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Old 12-27-2003, 10:18 PM   #1
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Refugium Plans... and Questions

I'm still researching for my next tank. I'm planning on a DIY light system, refugium, and maybe even protein skimmer. I have a couple questions concerning the refugium, however, because I've never used one..

1) Should I use a refugium AND a wet/dry or just a refugium?
2) What type of sand should I use for the refugium? (i.e. live sand, miracle mud, southdown, etc.)
3) Should I have rock in my refugium, or only plants?
4) What type of plants should I have? (Keep in mind that cost efficiency is a priority for me.)
5) How big does my refugium need to be relative to my tank? (Not sure on tank size yet, so a ratio would be preferable)
6) What are baffles for? Oxygenation? Removing bubbles?
7) If baffles are to remove bubbles, is there something that must be done in terms of height or other design characteristics to make them be effective to that end?
8) What type of lighting is recommended?
9) What amount of flow is recommended? I read something on here indicating that low amounts of flow are better. I'm wondering if you should have low flow through the plants and high flow through other equipment or whatever.

Thanks in advance. ;)
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92-gallon corner tank, 100lbs of LR, 140lbs of sand, 250watt 10,000K MH, 110watts of actinic PCs, Mag 7 return, custom refugium, AquaC EV180 w/ Mag 5

Female lyretail anthias, eyelash blenny, tomato clown, saddleback clown, firefish goby, 2 sand-sifting stars
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Old 12-27-2003, 10:35 PM   #2
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1) A wet-dry can become a nitrate factory when waste that collects in bio-balls begins to break down.
2) I think it depends on what you want. I read someone used a mix of live, miracle mud, and regular aragonite. Someone correct me if I am wrong.
3) I'm going to do both...a little more bio filtration with the rock, and nitrate/phosphate export via the plants
4) Macroalgaes. Look for plants at www.liveaquria.com or other sites. Caulerpa is one, I believe.
5) The largest your space will allow. The bigger, the better.
6) As justDIY explained to me, they are for organizing and slowing water flow. It reduces turbulance, and will allow microbubbles to rise to the surface after a waterfall-type scenario (like where it enters the refugium from the drain)
7) You don't want any subsequent baffles to be higher than the ones that preceed them, otherwise the water will simply flow right on over the shorter ones in the beginning (once the end starts to fill) and they won't serve much of a purpose. This doesn't apply if the ones in front have gaps under them. Like if they are raised off the refugium bottom, creating an underflow instead of a waterfall.*
8) A small PC lighting fixture would probably work fine...it would depend on the amount of actual refugium space you'll have and how much water is in that compartment.
9) I personally think that there should be decent volume flowing through the refugium, but not at high rates...in other words, it should have a lot of water go through it, but it should be calm and not quick and hurried, as large current would upset plants/critters/whatever-you-put-in-it.

This is what I have learned, if I'm wrong at all, someone smack me and correct me! Hope this helps you, Guage.

[edit]* I'm a moron. It still matters even if it's an underflow. If you don't understand the concept based on text, lemme know and I can make you a quick sketch showing you what I mean.[/edit]
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Old 12-27-2003, 10:45 PM   #3
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Thanks.

Are there any drawbacks to argonite sand? Based on what I've read, the particle size is the only important factor in a DSB. However, I don't know if I trust the article I read.
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Female lyretail anthias, eyelash blenny, tomato clown, saddleback clown, firefish goby, 2 sand-sifting stars
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Old 12-27-2003, 10:59 PM   #4
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From the sources I've read (including recommendations by the many knowledgeable aquarists on this site), a finer size is still better. If you get large sizes (like the "crushed coral" [aragonite is simply more finely crushed, I believe]) then detritus (fish wastes, extra food, rotting stuff) will become stuck in between the large granule sizes and will begin to rot further, which increases nitrate. I'd go with a normal sized aragonite _sand_ (Caribsea Aragamax, or Caribsea Seaflor special grade -sized) and make sure you've got some detritus eating critters that'll leave your plants alone. I'd say Nassarius snails, but I'm not sure if they also eat plants/macroalgaes..so someone else will have to comment on that. As far as benefits to Aragonite sand...it can add lost calcium to the tank, and it acts as a natural buffer to pH. (Once the pH hits a certain level, it naturally dissolves [the low pH eats away, really] the aragonite...the dissolved aragonite then boosts the pH to safe levels by its mere presence in the water. It's not a huge deal, really, but the size matters a great deal. Hope this helps you some more.
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Old 12-27-2003, 11:11 PM   #5
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Aye, it does. Thanks a bunch.
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92-gallon corner tank, 100lbs of LR, 140lbs of sand, 250watt 10,000K MH, 110watts of actinic PCs, Mag 7 return, custom refugium, AquaC EV180 w/ Mag 5

Female lyretail anthias, eyelash blenny, tomato clown, saddleback clown, firefish goby, 2 sand-sifting stars
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Old 12-27-2003, 11:45 PM   #6
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All good advice so far.
I’ll just add a little from experience. If you can get it in TX just get Southdown sand from the home depot. No live sand is needed IMO in the REF. Here is why…
Whenever you see your LFS gets in LR ask to buy the rubble from the bottom of the boxes. It will have the beneficial critters in there already. Also the rubble gives the copepods and amphipods a place to live and breed with a sense of safety. Many LFS sell it cheap or even throw it out!
Then look for local reefers or a store that has REF. I have grape and feather calerpra in mine and IMO there is no faster growing weed. I pull out almost 2 Lbs every 2 weeks. I was throwing it out but now we sell it in the store I work in. Most people will donate some to you.
I add nothing with claws to my system So I have Nassarius, Trochus, Cerith, and Astrea snail in both the tank and REF. Here is a link to pics and behavior of the snails…
http://www.justphish.com/saltwater/i...nassariussnail

Also if you need help finding local reefers try here…
http://www.dfwmas.com/index2.html
I know a few members from online and they are a nice group of locals.
There is a small fee to join though.
HIH
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Old 12-28-2003, 12:50 AM   #7
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Wow, thx a bunch. I'm gonna look into DFWMAS. That looks like a lot of fun.
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92-gallon corner tank, 100lbs of LR, 140lbs of sand, 250watt 10,000K MH, 110watts of actinic PCs, Mag 7 return, custom refugium, AquaC EV180 w/ Mag 5

Female lyretail anthias, eyelash blenny, tomato clown, saddleback clown, firefish goby, 2 sand-sifting stars
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Old 12-28-2003, 01:46 AM   #8
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As for substrate in a refugium, I’ve had a lot of success with garf grunge. http://www.garf.org/. It’s a very nice mix of pebble LR, shells, and crushed coral. It’s crawling with live bugs too. I’ve tried both grunge and just sand in my fuges. If you are looking for extra filtration to get rid of micro algae it’s defiantly the way to go, at least from my experience.
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