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Old 03-26-2003, 02:47 PM   #1
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Questions on building a Refugium

I currently have a 180 reef ready tank. I also have a 55 gallon tank not in use. I would like to use the 55 as a refugium. I have no idea what to do and would like some info on how to set it up. I have a wet dry, but thinking of going away with it. Any idea's? diagram's? how to's?
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Old 03-26-2003, 11:02 PM   #2
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I'm guessing you intend to keep the wet/dry, minus the biomedia, as a sump. A 55 will be quite a large refugium. Were you planning to put it under the main tank? It will need to be lower than the main tank. The only way I can think of to use a 55 as a fuge on a RR tank is to use a small overflow box to feed the fuge and a small pump to return water to the main tank. If the 55 was drilled, you could put it higher than the main tank and pump up to it. Give us some more info about where you'd like to put the fuge and what it's height will be relative to the main tank.
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Old 03-26-2003, 11:57 PM   #3
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If you use the 55 as a sump/refugium, you would need to baffle the part where the water comes in and baffle where the water goes out. The 'fuge would be in the middle.
There are tons of DIY refugium pages out there. Try an internet search or search reefs.org. It should work fine. You won't be needing the wetdry so put it on ebay and use the $$ toward a good size return pump. You can drill the side of the 55 for a bulkhead since only the bottom is probably tempered.
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Old 03-27-2003, 01:50 PM   #4
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Yes the 55 would be going under the 180. It's not drilled. I have looked on internet about the refuguim idea and I am not getting a clear understanding of how to set it up. How to partition the 55 gallon and make it ready to be used. The other question is, Do I really need to keep the wet/dry? The pages I found by typing in "refuguim" on search handle, I got several with language other than English.. No pun intented, just I don't know any other language. If you know a web site, mind sharing with me? I was thinking of using my exisiting external pump for the return flow, and use my exisiting 180 reef ready overflow to get water into the 55 with the hose.
I hope I am making sense.
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Old 03-27-2003, 08:51 PM   #5
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Hmm...sounds like you are talking about using the 55 as a sump also. As I understand it, and I'm sure others with more experience can comment with more authority than I, a refugium needs a relatively slow water flow. What is the flow rating on your pump? As you know, you'll have to have the 55 drilled to use it this way. Two places you might look for more info: www.ozreef.org (DIY section) and do a search on www.about.com .
Will the 55 and the wet/dry fit in under the main tank? If so, you could have the 55 drilled up high and use a powerhead to supply water to it from the sump (wet/dry). Then, where the 55 is drilled would return the water to the sump in the vicinity of the return pump intake. This would allow you to keep the high flow through the sump and have the slower flow rate in the fuge. If the 55 won't fit, possibly you could trade it for a 29g? Assuming you have an adequate amount of LR and a good sandbed, I'd remove the bio balls from the wet/dry and let the rock/sand handle the bio filtration.
One thing I'm wondering about is how you're going to get the 55 inside the cabinet. Most of the 6' cabinets I've seen have uprights that will be in the way...only way would be through the top on the ones I've dealt with.
Let us know what your thoughts are and we'll go from there.
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Old 03-27-2003, 11:44 PM   #6
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Ok, I see what your'e saying. So a fuge needs a slow water movement, where the sump would need a high flow rate. What I could do is leave the 55 as it is (meaning not drilling it) and use a powerhead like a hagen 802 to return water to the 180 and use a hang on prefilter to bring water to the 55. Would it work? I haven't set up the 180 yet for this idea I am thinking of. I have it down since I am thinking of moving back to Florida and have it set up from there. When I do, I plan to slide the 55 in from the top of the cabinet, then set the 180 on it's stand. I have friends in Florida who could get me live rocks and live sand for my set up. So I am new to the idea of a fuge and wanted to learn a great deal on them as I am preparing myself.
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Old 03-28-2003, 09:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
a refugium needs a relatively slow water flow
Not sure I agree with this. Why can't a 'fuge have normal water flow? It's basically a seperate reef tank w/o the fish so you can raise macro and encorage the 'pods to reproduce. You can even use it to grow out frags since it will be brightly lit to encourage algae to grow. If it's baffled such that the water enters and leaves the 'fuge compartment high, most of the flow will be laminar across the top. With this arrangement you may even want a power head for additional flow to prevent dead spots and the resultant cyanobacteria outbreak.
Misc ramblings follow:
The baffles may be a challenge. Silicone doesn't stick to acrylic well and acrylic cement doesn't adhere to glass. You could make the baffles out of glass and use silicone to place them. You could make a box out of acrylic that would baffle incoming water and then drill the 55 high and pipe to the acrylic wet/dry and use it as a baffling system for the return pump. There are probably many ways to make it work. The main objective is to keep bubbles out of the refugium and keep bubbles from entering the return pump.

Web discussions:
http://reefs.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.ph...light=refugium
http://reefs.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.ph...light=refugium
http://reefs.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.ph...light=refugium
How tos:
http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/ref...tups/index.htm
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Old 03-28-2003, 09:08 PM   #8
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OK, I won't press the low flow issue. This is based on what I have read and not actual experience with fuges. I would have to defer to Mark on that one.
On the subject of the small overflow, after giving that some thought, I'm not sure how well that would work. If you have water going into the sump from the internal overflow in the tank and water going into the fuge from an ext overflow, I'm thinking things are going to get out of balance. With just the sump, you have sort of a big closed loop. The only place the water can go is into the sump. The only water that can come into the sump is what the return pump sends up to the tank. If you add an overflow and a fuge on a separate loop, I think the fuge will either overfill or run dry...it'll be like trying to balance two pumps. Bad idea...my fault. Somebody help me out here...tell me I haven't gone crazy I think you'll have to feed the fuge from the sump and let it overflow back into the sump to get it to work.
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Old 03-28-2003, 09:23 PM   #9
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Well here is a diagram of what I think would be super simple and work. I think if current is actually a concern in a ref (not sure) you could just place a pane of glass right at the opening of the tube coming from the wet/dry and direct it up, but I dont really know. Is drilling the 55 a problem? if it is then my plan is no good.
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Old 03-28-2003, 10:15 PM   #10
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Thats a real simple design. About the only thing missing is the pump that would be needed to return the water from the refug to the main tank.

Drilling a 55 is no problem at all. It should not be tempered glass
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