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Old 07-08-2013, 06:41 PM   #1
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Smile Any refugium gurus out there?

Hey guys! I've been away from the forum/hobby for quite some time now, but I am back and need some advice! We're going to be remodeling the house next year, and I would like to have a large tank (at least 150g), so I am trying to do as much planning as I can on each part of the tank, and right now I need some clarification on my refugium idea. I have never done a refugium before, but I think I have the idea of what I want:

Basically the idea would be a refugium/frag tank that is separate from the sump, that is in a long tank split up with baffles to make compartments that would then overflow into the next compartment. I'm not sure how many compartments, but one could be used for mangroves with a (possible) DSB bottom; then in the next compartment have chaeto, which could have its own tumbling jet system; then whatever else in the next compartment, and then finally empty into the last compartment, which could be a frag tank. That way any pods or whatnot could flow directly over the corals, and then the water would be emptied into the return section of the sump, to avoid the skimmer.

lighting could easily be a separate bulb fixture for each compartment, and then a DIY LED system for the frag compartment

Any ideas? Suggestions? Problems? Sorry I was kind of rambling , I've got the idea in my head, but I'm having trouble putting it in message form
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Old 07-08-2013, 06:57 PM   #2
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First thing, don't go with a 150. Go with a 180. It's got a much better footprint and is shorter top to bottom, which will make it easier to reach the bottom.

Mangroves are a waste of time unless you have many of them, or a very large one. Those little sprouts you see sold will do nothing for your water quality. IMO, they are more of a conversation piece than anything else.
You don't need a "tumbling jet system" either. the flow from the drain from the display should be fine.
4 compartments total:
intake from display tank with filter sock and protein skimmer---->refugium with whatever algae you end up choosing---->frag area---->drain to last sump.
Or, you could make it 3 compartments total and put strainers on the bulkheads leaving the frag area to the final sump.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_X View Post
First thing, don't go with a 150. Go with a 180. It's got a much better footprint and is shorter top to bottom, which will make it easier to reach the bottom.

Mangroves are a waste of time unless you have many of them, or a very large one. Those little sprouts you see sold will do nothing for your water quality. IMO, they are more of a conversation piece than anything else.
You don't need a "tumbling jet system" either. the flow from the drain from the display should be fine.
4 compartments total:
intake from display tank with filter sock and protein skimmer---->refugium with whatever algae you end up choosing---->frag area---->drain to last sump.
Or, you could make it 3 compartments total and put strainers on the bulkheads leaving the frag area to the final sump.
Yeah, I still haven't decided exactly what size tank it is going to be, so thanks for the input on that! The mangroves...yeah I had read that too, but honestly, they aren't doing anything BAD for the tank (as long as they are maintained), so why not use 'em? I figure It'll be more water volume in the system, more space for pods, feather dusters, etc. to thrive in, and it'll look cool. I'll have to do some more research on that, though.
My "tumbling jet system" was probably going to just be an extra powerhead aimed on the side opposite where the water is overflowing from the first compartment (if that makes any sense ), but that would only be if I felt I needed it.

Also, instead of pumping the water to the pump from the final frag area, I was thinking that I could just have the tank a little bit above the tank so that the water would just overflow into the return area of the sump.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:22 PM   #4
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Yes, that's what I'm proposing. that's the only way you can do it safely. you can't synchronize 2 pumps, so, just drill the side of the mangrove/frag tank a few inches down and put a bulkhead or two with strainers, and then some spa flex or pvc to drain to the final sump.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:24 PM   #5
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Alrighty, that makes sense now. Thanks!
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:36 PM   #6
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keep the flow rate through the fuge slow, all you really need is a mag7 pump for a tank that size, to high a flow rate makes for water passign to quickly an not enough time for the skimmer and refugium to do a proper job
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:42 PM   #7
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That's not true. It doesn't matter how fast the water flow is, but it needs to be fast enough to not have areas of standing water in the sump, plus it must be fast enough to feed the skimmer pump. In other words, if the skimmer pump is an 800gph pump, you need at least 800 gph going through the sump in order for it to work efficiently.

There is no need for "dwell time" in a refugium or skimmer area. Think of the water like it's connected as a whole. Say there are 10,000,000 particles you want removed. It doesn't matter if you remove all the parts in a square foot of that water, or a percentage throughout the entire mass. It's going to end up being whatever the skimmer can take out and that's it.
The same goes for algae. Algae will absorb what it needs and that's all, whether the water is moving fast or slow.
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:26 PM   #8
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The sump and refugium will be run on the same external pump, probably a reeflo. The pump would have a pvc tee on the output section, which would lead to the refugium. There would be a ball valve to regulate the flow to the refugium. I am not going to get into the whole plumbing setup, but I know it will work. I plan on dialing back the flow through the refugium with the ball valve.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_X View Post
That's not true. It doesn't matter how fast the water flow is, but it needs to be fast enough to not have areas of standing water in the sump, plus it must be fast enough to feed the skimmer pump. In other words, if the skimmer pump is an 800gph pump, you need at least 800 gph going through the sump in order for it to work efficiently.

There is no need for "dwell time" in a refugium or skimmer area. Think of the water like it's connected as a whole. Say there are 10,000,000 particles you want removed. It doesn't matter if you remove all the parts in a square foot of that water, or a percentage throughout the entire mass. It's going to end up being whatever the skimmer can take out and that's it.
The same goes for algae. Algae will absorb what it needs and that's all, whether the water is moving fast or slow.
sure rated for a skimmer pump, but when you have a skimmer pump and its say a pump rated for 800gph its not actually pulling 800gph of water, its mixing that with air, you are maybe getting 400gph through it, and then tehre are the recirculating skimmers that are fed with a seperate pump and usually recommended at a low rate, for most skimmers rated at a few hundred gallons its recommended around 250gph of flow at most, reason being for better contact time with the actual bubbles so it can actually attract more dissolved organic and pull it out.

there can be a hole debate on the topic of flow rate, but more contact time makes for better absorption of organic compounds. sure a high rate of flow will turn things over but you will not get the same contact time on the algaes or with the bubbles, so wit ha skimmer you may not have the same stable foam head as you may have with a slower rate.

the only time i feel a higher flow rate makes a difference is with mechanical filtration and a wet/dry where all the biological filtration is done with the actual bioballs so it needs to move water over the balls to start the nitrification process

as for deadspot in the sump, you can always use powerheads to limit these spots and suspend detritus, and also helps touchen up and thicken microalgae growth for more detritus catching and a denser ball for pods and other faunato grow and take refuge from preditors, and also feed on the trapped debris
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:49 PM   #10
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What kind of lighting is being used for growth? Used to be the CF bulbs were fine, but are there other options, like an LED pendant light?
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