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Old 03/19/2008, 10:26 AM   #1
Aquarist007
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Refugiums and Macro Algae-the good the bad the ugly

Refugiums and Macro Algae-the good the bad the ugly

I am hoping this thread will bring a lot of discussion, questions, and pictures asked from different threads into a common one. It would be nice to have a thread we can refer back and forth to when issues regarding refugiums pop up and or someone is looking for ideas in settting one up.

There seem to be some key issues regarding refugiums:

What kind do I set up—in sump, separate but joined to the water column, hob ect

What do I use my refugium for –added filtration of nitrates and phosphates; and or producing a greater variety of inverts and use full bacteria for the water column

Do kind of macro algae do I use –chaeto or caulerpa

Do I go with a deep sand bed or shallow sand bed or no sand bed at all

Do I clean my refugium from time to time

What do I have to feed the copepods ect in my refugium

What kind of flow rate should I have

I will go first for no other reason then to start the thread. In no way do I feel my setup is the be and endall of refugiums. And I encourge others to show their setups and discuss issues

My refugium is separate from the sump. The main waste line from the tank is t’ed so I can control the flow separately between the refugium and the sump. My refugium drains back into the sump, by gravity, in an area past the intake for the protein skimmer. I felt this was important so as to ensure that copepods ect are not being skimmed out before they reach the tank.
Because the primary function is invert production the flow is very slow through the refugium—just a trickle, I have added a 6 inch sand bed and lots of reef rubble. The reef rubble and sand bed provide a variety of habitats for different species.

I have gone strictly with chaeto macroalgae. I have always had great growth with the chaeto and no problems leaving the light on 24/7. The light is a 25 watt energy saver bulb.
I have not used caulerpa algae since it is a little more problematic then chaeto in that the spores could get back to the main tank and start growing in there. Also, it can go sexual(massive release of spores) where there is little possibility of that with chaeto.

my main drain line is t'ed with a control valve on each part of the t
the flow is downward from the tank above it at this point


the refugium is constructed from a 30 gal plastic tote, it has a clip on 25watt energy saver bulb


it is gravity feed back into the sump at an area past the intake for the skimmer and ready to be pumped back into the tank.




the chaeto algae is what has worked the best for me





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Old 03/19/2008, 10:48 AM   #2
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I split my sump into sections as probably most do. The water hits the skimmer first. I stacked rock rubble in this section to provide a place for pods and sponges to help filter what the skimmer does not. From there it goes into my 5" sugar sized DSB/Cheato section. I like this setup because while the DSB can process detrius, the skimmer takes some out first (but not nearly all of it). This provides nutrients for the DSB creatures, but not too much. Eventually I would like to go skimmerless, or at least reduce it to 12 hours a day. I don't have an all SPS tank.


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Old 03/19/2008, 10:57 AM   #3
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the most ideal set up is if there was a way to drain the fuge into the main tank directly(most pods stay alive). also dont think that this stuff cant release its clophore cause it can. i have had great luck with caulerpa and highly recomend that for two reasons. one its a great macro algea for protien removal, and the second, this is the a great food source for tangs. they love it and its super fresh right from your fuge to the main tank to feed your tangs if you have any. now can i ask you a question.... is that water heater susposed to be totaly submerged underwater like that... its making me really scared for your fishies.


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Old 03/19/2008, 11:46 AM   #4
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thanks for starting the discussion

didyousayreefer--can you post a picture of your system

devilman--that is a teflon totally submergable heater


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Old 03/19/2008, 11:48 AM   #5
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here is a good discussion on refugiums:

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...readid=1348033


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Old 03/19/2008, 11:53 AM   #6
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here is a good discussion on "is my sand bed working"

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...readid=1349093


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Old 03/19/2008, 12:05 PM   #7
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Aye cap'n,

I see you wasted no time *grin*

The following is why I prefer caulerpa:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by mr.wilson
Chaeto is good if you want an algae that won't get sucked into pumps or spread throughout the sump. The down side is it's a slow grower, and it traps detritus. It also tends to grow in a large ball, with the areas exposed to light flourishing, while the greater shadowed area slowly dies off. The die off often goes unnoticed as the bound nitrate and and phosphate is returned to the system.

Algae will not grow well in a 24 hour photoperiod. Photosynthesis requires a six hour period of darkness for proper respiration. A 16 hour photoperiod will not lead to seasonal cues (shorter days) that cause algae to reproduce.

Allowing caulerpa to overgrow the space to the point of shadowing itself is the most common environmental cue (stress) for sexual reproduction. A shallow tray of caulerpa will grow quickly, remove more organics, will not crash (sexually reproduce), and will not trap detritus. Caulerpa is also more useful, as it's a food source for the fish in the display tank.

I really like what caulerpa does, but I also have read where there are some that use many combinations of Macro, or plants to get the best of all benefits. I may try this in the future.


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Old 03/19/2008, 01:58 PM   #8
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Ive been considering Ulva algae. It would be in my sump that Im slowly converting/retrofitting with a refugium. Just removed the bioballs… The Ulva was looking good for a few reasons:
1. Low chance of it spreading to the main tank and becoming a nuisance.
2. Removes phosphate and nitrate.
3. Doesn’t absorb calcium like Halimeda.
4. I can collect it from the local beach (along with other algaes)
5. Supplemental food source for my snails that have done an overzealous job of removing diatoms and have since moved on to my newly acquired live rock and have just about mowed their way through that
6. Nutritious for us humans

Any experiences with Ulva?

* question in regards to # 4: Would a simple rinse with salt water before adding Ulva harvested from a local beach suffice or should it be quarantined?


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Old 03/19/2008, 01:58 PM   #9
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sorry double post. Not having success deleting.


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Old 03/19/2008, 02:33 PM   #10
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mash2k--thanks I was hoping you would join this thread

aaroneous---wow great post on ulva algae


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Old 03/19/2008, 02:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Aaroneous
sorry double post. Not having success deleting.
no problem it gives the opportunity in case you have been missed:

To Reef Central


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Old 03/19/2008, 03:07 PM   #12
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capn_hylinur

Thanks for starting this thread. I am in the process of rebuilding after my previous tank shattered. I plan on adding a fuge with a DSB, or should I leave out the DSB, I have heard so many different opinions on that?


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Old 03/19/2008, 03:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by tomasga
capn_hylinur

Thanks for starting this thread. I am in the process of rebuilding after my previous tank shattered. I plan on adding a fuge with a DSB, or should I leave out the DSB, I have heard so many different opinions on that?
your welcome, if you what this thread for the next while it should help you form an opinion.
Did you read the above link on how sand beds work--its a good read?


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Old 03/19/2008, 03:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by tomasga
capn_hylinur

Thanks for starting this thread. I am in the process of rebuilding after my previous tank shattered. I plan on adding a fuge with a DSB, or should I leave out the DSB, I have heard so many different opinions on that?
One of the great aspects to this hobby is that there are so many ways to achieve things. Denitratification can be achieved in many ways. I personally avoid DSB's because after a while they need to be changed out.

I DID consider one in my sump. If you do one, you might try putting the sand in a container of some sort within your sump so that it can be switched out in the future for a new sand bed. Just a thought...


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Old 03/19/2008, 03:23 PM   #15
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looking at it now.


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Old 03/19/2008, 03:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by mash2k
Aye cap'n,

I see you wasted no time *grin*

The following is why I prefer caulerpa:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by mr.wilson
Chaeto is good if you want an algae that won't get sucked into pumps or spread throughout the sump. The down side is it's a slow grower, and it traps detritus. It also tends to grow in a large ball, with the areas exposed to light flourishing, while the greater shadowed area slowly dies off. The die off often goes unnoticed as the bound nitrate and and phosphate is returned to the system.

Algae will not grow well in a 24 hour photoperiod. Photosynthesis requires a six hour period of darkness for proper respiration. A 16 hour photoperiod will not lead to seasonal cues (shorter days) that cause algae to reproduce.

Allowing caulerpa to overgrow the space to the point of shadowing itself is the most common environmental cue (stress) for sexual reproduction. A shallow tray of caulerpa will grow quickly, remove more organics, will not crash (sexually reproduce), and will not trap detritus. Caulerpa is also more useful, as it's a food source for the fish in the display tank.

I really like what caulerpa does, but I also have read where there are some that use many combinations of Macro, or plants to get the best of all benefits. I may try this in the future.
Thanks for your prompt and detailed repy Mash
I'll present the other side of the coin er algae

first of all caulerpa can go sexual unlike chaeto algae--given that possibility it rules it out for me
This article might sway you a bit--I was
http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/20...nftt/index.php

I have had no trouble growing lots and lots of chaeto--the picture was taken about 6 months ago--and I have just as much if not more then before---

but as mash stated you have to rotate the cheato ball at least once a week and harvest off the dying area.
But this is what you should be doing anyways to totally remove nitrates and phosphates from your water column

Because of the density of the ball it floats low in the refugium and given that it doesn't use spores like caulerpa it doesn't end up in the main tank and or take over like caulerpa would.

Also because of the density of the chaeto ball once every two weeks or so I have to turn up the flow in the refugium a bit and shake the ball ----again this is a good procedure because it reintroduces nutrients, bacteria, and inverts back into the water column. If you have a good handle on controlling your phosphate and dissolved organics---phosban reactor and protein skimmer--then there is not much problem in causing an algae bloom by this method.

Contradictory to Mash--chaeto does grow well with the lights on 24/7--if you fully rotate the ball once a week.


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Old 03/19/2008, 03:30 PM   #17
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Good thread.

I'm interested in learning more about cryptic refugia and how they compare to the traditional methods of refugium keeping.

I wonder what kind of success reefers are having with this type of refugium in terms of adding a benificial bio filter to the aquarium.

The best methods for setting cryptic refugia up would be a plus as well. From what I understand, it is basically a dark chamber which may or may not contain a DSB and a large amount of live rock. That's about all I know about them but I would like to learn more.

SIDE NOTE: I had a cheato refugium until caulerpa got introduced somehow, now the caulerpa choked out all the cheato and rules my refugium.


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Old 03/19/2008, 03:39 PM   #18
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I have never been sold on the concept.


scroll down to #13 here;

http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-12/eb/index.php


Borneman makes the points more clear than I could. The main points are how relatively small areas are expected to effect large amounts of water and how rock might be better for pod production, if that is desired.

I do keep a 'fuge' but it's more a place for excess rock than any expected nutrient export. And my skimmer is kept there rather than in my sump. It's really just two sumps.

I have always been nagged by the feeling that a properly set up (and 'aged') main tank should not need the extra export, particularly if it has a skimmer, and if more export is needed a simple water change schedule could do the same thing.


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Old 03/19/2008, 03:59 PM   #19
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nalbar--thanks for the good read--it actually helps make my point above with using caulerpa algae:
quoted from Eric Borneman
http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-12/eb/index.php

"I am not in any way condemning the use of macroalgae in refugia. I am very fond of many of them, although many have quite numerous and toxic secondary metabolites, like soft corals and sponges. In particular, I am very unfond of Caulerpa (Figure 5). It is invasive and very difficult to eradicate. It is toxic to fish and has many metabolites - and releases them when the organism degenerates during spawning. Acidic rhizomes etch carbonate (Figure 6) and these algae can kill other more desirable species by overgrowth. I have had it grow right through the stalks of soft corals. Many aquarists say that it has not been a problem for them. My response? Just wait. It will. I guess my big question regarding Caulerpa is why use it at all when so many more desirable species of macroalgae exist, like Chaetomorpha species, or others (Figures 7 & 8)."


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Old 03/19/2008, 04:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by nalbar
I have never been sold on the concept.
scroll down to #13 here;

http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-12/eb/index.php
Borneman makes the points more clear than I could. The main points are how relatively small areas are expected to effect large amounts of water and how rock might be better for pod production, if that is desired.

nalbar
there are two concepts here--the use of a refugium for reducing phosphate and nitrates and the use of the refugium for a safe haven for growing pods and other inverts.
IMO the two are separate uses dictated by the flow through the refugium.
I prefer to use it for pod production so my flow is minimal through the refugium


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Old 03/19/2008, 04:07 PM   #21
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I don't think there is much doubt that chaeto algae is the way to go. I do keep a small amount in my sump/fuge. Far to little for nutrient export, it's there in case I want a source in the future.

One point on chaeto algae, it does not take much light to live. Ambient room light will keep it going, but not exploding with growth.


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Old 03/19/2008, 04:43 PM   #22
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I recently set up a tank with Chaeto, Ulva, Gracilaria, and Caulerpa growing in the sump/refugium. I came up with a spraybar to keep the macroalgae tumbling so that it doesn't have the problems some people have already mentioned. Here's some pics and a link to the thread where I first posted it.





http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...readid=1345419

It works very well, the algae just rotates end over end all day long. I keep my rock in the next compartment so that it doesn't stop the algae from rotating. My Chaeto has yet to take off, but it's still pretty early. The Ulva has been growing the best (going to have to remove some soon) and the Gracilaria just recently took off.


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Old 03/19/2008, 05:34 PM   #23
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Capn, nice looking bunch of seaweed you have there.
As to ulva, I get about 50 lbs. of it on my boat prop every time I anchor in shallow water.
That is the single best way to keep hair algae out of your tank and keep everything healthy. Almost any type of seaweed will reduce nutrients and there is some studys that suggest algae adds some important nutrients to your water while removing unwanted chemicals.
I myself don't have a refugium or sump but not because I don't want one. I do have an algae tray where all the water from my skimmer passes. If I had the time and room I would have a lighted refugium as large as possable.
Paul


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Old 03/19/2008, 05:48 PM   #24
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great thread started I hope to see how people set up there sump/fuge. I have been playing at a sump/fuge as i am limited on funds. Will post pics as well.
Once i Figure out how.


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Old 03/19/2008, 05:48 PM   #25
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Ok here's a pic of what I was running under my 55g tank, and I hope to utilize a similiar concept under my new 90g reef tank.

The sump was built out of a 20g long tank with 1/4" baffles from a design I saw on Melev's site. The refugium was originally in the middle section and the small glass baffle kept the sand out of the return pump. However, After a while I began to dislike the fluctuating levels in the fuge section, so I opted for a gravity fed seperated fuge (10-15g tote from Lowes). 25% of the water from my display tank is diverted via a ballvalve into the fuge, which gravity feeds into the return section. Also I use a HOB filter with 1-1" bulkhead, connected to 1-1/2" PVC.








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