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View Full Version : If you were starting a new refugium...


U Ben Fishin
09/23/2015, 10:23 AM
what would you do or not do? I would like to know what your successes and mistakes were.

TylerHaworth
09/23/2015, 10:37 AM
Not put anything at all in it except Chaeto, utilize a spray bar from the input to keep the Chaeto ball spinning.

Sk8r
09/23/2015, 10:43 AM
I just rearranged mine; shoplight with 6500k floodlight, big ball of cheato that doesn't spin, high flow, barrier wall of rock rubble that (with high-low waterfall wall) prevents cheato getting into pump chamber.

Greybeard
09/23/2015, 10:43 AM
I am, in fact, starting a refugeum :)

How you should go about it depends on what you are hoping to accomplish by adding a refugeum to your system.

Many folks use a ref as an area in which to grow macro algae for purposes of nutrient export, or as a 'remote' DSB. Those are not the reasons I am setting up my ref. If it were, the design would be different.

My ref is intended to be used as a refuge for small critters to live and breed, away from the predators populating the display tank. Primarily copepods, mysid and gammarus shrimp, and cirratulid worms. I've already added cultures of these critters from one source, and will be adding cultures from other sources in the near future.

Since that is the purpose, my ref is fairly small (10"x6"x12") set up with a 3" deep sand bed, lots of live rock, a slow flow rate, no crabs or other predators, and very low intensity, short duration white spectrum LED lighting.

A macro algae ref would need to be bigger, a remote DSB bigger yet, with different flow rates and lighting requirements.

AUFishGuy
09/23/2015, 11:17 AM
I am going to piggy back on this thread. Tonight i am redesigning my sump to include a refugium mainly for the purpose of having Chaeto and a place for pods.

How do i keep the chaeto in the refugium section as in how do i keep it from flowing into the return section of the sump? My sump is a very simple 2 baffle system with a bubble trap made from a 30 gallon tank. A diagram is below

toothybugs
09/23/2015, 11:29 AM
It depends highly on what you want it for. Simply nutrient export can be achieved with a no-frills system as Tyler and Sk8r suggested: a decent light, a no-snag mechanism for moving water (I used to have a powerhead moving my in-sump fuge, the chaeto wad often got sucked in to it), and a bare bottom, or maybe some rubble.

My fuge is a display that runs like a small tank of its own and it shares a sump with my DT. It has a variety of macros, rock, opposing powerheads for turbulence, a broader spread of lighting (multiple, not single, bulbs and still 6500K), and while it grows pods and worms nicely, it's still kinda cool to look at. Plus it's a place to put stuff I don't want in the DT - for example, most of my crabs are in my fuge.

BlackTip
09/23/2015, 11:34 AM
I didn't have success with Chaeto. First one came from an online store. Came apart and disintegrated in no time. My DT was filled with it, and some is still trapped in the fuge.

The second one I bought it from an LFS. It was dying and coming apart. Throw it away.

I am considering mangrove

Spar
09/23/2015, 11:38 AM
why chaeto over caulerpa, just curious?

i am about to start my tank back up and this is my chance to change macro type if necessary. i felt like caulerpa gave me exceptional nutrient export but never really did do much research originally...

MikeyUU
09/23/2015, 11:51 AM
When I set up my sump I initially had 3 chambers. It was all fine when I had my skimmer in the same section as the drain from the display, but when I upgraded my skimmer to a larger one it had to be moved to the same compartment as the refugium and this has created nothing but problems. Chaeto gets caught in the intake when I trim, and algae grows in it from time to time so my skimmer maintenance has been a pain. So, my change would be to have had an separated spot for a decent sized skimmer which gets no light, and is separated from everything else.

toothybugs
09/23/2015, 12:39 PM
why chaeto over caulerpa, just curious?

i am about to start my tank back up and this is my chance to change macro type if necessary. i felt like caulerpa gave me exceptional nutrient export but never really did do much research originally...

Less chance of invasion.

I, like BlackTip, have never had success with chaeto. I've had high nutrients, low nutrients, good light, more good light, no tumble, low tumble, high tumble, and it always disintegrated on me. Eventually I'd have green curlies everywhere plugging things up. I went with C. Prolifera and whatever grew off my GLR rocks (I think I'm up to 6 different species growing now). It's doing the trick.

To paraphrase what Sk8r says, "grow what your tank grows."

Greybeard
09/23/2015, 12:56 PM
why chaeto over caulerpa, just curious?

Grape caulerpa is one of the reasons why I tore down my last tank. I had been using it as a nutrient export for several years, harvesting a 2g pail full of calurpa every couple of weeks. Gave me no warning at all.

Woke up one morning to find the entire mass of caulerpa in my ref translucent white, and the entire system smelled like an outhouse. Within 2 weeks, there was caulerpa sprouting from every crevice in the 100lbs of live rock that system contained.

I fought it for 6 months before I gave up and shut the system down. I don't live there anymore, but I suspect that rock is still being used to fill in a gap under the fence in my back yard.

No more caulerpa for me, thanks.

Sk8r
09/23/2015, 01:02 PM
Caulerpa is worse than aiptasia. I would put it worse than flatworms. Toxic, reproduces THROUGH the pump, roots in the rock, and very few fish CAN eat it, let alone want to. Grows like mad, and occasionally 'goes sexual' in a lightsout, to pollute the whole sytem with milky gunk. That's how much I don't love caulerpa.

drauka99
09/23/2015, 01:11 PM
I to have had failure with a fuge in the past. No growth and it eventually just falling apart. This time I was donated a quart bag full by a friend. dropped it in. a 120 watt equivelent LED floodlight in the 5000k spectrum and its growing like mad. I have to pump water over to that section of my sump and on a 93 I have about 5x turnover an our on it. just a huge floating mat of cheato. I do manually flip it about once a week.

Greybeard
09/23/2015, 01:13 PM
why chaeto over caulerpa, just curious?

Grape caulerpa is one of the reasons why I tore down my last tank. I had been using it as a nutrient export for several years, harvesting a 2g pail full of calurpa every couple of weeks. Gave me no warning at all.

Woke up one morning to find the entire mass of caulerpa in my ref translucent white, and the entire system smelled like an outhouse. Within 2 weeks, there was caulerpa sprouting from every crevice in the 150lbs of live rock that system contained.

I fought it for 6 months before I gave up and shut the system down. I don't live there anymore, but I suspect that expensive rock is still being used to fill in a gap under the fence in my back yard.

No more caulerpa for me, thanks.

U Ben Fishin
09/23/2015, 09:03 PM
What critters do you have in you fuge?

Spar
09/24/2015, 12:44 PM
What critters do you have in you fuge?

I had a Mantis Shrimp in my fuge for years and loved it. I might do the same again when I get my tank back up running.

Otherwise I might just put some larger hermits in there.

kinnadian
09/24/2015, 03:47 PM
I am, in fact, starting a refugeum :)

How you should go about it depends on what you are hoping to accomplish by adding a refugeum to your system.

Many folks use a ref as an area in which to grow macro algae for purposes of nutrient export, or as a 'remote' DSB. Those are not the reasons I am setting up my ref. If it were, the design would be different.

My ref is intended to be used as a refuge for small critters to live and breed, away from the predators populating the display tank. Primarily copepods, mysid and gammarus shrimp, and cirratulid worms. I've already added cultures of these critters from one source, and will be adding cultures from other sources in the near future.

Since that is the purpose, my ref is fairly small (10"x6"x12") set up with a 3" deep sand bed, lots of live rock, a slow flow rate, no crabs or other predators, and very low intensity, short duration white spectrum LED lighting.

A macro algae ref would need to be bigger, a remote DSB bigger yet, with different flow rates and lighting requirements.

This is my intention too, there aren't many threads about this, unfortunately "refugium" has become synonymous with "chaeto growing chamber" and has lost the entire meaning of the word refugium (refuge for critters out of the DT).

My nutrient export will be an algae scrubber so I just want a place to grow live food.

Why short duration white spectrum LED lighting, if I may ask?

In New Zealand we cannot get Chaeto so have no choice but to get Caulerpa but I will keep only a small amount for the critters. I have read the horror stories of Caulerpa many times but have no other choice...

Greybeard
09/24/2015, 04:09 PM
Why short duration white spectrum LED lighting, if I may ask?

In my experience, most critters, including Gammarus and Mysid shrimp, do better with some sort of a day/night cycle. Anything intense is going to encourage algae, which I don't want. I want cheap, something that I don't have to change bulbs in, low electric draw... One of several cheap clamp on LED's from Amazon on a timer should work fine.

Greybeard
09/24/2015, 04:17 PM
In New Zealand we cannot get Chaeto so have no choice but to get Caulerpa

If you're growing copepods, mysid and gammarus shrimp, cirratulid worms, typical refugeum critters, you don't _need_ any macro algae. There's probably enough food coming in from the display tank, and it not, a few sinking food pellets once in a while should be plenty. some nice, porous rock, maybe a little sand, they should be fine. Heck, some folks just put a wad of filter floss in the refugeum... works just fine.

kinnadian
09/24/2015, 04:33 PM
I thought most of their diet included the film that grows on the outside of macro algae? You could supplement their diet with pellets etc but surely the most natural diet for them will have the best and most healthy growth?

Spar
09/25/2015, 03:01 PM
i think i have heard enough to scare me into going chaeto instead. i did caulerpa for five years with no issues, but i'd hate to get my reef back up and running only to see it devastated by a caulerpa issue several years down the road... been through enough drama recently!

Isaacs55
09/25/2015, 03:19 PM
Make it to where I can have a nice size holding tank for just ATO reservoir. Let's say at least 10 gallons lol

MJV0103
10/29/2015, 09:32 PM
I just rearranged mine; shoplight with 6500k floodlight, big ball of cheato that doesn't spin, high flow, barrier wall of rock rubble that (with high-low waterfall wall) prevents cheato getting into pump chamber.

Mind sharing a picture of your fuge area? I'm having a hard time picturing that and would like to take some ideas of as i'm starting up my fuge again after my first failure.