Refugium vs Reactors

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by ReefStudent, 5 Apr 2015.

  1. ReefStudent

    ReefStudent

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    Hi Guys,

    Please help me. I am stuck with this decision.

    Should I do a small refugium with some macro algae next to my sump or rather run media reactors with phosphate and nitrate removing media?

    Pros and Cons?

    Suggestions? What works and why?
     
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  3. NewbiePta

    NewbiePta

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    Uuuu..... Thanks for making this thread. Tagging along.
     
  4. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    Bearing in mind that there are many ways to keep a tank sucessfully, it really depends on your budget, space and time available. Personally i would use mediareactors but seeing that you are focussing on lps, a refugium is really not a bad idea. Perhaps you can give some details as to your current filtration setup, and explain which inadequacies you want to "overcome."
    In an lpsdominated system, or any system for that matter, a refugium definitely helps with the addition of a constant trickle of live food. Although to really draw benefits from this, you will have to have a significantly sized refugium.
    For a refugium to make a significant impact on nutrients, again, it will needto be a significant size. Simple truth: the assimilation / explrt rate of nutrients by bacteria far exceed that of algae.
    My approach would be to go with both if resources allow, although i would focus on bacterial real estate via a and carbon methodology, complimented by a refugiu . The fun part would be to balance nutrient input to export, to the point where desjreable macroalgae still manages to grow in your fuge and zooplankton have enough nutrients to sustain a population.
    Something to the effect of skimmer>Orca biocubes / zeovit / matrix >Gfo reactor & carbon reactor > return pump in sump and feed to as well as return from fuge in same sump compartment as tank return pump.
    A regular dose of a little live phyto plankton to the refugium also a really great idea ;).
     
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  5. ReefStudent

    ReefStudent Thread Starter

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    @irie ivan , Thank you. This makes for a good read and makes me think about reasons for doing certain things. To start of with, I am very very limited on space for a refugium, hence this will only be about 20L. This will also not be part of the sump but almost like a branch of the main sump (almost in the same why as a RO reservoir would be) only difference is that this would syphon of the sump and be pumped back into the main return chamber,

    At this point in time my sump is very basic. Filter Sock & Skimmer>Orca Cubes (1L about)> around 40kg liverock>Return.

    At this point I am struggling to get nitrates below 3 and phosphates below 1. In my mind this is through the roof. And I saw the benefit of having a refugium to be a little bit of a breeding ground for live food for say a mandarin (that we would like to have in the future).

    Do you then recommend I start off with reactors and then add the refugium later on OR do the refugium and see what impact this has on the levels of NO3 and PO4?

    Thank you for the reply.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  6. ReefStudent

    ReefStudent Thread Starter

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    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  7. ReefStudent

    ReefStudent Thread Starter

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    @RiaanP please have some input. It would be much appreciated.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  8. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    A NO3 level of 3 is really not bad. Consider adding a bit more cubes, but not really needed. All you need is a po4 reactor housing some phosphate removal media, as that is really high.
    Considering your severely limited space, a 20L fuge really isn't going to do much, and your sump with 40 kg of liverock, in essence, is already a refugium ;).
    Simply adding a cheap 10w LED floodlight over that chamber will encourage algae to grow and assist in nutrient export.
     
    Last edited: 6 Apr 2015
  9. ReefStudent

    ReefStudent Thread Starter

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    Let me see what I can do about those phosphates then first. I will do the reactor and see what happens.

    Thank you
     
  10. mariusmeyer

    mariusmeyer

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    What skimmer are you running and what volume are we talking system wise? It could be that the skimmer is not powerful enough to remove the bacteria from the cubes. Maybe a liquid phosphate remover is better for now and it will be cheaper. Just get stuff into balance and then see if the cubes can keep up with the nutrients.
     
  11. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    I like a refugium, but as mentioned you need a descend size one.

    Reactors for me is more work. If your job does not take you away frequently, then its not an issue. But I want in my system the least amount of work for the tank sitter.

    So yes, every reefer to themselves, we all have different requirements, just like our tanks.

    I do not have anything against reactors, they do work and have their place in the hobby. But they do not fit my job schedule.
     
  12. Nsteyn

    Nsteyn

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    Ill be having reactors with appropriate media as well as a refugium. Main aim for the refug will not be exporting of nutrients, but rather a breeding ground for good stuff. With limited space a DSB would not be worth the space.

    Just my 2c
     
  13. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    What reactors are being referred to if I may ask? The OP already has everything in place, except a PO4 media reactor, and other than changing out media every few months, i really don't see how that can be too much work.
     
  14. NewbiePta

    NewbiePta

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    Would a 60l refugium be benificial to a 350l system?
     
  15. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    I had a carbon and a phosphate reactors long time ago. Quick and easy for me as a reefer to realize within a quick glance if everything is still OK. But not for my father when he was the dedicated tank sitter for the 2 weeks.

    For me, the tanksitter must have the minimum to do. Just feed the fish. And check the RO drum. Anything more than that, nope, not in my case.

    I do believe if your reactors is set up right for your system, you can have a better filtration capability in a smaller space than what I have with a DSB and refugium.
     
  16. ReefStudent

    ReefStudent Thread Starter

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    @mariusmeyer I have around 600L system with a Skimz201 skimmer (2500L rated) if im not mistaken. I dont think the skimmer can be the issue

    I would really really love a refugium, but I think a 20L one on a 600L system would not be of any use for nutrient export, more just a breeding ground for goodies. @RiaanP , I work long hours and I am away sometimes, say a week every 2 months.

    I cant do a refugium outside, and like I said, I have very limited space.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  17. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    It would be beneficial yes, but it will not supply enough food or remove enough nutrients to be a stand alone supply and processing centre. If you want a mandarin and max one other pod hunter(butterfly, pygmy angel, sixline wrasse, etc.) it should suffice as a live food farm. Together with ur in tank rock, just be sure the refugium has had plenty time to reach population density before adding the fish
     
    Last edited: 6 Apr 2015
  18. mariusmeyer

    mariusmeyer

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    1 litre of bio cubes should be able to handle a moderately and even slight heavily stocked 600L system. Ensure you have enough flow and air through them and it is close to the skimmer intake.

    But your phosphate is very high in relation to the nitrates so look at reducing that. You could also leave the nitrates at around 3 which is still fine as long as the phosphate is low. Starving your tank of all nutrients is also a curse as many corals will start to suffer and supplemental feeding will be required.
     
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