destroyed by the EuroReef skimmer. <<Not an invalid concern'¦ Arrange the design such that the refugium spills back directly in to the 'pump chamber' of the sump, thus avoiding the skimmer>> The sump is somewhat small, so I am guessing some, if not all of the water will be sucked into the skimmer. <<Mmm'¦that depends on the design/configuration of the sump'¦whether or not the skimmer is compartmentalized distal from the return pump>> I have read contradictory information regarding the damage caused by pumps; any definitive information would be greatly appreciated. <<The return pump will cause 'some' damage to biota, but most will pass through just fine'¦and even those damaged organisms will still be consumed/provide benefit to the system>> The refugium will either contain a DSB and Chaetomorpha or will be a sea grass type display. Thanks in advance, Eric <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Flow Rate (gph) vs. Pumping Height (Feet) = Refugium trouble, Combining A Refugium Within A Sump...How Do I Regulate Flow? -- 08/15/07 Crew or anybody for that concern, help please. <<How can I be of service?>> Hello again, <<Greetings>> So it's been awhile since I lost my 125 reef. <<Uh-oh>> Yes the seal let go. <<Mmm, I can sympathize...had the bottom seal let go on an 80g reef a few years back>> I was crushed, we saved every thing but still lost a lot of money and good effort go down the drain. <<Indeed>> This happened last April of this year. Now I find myself wanting another reef tank and my soon to be wife wanting to kill me. <<Fortunately my wife was more empathetic and understanding>> I'm building a 55g reef with a 125g refugium under the 55g reef tank. <<Interesting...most folks would go the other way around. But kudos to you, the reef will be all the better for the larger size and capacity of the refugium>> My cousin is building the hutch-like stand for me as I type and read WWM daily. <<Cool>> So here is what I'm trying to figure out, I hope I don't confuse you. <<Me too! [grin]>> The Mag-Drive Pump that I have pumps 1200gph and with 7ft head-loss it pumps 810gph. <<Okay>> My continuous siphon overflow box does 800gph. <<Hmm, do 'test' this...I think it likely you will find anything more than 'half' this rate may become problematic>> This turns a 55g reef over like 11-12 times per hour( I think). <<About '14' actually>> That's way too much pumping through a refugium from what I read. <<Not necessarily...in my opinion>> WWM recommends turning over a refugium 2-3 times per hour, correct? <<That's more of a 'minimum' baseline...there's no real necessity for it, but also no reason why you can't use a much higher flow rate as long as the system handles it well>> I'm really hoping I can combine the sump/refugium all into one tank? <<You can... This is not 'my' preferred method, but many hobbyists do just what you stated>> If so, how can I slow the water down and combine the two? <<Ah, well...you will need to 'isolate' the refugium within the sump yet allow water to pass from the first chamber to the last/the pump chamber unimpeded. There are two ways you can do this...one is to install baffles as usual to enclose/isolate the refugium but instead of fitting these from wall-to-wall across the width of the sump, you will need to stop short by a couple inches. You will also need to fit a side piece along the open length of the refugium. In doing this you have created a 'channel' along one side of the 'fuge which will allow water to circumvent the refugium and travel directly to the pump chamber. Now all you need do is install a small pump/powerhead in the first chamber of the sump to feed a lower flow-rate to the 'fuge while letting the higher flow-rate from the tank' drains travel around to the other end of the sump. Or...rather than 'building' the refugium you can simply place a smaller tank (30g/40g) within the sump to achieve the same effect. With both of these methods you can either drill the end-wall to allow water to drain, or as long as the top of the refugium chamber is lower than the top of the sump, you can simply allow the refugium to fill and 'well-over' the sides (this latter might actually allow for 'better' transfer of planktonic/epiphytic matter>> If I'm way off track here or if I seem confused it's from reading others ideas and WWM. <<Keep reading/thinking, mate...the understanding will come>> I'm more 'you show me' or a 'hands on' type of guy so that's why I'm asking you or someone for some help because I'm really stressing it here over this little 55g reef. <<No worries...just take a deep breathe, slow down, and take your time>> I just want it right this time, I can't keep starting over and over again. <<Patience is key...keep reading/researching/asking questions...>> Sorry this was so long and took some time to figure out. <<Again...no worries>> Thanks for your time, I appreciate your efforts here at WWM. Brian, Wisconsin <<Happy to help, Brian. EricR, South Carolina>>

Sump-thing I would like to try... Refugium Configuration'¦One Pump Goes In, One Pump Goes Out (Not A Good Plan!) -- 07/16/07 Hello, again. <<Hiya Dan!>> A sump related question. <<Ah'¦one of my specialties'¦[grin]>> I just recently bought a Magnum 350 for filtration, I have since been doing a lot of reading and I want to move into a reef tank from a FOWLER. <<Cool>> I have asked a couple of questions in the last couple of days (FOWLER to Reef 1 & 2) but I did not find anything like my idea after searching. <<Oh yes, I believe I fielded an earlier query of yours>> I was thinking about using the 350 as a pump and chemical filtration (charcoal) <<carbon>> and then running from there to a sump with a protein skimmer, and then some biological filtration such as live sand and rock and Chaetomorpha, then setting up a secondary pump to return the water. <<I afraid this is NOT a viable configuration>> Would this be a reasonable way to do a sump? <<Honestly, no'¦ It is just not possible to balance incoming and outgoing pumps'¦you WILL end up with 'water on the floor' my friend>> Since I just bought the Magnum, I really don't want to have to discard it this soon, plus I like the ease of use and power of it. <<No need to discard the canister filter, mate'¦you have a couple options here. I believe in your earlier exchange you mentioned you were looking at a 'hang-on' refugium'¦if this is the case, the Magnum filter can be employed to pull water from the display and then return it to the refugium which then gravity-drains back in to the display. If you have a different plan, do get back to me with the details and I'll be happy to help you work it out>> Getting creative and more knowledgeable, Dan <<Be chatting. EricR>>

Re: Refugium Configuration'¦One Pump Goes In, One Pump Goes Out (Not A Good Plan!) -- 07/17/07 Eric, <<Dan>> Thanks again for your quick and knowledgeable answer. <<I hope it helped>> I was moving past the hang-on idea since it seemed from your earlier response that it would not be the best idea., <<Much better to utilize a larger vessel if/when possible>> so I was trying to be creative with the equipment I already have. <<Understood, and there's no reason you can't still utilize the canister filter...I really do like these devices for chemical filtration as you mentioned you had planned. Since you won't be using a hang-on style refugium now I will assume for the moment you will be providing a gravity feed/drain from the display to the sump/refugium. You can utilize the canister filter for chemical filtration and as the return pump (ok), or you can use a separate return pump and utilize the canister filter on the sump side solely for chemical filtration (better). And now let me complicate things for you a bit more... If you have the space for two separate vessels, do consider a separate sump AND a refugium. This makes it much easier to tailor the use/function of each>> I am, looking to not invest a large sum at one time but gradually build my way up. <<Then get the sump/skimmer/chemical filtration going first and add the refugium when you can (if this is the plan you choose)>> Thanks for clearing that up for me, I was wondering if the flow would be enough or equal, that clears that up, time to develop a new plan! <<Indeed...trying to balance two pumps against each other is just not a good idea. Differences in head-pressures along with changing restrictions from bio-film in the plumbing make it impossible to keep the pumps 'balanced' to prevent one from overwhelming the other at some point>> Thanks again, time for more research! Dan <<Good man! Decide what you want to do and how you want to do it, and when you have more questions...you know where to find me. Eric Russell>>

Reef and Marine System Plumbing/Sump/Refugium Design And Installation...Where The Heck Are All The Detailed Schematics?! -- 05/10/07 Hello folks, <<Hiya Deb!>> I've been perusing your FAQs but haven't found an answer to my question, so I thought I drop you a line. <<Okey --dokey>> I'm currently having an 850 sq. ft. addition put onto my home, which will be one large room. <<I see>> Once this is finished (if ever), I am going to move my current 55g reef tank into it.  At that time, I would like to upgrade to a 220g reef tank and convert my 55g aquarium to a sump/refugium. <<Cool!>> This has led to many questions, which I'm going to outline below. <<Ok>> -Do you have any input as to whether it would be detrimental for me to run both a sump and a refugium out of the same 55g tank, assuming that the tank is divided properly to accommodate both of these? <<Is not 'detrimental' to do this...but I feel you don't get 'best use' of these systems when combined in the same vessel>> What are the positives/negatives to a setup such as this? <<Mmm, negatives would be...the inability to vary flow between the two systems, the proximity of chemical reactors/skimmers/etc to the refugium and their increased likelihood for removing beneficial biota as a result, the promotion of nuisance algae on/in the sump as well as on/in the sump filtration components (filter socks/reactors/skimmer/et al) as a direct result of the close proximity of lighting for a vegetable (macroalgae) refugium.  As for positives...saves space I suppose...>> If this is problematic, I've got several empty tanks right now (2 55g, 1 20g, 1 10g) that could be used for the refugium. <<A better approach, in my opinion....and as always, the bigger the better>> -I would like the refugium portion of my tank to house mangroves with a sand bed. <<Unless you just 'have a thing' for mangroves, I highly suggest utilizing a macroalgae (Chaetomorpha gets my vote for its 'user friendliness') instead as the mangroves grow much slower by comparison and won't be nearly as efficient with nutrient uptake>> So, in essence, this will be a "show" tank just as the main tank will be. <<Oh...I see...well then, perhaps another of those empty tanks could also be added to the system to house the macroalgae?>> Because of this, I would like to place the 55g tank on the same plane as the 220g tank (bottoms rest on the same level), sitting next to it. <<Okay...and all the more reason NOT to combine sump and refugium>> Having said this, what impact will this have on my overflow or water circulation situation? <<This can be problematic>> In all of my research, I've found only sumps/refugiums that are located either above or below main tanks. <<Indeed...to allow the use of gravity drains>> I am still planning on setting up a sort of ball valve mechanism that stays open when the pump is running but closes when the pump shuts down (i.e. power loss) to prevent back siphoning. <<What you describe is called a 'check-valve'...and is not recommended as these will fail sooner or later (usually when you/no one is around).  I recommend instead you place the vessels and position the throughputs in such a way, as well as adjusting 'working' water heights so that all transient water is contained in the lowest vessel when the pumps/power is off>> But I'm thinking that, as long as the 55g tank is the same height as the 220g, the water will simply level off in the event of a back siphon and the sump/refugium will not overflow. <<And just how do you plan to plumb these tanks to accomplish this?  Surely not with 'siphon U-tubes' to manage the water balance?>> Does this make sense? <<Without some detail on how you plan to pull this off is just seems more scary than sensible mate>> Physics is not my strong suit! <<Mmm...and fluid-dynamics seem particularly mystifying to many hobbyists>> As an aside, part of the house renovations include a 16,000W full home generator (we lose power about 10 times a year where I live), so hopefully, the back siphoning issue won't be a problem. <<This won't help with a pump failure, but is an excellent addition nonetheless.  Here in South Carolina we also experience frequent power losses (the abundance of squirrels here seem particularly suicidal when it comes to the pole-mounted electric transformers).  I have a small 5500w generator purchased just for my reef display>> But I'm planning for the worst case scenario, trying to ensure that my livestock stays healthy in the event of any system failure. <<You need to be particularly mindful of how you plumb this system>> Finally, when you Google aquarium system design, you get about a hundred different sketches of people's own systems, which is great. <<Indeed>> But, I would really like to find some setup examples that are drawn to scale and that label all functioning parts. <<Hmm...a more narrow keyword search (e.g. -- 'refugium design' or 'sump design') of the Net and perusing 'marine/reef' books may turn up a few 'standard' designs with the detail you desire>> When this new system is setup, I would like to hook up a calcium reactor, a tank monitoring system, a top-off system, and various other bells and whistles that will allow me to make sure that the tank environment is always optimal. <<Ah yes...can make life a bit less hectic for you as well>> Can you point me to some links that have very accurate and well labeled tank designs containing some of these features? <<Not with the detail you're after, no...will take a bit of effort/looking around as mentioned...if such even exists>> Thanks, as always, for all of your help! Deb <<I do want to help Deb...  If you wish...make a decision on whether you will use a combined setup or separate vessels, determine equipment placement, decide what it is you wish to accomplish with this display and how you think you want to plumb the system...write back to me with this info and I will be happy to help you work out the details and advise on any foreseen issues.  Regards, Eric Russell>>

Refugium Installation...No Siphon U-Tubes Please! -- 04/26/07 Hello WWM crew, <<Hello Casey>> After reading about all of the benefits of a refugium, I just had to have one. <<Ah yes, a very worthwhile addition>> My main tank is a 55 gallon, and I created a 10 gallon refugium that sits next to and about 3 inches above my main tank.  The refugium has a 4" sand bed, 10 pounds of live rock, and Chaetomorpha and Cup Caulerpa. <<I would remove the Caulerpa/keep the Chaetomorpha.  The differing macroalgae will 'battle' each other (reducing their benefit at best...negating it altogether at worst), and of the two the Chaetomorpha is the most 'user friendly'>> I intended to just have the Chaetomorpha as I read in the other FAQ's that it's best in small refugiums to stick with 1 type, <<Mmm...is best in 'any' size refugium, in my opinion>> but there was a small piece of the Caulerpa mixed in when I bought it, and now it's all growing well. <<So it may appear, but be assured there is a chemical war waging>> Anyway, the refugium has been running for about 3 weeks, and has lots of amphipods and copepods already. <<Excellent...do think to add a bit of food (fish flakes/shrimp pellets) a few times a week to help bolster the populations/reduce the likelihood of cannibalism>> Currently, it is unconnected to my main tank as I used some live rock from the LFS and I am waiting 5-6 weeks so that I don't introduce harmful elements into the main system. <<Not likely a concern...considering the small amount of rock involved>> I have 2 more weeks before I'll be connecting the tanks. <<I see no need to wait...>> Being that I'm not that handy, I found what seemed like an easy plan (image attached) to connect the two tanks. <<I see the image...and I suggest you DO NOT do this.  The siphon U-tube 'will fail' at some point causing the display to drain/the refugium to overflow.  It is much safer and highly recommended to either place the refugium lower than the display and let water gravity feed to the refugium (the plumbing/refugium static water level will need to be 'balanced' to prevent an overflow in the event of a power outage) and then pump water back up to the display...or position the refugium above (even slightly) the display and 'drilled/plumbed' to allow water pumped from the display to 'gravity drain' back in to the display tank>> I was planning to use a pump from the main tank to the refugium and a "U" type tube to siphon from the refugium to the main tank as pictured in the image. <<A very bad idea in my opinion>> However, it seems that if the siphon were to lose its seal, I'd have a big mess of saltwater all over my carpet. <<Indeed>> Is this truly risky or am I over thinking things? <<Not a risk, is a CERTAINTY...just a matter of time my friend>> If this is not a feasible and safe plan, what would be the best way to proceed? <<As previously explained>> Will I need to drill and attach an overflow fitting? <<You will, yes>> Will I need to drain the tank to do this? <<Not at all...merely drain the water to a couple inches below where you will drill the throughput>> The algae, amphipods, and copepods are all doing so well that I hope I won't have to disturb them. <<They will be little bothered>> Thanks for the wealth of knowledge that's available at WWM. Casey <<Is our pleasure to share...and feel free to give me a shout should you need more clarification re the refugium installation.  Eric Russell

Upstream Nano Refugium Plumbing - 04/03/07 Hello crew, from Makati Philippines. <<Greetings Jason, from Columbia SC>> I'm setting up a nano 20-gallon, with a 10-gallon refuge, and you guys have been tons of help figuring out which ways to go (and of course reading thru your FAQs). <<Glad you've found the site of use>> My refuge will be placed higher than my display tank.  I'll be pushing water via a small 100 gallon external pump up to my refuge bulkhead, and water will gravity overflow out of the other bulkhead into my display tank (just splashing into my display). <<Sounds fine>> I'm thinking of making drilling 2, 2-inch holes in my 10 gallon.  I want larger holes because you guys say it will reduce noise. <<Mmm yes...tis true that larger throughputs generally make plumbing hassles, well, less of a hassle...but with this configuration and considering the very small rate of flow, I think you will do just fine with 1" bulkheads/pipe Plus, I want less bubbles flowing back to my display. <<Then you should consider "not" letting the flow from the refugium just "splash" in to the display>> You think drilling a 2-inch hole is too big? <<Bigger than you need in this instance, yes>> I'm thinking of placing the holes such that there is 2-inch gap from the hole-perimeter from the top, and from the side. <<Ok>> One hole in the upper right corner, and one hole in the upper left corner. Is this spacing ok? <<Yes>> Will a rated 100gall/hr pump be too much flow to my DSB/Chaeto fuge? <<Nope...twice that would be fine, even desirable>> You think I'm gonna get some microbubble issues when my water gravity returns and splashes into my tank? <<I do.  Consider plumbing a drain line from the refugium to the water's surface of the display with a 90-degree ell at the termination to allow the water from the refugium to more gently enter the display tank right at the surface...or even just below>> Should I make some sort of bubble trap backpack to place on my display tank? <<Sure, if you think you can and it won't detract too much from the appearance of the display...but I think my solution is easier/would be less unsightly>> I've read on your FAQs that since my water is gravity fed, I shouldn't have any microbubble issues. <<Mmm, maybe not so much 'micro' bubbles.  But air entrainment and subsequent bubble issues are quite common with gravity drains...in my opinion/experience>> Hope you guys are doing well where you are! Jason <<And to you in kind.  EricR>>

Re: Upstream Nano Refugium Plumbing - 04/04/07 Thanks for your reply guys! <<Quite welcome>> I have responses to your responses ... <<Ok>> The next step up from a 100gph is a 317 gph.  Considering that I will be using this to push water from my display to my fuge, then gravity fed back into my display, should my bulkheads be larger than 1"? ..say 1.5"? <<I think the 1" would handle this flow rate fine, but upsizing to the 1.5" will be fine/provide some extra wiggle-room, if you wish to do so>> For the bulkhead that is being used as a gravity return into my tank - what's the best method for covering the bulkhead such that Chaeto doesn't go back into my tank - yet the copepods and such can flow to the display safely? <<A standard bulkhead-screen works well...is what I use on my refugium>> How many guys are on your worldwide WWM team for answering questions? <<We have some 20+ guys and gals from a wide range of locals/backgrounds/experiences>> You've got lots of help! :) <<Indeed>> Thanks guys, Jason <<Happy to share.  Eric Russell>>

Regulating The Flow Through My Sump/Refugium -- 03/09/07 Hi, <<Hello>> I just have a question regarding the flow rate through my sump/refugium; I've done a lot of reading on WWM but can't find the answer I'm looking for. (sorry if I've missed it). <<No worries...let's see if I can help>> I'm just about to start building my sump tank, the first chamber shall house the skimmer, the second will be the fuge and then the return, the whole sump tank is roughly 25 gallons so the fuge shall hold roughly 13 gallons.  The skimmer shall be gravity fed with a 'T' junction before the skimmer taking excess water from the overflow (which can handle 2400 litres per hour) into the refugium. <<Ok...roughly 630 gph, for us colonials [grins]>> Obviously the water from the skimmer also will flow into the fuge. <<Yes>> After a little research I've read that the flow through the refugium should be very low, (max 10x the fuge volume). <<Depends really...a bare bottom refugium with Chaetomorpha macro-algae would likely be fine...but yes...generally, flow rates are 3-10 times the volume of the vessel>> The way I have first planned (above) means that all the water coming from the overflow would go through the fuge (2400 litres per hour) which I now know is a lot.  The problem I have is that I want to use as much flow as possible to help with turnover but at the same time keep the flow through the fuge down. <<I suggest you give it a try and see how it goes>> I did think to bypass the fuge (from the overflow and skimmer) to the return chamber and 'T' off the return pipe with a ball-valve and have some water redirected into the fuge but I still have water from my skimmer going into the fuge which will be around 800 litres an hour. <<And is a mere 210 gph...should do nicely in my opinion>> Would this be the best way to achieve this or am I missing something? <<Not 'missing' anything, I think this will be fine>> I hope that all makes sense. <<It does>> Thanks. Leo <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Refugium Flow Rate - 03/06/07 Hello Bob (and WWM crew), <<WWM Crewmember Eric here...greetings>> Can you please answer a few questions for me regarding a refugium installation? <<Be happy to>> First, what is the ideal flow-rate for a refugium measuring 36x16x18? <<Is highly variable based on the "specifics" of the methodology employed, as well as subject to opinion...but anywhere from three to ten times the refugium's volume will likely suffice>> Second, is there a formula or a way to figure out flow-rates on systems that have extended plumbing? <<Most reliable method is to time in "seconds" how long it takes to fill a container of known volume, divide the time in to 3600 and multiply that number by the volume of the container to reach the flow-rate per-hour>> And third, can I plumb the water going into the refugium through the chiller first? <<Sure>> I use a sump with ETSS 800 Protein Skimmer.  I'm thinking of plumbing from the sump through the chiller to the refugium, and then back into the sump and returning back into the tank. <<Mmm, best to feed a refugium directly from the tank in my opinion...but your configuration will work>> Do you think this would work well? <<Not the "best" in my estimation as stated...but will "work">> Thanks a lot for all your advice. Bob Drews Ft. Lauderdale, FL <<Happy to share.  Eric Russell...Columbia, SC>>

DIY Refugium  2/24/07 Hi Bob, <Debra> Thank you again and everyone for your valued input. This site is so helpful.  (Re: Sun Corals Everywhere)  Your cue for a "new tank program or sump/refugium" was just that little push I needed. <Ahh, glad to supply the oomph> I wish I could do a new tank but no space available.  After much research I've opted for a HOS (Hang on the Side) Refugium using an Eclipse 6 container.   <Nice> It's the only container I found that I could fit on the desk next to the 10-gallon.  I've attached a picture for the concept I have (except it will be placed on the opposite side of the tank, the tank's left side).  I was going to get a mini-jet 606 for getting the water into the refugium but I noticed that the Eclipse filter has a groove which allows me to hang it on the edge sideways with the intake tube inside the 10 gallon tank and the output into the refugium. (As noted in pic) <Great>   The output into the refugium needs to be modified but that's what Dremel tools are for.  First question:  This is rated at 75 GPH, is that sufficient flow? <Yes> The Mini-Jet 606 has variable output of 82-153 GPH.  Is this a better option?   <Mmm... both/either would work> I'll be raising the refugium 3-1/4 inches from the desktop giving me 2-1/2 inches from the top edge of the refugium to the top edge of the 10-gallon tank for putting return holes for bulkhead(s).  Is one bulkhead return sufficient or should I plan for two?   <One will do here> Websites like www.jehmco.com have bulkhead kits that include the bulkhead, strainer and an elbow hose barb fitting (90deg) or you can get the pieces separately.  I'm assuming this is what I'll need for returning water back to the tank, right? <Could be used... though any bulkhead, with gasket, strainer will do> What size bulkhead should I use? <Mmm... at least 1" ID...>    I've seen the Loc-Line products online and I like the way they allow you to direct your flow the way you want.  But not having worked with anything and seeing pictures online I'm not real clear on this. <Not useful here... the flow rate, lack of pressure (just gravity return) will not "drive" flow through these devices to any useful extent> Instead of the above noted 90 degree hose barb attachment for the bulkhead, I'm thinking a bulkhead fitting that would accommodate either the Loc-Line  Â½" or ¾" MPT connector, is that right? <I wouldn't spend the money...>   And then onto that I could add the flexible ball tubing and a nozzle?  Am I on the right track? <Is a nice idea... but you will find that there is actually not much flow...> The return(s) would have to be placed in the center of the Eclipse as the intake area will be placed at the back of the Eclipse, and I'll be moving my Tunze skimmer to the very front of the Eclipse. <Wow!> The skimmer is currently sitting in the back of the 10 gallon but under an overhead cabinet making it very difficult to empty.  I plan on at least a 3" sand bed <Make this 4" plus...> in the refugium and Chaeto.   I had considered putting a sump/refugium in the closet which is 5 feet to the left of the tank but I don't quite understand the plumbing yet. <Mmm, better to have the one you plan... much more fun to observe...> But once I find it's not as hard as I'm making it, would it be overkill to add a sump in the closet for the 10 gallon later and still leave the refugium on the side?   <Could> I have more baby sun corals than expected as some are still developing and some are growing very fast. Thanks again.  Regards, Debra P. <Thank you for sharing your project, plans. Bob Fenner>

Refugium & Algae Questions   1/27/07 First - Great website with loads of info.  I have recommended WWM to several up and coming aquarists and they love it too.  Now I did read up but I still have a questions about my new refugium setup.  I started the refugium because of a major green hair algae problem which Im now on a war campaign to conquer this PITA.  First, the stats... *80-90lbs Live Sand, 70lbs Live Rock *Blue (Hippo) Tang, 2 Blue-Green Chromis, Starlight Blenny, 2 Pajama Cardinals, clown *several colonies of sea mats/button polyps, a massive green star polyp colony, medium torch coral, medium Goniopora, several mushroom polyps all over 1) 90 Gal Display with overflow 2) Dual 150w HQI, dual 50/50 actinics, dual 10k white and lunar LED 3) ProClear 150 Sump -Bio Balls removed -Seaclone Skimmer hanging off rear edge of first chamber (going to upgrade to AquaC very very soon) <You'll appreciate the difference> -Mag 9.5 off side of last chamber as Main Return -Mag 3 inside last chamber feeding U/V, Denitrate, Carbon and PhosGuard media all inside individual "Nautilus Phos-reactors" and then returns back into first chamber of sump (flow rate at approx 100gph with head) -Mag 5 inside first chamber feeding refugium (flow rate at approx 180gph with head) 4) 20 Gal Refugium (actual refugium between baffles is approx 8-10 Gal) -3-4" Kent Biosediment -Handful of Caulerpa steadily growing now for 1 week this weekend -One 50/50, and one 10k white at opposite schedule to main lights 5) Coralife Calcium Reactor with C02 injection located out of sump dripping effluent into last chamber ------------------------------------------------------- Q1) Everywhere I read about flow rates to refugiums it seems to be geared towards if the refugium is the main sump. <Mmm, not everywhere> In my case, it is a separate tank in which I have learned that it should be slower than the main sump. <Yes>   But what should the flow rate be?  I have a ball valve to adjust it but I am not sure how fast to set it. <About 3-5 times volume per hour is about right> Q2) Other than the skimmer, is there anything about the above setup that should be adjusted or is there anything out of the ordinary that you think I should change? <Mmm, not as far as I see... With the exception of trading out the Caulerpa for maybe a Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria species> Q3) On top of hand removal of all the algae, addition of a refugium, shortened main lighting schedule, thoroughly cleaned filters, etc...... should I tee off my C02 injection system and provide C02 to the refugium so that the Caulerpa can grow faster and consume more nutrients? Or is injecting C02 for plant growth really only for freshwater? <Carbon dioxide injection can be provided (during metabolically active light hours) but I would not likely do this... enough of this essential nutrient will make its way there> Q4) I'm currently looking for a Convict Tang to clean up the remaining algae and maintain future control with this herbivore but is there any other animal I can add that will attribute to algae control that is reef safe and compatible with my inhabitants? <Mmm, yes... quite a few. A Salarias or Atrosalarias Blenny would be my first choices here... though the existing Blenny may prove too territorial... best to read on WWM re your choices: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algeatrcontfaqs.htm and the linked files above...> I've also recently purchased a Lettuce Nudibranch which appears to be hard at work but how much can they really consume? <Mmm, not this much> Nudibranchs usually die after some time without food so I don't want to stock them and then die off once the algae is reduced. <One can only hope in these circumstances> Q5) Tiny bubbles are getting into the refugium chamber - is this going to be a problem?  Should I make adjustments to eliminate these bubbles? <Only time can tell if this will prove problematical... if the bubbles are staying there... I would not be concerned> Thank You, Christopher L. Mercer <Bob Fenner>

Refugium Design/Pump Selection - 12/13/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I am first of all very impressed with the quality of information on your web site. <<Ah, thank you for this...is a collective effort>> I have a 125g setup with some LR and crushed coral bed.  It's been up now for about 10 years with a wet/dry filter. <<I see>> The main problem with the tank is many scratches in the glass. <<Not uncommon...especially for a tank this age>> I am planning on a new 125g or 165g display tank and use the scratched 125 as a refugium in the basement below the display tank. <<Sounds great>> The display tank is built into a floor to ceiling wall open on three sides with only one of the short ends available for plumbing. <<I have a similar floor to ceiling installation, but my display is only viewable from two sides>> I want to have the new tank drilled to set up a couple of overflow boxes to drain to the refugium below. <<A fine idea...but you may want to have one drain go to the skimmer/skimmer chamber>> Any recommendation on hole-size and the type of return pump that can handle about a 10 foot rise to the display tank. <<Mmm, yes...nominal 1.5" bulkheads, with 2" bulkheads being better.  As for pumps, the larger Iwaki pumps or the GRI-520 should serve well...if you want to go with a submersible pump I've found the large Mag-Drive pumps to be good performers, even though it will take a larger-rated pump to move the same amount of water as the previously mentioned external pumps>> I am going to have a DSB in the display and refugium. <<Ok>> The layout for the refugium will have the tank water enter into an area adjacent the return sump box; each box would be about 12" x 9".  I would have a protein skimmer in the 1st box and divert the water thru a Y as needed to the return box to adjust the flow over the DSB.  The remaining water would flow thru some baffles and over the DSB.  I would like to split the tank the long way down the center so the water would flow over the bed and make a 180 degree turn to head back to the return box and be pumped back up to the display tank.  I would be creating a channel approximately 9" wide x 10 feet long x a depth I haven't determined yet. <<Mmm, you can do this...but I don't see an advantage to this over installing the DSB the width of the tank and placing the return chamber at the far end.  Any gain in "contact time" you think this will provide is negated by the reduced volume of the bed...in my opinion>> This is a project that I have plenty of time for and would greatly appreciate your comments. Thank You Dennis <<Your basic concept is fine...feel free to write back and bounce thoughts/ideas off me if you wish.  Be chatting, Eric Russell>> Refugium plumbing I have a 50 gal reef tank with a 10 gal. sump below.  All of my filtration happens at the sump.   Water is pumped from the sump into the main tank with a 650 gph pump.  Anyway, I want to add a refugium, to supply my mandarin with copepods as well as add algae for nitrate filtration and to feed my hippo tang, <Needs more room than this> etc.  I want to maintain the sump as is, if possible, so I would like to use the closet behind the aquarium and create a gravity fed refugium.  My biggest problem is, I live in Florida and have a lot of power outages. <Yikes>   Right now, if the power goes out, my sump fills up to about 2 inches below the top. <Good... much better than above...> When it goes back on, everything automatically restarts and goes back to the way it was prior to the outage.  I don't want to impact the overflow amount of water the sump takes on when the power goes out. <You are wise to have this consideration here, now> My thought is to pump directly from the main tank into the refugium, and drill an overflow in the refugium, about 1" below the top level, that would be of sufficient size to balance the refugium water at that level at all times to that level.  That way, if the power goes out, or if either pump fails, it would not drain below that point and impact the water levels of the sump or main tank. <Yes, a workable plan> Would this be a recommended way to go about doing this, or do you have another inexpensive suggestion.  I really would appreciate your advice, prior to tackling this project.  Thank you very much. Michelle <The only item I'd like to add, is to test for where the water now will "settle" in the sump given a power outage, and mark the level on the sump at the "powered on" position to remind you never to fill the tank/s beyond this. Bob Fenner> Re: Sump Design  11/12/06 //The refugium would hold roughly 20 gallons of water. Then I have the 5-inch baffle simply to spates the sand from the return pump.  The small return section would be 4.75 inches long; however, with the refugium it would be 28.75 inches long, thus holding 23 gallons of water.  I would need to run 500 gallons per hour through this sump in order to power my skimmer. <Mmm, this is a bunch, perhaps too much flow/turnover through the refugium itself>// After some adjusting I was able to get the fuge to hold 23 gallons of water :)  For the return, maybe it would be beneficial to T some of the return with a gate valve back to the input line of the skimmer, thus slowing the return back to the tank (I think)... <A good modification. You only want a handful to ten times volume flow through a given refugium per hour. Bob Fenner> "Do not demand what you cannot take by force." <Mmm, western ethic... I say "Do not demand what is not yours to accept responsibility for"> Air Stone in a Refugium? - 10/13/06 Hey Crew, <<Hey Mike!>> Thanks for your hard work. <<A pleasure to share>> I built a refugium, but the design causes the surface of the macroalgae compartment to stagnate and I'm getting a pretty ugly scum layer which I think is largely Cyanobacteria. <<Hmm...okay>> The Remora skimmer is in the first compartment and the problem is in the second compartment.  Would there be any problem in putting an air stone in the macroalgae compartment to cause surface movement/oxygenation in there? <<You could, but a small power head would be more beneficial/provide more water movement...lack of water movement is likely the cause of the Cyano>> My theory is that as well as changing conditions to slow Cyanobacteria growth, this would stir the junk at the surface into circulation so that it will eventually get to and be removed by the protein skimmer.  I'm just wondering if this would have some ill effect on my system/refugium that I haven't thought of. <<The air stone will create loads of spray/salt creep...best to use the power head...and don't be concerned about "chewing up" your plankton...is an overrated concern>> One guy at the LFS said he thought it was a good idea, another said that stagnation in a fuge was a good thing and that I should leave it alone. <<Mmm, no...I don't suggest stagnation here.  Some refugium designs/methodologies utilize "slow flow", but never "stagnation">> The thing is, I've designed mine to be a "display" refugium (something like the picture in Mr. Fenner's book with the mangrove and shaving brushes, etc), so I want it to look fairly clean. <<I see>> I also have some macros growing that I haven't been able to ID on your FAQs.  Any ideas on a good site to go to see some pictures and descriptions of macros? Thanks, Mike <<Go to algaebase.org ( http://www.algaebase.org/)...once there, click on the logo at the upper-left corner and images will appear/change as you click.  Once you see something that looks like what you have, click on the image to see the name...you can then use the name to do a genus/species search for more information.  Regards, EricR>>

Need help with refugium flow rate  9/28/06 Dear WWM Crew, I am setting up my first tank with a sump/refugium and am having lot of difficulty choosing a return pump. <Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugpumpfaqs.htm and the linked files...>   I have a custom sump/refugium being built.  It is 36x20x20.  The refugium section is only 12x20.  The water level will be kept between 11 and 14 inches making the refugium hold only a maximum of 14.5 gallons.  In my sump I also have an ETSS 800 skimmer powered by a BlueLine 55HD pump.  I would like to also use a BlueLine for my return pump as well.  The problem I am having is since the refugium is so small, what size pump should I use for the return. <I would by-pass the refugium itself for much of the circulated water...> The manufacturer of the sump told me it could handle 1080 GPH.  That seemed very high to me. <Will be less... but you still don't want all of this to go through the refugium per hour> I was considering running a BlueLine 30HD (590GPH at zero feet) or 40HD (790 GPH at zero feet) as a return pump.  I did not know if these pumps would be sufficient for my tank circulation, or if they might still be too powerful for my refugium. <The smaller flow rate pumps could work, but I'd still bypass...> It should also be noted that I will have 4 Tunze 6000's (1850 GPH per powerhead) in my tank as well for additional circulation. <Ahhh! Then I would just use the smallest pump here, and be prepared to "cut in" a restrictor (a ball valve, all plastic) should the flow be too much>   My main concern was how much water should be passing through my sump/refugium for maximum nitrate removal?  Any help on this matter would be GREATLY appreciated. Sincerely, Lou        <A handful of volumes per hour is about optimal... as you'll find in reading... RMF>

Re: Need help with flow rate  9/29/06 Thank-you VERY much for the quick reply.  I have read the links below.  The problem with my sump set up is that the first compartment is the intake, the second is the refuge, and then the third is the return so I cannot split the drains in order to work effectively. <Mmm, stop! Think about this... a T at the return point to the first compartment... with two valves... so you can regulate how much of the return water goes to the first compartment... and the rest over to the third directly... bypassing the second/refugium> The way the sump is designed, the flow must go through all three compartments.  With my head loss, I figured the BlueLine 30HD would provide approximately 420-460 GPH (2.3x -- 2.5x per hour) and the BlueLine 40 HD would provide approximately 620-700 GPH (3.4x -- 3.8x per hour). <Mmm, considerably less (flow) than this... there's turns and induced drag to consider...> The sump itself will hold on average 40 gallons.  To maximize nitrate removal, will the 420-460 GPH be efficient, or should I in fact go with 620-700 GPH. <The lower... there is no real value in having more and more flow through the NNR area> I realize that pushing 620 GPH might be too much for a 14 gallon refugium, but I am not sure the 420 GPH would be enough turnover for the sump. <Is, would be>   I am also unsure how important it is to match the return pump to the skimmer output, <Mmm, nah> as I have heard conflicting reports.  Nitrate removal is my main concern here.  Once again, thanks for any input'¦ Lou <Keep reading Lou... and cogitating furiously... you're "getting there". BobF> Plumbing for a refugium & return manifold in 58 gal reef  - 09/14/06 Brent here.  Hope all the crew is doing well!  Basic background.  58 gal 36lx18,5wx21"h Tank.  Intended use:  Nice family project for my son, daughter and me.  My wife just shakes her head at our willingness to research, learn and spend bucket loads of money.  I'd like to point out that my 8 year old daughter is probably more enthused than me, and spends a lot of time searching the net for reef fish, inverts, and ideas to help the project out. <Well worth the investment all the way around>   She has even created her own little reef book complete with the fish, inverts and corals that she would like, noting common name, species, a little bit about the species, care, feeding etc along with a photo.  Beats shopping or playing with boys as she says! <Oh yes!> Anyway I digress.  Back to the issue at hand.  Reef display with some LPS and some soft corals,  mating pair of Ocellaris Perculas, Lawnmower Blenny, Royal Gramma, Six Line Wrasse, and a Flameback Angle added last, approximately 1 year after setup.  T5 - 6x39 watt hood.  I have a couple of general questions for completing the plumbing on my 58 gallon, sump and possible closed loop manifold.  Just working to fine tune the details and wanted to get your input.  58 has the corner megaflow overflow built in.  Wondering which manifold kit is better the Durso or the megaflow kit? <Mmm, the former IMO/E>    Megaflow kit has the return pipe and end fitting for the in-let and appears to be more complete with the perforated critter block for the inlet. <Can get, thread in such a screen yourself...> I have a CPR Large HOT refugium with maxi-jet 1200 that will incorporate MM with Chaeto and the CPR CF light unit. Lighting cycle in the CPR refugium to be on 24/7.  Although I'm not married to this photo cycle. <I would go with an overlapping RDP myself... Chaetomorpha should not be illuminated continuously>   I believe the CF is 19 watt?   I'm planning a 30lx14wx16 high sump/refugium with  4" DSB, sugar fine aragonite, a small amount of live rock to seed and Chaetomorpha algae with CF lighting 20 watt +/-.  Lighting to cycle in the sump/refugium off cycle from the display. I believe the actual refugium gallonage will be around 10 gallons, not including the 4" sand bed. I also have a CPR BakPak skimmer unit which I intend to have running full time.  I am planning to use a mag-drive pump, external, to handle the return which will simply be plumbed back up to the megaflow inlet pipe nozzle.  Just not sure if I should use the mag-drive 5 or 7 here? <Mmm... if it were me/mine, the 5>    I am also thinking of incorporating a mag 5 or 7 drive, internal, and creating either a manifold return closed loop with squid on 2 outlets or trying to incorporate Anthony's water return manifold http://wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm? <A good plan. The seven here>   Your thoughts and insight is well appreciated.  And thank you all for such a great site and willingness to help! <An enlivening pleasure to share. Bob Fenner>

Re: Plumbing for a refugium & return manifold in 58 gal reef. Not quite ready  9/15/06 Bob and crew, thanks for the quick reply!  In re-thinking just slightly.  I am contemplating using Durso overflows for both the 1" and 1/2" down to a sump set up to handle both overflow in 1" in the main sump and 1/2" to the refugium part with both overflowing baffles into a center return area (not using the 1/2" for the return) . <Let's take each of these items one at a time... I strongly encourage you to do a bit more delving... You (assuredly) do NOT want this small diameter overflow lines... too little volume, intermittent siphoning effects... and gurgling noise the likes of which even the Jolly Green Giant and a massive bottle of Listerine can produce!!! Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dursopipefaqs.htm and the linked files above...> I can then place a pump external if I box into the return area to allow the pump to be exterior or place pump inside (although heat trans may be an issue)?   <May be... depends largely on the make, model... and size/volume-flow of pump used...> In incorporating both the 1" and 1/2" for overflows I can return back with a mag-drive 9.5 or 12? <Not necessary... this pump can/will "out pump" more than these lines can/could deliver... My friend... please... read...> and was thinking of utilizing the SQWD for alternating return current with 2 ever-tank-directable nozzles about 1" below the water surface.  Does this seem best to incorporate the overflow using the 2 drains and return over the top or separate as I noted in my design before. <Mmm, no... better to use one line of good/decent diameter and all-plastic valves to regulate flow... overflows w/o will prove to be frustrating...> Although the combined, rearranged sump will allow the extra flow, this will provide for a considerably smaller refugium.  Your thoughts? <You need... to read. Bob Fenner>

Refugium plumbing   8/30/06 Hey everyone! <Hello Jen... BobF, visiting in Belmar NJ...> I have a question - possibly naive one, but hey.  Everyone has to learn.  I have a reef nano tank - 12 gals w/ a refugium added below (10 gal) to try and add more volume of water to counteract the fact that the system is small. <Good idea, practice> It is set up pretty much the same as one of the diagrams on WWM.  There are two pumps, one on the show tank, one below in the ref.  PVC plumbing + normal bendable hose and ball valves make up the system.  The first problem seems to be a siphon problem whenever the power goes off or the pump shuts down, etc. <Need to insert a "tee", otherwise a vacuum breaker...> The second is that it is EXTREMELY hard to get and KEEP the water levels stable. <Mmmm....> There is just too much variation and we're bi-weekly adjusting the flow again.  My husband wants to add possibly gate valves instead of the ball valves and maybe even some floats to automatically control the pumps and water flow. <... You're not pumping the water back and forth I hope/trust>   My question is - I know you're always suppose to try and use PVC and other inert substances that will not change the water chemistry.  But can any of these components have brass or stainless steel parts in them? <Best not to> It seems that this would greatly add to our control of the system, but I wasn't sure if the metal would be too detrimental to the system. <Oh yes... and the livestock> Thank you much, Jennifer <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugpumpfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Refugiums...Water Flow  8/16/06 Hi, <Hello Linda> I have a new 75 gallon reef tank in my living room with a sump/refugium located in a 55 gallon aquarium in the basement.  Originally, both the water coming down into the downstairs aquarium/filter from the main tank & the water going up from the this downstairs aquarium into the main tank were both located in the sump part.  Water was then pumped from the sump into the refugium and the refugium created a waterfall back into the sump. Yesterday, a service moved the pipe with the water coming down out of the sump part and into the refugium, keeping the uptake water in the sump part. The water from the pipe hits a Tupper ware bowl with rocks in it so as to prevent the water from stirring up the sand on the bottom of the refugium. Is this correct? <Yes, I would want the tank water visiting the refugium first.  This way more nutrients will be consumed by refugium dwellers.> Should the water be going down from the main tank into the refugium or into the sump part of the downstairs aquarium for the proper circulation?  Please advised.  I'm confused when the experts disagree. <I would prefer this set-up over what you had.> Thanks, Linda <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Help with a query, please... Pump sel. for a refugium/sump    8/6/06 Hi fellow crew members, This query ended up in my inbox because it is seahorse related however part of it is asking for a sump pump recommendation and I have never had a sump or refugium so I am at a bit of a loss. I know the head pressure has to be taken into consideration but I have no idea about how to figure it out. I am fine answering most of it.... if anyone can recommend a quiet brand pump. The pump will be in his sump and is for a 75g tank on a 30" tall stand. As for how much flow the horses can deal with the most current (that wasn't an intentional play on words it just sort of slipped in there)  thinking is that it a good deal more than the old 3 to 5x the tank volume that was previously recommend. Those tanks were very under circulated and had all sorts of problems. As long as the horses have some quiet places to get out of the current, are not being blasted from one side of the tank to the other and have a quiet place to eat (feeding stations are great) so their food is not being blown all over the tank, they do quite well and can often be found playing in the current. Any pump suggestions would be greatly appreciated so I can pass it on in my reply. Something adjustable would be ideal so it could be turned down a bit if it was to much. Thanks so much, Leslie Hi Leslie, You don't mention the size/type overflow on the tank, so assuming a 1" gravity drain I think a MAG-7 pump with a gate-valve plumbed on the output side should work fine.  The size/type overflow really determines the amount of flow and the gate-valve will allow the hobbyist to temper that flow as needed; if for instance the tank has a smaller/less efficient overflow than assumed.  In fact, at that head height the MAG-7 may even produce "more" flow than a single 1" gravity drain will handle easily/quietly, but it's my opinion it's best to go with a slightly larger than needed pump to allow for the increased resistance/head-loss as the bio-film builds in the plumbing lines and use the inline gate-valve to make adjustments to suit.  If the Mag-Drive pump is not available/wanted, then any good submersible pump with a flow rate of 600-700 gph "before" head-loss should serve fine.  HTH- Eric

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

Refugiums ... flow, DSB   6/1/06 Hello Sir or Ma'am <James today> I have a question that has not seemed to have been asked (I have looked for the past 3 days for the answer) I am setting up a 35 gallon refugium for my 200 gallon reef tank. My tank is about 3 weeks old (if that is of any interest or relevance). I am planning on attaching a Maxi-Jet 1200 or Mag 3.5 for flow. I will be pumping up the water from the sump and then draining it back into it. My question is this: I would like to run a fuge with Chaetomorpha and an 8 inch DSB. I will be running a reverse lighting schedule. I am wondering if that flow will either be too much for the Chaeto or too little to properly provide aeration for the DSB. I understand, per Bob F., that he likes only a little flow over Chaetomorpha and doesn't buy into tumbling it. I also would like some tips for maintaining a DSB other then "stirring" it lightly once a month and adding a inch or so a year. <Matt do read here and related links above on both sites. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm Thanks again <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Matt

Refugium intake and outtake ... design  - 5/18/2006 Hello WWMCrew !! <Esteban> First off, let me say that any time I have a question or need to research something before I buy it - I go to your site.  It's comforting to know that there is information on your website about ANYTHING I ever need to know.  With that being said, why the need to even ask a question? <Heee heeee!> Well, my question has a specific answer that is a hybrid of the WWM information.  Anyway.  I have a 250 gallon saltwater tank that currently has 150lbs of live rock (soon to be 250).  Two overflows on the tank.  A sump with sock filtration <Very useful... where "kept up with"> and an Iwaki 100 running into a Reefconcept (local brand) skimmer.  Now, I want to setup a refugium in order to lower my eventual nitrates.   Questions: 1.) Should I get a 55gallon or 75 gallon aquarium (each having one overflow) as my refugium? <"The bigger the better"> 2.)Will only having one overflow that returns refugium water to the main sump (via gravity) negate the effect of 20 more water gallons I would have from purchasing a larger 75 gallon aquarium?  In other words, will a bigger tank just bottleneck itself with only one overflow return? <Mmm, nope> 3.) Will I still have to make 10% water changes every week even with these lower nitrate levels?  Or can I do 5% every week or 10% every two weeks? <You'll see, be able to judge> Thank you in advance so much ! Ramon <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Refugium, Pump, and Overflow Sizing - 05/17/06 Hi, <<Hello!>> Have been doing much research on reef tanks, mostly on the web and came across your site, what a find, very impressive. <<Thank you>> I just bought a 100 gal DAS reef tank.  It's got a single 1-1/2 inch sump drain in a corner.  I wanted to put the large CPR Aquafuge under it and use an external 1000 GPH pump for circulation with a SCWD wavemaker. <<Mmm, which model Aquafuge?  Unless you're talking about the "Aquafuge Pro" it is too small/not really suited to this application.  It would be better/cheaper to employ a small aquarium (20g/29g) for this>> My questions are - 1) Is the pump too big for the drain? <<My opinion?...yes.  Most overflow "calculators" will tell you you can get 1200/1300 gph from a 1.5" drain.  And under "ideal" conditions maybe so...along with lots of noise and continuing fuss.  But tank conditions are rarely ideal...plumbing is not always optimized...and there's the fact the plumbing will slowly become more restricted from mineral/biological buildup.  I think it is much less problematic to "tune" your overflows when you only try to push "half" the rated flow.  That leaves you in this instance with a pump that will push 650 gph or less (after determining/calculating head loss) to the overflow>> 2) Is the refugium big enough? <<Depends on the model>> 3) Is 1000 GPH too much flow through the refugium & if so how would you control it separately? <<With a smaller pump...perhaps a Mag-Drive 9.5>> And lastly;  4) Is the skimmer that comes with the CPR any good? <<I think you will be disappointed.  I would replace this...look to ASM, AquaC, Euro-Reef, others...>> Thanks in advance for any help. <<Very Welcome, EricR>>

Refugium plumbing question   4/18/06 Hi Crew- <Ed> I'm a bit confused about the best way to plumb a refugium, sump and closed circuit return loop. <Lots posted re on WWM... and lots to consider... many "variations" on themes...> I'm planning on setting up a 90 G Oceanic Systems "Tech Series" Tank with two return overflows and two Megaflow accessory kits.  The system will be   designed to ultimately house SPS, LPS, Clams, Mandarin dragonets and  Wrasses. <Not altogether compatible as you're likely aware> To ensure that all are well fed I would like to run a RDP  vegetable refugium with Chaetomorpha macroalgae and a 4" DSB so that I can grow  pods. Reef Invertebrates, Calfo/Fenner has an illustration  for a Downstream Refugium on Page 53.  If I understand correctly  the refugium should have a water flow of 5 to 10 times tank turnover.  This  would be significantly lower than the 14 time turnover I had planned for the  Calfo designed Closed Loop illustrated on the WetWeb site. How can I marry these two seemingly contrary requirements? <Two separate pumps, sets of plumbing... Bob Fenner> Many thanks, Ed

Re: Refugium, closed manifold recirc. plumbing question, reef stkg.  - 04/19/06 Dear Bob: <Ed> Thanks for your personal reply.  Perhaps I should have been more  specific in my selection of livestock.  It was my understanding that SPS,  Clams and a limited number of well chosen LPS corals could be housed together  and that Mandarin dragonets and Rainbow/Flasher/Fairy  wrasses were  compatible. Am I wrong? <Mmm, somewhat right and wrong... there are always induced problems with the mix of any/all cnidarian species. Some much more grievous than others, and steps that can/have to be taken to alleviate these iatrogenic difficulties. Many LPS (an entirely arbitrary designation btw for many purposes), will consume dragonets... some can/will sting tridacnids...> I've been reading everything I could on WetWeb and other sources on  fuges but can't seem to find a scheme for plumbing these two separately. <Mmm, take them "one at a time"... entirely separate pumps, plumbing for each... You don't want to tie them together> I  don't expect you to do my work for me but if you are aware of a schematic for  such a system I would appreciate being directed to it. Complex plumbing issues are beyond my present level of  expertise. As always I greatly appreciate your work. Best regards, Ed <Please peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Take your time, record good notes... read the files as they appear of interest, from the top, front to the bottom, right... down and across... The indices have been arranged by me in this order with purpose. Bob Fenner>

Refugium Confusion (Installation/Methodology) - 04/16/06 Hi, <<Howdy>> I have an established 200 gallon acrylic reef aquarium that has a Tunze filtration system built on a rail system that sits on top of the tank. <<Deja Vu...I think I've been here before <G>...EricR here again>> The system includes a protein skimmer, also on top of the tank. <<Yes, typical for this manufacturer/method of employment>> The only other openings are the large access ports. <<Indeed...and typical of an acrylic tank>> There is 6" of acrylic between port and side.  Cannot easily access back of tank because of how the Tunze system sits. <<I understand>> We want to add a refugium and have no idea how to make it happen. <<Mmm...and no sump to work with either...you need to install a gravity drain (as outlined in the previous email) to the refugium and then pump water back up to the tank>> We have our old 46 gal with a wet/dry and a 450gph return pump that we want to make our refugium. <<Have you researched and decided which refugium methodology you wish to employ?  Mud? DSB? live rock rubble? lighted macro algae? A combination of these?>> It would sit next to our main tank. <<This is fine>> Should it be higher or lower than the main tank? <<Since you don't have a sump from which to pump water up to the refugium I would suggest placing the 'fuge lower than the display tank>> After reading some of the FAQ's I am very confused as far as flow rates, and what size hole to drill and how many. <<If you are only drilling to accommodate the refugium, then a 1" bulkhead will suffice with a 350-500 gph pump (MagDrive) for the return to the tank.  If you are can't/are not willing to put the return line through the tank hood to return the water through/over the top, you will need to install a second bulkhead for the return line>> I am also not sure what bulkheads are. <<Ah...a simple Google search re "aquarium bulkhead" can help much my friend: http://www.marinedepot.com/md_viewItem.asp?idProduct=FT1113   ... A bulkhead is a water-tight fitting placed in the "hole" you drill in the tank which then allows you to easily attach your plumbing lines/fittings.  Do be aware, a 1" bulkhead requires a 1 3/4" hole in the tank.  Another Google search re "DIY aquarium bulkhead installation" will yield many links to examples of same>> I know what an overflow box is, but that is about it. <<I suggest you do some more reading-up to get a better feel for what you are about to attempt.  Perhaps there is an aquarium club in your area you could contact for some "hands-on" help/advice...or if you have real doubts as to your knowledge/abilities, pay one of the local fish stores to come do the bulkhead installation (assuming one provides that type of service)>> The Tunze system has an intake of 950GPH, protein skimmer 300gph, 3 powerheads add another 900gph. <<All unrelated to the refugium>> We are looking to upgrade to the Tunze stream system, which will add approx 3000gph. <<These are great...use them myself>> With all of this flow and filtration in the main tank, how important is flow through the refugium? <<Flow through the refugium is slightly less important than flow in the tank. Try to achieve anywhere from 3x-10x the refugium's volume>> What should it be? <<Use a pump that provides from 150 - 500 gph>> I was hoping to find a way to siphon water over to the refugium i.e. overflow of some sort and use the return pump and plumbing we have on the wet/dry to push the water back to the main tank. <<Oh, okay...didn't realize there was an external filter source involved.  It might be possible to tee off of the drain line (w/valve to control flow) for the wet/dry and run this line to the 'fuge, and have the refugium then drain in to the pump chamber of the wet/dry (You will still need to drill a hole in the refugium and install a bulkhead for a drain line...I don't recommend using a siphon overflow for this>>. Is that realistic? <<Possibly>> I am very sorry for these novice descriptions, but I am not good with plumbing or drilling issues. <<No worries mate...do try to get someone local (with experience re) over to have a look/help if at all possible>> I know how to clean my tank and take care of my fish.  I would just like to take better care of them by adding a refugium. <<Is a step forward...a very worthwhile addition>> Thanks for your help, Jeri <<Please feel free to write back if you have some specific questions and I will try to explain further.  Regards, EricR>> Refugium Plumbing/DSB - 04/15/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I have a 200 gallon reef aquarium.  It currently has a Tunze filtration system and Tunze protein skimmer that sit on a rail system along the top of the aquarium.  The 200 gallon has a 4-5" DSB with Aragamax sugar-sized sand. <<Excellent>> As you can imagine that is a lot of sand. <<Mmm...yes...my 375 gallon tank has 950 lbs. of the stuff (Southdown)...with another 250 lbs. in the refugium>> The way the tank is drilled or lack there of is making it difficult to plumb a refugium, but we will try anyway. <<Ok>> We have a 46 gallon tank with a wet/dry that we will turn into a refugium. <<Ah, good>> Can we use the sand from the main tank to fill the 46 gallon?  Will too much beneficial bacteria be killed in the move? <<Bacteria, and other micro-/macro- life will be destroyed, yes.  Why not fill the refugium with dry sand with a "heavy seeding" from the sand in the display/other aquarist tanks?>> Will it put undo stress on our fish? <<Is a possible stressor to the whole system>> I want to do whatever is going to benefit the fish.  So if that means leaving the main tank alone and buying new sand that is what we will do. <<Unless you're planning to remove the fish and "restart" this tank I would use new sand and seed it as mentioned.>> We were thinking 8 - 10" sand bed in the 'fuge. <<Sounds good to me...am a big fan of deep sand beds>> We want whatever is going to help us with our nitrate issues. <<I see>> We usually have 20ppm and I want that down to 0. <<Indeed, much to high for a reef system...but zero-nitrates is not necessarily good either.  For the benefit of your corals, a nitrate reading of about 3ppm can provide some much appreciated nutrient benefit>> I figure the added filtration will help. <<As in DSB?...yes>> Our system is going to be very difficult to plumb the refugium. There is no place for an overflow box. <<Can you lower the water a bit...drill a throughput high on the backside?>> The access ports are the only openings and have a 6" gap to the side of the tank. <<An acrylic tank then?  Will be quite easy to add some bulkheads>> Plus we have a hood that covers the entire tank.  I posted to the WetWebMedia Chat Forum in hopes to get some suggestions.  Nothing so far.  I even posted a diagram of what our tank looks like from the top.  Any ideas from you would be great. <<Spend some time reading here ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbholesfaqs.htm) and researching among the linked threads.  I think your best option is to drop the water level in the tank a few inches and drill a/some holes through the back/side of the tank for bulkhead fittings.  My tank is a "in-wall" unit viewable from front and back...I drilled holes for 6 bulkheads through the end panels 1 3/4" inches from the top, which feed both my sump and refugium...it is do=able>> Thank you, Jeri <<Quite welcome.  Regards, EricR>> Refugium Plumbing/Critter Transfer -  - 04/10/2006 WWM gang, <<"Gang" member EricR here>> I am in the process of setting up my 265 tank (i.e. - still designing and have nothing set up). <<Ah yes...good times...>> I have 4 overflow drains, 2 going in to a 30gal refugium that then flows into the reservoir where the other two also drain.  This then holds the skimmer and is pumped back into the tank. <<Mmm...I would plumb things so the refugium empties in the pump chamber, thus circumventing the skimmer as this will remove many "desirable elements" coming from the 'fuge>> I'll have a closed-loop system also but that's not important (I think) to this.  My hope is to have tons of copepods so I can have my favorite fish (hopefully male and female pair of) Mandarin Dragonets. <<Very "cool" little fish...but as much as a year or more down the road I guess you know>> I will have a good amount of live rock and crushed coral (fine grade) in the tank, but I am trying to figure out if the copepods will get up to the tank from the Refugium w/this set up? <<In deed they will, if you don't suck them all up in the skimmer...>> I can still change the plumbing if I need to... Did I not think this through just right? <<Consider my suggesting about avoiding the skimmer with the refugium effluent and you'll be fine.  The "best" configuration if you wish to tackle...would be to place the 'fuge "above" the display and allow it to gravity feed to the tank>> Can I trap the copepods and set them free in the tank above? <<Hmm...not sure how you would accomplish this just offhand...but not necessary in my opinion...they will get there.>> Thanks, <<Welcome, EricR>>

Filtration/Ecosystem Mud Filter/Pump Size  3/30/06 Hello,  <Hello Gerardo> First of all, let me say thanks for your website. I am new to the saltwater hobby and your site has been the best for answering from trivial to elaborate questions. <We welcome you.> I have a 60 Gallon FOWLR tank with a wet/dry sump. Overflow box is 600 g/hr, return pump is rated 900g/hr. Last week I bought by accident <How can you buy something by accident?> an Ecosystem Model 100 (24Wx8Hx8l) bare refugium (no pump, plumbing, etc). After reading Ecosystem's site and your Mud filtering section, I am willing to try the Miracle Mud. However, I don't know what kind of pump/circulation I need to buy in order to have it right at the refugium. Do you have any suggestions?  <I'm not aware that they have a Model 100.  I'd contact Ecosystem at (714)543-4100.  Don't bother emailing, you may or may not get an answer and if you do it will be at least two weeks (personal experience).> Thanks in advance for your help. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Gerardo Frias

Set Up 2/Pumps   03/9/06 Kudos on a wonderful and information packed site! <Thank you.> I have a 120 gal. All-Glass dual overflow reef setup, and I want to go to a larger downstream refugium because my ASM G-2 skimmer takes up a large footprint of the refugium area. I have purchased a 50gal breeder tank to make into the new refugium and am finding it very hard to find someone to drill a large enough hole in the glass for the pumps inlet supply. ( a Pondmaster MD-12 mag drive pump) My question is : Should I build an area within the glass tank out of acrylic to put the pump in ( with an inlet hole in the acrylic wall ), or should I submerse the mag drive pump in the refugium ? (with proper acrylic baffles of course) My gut tells me wall it in and keep it dry and out of the water supply. <I'd keep the pump out of the water if possible, less heat transfer into the water.> Thanks in advance, and keep up the great work! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Mike Hall Refugium size    3/2/06 Dear Crew, <Jeff> I need your help calculating size and flow rates for my refugium.  I have been reading all the faq's and can't get a definite answer.  My main tank is 210 gallons.  My refugium will be a 29 gallon with 12 gallons of actual "living" space with the rest taken up by baffles and extra space for pump shutdown.  I've also got a 10 gallon extra high that I plan to use exclusively to cultivate Chaetomorpha.  The two refugiums will be connected to each other to prevent any overflows.  The 10 gallon high will overflow into the return baffle in the 29 gallon refugium.  The system will be powered by a 1000 gph pump which should net about 700 gph due to discharge head.  I've plumbed the two containers so I can adjust the flow in either one.  Is the size of the refugium plus algae scrubber sufficient? <Yes>  What should be my target flow rate through each? <They are both in effect, refugiums tied together. I'd be looking at something like 150gph flow rate through the refugiums provided you are also going to be using a sump to handle the higher flow rate going into the display tank.> Your help is much appreciated as always. <You're welcome, and the first query today with no spelling errors.  James (Salty Dog)> Jeff

Refugium/Set Up  - 02/20/06 Sorry to keep bugging you guys, but it seems I can never find exactly the answer to my questions on the FAQ's.  I've refined my refugium idea below.  What I really want to know is how many gph should go thru the refugium?  When you mention 1800 gph  below, you do mean thru the main tank only? <I mean 1800 gph total flow rate including power heads if used through the main tank.> Seems 1800 gph thru the refugium would blow everything away. <Most definitely.  You will need to tee off and control flow through the refugium and the rest through the chamber after the refugium.> Thanks again, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jeff Refugium Flow/Circulation - 02/11/06 Hello again! <<Howdy!>> I have another question for you guys/gals. <<Alrighty>> I currently use a Maxi-Jet 900 to feed my refugium.  The refugium is located above the main display. <<Cool!>> I have loosely calculated the flow to my refugium with a stop watch and figured the flow to be around 125 gallons per hour to the fuge. <<ok>> This translates to around 4.3 turnovers of flow through the refugium (29 gallons).  The refugium has about 5.5 inches of fine sand and a large portion of Chaetomorpha algae.  I use a Maxi-Jet 600 for circulation inside the fuge. <<Ah!  Very good.>> The refugium returns water to the main display via a siphon type overflow. <<I suggest you add a "second" siphon overflow for redundancy/safety.>>   I have installed a float switch in the refugium in the (normally closed) configuration.  This stops the powerhead in the event of loss of siphon.  I have tested this set up and it works great. <<Do keep an eye on it/keep the switch clean.>> It is very easy to do and gives one peace of mind. <<Sometimes falsely...>> My question is in regard to the flow through the refugium.  Is 4.3 times the refugium an OK number or should I go higher/lower? <<With the internal powerhead as you described I think you're "ok" but if the siphon overflow can handle it, a bit more flow may prove beneficial.>> Since setting up the refugium my nitrates are much lower. <<Just "one" of the benefits of employing a vegetable refugium.>> Your thoughts on this would be very helpful.  Thanks again. <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: refugiums) ... pb   2/9/06 Hello again, Not sure I am understanding how to control the flow within the refugium.  According to your diagram in 'get thee to a refugium', a gravity flow rate of 1200 gph (max) <In this/an example> is drained into the sump.  Water is first treated by the skimmer and then flows through baffles (is this what slows the flow rate down through the refugium?), <Mmm, no> into the refugium, through another set of baffles, and out the return pump.  The problem I have is that I have a mag drive 2400 which will return water to two overflow boxes (1" returns predrilled). <... these won't be able to accommodate this pump/flow> The 2 drains will be providing more flow than what is recommended by the setup described in the article. <Not likely> Just trying to get my head around all this.  If I can use a single tank to house everything that would be great.  Need to understand how to maintain a 500-625 gph (recommended 4-5 times the main tank size) through the refugium.  With the mag 24 is it possible to have everything in a single tank sump/refugium system? thanks again, matt <If one had/has a pump of "over-capacity", some flow might be redirected to the first area of the sump... or it might be throttled down (on the discharge side, usually with a gate valve)... but ideally a "just right sized" pump is used or its flow/pressure used for more than recirculation through the refugium (like another sump, closed loop, skimmer, contactor...). Please... read on WWM re refugium design, plumbing. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing a fuge in a sump    1/25/06 Hi, today's crew answer person!    <Howdy Querier>   I've looked up all the questions that have been answered on this subject, and I still haven't quite found the exact scenario describing my dilemma. I just bought a complete 100 gal. tank setup (the last anniversary gift I'll be getting for the next 10yrs!). I ran a 40gl fuge on my 55gl reef last time, which was skimmed first, then flowed through to the main tank. Now, for the first time, I am working with a sump design that had a bio-ball chamber. I've already removed them and replaced it with a big pad of Chaeto w/o a DSB (lighted of course), which is watered by an overflow box, then the next chamber holds both the PS and the return pump together (a rather odd design IMO). <Mine too> The fuge water flows into the chamber where some of the water is skimmed or is pumped right back to the tank. My water parameters are all fine. OK, my questions are: 1. Do I have to switch the placement of the PS and Chaeto, to get any benefit from a fuge? <Would help> 2. Can the critters from the fuge survive going through the PS? <Some to most, yes> 3. Do I need to add live rock and a DSB to the fuge chamber if I do switch them, there's already a 5" DSB in the tank)?. <Not necessarily, no. Better to have LR in the main tank here> I'm doing a "semi-reef" this time (if there is such a thing), with mainly inverts instead of corals. Thanks for the help. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing refugium ... what is a ref?   1/25/06 Hi, <Hello Jose> I recently purchased a 125 AGA tank with two (2) built-in overflows in the corners. <Nice size tank.>  The tank came with a 48x18x15 sump with three (3) compartments.  I currently also have a 2x250 MH retro with 10K Ushio's.  My first question is do I need an additional MH if all my coral will be focused in the center of the tank and not towards the edges. <I think you will be fine.>  Also,  The sump compartments are 10x28x10.  My goal was to use the first compartment (raw tank water from overflows) for my skimmer (Euroreef G-3) , the second compartment for a refugium with DSB and Chaeto, and the third compartment for the return pump.  What size pump do you recommend <I'd go with at least a 1250 gph.> and will this setup work or should I separate the refugium and have one of the two overflows flow into the refugium and then gravity feed to the skimmer/return pump sump. <Doesn't matter, you are still going to have the same flow rate going into the reef if I'm understanding this correctly.  If it were me I wouldn't want that high a flow rate going through the ref.  I'd put one overflow return in the pump compartment along with the skimmer and the other in the compartment before the ref.> Your help/recommendations are always appreciated. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>   Jose
? on new tank setup    1/25/06 Hi, <Hello there> I recently purchased a 125 AGA tank with two (2) built-in overflows in the corners.  The tank came with a 48x18x15 sump with three (3) compartments.  I currently also have a 2x250 MH retro with 10K Ushio's.  My first question is do I need an additional MH if all my coral will be focused in the center of the tank and not towards the edges. <Likely not. At least I would hold off and see at this point> Also,  The sump compartments are 10x28x10.  My goal was to use the first compartment (raw tank water from overflows) for my skimmer (Euroreef G-3) , the second compartment for a refugium with DSB and Chaeto, and the third compartment for the return pump.  What size pump do you recommend and will this setup work or should I separate the refugium and have one of the two overflows flow into the refugium and then gravity fed to the skimmer/return pump sump. <See WWM re pump selection ( http://wetwebmedia.com/pumpselmar.htm and the linked Related FAQs above), and I would do the second... have an adjustable (though likely half) of the water feed go to the pump area (w/o transiting through the refugium)> I have attached a quick pic of my initial design. Your help/recommendations are always appreciated   Jose <Looks good... add a tee, plumbing and two valves on the return line down to the sump... Bob Fenner>

Sorry... couldn't figure out how to open Clipboard on Windows... from Adobe's lame instructions... and am so feeble that I can't remember the DOS commands to "make a picture" of what's on the screen... sigh. RMF

How much flow should I have going through a refugium?   1/20/06 <Entirely contingent on the life taking refuge there... but, in general, somewhat less than the main tank, if possible. Do read through the refugium FAQs on WWM. Best regards, John.>

Custom refugium WWM crew, I have a 75 gallon reef tank that has been running for about 8 months now. It houses a black saddle back clown, purple tang, tail spot blenny, and blue devil damsel.  It also has about a 2 inch sand bed and 60lbs of live rock.  Since my tank is not drilled and I've heard of the headaches associated with hang on overflows, I will resort to building my own refugium that will sit next to the tank.  I want the refugium to be about 25 gallons and I was hoping I could use my Eheim 1260 pump about 602gph). Will this be too much circulation in the refugium and will it hinder pod/macroalgae growth? <I would use a smaller pump... or...> As for the return on the refugium, I want to acheive the best circulation possible, to benefit nearby hard corals. <The extra flow can be diverted to and around your main tank via a tee, two valves...>   What kind of attachment would you recommend for the return tubing? Thanks, Tim Jernberg <...? I would rely on gravity, a large diameter through-put in the refugium, a difference in height... Bob Fenner> Refugium setup 10/18/05 Let me say first of all that I am an avid reader of your site, you have given me the answers that no one else can. I am also waiting for my copy of the Conscientious Marine Aquarist, can't wait to read it.  <Thank you>  Anyway, on to business. I have not been able to find an answer to this question in particular, although I think it may be a bit of an unusual situation. I have a 10 gallon aquarium set up as a refugium of sorts, where I have snails, brittle stars, macroalgae, no fish, no corals, with an Eclipse hood on it, but it is not connected in any way to my 46 gallon display tank. I mostly use the macroalgae to feed my tang (who loves it!).  I would like to be able to connect it to the main tank, because I don't want to buy a separate new refugium and run the risk of losing any of the critters in the move. There is a ledge behind the main tank, about level with the top of the main tank, where the 10 gal. tank would fit perfectly.  The question is, how to plumb. I was thinking of a powerhead in the main tank to pump water into the refugium, and putting an overflow box for the gravity return into the main tank. It would be hard to incorporate the filter on the main tank, as it is a Magnum 350 with BioWheels, and I don't think by the time I teed into that line, there would be enough power from that filter to matter.  I got the rest of my answers from your site, i.e. lighting, etc., but this one's scary. Also, do you think I could use tank dividers for baffles instead of dealing with Plexiglas and adhesive?  <Sure> I saw the inside components to turn a tank into a refugium, but the adhesive isn't safe for the critters, is it?  <You would have to use one of the underwater epoxies if you didn't want to empty the tank. Don't know what adhesive you are referring to.>  I appreciate any advice you could give me in this regard, and again, thank you for a most informative site!!  <Elise, the bad point about an overflow in your refugium is that if you lost the siphon, the pump feeding water into it would cause quite a mess. If it were me, I'd empty the contents of the refugium into a Rubbermaid container large enough to accommodate it and then have the tank drilled for a one inch bulkhead fitting near the top to use as your drain into the display tank.  All you need do then is to ensure the powerhead isn't pumping more water than the bulkhead return can handle. This is a safe worry free set-up. You need not worry about losing your critters, if you lost some it would be negligible. James (Salty Dog> 

Airlift-only return from refugium to display tank ?  8/16/05 Hello Crew... <John> Planning a re-entry into marine aquaria (successfully kept a pair of clowns alive for two years 77-79 back in the 'dark ages' of saltwater aquaria) and boy howdy !  Things sure have changed. <I'll say!> Based on my recent high-intensity research I have made some preliminary selections: 150 gallon display tank with 5 inch deep live sand bed.  Some live rock.  Primarily interested in inverts but I am sure SWMBO will also want to see a couple of fish swimming around. Two 1500 gph circulation pumps taking water from the display tank and immediately returning it through a closed loop manifold mounted under the top rim of the tank.  Goal is to process 25-30 times the tank volume/hour to simulate real reef conditions. 40 gallon sump/Refugium mounted under the display tank (and hidden for aesthetic reasons fed by a pair of 1 inch overflow tubes. <Stop! I'd make these at least 1.5"> Split design with sump for skimmer, deep sand bed and macro algae (NOT Caulerpa).  Also some live rock here for habitat but it is hopefully a no-predator zone. Protein skimming, heating and lighting are still up in limbo. <No worries... there is time> Now my question: I was wondering whether I can avoid using a pump to return the relatively low volume flowing through the Refugium (only 80GPH) by using 2-3 airlifts ?  Hoping to stagger the pick-up depths of the airlifts and collect return water high, middle and bottom of the column in the Refugium desiring to return a variety of nano/micro critters to the display tank for feeding purposes.  Since I'd like to have more filter-feeding inverts than actual fish I'm not too concerned that these teeny-tiny critters would be macerated by the relatively huge pump impeller as I am about how to collect them from different levels in the water column and thusly add to the diversity of food types presented to the inhabitants of the display tank. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and THANKS for all the great FAQs and articles on the site. John Bonnett <Welcome... Most all wee-life does pass relatively unscathed past centrifugal pumps... I don't think the airlifts will work... just not enough lift... unless the tank and refugium were just about even with each other in terms of water level... I encourage you to look into small, dependable "mini" pumps instead. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Refugium Hey Folks:  <Hello, Ben> I am under the impression that turnover for the refugium should be slower than the sump system yet adequate enough to supply o2 and nutrients. IF my assumption is correct what is the range for the turnover rate?  <Ben, sounds to me like you are talking about a homemade reef. There really isn't a steadfast rule for flow. Most manufactured refs have built in baffles to keep the sand/mud, etc from getting stirred up. Any flow rate from five to ten times the volume of the ref should be sufficient. Measure LxWxD, divide by 231 to give you the volume size in gallons, and go from there. James (Salty Dog)> <<Mmm, actually... sounds to me like the question is about refugiums themselves... a few turnovers OF the refugium volume itself, per hour are about prime... 3 to 5 or so when using "mud". BobF>

Plumbing refugia + sand bed Hi guys. Can I plumb a 1" intake for my Iwaki pump directly into the one of my overflow( at bottom) for an upstream refugium I am setting up? Is this a sound plan?  <I think you're better off with the downstream ref.> Secondly, while I cure my live rock in a separate container can I go ahead and put the DSB in the main tank (new set-up) and seed it with micro inverts and/or live sand?  <Don't see a problem. You will have water flow in the system, right? Make sure you check the ammonia level in your curing container before adding to the main tank. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks a bunch. Sincerely, Stephan

Plumbing refugia + sand bed = part 2 Oops! Sorry for the lack of information. This system has two refugiums. The one in the sump (downstream) will house a DSB and live rocks. The downstream refugium will house Chaeto and perhaps a DSB too. The reason I want the intake in the overflow (shared) is because my bulkhead drains are pretty much maxed out with water entering the holes. I am using an Iwaki 40 for the upstream refugium. Thanks for your prompt and informative responses. P.S. Yes. there will flow in the tank for the sand bed.  <If your overflow is large enough to handle the return pumps without draining the refugium, you will be OK. James (Salty Dog)>

- Upflow Refugium - I currently have a sump/refugium under my 55 gallon tank. Can I turn this into a upstream refuge?  <Hmm... good question, I've not heard of the term "upflow" attached to a refugium before so I can only guess as to what that really means.>  I am having problems finding a diagram on the site of a well constructed upstream refuge. Could you help?  <My guess is that an upflow refugium would actually be placed above your tank... you would pump water up to it and allow it to gravity feed back into the main tank. You could use your existing 55g to do this but you'd need to have some holes drilled into it for the overflow, build a stand to get it above the tank.>  Thanks a ton Dominic <Cheers, J -- >

Above-Tank Refugium Greetings Crew, Long time reader, first time writer... I have a question concerning the plumbing of an above-tank refugium setup. I currently have a 29 gal reef setup with 20lb of LR. I was looking to add a refugium to culture some live-food (copepods, etc) and some macroalgae. A hang-on refugium such as the CPR AquaFuge is out of the question due to space constraints, as is an in-sump refugium. I'm running with an Eheim Liberty 200 hang-on filter for chemical filtration and an AquaC Remora (powered by a MaxiJet 1200) for protein skimming. My plan was to build a 10 gallon refugium and hide it on top of cabinet which sits adjacent to the main tank (the cabinet top is engineered to hold at least 100 lb).  The refugium will be elevated (such that the base of the 'fuge is 18 inches above the main tank). My question then is: what combination of pump/siphon should I use? Should I even use a siphon for return water?  I'm assuming using a return pump for water would be inappropriate because if it were to fail, the refugium would quickly overflow? I suppose the trick is to maintain the same GPH input ration for the pump as the output siphon can handle? Would I simply have to use a valve (on the pump side) to tweak the water flow until it matches the siphon flow? Many thanks in advance for your help and thanks again for the excellent site!  <Chris, I would drill a hole in the acrylic refugium just below the normal water line and put a 3/4" bulkhead fitting in there and use this for your "return to main tank". You can use a power head to pump the water into the fuge, just size it correctly so it can't put more water into the fuge than the 3/4" line can remove. Do not submerge the return line from the power head. In the event of a power failure it will act as a siphon. Hope this is of some help to you. James (Salty Dog)><<RMF would actually drill two through puts... one slightly higher than the other... arrange for both to drain below... just in case...>>

Refugium flow rates Hello Crew, <Hola Chris> Thanks so much for the collection of expertise. I have been so impressed with your site, Mr. Fenner that I have pledged $5 for every time I employ information from WetWebMedia.com. Please accept my first contribution of $50 from this gracious fellow hobbyist. <Thank you very much. I'm sure Bob will be tickled.> I have built refugiums for both of my marine systems. (60 gallon reef /29 gallon refugium and 180 gallon FOWLR /75 gallon refugium). I have flow rates of 15-18 times turnover in each tank and want to maximize flow through the refugium. With all of the information available throughout the industry the formula for flow rate through refugiums does not seem to exist. What is the recommended flow rate through refugiums? Thank you for your time and help. Best regards, Chris Matthews Dallas, Texas <Well for a true refugium with a DSB and other denitrification properties, it only needs to be 2x-4x the turnover per hour. the slower on the refugium the better as the water needs time to be stripped of its impurities, and if you have a faster turn over, the substrate might be a cloudy mess as well. Hope this helps> <Justin (Jager)> 

Flow In The Refugium.. How Much? Hello Crew. <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I've been reading about DSB on your site. I have a 135g tank, 40g sump, 29g refugium. 4" sand in the tank and 6" of sand in the fuge. It is mentioned to keep water flow at 10-20X tank volume. At the moment I have an Ampmaster 3000 connected and running at about 1600gph(CPR 150 controlled). There are 4 outlets, if I place one of my hands in front of one of the outlets it doesn't feel like there is much pressure. Does pressure = current or is my turnover sufficient? <I think that your flow sounds just fine! I am not a big fan of huge flow rates within a refugium. I'd like to see the animals and plants in the refugium have maximum contact time with the water, with a minimum of disturbance.> Should I add another overflow and crank up the pump to its 2228gph max? I've read that the turnover rate for the 'fuge should only be 4-5X hour. Does this change for a DSB? <Not in my opinion. The DSB should essentially remain undisturbed, so the flow is fine as is! Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: