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View Full Version : Are refugiums a thing of the past?


Bigfish93
10/03/2012, 05:20 PM
Was just curious about what everyone thought about having a refugium. I have always had them on my tanks and was planning on having one on my future build, but have been noticing that it seems like more and more people are not using them any more on their builds.

What are your thoughts???

pledosophy
10/03/2012, 05:25 PM
I love my fuges. Can't imagine not having one.

cheezischrist
10/03/2012, 05:35 PM
i definately couldnt imagine not having mine again. i started without one, and when i upgraded tanks implemented 2. one on regular tank lighting schedule with soft corals like anthelia, colonial polyps and kenya trees as a pod haven,and seclusion tank for corals, fish, or inverts that arent doing so well(thoug now its hosting my fuzzy dwarf lion), and the other with LR and chaeto on reverse lighting hours. my levels have never, ever been more stable, and i get free food, plus a tank full of all kinds of random little things to remind me of the initial setup/searching for life till i went cross eyed days

BeanMachine
10/03/2012, 05:38 PM
Half of my sump is a fuge. They are great for many reasons, nutrient export via macro algaes, a place for the little critters to multiply, etc. If you have the room why not.

Bigfish93
10/03/2012, 05:46 PM
Those are all the reasons i wanted a fuge, especially for the little critters. I want to have a mandarin goby in the display tank and it would be nice to have critters overflow into the return pump.

Are there any down sides to having a fuge?

pledosophy
10/03/2012, 06:14 PM
Fuges take some work, you have to pruin the algae, they take up space. Some say that certain algaes can release toxins that have a yellowing affect on the water, I believe it is cupramine, or something close. My spelling sucks.

That said on my 125g, I have 95g of refugium on the other side of the wall.

Aquatron
10/03/2012, 06:23 PM
The only problem with a refugium is most hobbest are not realistic with size of refugium to size of tank. Try to make your refugium as large as you can and with time it will offer snacks to your DT but will not fully support food needed unless you go BIG REFUGIUM and most hobbest don't have the room. For the tank your planning i would have at least a 40 gallon section for infana to grow.

Best of Luck!

aandfsoccr04
10/03/2012, 06:30 PM
I'd say no. When utilized properly, they are very beneficial.

frogmaster421
10/03/2012, 06:36 PM
i am in the process of building mine now

Aquatron
10/03/2012, 07:31 PM
I would like to ad as help only....alot of hobbest nowdays believe slow flow through a refugium is the way to run them. They speak from thinking only for nutrient intake of a macro algae from a system(contact time) I have always ran my refugiums high flow with great success and no problem growing macro algae. But the main reason for the high flow besides tank health is this is how food gets from refugium to DT. There is only one way that a hobbest can tell if their refugium is sending anything to main tank?......Watch the inlets of your tank if your fish live and play around you inlets and you see them dart and grab stuff:) It's working...... if not doesn't matter how many pods are in your refugium they are not getting to main tank.

Bigfish93
10/03/2012, 09:16 PM
Thanks for the help guys! So it sounds like bigger is better.

That brings up another question that I had about fuges is water flow. Realistically I dont plan on lots of critters flowing into the DT. Is it better to have slow flow or a high flow?

I have not designed my sump yet but the flow rate of the refuge will determine the layout of my sump. Im not sure weather my sump will have everything inline with each other or if the refuge will be separate from the main flow of the sump. (If that makes any sense)

Any ideas?

TucanSam007
10/03/2012, 09:21 PM
plus a tank full of all kinds of random little things to remind me of the initial setup/searching for life till i went cross eyed days

I think those days never left me :)

MarlinDreams
10/03/2012, 09:33 PM
I will have water in my new set up by the end of the month. Big fuge for me. It will be a stand alone unit that will trickle into the DT.

jerpa
10/03/2012, 09:37 PM
I love looking at my fuge. Its on a reverse lighting cycle so it gives me something to look at when I get home late from work. I also agree bigger is better and for macroalgae surface area is key.

GPB
10/04/2012, 12:48 PM
+1 on der fuge.

DHyslop
10/04/2012, 12:54 PM
I'll be the contrarian voice. I find GFO and vinegar to be more effective at removing nutrients.

swcc
10/04/2012, 01:27 PM
I find them pointless.

thegrun
10/04/2012, 02:35 PM
I would remove my skimmer before I would give up my refugium.

Reefin' Dude
10/04/2012, 02:43 PM
i assume we are talking about Hobby Refugiums instead of a true refugium (where the intent is not to change the trophic state of the area in order to grow something, but to protect something).

some of us can only hope that they are the thing of the past, but i have a feeling they are going to be around a bit longer. :(

i find it better to siphon the detritus out of any area where it can collect and call it a day. once it is out of the system it can not come back and bite me later.

G~

sqwat
10/04/2012, 02:47 PM
i think fuges are just starting to be one of those things u just have to have like lights so they arent talked about so much.we also have gotten allot better at running them.i use mine with the water intake going down a algea scrubbernever had better more stable water in my history.if i keep the strontium,iodide,mag and calcium ext. all in check there is no need for water changes at all but of coarse u still need some done.it is like also having a whole nother tank were i grow micro pets as i like to call them.

nuclearheli
10/04/2012, 03:10 PM
I have had tanks with and without. My current tank has a good size fuge and it does a great job. Besides it's a constant source of veggies for my tangs.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=5077&pictureid=41658

Malign Reefer
10/04/2012, 03:13 PM
I'll never give up my refug

vel123
10/04/2012, 03:20 PM
I have a 400gl DT, with 150gl sump i have a small fuge in the sump. im upgrading to a 600 DT, i am using the sump that i have, but im having a 200gl refuge built. im still working on how im going to hook the fuge to the system.

celamb89
10/04/2012, 03:29 PM
great for copepods and nutrient export

psykobowler
10/04/2012, 03:42 PM
206071

Refugium is the thing of the future. I harvest half a bucket every two weeks. It used to be more when I first started the tank. I use 250 watt metal halide. It is cheaper than using just gfo and carbon dosing. I use 5 cups of gfo monthly on an 800 system. The refugium helps me save on gfo via nutrient export. I also use vodka and wet skimming.

Glenn

Glenn

reefgeezer
10/04/2012, 03:45 PM
i find it better to siphon the detritus out of any area where it can collect and call it a day. once it is out of the system it can not come back and bite me later. G~

The possibility of building a detritus bomb is a valid point, but it really depends on the design of the fuge and what's in it. In the simple skimmer-fuge-return sump where a boat load of sand, live rock, and macroalgae are placed in the middle bay is a recipe for disaster. The stuff ends up acting like a mechanical filter thus trapping detritus and allowing it to build up unnoticed.

I think the hobby has evolved beyond that. People are now feeding their fuges with a skimmer, CAG reactor, or other filtered source, eliminating sand beds, limiting the amount of live rock, and generally managing the detritus build-up in the fuge. IMO, well designed and manages fuges can contribute but not be solely responsible for a good system

Reefin' Dude
10/04/2012, 03:58 PM
isn't that what the point of the "fuge" is? to create an eutrophic environment to grow the algae? if the water was actually clean enough then the algae would not grow, correct? all of that algae in a "fugue" slows down the flow allowing detritus to collect, which in turn allows it to rot, which in turn feeds the algae, right? all this in the hopes of binding the nutrients there instead of somewhere else? why not just let the detritus settle out and remove it instead of using the algae ball as a mechanical filter for trapping the detritus? how is all of that algae acting any differently than a big filter sponge with respect to flow and detrital accumulation?

G~

jasonrstewart79
10/04/2012, 04:16 PM
isn't that what the point of the "fuge" is? to create an eutrophic environment to grow the algae? if the water was actually clean enough then the algae would not grow, correct? all of that algae in a "fugue" slows down the flow allowing detritus to collect, which in turn allows it to rot, which in turn feeds the algae, right? all this in the hopes of binding the nutrients there instead of somewhere else? why not just let the detritus settle out and remove it instead of using the algae ball as a mechanical filter for trapping the detritus? how is all of that algae acting any differently than a big filter sponge with respect to flow and detrital accumulation?

G~

I'd have to agree with you on most of that... my fuge is full of cualerpa and chaeto and the mass is about the size of a soccer ball. Before my harvest each week, there's a decent amount of dead algal fragments on the bottom of that fuge chamber that is consumed by my CUC of hermits and the various snails and nudis that breed in there. I used to vaccuum that detritus out of the fuge but I've found that I have better macro growth and lower nitrates when I leave it be. Seemed counterintuitive on the nitrates but its true.

Also, my macroalgae ball is in the chamber of the fuge that is receiving the flow from the display, and it does catch larger particulates so it does act as mechanical filtration to some degree. I have noticed that when I harvest, a lot of that trapped detritus does release into the fuge and my separate sump, but its not enough to cause any issues.

jerpa
10/04/2012, 04:29 PM
Hello Reefin' Dude,

I agree that a refugium is far from the most efficient means of nutrient export. Anyone who has run GFO or implemented carbon dosing can tell you there are better ways. I employ my refugium in addition to GFO, skimming, and water changes. I like having a varied approach that allows one system to pick up the slack when I neglect another. I believe a refugium is more effective at providing live foods for my herbivores and pod eaters than any sort of export. From a personal perspective i also throughly enjoy examining all the microfauna. I don't believe a well set up refugium is a detriment to a system but I do agree many of the detritus traps proposed online can do more harm than good.

reefgeezer
10/04/2012, 04:48 PM
isn't that what the point of the "fuge" is? to create an eutrophic environment to grow the algae? if the water was actually clean enough then the algae would not grow, correct? all of that algae in a "fugue" slows down the flow allowing detritus to collect, which in turn allows it to rot, which in turn feeds the algae, right? all this in the hopes of binding the nutrients there instead of somewhere else? why not just let the detritus settle out and remove it instead of using the algae ball as a mechanical filter for trapping the detritus? how is all of that algae acting any differently than a big filter sponge with respect to flow and detrital accumulation? G~

At least in my system, the fuge is intended to bind nitrate and phosphate for export, help with pH stability, and provide at least some pod habitat. I must admit I don't know what a eutropic environment is, but if it does that then that's what I'm trying to create. IMO, there is no reason for the water to be dirty (as in filled with particulate matter or high in dissolved organics) for the fuge to work. The cheato and other macroalgae only require nutrients and light. As to the big ball of algae, I think this is where people go astray... Small, fast growing masses of algae bind more nutrients than huge stunted masses. I harvest both cheato and calurpa aggressively to ensure it continues to grow. I never let the ball of cheato get much bigger than a softball and pull calurpa constantly.

jasonrstewart79
10/04/2012, 05:04 PM
As to the big ball of algae, I think this is where people go astray... Small, fast growing masses of algae bind more nutrients than huge stunted masses. I harvest both cheato and calurpa aggressively to ensure it continues to grow. I never let the ball of cheato get much bigger than a softball and pull calurpa constantly.

The only reason I let my algae ball get larger is because I have a lot of room in the fuge for the larger surface area. The mass is always tumbling and I harvest at least two large handfuls weekly, so I think growth is good for the setup. You're definitely right about a large stagnant mass of algae having growth issues, bit I think it depends on the configuration. IMO, anyway.

Buzz1329
10/04/2012, 05:15 PM
i definately couldnt imagine not having mine again. i started without one, and when i upgraded tanks implemented 2. one on regular tank lighting schedule with soft corals like anthelia, colonial polyps and kenya trees as a pod haven,and seclusion tank for corals, fish, or inverts that arent doing so well(thoug now its hosting my fuzzy dwarf lion), and the other with LR and chaeto on reverse lighting hours. my levels have never, ever been more stable, and i get free food, plus a tank full of all kinds of random little things to remind me of the initial setup/searching for life till i went cross eyed days

Well said. Thanks.

Buzz1329
10/04/2012, 05:17 PM
I have had tanks with and without. My current tank has a good size fuge and it does a great job. Besides it's a constant source of veggies for my tangs.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=5077&pictureid=41658

Now that's a sump/fuge! Love it.

jenglish
10/04/2012, 05:36 PM
Some say that certain algaes can release toxins that have a yellowing affect on the water, I believe it is cupramine, or something close. My spelling sucks.



I think you are thinking of gelbstoff for yellowing, allelopathic compounds need not color water. But GAC will manage either. There can certainly be a point where the fuge becomes useless, because the water is too clean to support it. For the average person not carbon dosing or running a super high flow, giant skimmer bare bottom reeftop; they are often something that if properly set up and maintained make a aquarists job much easier. It really depends a lot on the set up if a fuge is beneficial or not.

rizon25
10/04/2012, 06:05 PM
I have a fuge with chaeto in it for my 100g tank in a reverse cycle. I also run gfo but change it every month or so with 5 tbsp. right now my phosphates are 0.01-0.03. I used to carbon dose but pruning chaeto every couple of weeks made my life so much easier than dosing carbon every day.

Aquatron
10/04/2012, 07:35 PM
You guys posted some nice pictures of your refugium's well done:)
The refugium wasn't developed as a means of nutrient export, it's to allow a protected area within a system where micro fana can live, breed, and add a natural live food source to the main tank. Growing macro algae is an off shoot first for fana protection then as a means for nutrient export when harvested.
As stated the larger refugium you can have on your system the better chance you have of helping feed your system. Think of it as a garden the better you take care of it and give it time to grow the better it will help take care of your system.

psykobowler
10/04/2012, 07:51 PM
I agree that a refugium is far from the most efficient means of nutrient export. Anyone who has run GFO or implemented carbon dosing can tell you there are better ways. I employ my refugium in addition to GFO, skimming, and water changes. I like having a varied approach that allows one system to pick up the slack when I neglect another. I believe a refugium is more effective at providing live foods for my herbivores and pod eaters than any sort of export. From a personal perspective i also throughly enjoy examining all the microfauna. I don't believe a well set up refugium is a detriment to a system but I do agree many of the detritus traps proposed online can do more harm than good.[/QUOTE]

Refugium is one of the most efficient means of nutrient export. You can run a full blown sps tank with just chaeto on the fuge and a good skimmer without carbon dosing or gfo. The problem with people that are setting them up is they limit the flow in the container where that chaeto resides and they do not know how to maintain it or what light to provide. I have a powerhead in addition to the return pump that is supplying it with water so I have good flow. I use a 250 watt halide turned on from 10pm at night to 3pm in the afternoon. Some people use cfl bulb but I know chaeto grows like crazy with halide. The halide only adds about $5 in my electric bill monthly and it removes a lot of the phosphates and nitrates in my tank as evidenced by how much I harvest. Since I give the harvested chaeto to my lfs twice a month, my lfs sells all the fish foods (mysis, brine shrimp, flakes) and oyster feast at cost to me. He sells the chaeto at his shop or gives it away to his preferred customers. It saves me money. Furthermore, I shake my chaeto weekly and siphon the bottom of the refugium to get rid of all of the detritus or what have you. I am thankful it is a "detritus trap". At least i know where to siphon my system. I don't have to clean any socks.

Bigfish93
10/04/2012, 09:18 PM
WOW... wasnt expecting so many responses! Thanks for all of the info.

So what does everyone think as far as flow rate through a refuge. Should the flow be slow or fast???

LaOtIn
10/04/2012, 09:53 PM
I have a 90g DT and a 15g fuge as part of my 20g sump

only reason i dont have a bigger fuge/sump is due to the fact that I didnt plan this build out to well lol

when i added this sump/fuge i would have had to take down my tank to put in a large fuge cause i couldnt get anything bigger in my stand without moving the stand out

that being said my next build I will have a huge fuge, if i go to a 125 6' tank I will have at least a 75g fuge/sump with at least 50g of it being fuge area

in a perfect world where i could have anything i wanted i would have a 155 BF DT and a 150g sump/fuge with 110g of it being fuge area, a 4' section and run 4x54 T5HO over it and grow some massive amounts of all kinds of macro!

/dreaming sorry :)

jerpa
10/04/2012, 10:43 PM
Refugium is one of the most efficient means of nutrient export. You can run a full blown sps tank with just chaeto on the fuge and a good skimmer without carbon dosing or gfo. The problem with people that are setting them up is they limit the flow in the container where that chaeto resides and they do not know how to maintain it or what light to provide. I have a powerhead in addition to the return pump that is supplying it with water so I have good flow. I use a 250 watt halide turned on from 10pm at night to 3pm in the afternoon. Some people use cfl bulb but I know chaeto grows like crazy with halide. The halide only adds about $5 in my electric bill monthly and it removes a lot of the phosphates and nitrates in my tank as evidenced by how much I harvest. Since I give the harvested chaeto to my lfs twice a month, my lfs sells all the fish foods (mysis, brine shrimp, flakes) and oyster feast at cost to me. He sells the chaeto at his shop or gives it away to his preferred customers. It saves me money. Furthermore, I shake my chaeto weekly and siphon the bottom of the refugium to get rid of all of the detritus or what have you. I am thankful it is a "detritus trap". At least i know where to siphon my system. I don't have to clean any socks.

I guess efficiency is not the right word. Refugiums generally cannot rid a system of low levels of PO4. Below .03ppm algae ceases to grow so there is a limit to what it can do. GFO and carbon dosing can take you even lower. How low is necessary is another debate.

As far as my reference to the detritus trap that was in direct response to Reefin' Dude. The rules for a fuge used to be low flow, DSB, fill it with rock and macro, and feed it dirty unskimmed water. Many parts of these are still repeated. In addition many refugiums are too small to provide a great deal of export. You don't have to convert me. I have a 40g fuge lit by a 150w MH, high flow, barebottom, and its fed from my return after being skimmed.

BTW $.04/kWh.... I'm jealous.

psykobowler
10/04/2012, 11:46 PM
I guess efficiency is not the right word. Refugiums generally cannot rid a system of low levels of PO4. Below .03ppm algae ceases to grow so there is a limit to what it can do. GFO and carbon dosing can take you even lower. How low is necessary is another debate.

As far as my reference to the detritus trap that was in direct response to Reefin' Dude. The rules for a fuge used to be low flow, DSB, fill it with rock and macro, and feed it dirty unskimmed water. Many parts of these are still repeated. In addition many refugiums are too small to provide a great deal of export. You don't have to convert me. I have a 40g fuge lit by a 150w MH, high flow, barebottom, and its fed from my return after being skimmed.

BTW $.04/kWh.... I'm jealous.

We're cool, man. I was not trying to butt heads. My goal is never to rid the system of phosphates. The reef needs it. I just want to keep it low. The reason the fuge work so well is because of the photoperiod. My display is lit by 4 250 watt radiums for 6 hours per day but the refugium gets at least 14 to 15 hours. Basically, the fuge gets to utilize most of the light per day. I also use some gfo, wet-skim water change and vodka dose weekly. With regards to the electric rate, I find the rates change depending on the time of use. I swear the electric company charges more during peak hours. The fuge is lit mostly under non-peak hours I guess. Cheers.

Glenn

Palting
10/05/2012, 12:02 AM
Thanks for the help guys! So it sounds like bigger is better.

That brings up another question that I had about fuges is water flow. Realistically I dont plan on lots of critters flowing into the DT. Is it better to have slow flow or a high flow?

I have not designed my sump yet but the flow rate of the refuge will determine the layout of my sump. Im not sure weather my sump will have everything inline with each other or if the refuge will be separate from the main flow of the sump. (If that makes any sense)

Any ideas?

There are contrasting opinions on refugium flow. So, what else is new, right? :D For biological processing, the low flow proponents say you want to maximize contact flow to truly clean the water. The high flow proponents say you want to deliver as much water as you can to get it processed so you will have a cleaner total water. Neither camp has any studies to prove it one way or the other. I am in the higher flow camp. I believe that the macroalgae has a fixed processing capacity, regardless of flow. With that belief, I like to present as much water as I can in any given amount of time. I have my refugium running at 30X refugium volume, or 600 gph for a 20 gallon refugium full of macroalgae.

Reef264
10/05/2012, 12:54 AM
I used to have one, now I don't.Much happier now.

tmantaylor18
10/05/2012, 01:26 AM
vodka >

reefgeezer
10/05/2012, 09:01 AM
So what does everyone think as far as flow rate through a refuge. Should the flow be slow or fast???

~20 Gallon fuge with 300-400 GPH flow. Kind of high I think for a small-ish fuge, but that's what it takes to keep the Cheato tumbling.

Electrobes
10/05/2012, 09:59 AM
Refugiums is something that people often try to boil to one thing and then everyone tried to counter with different intentions etc. Refugiums are considered to be filters, another tank that looks pretty (For some), an area to protect certain creatures, etc. It all depends on what intention you really are trying for.

I've had a refugium, with the intention of it being a filter (When the craze his in early 2000s). It did not serve it's purpose and just ended up being a lot of work. If I were to try that era again, I would have had the refugium above the tank as eye candy plus somewhere for the copepods to proliferate.

Now? I just don't have one as I just don't have the need (I just would buy copepods if I needed more), nor the space (For eye candy). My reef does well without one, but it's not to say it would do better with/without one.

My two cents. :)

billdogg
10/05/2012, 10:23 AM
My 150Dt has just one inhabitant - a 4' Gymnothorax Undulatus named Hannibal. I have had him for almost 25 years now, and his home has evolved over the years.

Until about 5 years ago, the 150 had only a 20L as a sump. Just enough room for a smallish return pump and a heater or two. Hair Algae??? Trust me, y'all have never seen it like I had it in there. Even with weekly 30- 40g water changes, the nitrates were never below 100ppm, the phosphates were pretty much impossible to test for because they were so high. It was just how it was.

Then I finished my basement and upgraded Hannibal's home. He still has his 150DT, but I added a 120g refugium with 6+" DSB and a 50g sump. The return area in the sump is stuffed with live rock rubble, and there is a good sized mound of live rock in the fuge that is about 1" above the sand on a pvc platform. The fuge also has 4 chromis and a horseshoe crab, along with numerous kenya tree branches donated from my 60g reef tank. No Skimmer or filter socks.

I cannot keep any sort of algea growing anywhere in the system. My nitrates are now undetectable even after 6 weeks without a water change, and the phosphates are barely detectable. I run some carbon in a BRS reactor, but no GFO. Pods? yup - about 50 gazillion. Bristle worms? the same.

I add about #60 sand yearly to keep the sandbed at 6" or more as it dissolves over time.

Flow through the fuge is somewhere in the 800 - 1000 gph range, fed by a eheim 1260 and a t off my DT return plumbing, as well as a maxijet 600 that is placed in the middle top of the tank.

I can't imagine trying to keep this system without a refugium.

Reefin' Dude
10/05/2012, 02:24 PM
I agree that a refugium is far from the most efficient means of nutrient export. Anyone who has run GFO or implemented carbon dosing can tell you there are better ways. I employ my refugium in addition to GFO, skimming, and water changes. I like having a varied approach that allows one system to pick up the slack when I neglect another. I believe a refugium is more effective at providing live foods for my herbivores and pod eaters than any sort of export. From a personal perspective i also throughly enjoy examining all the microfauna. I don't believe a well set up refugium is a detriment to a system but I do agree many of the detritus traps proposed online can do more harm than good.

the bigger question is why are the phosphates even there? inorganic phosphates can only come from the decomposition of left over food or organisms. what if you just remove all of the detritus or decomposing organisms quickly? what would fuel the algae in "fuge" ? the algae is only going to pick up the slack if the slack is already there. if the phosphates were already at oligotrophic levels then the algae can not live. the fact that it is living is a good bio-indicator that the water column is not a oligotrophic levels. which of course could be what the aquarist is wanting depending on the coral they are trying to keep. algae growing anywhere in a SPS system is a sign of eutrophication. algae growing in a lagoon biotope it is not that uncommon and in some cases expected.

Refugium is one of the most efficient means of nutrient export. You can run a full blown sps tank with just chaeto on the fuge and a good skimmer without carbon dosing or gfo. The problem with people that are setting them up is they limit the flow in the container where that chaeto resides and they do not know how to maintain it or what light to provide. I have a powerhead in addition to the return pump that is supplying it with water so I have good flow. I use a 250 watt halide turned on from 10pm at night to 3pm in the afternoon. Some people use cfl bulb but I know chaeto grows like crazy with halide. The halide only adds about $5 in my electric bill monthly and it removes a lot of the phosphates and nitrates in my tank as evidenced by how much I harvest. Since I give the harvested chaeto to my lfs twice a month, my lfs sells all the fish foods (mysis, brine shrimp, flakes) and oyster feast at cost to me. He sells the chaeto at his shop or gives it away to his preferred customers. It saves me money. Furthermore, I shake my chaeto weekly and siphon the bottom of the refugium to get rid of all of the detritus or what have you. I am thankful it is a "detritus trap". At least i know where to siphon my system. I don't have to clean any socks.

are you sure it is the macro doing all of the heavy phosphate lifting, and not the calcium carbonate structures in the system? calcium carbonate is one of the best phosphate binders known. the more calcium carbonate the more binding surfaces for locking up phosphates? plus all of the bacterial biomass working on removing the phosphates from the calcium carbonate. that is a lot of unavailable phosphates for a good amount of time.

You guys posted some nice pictures of your refugium's well done:)
The refugium wasn't developed as a means of nutrient export, it's to allow a protected area within a system where micro fana can live, breed, and add a natural live food source to the main tank. Growing macro algae is an off shoot first for fana protection then as a means for nutrient export when harvested.


this is why i try and use the term live sump for the hobby definition of "refugium". the definition of a refugium has changed. this is also why in my first post i mentioned the fact that a true refugium does not try and create a different trophic state than the rest of the system. it is just there to protect an organism from another organism. this is the point of a live sump. to increase the nutrients in that given area to facilitate the breakdown of organics in order to feed the macro, in order to export it by hand. why not just leave the area clean and let the detritus settle, then siphon it out? why wait for all of the other steps?

At least in my system, the fuge is intended to bind nitrate and phosphate for export, help with pH stability, and provide at least some pod habitat. I must admit I don't know what a eutropic environment is, but if it does that then that's what I'm trying to create. IMO, there is no reason for the water to be dirty (as in filled with particulate matter or high in dissolved organics) for the fuge to work. The cheato and other macroalgae only require nutrients and light. As to the big ball of algae, I think this is where people go astray... Small, fast growing masses of algae bind more nutrients than huge stunted masses. I harvest both cheato and calurpa aggressively to ensure it continues to grow. I never let the ball of cheato get much bigger than a softball and pull calurpa constantly.

an eutrophic environment is a nutrient rich environment. lagoon type biotope instead of an oligotrophic (nutrient poor) reeftop environment. anybody who is not familiar with the term eutrophication should do a google search with the terms. coral reefs and eutrophication. sound familiar? ;)

G~

jerpa
10/05/2012, 03:03 PM
the bigger question is why are the phosphates even there? inorganic phosphates can only come from the decomposition of left over food or organisms. what if you just remove all of the detritus or decomposing organisms quickly? what would fuel the algae in "fuge" ? the algae is only going to pick up the slack if the slack isalready there. if the phosphates were already at oligotrophic levels then the algae can not live. the fact that it is living is a good bio-indicator that the water column is not a oligotrophic levels. which of course could be what the aquarist is wanting depending on the coral they are trying to keep. algae growing anywhere in a SPS system is a sign of eutrophication. algae growing in a lagoon biotope it is not that uncommon and in some cases expected.

I think many try to remove detirtus and dead organisms. The fact is it is impossible to do. You cannot remove every copepod that dies or ensure every scrap of food has been removed either. This is why we focus on nutrient export as well as detritus export. Part of the issue is that while the water on a reef is very "clean" from a nutrient perspective it is absolutely rife with food, death, and decay. Attempting to mimic this in an aquarium requires nutrient export.

pledosophy
10/05/2012, 03:40 PM
In reference to the detritus build up.

After that you will encourage the growth of species that eat detritus. They will continue to breed. As they do they will breed more and more, and . .. . feed the reef.

While my fuge is 80% the size of my tank, I know I can not feed my whole tank with my refugium, however I also know that I can not come close to offering the food to my corals as they would have in the wild. At least this way there is a constant supply of food for the tank.

Best I can do

pledosophy
10/05/2012, 03:41 PM
In reference to the detritus build up.

After that you will encourage the growth of species that eat detritus. They will continue to breed. As they do they will breed more and more, and . .. . feed the reef.

While my fuge is 80% the size of my tank, I know I can not feed my whole tank with my refugium, however I also know that I can not come close to offering the food to my corals as they would have in the wild. At least this way there is a constant supply of food for the tank.

Best I can do

reefgeezer
10/05/2012, 04:45 PM
an eutrophic environment is a nutrient rich environment. lagoon type biotope instead of an oligotrophic (nutrient poor) reeftop environment. anybody who is not familiar with the term eutrophication should do a google search with the terms. coral reefs and eutrophication. sound familiar? ;)G~

Why look it up? Seems to me there's always someone chomping at the bit to show what they know. Thanks. :lol2:

Sk8r
10/05/2012, 06:09 PM
you and I haven't been reading the same threads. THey're useful for fishonlies where you need a cuc that won't get eaten; and for biostability in tanks that get left with a sitter a lot; and for food if you have blennies, gobies, mandys, and lps or softie corals.

Anemonebuff
10/05/2012, 06:16 PM
I plan on making my fuge a second inline tank that houses seahorses.

sail33
10/07/2012, 10:07 PM
I'm glad that there are people who are chomping at the bit to show what they know. Even if it directly contradicts what others may say. It's their time, research and dedication that make reefing so much easier for dolts like me. i spit the bit some time ago. It is our nature to argue. That's how opinion begets experience and evolves into culture.

IMO, we can't effectively reproduce the ocean itself in our little slices of it. I don't think that any one thing or even various combinations of all that we now know are "the perfect solution". That's why I have an over size skimmer, a fine grade sock filter, more live rock than 80% of the tanks I've seen, and the biggest fuge I can fit. My tank is only 4 months old so once it has completely settled at this level, I'll add a reactor and carbon dose too. ...If that will help me keep a healthy tank.

If the scientists find another method to clean and balance the system, I'll listen, watch and learn and maybe include that too. I'm glad that this resource is available. If it wasn't, I'd either have no aquarium or be hip deep in algae problems.

If what I do matters to anyone, I like lower flow through the cheato. Let it tumble and then clean under it when I split some out for the LFS. That is a separate drain. The main drain goes to the sock, then skimmer. So the return pump is in the middle of the sump. Every day shows improvement. Success brings a smile or even a good belly laugh.
To me, that's enough.

CRAZY FISH1
10/08/2012, 05:52 PM
Hello all i have read this thread a few times as it is very intresting and i know it started a long time ago so im just seeing if any of the answers are still the same.

I have a 600L display and it is mainley sps i am in the process of deciding what to do as i have thought about setting up a refugium in my fish room.

My plans are to have a 6.5ftx2x18 tank as a refurium for ridding my tank of nitrates and phosphates and to also culture cops and other life for the tank.
When i say rid i mean to ultra low levels if this can be done?

Do you think my plans are possible?

If so what would you suggest is the best algea for nutrient transport on a tank of my size?

If not what else would work with out using masses of media?

trueblackpercula
11/11/2012, 10:51 PM
I just wanted to say thanks for the great thread. I am in the process of adding a refugium in my sump and have a few questions.
1) what do you use for substrate? The sand bed I have already there is full of life and been in the the sump as a remote sand bed for three years plus.
2) should I add new live sand or keep what I have?
3) should I add miracle mud to it or remove all the sand and just add all miracle mud?
4) anyone with a refugium dosing vodka?

Many thanks and here is a picture of my sump that I am still in the process of cleaning up.

brad65ford
11/16/2012, 01:51 PM
I'm back and forth on the subject.

But one thing I've learned is I know when I don't have enough nutrients in the tank when the algae starts dieing.

sail33
11/18/2012, 07:23 PM
206071

Refugium is the thing of the future. I harvest half a bucket every two weeks. It used to be more when I first started the tank. I use 250 watt metal halide. It is cheaper than using just gfo and carbon dosing. I use 5 cups of gfo monthly on an 800 system. The refugium helps me save on gfo via nutrient export. I also use vodka and wet skimming.

Glenn

Glenn

GREAT BALLS OF CHEATO !! Nice set up Glenn.

Don't for get to add an algae turf scrubber. I just did and the rocks are already a little less green.

go to http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1977420&highlight=algae+turf+scrubber+basics and learn all about it.

brad_G
11/23/2012, 06:18 PM
I have a 125g tank with a 55g sump/refugium. 16 inches of the 55 is sectioned off for a fuge. now I'm wishing it was bigger. This is a new build with old technology. The last time it was set up was the mid 2000s and I ran a hob fuge.

I have never had a Skimmer or dosed carbon. Never had a reactor or any other high tech gadgets. My only regret now is that I would have made a bigger refugium with more flow.

No it might not be the most efficient way. Yes a Skimmer probably does a lot better. A fuge wont increase your electric bill doesn't cost hundreds up front and needs almost no maintenance compared to the fancy reactors and carbon dosing systems.

I live by the rule of kiss. Keep it simple stupid!