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Old 11-12-2005, 09:28 PM   #1
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Setting Up a refugium

I have a little bit of an grape algae problem In my tank, and decided that a good solution would be a refugium. I topoff with RO/DI water from the store and do water changes once every two weeks, It is very frustrating . Even the tests are negative, Phosphate is between 0.015 and 0.03, and nitrate is barely detectable (>5). My theory is that it is being used up as soon as it gets in the tank.
So my question is 1) should I build/ get a refugium? and 2) How/ Which?
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Old 11-13-2005, 09:42 AM   #2
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Personally I don't know if refugiums do much of a difference with the types of problematic algaes, though my little 18 gallon has a refugium and has never had a problem with bubble algae.

I do know if you break open those little balls, they will release spores that grow into hair algae. Emerald crabs are known to eat the bubble algae.

How big is your tank? Do you have a protein skimmer in use?

Please note...reducing elements that contribute to algae growth will prevent algae from growing, but not get rid of what's already there.
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Old 11-13-2005, 10:14 PM   #3
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I have a 125 gallon, The protein skimmer came with the setup (Oceanic), I am going to replace it with a Aqua-C Urchin no matter what I do, I know that a refugium wont get rid of algae already in the tank but it should keep it from spreading.
Anyways, I don't have a bubble algae problem, I have a grape Caulerpa problem.
I found :This: online, it seems to be a do it yourself refugium. Whatdya think.
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Old 11-14-2005, 01:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Personally I don't know if refugiums do much of a difference with the types of problematic algaes, though my little 18 gallon has a refugium and has never had a problem with bubble algae.

I do know if you break open those little balls, they will release spores that grow into hair algae. Emerald crabs are known to eat the bubble algae.

How big is your tank? Do you have a protein skimmer in use?

Please note...reducing elements that contribute to algae growth will prevent algae from growing, but not get rid of what's already there.
I'm not sure if I agree with your theology here. A refugium harvesting macroalgae should definitely help eliminate existing nuisance algae and prevent any more from growing.
Both micro (nuisance) and macro algaes are fueled by two sources...light (photosynthesis) and nutrients (in most aquariums, phosphate and nitrate but could be ammonia or nitrite). Excess of these nutrients can fuel unwanted algae growth (diatom, hair, bubble).
In order for the algae to be eliminated, it must be starved. In order to starve it, its food sources must be taken away. So essentially, you could starve it from light (not practical in a reef environment) or starve it from phosphate and nitrogen(more practical and beneficial to reef organisms). Many people now days rely on a refugium harvesting macro algaes to do the job.
Macro algaes (caulerpa, chaetomorpha, gracillaria, etc) will "out compete" micro algaes for the same food (phosphate, nitrogen). So in a system implementing a properly functioning refugium, problematic algaes in the main display should be starved and eliminated.
A few years back my 180 gallon had a problem with bubble and hair algae and cyanobacteria. A few weeks after I hooked up a macro algae refugium, the nitrates and phosphates became undetectable and all of the nuisance algae soon disappeared.
Seafan, this doesn't seem to help in your situation because you mentioned you have caulerpa growing in your tank. This could definitely prove to be a more difficult situation to fix. Caulerpa is a macro algae so setting up a refugium, IMO, isn't going to erradicate it. The refugium may slow its growth because other algaes will be competing for the same food source. Caulerpa can grow at an amazing rate and sometimes spread through the main display like a weed. Manual removal and possibly the addition of a tang may do the trick. IME, turbo snails can do a job on caulerpa, so you could consider adding a few to your tank. HTH and Good Luck!
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Old 11-14-2005, 06:37 AM   #5
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I have a DYI HOB fuge for my 90. My hubby and I designed it. Assembly can be difficult depending on what you have to do. If the basic box is not assembled, you will need a product called Weld-On 4 ( or maybe its 5) made specifically for acrylic. Be sure that you silicone the joints inside. I did not and just yesterday had to do so as a leak developed.

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Old 11-14-2005, 08:06 AM   #6
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The reason why I mentioned that is because I have seen systems with good water and refuges on them with algae problems. Granted the problems persist from a different source, but I didn't want to sound misleading.

Caulerpa algae is a common family of macroalgae used in a refugium. I was actually going to recommend putting it in the refugium. It grows fast and most preferred especially the taxifolia species. So good it's banned here. It choked up some lagoons. Fish and game decided it was easier to blame the aquarium industry instead of the boats that come dragging the stuff along their rutters. Go figure....
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Old 11-14-2005, 08:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JG
Be sure that you silicone the joints inside. I did not and just yesterday had to do so as a leak developed.

JG
If you want to seal the seams on the inside after making an acrylic project (btw weldon 4 is good for the assembly) use some Weldon 16 in the seams, silicone isnt really going to have a very good bond to the acrylic.. HTH
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Old 11-14-2005, 04:37 PM   #8
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refugium basicly clean the water, i think that is the main reason why it helps on many if not all problems. I added 5 mangrove to my 20g refugium few months ago. After reaserch , most sites said it doesn't or does litle to the environment. Right now my nitrate went down from over 100 (yeah i know, over 100 with bunch coral and stuff growing like mad, I can't answer why) down to about 5 , and all i did was 20% water change weekly.
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Old 11-14-2005, 04:56 PM   #9
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ZoozFishMaster

The reason why I mentioned that is because I have seen systems with good water and refuges on them with algae problems. Granted the problems persist from a different source, but I didn't want to sound misleading.

Caulerpa algae is a common family of macroalgae used in a refugium. I was actually going to recommend putting it in the refugium. It grows fast and most preferred especially the taxifolia species. So good it's banned here. It choked up some lagoons. Fish and game decided it was easier to blame the aquarium industry instead of the boats that come dragging the stuff along their rutters. Go figure....
I totally agree with you TCTfish. I have seen tanks that implemented refugiums and still have some problematic algae in the main display. However I believe a properly working and flourishing refugium should eradicate most if not all nuisance algae. In some cases, I think algaes in refugiums are not thriving and growing the way they should (due to possibly lighting issues, lack of iodine, water movement, etc) and are not as effective at removing nutrients. Also, like you had mentioned, some systems have such a nutrient load that maybe the macroalgae cannot keep up, thus leading to the growth of nuisance algaes.

A few months ago (I think), I saw a special on caulerpa taxofilia on PBS. Quite amazing! This stuff is seriously taking over the Mediterranean and snuffing out indigenous life. It's definitely a major problem but a shame that responsible aquarists can no longer purchase it.
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Old 11-15-2005, 02:32 AM   #10
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Any macros you have in the fuge will compete for nutrients with any other algae growing inside the display and fuge. Hope this clears anything up.
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