Refugiums in the life of a Reefer

Discussion in 'Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds' started by Kunhardt, 23 Aug 2012.

  1. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    5,234
    Likes Received:
    90
    Location:
    East London
    The idea to write this Article came from reading a thread on another forum a little while back where in a member was asking what he could put in his refugium... this made me think that a lot of people don’t seem to understand what a refugium is and what it is there for. They are often thought of as a means of feeding your fish all the way through to a miracle cure to eliminate water changes.

    So what is a refugium...

    The direct definition is simply “a place of refuge”. This refuge could be for animal life as well as plant life. Typically found in refugiums are copepods, feather duster worms as well as macro algaes, but there are many other things one could house there, it all comes down to the reefers interests.

    Why use a refugium you may ask...

    I have always felt a refugium are so beneficial to a system that they should be a must in anyones plans when designing a tank. They can be used to house micro life like copepods which in turn will feed your fish and corals in your display tank. We all love Mandarins, Bipartisis wrasses and Copperband Butterflies - refugiums go a long way to helping provide enough life in the tank to sustain these fussy eaters.

    The other important factor besides feeding your system, and the reason most people install them, is they can be used as natural filtration.
    This is done in three forms namely

    • The animal life housed in them – The animals that feed on dissolved organic compounds as well particulate matter remove these from the water column and improve water clarity as well as quality. Examples of these would be tube worms, Pulsing Xenia and even Aptaisia to some peoples suprise.

    • The plant life housed in them – fast growing macro algaes like Chaeto and Calupera use phosphates and nitrates in the system to grow. Mangroves also do this job but in a much slower fashion. On a side note keeping your lights, that you use for your algaes/mangroves, on a reverse cycle to the display will keep total system pH more stable due to the uptake of acid-forming CO2 by the refugium during its “daylight hours”.

    • Mineral life housed in them – this would be in the form of DSB’s, Mud and liverock. All would contribute to bacteria used for nitrate reduction. The mud and liverock would have the dual purpose of also housing life such as copepods and microfauna.


    So where do I put my Refugium...

    Well you have a couple of options here most commonly now a days is a designated area in your sump...the area designated for this should be about 20% of the volume of your system for best results. Where your refugium chamber is in your sump in relation to the other chambers is not too critical...although I usually have mine after the chemical filtration, some people even have two separate feeds...one for the refugium and one feeding the skimmer and other mechanical and chemical filtration.
    Another option is to have a refugium above your tank...the water is then pumped up to the refugium and then flows back down to the tank...the only real advantage of this is supposed to be greater plankton production due to less pump sheer.
    Lastly one could have a remote refugium...a separate tank or even more crudely a drum that is plumbed to the main system, this can then be used as well as a means of increasing system water volume and in turn helping again to keep the system more stable.


    Do I need light for my Refugium...

    If you are solely using a mineral filtration refugium like a DSB or mud and liverock then lighting is not necessary, however most people keep fauna in their refugiums so lighting in this case is then necessary. For macro algaes 5-8 watts per 4 litres of water is recommended this obviously is in relation to the depth of the refugium...the deeper the refugium the more wattage per litre you would require. T5’s are your best option but anything from a 20w energy saver to Metal Hallides can be used...these would all depend on what you are keeping and how deep your refugium is.


    So to sum up...

    Bigger is always better, choose a refugium size that suites your system.
    Refugiums are not miracle cures, but are biological means of filtration for your system as well as a natural means of feeding fish and corals.
    Refugiums don’t have to be expensive – a plasic drum filled with sand and liverock rubble plumbed to the system works just fine.


    Lastly Refugiums can be as esthetical as you want them to be...a messy refugium can be hidden in your sump cabinet or in a drum outside, or you can make them a feature of their own.
     
    Reaper and Ebi Omer like this.
  2. AdS Guest




    to hide all adverts.
  3. mandarinman

    mandarinman

    Joined:
    18 Oct 2007
    Posts:
    6,377
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    capetown,durbanville
    5 to eight watts of light per 4 litres seems a bit high?
     
  4. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    23,157
    Likes Received:
    1,230
    Location:
    Centurion
    If the water level above your DSB is deep enough, at least 150mm, then that can be used as an good alternative place for your refugium.

    Most important.
    NO predatory fish should be in your refugium. Not even as temporary housing.
     
  5. pXius

    pXius

    Joined:
    31 Mar 2011
    Posts:
    1,170
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Weltevreden Park, JHB
    I would say it depends on the lighting type. The watts per liter rule was based on T8/5's and halides afaik. Before energy saving bulbs were mainstream anyway.

    Personally I'm running 9x 3w Cree LEDS (6 cool white and 3 yellow/warm white) over my fuge and the Macro Algae growth is amazing.

    Great article. Add a few pics and you should have yourself a sticky :tt2:
     
    Last edited: 23 Aug 2012
  6. blackghostknife

    blackghostknife

    Joined:
    13 Jul 2011
    Posts:
    807
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Centurion
  7. leslie hempel

    leslie hempel Moderator MASA Contributor

    Joined:
    7 May 2007
    Posts:
    14,540
    Likes Received:
    285
    Location:
    Gonubie East London
    great article there markie.... nicley written...
     
  8. Helga

    Helga

    Joined:
    21 May 2011
    Posts:
    966
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Three Rivers East, Gauteng
    Thanks @Kunhardt,
    Excellent article. I do enjoy my remote Refugium. It is also home to my Platinum and Snowflake Clown and with the natural overflow into my tank the Main Tank's inhabitants are also enjoying the snacks coming through the pipe constantly! :thumbup:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  9. LCornelius

    LCornelius Moderator

    Joined:
    5 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    Durbanville (CPT)
    Great read! Thanks!
     
  10. Henkie

    Henkie

    Joined:
    16 Sep 2011
    Posts:
    1,031
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Port Elizabeth
    @RiaanP - what would you see as predatory fish in a refugium?

    I am considering a remote refugium for my tank.
    @Helga - how big is yours? If I may ask
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  11. Helga

    Helga

    Joined:
    21 May 2011
    Posts:
    966
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Three Rivers East, Gauteng
    @Henkie,
    My refugium is 550mm X 450mm X 600mm. Water is pumped from the sump into the Refugium then back into the Main Display tank with gravity. The DSB is 15cm deep. I have Caulerpa and Chaeto growing like weed. Have to cut it back on a weekly basis. The tank is crawling with little critters. The corals in the bottom photo was just housed there as temp measures.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  12. Henkie

    Henkie

    Joined:
    16 Sep 2011
    Posts:
    1,031
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Port Elizabeth
    Very neat setup you got there !!!

    Thanks for the pics!
     
  13. pXius

    pXius

    Joined:
    31 Mar 2011
    Posts:
    1,170
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Weltevreden Park, JHB
    Excuse the dirty glass.

    My fuge is built into the sump. Downside is that pods avoid the pumps.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    5,234
    Likes Received:
    90
    Location:
    East London
    Very awesome fuges guys! :thumbup:
     
  15. Henkie

    Henkie

    Joined:
    16 Sep 2011
    Posts:
    1,031
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Port Elizabeth
    @pXius just convinced me!!! I will be adding a refugium into my sump!!!

    I have a nice 68cm x 40 cm x 25cm middle compartment that I can use!!!:thumbup:

    Do you have a thin layer of sand at the bottom , sorry cannot really see:blush: to much vegetation:lol:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  16. mandarinman

    mandarinman

    Joined:
    18 Oct 2007
    Posts:
    6,377
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    capetown,durbanville
    I am really inspired! Fuge beware
     
  17. mandarinman

    mandarinman

    Joined:
    18 Oct 2007
    Posts:
    6,377
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    capetown,durbanville
    I'm having visions of a dsb cum Fuge with blue spotted jawfish!
     
  18. Greg Bridger

    Greg Bridger

    Joined:
    24 Dec 2011
    Posts:
    279
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    East London
    nice article Mark I need to make a plan and build me a fuge
     
  19. pXius

    pXius

    Joined:
    31 Mar 2011
    Posts:
    1,170
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Weltevreden Park, JHB
    Glad to hear :)

    I'll post some proper pics tomorrow. I have no sand, just allot of live-rock rubble. :tt2: :thumbup:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  20. mandarinman

    mandarinman

    Joined:
    18 Oct 2007
    Posts:
    6,377
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    capetown,durbanville
    I must say there was a time when you would get excommunicated from masa if you had caluerpa in your Fuge or tank. I confess I have some in my Fuge as well as caluerpa
     
  21. mandarinman

    mandarinman

    Joined:
    18 Oct 2007
    Posts:
    6,377
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    capetown,durbanville
    Sorry I meant as well as chaeto
     
Recent Posts

Loading...
Similar Threads - Refugiums life Reefer Forum Date
Refugiums for the Reef Aquarium Video Threads 9 Jan 2015
HOB Refugiums Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds 26 May 2014
Refugiums Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds 19 Dec 2013
lost in refugiums New Members 29 Dec 2012
Cheato wanted for Refugiums !!! Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds 22 Apr 2010
Blue Life Products General Discussions and Advice 29 Jul 2016
Bringing Dead Rock to life. General Discussions and Advice 1 Apr 2016